Gadgets

So its been awhile (again). Thought I’d post a new update. WHS2011 is still going quite strong with DriverBender instead of hardware raid. No problems to report, well other than Microsoft deciding that with the release of Windows Server 2012 that Windows Home Server will no longer exist. Ahh well, long as I keep getting updates and patches for the time being. I may go back and give Amahi a try again sometime in the future, but for now, I’m good to go.

Put Sabayon on the E6410. I have to say I am quite impressed that a Gentoo based distribution can run this smoothly and fast as a desktop environment on the E6410. Only problem being the fingerprint reader, which is a Linux compatibility issue with the Broadcom 5880. I will keep working on it, but thus far I can’t even get Ubuntu to use the reader. Next issue, which I haven’t tackled just yet, is Evolution with Exchange support. Finally had it working on Ubuntu but it took a little bit. Will need to work on this as well, but for now I’m just running the desktop as though it were my primary OS to get a better feel.

On a side node, Verizon Wirelss, fix your time servers. I can no longer use my Google Authenticator because my clock is 4 minutes slow. Please… please to be fixing this ASAP.

Lastly, headsets. The Plantronics Savi 700 is a FANTASTIC desktop headset. Connects up to no only the desk phone, but also to the PC via a USB cable and even cell phones via Bluetooth. It is very lightweight and easy to use, VERY IMPRESSED. Way to go Plantronics. Finally, Jawbone Era… Just got it in the mail yesterday, thank you Yugster, and its tiny and light… like super tiny and light. It came fully charged so immediately synced the iPhone and Fascinate to it, but still have really been able to use it. I have heard NOTHING but good things from the device, but I figure at 63% off market price, I can’t go wrong either way. And its not like I’m going to be using it constantly anyways, just when I’m away from the house and not in my car and maybe around the house cause I don’t want to hold the phone to my ear.

Ok, quick update done, think that’s good for now. Hopefully I won’t let so much time pass before providing another update.

So who thought it would be so difficult to track down an HP TouchPad of purchase? Oh, did I mention there’s a Fire Sale on HP TouchPad’s right now? Hahahahaha, yeah, more on that later. So, looks like all of Northern Delaware is out of stock with the exception of BJs who, up until today has yet to drop the price along with all the other major retailers. I spent nearly 3 hours yesterday morning hitting up just about every place that I could, all to find out everyone was sold out. So I kept hunting online, all the while Fallyn is getting annoyed that I’m forever attached to the phone or PC virtually all day long. Beh, long story short, BestBuy finally opened their stock of over 250,000 TouchPads online and in stores for the Fire Sale reduced price and I was just able to order a 32GB version without any trouble. Now, do I got to BJs and try and physically secure a 16GB, or do I hope and pray that the BBY one comes through? Oh, did I mention that HP Small Business site now has them in stock again? That’s another option.

So, the HP fire sale… not sure what is going on with HP right now. I understand they are losing money and everything and have decided to begin distancing themselves from the consumer PC market as well as WebOS, but to have a sale like this on the TouchPad is a little drastic IMHO. Especially on the day that the company announces the 64GB White TouchPad is coming to the states. Umm, WHAT?!? So, this fire sale… 16GB version retails at $399 now with the 32GB version just $100 more at $499. Well, the slashed prices are 16GB for $99 and the 32GB for just $50 more at $149. Wow, talk about savings there. Turns out it costs $306.15 to make the 16GB version and $328.15 to make the 32GB version, cost based on Bill of Materials provided by iSuppli. Talk about a HUGE loss overall, but in the interim their sales are going to soar. 3rd Quarter gains anyone?

I just find it interesting, that through this whole thing, HP has not come forth with why the drastic cut nor have any of their other product lines been slashed with such vigor. Its almost like the TouchPad and WebOS has left a horribly nasty taste in HPs mouth. In any case, there are hundreds of thousands of people that are VERY happy right now, and I certainly can’t blame them. I’m seriously hoping that my BBY order processes and ships. If it doesn’t happen I will be disappointed, but I’ll be alright. I still think and fully feel the iPad2 is a much stronger and solid device, but I can’t pass up this opportunity to get a good tablet very very cheap. If it works out and I get mine, it will be the only tablet that can even remotely compete with the Nook, which I still think is a fantastic device both in terms of performance and cost, especially after being rooted and I haven’t even looked at the overclock ability of the one that we have.

So, got the Music move issue fixed. Turns out the Subsonic service was not fully stopping, even though it looked like it was. Fix was simple, disable the service entirely and reboot the box. So, converted the Raid10 to Raid5 and the speed drop was very noticeable. Needless to say, the 1TBs are back in Raid10 configuration. Looking at expanding the 2TB array into 4 drives instead of 2, just not sure if I should split them into 2 2TB Raid1’s or do 1 4TB Raid10. I’ll probably play around with that when I get the new 2TB drives and work out which one is better.

In any event, still quite happy with WHS 2011 as a whole. Will need to start looking into actually backing up the PCs and stuff, as I have yet to get into that. Then I’ll need to look at beginning a server backup setup. That said, I should look at the recovery image since everything is up and running well for the time being.

Thought I would provide an update from the previous post about how the PS3 Media Server. Works fantastically, no chunking or buffering issues, at least not thus far. Quality of the streamed mkv’s is top notch. All in all I’m very impressed with it.

WHS2011 update… Well, its running, fully operational, kinda. So, the System/OS drive is a pair of 500GB SATA drives in Raid1 configuration, for server backup. I have a primary data drive of 2 2TB drives in Raid1. I then have a second data drive consisting of 4 1TB drives in Raid10. I had initially thought about doing Raid5, and I may still go back that route, especially with some of the difficulties I have been having with this array. I was able to move our 38GB of Pictures from the primary data drive to the second data drive. I setup to move/migrate the Music directory, which thanks to Cosmo is now nearing 400GB in size. I started the move, 8 hours later still at 0%. So I cancelled the move, its been “cancelling” now for some 36 hours. *sigh* So I am now in the process of running a chkdsk on that raid group, currently only about ½ through the first Stage of it. All in all, not a happy camper right now. My plan, get this back into 100% operational order and give the Music folder move another go and see where I get from there. Other than that I have been quite happy with WHS2011 as a whole. I think converting the 4 1TB drives to a Raid5 would be a good idea as gaining the extra TB for the client backups would be optimal. We shall see, I will update at that time.

<p>Since our current Samsung LN-T4066F LCD TV has begun showing some signs of wear, 2 service requests in less than a years time, we decided it was time to begin looking into LED TVs similar to what we saw when we were at CES this past January. I should point out that at the time we were at CES we were really looking to purchase one of the new Sharp Aquos with Quattron due to the addition of the 4th color, which when we saw the demos, made the TV just that much more vibrant. Anyways, I’m getting ahead of myself, the first service was last last year, the TV was beginning to experience the power related issues that are notorious for this model. Pink dots on the black background and the LCD panel beginning to take up to 2 minutes to actually show an image. Repair dude replaced 4 capacitors on the power board with larger ones, as the originals were clearly beginning to bulge from wear. Then during the BBQ is was pointed out how pink the display was starting to look on parts that should otherwise be white. We then began noticing how RED the reds were, almost blindingly red. We tinkered around with the settings and got the red turned down and blues and greens turned up to the point that the TV was watchable, but it didn’t look quite right. Repairman came on Tuesday and replaced the component board that houses all the connectors, HDMI, VGA, Coax, etc. That cleared that issue up, so all appears well now.</p><p>While waiting for the repair to occur for the LCD we decided to go shopping and began comparing the Samsung’s with the Sharp’s. As previous indicated, earlier this year we were really looking towards abandoning Samsung for the latest Sharp Aquos w/ Quattron, but in the end we came purchase the Samsung UN46D6000S LED TV. It wasn’t to say the Sharp wasn’t a pretty TV, but the demo’s they were showing in the stores and comparing the stats with the prices, the Samsung just fit better with our budget and us. That said, when doing comparisons in the store you do have to remember that you won’t be comparing anything when your at home. If it looks great in the store, even if it doesn’t look as good as the TV next to it, it will still look great at home.

</p><p>As for the Samsung, well this TV is BRIGHT and I mean like WOAH bright. This thing is amazing. The picture is gorgeous, colors and vibrant and whew, sound is fantastic. Its not to say the LN-T4066F was BAD, but Samsung has definitely showed that it is progress its TV development. One of the first things I noticed upon unboxing the TV was the energy star sticker. The TV fits rather snuggly into the entertainment center, hardly a finger tip fits on either side of the panel. Its super thin, about 1/2″ thick. It runs COOL, the other LCD, after being on for an hour was a little warm to the touch, this thing is still cool. The picture is the thing that I am still getting used to. Its so clear and crisp and so real looking that its unbelievable. Its almost hard to describe how real looking the image is, but I definitely recommend a 120Hz TV to anyone out there that is looking for a new TV. The picture is almost as if your looking through the camera lens yourself. It appears to real and lifelike, doesn’t look like there’s been any processing done to the image what-so-ever. And this is even when watching a moving that’s been up-converted to HD from 1993. Yes, even Cool Runnings looks AMAZING after being up-converted to HD. I could go on and on about it, but I’m telling you, what you see on the TV when its in the store is NOTHING like what you will experience once you get it home and unbox it. I was a little concerned due to the lack of component connectors on the TV, but since it had 4 HDMI ports, I thought I would just purchase a new HDMI for the Wii. Well, Samsung really has thought of everything with this TV. Yes, its true there is no traditional 5 connector component and 3 connector composite+a/v connectors on the TV, what they have done is created adapters for each. I can’t find the model or a picture of either of them, but they are amazing little adapters and they work flawlessly. Its fantastic, keep up the good work Samsung.</p><p>That said, the LN-T4066F has already been migrated to the basement and has replaced the old 80lb Sony CRT that has been running since what, 2000 I think. I’ll have to check it when I get home, but yeah, its been running for at least a decade and has finally been retired.</p>

So, as some of you may or may not know, I have the Samsung SCH-I500, aka Verizon Fascinate. Its a great phone, love the sleekness and size of it. The speed and hardware is fantastic. I am however very disappointed in both Samsung and Verizon with their slowness and lack of updates for the device. Nearly a year after it was released it finally got a Froyo build but as far as I can tell, Verizon has yet to push and OTA for it. They have no problems providing updates and OTAs for the I9000 which is the International version of the phone, but no, not the US CDMA based versions. Granted I’ve been rooted since Day 2 of having the phone, so I have not participated in any of the OTAs, so I can’t be certain. Looking at the <a href=”http://opensource.samsung.com/”>Samsung Open Source Release Center</a> it appears that the ED05 kernel was released 2 days ago, this is still some 2 weeks behind the leaks. In any event, I upgraded to a leaked Froyo and about 2 weeks later CM7 became available and I immediately jumped to it.

All in all CM7 on the Fascinate is fantastic. The speed is excellent, and I am actually getting quite accustomed to ADW Launcher. There are just a couple of issues that I have come across since upgrading to this ROM.
<ol>
<li>Battery Life – Its not great, but that could be the Glitch kernel that I’m running. Kernel is fast as all hell and there are tons of voltage controls, I just haven’t tweaked it enough to get it to its best efficiency, at least I don’t think. I get a solid day of battery even with moderate usage, which isn’t bad, but considering I was getting about a day and a half on the Froyo ROMs with the same if not more usage, is a little concerning. Community believes this is not just kernel related but also ROM related and should be fixed sometime soon in the nightlies.</li>
<li>MMS – Notorious CM7 Beta MMS bug resides on this ROM. Sometimes you have to jump to Airplane mode and then back to 3G to get MMS too send/receive. You absolutely cannot do MMS when connected to Wifi, which totally baffles me. Shouldn’t the MMS be forced solely through the 3G radio and not the Wifi radio? Granted, MMS does work, its just a little buggy. Like the Battery issues, the community also expects this issue to be resolved through the nightlies, eventually.</li>
<li>Flashlight – Cannot get any flashlight applications to light the camera flash. This was true with the stock ROMs for the phone as the way Samsung has engineered the flash to operate is only when the camera requests flash and at no other time. There was an app, Zaphoyd flashlight or something, that I was able to use on Froyo that worked, he had the phone cycle through 7 or 8 different settings during the configuration process to get it to work. This will be outstanding until I can come across some different flashlights. I read the other day there is a flashlight app for an older Android phone, the Ares I believe, that is supposed to work for some versions of the Fascinate.</li>
<li>LED Notifications – Apparently there seems to be an issue with LED Notifications displaying for the soft keys but then not turning off. ANNOYING! So I’ve got this app that blocks them, but in the process of doing that I now get a notification for every single email that I get even if I haven’t viewed them. Which I absolutely hate. If I have an email waiting unread and you’ve notified, if others come in, don’t notify again, I’ll get to it when I get to it.</li>
<li>Fifth thing, don’t remember, will update later.</li>
</ol>
<div>Now, seeing as the development community for this phone has all but dried up, this leaves me with using older Froyo ROMs with old kernels, sticking with this buggy CM7 or looking at this Chinese developed MIUI ROM. Its an interesting looking ROM, not sure if I like that its Chinese developed and ported, not to mention the iPhone-esque interface, which includes the apps on the home screen. We shall see, I may be flashing to MIUI’s 1.8.5 release if they get a couple of the 1.7.29 bugs fixed, if only to see how it compares to CM7.</div>