Useful Consumer Review

When doing screen printing, the only timing sensitive thing is really the emulsion exposure time.  I keep forgetting, so I bought a physical timer to remind me.

I wanted something really simple, but something that didn’t make a tick… tick… noise, so I got this Jacob Jensen thing.

IMG_5670And the user interface is quite nice.  There’s just two buttons — to increase the minutes, and to decrease the minutes.  Great.

However, the viewing angle is really pitiful.  Unless you’re looking right at it, you can’t really read the display at all.

IMG_5671Tsk.

Useful Consumer Review

I thought that getting an EyeFi card for my camera would make blogging easier.  I mean, just snap a picture, and then it’s transferred to your computer automatically?  Result!

But the range of the wifi in the EyeFi card is pitiful. You have to leave the camera less than a couple of meters from the access point to have it discover the wireless network.

That’s not the worst bit, though.  If you snap a picture with the camera elsewhere, it’ll try to create its own ad-hoc network.  And then … it apparently tries to connect to it?  Or something?  This is what the screen says:

DSC00704And the only way to make it connect to the real network is to switch the camera off and then on again, and then take another picture, and then it’ll try to reconnect to the real network.

Man, that’s pitiful.  It would be faster to yank the card and put in into an SD-to-USB card manually.

Like an animal.

In conclusion: EyeFi sucks.

Useful Consumer Review

Anything that’s wireless doesn’t work.

But there’s degrees of not-working-ness.  I’ve had wireless keyboards that drops one in every five keystrokes even though the receiver is only a meter away, and I have keyboards that drop only one in twenty keystrokes over a range of ten meters.

IMG_5556
Cisco wireless router. Fie! Ick!

But the most problematic wireless gear is wifi.  I had a Netgear Access Point, then a … er, I forget, and then a Cisco one, and they all sucked.  I mean, really.  None of them could give reliable networking over ten meters through a couple of walls.  I ended up with the Cisco two meters away, and I still lost teh webs sometimes.

And then I got this Asus RT-AC68U thing.

IMG_5554
The Asus RT-AC68U wifi AP, hiding in a cupboard at the farthest reach of the apartment

By Emacs!  What a difference!

I’ve had it for a month now, and my laptop hasn’t lost connection once!  And the throughput! And latency! It’s unimaginable!  It’s almost like having a wired connection from twenty years ago!  It’s fantastic!

I can even sit on the balcony and work!  I should use more sunblock!  It’s really hot in Oslo this week!

The Eyefi card I’ve got in my camera still can’t get any connection unless it’s less than a meter from the access point.  That kinda sucks.

But a huge numbers of thumbs up for the Asus RT-AC68U. It’s the best wireless router in the history of wireless routers.

(This advertisement has not been paid for.  Actual router functionality hasn’t been tested; I’m just running it in bridge mode as an access point.  May not be applicable to your region.)

Useful Consumer Review

I bought an HP Officejet 7110 (which is an A3 inkjet printer) to print stuff for screenprinting and the like.  It prints out nicely onto normal paper, but whenever I tried printing onto any type of plastic (transparencies for screenprinting or vinyl for t-shirt transfers) it creates these annoying lighter horizontal lines:

IMG_5511After trying all the different print modes, and calibrating with each of them, I found some settings that lessened the problem, but nothing that could remove the problems totally.

Now, the 7110 is the cheapest A3 printer I could find, so it’s perhaps not surprising that it’s not…  fabulous.  So I got a more expensive printer, the Epson Stylus Photo R3000.  Which is also an A3 inkjet printer.

IMG_5514Look, ma, no lines!

IMG_5510Well, except where there’s supposed to be lines.

But it’s not a perfect printer. The main issue I’ve had with it so far is that you can’t use the front loader unless you’re using really stiff paper, and plastics aren’t very stiff.  So you have to use the back/top loader, which means that it takes up a lot more space than it should have to.

IMG_5513It prints out very nicely, though.  On paper, vinyl and transparencies (it’s down with OHP, even if the manual doesn’t say anything about it) — it looks good on all media I’ve tried it with.  Work well with CUPS under Linux, too, although it’s new enough that I had to install the .deb driver for it manually.

And it has a gazillion paper quality options, and lots if various inks.  Four black inks, for instance: Matte black, shiny black, light black and light light black.  (Yes, it’s called that.)

So that’s not much of a review, except to say: The Hewlett-Packard Officejet 7110 sucks if you want to use it for screenprinting, and the Epson R3000 works great.

 

The Sony NWZ-W273 Walkman Isn’t Very Well Made

I bought a new Walkman the other week.  I was quite impressed, and I remained impressed IMG_5443until I started to use them.

After wearing them for half an hour, the volume in the right speaker dropped down to almost nothing.  It kinda varies, but it’s very very low.

I binged, and apparently this happens a lot.  The recommended solution is to either get Sony to give you a new device, or to reset the device, so I did the latter.

And then it wouldn’t start up at all.  It gave four “lower” beeps, and then one “high” beep, and then it switched itself off.  I think that “high” beep is the “error beep”.

After fiddling around with it for a bit, I thought that perhaps it would help if I removed the songs from it, and I did.  It would now boot and play stuff.

But the right speaker is still dead.

Geez, Sony.

Useful Consumer Review

Sony has a newish version of their “sporty” headphones branded “Walkman” (or “NWZ-W273”).  They have a built-in mp3 player.  I’ve got big headphones with built-in mp3 players, but it would be nice to have a pair in a more convenient form factor.

IMG_5365I bought the previous Sony iteration, but they were huge and fell out of my ears all the time, so they were basically unusable.  This version is much smaller, so *crosses fingers*.

They come with an impressive number of very small manuals.

IMG_5364 IMG_5363

They also  come with a pretty big cradle (heavier than the headphones). You have to plug the Walkman into the cradle to charge them and transfer data to them.  The cradle is symmetrical, but the headphones have to be put in the right direction, so I got it wrong the two first times.  Tsk, tsk.  Bad design.

IMG_5367Apparently the Walkman doesn’t want me to write anything to the built-in storage in anything but utf8.  When rsyncing to it I get errors like

rsync: mkstemp "/run/media/larsi/WALKMAN/MUSIC/Prize/.06-Ex 
  Pregui\#347a.mp3.vrixrA" failed: Invalid argument (22)

rsync can do anything, though:

[larsi@building ~]$ rsync -av --iconv=utf8,iso88591 \
  --exclude '*.flac' \
  "stories:/music/repository/Arto\\ Lindsay/Prize" \
  /run/media/larsi/WALKMAN/MUSIC/

So what’s the sound quality like?  Surely the Walkman should be charged now after I’ve typed all this…

Geez, there are a lot of teensy weensy buttons on this this…  Ok, after studying it under a magnifying glass, I managed to switch it on.  Oh, nice.  There’s a nice lady telling me what button I just hit.  “Shuffle.”  “Shuffle.  Off.”  She sounds like she’s an actress in a sci-fi tv series.  A slight metallic tinge.

Oh, sound.  Hey, it sounds pretty nice.  There’s quite a lot of bass.  I had never imagined that teensy headphones like this would have so much bass and such “big room” feeling.

There’s a slight hiss if you pump the volume up beyond what’s comfortable.

They block out a lot of external sound.  Since these are in-ear, you end up listening to yourself breathing a bit.  But overall, these are way better than I had thought was possible.

And I tried headbanging a bit now, and they don’t fall out of my ears.  Wow!

Hm…  so there’s buttons to skip to the next/previous track.  And if you press them a longer time, they skip to the next directory!  That’s perfect for skipping to the next album.  Very nice.  Hm.  But when you switch them off and then on again, it starts playing at the start of the current song instead of continuing from where you left off.  That really sucks for listening to podcasts and the like.

But overall I’m really impressed.  I’ll probably start hating them once I start using them for real, but right now, I’m loving them.

Useful Consumer Review

The interwebs have been all abuzz with a funky new Ikea lamp (IKEA PS 2014, designed by D Wahl).  But I bought one anyway.

I love Lego, so putting this lamp together was fun.  It’s over 50 parts.

DSC00661

It made of plastic, so it feels very cheap.

DSC00663It expands/contracts in a very plastic-ey way.  Doesn’t feel very Space Age Material-ey.

DSC00662 But it does look quite nice, I think.  Although gimmickey.  And it’s Ikea, so everybody in Norway has it by now, too.

DSC00664When it’s closed, the plastic bits clicks against each other in the wind.

So, basically, it’s cheap, and it feels cheap.  But I like the way it looks.