Five Geek Products That Really Piss Me Off !!

All that glitters isn't a communcator badge in geekdom

I gotta admit it, I love a good engineered product that solves problems that I didn't know I actually had until I use it and now I can't be without it! That's really how a good high tech product should be...almost like magic. However, if it causes more problems AND you’re out the cash you paid for it; well, someone needs and butt whoppin' for sure. Here are five geek products that I purchased and failed miserably. Plus, I’ll toss in what alternatives I used to replace these duds. 00x01: Dodo case: Every engineer needs a lab right? and every iPad needs a case. I read a review about the Dodo case http://www.dodocase.com and it sounded really cool. "Old school book binding", "Handmade in the United States" etc... so plopped down the cash and waited around 5 weeks for it to show up. Sure enough, when it did it was really nice. About three weeks later, the wood trim that holds the iPad actually in the case started splitting and splitting and splitting. Until it could no longer support my iPad. Emails to Dodo went unanswered (still to this day). Piece of crap, waste of money. Lesson learned: Most of the time folks are excited about new stuff. Let some time pass and discard any reviews by someone with the word "analyst" in their title. Alternative: Temple Bags http://templebags.com makes an incredibly durable case and it looks fantastic. 00x02 iPhone: I started cutting code in Objective-C from Apple and really enjoyed it. Which is something because I am not and object orientated coder at all. I picked up an iPhone when I needed a replacement because it's cool and I can write apps directly for it to prototype, plus I can watch old school Bugs Bunny Roadrunner show cartoons on it which is bonus! IF I had the battery life left to do so. Oh man, the battery on this phone just sucks! My iPad last for a week, my iPod also but my iPhone, a trip from Milwaukee to San Jose is pushing it! and that's if I am managing power like a Amish Data Center Admin. Plus what the crap is the deal with this phone being hyper sensitive to water? Now I don't want to swim across the creek while updating my Twitter feed but come on man a cell phone should be able to withstand a little rain or a friggen slobbery spit laced sneeze! Lesson Learned: Who I am trying to fool. I bought an iPhone to look cool daddy-o! I need to get real man. I'm 45, fat and drive a four door Chrysler Pacifica. Cool passed me by long ago. Thank goodness for the Otter Box iPhone case http://www.otterbox.com Sure it makes my iPhone as chunky as an old Cabletron switch but it protects it like a politician protects special interest. Alternative: Android HTC baby just not on Motorola hardware (save that rant for another blog) 00x03 Bluetooth: Really I don’t need to say much else here, but I’m gonna. I have always believed that walking on water and coding to a standard are the two easiest things to do. The trick is, they both need to be frozen. To understand Bluetooth and why it sucks worse than a three day weekend with your inlaws, I set out to code a set of Bluetooth drivers. Oh man, that is certainly a topic for another blog. Needless to say, the “standard” is expensive to start coding on. I tried with the Microsoft stack that used to come from Widcomm but since XP sp2 it is now their own and what a pain in the tail that is. First off, this is NOT a exclusive Microsoft problem. They all suck and it starts with the stack. They do not pair well with other stacks. Now the stack is really multiple protocols/profiles. Some are mandatory but sadly most of these are optional. Ah yes...flashback to the good ole Ethernet auto-negation days.... This really means each vendors Bluetooth could be a little to a whole lot different. To a code jockey, the critical parts are the transport protocols RFCOMM and L2CAP. (Kinda like TCP and UDP in our world) Now, L2CAP is a mandatory and that should make it a sure thing on all vendor Bluetooth implementations right? That'd cool wouldn't it? Since XP, Microsoft’s Bluetooth stack only offers RFCOMM but includes L2CAP inside of RFCOMM. That's the optional RFCOMM protocol that's present on every stack. And why it sucks. I have also tried coding in C with the BlueZ stack on Linux but truthfully, it was really slow and buggy due to the HCI events/commands processing. I really need to dig into this more to see what I was doing wrong with my coding before I blame this stack. Lesson Learned: Bluetooth is broken. Maybe the latest Bluetooth 4.0 standard will help us out some when it is more main stream. Alternatives: Cabled baby. Plus unless you’re a wide receiver for the NFL and have a douche bag reputation to uphold, take that Bluetooth earpiece out of your ear when your off a call. 00x04 Alienware: We needed a hot running box for TechWiseTV to co-render video, run demos, compile code and yes even do some online deathmatches with folks. I have always had good luck with Alienware so without hesitation, I ordered their top of the line machine. Whatta a piece of crap this turd has been since day one. It has been nothing but absolute problems from the first day. WORST MACHINE EVER! We have had to stop down tapings , cancel demos reschedule video processors all directly due to hardware problems from this floater. Heck right now one of the video cards is bad in it! I have shipped it back twice for repair and now I need to do it again. Understand that is friggen expensive since the box weights in it 85 pounds! I am not sure what has happened over there, but that is NOT the same company it once was. Lesson Learned: I got Dell'ed. Anytime I walk into a company and I see Dell machines, I know their bean counters have more say over the network then the IT folks do. I believe Dell picked up where Packard-Bell left off. My GUESS is that when Dell picked up Alienware, they applied their quality assurance process on them and crap ensued. A lesson I teach my kids at home is; Don't take candy from strangers and don't ever buy a Dell. Alternative: We picked up a Mac-Mini with a Wacom Cintiqe pad for one quarter of the cost of the Alienware and it works fantastic! Great HD video out, excellent processing and we run three images on it for multiple demos. 00x05 Anything electronic from thinkgeek.com: I love thinkgeek.com! They have some very cool stuff to really celebrate geekdom to its fullest. When it comes to the electric stuff on their sight, it has the durability of something you'd win at the county fair. I have picked up stuff like USB hubs, light sabers, phasers, clocks, etc... and without a doubt all have failed. Now I understand they are just sourcing the stuff and true to form their tech support/customer service is one of the best for replacing stuff fast without problems. But then it's boxing it up, paying for shipping back, waiting at the post office...It's just that...come on man! I really wanted my cool doomsday USB hub to make the explosion sound when I think about Slim Pickens riding that arrow into the ground! Lesson Learned: I love their shirts and non-powered items. I'll just stick to that and we're still friends Alternatives: Maybe on this one, it’s adjusting my expectations. Some of this stuff is just made so cheap. That's why modding and hot boxing is so popular now. A Star Trek phaser is a real piece of crap. BUT since the plastic molded injection is done, I can gut it and add my own parts to it...like a 465mW blue-ray laser diode...awwwwww....yyyyeeeeaaahhh!!! What about you? Any geek products out there you picked up that just sucked? Come on share it with us! It's good for soul...wait, what is this in the SkyMall Catalogue...A Canine Genealogy kit? I have always been interested in genetic profiling! only 59.99! were did I put that credit card.... Jimmy Ray Purser Trivia File Transfer Protocol Floccinaucinihilipilification, the declaration of an item being useless, is the longest non-medical term in the English language

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