Revisiting Algo Solutions

In the recent pre-holiday period we had the usual spike in the number of deliveries. This reminds me of how much I admire that Algo Solutions 8028 SIP Door Phone that graces our gate. It’s a splendid device, the definitive solution to the problem of deliveries to a one-man office. When a courier arrives they push the button. Even in their pre-holiday panic I can be talking to them before they have the opportunity to cut-and-run.

On rare occasions when they arrive and I’m not on the property, the call routes to my cell phone. I can advise them to take the package next door, or try again tomorrow.

There have been a couple of times when I was nearby or on the way home. In those few cases the driver offered to make another run past our gate after making some other deliveries in the neighborhood. The ability to talk to them immediately helped them clear their daily load, and saved me a trip to the not-so-nearby depot. Win-Win!

The 8028 Door Phone has been installed for a while. I noted this week that there was a firmware update for the device. While I was not having any trouble with the device, it only took ten minutes to update the firmware.

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Crazybaby Mars Levitation Bluetooth Speaker

Crazybaby-Mars-SmallNormally I would not grace this sort of thing with my time or attention. However, I think that the Mars levitating Bluetooth wireless speaker from Crazybaby is a triumph of style-over-substance. That alone inspires at least a quick examination of the product. I’m curious to ascertain it’s raison d’etre.

Most of the active component of the device seem to be housed in the flying saucer-like part of the system called the “Craft.” It literally levitates on a magnetic field, 20mm above the base, when in operation.

When the device is off the Craft settles down on top of the base, which allows for “Wireless Smart Charging.” When turned on the Craft hovers above the base until the battery fades. It’s quoted as lasting 6 hours.

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The LifeSpan Of A Yeti

Last week my Blue Microphones Yeti became completely unresponsive. A USB-connected microphone, when I connected it to my desktop Windows reported that the device was unrecognized. Digging into the device manager on the OS, I found a device connected, but not identified. Since the device was not responding to the OS no driver could be assigned.

I filed a trouble report with Blue Microphones, who responded a day later with a list of questions. They wanted to know if I’d tried a different USB cable, or a difference computer? Of course, I’d done these things. I tried with my desktop, laptop and a Mac Mini…heck, I’d even powered up an old HP 2140 netbook so I could try the Yeti with Windows XP.

No Joy. Beyond being unrecognized by the hosts, the Yeti itself was unresponsive. The microphone mute button was on, and could not be turned off. After a few emails the Blue support team determined that the Yeti was in fact deceased. If I could show proof that it was within the two-year warranty period they’d replace it.

As I recall I received my Yeti as a Christmas gift in 2011. So, he was almost four years of at at the time of his passing. Sadly, beyond the warranty period.

The Yeti had a particular role in my operation. It was the full-bandwidth microphone that I used when recording narration for the tutorial videos that I occasionally create. While I didn’t use it all that often, I do need something to fill that role.

However, I’m not rushing to acquire another Yeti or Yeti Pro. My most recent examination of microphones for telecom, podcasting & production, has me considering something much smaller. Ideally, I’d like to try a headset that features a full-bandwidth microphone element. This has turned out to be a rare bird. Perhaps I’ll revisit stage microphones like the Countryman E6 or the inexpensive Pyle-Pro PMHM2.

Replacing the Yeti will have to wait until after the holidays. Perhaps CES will reveal some new alternative that will prove interesting.

As microphones goes the Yeti is a fearsome creature, but they are apparently short-lived.

P.S. – YouTuber extraordinaire Marques Brownlee recently began a new series on “YouTube Gear” by recommending the Yeti.

Meta: Open Live Writer Launched

OLW LaunchedAs mentioned yesterday, I have long enjoyed using Windows Live Writer as my offline blogging tool. I appreciate its simplicity. It’s purity of purpose. It’s lightweight, just enough tool to get things done.

It’s not perfect, but it has some great features. It’s simplicity has allowed its functionality to be extended by the user community. For example, there’s a nice trick that uses DropBox to sync WLW drafts between systems. This has proven very productive as I move between desktop & laptop.

I also appreciate the way that it will automatically insert web links to a library of phrases. This kind of auto-linking, previously done server-side using a WordPress plug-in, was a constant source of problems in the past.

Sadly, Microsoft has largely ignored Windows Live Writer in recent years. It wasn’t even included in the Windows 10 RTM. There was a trick initially required to get it installed on Windows 10.

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Meta: WordPress Apps For OSX & Windows

WordPress App on MacBookToday saw the launch of WordPress 4.4. For me this is significant as most of my writing for publication online ends up in WordPress.

Some time ago I documented my initial experience with the platform and hosting services. Since then I’ve grown to admire the WordPress team for delivering utterly seamless upgrades, and Lightningbase as a wonderful hosting company. This site is just passing three years live at Lightningbase.

While I spend a lot of time in WordPress, the actual writing most typically happens in Windows Live Writer.  I like the program for it’s simple functionality. I’ll have more on that in a post to follow tomorrow.

Recent changes in WordPress have included new back-end functionality that’s designed to facilitate more evolved front-end applications. The WordPress mobile apps (Android, iOS) have been around for a while. I’ve had one loaded to my Nexus 7 tablet for a long while, but never actually written anything substantial that way. I’ve tried a few times, but ultimately found the experience lackluster.  Continue reading “Meta: WordPress Apps For OSX & Windows”

Replacing My One+ One…a not-so-smart-phone

Nexus5 lock screenMy history with Android-based mobile phones isn’t really that long, at least not when expressed by what I’ve owned; T-Mobile G2 (aka HTC Desire Z), Samsung Galaxy Nexus, LG Nexus 4 and the One+ One. Transitioning away from a Blackberry 9700 in 2010, I liked the G2, adored the two Nexus models, but I regret the decision to buy the One+ One.

I bought it back in February. There were two motivating factors at play; my Nexus 4 had become unreliable, and I was taken-in by the One+ One’s combination of reasonable price, flagship specs and limited availability.

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