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Archive for May, 2008

Jawbone Update

May 14, 2008 Leave a comment

Another 24 hours, another few calls.

The Jawbone‘s doing OK now I’m used to the tinny sound – something I’ve learnt is handset dependant. However, another shock as I found there’s no Mute function, and it only pairs with one handset/PC at a time. So it’s useless for multi-handset or handset-and-Skype use.

So I’m getting another headset, perhaps to work alongside this one. Updates on the Plantronics 520 to come (once I get one)…

A Jawbone says What?

May 13, 2008 Leave a comment

Jawbone Bluetooth Headset

‘Cos if it said something, I couldn’t hear it.

The Aliph Jawbone Bluetooth Headset. Everyone wants one. Everyone else has got one… in my office, at least. I read some moderately conservative reviews on places like newegg.com, but since I’m without any headset at all right now, and the Jawbone is expensive enough that it has to be good, I went out on a whim and bought one.

Silly, silly, silly.

My first impressions after 12 hours’ use? Well – it’s a pain to extract from the charger. It’s a pain to put on my ear… perhaps tougher than the Jabra BT250, and we all know what contortions are required to slip that on (caveat: before you get used to it, of course) – but actually, once there, it’s pretty comfortable; haven’t tried running with it yet, though.

More disappointingly, and most surprisingly, the volume isn’t only quiet; the sound quality with my HTC TYTN II is terrible! Scratchy, tinny… and I’m comparing this to my ancient, smaller HBH-65!

I’ll keep at it for now – the trouble with this thing is, once it’s gone in your ear, it’s pretty hard to sell secondhand. I wouldn’t buy a used one! On the plus side, the bluetooth range seems reasonable compared to my HBH-610.

As for the much-trumpeted microphone noise cancellation? Well – I didn’t try using it near any leaf-blowers, ‘weed-whackers’ (strimmers), or even in my car at 80mph with the roof down. I used it talking to my Mum while doing the washing up. Her response: “I can hear you OK, but I have to listen carefully“.

Not worth the money, it seems – but I’ll stick with it. Yet to test with Skype, multiple handsets (Handsfree Bluetooth Profile only, at first glance), and all that good stuff.

Roll on the Plantronics 520….

Coffee gadget that really works: Aeropress Review

May 2, 2008 Leave a comment

I’m a gadget addict, of course, but the thing I get really excited about are gadgets that really work, or are genuinely useful. Few and far between. Like my personal ‘mash-up’ of a SE HBH-610 with a HBH-65 earloop, which I lost last week.

However, this is one of those glorious things. The Aeropress lets you make real coffee. Lots of things let you do that, of course. The thing is whether they let you make coffee easily enough, and quickly enough, and without much cleaning up, that you’re actually going to do it on a regular basis.

My Firebox review was thus:

I never bother with ‘real’ coffee – I can never be bothered to clean my espresso maker, and so only really keep ground coffee for dinner parties, which then has gone off by the time I use it. I bought the AeroPress to see if I could rectify that. And it really has! Once you remove all the bumpf, you can simply screw on the filter, chuck a couple of teaspoons of ground coffee in, pour hot water, stir, squeeze over a cup, and that’s it: fresh americano!

As for the important bit – cleaning – you simply unscrew the plastic filter, push the plunger all the way down to expel the microfilter and grounds into a bin, hold the end of the plunger under a tap, and chuck back in a drawer. It really does take a minute, end-to-end, and the coffee really is good! My miniature espresso maker is now firmly relegated to ornamental status.

It’s all true.

And yes, it does look like a Swedish Penis Enlarger. But the coffee’s still good.

Swifnet. Don’t.

May 2, 2008 Leave a comment

Swiftnet are a UK company – I get the impression they’re a ‘five-guys-above-a-shop-in-Barnet‘ kind of company – who provide an email2fax service. The great thing is that they charge no monthly costs – just a pre-pay account – and so are good for occasional ad-hoc use when I want to send a fax (without a fax machine).

The bad thing is that my faxes through them never get through! I always get “No Dial Tone” updates, “VOD (Voice Detected)“, or “No Fax Answer“. Aside from not delivering the fax, it is guaranteed to p*** off the guy on the other end of the line if they’re using a combined fax/voice line, and Swiftnet just won’t talk to their fax machine.

So: avoid. They’re a nice thought, and I’ve not yet found another reasonable email2fax service with no standing charge (anyone?) – but it never works. The fact that their automated administration system is actually a guy reading the emails and deleting/redirecting faxes (rather than a bot), AND that I paid £25 over 15 years ago, and my account is still working – suggests things aren’t quite right with Swifnet. I suspect their carpet is old and worn, and their potted plants are plastic.