People act strange on marketing gadget

7. March 2011 20:49 by Ron in   //  Tags:   //   Comments

As expected Steve jobs announced that the iPad2 will be in the Apple store this month.

Here in the Netherlands something funny happened almost immediate; 
Many owners of the “old” iPad are dumping their tablet on the local web market place. Not only is the price still too high, only 100 Euro less than the new device but what do you really get for that kind of money?

First I like to say that I understand why people get a tablet computer, I got one myself, but when I look at the specs of the iPad2 I do not see why anyone would loose half the money of his “old” iPad to get a newer version just because it is the new iPad..

Here is the difference:

iPad;

  • Display : 9.7” LED-backlit IPS LCD
  • Resolution : 1024 x 768
  • CPU : 1 Ghz A4
  • GPU : PowerVR SGX 535
  • Memory : 256 MB RAM
  • Storage : 16/32/64GB (depending on model)
  • Camera : none
  • GSM modem : triband HSPA/Edge
  • WiFi : 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth : 2.1 & EDR
  • Accelerometer : 3-axis
  • Gyro : none
  • Weight : 680 grams / 730 grams (3G weights 50 grams)

iPad2;

  • Display : 9.7” LED-backlit IPS LCD
  • Resolution : 1024 x 768
  • CPU : 1 Ghz dual core A5
  • GPU : ? unknown at this moment
  • Memory : 512 MB RAM
  • Storage : 16/32/64GB (depending on model)
  • Camera : Front VGA 0.3Mp / Rear 720p 5Mp
  • GSM modem : quadband UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA/GSM/EDGE/CDMA (depends on model)
  • WiFi : 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth : 2.1 & EDR
  • Accelerometer : 3-axis
  • Gyro : 3-axis
  • Weight : 601 grams WiFi / 607 grams Verizon / 613 grams AT&T model

As you see the iPad(2) has the same specs as the average mobile phone, except for the screen size that is..
More important, would you dump your current tablet and loose half the price to get a new model with only this limited upgrade?

When the specs of the first iPad where known I thought it was just an old phone with a bigger screen and I still feel the same way, the new iPad has better specs but is still not worth the money if you ask me. besides that, the vendor lock in is something I worry about.

Just my 2 cents..

Flashed the ePad (again)

27. January 2011 18:07 by Ron in   //  Tags:   //   Comments

Somewhere in the summer I flashed my Chinese Android tablet with a custom Android ROM but it was still Android 1.5 but then without the Chinese crap in it..

IMG_2312

The Chinese tablet build by iRobot and called ePad or aPad is still loved by many around the world so some are still developing new ROM images for it.

Yesterday I found another ROM image build by some French dude who went really nuts, he has build a ROM image of Android 2.2 (Froyo) for the ePad/aPad (whatever).

Like any French dude he thinks that everyone around the world speaks French so after flashing my tablet the default language was French, ah well I had French in school once and I know the menu structure of Android 2.x so it was easy to change the language to a more understandable language for me, today I choose Dutch..

The market was not working to fix that you have to do some weird routine to make it work:
Go to Settings -> Applications -> Manage Applications. Choose All -> Market -> Clear Cache, then Force Stop. Once done, go back to Google Services Frameworks. Clear data, and Force Stop. Finally load Market back up, you should receive an error. This is good. Reboot the device, once to twice depending, and the market should show all the apps.

I am not complaining now I have a more up-to-date tablet and it uses less power so that is very cool. It is completely stripped, nothing is installed only the absolute necessary is included.. Another thing that does not work like it was before; the screen rotation goes the wrong way, when in portrait mode the tablet is upside down and the camera is not working but that was crap anyway so I do not need that…

So now I have a 7” Android 2.2 Tablet for less than 100 USD.. not too bad in my opinion.

Another Video UHF TV television transmitter sender

20. January 2011 21:10 by Ron in   //  Tags:   //   Comments
36ec_12

Before I bought the “RF modulator amplifier video sender tv transmitter” I wrote yesterday about I already bought another type TV transmitter.

The TV Transmitter I write about today is not amplifying the signal from a video device like the type from yesterday but this type had 2 input connectors, 1 composite for video and 1 analog connector for audio (just mono). The reason I bought this was just the same as the one I wrote about yesterday except that this one can transmit any video signal even from a camera.

This device is located in my living room and connected to my digital satellite receiver, this receiver does not have a RF output therefor an amplifier would not work. The one I wrote about yesterday is connected to another satellite receiver so when I am in my bedroom I can change between 2 channels.

The quality is not too bad, the signal strength is fair and this device has a build in power supply.

This device has a fixed frequency (channel 21) so when you get more than 1 of these you have to make sure that the person who sells these things ships devices with different frequencies for each.

The fun part is that you can transmit any video source as long as it has a composite output...

RF modulator amplifier video sender tv transmitter

19. January 2011 21:32 by Ron in   //  Tags:   //   Comments

For those who have no idea what a “RF modulator amplifier video sender tv transmitter” is..

If you have a video device like a DVD player, satellite receiver or an old VHS recorder you probably have also the “antenna” cable connector to connect it the old fashion way to your TV set. Well this funny device can be plugged on to that connector and amplify that signal so you can receive it without the cable but with an indoor antenna or in my case a piece of copper-wire.

Off course for your living room HD TV set this is no option at all but if you want to watch television in the bedroom without the cabling through the entire house… This is the thing to do..

5ee7_12

Ok, I know this is not really legal without a permit but the analog TV frequency is not longer used, it is all digital these days, so I will not disturb anyone his regular TV reception. and you will probably never get a permit for something like this anyways because it is build and shipped from Syria..

As you maybe have seen I own an Android phone with analog TV reception possibility and guess what.. it works perfectly with this transmitter.. I can watch TV wherever I am around the house and in the garden.

It amplifies the frequency the video device is transmitting on, if you have multiple video devices on different frequencies you could get a RF amplifier for every device and you can switch channel on your TV to change between them..

 

 

 

It is a great device for only 15USD (including shipping).

Dreambox satellite receiver or something like that

18. January 2011 21:16 by Ron in   //  Tags:   //   Comments

I have bought some Dreambox satellite receivers from China (where else)..

I knew up front that they would be clones from the original German Dreambox receivers but hey they are about 25% of the retail price of a real one..

To check the quality of the clones I bought the model DM-500s, the cheapest model around and the original vendor do not even sell these anymore. For those who do not know about the Dreambox receivers I give you some info about them. Dreambox 500 receivers have a 250 MHz IBM PowerPC CPU, 32Mb memory, 8Mb flash and 1 card reader for smartcards and a network interface. The Operating System is Linux based so some “home brew” firmware is available that give you the options of having a media center receiver that can record broadcasts and save them to external storage on your local network. Some one also wrote a nice software package that enables you to share your smartcard with another receiver, so you do not have to buy an extra card for in the bedroom. The default installed OS is called Enigma and it is limited in it’s functionality so the first thing you do when you get a Dreambox is flash it with something like PLI or Nabilo, both enable the extra functionality of the receiver.

I got the receiver after a little over a week after ordering and I found out that the software installed was Nabilo but only an old version..

DM500-S1

The receiver was exactly delivered like the original, even the manual was duplicated.. The manual is useless the software described is Enigma but that is not installed..

The receiver is even better than expected, I did not expect anything so that was easy..

This receiver is now my primary receiver in the living room and I have a similar receiver as a digital recorder that saves files on a fileserver, the advantage is that I can vies those recordings with this receiver from the same share.

You could also buy this receiver with another tuner, I have the Satellite tuner but it is also available with a digital cable or terrestrial tuner. 

 

 

 

 

This very cheap receiver does what it should do and if you are looking for a cheap satellite receiver I would recommend a receiver like this. 

New Phone from China

17. January 2011 22:50 by Ron in   //  Tags:   //   Comments

After the iPhoney I realized that I still did not have a phone that fitted my needs (wants)..

After looking around on my favorite websites where I buy most of my gadgets I noticed the Star A3000 Android phone. I talked to several sales people from China about it and everyone told me the same; It is an Android 2.1 phone with a dual core CPU, 1 core mainly used for graphics and the other for processing the software.

Some features of the phone:

  • Android 2.1
  • 850/900/1800/1900Mhz
  • Mediatek MT6516 DualCore CPU
  • 100grams
  • 110.5x58.5x13.1mm
  • 3.3” HVGA screen (480x320)
  • microSD slot for max 32GB card
  • HSDPA
  • WiFi
  • USB
  • 3.2mpix Camera
  • Bluetooth
  • GPS
  • TV (Analog) PAL/NTSC/SECAM
  • and more but it is in Chinese have no idea what it says.

Ok the TV thing is for most users totally useless in the Netherlands but I have even for that feature a purpose.. So I ordered the Star 3000 and within a week it arrived from China.

IMG_2154It is a bit thicker than the iPhoney but it looks much better.

The phone came in a nice box with:

                • USB cable
                • USB Charger
                • Earplugs + microphone
                • Removable battery
                • User manual in Chinese with some google translated English descriptions.
  •  
  • Android runs smooth, the screen response is very good and even the sound of the build in speaker is nice..
  • The camera is a bit dark but who cares about that..
              •  

Why would anyone pay more for a phone if you can get this?

 

 

 

Conclusion:
+ Cheap
+ Fast
+ Looks nice
+ Dual SIM (active/active)

- Battery could last a bit longer
- Camera quality
- User manual

I would definitely recommend this phone to others, in fact I already did..

The iPhoney model 4

16. January 2011 22:10 by Ron in   //  Tags:   //   Comments

This time I needed a new cell phone and I had a small list of demands..

  • Í do not want something made by Apple
  • It has to be a smart phone
  • Email synchronization with MS Exchange (2010)
  • Navigation (GPS)
  • 3G (duhh)

The first thing was easy.. The reason that I do not want to buy anything from Apple is simple, I do not like the attitude that is similar to the one Henry Ford had when he build the Ford “Model T”.. “You can get it in any color as long as it’s black..”. I do want a choice and not one made for me..

So, when dropped iOS there are only 3 left:
  1. Symbian
  2. Windows Mobile
  3. Android

The first was easy again.. Symbian did never appeal to me, it is too much JAVA crap (I hate JAVA).
Windows Mobile has been dominated my phone for the last 6 years and I did like it but I wanted to try something different..

Android it is then.. (some choices are easier that others).

There are several apps in the Android market that support exchange push mail so that item was covered and only 3G and GPS are left on my list..

I searched the internet for an Android phone for a decent price and like most of the time I found a company that offered a phone with 3G, GPS, Compass and the whole bunch. The price was right the only downside this offer seemed to have was that the phone looked exactly like an Apple iPhone 4..

IMG_2157Here you see it at startup but even the box is the same as the one from Apple, the charger cable, earplugs, logo on the back, it is all there.
Except one thing…
The stupid Chinese have not used Android but something that looks like Android so this phone is a very good Dual SIM telephone with some basic Smart phone functions, like email, calendaring etc but nothing more than that.
 
It is not a total waist of money but it’s not what I had in mind..

 

 

 

Never had a bad experience with Chinese goodies but as always, there is a first in anything.

Canon 50D Digital SLR (Review)

6. September 2010 21:49 by Ron in   //  Tags:   //   Comments

Couple of weeks ago I bought myself a Canon 50D Digital SLR photo camera, the last 5 years I was using a Canon 350D Digital SLR which still makes good pictures.

IMG_8506

The reason I wanted another camera was simple;

The Canon 350D, a 8 Mega Pixel amateur camera, has a plastic body and is very light. The problem I have with it was that when I used a Tele/Zoom lens the lens weight much more than the body and it felt like it wants to pull the lens down.

The Canon 50D, a 15 mega Pixel semi-pro camera, has a magnesium body which is more in balance with the lens.

The camera is a step up from the old one, like getting a Mercedes after 5 years driving a Volkswagen. They both bring you from A to B, they both carry 4 passengers and some luggage, but there is a difference.

 

The actual picture of my Canon 50D was taken with the 350D.

One advantage I like most is that the 50D has a Joystick button and 2 scroll wheels to browse through the menu options, the 350 had only 1 scroll wheel and no Joystick button.

In the 3 weeks I got the camera I have taken almost 700 photos (689 to be exact) and it works great, it is not really a beginners camera but I think that everyone could learn. If you have the money to spend, it is twice the price of the Canon 550D (the latest amateur model Canon digital SLR ) but it is worth every cent.

MP4 player from China (review)

21. August 2010 20:27 by Ron in   //  Tags:   //   Comments

My daughter wanted a MP4 player so I got one from China, it is cheap so if she looses it or it is damaged it is not a real problem, if I would give her an iPod and it dies or what ever..

IMG_0297

It does not look that bad and it looks solid, it has a metal case.
You charge and load files on it with a USB cable.

The menu has 5 categories:
1 E-books (only plain text files)
2 Music (mp3, wav, wmv, aac)
3 Video (avi, mpg, wmv)
4 Address book
5 Voice recorder

I needed some time to get used to the menu, it does not work as you would expect but my daughter does not have that problem, so I guess it must be me.

Sound quality is quite good, from the original earplugs one was dead so needed to get another pair.

Conclusion:

+ Cheap, only 15 USD including the shipping
+ Nice looking
+ Solid build

- Menu not easy to follow

I would recommend a cheap MP4 player from China.

128Gigabyte USB stick from China (Review)

14. August 2010 09:36 by Ron in   //  Tags:   //   Comments

If you search the internet for an USB stick with a capacity of 128 Gigabyte you will probably find some Chinese sites offering these USB sticks for less than 50 USD. To test one I ordered a “Sony VAIO 128 GB” stick for 32,50 USD (that is including shipping).

IMG_0037

After it arrived I was sort of surprised of the look and feel of the stick, it’s made of metal and looks well build.

It was formatted in with a FAT32 file system so it does not hold large files (larger than 2GB) so I had to format it in exFAT, the new file system supported by Windows 7.

After placing some movies on it (4 Gigabyte files) the files get corrupted, for some reason many small files are no problem but large files get corrupted. I tried formatting it to NTFS and in Linux to EXT3 file system but with the same result.

Conclusion:

+ It is very cheap
+ It looks good

- It can not hold large files

This item I would not recommend to anyone.