Tuesday, April 22, 2008

GBMH211W6 Review (Bluetooth Headphones)

As you probably know, I am a data center technician. I have long been frustrated that I was never able to listen to music without a headset but when I would do that I suddenly lost the ability to hear things such as IMs or my cell phone ringing. Of course you can only pair a bluetooth headset with one device -- until the GBMH211W6 Bluetooth Stereo Headphones from IO Gear.

I easily paired these headphones with my MacBook and my BlackBerry Pearl and they do exactly what they say. I can listen to music through iTunes and have the ability to hear IM alerts and such and I can control the music volume and track as well as play/pause all from the headset it's self. If a call comes into my cell phone these headphones automatically pause the music on my computer and allow me to take the call and will unpause the music whenever the call is complete. I am also able to place a call using voice dialing without going near my computer or my phone. The way this is able to work is these headphones support 2 different bluetooth profiles. One is the headset profile and the other is the headphone profile. Your cell phone will pair with the headset profile and your laptop with the headphone profile.

Aside from the incredible advantage that the above options provide the headphones are very comfortable and they sound great. I'm sure if your an audiophile who swears by Bose you will probably find something wrong with the quality but for what the normal mobile person uses these types of things for I think they far excel. Being surrounded by thousands of computers has always been an issue for me with the background noise but I am able to hear music just fine and I've had a couple conversations on the phone using these that the other party had no issue hearing me.

And beyond all of that... the battery life is AWESOME. I used these for about 8 hours in the data center and had it paired with both devices the whole time.... at least 7 hours of that was with music playing and when I left for the day the headphones gave no indication that the battery was running low. Oh.... and range is far better than any bluetooth headset I have used with my phone.... I've gone well over the 30ft range that it claims and the connection was still stable.... and this is in a building where the 2.4ghz spectrum is quite crowded.

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Saturday, March 29, 2008

BlackBerry Fails..... AGAIN (Another global outage)

Well I think I need to start considering a new phone. My BlackBerry email was down today between 9am and 12:30pm (EDT). I called T-Mobile and they confirmed that there was a global blackberry outage. It's getting pretty frustrating that I can not rely on something that I pay someone for for the purpose of running my business. Maybe they feel like they can just play with servers on Saturday but it happens to be a day that I heavily rely on my BlackBerry service for *MY* business.

The entire Research In Motion company is starting to scare me. Its not so much that they have all these outages but the company doesnt seem to have any concern about them and their response to them is to blame someone else. The outages, however, are starting to get plentiful and thats a cause for concern. If you need to do maintence let your users know that its a possibility so that the ones that rely on your service for critical things can make the needed adjustment.

The most frustrating thing about all of this is that the BlackBerry fits my life the best. Windows Mobile is junk.... Palm is dying (what's left of it) and Nokia still doesnt understand the concept of universal USB charge and data..... then of course the iPhone is AT&T only. So what options do I have?

I understand servers break but if they keep breaking this frequently then you need to come up with a new plan. If it's maintence windows then thats just as bad because your not telling your users. Above all else, be honest with your users when there are problems instead of blaming someone else. If we can't trust you to tell us about an outage all we can do is accept the fact that you break stuff and the result will be us blaming you even when its not your fault.

UPDATE 3:15pm: I was told that this was a scheduled outage, however, I still have no idea where it was announced. If it was scheduled then my complaint is that they need to find a way to actually inform their users reliably. Even T-Mobile thought it was an outage and they had no ETA on a resolution.

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Saturday, March 15, 2008

<3 T-Mobile <3

I know that I have been pretty critical about T-Mobile at times but I just want to let everyone know that that really has been more in the same fashion of a friend doing something that upsets you but a stranger could do it and you won't care. Now, I don't like the ordeal that Robert Dotson's office created but I really have to say that I do absolutely love T-Mobile. Tonight was no different. I talked with an awesome tech support rep who actually interacted with me rather than "boss me around" and just tell me what to do. Actually, I have *never* had a bad experience with T-Mobile's customer service. They are also the company that I think pushes the limits beyond the normal by innovating new ways of doing things.

But anyway, T-Mobile had to transfer me to BlackBerry themselves about 40mins ago..... And I'm still on hold. RIM doesn't make me so happy - but that's another blog post :)

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Ok, well... it's official.... the sidekick is going back. It absolutely amazes me at how idiotic companies can be at times. The sidekick is a perfect parallel of what the RIAA is doing to music.... cripple things so much that it's not even functional because you see something that can make more money.... lock the shit down so that people are forced to buy $5 applications for everything and force thousands of potential customers away. Then, completely ignore the fact that not everyone uses windows and outlook...

There are a lot of issues with the SK3 for me.... Now, I will admit that the SK3 is a great phone for the non-geek and someone who is attached to microsoft's nipple. It has a lot of cool features to it -- and the $20 a month for both unlimited data and unlimited text messaging is awesome. The problem is that the people that rely on the additional services that a "smart phone" offers will gain absolutely nothing from the SK3. Basically, if you don't realize you can check email and surf the web on the phone, the SK3 is going to be amazing.... but if you understand the technology, the SK3 will do nothing more than piss you off.

And the biggest complaint of all - no IMAP support! Ok, yes, the "box" says that it support IMAP but all it can do is download messages from your inbox. It does not talk back to the server and mark messages as read, read folders on your IMAP server, or even store sent messages on the server... It is 100% pointless as an IMAP client.

Oh... and get this one... a new feature in the sidekick 3 that wasn't in the sidekick 2.... a USB cable! But wait.... all the USB cable does is allows you to use your SK3 as a card reader. Yup... no syncing or anything via the USB cable... just copy your mp3's over to your card so you can listen to them (and I mean listen - not use them as a ringtone because that would mean you wouldnt buy their 20 second version of the same song for $2)

Bluetooth? Yea... if you use a headset it works.... but forget doing anything else with it... it ONLY supports headsets -- absolutely nothing else. No file transfer (not even to the SD card), no modem use.... NOTHING. It's nice to see universal protocols adapted so that they will only work with one feature.... it's incredible.

Did I mention it doesnt work with Mac OSX and doesn't have IMAP support?

The most upsetting thing about all of this is that the sidekick has so much potential but the problem is that, like so many other corporations, the belief is that you have to cripple things and force people to buy them -- thus making the product absolutely worthless.

I set up my T-Mobile account because the SK data plan would have saved me $40 a month... any other phone with T-Mobile really (afaik) won't save me much, if any, money at all.... so I guess I'll be sticking with Cingular a while longer.... maybe I'll end up with an iPhone? Well, the issue with that is whether or not it will have an SSH client or anything else useful..... for now I'll be using my Nokia -- from yet ANOTHER company that refuses to interact with anything other than Microsoft's nipple but at least has enough sense to let there be some back doors and loophole's that those using Macs and Linux can actually function.

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Friday, April 13, 2007

I... FEEL... LIKE... CRAP!!!!
Sinuses suck... add an EXTREMELY stiff neck on top of that and you have for a very uncomfortable experience.

Aside from that, tonight I got a Sidekick 3 which, obviously, also means that I'm switching to T-Mobile. The device may not be the best for me regarding functionality but by going with the SK3 I get unlimited data and unlimited SMS for only $20 a month... plus the competing price plan on T-Mobile vs Cingular has an extra 200 or maybe 300 mins.... It basically boils down to saving $40+ per month so within just a few months I'll make up the cost of the early termination fee plus I'll sell my Nokia 9300 on eBay which will probably put me around breaking even for the phone.

My rant with the SK3 is primarily that it doesn't support IMAP. Ok, so it can download messages via the IMAP protocol but it will not communicate with the server telling it when I delete a message, read a message, reply, etc... It quite honestly is stupid and it is a severely hindering thing for me... but sometimes it does just boil down to cost... for $40 a month, I will find some creative way of doing what I need to.

It's very time for bed now....

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

(C)2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved
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