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Archive for March, 2012

OzRunways – latest version

March 24, 2012 2 comments

Below is actually the App Store review I left for OzRunways.

It’s actually a little scathing – particularly in contrast to the other glowing reviews – and I feel a little guilty for that.

But also justified. Every time I bring up a separate overlay for Wx, or wait for 5-10s before my plan comes up, I feel it’s not quite there yet.

However – don’t get me wrong…. The alternative is thousands, maybe tens if thousands, of dollars… Or kilos of paper documents and ten times the planning time. OzRunways is revolutionary. I just have high expectations!

I bought OzRunways a few months ago, and have another 6 months of my annual subscription. In the last 6 months, it’s introduced Route planning and some other improvements.

I have a vision of the perfect EFB. Everything seamlessly integrated into one efficient display. And getting close to that vision is…. AvPlan!

In contrast, OzRunways is a little clunky. For example – bringing up weather radar brings up a different small screen, not overlaying it on the chart – as AvPlan does. Route plans are displayed instead the chart, not alongside it – as AvPlan can. And both tools have the almost-useless scratchpad – what’s with that? What about solid ink and text entry, and pagination, so I can write useful notes, guys?

However – both times I’ve used AvPlan in flight, it crashed or had bugs. OzRunways hasn’t. That’s why I use it.

Having said that… OzRunways is suddenlt very slow to respond on my iPad 2 with the current update – sometimes 10-15s before a drag or plan-button press response. It’s bordering on distracting, and hopefully they’ll fix that soon.

Having not used EFBs, as a new pilot, I suspect OzRunways is true to legacy systems and so familiar to many in its methods. AvPlan is more innovative and “Apple-like”, but unreliable. It’ll be interesting to see how the two converge, and which pulls ahead.

Categories: Microlights

Blueant Q2 and iPhone – headset mistakenly hangs up with caller waiting

March 21, 2012 Leave a comment

OK, real quick one this:

  • On a call on my iPhone with Blueant Q2 headset
  • Someone else calls – I ignore it
  • That call times out… and the next thing I hear from my headset is “Call terminated”, and the line goes dead

I checked.. my phone still had the call – but my headset had picked up the missed call, decided that my primary, live call had been cut, and turned itself into standby.

Great!

As it was, I could have probably switched my iphone to speaker and continued the call – it took me a few seconds to figure out what was going on, by which time the person I had been speaking to had hung up.

Headsets. Bring back the days when they just relayed the sound on the handset, rather than second-guessing you or friggin’ try to engage you in conversation.

Categories: Mobile

Evi Review – Siri, time to retire

March 19, 2012 Leave a comment

“How much is, um, one thousand English pounds in dollars, Australian dollars?”
In under a second, the text read back came:
“How much is £1,000 in AUD$”.

Amazing. Perfect. Siri can rarely understand me shouting slowly and clearly at it, let alone mumbling and uming and ah’ing.

Then the answer to my question comes back.
“It looks like you are asking about dollars. Is this website useful? : Currency conversion”.

No… No… Tell me the answer!

And that’s Evi. Flawless recognition every time. It sometimes gives the right answer. It often goes “umm… Thinking… Let me work on that…”. And then gives a slightly relevant website.

But it returned the time, weather, and local ATMs straight away.

Solution: Apple to buy Evi right away to replace Siri’s voice recognition. That’s the angle, right?

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Categories: iphone

EU Claim Review – our experiences

March 17, 2012 17 comments

I have finally ticked off the “Chase EUClaim” item that I had on my ToDo list for around a year now, having checked on the status of my claim every few months, until finally giving up.

We originally filed a claim with EUClaim in October 2010, after having a terribly delayed journey with Easyjet, due to computer failures on their part. Full of fury, we looked at whatever method we could find to get back at them – as you do, at the end of a ‘journey from hell’. EU legislation beckoned, and by all rights, we were entitled to compensation; it also seemed an open and shut case. We googled for the best way to do this, and filed with EUClaim.

It seems a great idea: no hassle, everything is done online, including filing your flight details and uploading supporting documents. Sure, they take a significant portion, but it’s no win, no fee, and I’m as interested in penalising Easyjet as getting some money back. And they get efficiencies from all the data being submitted online, and probably even get cost efficiencies from filing in bulk, if multiple people claim from the same flight. Job done, I thought!

After a week, a notice in my messages showed EUClaim sent a letter to Easyjet. After another few weeks, a second letter threatening court. Then in Nov 2010, they issued a summons, and sent me a message saying they were filing a complaint with a regulator, which would take 6 months. In Jan 11, they asked me for a letter of authority, which I think I sent. Another reminder in June 2011. Then I chased in Feb 2012 (again by the portal) for a response. I got a reply a week later saying that they were being selective about test cases, and there would be a ‘slight’ delay about processing to conclusion, and to check for regular updates.

Nothing new as of mid-March 2011, so now I’ve basically stopped checking.

I’m sure EUClaim’s business practices are sound, but I wonder, will I ever see the money? If Easyjet finally pay up, and I’ve moved house, country, perhaps even died, and am uncontactable, what happens to that money? Who keeps it? I don’t remember what I signed, what was agreed, and most people will forget they even submitted after a few months. There’s a lot of money involved; what happens to it?

Categories: Random

Griffin Mini USB cables – a cheaper alternative

March 17, 2012 1 comment

 

Having seen a review of the Griffin Mini USB cables, I bought them immediately, and they were worth the $15 I paid for them. No more wrapping up long cables, sometimes finding myself with 3 iPhone cables, sometimes none, sometimes finding myself in need of a MicroUSB.. I just carry all three in my pocket, and they’re as handy as my wallet or phone.

Until I lost one.

Then forgot another.

And at $15 for the set, that’s expensive.

So – I searched on eBay, and sure enough, I found a cheaper alternative – around $3 for the set, with in extender cable thrown in.

 

Of course, the risk is that they’re the usual eBay rubbish, too poor quality to actually want to use, and fall apart after 5 minutes. But, having used them for a couple of weeks, they’re fine – in fact, they’re better than the Griffins for two reasons. The first is that because they’re more flexible (the Griffins only bend through around 80 degrees before the resistance is enough to pop the connector out of the iPhone), I can sit my iphone on top of my mobile charger with the cable bent through 180 degrees, and leave them in my pocket.

The other, more important reason, is that I’m not as afraid to lose them! With the Griffins, once I lost the first cable, I was cautious about where I carried the other two. With these, I’ve bought three packs, and I can just grab whichever are handy when I head out.

So – still spend $15. But spend it on 4 packs of these, not one pack of Griffins.

Categories: Uncategorized

How to test after a First Aid Course

March 4, 2012 Leave a comment

I’ve just taken another mass-market, generic certified First Aid course. This one has a pretty good reputation, and the fact they have a pre-reading online quiz is a good sign. Of course, there’s not that much fame and fortune in such courses, so the quiz and materials are functional, but nothing special, and I noted the quiz format as being ‘get it completed’ rather than ‘make it challenging’. Without any refresher training or reading, I was averaging 90% and 10 seconds per answer.

The fact is, none of this makes me much more confident that I could handle an emergency – and while remembering what NOT to do (and some of what to do) is a small achievement in itself, I would much rather feel enabled to go out and USE my First Aid training, rather than walking by quietly thinking/hoping that the person with the casulty right now must surely know what they’re doing better than me.

So… for all those first aid online quiz designers(!) out there:
– Don’t give me multiple choice. These almost always consist of 1 wordy and specific correct answer, and 3 or 4 short and stupid, and hence obviously wrong, answers. If one answer is “All of the above”, then it’s obviously “All of the above”.

If you really want me to learn, give me this:
– A huge cloud of actions, that I need to drag into the correct order…. hence simulating more closely the infinite number of actions that I would be presented with (out of my head) in real lift. And testing that I use the correct ones.
– Send me a further test a week AFTER the course. Then another online test another two weeks after the course, with different questions. Cement my knowledge; test I understood. Then send me a ‘Certified First Aider’ certificate in addition to a ‘Completed First Aid course’ certificate that I would get for just attending.

Maybe let me opt in to further periodic tests – sent to me out of the blue, by email, to keep me current. It could be a YouTube video, with a “what would you do now” action cloud.

Just asking. Thanks!

Wingmirrorman .co.uk Review

March 3, 2012 1 comment

I just thought I’d share a quick review of Wingmirrorman.co.uk, who I used in December.

My wife had clipped the wing mirror on our Corolla on a post, smashed the mirror, and fractured the plastic housing. I ordered a full Wing Mirror unit (mirror, housing) off them, which arrived incredibly promptly (next day).

However, I wanted to keep the colour-coded cover on my old mirror, but found I couldn’t – the clip mountings were different. Although the photo on the listing looked the same as the original part, the replacement I received was different to that, too. It appeared the new part was manufactured differently. I did actually ask a few other companies, and they said it was likely theirs would have the same problem.

Basically, it seems the cheap manufacturer builds entire mirrors where the parts may differ, so you have to swap the whole unit, not just swap out the broken parts. Not knowing this, I hadn’t asked them to colour-match the cover, so the replacement mirror had a black back, and the original mirror on the other side had a colour-coded light-blue back.

I decided I’d just keep the slightly cracked original mirror, and sent it back to them for a full refund for being not-as-described.

A few days later – I received a cheque in the post. Well – I had flown back to Australia, so our friends received it, and it was too late to pay in. I emailed Wingmirrorman, and asked them for a paypal refund (as I had paid them via Paypal originally). They were quiet. I chased again. They said OK. But no refund. I chased again. No refund.

And that’s it… basically, their service is crap. OK, it’s not a huge deal. But their mirrors aren’t exactly as described, and their service drops once the sale is made (their emails are very impersonal, with no names to contact either).

 

Categories: Uncategorized