Tag: Gadgets


In other news, I ordered a Traxxas 1/16 E-Revo Brushless VXL. This unit will give me something to use while I do running repairs on the Traxxas Revo Nitro truck I have.

The Traxxas Revo I have needs some attention. It was stuttering a bit while idling today and then would stop. I think either the gearbox needs attention or possibly the clutch. Will soon find out once I get time to pull it apart.

Looking very forward to getting the new E-Revo electric R/C car though. It should provide some use without the hassle of always doing lots of repairs which the Nitro truck seems to always require one way or another.

Lack of customer service

Let me set the scene. My wife and I have owned a Topfield PVR for a number of years, so of course we recommended it to family and friends.

Unfortunately the unit my mother purchased suffered a hardware failure within the first 10 months or so. Believe it was a hard drive that died. So the unit was sent back via the retailer. It took over a month for a unit to come back, which I believe was a reworked one. The replacement unit seemed to work fine, or did so for a little while.

Unit ended up unable to get an signal locks. I factory reset the unit, and it came good (or so I thought). It would then lock on channels, but soon as I attempt to record anything it would immediately loose the ability to lock channels and the recorded program would have a filesize of zero. The only thing I can think of is that maybe 1 of the 2 tuners is having issues. Would explain that you can factory reset, scan, and lock a channel. In any case the unit seems to be fubar.

Not sure what sort of warranty is provided for reworked units, but my wife decided to give Topfield Australia a call, and was surprised just as I with the response. First off it took my over 21mins of being hold to speak with someone, who said only that it wouldn’t be much longer. At the 30 min mark someone finally come on and this is what they suggested;

Firmware update should fix it, or it could be the leads

What a complete generic response. Sounds like they were reading a scripted procedure. Of course neither suggestion is relevant in my opinion, as the unit has worked (and both suggestions would be suitable if the problem existed from day one).

I am shocked by the customer service, and even more shocked by the product having 2 serious issues. Of course now the unit is as useful as a brick or door stop.

Ironically enough our unit we own is at least 4 years old and still going strong. Although is due for replacement, had considered another Topfield unit, however in light of the above, we won’t be considering another Topfield unit based on this terrible customer support.

Lots of screen resolution = sweet

Just purchased a Benq E2200HD LCD monitor. It’s a 21.6″ widescreen with 1920 x 1080 resolution. Has d-sub, DVI and HDMI 1.3 inputs.

All I can say is that running at native resolution is unreal. It’s like literally having dual monitors, as the screen resolution is so high.

Will have to hook up the work laptop to it when I am working remote, as it will make life so much easier. Very impressed.

All I need now is for the onboard ATI 3200HD video card to be much more widely supported on Ubuntu/Linux. In the meantime 2D use works well enough so I think a Ubuntu 8.10 desktop install will be in order, as I think a Ubuntu/Linux system would be good on this system. Will then run VMware Workstation for any Windows XP Pro guests I need to use.

Monitor was a good price too, they retail for about $239 – $249 which is a good buy, considering a few years ago my first 17″ analog LCD monitor was $705 or so (which is still going).

Events of the past few days

A busy weekend as usual. Went and checked out the Sydney Motorshow and as everyone has been saying, it was no where near as busy as usual. Which is good, as I hate the huge crowds. So it was great to walk around and look, without having to be pushed and shoved.

Of course, some very nice cars to be seen. Was worth going to have a look.

In other news, I picked up an AMD chipset motherboard and an AMD 4850e processor. I must say the processor is nice, the motherboard is too. Although the biggest let down is how badly supported the onboard ATI video processor is under Linux. It would appear that the ATI binary only drivers under Linux totally suck still.

The driver support under Windows Vista x64 for the mainboard is totally good. The video drivers work very well. Shame about it not being so nice under Linux. Bummer

Operation iPhone 3G

Of course today was all about the iPhone. As you would expect considering Australia finally got the iPhone 3G.

My wife had a plan of attack which involved going to work earlier then usual, so that she could go join the queue at Apple Store Sydney. All was going well until she woke up a little earlier then she needed, and the queue was reported to be about 25 or so people. So she made the decision to go another hour earlier then planned.

I woke to find her in the process of getting ready and offered to drive her into the city, rather then catch a train at 4am. So I got up and changed, then headed in. The traffic was great, as we had none. Of course you’d expect that for 4am in the morning. Dropped her off out the front just before 5am. She joined the queue estimated she was about 26th or so. Felt really happy about leaving earlier and getting a reasonable spot.

By the time I got home at about 5:40am, she was telling me the queue had doubled. Didn’t surprise me. She also mentioned camera crews came down sometime later and the queue just kept getting bigger.

Eventually store opened at 8am, and she managed to get in and directed as required. Unfortunately she didn’t come out with her iPhone 3G 8GB until about 11am. If people didn’t hear, the Optus backend systems had some serious performance issues, not to mention network connectivity. So it took basically from 9am to 11am just to process her application etc.

Even with the wait, she was still excited. She was totally happy to finally have gotten an iPhone 3G. Plan seemed to have work. Now she has her iPod and phone in one device. Exactly what she has been waiting on.

I must say, I do like it too. Never had a chance to play with one before in detail and now I have. It is as good as the keynote from Steve Jobs last month.

Won’t post any pictures, as we all know what it looks like. It’s currently sitting in an iPhone dock on her desk. She bought one of those too, along with a nice leather cover and some screen protectors.

And the funniest thing to happen today would be the sms she got while setting up her contacts from a number in which we hadn’t associated with a contact yet. It read “How is your iPhone?”. She replied and said “Who is that? and how do you know I have an iPhone.” Turns out the person who sent it is a friend of course and they saw her on the Channel Nine news standing in the Apple Store line for iPhones. Channel Nine did a quick story on the iPhone and showed the start of the queue out in front of the store from the morning. And they seen her. Hahaha.

Apple iPhone 2.0 Applications

I am blown away by the number of applications that will be available by the Apple App store. The keynote that shows a sample of these applications is simply amazing.

This device is going change how a lot of us work and communicate.

I’ll consider the purchase of one in the near future.

GTAIV 30% Complete

Slowly but surely I am completing GTAIV on PS3.

I’ve just clocked 30% complete on the game. I got stuck on a mission yesterday, took me about 7 attempts to complete it. Got past it in the end, but it was a lot of time wasted in doing each attempt.

GTAIV is certainly an interesting game. I like the network play available for it. Makes things interesting when you have a bit of time to spare and you want to play online.

EDIT: Correction. 31.7% now 🙂

1080p bluray playback = sweet

Rewired our home theater setup and wired the PS3 into the TV. I must say I am very happy with the result. It worked perfectly fine. Bluray movie playback on the TV at 1080p is really sweet. It looks very good. The PS3 menu even looks a lot better, not to mention GTA IV.

Very happy with the result. All I need now is to test a few good Bluray movie titles. DVD upscaling is very good too, I think I will watch my DVD’s via the PS3 rather then via our Beyonwiz DP-S1.

Downloaded MediaLink for OSX and it seems to work really well. It implements a uPnP server on OSX for sharing out iTunes and iPhoto data, along with other folders of files as you select. Playback of content like DivX and XviD files is very nice. I think I’ll even purchase a license for MediaLink as it works without any effort.

Finally caved in

As of yesterday I finally caved in and purchased a Sony Playstation 3. Being a fan of GTA for a long time, it finally swayed me. Although the cruncher came when my wife discovered that the May issue of Australian Womens Weekly contained a Target discount coupon. After tracking down a store with stock, we told them I will be in by close of business to pickup and pay for it. Store in question was happy enough to hold a pack.

So as of lastnight, I now have a PS3 and GTA IV game. I really like the game, it’s quite good. The detail of the city is great. I have to say the cars in the game are very good too, as is the driving around the city and having accidents etc. I think I will have some fun going forward trying to complete it.

Target’s PS3 + GTAIV pack price was $729, so I ended up getting $70 off this price with the voucher. So final buy price at register was $659. And then when you minus the price of the game (or the lowest price I’ve seen the game for of $78), the console cost us $581.

Plan for the weekend is to grab a HDMI cable and hook it upto to our TV this way, so we get the best resolution possible (especially when it comes time to play Bluray movies). I also want to grab an optical audio cable so the audio can be sent directly to our Yamaha AMP for the best possible sound output.