A Dead Ringer For DoorBot

DoorBot-Looking-Left.jpgThis week has seen the team behind the DoorBot pseudo-smart doorbell announce their second generation product. In so doing they’ve renamed themselves Ring.

Honestly, my experience with Doorbot and its creators was so bad that I can’t help but harbor some animosity toward their operation. Yet, I want to be fair. Design is an iterative process. Perhaps they just need a few iterations on the theme to get to more generally usable product.

On the other hand, the description of the new product seems to be an incremental improvement from DootBot. Jump from 802.11B type Wifi to the more recent 802.11N type. Jump from VGA resolution video to 720p video, the baseline for HD. Abandon push-to-talk audio, ala Nextel of old, for something more akin to telephony. It’s basically a reversal of some of the bad design decisions embodied in the first generation product.

On the other hand, they still seem completely wed to their own “cloud service.” My experience with that was expect massive latency on call setup. Expect video only on occasion. I rarely even had continuous audio. On this basis alone you probably won’t receive that Fedex Express package you’re expecting on the first delivery attempt.

I’ve come to understand that my mistake with respect to DoorBot was expecting the kind of performance that I could more reasonably expect from any standards compliant IP phone. The DoorBot team clearly doesn’t have that sort of experience or appreciate that kind of performance. Even if that’s what separates the tools from the toys. DoorBot is a toy. Nothing more.

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The LG HBS-730 Bluetooth Headset Sucks Rocks

Nexus7-Headset-BT-xmitter verticalAs was mentioned a few weeks ago, I’ve been looking for a Bluetooth headset primarily for listening to music. This is a very different use case for me. For years I’ve reserved Bluetooth wireless devices exclusively for use with my mobile phone, making phone calls.

I bought one of the leading devices in this class, the LG HBS-730. It was recommended by several friends, so I thought it would surely be great. Except that it wasn’t. Compared to my reference, the Etymotic HF5, it sounded dull and lifeless when paired to anything I had on-hand.

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Ipevo Strikes Again With The VX-1 Internet Conference Station

ipevo vx-1 internate conference station 300pxIf you’ve been loitering hereabouts regularly for a long while, you may recall that I was once seeking an affordable USB-attached conference phone. I tried the Ipevo X1N6 Internet Conference Phone and found it lacking.

Not long after I published that review the company contacted me, suggesting that the device I had was simply faulty, and offering a replacement. I was surprised at the offer, but I accepted.

Given the reality of production in batches in Asia, it took some months to get the replacement. When it arrived it behaved exactly like the first. On that basis I decided to let the matter drop.

Last month I was again contacted by Ipevo, this time with the offer a sample of their new VX-1 Internet Conference Station for evaluation. I admit that my curiosity got the better of me. Had they really learned anything from that older product? They were taking a risk in making the offer as I had not been kind at our first encounter.

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A Net Neutrality Infographic

VoIP Supply Infographic in Lenovo X-1-CarbonLast week VoIP Supply has posted an interesting and potentially informative infographic that purports to describe “How Does Net Neutrality Affect VoIP?” The artwork is originally from Visual.ly, created by Gryffin.

While the thrust of the thing is useful, there are a few things about it that put me ill at ease. Like so much of the debate about network neutrality, important subtleties are often misconstrued or simply overlooked.

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Revisiting The SlimPort Output Of Android Devices

HDMI-SplitterA few days back I received a G+ IM from someone who had discovered my description of how to use an HDMI splitter to make the output of an Android tablet more useful. He posed a question that I think is worth sharing. He asked the following;

Dear Michael,

I just read your article about capturing video from a Nexus 7 and I have a question about that if you do not mind.

I bought a Nexus 7 (2013) to be able to give presentations and show short movies in my classroom. The thing is that most projectors still have only a VGA socket. I have a cable Slimport=>HDMI and it works perfectly well.

I also have a cable HDMI=>VGA but it does not work and I suspect it is because of the HDCP. I was wondering if the splitter and HDCP stripper you used could work in my case. If yes that would be great and would literally save my classes.

Thank your for your time and sorry again to bother you with that.

Thibaut Bailly

To begin, as a blogger, I welcome questions from readers. For the most part people blog because the want to share what they’ve discovered. As a non-professional blogger I may not always respond immediately, but I try to respond to every comment and question.

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