Dear “New Media” Companies, Two years ago I decided to take the plunge and purchase a UHD TV. But I thought twice about it, deciding that I would hold off until there was adequate 4K content available. At that time the 4K market was weak. UHD Blu-rays had yet to be released, and other than some YouTube content and perhaps a few shows from your companies, there wasn’t much available. Finally at the cusp of 2018 I decided to make the move. There’s much streaming media currently available in UHD (as you’re obviously aware), as well as a plethora of UHD Blu-rays. So I now have a very nice Sony OLED hooked up to my HTPC. But the sad part … Continue reading
The Echo Look I’m working on a full review-type-thing of the Look, but who really cares about that? I’m sure people will want to see the insides of it, though. The most interesting two things on it are an Intel RealSense SR300 module (minus its visible light camera), and what’s basically a full Intel PC motherboard. In fact, here are the main specs: Intel Atom x5-Z8350 (SR2KT) @ 1.44Ghz (1.91Ghz burst) 8GB Samsung eMMC Flash NAND Storage 8GB Elpida LPDDR3 RAM Broadcom 802.11ac + 802.11b/g/a/n + Bluetooth (Not sure of the version) The hardware is fantastically made and well put together, and overall is very clever considering they stuffed all of it into a diminutive cylinder! The Reassembly I did … Continue reading
Here’s the thing: I don’t need to contact Amazon’s customer service often, but when I do they’ve always been responsive and extremely helpful. So I’m not going to lambaste Amazon in this post, but I do want to tell a story of a horrible customer service experience that’s not just a result of a bad rep but is indicative of a deeper problem. The Toilet In an incident that was far less dramatic than you’d hope, my toilet tank cracked and was leaking slowly onto the floor. Obviously the ideal solution would be a new tank, but I had an Eljer triangle toilet that’s discontinued, and there aren’t a ton of options for a triangular corner toilet. Needing to have … Continue reading
I get it. At this point you’re probably thinking “What the hell is this guy’s problem? Two videos??“
It’s not like I’m obsessed with Boost Oxygen. In fact, I’ve already moved on to my next fecal-laden product. But when I was shooting the Boost video I decided to go over some of the incoherent ramblings of idiots reviews on Amazon and Sports Authority that I found while doing research on this product. (Yes, I did a modicum of actual research believe it or not.)
If you’re not an avid Amazon shopper then you may have missed their latest foray into consumer electronics: The Amazon Dash Button. It’s basically less than you can imagine: You press a futuristic garage-door-opener-type-thing and Amazon orders some crap to your door.
I’m not exaggerating. It’s a small device with a single button, and its only purpose is to order a single product of a single brand. My comparison to a garage door opener is quite apt, except that instead of opening a door you’re spending an arbitrary amount of money. Maybe it’s more like a reverse raffle.
And hey! If you did already hear about the Dash Button, then maybe you want to know what makes it tick, eh? Well, here’s your chance because I cracked one open and showed you the gooey, creamy center.
I should point out that I knew next to nothing about the Echo when I pre-ordered it. I knew next to nothing about it when it arrived. I figured I’d take the approach of someone that just got this thing as a gift or something.
Amazon Echo Unboxing
I unbox the Echo and spend some time setting it up. It did not go well.
Then I attempted to interact with Alexa. I suppose I’m just accustomed to Google, because I can ask it a variety of free-form questions and most of the time it comes up with the correct answer. Alexa seems to be far more finicky about phrasing and command syntax. Which is just what you want from a user-friendly tube that ominously glows at you from the center of your living room.
Then the Rest of the Review
I just don’t get the Echo. Fine, it can play music and it can control all of your lights a limited number of brands of lights.
For home automation though, I’d want something more discrete. Something integrated into the house, not an obvious cylinder that I have to explain to everyone.
For listening to music I’m fine with a Bluetooth speaker.
If I have extemporaneous questions for the internet I can always ask the Google that’s in my very pocket (or glued to my hand).
I am Hopeful
Amazon does publish an API for Alexa. After making the video I signed up for their developer program. It’s been about a week, and I still haven’t heard back.
However, I’m hoping that the community will come up with some killer apps, and that home automation compatibility will increase.
But in the meanwhile of my daily life, Alexa remains a novelty. My living room and my workstation in my basement already have better speakers than the Echo’s. So she doesn’t do me much good for music, and she still can’t answer questions better than my phone.
Newegg was, and still is, the best online retailer of computer components in the US. I stand behind that statement. But they’re trying to be Amazon, and they’re not doing a very good job of it. The Good Just like Amazon, Newegg allows other merchants to list items for sale on their website. They take a cut of 8-15 percent of item sales and intermediate disputes between customers and third-party sellers. But here’s the thing: I always shopped on Newegg because I liked Newegg. Especially when they opened their distribution center in Edison, NJ and my ground shipments started arriving in under 24 hours. I also liked the responsiveness of their customer service and the clarity of their search results. … Continue reading
I'm a computer guy with a new house and a love of DIY projects. I like ranting, and long drives on your lawn.
I don't post everything I do, but when I do, I post it here. Maybe.