Well 2013 is here and either we are just the holographic debris on an event horizon of a black hole, or reality is relative. I wouldn’t have minded being the Mayan Calendar maker who made the last calendar, because then when finished, and asked …
King: “What happens when we reach the end of thew calendar? This think will not work after that.”
Mayan Calendar Maker: “By then I hope we are using a better system.”
King:“But you said your system was great?”
Mayan Calendar Maker: “There is always room for improvement.”
With that said, (as I actually said when someone asked me about databases I created in the mid 1990s about Mac OS’s Unix calendar running out in 2038) I wanted to write about a few things, but a project has been eating time like the Cookie Monster with a box of chocolate chip cookies. (Cookie & Count were always my favorite.)
So, I will mash up a few things, left and right… Read of to find out about a new Bluetooth audio headset, a product warning, and whatever else comes out in this unedited memory dump:
AluraTek SportClip Bluetooth Receiver First Impression
I wanted to write about a new Aluratek BlueTooth Audio Receiver I picked up for just under $30 from B&H Photo. Unfortunately it got here too late (thanks to UPS 2-Day Guaranty shipping taking 4 & 8 days!) to review in the downtime between projects. that also seems to have a microphone in it. So it can allow you to use any headphones with it as mobile phone headset. But I haven’t had time to see if the phone in my pocket was using its mic, and if the Bluetooth report I got on the device from my computer was wrong.
All in all I am pleased with this extra functionality, however the sound lacks the volume, audio quality and battery life of the Kanex AirBlue. The volume controls, tiny LED display and the clip are all extremely useful. If it had the audio quality and battery life of the Kanex, this would be a 5 star product.
Product Warnings: Blu & Square
Warning #1 (Blu): 2 things have come to my attention of products to be wary about. The first is the Blu Cigarette refill packs. Apparently, if any cartridges are bad, there is no way to get a portion of your money back or send if defective cartridges. at $15 for a 5 cartridge refill pack, it is still cheaper than cigarettes, but if 2 or 3 of the cartridges are defective (as has been the case a few times, and usually one is defective), they you end up spending as much, if not more than traditional cigarettes. With this sort of defect rate of about 30%, this is a product to avoid. Maybe, Blu E-Cigs executives are spending more on advertising than engineering and quality control. Look elsewhere for your electronic cigarette fix.
Warning #2 (Square Credit Card Reader): Square payments is fine and I have good experience with it. However, if your business relies on thousands of swipes of a credit car a month, beware. A client has reported that the headphone jack that is only used for the Square credit card reader has broken after months of use. I noticed when I got mine that the act of swiping a card forces the entire reader and thus the plug to move unless you hold the reader to prevent it from moving. Over time, this slight movement acts as a lever which detaches the headphone socket from its mount. The amount of wear increases greatly when people who are used to standalone readers use one. Their muscle memory is set to use much more force, which wears the socket even faster.
The cheapest price to repair the headphone jack is $70 on the internet. Apple, charges much more to replace the unit. I contacted Square about dock mounted credit card readers, and they said they do not offer any. I asked if using a TRRS 3.5mm extension cable would be a problem, and the rep said that they were not officially supported, but that s0me customers have had luck using one. I found a few online for about $10, and recommended the client repair or swap the unit and purchases and extension cable. Hopefully Square will come out with a better design that optionally clamps to each side of the chassis, or a dock mounted reader with a passthrough for power.
Next Week: SoNets, The Bad, The Worse & The Fracture
Next week I will be publishing a new article on the state of the Web. Specifically, I will look at how the social networks (SoNets), that once brought people together are now dividing them. Stay tuned…