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Samsung television warranty in Vietnam

I had the prejudice that the warranty of Samsung products in Vietnam would be a horror story. But I turn out that the warranty is even better than in Europe. You don’ t even need to leave your home. 

A screen which I can use to watch Netflix, a screen which I occasionally can hook-up to my laptop as a computer monitor and a screen with good sound. That was my wishlist when I searched for a new screen. I want a small screen. Not bigger than 32 inches. Believe me. People in Vietnam said that’s too small. In Vietnam, the living rooms are dominated by big screens. You need to have a bigger screen than your neighbors.

I could choose between a television or a computer screen. The decision I took was the television because most computer monitors have underpowered low-quality speakers. I didn’t want to invest in a separated sound system. In Vietnam, most of the televisions with a screen size of 32 inches and smaller have a low resolution. Those so-called HD-ready televisions have only 1366 by 768 pixels panels. (I saw even a 1280 x 720 pixels television. The horror, the horror) In 2018 that resolution is not accepted anymore for a television. I want to use the screen for multimedia design work. I need the workspace. I need a high resolution. I don’t want to compromise with a low resolution.

I found in the Samsung UA32M5500 a good friend. a 32-inch television with a real full-HD panel that offers 1920 by 1080 pixels. The television is flat and offers a lot of functionality for around 340 dollars. that’s included with delivery and installation.

After 14 months I got started to notice some problems in the image quality.
Two backlight LEDs seemed to stop working. Also, the backlight was flickering. The first thing I thought was that this is the beginning of the end. The backlight problems will grow bigger and I can’t do anything about it because I thought that I didn’t have any warranty anymore. WRONG ASSUMPTION.

This can not be true. After 14 months the television already shows signs of malfunction. I decided to send Samsung an e-mail.

Hello,

As a long-term Dutch Samsung customer, I have a question about the quality of Samsung television in Vietnam. In the Netherlands, I have always owned Samsung television. First a 32-inch LCD and later a 40-inch full-HD LCD. Both televisions worked flawlessly. When I moved to Vietnam I decided to buy a Samsung again. After a long research, I decided to go for the UA32M5500. A small television with real 1080P full HD. So I can use the television also for my edition work. The television was delivered to me on 26 June 2017.

This week I started to notice a problem with the backlight. Two LEDs on the left side of the screen seem to stop working. Plus that side has also a flickering. It looks like a hardware failure. Now I understand that in Vietnam the television doesn’t have two years of warranty like I’m used to in Europe. But only one year of warranty. So it seems that I don’t have any warranty anymore.

But this is a Samsung. It not normal that after 14 months of usage the television is already shown signs of problems. My girlfriends say its normal because the Vietnamese people get the lower quality products from Samsung and I have to take my losses. But I refuse to believe this rumor. I always loved the Samsung television because of their beautiful screen quality. But now I see this black spots on the screen where the backlight stopped working. Can Samsung assist me in finding a solution so I can use my television how this television supposed to function?

Yours sincerely,

Rienk Jan Schurer
rjschurer@gmail.com
0936541625

Shortly after the e-mail, there was a phone conversation between my girlfriend and the Samsung Service center in Saigon. Samsung will send an engineer to look at my television.

The biggest backpack I have ever seen in my life

The guy came with the biggest backpack I ever have seen in my life. He immediately started to disassemble my old television and removed the circuit boards. My girlfriend already whispered to me that she has no idea how much it will cost. We kept quiet and watched how the engineer was performing his job. He swapped the broken panel with a new panel. The circuit boards and the original cover were placed back. The television was showing a spotless image. Mission accomplished.

The good news that the complete operation was free of charge. It turns out that Samsung is offering two years of warranty on televisions in Vietnam. The only thing the engineer had to do was to register the television in the database of Samsung. The original seller of the television has failed to do so. I had always the wrong assumption that Samsung only is offering one year of warranty on their television. But it’s two years. I’m really happy with this information because I was afraid that I had to buy a new television. This was not the case. 

The warranty service in Vietnam is way better than I’m used to in Europe. If in Europe something break I have to go back to the shop with the product. Wait in line for the customers’ service. Then I have to wait maybe one till three weeks for the shop to find the problems and to repair it. Drive back to the shop to collect the repaired television. Takes a lot of time. In Vietnam, the problem is solved in 20 minutes. You don’t even need to leave your home. Thank you Samsung for fixing my television.

Unpacking a new LCD panel for my television
A new LCD panel for my Samsung television
The samsung LCD panel with the circuitboards installed

How to make your Apple Photos library smaller. Use H265 (HEVC) for your videos.

After many trips and vacations, my Apple Photos library was more than 500 gigabytes big. What can I do to make my library smaller? I start to use H265 (HEVC) for my videos.

My big Apple Photos Library

Apple Photos is my main media storage application where I store all my videos and photos. All my media is synced to the Apple cloud with iCloud. If I make a picture with my iPhone it will automatically appear on my MacBook Pro. But it also happens vice versa. If I import the photo’s and videos from my DSLR and pocket camera on my Macbook those files will also appear on my iPhone. If I delete a file on one machine, its also automatic delete from the other machine. Also, the trash is synced on my devices. If I delete a picture on my MacBook I can use my iPhone to recover that picture. Even the edits I make are synchronized. Those are features of iCloud I really appreciate.

Slowly my Apple Photos library is growing bigger and bigger. You go on a trip and shoot a lot of videos. You found an old folder filled with old vacation photos and videos on an external drive. Your parents send you old pictures they scanned. All those media files I collect in Apple Photos. Before you know the library is around 550 gigabytes big. The library contains 38 years of my life in digital form.

My Apple photos Library is big
My Apple photos Library is big

A couple of months ago I decided that its time to take control of my media collection. I did every day a Pomodoro. This is a productivity trick that you focus 25 minutes on one task. For every day I focus 25 minutes on my library. I started to delete pictures that had no meaning anymore. When I just got my DLSR I made without a problem 600 pictures at a party. As a reminder, I only kept 10 pictures of that party. I used my phones as a memory. In a couple of weeks, I managed to delete 15.000 pictures.  I’m still not at the end of the library. Every day I do a small chunk of work. But still, my library is big. I found out that in this 550GB big library around 400GB is video. That’s a lot.

HEVC

In the autumn of 2017, Apple released their new operating systems. OSX 10.13 for the Apple computers and IOS 11 for the mobile devices. In this software, Apple introduced a new codec for video and photos. Let’s talk about this new codec for video. HEVC. What stands for High-Efficiency-Video-Coding. Its a way better compression for storing video. Apple claims that it can make your video twice as small as the previous video codec they used: H264. I can tell you this is true. But videos I shot with my Canon, Sony and SJCAM camera’s even become smaller.

I made a short youtube video to show the difference in quality between H264 and HEVC. You see the change in quality is negligible. But the saving in disk space is huge!!!

The original video is a 34 seconds long and is 224MB big. Its recorded with a 50Mbit bitrate on a Sony Cybershot RX100 mark 3 camera. After I encoded the video to HEVC it’s only 17MB big. That’s only 7,5 percent of the original.  You will lose some color and sharpness. But for private videos, I don’t have a problem to encode it to HEVC.

I started to encode all my old videos in HEVC format. In the table, you can see some examples of video clips I encoded.

H264 to HEVC compression rate

CameraLength of the videoclipSize in H264 formatSize in H265 formatPercentage
SJCAM SJ4000WIFI31 seconds64.8 MB15.1 MB23.3 percent
Apple iPhone 718 seconds195.1 MB8.9 MB4.6 percent
Canon Powershot S100160 seconds702.5 MB85.5 MB12.2 percent
Sony Cybershot RX100 Mark 337 seconds242.8 MB20 MB8.2 percent

Why would I want to make my videos smaller? It will take less space at my harddisk. I need less space in the iCloud. The video will load faster if I want to stream it to my iPhone. Because my Apple Photo Library is getting smaller I have more space for other files on my hard disk.

Using Permute to encode the videos

When I wrote this blog post there are two good video encoders for making HEVC files for OSX. Handbrake and Permute. Handbrake is free, faster and offers way more settings than Permute. But I choose to use Permute because of a better workflow. Plus Permute conserve the metadata of the video file. I can tell you that this is super important. Apple Photos is using the date and time metadata in the video for the correct place in the timeline. If your video is shot on 04 January 2013. And you encode it with Handbrake at 08 August 2018. Than Apple Photos will not place that video in the timeline on 04 January 2013 but on 08 August 2018. So your timeline will be messed up. Permute keeps the correct recording date in the encoded video file. Using Permute is too simple to fail. With Handbrake, you can make easy a mistake. There are just too many settings in that program. Permute cost only 10 dollars. But you can also find it in the Setapp subscription.

How did I configured Permute?

I made a custom preset for my encoding work. I want to keep the same video and audio quality as the source video. If a video is 4K it will be downscaled to 1080P.

The preset that I made in Permute
The preset that I made in Permute

I have a folder on my desktop with the name “IMPORT APPLE PHOTOS” where Permute automatically saves the encoded videos. I put CPU usage on low so I can use my computer when Permute is busy. Disable previews is also a good advice. Otherwise, Permute can spend minutes on making small previews of the videos. For me, that’s not important. It only cost a lot of time.

The general preference in Permute
The general preference in Permute

This is important. You need to tell Permute that you want to preserve the creation date of your video. Otherwise, the encoded video file will get the date of the day you encoded it. If you import the video back to Apple Photos it will have the wrong place in the timeline. So turn it on.

Important. Preserve the creation date
Important. Preserve the creation date

My workflow

In Apple Photos I made an album with the name “To Permute”. When I’m doing my Pomodoro and I find a video which I want to encode to HEVC I just drag that video to the “To Permute album. Before I will sleep or I don’t want to use the computer for a long time  I will select all the videos files in the “To Permute” album and do right-click on the files. I choose then edit with Permute.

Choose the video's you want to encode and edit with permute
Choose the videos you want to encode and edit with permute

Apple Photos will prepare all the selected videos and send them to Permute. Check in the left-top bar if you choose the correct preset.  The only thing you then need to do is press the start button. Now you need to wait. Some videos are encoded in a couple of minutes. But I also had some long videos that took two days. My MacBook is not that fast. Read my blogpost about keeping a MacBook cool.

Encoding videos with Permute from H264 to H265
Encoding videos with Permute from H264 to H265

When Permute is done with encoding I just drag all the video files in the “IMPORT APPLE PHOTOS” to Apple Photos. Do a quick check if the videos are oke. After that, I just delete the videos in the “To Permute” album.  When I do my next Pomodoro I just start over with a new batch of videos.

In the near future, I want to use an Apple Script that will import the videos automatically after Permute encoded it. I found this thread at the Apple forum how to do that.

Three weeks later

In three weeks time, my Apple Photo library shrunk from 550 GB to 300 GB.  It’s still a work in progress. I hope to get my library under 200 GB. I also hope to find an easy workflow to convert some raw photo’s to JPG format, or even to HEIC photo format. I will share this on my blog if I find a good method.

Happy encoding.

Three weeks later made my Apple Photos library 250 GB smaller
Three weeks later my Apple Photos library is 250 GB smaller

Thermal design in the Apple MacBook Pro is a disaster?

This blog post describes my steps to make my old Apple MacBook Pro run cooler in a warm climate under constant processor load.

When my Macbook turns older. Its somehow starts to feel slower. It’s weird because its still the same computer I bought four years ago. With every OSX version that Apple releases it makes my computer feels faster and it makes it feel slower. I have to explain this. My computer feels faster after the release of METAL for handling the graphics parts. But its feels slower of all the new software features that are integrated into every new OSX release. I also have that gut feeling that Apple isn’t giving OSX any priority anymore. The big money is made with the IOS devices. Why spent a lot of resources on OSX? Most things that are now coming to OSX and the Apple computers are innovations that are first made for the IOS devices. IOS get the optimization and new features first, OSX gets it later.

My late 2013 MacBook Pro 13 inch has an Intel 2.4Ghz I5 mobile processor with a TDP of 28 watts. This means that the processor can produce up to 28 watts of heat energy. The i5-4258U processor is a combined CPU and a GPU in one packaging. So the CPU and the GPU share the same footprint and share the same heat pipe that transports the heat from the processor to the heatsink. The fan is blowing this thermal energy out of the enclosure.

The cooling system in my Macbook Pro retina
The cooling system in my Macbook Pro retina

The i5-4258U has the base frequency of 2.4 GHz. But can use the Intel® Turbo Boost Technology to push the frequency up to 2.9 GHz if there is enough cooling. Lately, I’m using the Macbook day and night for the encoding of videos. So the processor is pushed to the limit. Because its here around 30 degrees Celsius the Macbook could not reach the full 2.9 GHz. It was hopping between 2.4 GHz and 2.7 GHz.  There has to be a way to improve this.

Every day its around 30 degrees celcius
Every day its around 30 degrees celcius

I start to search for a solution. On blogs and on Youtube videos the advice was to replace the thermal paste between the processor and the heat pipe. Thermal paste is a sticky solution that helps to transfer the heat from the processor to the heat pipe.  Apple doesn’t make their own laptops. They hire a company in China to do that work. The problem is that this company is using a low-quality cool paste that’s too thick, has bad thermal performance and it will lose it thermal conductivity over time. It’s total garbage. The solution is to replace the thermal paste with a high-quality brand. I searched for what kind of high-quality thermal pasta is available in the city. For around ten dollars I bought a small tube of Arctic Silver 5.

Arctic silver 5 on a Macbook Pro retina
Arctic silver 5 on a Macbook Pro retina

I removed the heat pipe and with alcohol, I cleaned the old thermal paste off the processor. There was indeed too much crappy thermal paste. It was everywhere. After everything was cleaned I applied a small drop of Arctic Silver on the processor and put the heat pipe back. It was a disaster. The MacBook was running awful. I removed the heat pipe again and saw the problem. I did not apply enough Thermal Paste. There was a big part of the processor not covered. I applied some more of the Arctic Silver and put the heat pipe back.

Wow. That was is big different. The MacBook feels snappier. With the old thermal paste, the laptop had hiccups when it had to do heavy graphics. But now it’s fluent. Lets put the MacBook to the test. Let’s encode some videos. My video encoding software only uses the CPU for its task. The GPU is almost running idle. This little adjustment is a big success.

The Macbook Retina can now run continues at 2.9 Ghz
The Macbook Retina can now run continues at 2.9 Ghz

One of the advanced of having a unibody computer is that the whole enclosure is a heatsink. This is also a disadvantage. Sticky sweaty palms. The whole laptop was feeling like a small backing plate. Not comfortable.  So I was looking for a solution to make the complete Macbook feel cooler and more comfortable at the hands.  In the local hardware store, I bought for one dollar a 12CM fan and hooked it up on the most worthless power supply ever. Don’t understand me wrong. The laptop was running great with the new thermal paste. It could run at full power. But it wasn’t comfortable to put your palms on the Macbook. So the fan was keeping the enclosure cool.

But the bottom plate of the MacBook Pro was still running super hot. I want the airflow of the 12 cm fan also to flow under the laptop. So I started to put things under the Macbook: Little blocks of plastic, a Bluetooth speaker or a coffee cup. It didn’t work. I had a cool laptop. But every time I moved the laptop it fell off its temporary plateau. When I was typing the whole laptop was wobbling. Let’s search for what kind of solutions exist to lift the laptop higher, but that I’m still capable to use the laptop without an external keyboard.

I will spare you the time I spend in searching for a solution. I read blog posts. I watched the videos. All the collected information I processed for a week. After that, I made the decision to buy the Xuenair MacBook Stand. A massive block of aluminum with a hinge. I paid 20 dollars for it.

Xuenair Macbook Pro laptop stand
Xuenair Macbook Pro laptop stand

The hinge makes the stand portable. You can fold it flat and put the stand in your bag. You can also fold the hinge up and use it as an iPad stand. The hinge is moving stiff so you can adjust the angle.

Xuenair Macbook stand open
Xuenair Macbook stand open

Now there is enough space under the Macbook for a good airflow. The hole at the back of the Xuenair helps with the cable management.

Xuenair Macbook Pro stand with a Macbook Pro retina on top
Xuenair Macbook Pro stand with a Macbook Pro retina on top

The chin of the laptop is close to the table. So I can use the trackpad and the keyboard while my arms are resting at the table. Not only does the Macbook got a better airflow under the enclosure. But the screen is now higher. It’s much more comfortable to work for a long time. I can hold my neck in a more natural position.  The stand is rock solid. I can type for hours and the MacBook is not wobbling. I think the Xuenair is a great product. I don’t have yet any experience with traveling. The stand is around 400 grams. Did I ever tell you that working with the combination of a trackpad and a mouse at the same time is god-like?

Xuenair Macbook Pro stand - Laptop is rock solid stable. Screen is higher
Xuenair Macbook Pro stand – Laptop is rock solid stable. Screen is higher

In the history, the GPU was mostly used only for games, acceleration of video playback and doing the graphical user interface.  Nowadays the GPU also responsible for heavy calculations. Take a look at the video editing software Final Cut Pro. It’s using the GPU to do the rendering of the videos, the analysis of the stabilization and the encoding of the final video. The CPU and the GPU are both used to give you a better experience. More and more the GPU is responsible for heavy repeating calculation task. In the first years under OSX OpenCL was responsible for this. Last years Apple is shifting to Metal for this GPU supporting calculations. The arrival of a Machine Learning Module in Mojave OSX 12 will accelerate the use of the GPU in your computer. The GPU will help the Apple Photos application for recognizing faces and objects in your pictures.

Let do some quick tests. This is not a hardware website where reviewers are doing hours of testing. Those are my own quick tests. I’m doing this for fun.

The Macbook is doing

  1. Final cut pro 4K export. This is using the CPU and the GPU;
  2. Permute HEVC encoding. This program is only using the CPU. The story is that ffmpeg isn’t using the GPU because of the low video quality in HEVC;
  3. Quicktime screen recording. This program always pushes the GPU frequency up to the maximum 1.1Ghz.

You can see that the processor is using around 30 watts. The GPU is running at 1.1 GHz and the CPU is running around 2.7 Ghz. Still in Turbo boost mode. I still get more CPU processing power than I paid for. But I don’t get the full 2.9 GHz.

Macbook Pro 13 inch running Final cut pro export. Permute HEVC encoding and screenrecord
Macbook Pro 13 inch running Final cut pro export. Permute HEVC encoding and screenrecord

Furmark is known as the GPU killer. It pushes the limit of your GPU. If your GPU can run a long time at a high load and a high temperature. Then you can assume it’s a stable and good GPU. It will be not the first time that a GPU is killed by the Furmark. So be careful.

  1. Final cut pro 4K export. This is using the CPU and the GPU
  2. Permute HEVC CPU encoding.
  3. Furmark running at 1024×640

This is interesting to see. The CPU is running now at 2.1 GHz. That’s under the base clock speed of 2.4 GHz. The GPU is running at 0.95 GHz. Lower than the maximum speed of 1.1 GHz. Is the processor throttling?  And that is something I want to know. Why is the processor not running at full clock speed? The total power consumption of the processor is 26 watt. Lower than the previous test.

Is there another reason why the processor is running slower. Is Furmark using all the memory bandwidth and the processor forced to run slower to keep up with the memory requests? But nobody will run Furmark in real life. So this is not an honest test.

Macbook Pro 13 inch running Final cut pro export. Permute HEVC encoding and furmark
Macbook Pro 13 inch running Final cut pro export. Permute HEVC encoding and furmark

After four years I have to realize that my MacBook Pro is an old machine. Its a great machine for my daily life. But for hardcore calculations, I can feel the machine is sludgy. If I do one task at the time the machine can keep up with my needs. Most video encoding I’m doing when I’m at sleep or when I’m not behind the computer. It takes some time. But I will get there.

The small adjustments I did to let the machine runs cooler is helping. The machine feels snappier because I replaced the thermal paste. The machine feels cooler because of the fan and the stand. The stand also improved in handling the machine better.

I received the Jack by Podo labs – My opinion

This is not a review. But my story and opinion about the Jack. The Jack is a device that can turn every wired headphone in a Bluetooth headphone. You just plug the jack plug of your wired headphone in the Jack. (Maybe that’s why it is called the Jack?) The Kickstarter page showed a story that Podo Labs has the experience to make this Bluetooth device and bring it to the market quickly. The main reason I backed this project was that you can turn the Jack in a transmitting mode. So I can connect the JACK with a wire to any television, radio or computer and it’s transmitting the sound to another Bluetooth headphone. Handy when you have a long flight but you don’t want to be bothered by cables.

Jack by Podo Labs connected to a headphone
Jack by Podo Labs connected to a headphone

In the winter of 2017, I backed the Jack on Kickstarter. It’s not my first rodeo on Kickstarter. I have backed a lot of projects on Kickstarter. Fortunate for me I received all the things I backed. Maybe it’s luck. Maybe I can feel if a project will be a success. I also backed the PODO camera on Kickstarter. From the same makers as the Jack. But shortly after I received this camera I already broke it because of the poor quality of the plastic used by Podo labs. I asked about the warranty. Podo told me that providing that was not a problem. I only need to ship the camera back to China. The shipping cost was higher than buying a new camera. So I put the Podo camera in a box and never took it out again. I only need a small plastic piece. Maybe one day I can print this part with my 3D printer.

The promise on the Kickstarter page was that the Jack would be shipped in the summer of 2017. Podo labs bragged that they had the experience with previous products. So shipping the Jack on time was easy as pie. The Summer came and went. I saw the autumn. I saw the winter. I welcomed 2018. Sporadic I received an e-mail that Podo Labs has productions problems. In every e-mail, they send to there customers was a story about delays but with the promise that the Jack would be shipped soon. When Podo Labs put the Jack on Kickstarter they still didn’t fulfill all the backers of their latest project. People were still waiting for their Podo camera.

In October 2017 Podo Labs announced their next project on Kickstarter: The Belle Bluetooth speaker. People were still waiting for their Jacks. People were still waiting for their Podo camera. In the comments section on Kickstarter people even start to talk that Podo Labs is paying the debts of the previous projects with the gainings of the latest Kickstarter projects. Sounds like a Ponzi scheme. You keep the public interested in delivering products that are paid by others. I don’t know if this story is true. What I know is that when a company is communicating with their customers on regular basis and tell them the truth that you will get goodwill. But that’s what Podo Labs didn’t do. They kept silent. You have to hide something as a company if you keep silent for weeks, or even months.

I already took my losses. I expected to never see my Jack. This will be my first failed Kickstarter project.  Kickstarter is an investment. So I can’t cry like a baby and ask for a refund. The 25 dollar I invested is lost, but I gained a experience. Why are companies returning to Kickstarter with new projects? Kickstarter is a platform to kickstart a company. Why return?

I was surprised that this week there was my mailman in front of the house. With a small envelope. What could that be? A small envelope with an utterly smashed small box in it. I received my Jack. Without any notice, Podo Labs send me a Jack. I didn’t receive any tracking code. What a surprise.

Jack by Podo labs - I received mail
Jack by Podo labs – I received mail

What did I receive? A black Jack, a USB charging cable, and a silicon protection cover. Everything was protected by some bubblewrap plastic. There is no manual in the box. Something I don’t see as a problem. I keep my manuals digital in Evernote. The paper manuals I always throw away.  I can’t remember that I order the silicon cover or recall the reason why I received the cover. I can’t find any proof that I paid for it. So thank you Podo.

Jack by Podo labs - unpacking
Jack by Podo labs – unpacking

On the left side of the Jack, you have a stereo 3,5-inch jack plug and a micro USB charging port. When I plug the Jack into the USB port of my Macbook there is not USB device visible in the system information. So there goes any change for an easy update of the firmware or use the Jack as an external DAC player.

Jack by Podo labs - left side
Jack by Podo labs – left side

On the right side, there are three buttons and a hole for the RGB led. The led can show in different colors the state of the device. The big button functions as the power button and as the play stop button. The small buttons are for the volume control and the control of the tracks.

Jack by Podo labs - right side
Jack by Podo labs – right side

My eye was caught immediately by the two screws. I felt a big urge to get my screwdriver set (XIAOMI Mijia Wiha. The best screwdriver set ever) and open this puppy. Here I found the first problem. The enclosure of the Jack is only held together with one screw. The second screw is loose in the plastic. I will show you later why.

Opening the Jack is a feast. It’s only two plastic parts. The battery and the circuit board are sandwiched between those two plastic parts. I was afraid that it would be a problem to open the Jack. But as smooth as warm butter the two parts slide from each other.

Jack by Podo labs - teardown
Jack by Podo labs – teardown

Seeing the circuit board give me a positive feeling. I don’t know if it’s of good quality. But it looks easy to repair or to modify. You can see there are a lot of test pins on the circuit board. But for now it’s a little happy board.

Jack by Podo labs – Circuit board

The connector for the headphone only has three pins. So any headphones with support for a microphone won’t have microphone support with the Jack. You cannot use the Jack for making phone calls. The antenna is a separated part. I wonder why? It’s cheaper to etch the antenna on the circuit board. But Podo Labs decided that the antenna is a separated piece that’s connected to the circuit board with a cable. I don’t mind this decision. It looks like more quality. But is it reliable?

UPDATE In the comments section MadJo mentioned that the Jack has support for a Microphone. I got my flashlight and took a closer look nearby. Yes. There are four pins in the jack plug. The Jack is supporting headphones with a microphone. I paired the Jack with my iPhone and I could make recordings in the IOS 12 (beta) Voice Memos app. Both clips are lossless. That the sound over the Jack is in a lower quality is I assumed something in the Bluetooth protocol. I don’t think its the Jacks fault.

Jack by Podo labs - Headphone connection and bluetooth antenna
Jack by Podo labs – Headphone connection and bluetooth antenna

The battery is a 300mAh Li-Po battery. I think enough for a long day of listening to podcasts, watching Youtube and listening to music. The battery is easy to get on the market and has a protection circuit.

Jack by Podo labs - 300mAH battery
Jack by Podo labs – 300mAH battery

When I was putting the Jack back together I didn’t feel comfortable. There is a change that the metal clip can touch the circuit board and cause a short-circuit. Maybe the protection circuit on the battery will prevent a big spark. But its something to keep in mind when you are disassembling or assemble the Jack.

Jack by Podo labs - Watch out for shorting the circuit
Jack by Podo labs – Watch out for shorting the circuit

What I think is a problem with the Jack are the fragile pillars that are holding the screws. In my Jack, one of the two pillars was already cracked. So the screw can’t hold on it properly. I hope that Jack will release the STL files. Then I can print my own enclosure with my 3D printer when the enclosure breaks. The Sandwich construction also gives me the opportunity to design my own enclosure for the Jack. maybe I will dive into that later.

Jack by Podo labs - Not happy with this quality
Jack by Podo labs – Not happy with this quality

Someone was maybe lazy in the Podo Labs factory. On the battery is a strip of tape. Maybe to secure the battery in the enclosure. But the protection foil is still on the tape. Did someone forget to tape the battery?

Jack by Podo labs - They forgot to tape the battery
Jack by Podo labs – They forgot to tape the battery

My first impression is that the Jack looks easy to repair or to be modified for future projects. What I really hope for is that I can use the Jack as part of a vlogging setup. The Jack can be used as an audio transmitter. So if I put a microphone in the Jack. Can I somehow capture this audio stream and record it on a laptop or a phone. Or a second Jack (or an another Bluetooth receiver which I can use to connect). This project goes on my list.

How does the Jack sound? I have to be honest. Better than I expected. It sounds good. Podo Labs didn’t step into the trap to make it too bassy. The market is already flooded with too many devices that are too bassy. The Jack sounds very natural. I’m happy with the sound. The Jack gives me the freedom to choose which headphone I want to use.

One of the reasons that the Podo was delayed by more than a year is its clip. The clip feels badass. It’s strong and feels like a part of something that’s used in the Starship Enterprise. I can play for hours with that clip. If other manufacturers are reading this story. If you ever want to put a clip on your product. Look at the Jack. That clip is pure art.

In the comments sections, people complain about the range. After one meter the sound already starts to crack. I did also this test. My range is five meters. That’s acceptable. I can reach all the corners in this room and I can use the bathroom. Don’t forget. Wireless communication depends on two peers and the band. Maybe they use a shitty phone or live in an area with an overcrowded 2.4Ghz band.

I won’t back quickly a new project on Kickstarter. Lately, I have the feeling that Kickstarter is not anymore a platform for finding the funding for a product. But its become an advertisement platform to promote a product. A lot of products don’t need any big investment to get realized. For example wallets and bags. After the Kickstarter is finished that product is ship right away. The designs and factory lines are already in place. They just need Kickstarter to reach the big public. It’s also really shady why successful companies use Kickstarter over and over again for there new project. For example Pebble. The first time its understandable. They need the funding for a new project. But later they did it again. And the third Kickstarter was a total disaster. Pebble was already bankrupt when they started this Kickstarter. Think about it. Why are companies returning to Kickstarter. If a company is healthy they can use the normal retail channels. You as a customer will have more rights.

I have seen a lot of things on Kickstarter that interest me. But now I’m withstanding the pressure to backed those cool things. I wait till the Kickstarter is over and the products are available in the normal retail. I pay a little bit more. But now I get a legal warranty on the product. I don’t need to wait months before the product is realized and I’m protected by my credit card company if the products aren’t delivered.

Een siliconen sok voor jouw 3D printer.

De eerste 3D printers maakten gebruik van ABS. Deze op oliebasis gebaseerde kunststof was ingewikkeld te printen. Je moet gebruik maken van een verwarmd printbed om te voorkomen dat jouw print kromtrekt. Daarnaast komen er giftige stoffen vrij bij het printen van ABS.

Als ik ABS print gooi ik de ramen helemaal open en sluit ik de deur naar mijn print ruimte. Ik wil niet in de buurt zijn. Natuurlijk heb ik de fout gemaakt dat ik bleef kijken bij een ABS print. Dit heb ik moeten bekopen met een heftige hoofdpijn voor de rest van de dag.

PLA is een kunststof die wordt gemaakt van plantaardige grondstoffen. Ze zeggen wel eens als je met PLA print dat het ruikt naar popcorn. Ik vind dit onzin. Maar het stink niet. PLA heeft als nadeel dat je het meteen wilt koelen. Daarom hebben de goede 3D printers allemaal een filament cooler. De Kodamo trinus 3D printer heeft zelfs een 360 graden cooler. De koele lucht wordt rondom op het object geblazen. En laat hier nu het probleem zitten. De cooler is zo goed dat de printkop ook afkoelt. Soms koelt het wel af tot 20 graden onder de ingestelde temperatuur. Dit kan problemen geven met de stevigheid van het geprinte object. De nieuwe laag heeft door de lage temperatuur niet goed kunnen hechten aan de onderliggende laag.

Dit probleem kan je oplossen door de printkop te voorzien van een siliconen kapje wat rondom te printkop gaat. Mijn printer heeft geen problemen meer om de printkop op de juiste temperatuur te houden. Een tweede voordeel is dat de printkop schoner blijft. Verdwaalde print filament blijft niet meer plakken aan de printkop.

Ik heb drie siliconen sokjes van E3D (LINK) voor een paar euro gekocht vanuit Engeland. Voor mij nu al één van de beste aankopen voor mijn 3D printer. 

Mobiel internet in het buitenland

Internet op je mobiele telefoon, in het buitenland, was jarenlang  een luxe die alleen was weggelegd voor zakenmensen. Per 1 MB data betaalde je ongeveer hetzelfde als wat je voor een biertje betaalde. Maar het kon de rest van mensheid ook niet veel boeien of je nu wel of geen internet had tijdens je vakantie. De internetverslaving nam enkele jaren geleden nog geen epidemische vormen aan. Nu krijg je in een hostel of een hotel eerst de wifi sleutel en dan pas de sleutel van je kamer. Elk jaar wordt het moeilijker om op vakantie te gaan zonder mobiel internet op je telefoon.

Er is gelukkig goed nieuws. In de zomer van 2017 verdwijnen de roamingkosten in Europa. Als je in Nederland een internetbundel van 2GB hebt. Dan kan je die 2GB ook over de grens gebruiken. Maar tot het zover is moet je nog behelpen. Deze zomer bieden wel alle grote belbedrijven al goedkope bundels aan. Ik als TELE2 klant heb al 200MB internet in het buitenland cadeau gekregen. Een nieuwe bundel kost 10 euro voor 1GB aan data. Vorig jaar betaalde ik nog voor 100MB € 7,50. Zo snel gaat.

Het kan nog goedkoper. Begin dit jaar heb ik tijdens onze vakantie naar Polen gekeken wat ik van een MIFI vindt. Een kleine mobiele router waarin je een SIMKAART kan plaatsen.

Huawei mifi

Je kan dan een prepaid simkaart van een lokale telefoonprovider gebruiken. In Polen koop je voor 5 Zloty bij een kiosk een prepaid starterspakket. Omgerekend € 1,25. Ik heb een kaartje gekocht van PLUS.

Poolse simkaart met internet

Opwaarderen doe je bij een pinautomaat. Daar heb ik tien Zloty op mijn prepaid kaartje gezet.

Bij het activeren van de internetbundel liep ik tegen een probleem aan. Je moet deze activeren via de telefoon. Je kan hiervoor geen SMS sturen. Een andere methode is dat je via de website van PLUS de bundel activeert. Helaas kon ik hier de actiebundel van 2GB voor 7 Zloty niet activeren. Dus heb ik een bundel van 500MB voor zeven Zloty geactiveerd. Voor € 1,75 euro hadden wij voor de hele week 500MB. Ik moet je eerlijk bekennen. We hebben deze bundel niet opgekregen. We hebben het overal gebruikt. In de bus, in de trein en op het vliegveld. Bij de volgende vakantie nemen wij een kleine weggooi Nokia mee om dit probleem de volgende keer te tackelen. Ik hoor je denken? “Kon je die simkaart niet even in je eigen telefoon doen?”  Helaas werkt dit niet. De MIFI werkt met een standaard simkaart. Mijn mobiele telefoon heeft een NANO simkaart nodig. Dit past onderling niet.

simkaarten

Handig is om de vakantie goed voorbereiden. Als je van plan bent om een MIFI op je vakantie te gebruiken. Kijk dan goed naar welke frequenties die allemaal ondersteunt. Veel Europese MIFI’s werken niet in de Verenigde Staten omdat ze daar andere frequenties hebben. Een goede website om te kijken welke providers in welk land actief zijn is de Wikia over international prepaid simcards with data.

Ik hou de ontwikkelingen in de gaten over de nieuwe roamingwet van 2017. Het kan betekenen dat ik volgend jaar geen MIFI meer nodig heb als ik over de grens mobiel internet nodig heb. Maar als sommige landen je 2GB bundels kan aanbieden voor 2 euro. Dan ben je wel een dief van je eigen portemonnee als je dan je Nederlandse bundel gebruikt waar je voor tien euro maar 1GB data hebt.

Gebruik jij ook maar drie wachtwoorden?

De afgelopen maanden heb ik ontdekt dat mensen die ik ken maar drie wachtwoorden gebruiken. Drie verschillende wachtwoorden voor hun hele leven op het internet. Okeeh. Voor de bank en Digid hebben ze dan wel een apart wachtwoord. Toch zal een cyberdief dit niet tegenhouden om lol met hun te hebben. Ze hebben maar toegang tot een paar websites nodig om hun duistere zaakjes te voltooien. Het draait niet om wat ze met jouw informatie kunnen, maar wat ze met de informatie over anderen kunnen.

Voorbeeld. Stel eens voor dat een cybercrimineel toegang krijgt tot jouw Facebook. Dan hebben ze toegang tot jouw cirkel van vertrouwelingen. Daar kunnen ze al informatie uithalen om toegang tot een andere website te krijgen. Of te kijken wanneer jij niet thuis bent. Ik kan hier nu een heel betoog gaan houden wat criminelen allemaal kunnen doen. Maar ik gun iedereen even een moment om voor jezelf te denken.

Voor mezelf ben ik heel duidelijk

  • Voor elke website waar ik kom maak ik een apart wachtwoord. Ik heb daarom 1200 wachtwoorden.
  • Maak het wachtwoord complex. Maar zo dat je het voor jezelf kan onthouden. Ik maak gebruik van zinnetjes. Een voorbeeld kan zijn. “Wat zal er vandaag in de spambox zitten?” Een erg complex wachtwoord wat iedereen kan onthouden.

password_strength

Iedere puber met een dikke game-pc kan snel en makkelijk gelekte wachtwoorden databases hacken. Kan je voorstellen wat cybercriminelen voor investeringen doen om met veel rekenkracht achter wachtwoorden te komen.

 

De echte crimineel zal gewoon je knieschijf breken als die toegang tot jouw data wil hebben. Daarom zijn wachtwoorden nog niet de heilige graal voor data bescherming. In de komende tien jaar zal een knappe kop met een goede vervanger komen voor het ‘probleem’ wachtwoorden. Ik kan je nu al zeggen. Dat zal niet de vinger afdruk zijn.

security

Alternatieve opvulling voor die lege webvlakken

Je kent als webontwikkelaar wel dit bekende probleem. Bij de ontwikkeling van een nieuwe website zie je die grote lege vlakken. Het gaat hier niet om functioneel wit, maar om content die je nog niet hebt ontvangen van de opdrachtgever. Om de website toch een opvulling te geven maken webdesigners al jaren gebruik van de oude opvultaal Lorus Ipsum.

Op 42BIS staat nu het artikel:  19X LOREM IPSUM, VAN HODOR TOT CORPORATE KUL.  Nu raad je het al. 19 verschillende alternatieven voor het saaie Lorus Ipsum.  Hieronder de Riker Ipsum.

In all trust, there is the possibility for betrayal. I guess it’s better to be lucky than good. Ensign Babyface! Talk about going nowhere fast. and attack the Romulans. I’m afraid I still don’t understand, sir. Some days you get the bear, and some days the bear gets you. Maybe if we felt any human loss as keenly as we feel one of those close to us, human history would be far less bloody. Now we know what they mean by ‘advanced’ tactical training. I think you’ve let your personal feelings cloud your judgement. I recommend you don’t fire until you’re within 40,000 kilometers. Smooth as an android’s bottom, eh, Data? The game’s not big enough unless it scares you a little. Then maybe you should consider this: if anything happens to them, Starfleet is going to want a full investigation. What’s a knock-out like you doing in a computer-generated gin joint like this? We know you’re dealing in stolen ore. But I wanna talk about the assassination attempt on Lieutenant Worf. About four years. I got tired of hearing how young I looked. Computer, belay that order. Now, how the hell do we defeat an enemy that knows us better than we know ourselves? Our neural pathways have become accustomed to your sensory input patterns. The Enterprise computer system is controlled by three primary main processor cores, cross-linked with a redundant melacortz ramistat, fourteen kiloquad interface modules. Why don’t we just give everybody a promotion and call it a night – ‘Commander’? My oath is between Captain Kargan and myself. Your only concern is with how you obey my orders. Or do you prefer the rank of prisoner to that of lieutenant? Commander William Riker of the Starship Enterprise. I suggest you drop it, Mr. Data. I am your worst nightmare! Your head is not an artifact! Earl Grey tea, watercress sandwiches… and Bularian canapés? Are you up for promotion? You did exactly what you had to do. You considered all your options, you tried every alternative and then you made the hard choice. Besides, you look good in a dress. I can’t. As much as I care about you, my first duty is to the ship. Some days you get the bear, and some days the bear gets you. I’ve had twelve years to think about it. And if I had it to do over again, I would have grabbed the phaser and pointed it at you instead of them. And blowing into maximum warp speed, you appeared for an instant to be in two places at once. How long can two people talk about nothing? You’re going to be an interesting companion, Mr. Data. Mr. Worf, you sound like a man who’s asking his friend if he can start dating his sister.

“Quick and Dirty” Een video verslag van een Dr Who / superhelden vrijgezellenfeest

Afgelopen vrijdag zijn Janneke en Maarten in het huwelijk getreden. De zaterdag daarvoor hebben zij het vrijgezellenfeest getrotseerd. Alle video opnames van deze dag zijn op een grote hoop in iMovie gegooid. Het enige wat ik nog hoefde te doen was een lekker bakje koffie te pakken. Een paar uur laten had ik een korte video wat een verslag toont van het vrijgezellenfeest. Een vrijgezellenfeest met een dr. Who thema.

“Quick and Dirty” moet ik maar vaker doen. Het gaat niet altijd om kwaliteit. Maar om wat je in een paar uur kunt doen om het publiek te vermaken.

Mijn tijd raakt op

Mijn streven is om in september mijn afstuderen af te ronden.  Als ik op de klok kijk, dan weet ik dat ik niet meer zoveel tijd heb. Stiekum wil ik graag de deadlines verschuiven. Dat lijkt makkelijk. Maar het voelt niet goed. Het beste kan ik de komende weken me helemaal in de ronde werken.

Gelukkig staan veel dingen al op papier. Ik zal er  nog wat flink aandacht aan geven om er een rode lijn in te krijgen. De fouten eruit te halen. Waar de komende weken het meeste tijd in gaat zitten is het vertalen van de het concept en het functioneel ontwerp naar een presenteerbaar model. Nog even doorbikkelen Rienk Jan.

Om de rode lijn voor toekomstige lezers beter op papier te krijgen ben ik op zoek naar voorbeelden uit het bedrijfsleven.

  • Welke methodes zijn gebruikt om werknemers en bedrijven laten aanpassen aan het nieuwe werken?
  • Welke bedrijven zijn al heel ver in het gebruiken van het nieuwe werken?
  • Kennen julle bedrijven die het nieuwe werken niet willen accepteren?