Posts Tagged ‘Review’

10
Sep

Apple iPhone 3.1 Software Update

Apple iPhone 3.1 Software Release

On Wednesday, September 9th, Apple released the iPhone 3.1 software upgrade. As expected, Apple’s servers were bombarded with traffic, but thanks to a file of projects on my desk I avoided the train wreck that accompanies iPhone software updates.


This evening, I was able to quickly and easily upgrade iTunes and our iPhones. However, I quickly realized that after upgrading to iTunes 9.0.0.70, I was not able to sync my iPhone 3GS to my laptop. In fact, all the system would do was return the following error code:

iTunes could not connect to this iPhone because an unknown error occurred (0xE8000065).


SOLUTION:

After a while, I was able to figure out that the sync cable (iPod) that I typically use to sync my iPhone at work, doesn’t work with the new software upgrades! So if you’re getting this error, you MUST sync your iPhone with a genuine iPhone cable!


Rest assured that there’s already an extensive library of articles chronicling Apple’s latest iPhone software innovations, so I’ll just provide you with a “Cliff Notes” version of what to expect from the iPhone 3.1 Software Update.

  • Apple’s extended its Genius media-recommendation algorithm to iPhone applications. It looks at the apps you already own and makes recommendations based on that information.
  • Enhanced Ringtone Purchasing & Features.
  • New Syncing Options for Households with multiple computers.
  • iTunes gift cards, codes, and certificate redemption in both the iTunes and App Stores.
  • Ability to save videos from both Mail and MMS into the iPhone’s Camera Roll.
  • Voice Control is now accessible via a Bluetooth headset (iPhone 3GS).
  • iTunes’ Genius Mixes automatically creates mixes based on what’s already in your library.
  • Visual iPhone App Organizer via iTunes.
  • Improved syncing for music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, and photos.
  • iTunes U content organization.
  • Redeem iTunes Gift Cards, codes, and certificates in the App Store.
  • Display available iTunes account credits in the App Store and iTunes Store.
  • Option to “Save as new clip” when trimming a video on iPhone 3GS.
  • Better iPhone 3G Wi-Fi performance when Bluetooth is turned on.
  • Remotely lock iPhone with a passcode via MobileMe.
  • Paste phone numbers into the keypad.
  • Option to use Home button to turn on accessibility features on iPhone 3GS.
  • Warn when visiting fraudulent websites in Safari (anti-phishing).
  • Improved Exchange calendar syncing and invitation handling.
  • Fixes issue that cause some app icons to display incorrectly.
Apple iPhone 3.1 Software Update
29
Mar

Review of UNC DGC

As expected, Saturday brought rains and moderate to heavy winds to North Carolina. However, needless to say, rain and wind have never stopped me from the urge to go Disc Golfing. So yesterday, I had the opportunity to visit and play the University of Chapel Hill’s Disc Golf Course in Chapel Hill, NC.

This review marks the 10th and final local Disc Golf Course review, which will now allow me to venture outside of the “Triangle Area” to other courses in cities such as Fayetteville, Charlotte, Asheville, and more!

Weather conditions were approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit, cloudy, and with moderate winds (before the storm); after which it became rainy and very wet. It had been raining for two days prior to this visit, so the course was soaked to its maximum capacity.

Course Established: 1997
Holes: 18
Course Par: Par 3 on All Holes (54)
Tee Type: Concrete (Multiple Tees)
Hole Type: DISCatcher
Course Length: 5081 – 5236 ft.

The University of North Carolina’s (UNC) Disc Golf Course is definitely built upon the reminence of a former ball golf course. I couldn’t tell you what the former course was called, but when playing Holes #13-15, you can definitely tell the origins of this course.

UNC DGC is a smorgasbord of everything that could ever challenge an avid Disc Golfer. The first nine holes feature moderate to heavily wooded valley shots, water hazards in the form of a respectable sized pond and creeks, tight wooded shots, blind shots over hills and through valleys, and even some open fielded holes.

According to the official UNC DGC scorecard that I recently received, “All Holes Are Par 3.” However, especially on the back nine, there are several legitimate Par 4 holes (Holes 13-15). The back nine features three of the most beautifully crafted open-field valley shots in the Triangle, ranging from 350-467 ft in distance; a challenge for any long distance thrower.

While on paper, the course should be my favorite course in the Triangle, however, I feel that it just doesn’t meet what I would personally expect from a course maintained by UNC. The first nine holes are littered with debris from previous course construction and storms. Signage is available at almost every hole, while some signage having been obviously vandalized.

There are only restroom facilities near the parking lot and tennis courts, where you first came into the course, and the course takes you quite far away from those facilities, so please keep that in mind. For those who require rest areas (benches) along the way, there are what looks to be brand new wooden benches at almost every tee, so rest assured on that.

Unfortunately, the baskets are completely mis-numbered, which leads to massive confusion on the course. We played between two groups of new players to the course, which is a good sign that the UNC DGC is getting new found attention, however, neither the group ahead, nor the group behind us had a map, so we ended up leading both groups. I had printed out a map of the course, but was amazed at how easily lost we became while playing the course, mostly due to mis-numbered baskets.

The best way to play this course is to print out a map, completely ignore the numbers of the baskets, and follow the navigation tips outlined below.


Navigation Tips for the UNC DGC

We used Google Maps to give us instructions, and going down 15-501 from I-40 is not the best option. I of course did not pay close enough attention to the overall area, so I should have gone down Hwy 54 West from I-40 (toward Chapel Hill, NC), turned LEFT onto Country Club Rd, and made a RIGHT turn into the Outdoor Education Center.

  • The parking lot is at the top of a hill that looks down upon a steep drive/pathway, with tennis courts to your right. Please use caution, as the driveway and even the steps are angled downward and may be are quite steep for some.
  • Tee #1 is on the left at the bottom of the steep hill, opposite the rock climbing wall.
  • The course is laid out hole after hole while following trails that encircle the entire Outdoor Center (Park).
  • From what I was able to tell some holes have multiple tees, while others do not. Some tees are the usual rectangular concrete tees, while others are trapezoid shaped concrete tees. There’s signage indicating the hole design and distance at almost all of the tees.
  • Hole #2′s tee is located to the left of the pond on the pathway, so you’ll have to back-track a little bit. It is a blind shot and the basket is on the other side, slightly to the left.
  • Hole #3 goes directly over the pond.
  • Hole #4 is an open field which after and during rain (even light rain), becomes extremely muddy and treacherous to get through. There’s a creek to the left side, surrounded by semi-dense brush and bushes, avoid it. It also appears that people have been “mudding” in this field, even after UNC has tried to grow new grass, hence the light straw coverage.
  • After Hole #5, you’ll see two paths to the right of the basket. DO NOT take the path on the right, which goes over a small wooden pedestrian walking bridge. Take the path on the LEFT which goes down a few meters and goes under a stone bridge. If you see a chain that looks like it’s blocking the path under the bridge, ignore it. When you arrive on the other side of the bridge, you’ll see that there is a small opening for pedestrians to pass through this chain fence. You’ll immediately see Tee #6 straight ahead.
  • After Hole #6, head behind the basket to the LEFT, and up over the ROCKY pathway that curves uphill and to the left to Tee #7.
  • After Hole #10, DO NOT follow the path with the fence. Back-track and head back toward Tee #10, and you’ll see Tee #11 on the RIGHT.
  • Take CAUTION on Hole #12, as a stray disc too far left will go very far down hill and into the baseball field. There have been reports of the field being locked periodically.
  • After Hole #15, you’ll go down a path behind the basket and downhill. Your natural reaction will be to follow the path toward the Ropes/Challenge Course, DO NOT do this! You’ll see a broken asphalt path on your RIGHT that goes back up hill toward Tee #15. Follow this path 1/2 way up the hill, and you’ll see a VERY SMALL path on your LEFT. This path will take you to Tees #16 & #17.
  • Hole #18′s Tee is located next to the Ropes/Challenge Course. Please take CAUTION, as the gate is ALWAYS locked, and a stray disc to the RIGHT would land your disc in a “No Trespassing” area, and the fence is quite high, and VERY difficult to climb… ;)

In summary, I enjoyed playing at UNC’s DGC. However, while I find the challenges to be quite varied and spread out throughout the course, I also feel as if the course itself still needs improvement. The current state of the course, leaves much to be desired in terms of SAFETY, NAVIGATION, DESIGN, and cleanliness.

With so much debris on the course during the first few holes, the course can be quite treacherous compared to other courses such as Buckhorn, Cedar Hills, or Valley Springs. Navigation is impaired due to vandalized signage, missing signage, and mis-numbered baskets throughout the entire course. The design is slightly flawed in that quite a few of the baskets require a player to backtrack to find the next tee, and without proper signage, can be extremely difficult to accomplish.

In regards to cleanliness, UNC has provided plenty of “Carolina Blue” themed trash receptacles, and yet some of the players that frequent this course choose to ignore the luxury of trash receptacles. This of course is in no way a fault of UNC, but does reflect upon the caliber of a small group of players at this course.

Overall Rating: 8.25/10.0

Difficulty: 8.5
Scenic Beauty: 8.0
Thrower Traffic: 6.0
Easy to Navigate: 4.5
Terrain: 9.0
Hazards: 7.5
Fairways: 7.0
Tees: 8.0

Pros:

  • Detailed Color Signage Available at most Tees.
  • Almost every type of challenge available.
  • Light to Moderate woodland fairways.
  • Light to Extreme Valleys & Hills.
  • Multiple Tees on Select Holes.
  • Maintained Concrete Tees
  • Nice scenery, a former Ball Golf Course.
  • Water Hazards (Pond & Creeks)
  • GREAT use of all Terrain Elevation Types.
  • Brand new Benches at almost every Tee.


Cons:

  • EXTREMELY muddy even after light rain.
  • Heavy traffic on the course during peak season.
  • Missing Signage on a few Tees.
  • Mis-Numbered Baskets throughout the Course.
  • Certain Holes have fenced & locked O.B. Areas.
  • No General Info/Map of the course at Tee #1.


* Reviewed By James Wong, Last Played On: 3/
28/2009
** Please vote for my review at: www.DGCourseReview.com

12
Mar

Review of Buckhorn DGC


Buckhorn DGC (New Hill, NC) is indeed one of the most well kept, serene, and challenging courses in the Triangle (Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, North Carolina).

The course is located at the Harris Lake County Park – land donated by the Sharon Harris Nuclear Power Plant, so it’s an interesting paradox considering it’s so beautiful and serene, and yet it is overshadowed by the Nuclear Power Plant.

I have played at Buckhorn DGC numerous times, and I never get tired of the unique challenges that Buckhorn provides.

Course Established: 2001
Holes: 18 holes
Course Par: 58
Tee Type: Concrete
Hole Type: DISCatcher
Course Length: 5748 ft.


In my opinion, Buckhorn is like no other course in the area. The terrain is mostly flat, with a few baskets on hilly/rocky areas, but some of the most challenging holes involve some serious water hazards, especially when playing the Pro-Tees. The course designers have truly utilized the Lake and the area ponds to their fullest potential, and thus offer players with unique and challenging holes found nowhere else in the Triangle.

There are benches located at almost every concrete tee, which is nice for those that need a place to rest. The course is extremely easy to navigate, and there is plenty of signage to guide players along.

Buckhorn is a good mixture of heavily wooded, semi-wooded, and open area fairways, but is mostly wooded. The course efficiently utilizes elevation changes. This may be a little too challenging as a beginner’s course, but is perfect for intermediate to advanced players looking for a challenge.

Overall Rating: 9.0/10.0
Difficulty: 8.0
Easy to Navigate: 7.0
Terrain: 8.5
Hazards: 7.0
Thrower Traffic: 6.0

Pros:
- There are different types of challenges on every hole.
- Challenging water hazards on select holes.
- Clearly defined markers and signage.
- Well maintained concrete concrete tees.
- Maintained grounds, pathways, fairways, and baskets.
- Perfect mixture of woodlands, hills, valleys, and lake views.

Cons:
- Course can be quite muddy after heavy rains.
- Weekends can produce heavy traffic on the course.
- Caution on hole #17; that pond is an infamous Disc-Eater!
- Dogs are allowed at the park, so your discs may run off…



* Reviewed By James Wong, Last Played On: 12/
28/2008
** Please vote for my review at: www.DGCourseReview.com

11
Mar

Review of Southern Village DGC

View Larger Map

While purchasing the Innova Star TeeRex and Star Max distance drivers from Play-It-Again Sports in Durham, NC – I had the opportunity of speaking with their resident Disc Golf enthusiast, Damien. He mentioned that there were a few new courses in the Triangle area that just opened up this year. After going to PDGA.com and DGCourseReview.com, I realized that Southern Village is a brand new course that opened up just a few weeks ago.

I visited the Southern Village Disc Golf Course in Chapel Hill, NC yesterday afternoon, right after I got off work (Thank you Daylight Savings Time!) . Weather conditions were approximately 70 degrees Fahrenheit, sunny, and with calm wind conditions.

Course Established: 2009
Holes: 18 Par 3 holes
Course Par: 54
Tee Type: Unfinished/Undetermined
Hole Type: DISCatcher
Course Length: Unknown

It is important to note that the Southern Village DGC has not officially been completed. The baskets have been installed, but the tee pads and fairways have yet to be fully completed. In fact, the tees are marked only by a rectangular patch of open dirt, and two small orange marker flags. This review will be extremely detailed, only because there is no signage, no maps, and there are various paths that run through the course. I spend much of my time yesterday lost on the course. My hope, is that this review will help you navigate this unfinished course…

Please use caution, as the heavy leaf coverage, downed trees, and cleared trees have been left as is, and this makes this course quite dangerous for those whom don’t pay attention to where they are going. I personally finished this course with a injured ankle, a bloody wrist, and the frustration of not knowing where the next tee was… Please play this course with caution!

When you first arrive at Southern Village, you’ll be turning into Dogwood Acres Road from 15-501. You’ll want to park in the parking lot on your immediate RIGHT, otherwise the road continues into a neighborhood, and you’ll no longer be in the park.

  • Tee #1 is to the left toward the dog park, and you’ll see the first basket just inside of the wooded area to the right of the furthest part of the dog park. Again, remember that the tees are simple dirt patches with two small orange construction marker flags.
  • After hole #6, follow the path to the left of the “Oak Datum” an indention of Earth surrounded by cut wood logs, arranged in a circular pattern.
  • Hole #7 is heavily wooded, and only allows for a 6′ wide window of a fairway, with a sharp drop off to the right. After Hole #7, the path hits an abrupt T-intersection, you’ll want to go right.
  • Hole #9 is the only open field hole on the entire course, and is right near the parking lot, opposite of where Tee #1 is located. After you finish Hole #9, you’ll need to follow the sidewalk path across Dogwood Acres Road. Follow the sidewalk to the left, and look for a dirt path on the right for Tee #10.
  • After Hole #13, don’t cross the street. Stay on the path to the right to find the next Tee.
  • After Hole #15, follow the path to the right.
  • After Hole #16, the path hits a fork and you’ll need to go right at the fork.
  • After Hole #17, follow the path behind the basket to the right which parallels the bottom of the tennis courts to find the Tee for Hole #18.

Overall, I think that the Southern Villahe Disc Golf Course has the potential to be Chapel Hill’s version of Buckhorn DGC (New Hill, NC). The terrain is well mixed, but with no water hazards like Buckhorn DGC has. Therefore, the scenery is much more like Cornwallis DGC in Durham, NC or Kentwood DGC in Raleigh, NC – just on much more land, and segmented.

There are currently no benches on the course, I would assume they simply haven’t been purchased yet. This makes sense, as the fairways have barely been outlined by the cutting of trees, but not the removal of them.

I would definitelty not classify this course as a beginner’s course, regardless of what state the course is in. The heavy woods will have a tendency to eat up discs, while the heavy leaf coverage will also conceal your discs, so keep a keen eye on them. You’ll also want to bring comfortable shoes that will support your feet on rough terrain, as part of the course require going up and down fairly graded hills.

Overall Rating: 5.50/10
Difficulty: 6
Easy to Navigate: 2
Terrain: 5
Hazards: 2
Thrower Traffic: N/A

Pros:
- Park features plenty of amenities (Tennis, Fields, Dog Park, etc…)
- Extra long holes on the back nine.


Cons:

- Unfinished Course
- Heavily Wooded Course
- No Signage (as of currently)
- No Benches (as of currently)
- Difficult to find markers/tees.
- Too many paths which don’t always lead to the next tee.
- Tees have not been poured (assuming they plan to have concrete tees)


*Reviewed By James Wong, Course Played On: 3/
10/2009

09
Mar

Review of Innova's Champion Groove

Innova’s Champion Groove Distance Driver

Classification: Distance Driver
Diameter: 21.2cm
Weight Range: 165 to 175 grams

Brief Description: “The Groove features an innovative groove on the underside of the rim. This channel allows this speed 13 driver to be molded in lighter weights than our other wide rim high speed drivers… Fast, long, straight distance off the tee. If the Boss is too stable, get into the Groove.”


Last week I purchased the new Champion Groove distance driver by Innova, from Play It Again Sports in Cary, NC. Innova boasts on their website that it’s a Speed 13 rated distance driver that is more understable, for individuals whom can’t easily play the Champion Boss distance driver.

Being that I LOVE my Champion Boss, I decided that maybe the Champion Groove might be a nice addition to my arsenal.

The Groove’s speed is definitely comparable with the Champion Boss, however, when it came to overall distance, the Champion Boss out-performed the Groove time and time again. Regardless of whether it was Right-Handed Back Hand (RHBH) or Sidearm throws, the Champion almost always had a 10-15′ advantage over the Groove.

Obviously, my testing of the two discs is in no way scientific at all, but as far as real world play, my mind is dead set on keeping the Champion Boss (and my soon to be purchased Star Boss) as my primary disc of choice for those long distance drives.

Overall Rating By Reviewer: 8/10

Pros: Excellent wind resistance, speed, and distance. Better suited for players that prefer understable discs. Great groove for improved grip.

Cons: Does not seem to drive as far as the Champion Boss. More expensive than the Boss.