Archive for the ‘Products and releases’ Category

Placeholder for review of Nokia BH609

April 30th, 2011

This is a placeholder for a possible review of the Nokia BH609 bluetooth headset.  Intermediate commercial link: http://smartsontestpilot.se/nokia-bh609/bli-testpilot/

Review of Lacie Bigdisc

January 22nd, 2011

In short:

Fail.
A storage device with 3 single point of failure is a no no.  Combine it with bad quality and it is a cheat.

Longer:

I cannot recall the exact name of the device but it was a 1TB NAS for about 300€ at the time, 3-4 years ago.

According to the specs it had an open source OS with two ordinary ext(2 or 3) discs.  That sounded good for me.  Open source OS meant that there was a possibility to tinker with it and knowledge out-in-the-world for discrepancies.  Further if the hardware would fail I could always dock the disks into *nix machine and if one disc failed I could always get half the data from the other.

This  was Totally wrong.

You see, Lacies support told me the OS was on one of the disks.  So if a disk failed, the machine wouldn’t start.  The machine was also setup in such a way that if the other disk failed nothing would start either.  Finally the setup of the discs was in such a way that if removed from the device the data couldn’t be understood, Ext2/3 or not.  To make the construction even worse, as if it wasn’t enough from the start, support told me that the disks and the OS and the machine was setup in the factory so there was no guaranteed way to get anything the disks runing in a new machine either.

I had it replaced with another unit that failed the same way.  Incidentally a friend of mine had one too.  It failed.  He had it replaced.  And the replacement failed again.

Having gotten 4 bad Lacie bigdiscs  is possible as sheer bad luck.  But the construction with 3 single point of failures is not coincidence.

Review of Netgear ReadyNAS Duo RND2110 1TB

January 16th, 2011

Just installed a Netgear ReadyNAS Duo RND2110 1TB.

+ Small.

+ 2 disks with a variety of RAID.
– Unfortunately with a proprietary solution called Xraid which we know nothing about.  This is considered Not Good for a device that manges data.  What if a disk fails?  Is it readable again?  Noone knows since Xraid is proprietary.

+/- Outside transformator.  Make it easier to place but one more thing lying around.  For me it was good.

+ Easy to reach disc bays.

( – Noisy.
Noisy like a fan running at full speed.  Always.  Netgear themselves have written that the developers took the drive to the bedroom to make sure it was quiet.  My comment: 0ne developer was deaf and the other had the device turned off. It might be faulty unit I have.
UPDATE: replaced the unit without any problem and the new one was quieter.  There was some error where the machine didn’t recognise the fan. )  I won’t say it is quiet because it isn’t.  But it isn’t noisy.

– The hard drives that came with the machine has gotten louder.  Unfortunately I cannot remember the name of them and am too lazy to open up and check.

+ Dropped some movies into the folder called media.  Started an xbmc client on a laptop, browsed the LAN, chose, and the  movies streamed.

+ At first glance (I haven’t researched) the site/forum/users at readynas.com seems good.  Having a user base and a community is good.

+  Supports Time machine for Mac.  But it only supports 1 client since the user name is hard coded.

– Slow web admin interface.

– Crashes once in a while.

+ Supports dyndns but only with a 3 letter suffix.  E.g.: not myname.dyndns.info.  I guess it is the 3 letter suffix that is the culprit at least; I got …dyndns.com working.

+ It can report errors both through built in SMTP server and through logging in to gmail and send from there.

+ Easy to setup backup.  Just connect a drive to USB, or find a windows share or an FTP or some other endpoints I cannot remember now.  Choose weekdays to backup and which folders (has some choosings) and whether to backup all or inrementally (and overwrite once a week or so).  Seems a bit slow though.  Can report automatically both errors and success per email.

Review of Candy Alisè GO W 465 D washing machine and tumble dryer

January 11th, 2011

Short story:

I have combined washing machine and tumble dryer that seems to do its job.  But like with most washing machines today the user interface is created by twelve pidgeons and a monkey.  When it fails it doesn’t give a serious clue about what is wrong.

Long story:

A review of a combined washing machine and tumble dryer is not very technical.  But it is very much user interface and as such it is close to software development.  Like how we did software user interfaces 20 years ago.

The machine seems to do the washing good and the tumble drying ok during the two weeks I have had it.  It is a centimeter or two shallower than the competitors I looked at which was good in my case.

But the user interface…

To its defense I must say that all washing machines I have tried have stoopid UIs, possibly with the exception of the very simple ones which work like the mechanics inside it which is possible to grasp.

Let me start with a disease in every modern washing machine I have tried; the lag between opening-allowed and opening-possible.  The machine is finished.  The water is pumped out.  The pump has stopped working.  Sometimes even the key sign has been switched off.  Why do we have to wait 30 more seconds before it is possible to open the door?
That was the easiest, most blatant, example of no-brain-design-this-user-interface.
Another almost as simple here: Machine just started and you notice something you forgot to put in the machine.  The water hasn’t started flowing yet so the machine is dry.  Now you have to wind through the whole program, pressing a button for 20 seconds.  For one Wascator machine I had to release it at spin dry and then press it again for 10 seconds.  Finally waiting 30 more seconds for being allowed to open the door.
The Candy I am reviewing here doesn’t have that sort of fast forward so instead one turns it off.  And then to a program to turn it on again.  And after that I haven’t had to figure out yet.

The graphics are also nice/friendly even though I don’t get why it has invented a new icon for wool.

If you want to wash at 95 degrees you have to set it to cotton and prewash.  All other settings refuses to let the temperature go above 60.  Why?  It is my clothes and I might want to wash something in 95 for 20 minutes.  Or without prewash.
On the other hand – with prewash runs faster than without.  There is probably a perfectly good reason for that. But it eludes me

There is a play/pause button.  That isn’t that.  When tumble trying; it is a Play:start tumble trying and Pause:stop heating the air and change to 20 minutes(or 10 if it was 5 before).
You don’t understand what I wrote? The programmers probably didn’t either.

It does Not have 2 water inlets, one for cold and one for hot.  In Sweden it is often cheaper buying water heated centrally than heating it with in the washing machine.  It is also faster since the water is already heated up.

It does not manage to empty the washing powder slot properly.

The time-remaining-of-spin-drying calculator is built by the same guy that built WindowsXP time-remaining-of-copy-file where 1 minute is anything between 1 and 15.

The top is flat but has lining around the sides that makes dirt and washing powder not being easily wept off but instead caught in the linings.  It probably has something to do with how the machine is assembled in factory.

The door is not rehingable from left to right.  It is possible on every refrigerator I have seen, except the very trendy ones, the last 30 years.  But no washing machine has it.

We are figuring out the user interface bit by bit and are sometimes positively surprised where someone has done a bit of good thinking.

Finally an example that is visible in so many modern washing machines: the program wheel.
In the old days we used a mechanical clock with relays to turn stuff on and off.  The wheel to set this clock was situated to the side due to its size, normally right.  Today we still have this wheel but it is just an electric switch connected to a computer.  So in the Candy I am writing about the program wheel is a mixture of washing programs, spin cycle, empty machine and some more.  Like the Tools menu of MSOffice pre 2007.

Here is another example where the product obviously isn’t tested or used before shipping. I set the program to 40° cotton. I get 1h34m runtime. I press start and it immediately jumps to 2h20m. (the figures are not exact)

Update:

The machine failed for me the other day, after a month’s use, with the clue “E07”.  Searching the manual came up with nothing but “call someone”.  To me this is a FAIL.  Calling “someone” I got a “I believe it is the controller card.”.  There are several other errors like E01 and E02 if I recall correctly.

It is hard to recommend a machine for several hundred euros that doesn’t give a clue about what is wrong.

Update:

I put in clothes and choose program.  It say 1:34.  I press play and it immediately switches to 2:02 or 2:22 depending on god-knows.  What happened to the 1:34?  What did the machine learn the moment I pressed play?

Then of course.  The machine is finished.  The water is pumped out.  The timer says 0.  I still have to wait over a minute before I can open the door.  And you know what? – in other machines there is a small door at the front where a string (or similar) is hidden to open the door anyway.
This machine has a pressure sensor.  So if the pressure sensor breaks down there is no obvious way to get your clothes out.  Or if the power goes.

Review of Electrolux ultrasilencer 3980P vacuum cleaner

January 8th, 2011

In short:

The least noisy vacuum cleaner I have tried.  I would buy it again.

Longer:

It is the least noisy vacuum cleaner I have tried.  Calling it quiet is simply wrong.
A cushion is quiet.  A computer hard drive can be said to be quiet. An idling 200hp car engine is less noisy than this vacuum cleaner.

To compare: one can have a conversation beside it with only a slightly raised voice. One can listen to music from a hifi if one doesn’t listen to the music but just hear it.  But only if the cleaner is set to level 3 of 5.

At level 5 it is still less noisy than other cleaners I have tried, but forget talking without it being painful.

The metal tubes are oval-squarish.  This means one cannot use it for hand tools in the garage which always have round tubing.  The tubes’ connections are fastened with buttons which feels alright.  I cannot say f it is better or not than regular round-tube-friction-connections.

There is no locker for extra tools in the machine but they/it are/is on the tubes, by the handle.  Bigger machine or clumsier tubes; a matter of taste.

I can’t say if the suction is better or worse.  The handle likewise.  Corner handling likewise.

I would like to give kudos to the manufacturer for finally finding out that users don’t like noisy machines but I don’t; since it took them waay to long time.  100+ years.

Shanzhai

February 28th, 2009

In the west we are raised in a strong belief that everything can be owned; written text, images and even land(!)  With this belief as our Pen and money as our Sword we push this way of thinking on the rest of the world so as to keep our wealth.

Not everyone has this same belief and are happy to invent and reinvent former inventions and constructions instead of protecting the old.  One word for this is plagiarism, another is Shanzhai.  I am afraid a new word will be “economic terrorism”.

If I claim that others follow my rules then I should be prepared to follow theirs; I am not automatically right because I have a bigger gun.

http://www.bunniestudios.com/blog/?p=284
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123257138952903561.html

Unit testing – can be too much

May 13th, 2008

I like unit tests, I really do. But I have also come to realize that many tests don’t have to be done.

One can for instance code according to Fail At Once to make the compiler do the tests.
Or one can autogenerate code and hence only have to unit test a fraction of the resulting code.
Or one can do integration tests and take for granted that if the integration works the unit tests work too.

I have tried all three and believe in laziness – to get more done while working less. So I say that a thought out mix of all three above supposedly is the right way.

Patrik Löwendahl thinks approximately the same.

Bloatware – Acrobat

July 6th, 2007

[This message will be repeated in english.]

Jag laddade precis uppdatering för Acrobat till 8.1.
Det är 30 meg. För en läsare! En uppdatering!

Jag tvivlar på att Microsofts Word reader är så stor. Jag tvivlar på att ens Word självt är så stort när clipart och diverse bös är borta. Jag har typ 15 typsnitt installerade i Acrobat så det är inte det som tar plats heller.

Jag kollade i Program Files-katalogen och hittade nästan 100 megabyte! *kollar igen* Jäpp, jag såg rätt. För en läsare…
Undrar hur mycket de har lagt i system-katalogen?

Då har jag inte ens nämnt starttider. Word, en mycket mer komplex applikation, startar på en bråkdel av tiden det tar för Acrobat att starta.

Uppdatering:

Jag avinstallerade Acrobat och påinstallerade den igen. Knappt 23 meg, d.v.s lite mindre än en uppdatering. Nu är installationen på nästan 170 meg! 90 av dem verkar vara en installationsfil – jag testar att ta bort den. Önska mig lycka till.

Förutom att Acrobat tar lång tid att starta så tar det ibland ännu längre tid att avsluta. Ibland avslutar den nämligen inte alls utan ligger kvar i ett snabbstartsläge. Det är ok. Men varför 20 meg primärminne för att snabbstarta en läsare?

—-

I just downloaded update 8.1 for Adobe Acrobat.
It is 30MB. For a reader! Update!
I doubt MSWord’s reader is that big. I doubt even MSWord itself is that big when the clip art is removed. I have like 15 fonts installed in Acrobat so that is not the issue.

Checking the program files and I se almost 100 megabytes! *rechecking* Yes I saw right. For a reader…

Then comes starting time.
MSWord, a way more complex solution, starts in a fraction of the time Acrobat starts.

Update:

I uninstalled and reinstalled Acrobat. Almost 23 megs. Slightly smaller than the update. Now I have an installation on almost 170 megabytes. 90 of them seems to be a copy of the installation so I delete it. Wish me good luck.

Besides starting slowly Acrobats sometimes takes forever to quit. I mean it – sometimes it goes into some sort of fast start mode and occupies 20meg of RAM for this.

[ this article is as uninteresting as Mark Russinovich’s are interesting ]