Posts tagged with hardware
I’ve been critical of Bluetooth before. In my mind it’s nowhere near
ready to be the default way we listen to music… but when my dear Bowers
& Wilkins P5 headphones started exhibiting balance problems, the nice
people from the support department offered, among different options, to replace
them with a discounted Wireless P5 model.
I figured what the hell, let’s try this brave new world where everything has to
run on batteries and on different versions of different protocols.
Now you must realize that those are pretty much premium Bluetooth headphones.
I got them at a 50% discount, but they otherwise sell for around $400. Even
then, they’re much better that I expected. Barely heavier than the wired model,
and with excellent battery life. I noted a few glitches in audio playback but
I haven’t checked whether wireless was to blame, or whether it was the streaming
or player app being at fault.
The thing that I was mostly wondering about was how it handles multiple devices.
Our wireless speakers at home have a lot of trouble figuring out what phone
(between mine and my wife’s) to play from. My headphones would typically – on
a daily basis – switch between my phone (for music and podcasts) and my trusty,
original Nexus 7 tablet (which I use to run Plex and watch TV shows on the
go). I sure didn’t want to go through all the trouble we typically have to go
through with the speakers.
Well I can report that it works fine, but not in the way you would expect.
I have no idea how or why, but my headphones just won’t connect automatically to
any of those devices. I have to connect to them manually, which is frankly fine
by me since it takes slightly less time than untangling a cable and plugging it,
especially on Android where you can do a lot more system automation than on iOS
(on my Nexus 7 it basically takes me a swipe and a tap, whereas on iOS I don’t
think there’s a way around going in the Settings apps manually).
However, the simple fact that I have no idea if this is a feature or a bug
should tell you all you need to know about the state of Bluetooth.
Sarah Baird talks about what us left-handed people have put up with all our
lives, and all the way back through history:
Day in and day out, though, the biggest hurdle faced by lefties isn’t
discrimination — it’s mundane, basic functioning. Almost all facets of
society, from ink pens to urban design, are crafted and structured to support,
abet and cater to the right-handed majority. For lefties, functioning means a
constant, conscious consideration of how they can reverse or modify their
natural behavior in order to most effectively move around in the world.
The funny thing is that most of the time, I’m not even thinking about it. I’ll
be, say, getting hot air blowing all over me from holding the vacuum-cleaner
“the wrong way”, and not really realize that this wouldn’t happen if I was
right-handed. It’s just like living in a world that’s slightly less
Generally speaking, I’ve probably encountered less hurdles growing up in France
than most North-American lefties: spiral notebooks were not used a lot (we had
properly bound notebooks) and student chair/tablet combinations were pretty much
The last time I really felt the pain of being part of a market minority was when
I was shopping for a new computer mouse. Being a palm gripper, I ideally need a
so-called “ergonomic” mouse. But those mice are only ever manufactured for
right-handed people. The only left-handed ergonomic mouse that I’ve been able to
find is the Razer Death-Adder Left-Handed Edition. Many people dislike
Razer for their annoying configuration software but I figured I still
needed to vote with my money. And, you know, I needed a mouse.
As expected, the configuration software is annoying, but the mouse is really
You can see this kind of headline all over the web these days, especially with
Apple fanboy tech bloggers: the PC is dead, all hail tablets and
smartphones. The argument is also made for video games
consoles, who are supposedly on the way out to be replaced by, guess what,
tablets and smartphones. Even Jeff Atwood is getting on the bandwagon.
I don’t disagree with the facts here: most indicators we have on the market
right now show that, indeed, desktop and laptop computers have declining sales
while mobile products have an ever-accelerating growth.
Some tech bloggers, however, are a bit too quick to equate opposing trends with
replacement – in reality, people still own PCs and Macs, but complement them
with mobile devices. As far as I know, there’s no evidence that anybody is
actually getting rid of their laptops and desktop computers after buying an
A few months ago I set out to get a new laptop for my wife. She only
had one requirement, after having shared a Macbook Pro with me for the past
couple years: that it ran Windows (queue OS flamewar).
I quickly decided I wanted to give her something slick and light, and look at
the new line of ultrabooks. I then narrowed the choices down to the Samsung
Series 9 and the ASUS Zenbook by reading reviews online… but that was just
the easy part.
Much has been said already about the shopping and out-of-the-box experience of
PCs, compared to that of Macs, but I think we should keep beating that dead
horse until it’s underground. So keep reading for much deceased equidae action.
The first step in the journey to digital comics is to figure out what
you’re going to read them on. These days, the answer is pretty much going to
always be “a tablet”… but which one?
I had a quick look at the market back in late 2011 and here’s how I made up my
mind. First, I focused on the main ~10 inch tablets of the market. This included,
for instance, the Motorola Xoom, the Asus Transformer and the
Apple iPad 2.