March 4, 2010
A couple of years ago, I wrote about a screen failure on my first generation Kindle, and how good my Amazon customer service experience was. Comments were mixed, with some other folks having similar experiences, and others having nightmares getting their Kindle replaced.
The other day, just shy of two years later, my second generation Kindle failed. This one was rather goofy. When I first received my 2G Kindle, I noticed a little diagonal “scratch” on the 5-way button. Apparently, this was actually a hairline crack. After having the unit for just over a year, last week I pressed the button, and it fell apart into two pieces, making it very difficult to use, particularly when picking a book from the menu.
I called Amazon, and once again, they were quite helpful. Even though I was slightly out of warranty, they overnighted me a new 2G Kindle, and sent me a link for a pre-paid UPS label to send my broken one back.
Obviously, I’m still very happy with my Amazon customer service experiences, particularly as regarding the Kindle. As always, though, your mileage may vary.
April 23, 2008
Gadgets fail. Some more than others, but that’s what they do. Assuming that the failure rate isn’t completely excessive, what separates one gadget (and vendor) from another is often just how well they support their product.
My Kindle has been slowly failing for the past couple of weeks.
I first noticed that the book I was reading didn’t have a title. I figured it was just a glitch in the book file, but it became clear that what happened was that the top quarter-inch or so of the display was just not displaying (or displaying so faintly it couldn’t be read).
Not too much later, I also had a “white line” down the left edge of the page, which was causing the leftmost pixels of the first letter of each sentence to disappear.
February 1, 2008
My Kindle arrived last night, and I’ve had just enough time with it to form some early impressions.
Yes, the thing is butt ugly. It badly needs a pass through Apple’s industrial design group. Or even Dell’s. But that’s okay, it’s early days, and you buy it to read ebooks, not look cool. That’s why you have the iPhone.
I’m a little more concerned about the build quality — the buttons, particularly the Previous/Next/Back paddle buttons, feel a little fragile. I’m not sure if they are, but I’m a little nervous about how many times I’m going to click them before they stop responding.
Worse, you can’t avoid the things. Between the big navigation buttons, and the keyboard, there is very little room to grab or hold the unit without hitting a button.
April 14, 2007
Yesterday the FedEx guy showed up with my new Nokia N95, fresh off the plane from Hong Kong. The idea of a well-connected, web-enabled feature-rich phone that also had a decent camera was just too tempting.
I like the idea of shooting pictures and videos, but I seldom leave the house with the intention of doing so; even though I’ve got a nice small digital camera, I hate dragging it around with me on principles, and even when I do want to use it, it’s seldom charged up.
The N95 is a better camera than my little pocket digital, and since I keep my cellphone charged and with me 24×7, I won’t have any excuses not to take a few pictures.
April 3, 2007
It pretty much “just works” — the only problem I’ve had (and still have) is using the Harmony through the Xantech remote extender. Annoying, but livable until someone comes out with alternatives.
The interface is still very nice, yet slightly crippled (in Apple’s traditional fashion) by having an interface device that’s short a button. There needs to be some way to do things like “adjust aspect ratio” and “view metadata”, but even if such was built (or hacked) in, there’s not a button on the remote to support it. Video playback could also benefit from “skip forward” and “skip backward” buttons (preferably with configurable durations).
Having access to my music library with a nice interface, plus the ability to conveniently watch video podcasts that I’ve always avoided before (my attention span for watching video on a computer is rather short) is almost worth the price of admission by itself.
March 27, 2007
The last go-round configuring my media center ended up with only the TV, speakers, and a Xantech Xtra Link sensor out in the room, and all of the componentry stashed in a closet behind.
A Logitech Harmony 880 remote replaced the box o’ remotes, and communicates with the gear in the closet via the Xtra Link (an infrared remote extender).
Naturally, when I hooked up the Apple TV, it got wired into the closet too, with an IR emitter stickied to the front of it over the IR window.
After getting the basics working, this made the next order of business adding it to the Harmony 880, which is where things began to go a bit awry…
March 27, 2007
Something bad happened yesterday — I wore out yet another keyboard. Worse, while I was at
the crack store Fry’s picking up a new one, I walked past a stack of Apple TVs, and one of them followed me home.
Outside of being in the store anyway for the keyboard thing (the “colon” key failed — how the hell can a “colon” key fail? Semicolon works. Shift+anything else works. Try writing HTML or CSS without a colon key), I probably wouldn’t have been as tempted to get one right now if it hadn’t been for the high rate of very interesting hacks emerging for the Apple TV over the past few days — I’m guessing Apple has hit another one out of the park.
The unit comes boxed more or less like an iPod — fold-open box in a slip case, “Made by Apple in California”, etc.
Not a cable in sight, other than the power cord (boo).
At least the power cord doesn’t have a huge transformer brick on it (yea!).
March 7, 2007
Oh well; lack of originality in a name never hurt anything, iSuppose.
In any event…
I got my first iHome iPod clock radio (the iH5) for Christmas, 2005.
It was exceedingly cool, and then pretty cool, and then mostly cool, and then (just recently) it sucked enormously.
The concept was great — wake up to your playlist, keep your iPod handy and charged, and it doubled as a damn good iPod speaker dock.
Unfortunately, the execution lacked a bit — the display was hard to read (there were very few brightness settings that were readable during full light that didn’t try to give you a fluorescent tan while you slept), and the clock had a tendency to lose a minute or two each month.
Annoying, but livable.
Lately however, it started making a horrid noise during iPod play if the iPod wasn’t in the dock just “so”. Then it started making it regardless of how the carefully the iPod was placed in the dock. At the same time, the iPod or radio buttons would turn on the associated function (or noise, as the case may be), but not turn it off.
At which point it got kicked to the curb.
All in all, not overly terrible — while fifteen months isn’t a tremendous life span for an under $100 piece of consumer electronics, it isn’t completely unreasonable, either.
Still, I decided I’d give the iHome another shot, with the iH6. Since the original product has been on the ground for well over a year, hopefully they’ve had an opportunity to sort out some of the issues.
So far, so good…
March 5, 2007
But the V-Moda Vibes absolutely rule.
I don’t know if I have overly tiny ears, or they’re shaped wrong, or what, but I’ve never been able to get earbuds to stay in, and they are always painful — often amazingly so.
Which sucks, as it leaves me dealing with headphones; since I end up wearing them for several hours every week when working out, I get a choice of lightweight back-of-the-head phones that fall off, or over the head phones that look goofy. I also end up going with the open-ear variety, sacrificing sound quality for not looking like some DJ that just fell out the booth.
One of the selling points of the Vibe for me was that they come with three different sizes of earpiece.
They are advertised as being affordable (compared to other in-ear monitors), comfortable, and most of all, as having great sound quality.
They live up to the claim.
March 3, 2007
I swear it’s not my intent to turn this into just a collection of YouTube posts (or of Alabama3 posts, for that matter), but this was posted up over to FreeA3, and it was so good I couldn’t resist. Shame it’s not a bit longer…
Reading from left to right, that’s Rock Freebase, Devlin Love and Larry Love…
A bit of trivia from the YouTube comments…
Her stage name is Devlin Love, real name Zoe Reynolds. She’s Malaysian and married to Nick Reynolds, the harmonica player in the Larry Love Showband (and sometimes Alabama 3). He also happens to be the son of Bruce Reynolds, aka The Great Train Robber, and the subject of the Alabama 3 song “Have You Seen Bruce Richard Reynolds”. Very incestuous band!
(The song is “2129”, available (at full length) on the La Peste album)