Review: Dracula Untold

Tight at 90 minutes or so, no excessive fights or gore scenes; a reasonable story type story. The movie knows what it is and delivers capably. I was surprised.


Public Transit

Watching the Reddit slapfight on r/ottawa about Uber, I find reinforced my perception that

A) everyone thinks the local public transit they have to use is crap, and

B) everyone thinks everyone else's is nicer.

Personally I think that no matter how nice or efficient or modern or affordable a mass transit system is, the perception of how good or not it is is overwhelmingly driven by your interactions with other users -- and thus you will always have a generally negative opinion of it, if not a specifically overwhelmingly negative opinion of it.

AKG K545

Thus far my exposure to headsets has been limited to two pairs.

The Sennheiser HD 500A pair is a set that came with an active listening program that we got for Alex when he was small. He didn't do well with the product so we stopped using it. A few years later I found the headset in the basement and decided that I could use them at the office for general listening. My initial review of them could be summed up as "they are better than the MP3s I listen to with them".

These are over-ear, open headphones. They are superbly comfortable, even over extended sessions of use. The sound is the best I have personally heard. They leak sound both in and out -- I can comfortably hear what is going on around me, and those I am talking to can hear soft, tinny music coming out.

I decided to look for an alternative because I am spending more time on the phone these days and it is annoying to flip the headphones on and off, and using a handset (office phone or cell phone) is itself an irritation.

On the advice of Marco's headset roundup, I picked a set of AKG K545 headphones. I found them at a reasonable price at Costco.ca. I did so hoping to get more isolation from my environment as well as an integrated microphone for phone use. The initial plan was to use my PC as a speakerphone and playing music from iTunes on the PC, but at some point iPhones lost the ability to peer with Windows computers. So I decided to skip the middle device and plug the headphones into the iPhone directly. The 545 fits this usage model perfectly.

After a couple weeks of using them, I think that the passive isolation is pretty good. Not perfect, but still very good. The sound is OK, and I can wear them for long periods of time. The cord is long enough that my phone can sit on the desk and be charged by the laptop, while at the same time short enough that with my phone in my pocket I can still walk around with the headphones on. From a phone perspective nobody's complained that I am inaudiable or sound funny since I started using these headphones. And they are small enough to fit into my work bag, although things are a bit tight in there right now.

Unfortunately the iPhone does not feed your voice back to you when you are using it for phone calls rough a headset, so I have started the habit of flipping one ear cushion off its ear when on the phone so that I can hear myself. The sound quality is noticeably not as good as the Sennheiser, but better than the iPhone earbuds. They are also not as comfortable -- I find the clamping force on my head to be firmer than I like and the ear cushions get sweaty.

So bottom line they are pretty good and I plan to continue using them. But it seems to me like the Sennheisers have spoiled me for both comfort and sound quality.