Saturday, June 30, 2012

Impressions of the Clear Coat phone protection film

So my Xperia X10i has had a Clear Coat on it since I got it, or almost.  That makes it 2-3 years old now.

The CC has held up well.  3 years on, the CC is now visibly coming off at most of the corners and edges.  It's still good and stuck on the phone overall, mind you, but it is clear it is losing its staying power.  Eventually all the edges and corners will be loose.

The CC seems to have done it's job.  I've dropped the phone a couple of times, and I don't see any scratches in the plastic. 

So it seems to hold up over the long term.  If I kept the handset, I'd probably cash in on the lifetime replacement guarantee.  But I'll likely upgrade before then.

First impressions of the 2012 Sony Vaio Z (Z3)

Random impressions of the Vaio Z - the latest 2012 model, not the previous 2 generations.  I never used those, although I understand the Z2 is effectively the same as the Z3 in size, shape etc.

The price has effectively dropped by almost $1,000 because the Power Media Dock is now optional.  Good for those of us who are not terribly interested in a secondary video card/external monitor capability.

Neither the lappy nor the sheet battery weight anything, but somehow you put them together and they feel a bit heavy.  Not bad, mind you, but you will notice.

Nobody talks about the sheet battery.  This thing is great.  It adds a few mm to the height/thickness of the lappy.  To mount, clip it on and rotate two thumbscrews.  It takes about 15 seconds to get on or off, and is really easy, so it's not necessarily a permanent install once it's on.

The battery fits into a small connector on the bottom of the lappy.  The connector has a cover on it, which fits well but is not captive.  To keep it from getting lost, there is a holder in the battery.  You pull the cover off the bottom of the lappy and put it into the holder in the battery before attaching the battery to the lappy.

Having the sheet battery seems to make the Vaio more stable on the desk.

The keyboard is rather as bad as everyone says, but you can use it.  It just takes getting used to.  In that sense, it's no worse than the compressed layout used by the previous generation of subnotebooks.  You just have to practice and you will find that you start to type effectively after a fairly short period.

I can imagine it being a bit more of an issue when you're tired or distracted.  It's harder to type well under those circumstances.

The screen is nice but I would not recommend the highest resolution version.  The 1600x900 version is fine, and likely as small as I would want to see.

Depending on the settings, the icon and icon text may ratio may start to look a little disproportionate compared to standard settings.  Be prepared to mess with the various zoom and magnify settings of W7 to get the look you want.

The Vaio does have an SD card slot.  Good for loading your movies or other items and keep your SSDs clean.  Although 256 Gb goes a lot further than you might think.

[Addition]:  Took the Z on it's first road trip - a 2-week vacation.  Still like it.  Having the sheet battery makes me feel secure, although I did not actually need to use anything near the entire capacity on this trip.  I have stopped noticing anything amiss with the screen, it's just the way it is and it's fine.  It's not too heavy even with the sheet battery on.

I did skin the Z with a Clear-Coat for the Z2, see my more recent most for info on that.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Galaxy S III available on WIND - sort of?

Well, despite the e-mail from WIND recently, they have put the Galaxy S III up for sale on their site.  Thanks for NOT telling those of us who pre-registered, WIND!  Good on ya.

Confusingly, one part of the site says that the phone is ONLY available on WINDtab, which is their pseudo-financing plan.  Still, it seems like you can go to the phone detail page and add the phone to your cart anyway.

Price is $649 at time of writing, blue and white both available.  Haven't tried to purchase yet, so no idea if you can go ahead and compete the process yet or not.  WIND claimed supply shortages, like all the other North American manufacturers, so I wouldn't be shocked to find the delivery time is a bit out there right now.

[Edit]:  Tried to purchase and got the strange error "The consumer is not eligible for authentication".  What little I can find indicates that the payment processor for WIND (Centurion) can't identify my PC Financial Mastercard properly for redirect to MasterCard SecureCode verification.  I guess PC Fin isn't enrolled in Centurion's system?

Anyway, it sucks, since I really want a GS III.

[Edit 2]:  Called a store.  They said their stock was all reserved only for new customers.  Existing customers "have to wait a couple of days".

The store employee was apologetic, saying it was WIND policy and not theirs.

Nice going WIND.  It had better not be more than the couple of days.

I kind of fail to see the point of this anyway.  You sell the hardware for full price, and keep a customer.  How is that different from losing an old customer (for not selling the handset) and gaining a new one?

Sounds like WIND is prioritizing expanding their customer base.  Which makes sense - except that so many loyal WIND fanbois are likely to be lusting after a GSIII.  You can bet your ass that Apple never turned anyone away from getting the latest iPhone, existing customer or no.

Of course, nobody ever complained of large supply shortages.  Samsung might be a bit of a victim of it's own success - in theory - but in practice, everyone who wants a GSIII now will get one, sooner or later.  If you were going to switch, you would have done so already.  (Any new devices coming after the GSIII excepted, of course - like the latest iPhone, for example.)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

MS8226 is available from Canadian resellers

And not just on eBay, either.

Thanks to an inquiry, I learned that a Canadian-based company called SysComp is reselling the Mastech MS8226 as model number DVM-101.  They don't even attempt to re-brand it, they just re-sell the Mastech unit as-is.

So if you're leery about buying from GoodLuckBuy, here's an alternative for you. 

Note that I got my two from GoodLuckBuy with no worries, and they do sell both the true-RMS and non-true-RMS versions.  So if you want to save a few dollars, go non-true-RMS.

SysComp does offer a bundle with a suitable RS-232 to USB adapter, which can be handy.  There's no guarantee the MS8226 will work with all adapters.

The interesting bit, however, is their open-source logging software for the MS8226.  Which is strange, since the Mastech instruments are hardly commonplace.  Even weirder, they support a few other instruments.  And weirdest of all, they support PC, Mac and Linux.  (This is mostly by virtue of the Tcl/Tk scripting language they use, but still...)

As they cannot sell very much, it is a mystery to me how this is a going concern.  They do have distribution, but it's all hobby-centric/retail outlets, which are hardly big volume.

Still, it's there, and may be a boon to those looking for an MS8226 alternative/replacement GUI.  Reviews are generally positive, and they say they are available for personal support.

I haven't tried their MS8226 software yet, so I do not know if it is better than, equal to, or lesser than the stock Mastech software. 

Specifically, I can't tell if it has a buffer limit or can save files to .csv format or not.  There is no documentation that I can find.  I don't like putting extra junk on my PCs anymore, so I'll have to wait until my current experiments are done so I can try the software on an older PC that I don't care about.

Monday, June 25, 2012

C'mon WIND - where's the beef?

Samsung must have put one hell of a muzzle on their carriers this time around.

Five days since the original Canadian launch date for the Samsung Galaxy S III.  WIND Mobile has yet to say a word.

Nothing about the launch date.  Nothing about a delay.  No hint that the new launch date is "supposed" to be in 2 days (according to MobileSyrup).  No hints at all.  Nothing!

Two days to go and nothing?  Wow.  I wonder if they're going to get it at all, sometimes.  More to the point, when?  This week?  This month?  Three months?

C'mon WIND.  Toss us a bone here.

[Edit]  Here's the bone: