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REVIEW – Best Portable Mini Digital Recorder – Sony SX712 D

One of Our Favorite Tech Essentials – Top Products

REVIEW :: The Sony SX 712 D Portable Digital Voice Recorder & SD Cards
REVIEW :: The Sony SX ICD 712 D Portable Digital Voice Recorder & SD Cards

After careful scrutinizing, these 4 Amazon Digital Recorder products won out over the other models and brands due to comprehensive features, low pricing and high-praise reviews.

First Product :: Sony Mini Digital Recorder – Sony ICD SX712 D
2nd Product :: SanDisk 16GB MicroSDHC Memory Card with Adapter and Reader
3rd Product :: Sandisk 32GB MicroSDHC Class 4 Memory Card & MicroSDHC Card Reader
4th Product :: SanDisk 16GB microSDHC Memory Card w/ SD Adapter


Having bought the Sony ICD SX712 and put it through its paces, we can say that it’s a stellar performer with high quality sound and ease of use.

The settings are prodigious. You like options? This device has them. However, if you want to avoid fudging with the settings and keep things simple, you can do that as well as go along with  the  well-programmed default settings.

The case is smooth, irridescent shiny black plastic with a nice, sturdy, comfortable feel. The 2 swiveling mikes allow for nice, stereo effects, especially when recording music.

The controls were fairly intuitive. We were able to record and save without referring to the manual. However, we did look up all the features and settings for future reference. They’re innumerable. If you like customization, this device has a bunch.

We noticed the volume was fairly low on the ‘music’ setting. Sony seems particularly intent on protecting listeners’ ears. There’s no fun in blowing out a set of eardrums.

Battery life is impressive. Display is fairly large with a greyish green screen. We highly recommend the ‘D’ version that includes Dragon voice recognition software that will transcribe spoken words into text.

Basic Package Includes:
* Recorder
* Soft protection sleeve
* Stand
* PC cable
* Earbuds
* CD with software
* Manual

SX712D Version Includes:
* All of the above
* Dragon Naturally Speaking Print Software


We installed the software over our previous Sony Digital Recorder software, so perhaps that was the problem. The computer recognized the folders in the device but did not register the files at first.

We rebooted and reconnected. We can recognize the device as a drive, but the software is not as seamless as it was with our previous Sony SX recorder. We will most likely uninstall and reinstall to see if that fixes the small issues.

It would be nice if the stand had several tilt options. There’s only one. We actually found the stand to be quite handy.

All in all, this is a magnificent little recorder, pretty much top in its class and price range. The best pricing we found was 25% off at  $150 with free shipping from Amazon.

Grade Rating: A- | 9 out of 12, 12 being an unattainable perfection, 6 being average.


Sony SX712D Portable Digital Recorder


SanDisk 16GB MicroSDHC Memory Card with Adapter
(Bulk Package) + SanDisk MicroSDHC to MiniSDHC Adapter (Bulk) + USB2.0 High Speed Card Reader | This is a great price for 16GB. If you need super high speed, you can opt to pay more. But, the speed of this device is more than adequate for sound recordings.

Sandisk 32GB MicroSDHC Class 4 Memory Card & MicroSDHC Card Reader
This comes with a nice set of extras that can come in quite handy to connect quickly to computer or laptop.

SanDisk 16GB microSDHC Memory Card w/ SD Adapter
Super low pricing for extra 16GBs.

Best Autoresponder Email Marketing Program

Email Marketing Software, Autoresponders - Top 3 - Best of the Best : )

Best Autoresponders, Email Marketing Software


rather audacious claim, no? : ) How could one possibly determine which one iof the many email marketing and autoresponder programs out there tops the rest? Each has its own special characteristics that distinguish it above the rest.

Making such a decision was relatively easy… we simply distilled down to the fine essentials and chose what worked well and helped make our lives easier and more productive with the least stress and complication.

These days, the less complicated, the better! : )

To start, here is a list of the more prominent and well known services. Each has their own devoted and loyal following. We’ve included the more popular products.

Email Marketing, Autoresponder, OptIn Programs
Benchmark Email – straightforward, clean and true Top Choice
aWeber – Nice, clean, integrates well Top Choice
1ShoppingCart – Full comprehensive cart / affiliate / email package. Popular. Top Choice
Mail Chimp – Cheerful, chipper and basic. Free to start. Top Choice
• iContact – a bit esoteric, caters to the enterprise crowd
• ConstantContact – Tad more expensive, popular
• GetReponse – Nice, less elegant, enterprise, performance oriented.
• Interspire – Full comprehensive shopping cart, affiliate package included. 7th Choice
• Infusionsoft – minimum usage requirements, functional
• StreamSend – A nice, regular service.

Each one of these definitely has their particular benefits. But our choice for the very best of all were chosen for the following criteria:

Best Criteria
• Speed
• Reliability
• Simplicity
• Ease of Use
• Clean Presentation
• Streamlined
• Minus Fluff
• Non excessive features
• Comprehensive
• Great Pricing

It is true that some of the services above are exceedingly RICH with features. In fact, overwhelmingly so. So rich in fact, that they are almost impossible to manage. Others create confusion. They seem to be a mish mash of tabs and choices that need a professional to manage.

And more likely than not, these extra features simply clogged up the works and made life for our clients, customers overwhelmed with too many options that weren’t usable or necessary to run a full fledged autoresponder program.

Downsides of Some Services
• Almost impossible to manage
• Created confusion
• Mishmash of tabs
• Needed a professional to manage

Who Did We Choose As the Best of the Best and Why?

Benchmark Email

Benchmark Email


After spending countless hours testing the top providers, we finally settled on Benchmark because we simply wanted to get the job done for us and our clients with the least confusion and complications while STILL getting the best performance.

We wanted to be able to set up our system, customize it to match our websites, see it perform flawlessly at the first shot and also continue to work like a charm.

We also wanted to support our clients as easily as possible without having to teach them a complicated new system. That’s expensive for us, expensive for them.

We didn’t want to spend hours trying to figure anything out.

Benefits of Benchmarkemail

Just wanted to get the job done
Quick and Easy
Comprehensive with all vital features
Nice selection of tools
Easy to customize
Non proprietary – nicely general
Good to look at
Clean and straight forward
Super easy for the customer
Reliable and Trustworthy
Performed Flawlessly
Easy to figure out
Great, straight forward training
Super easy to make forms & optins
Easy Forms for Facebook

Price is of great importance to us. When a product performs with excellence and yet manages to be cheaper than the rest, we’re impressed. We consider it the height of class and fairness to price well, price considerately, and price low.

We don’t need all the bells and whistles that merely seem to gum up the works. But if you do, our other two favorites are premier. Meanwhile, for us, let it be quick, let it be easily operational while getting the results and performance we want. Benchmarkemail

: )

aWeber Email Marketing

aWeber Email Marketing


aWeber has really gone a far pace from it’s simple beginnings. From a rather kludgy service to a modern, attractive and friendly service, they’ve progressed quite nicely. We cannot help but like them. A flotilla of shopping carts and templates have integrated nicely with aWeber thus making it quite easy to meld services.

Benchmarkemail does have a nimble quick code that can be used almost anywhere if you have a modicum of html practice, but some really like eWeber’s easy integration within these other programs and services that allows for customer information sharing.

This is especially attractive for larger businesses and those with large lists.

Is aWeber worth the extra money? We do think it is. Some say that eWeber is missing a few bells and whistles of the one stop shopping guys (and gals : ), but aWeber is huge in its own right and carries all features that most will ever need. aWeber



TOP CHOICE – 1ShoppingCart

1shoppingcart has an all in one shopping cart package that includes a full comprehensive shopping, marketing and email management system that works well for the bigger guys who have a staff or are more technologically inclined. 1shoppingcart can be a bit of a handful with so many modules and an array of extras and goodies.

It may not be for the faint of heart. But it must be said that many people love it and are more than satisfied with it’s management console and integrated features.

1shoppingcart can seem a little more daunting to run as it seems to include lots of little nooks and crannies in the backend. They DO have an excellent support system however with very quick and helpful response to your questions.

They are a bit pricier than many of the other services, but the one-stop-shop convenience may be worthwhile to you.

Interestingly, many micro to small businesses find that they don’t need everything in one place. For one thing, one can get locked into certain features that don’t allow for custom expansion and growth.

The one thing we REALLY like about 1shoppingcart is that they also have an affiliate program included in one of their shopping cart packages. This is a VERY nice addition that works quite well. In particular, it notifies the affiliate that they’ve made a sale. This can be very encouraging for affiliates and partners who in turn will help make you more money. 1shoppingcart

: )



TOP CHOICE – MailChimp

We have come to love mailchimp for one main reason – they offer a free service for 1000 subscribers, 6000 monthly emails. What’s not to love? One thing might be that the free service includes an affiliate banner on your emails, newsletters, correspondence. For some, that might pose a problem. For others, that would not be an issue.

Another thing is that we found it a little difficult to manage campaigns and emails in the interface. At first glance, it looks simple and graphical. But, for some unknown reason, we got very tired rather quickly. It could have been the sluggish screen refresh pace. But the numerous buttons were a bit distracting. We like simple descriptive word links.

MailChimp friendly site with social networking nicely integrated. We feel that’s very important.

It does include some nice features. As time goes by, they will be a real contender for a higher position. We will continue to practice with them and keep you posted here. MailChimp

: )


Without a doubt, we’re more than pleased with Benchmark. If you’re looking for something that’s quick, nimble, very inexpensive yet works like the ritzy guys, then Benchmark is tops.

For seconds, aWeber and 1ShoppingCart are great providers, well respected and high performing. A good question to ask yourself is whether you want a quick, nimble, easy service to manage or an enterprise system with lots of bells and whistles.

You can start out simple and easy and gradually move to comprehensive, or, you can start out with the biggest package available.

If you have any ideas you would like to share, let us know. We look forward to hearing YOUR opinions.



Each Link will open a new tab or window. Look at the bottom of your browser for the tab. : )

Can You Have More Sales, Too?
Helping over 90,000 businesses like yours raise profits and build customer relationships using AWeber’s opt-in email marketing software for over 10 years.

Take a Free Test Drive today!

The Miracle of GMAIL

The Freebies That Come With Gmail
Are Mind Boggling

Above: Additional free goodies on TOP of other
free email and productivity software and applications

Gmail is a GREAT product. It’s much more than just an email service… It’s an online powerhouse software extravaganza, a boundless plethora of free and exceedingly useful services one might expect to pay hundreds per month for.

FREE SERVICES Provided By Gmail
SSL secure socket layer encrypted Gmail account access (VITAL)
The BEST spam protection available, period
Auto Phishing protection
Email forwarding
Email filters
Website multiple email account integration
Phone calls right from your front gmail page
Local phone number with Google Voice
Phone forwarding
Phone voicemail
Phone transcription voice to text to email
Call forwarding to multiple cell or line phone numbers
Calendar with easy notifications – priceless
Appointment manager (calendar)
Quickie task manager
Word type documents
Online presentations
Online forms
Online drawing software
Office documents online
Free foreign language transcription

Then, there’s the zillion other freebies that Gmail provides… but that’s another story.

Truly, Gmail is one of the best products on Earth, along with sister, Google Search.

The Document Manager saves all revisions automatically which cannot be deleted. One would have to save the document with another name, then discard the original to get rid of the revisions.

Gmail uses “conversations” instead of “folders.” This can make it harder to see old messages since conversations can spread confusingly down the page in a mish mash of  confusing names or full emails. Folders just seem more user friendly.

Mail Search only comes up with the first 20 results. Clicking the next pages can seem to take forever.

Looking for past emails can be a bear as there’s no way to choose series of individual pages or groups of pages. Again, you have to click “next” or “back” with only 20 results per page. This can be daunting if you have thousands of emails to search through.

But… despite these little setbacks, Gmail is incredible. And, as a freebie, it overstretches the imagination by far.


Are we selling? No, we make no money from Gmail.


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