Archive for the 'PC' Category

30
Apr
10

Dell & the Tegra2 Tablet? Forget it!

http://www.engadget.com/2010/04/21/dell-looking-glass-tablet-leaks-tegra-2-coming-your-way-in-nove/

As if they haven’t brought enough mediocrity to the laptop and desktop, Dell has set their sites on the new tablet/pad space Apple has opened up in computer hardware with its iPad. in typical form, Dell will try to appeal on price –casting aside such nice-to-haves like usability and quality.
You couldn’t give me a Dell computer or peripheral. Their new products are garbage — loaded down with enough begware out of box to make the product unusable. Who are they serving? Customers or Vendors? Most of the products preloaded on their boxes are worthless or second-rate to begin with. How much LESS could Dell care about their customers? I wrote Jeff Clarke (head of Dell Mfg-Americas) a note expressing concern over the amount of begware and garbage installed on new Dell computers. The bastard couldn’t be bothered to even answer.

Yo Jeff: I have no interest in a second rate product sold and supported by outsourced sales teams. Dell NO LONGER has any real engineering competency (they laid them all off–cheap bastards) in the US – so they are relying on the Chinese copycats to help provide the technologies they are clueless on how to provide.

The effort to migrate mfg to the Chinese was so hopeless that Dell had to rehire a BIOS engineering buddy of mine (Dell HATES spending money on anyone competent) to hold their hands (via tele-conf) because the company now lacks any real problem-solving creativity.

Hopefully Dell bastards will be acquired soon. The best thing Mikey Dell could do for shareholders if he gave one shit would be to sell the company off in pieces, give the shareholders their money back & get out of the hardware biz. Yes, I know it sounds a little like the advice the egomaniac gave Steve Jobs re: Apple about 10 years ago when Mikey THOUGHT he was on top.

Yo Mikey Dell: YOUR COMPANY CULTURE IS IN RUINS & *YOUR PRODUCTS ARE NO LONGER LEADERS, THEY ARE PATHETIC LOW QUALITY CRAP. * Dell can’t even keep its contract with the State of Texas because the products and services the dell lemmings sell and support are so poor. Texas is the even company’s HOME STATE as well as its place of incorporation! If they won’t buy, who will? Neophytes? Transactional business?

The only good thing about the Tegra2 would appear to be its use of Android, Google’s mobile device O/S..
However, I’d still stick to Apple’s iPad and keep your eye on Palm|HP & RIMM’s forthcoming offerings.

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31
Mar
10

The State of Media Player

Home entertainment is in the midst of a transformation that may give consumers the ability to truly watch and listen to what they want when they want. I am, of course, describing the media center appliance, an appliance-like unit that marries to one’s home entertainment system and allows for multimedia content from various sources (traditional cable, home file server via TCP/IP network, VCR, DVD etc) to be utilized as the user chooses. These media players have been around in one form or another since VGA ports started commonly appearing on the back of TV sets over almost a decade ago. The problem has been two-fold: the UI (user interface) and the content control.

User interface design (or HCI) is a study of reducing and simplifying the number of visual cues required for humans to quickly and easily accomplish computer-based tasking. Without going into great description, it would suffice to say that the efforts the market has seen so far have been mediocre, at best. Too often (as in Microsoft’s “Media Center” and “Home Server” products) the products introduced are nothing more than sophomoric regurgitations of existing products (MS Media Center used a re-factored XP) — often performing some of the key features of a media appliance as though it were a “bolt-on” or an after-thought.

Media control is likely the largest factor in the glacial pace that the innovation of the media appliance has taken. Media rights groups (MPAA, RIAA, etc) feel a concern that copyrighted and trademarked materials will be abused if the media player mfgs are not compelled to design equipment that respects the digital rights of media creators. The reality is these greedy media pigs are probably more of an impediment to a meaningful solution than any sort of catalyst. There is no doubt digital rights need to be preserved, however, at a time when we are seeing intellectual property in other realms (i.e., pharma, bio, medicine, agri, etc) be afforded shorter windows of exclusivity it would seem daft and out-of-step not to see similar considerations made on multimedia properties as well.

Presently, I am using an AppleTV, a stripped down PC and a Sonos unit (ZP120) and I like them all. That said, I wish I could have the features each has in one box/appliance. The AppleTV works well for me however, the fact it will play only Quicktime MOV, MP3 and M4V make it less than a complete solution. Apple stupidly made iTunes the “sync-n-add” mechanism for the AppleTV rather than having the Apple TV unit operate with a web interface on-board to manage these all load and organize tasks. This was an odd mistake for Apple – only further demonstrating that even those with good track records in providing consumer electronics have not had a winner here yet.

The Sonos is a real winner and – if it had a means to offer video as well – would likely be my choice. However, it does not — leaving the product a good match only for my sound (not visual) needs.

The stripped down PC is by far the most useful but the least easy to use. The keyboard and mouse (std.io) is clunky and a piss-poor match for the needs one has in a home entertainment landscape.  No matter – sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

BTW, if any of you have good things to say about any and all media server/centers please feel free to embellish in comments.  I would love to get some insights from others on this topic.




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