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Archive: May 11, 2005

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location free TV

Wednesday,  05/11/05  07:34 AM

I've been testing a Sony Location Free TV.  The concept is really cool - you have two parts, a video server and a wireless video receiver.  The server sits in your home entertainment center, and the receiver can go "anywhere".  Well, it doesn't work.

Sony Location Free TVAfter playing with it for a while I have a bunch of quibbles, but at the highest level there is only one problem, the receiver cannot be far from the server.  The server itself acts as a wireless hub, using either 802.11g or 802.11a, but either way the range is about 30'.  When running this way the picture is perfect, but 30' just isn't useful.  I wanted to put the server in my family room and use the receiver in my kitchen, but the range just wasn't good enough for that.

You can also transmit video over your WiFi network, or any other network for that matter, but when you do that the picture quality is rotten.  I have 802.11g WiFi in my house and have good reception "everywhere", as measured with my laptop, but in this mode the picture was pixilated and the frame rate inconsistent.  No good.

I also found the device complicated; I could set it up, even enjoy the complexity, but this is not a device for the average consumer.  They also tried to do too much; you can use the receiver to surf the web and exchange email, but who wants to do that?  Anyway this is a first generation product, I have no doubt there will be many "location free" video devices in the future, and they will work.  Sony is on the bleeding edge with this one and it just isn't quite there.

So this device goes into the "dancing bear" category; it is cool that it works, but it doesn't work well enough to be useful.


As the laptop turns - episode 8

Wednesday,  05/11/05  09:00 PM

The saga of my laptop trouble continues...  (Links to 1, 2, 3, 3.5, 4, 5, 4.5, 6, 7)  Here is episode 8...

-----Original Message-----
From: Ole Eichhorn []
Wednesday, March 16, 200512:56 PM
Subject: episode 8 - as the laptop turns

You knew, knew, that saying “we have a happy ending” was reckless precelebration, right?  Right.

So yesterday I’m at Clarient, the first time I’ve had my laptop on the road since the repairs.  And sadly, I discovered a whole series of little problems.  First, the display “goes white” randomly.  This seems to be triggered by the presence of a customer attending a demo.  Second, the display has a slight flicker.  Again, this seems exacerbated by digital slide demoing.  Perhaps it can read minds, and was responding to the black thoughts I was thinking about it when it “went white”.  Also, the WiFi adapter in this model is built into the laptop’s cover.  Not a bad idea from an antennae exposure standpoint, but a bad idea from an “affected by display replacement” standpoint.  Yes, you guessed right, the WiFi adapter’s connectivity is intermittent, and yes, you guess right, this seems to be guided by Murphy’s law of demoing.  (Perhaps proximity to St. Patrick’s Day makes Murphy’s Law even more relevant than usual?)  Finally the power button on the laptop no longer works – apparently an attempt to defend itself from being turned off in disgust when the other problems mentioned above manifest themselves during a demo.

So last night I left a little voicemail for my buddy at HP laptop support.  I just spoke to him and they’re now planning to replace the laptop entirely.  So be it.  This takes a week so I’ll be living with my present unit a few days longer.  The replacement laptops are “reconditioned”, not new, and they may replace my model with another model with “equivalent” specs, so it is now way early to say “we have a happy ending”.  As always, stay tuned…


Continue to episode 9...


Wednesday,  05/11/05  09:27 PM

I find this to be so cool; Inforedesign.  Here we find The Tyranny of Email, translated to Russian.  More proof, if any were needed, that you can find anything on the web :)

Another Tyranny linker: Coding Horror (".Net and human factors").  Some useful extensions: "There are a few ways that laziness can be harnessed to work for you, if you let it:"

  1. Choosing what not to do.
  2. Balancing communication with isolation.
  3. People don't scale.  (Truly lazy developers let their machines do the work for them.)

Some great posts on this blog; e.g. The Start Menu Must Be Stopped.  Indeed.  Subscribed and in the blogroll.

In case you think the whole "Tyranny" think is a joke; FuturePundit reports Work Distractions Lower Effective IQ.  "Getting interrupted a lot by email and other messages has the equivalent effect on work efficiency of a 10 point IQ drop."  I believe it.  And speaking for myself, I don't have 10 points to spare :)

Paul Graham: Hiring is obsolete.  Man he is batting 1.000.  Read this now, it is long, but it is good.

Junxion boxJunxion.  "With the Junxion Box, people can connect their devices to PC Card modems from wireless carriers using common interfaces like Ethernet and Wi-Fi."  This seems like a big seller.  A really low-end way to create wireless access points anywhere.

Did you see this?  CNet reports Toshiba announces 45GB next-gen DVD.  So that's pretty cool, 45GB on one disk.  Good for backups?  It definitely won't be used for media, because [as Mark Cuban opines] DVDs are dead.  The biggest problem isn't capacity, it isn't even that the media uses atoms; the biggest problem is that manufacturers insist on including some kind of obnoxious DRM.  And the 'net will route around it. logoHave you ever wished you could just "print stamps"?  I mean, this is the 2000s, right?  How silly is it that you have to go to the Post Office to buy postage.  I guess you can buy it online and have it dead-tree-mailed to you, but that requires forethought.  Okay, so there's  Perfect solution, right?  Well, no, it is no solution at all.  Although lets you print stamps, you have to print them on special serial-numbered stock.  By the time you've purchased the stock and had it dead-tree-mailed to you, you might as well just have bought postage.  How silly is that?

the M-sorterEngadget: The M-Sorter, a gadget that can automatically sort M&Ms by color.  Well that's certainly useful!  Some people have too much time...

BTW, I usually read Engadget from their RSS feed, but if I ever go to the site boy am I ever glad I have Firefox with Adblock.  That site would be unreadable using Internet Explorer.

Superfriends do Office SpaceThe Superfriends do Office Space.  I love it!  (But alas, no red stapler...)  [ via Kehaar ]

Hell frozen!From The Horse's Mouth, comes this evidence of global cooling...

This sounds like an Onion story, but it's not: Service Helps Dog Owners Interpret Barks.  "Users must first connect to Internet with their cell phones, and then register information of their dogs such as the breed and age.  The service will then record the dog's bark.  The owner will receive text messages telling them how their pet is feeling, such as 'I am happy' or 'I am frustrated.'"  I am speechless.



(new yorker, 2/28/05 - shades of gray)

Wednesday,  05/11/05  10:24 PM

J.J.Sempe - untitled



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The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
Aperio's Mission = Automating Pathology
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