Category Archives: Global

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RasPad Test

So before getting started, i need to clarify something. I’m not getting paid for anything! This is a personal review and was in no way influenced by anybody! This said, here comes my review.

So i fell onto that Kickstarter campaign just before it ended and quickly decided to give it a try. Getting a touchscreen for the raspberry pi platform had always been my wish. I also included a nice screen, casing, and a battery for off grid usage. Honestly the only similar product i know is the pi-top device which comes at another price. Even it’s crowdfunding price was way more expansive… So this was why i decided to give it a try!

Only 4 month later, and this honestly is for Backer’s a really short and fast time, i received my device. Packaging and quality seems to be more than okay! Only a small hunch was the back cover where you place the raspberry. I don’t know if it was meant to be like that but still it closes completely and does what it’s meant to do.

Because i ordered a new Raspbery Pi B+ for my new toy, and because i ordered it to late, i first tried out to connect it to a Windows10 Computer. So as described in some pages on the net, i connected a HDMI from the PC to the Raspad and as well i connected it via Micro-USB to the PC as well, like any regular USB Device. And right out of the box without any more drivers needed Windows accepted the Touchscreen. So very positive for the first impression.

After receiving my Raspi, I continued my tests and out of the box with a new SD-Card with Rasbian on it, it simply worked! No need for touchscreen drivers, no calibration, everything worked fine! You might want to add a keyboard and mouse, because not everything is simply possible without these. But still… You find small and fancy things like that for reasonable prices.

I continued with a few security distributions and I have to say that they all worked fine for the touchscreen! No issues at all. But I realized that you might need to tweak the system for sound reasons. After reading around on the net, I saw a few posts about temperature issues. Some people even modified their houses and added fans to get rid of the heat. For the moment I can not yet confirm that, but I will definitely keep that in mind for the longer tests.

Another thing I will have to test out and keep an eye on, is the battery. I´m not sure yet if it simply is the way the battery indicator works, but I´m pretty sure this is the case. I will use my device for a long term test but here again you can read in some posts that the run time might be shorter than thought. What I can say is that by adding an additional USB WLAN Adapter the indicators dropped immediately to the last indicator, which might confirm my initial idea, that the battery indicator orientates himself on the voltage of the device. Turning of the Raspi immediately brings up one more indicator light of the device.

The only objective critics I have, are those for the internet and social media. The makers did put a web page on the packaging, which is non existing! That´s poor! A very simple page, with the digital descriptions and links to their project pages as well as some technical details or maybe the story of their Kickstarter campaign, some pictures. If you raise over 600k $ from more than 3.000 Backers, you should be able to do this… And to become member of their Facebook page, which is restricted to backers only apparently, you need to enter your details of your order to get accepted. Not very open minded there as well… I know that they might have other priorities but nowadays, this is a few hours of work and for your PR in my opinion a must have.

For the rest I can not complain about the product. Seems to bee good quality, properly worked out with a lot of thoughts for some details and the speed of the campaign was remarkable!

As always I’ve added a few pictures of the device, because they always tell more than a Story.

Eclipse by Native Union – My first impression

Today I would like to talk about a Kickstarter Project called “Eclipse” I backed a year ago, and where the product was delivered a few weeks ago. I really wanted to give it some testing and usage before producing my review.

So first I have to say that the creator Native Union did communicate over the whole time in an exemplary way! They explained delays and problems they ran into an always kept the backers up to date, so I never got the felling that the product would not be delivered. So thumbs up for that! As a backer of such projects, you have to consider that the product will arrive later than they expected! But if they keep the clients updated, I think regular clients will not argue around the delay.

So the product itself arrived at my home. Again shipping and tracking etc was no issue at all! Perfect packaging made it again a thumbs up again. So the unpacking could take place. I have to admit that the box, its content and the protection of the device itself were perfect. Honestly, I haven’t had so much fun unboxing a device for some time. Yes I was excited for some time because I was anxious to get the charger into my hands since I knew it was on its way, but I have to admit that the designers definitely did put time into the packaging! Nice job there again! But the packaging isn’t everything. How does the device work and behave?

The device definitely does what it is designed for! It charges up to 3 devices simultaneously, has an LED light which can be turned on and for the main part it looks good. Yes! It is a nice looking, well designed stylish charger for Phones and other USB devices. The cables appear to be of high quality and I think that the designer did put a lot of thoughts into the small details of the charger.

So the first look was not disappointing at all! I had decided myself to buy a nice, well designed and stylish charger to put it onto my nightstand and to charge my phones. That was the idea and unfortunately my story has a downside…

After a few weeks my wife decided to ban her charger from her side of the bed! Why? So at night, when everybody calms down and everything becomes quiet, you often hear the things and the sounds your house makes, which you do not realize due to all the background noises during the day. And unfortunately the Eclipse does such a noise… Yes you have to listen very closely but if you charge at least one device the device starts to make some humming noise, some dissonance or whatever you would like to call it. It is that kind of noise which is annoying if you ever heard it and that once you know it is there, hunts you over and over again. It is that kind of noise cheap chargers might do, but I am sure that the creators used high quality components.

So my final opinion is not yet fixed. I will not be using the chargers, I bought two of them, for the purpose they were thought for. I am using one now in the living room and it fits in there perfectly! The second one has not yet found its final position and that’s why I am a little bit disappointed about the product. But that’s the risk if you invest into a Kickstarter Project! You might not get the product you hoped for.

 

                

Luxembourg goes Prime-Video? Oder och net!

As I am client at the concurrency (Netflix not to name it), I still was happy to hear the news that Amazon Prime-Video became available in my country. Directly the next Saturday I created my Test-Account and hoped to watch that evening the first movie. But my joy had only lasted for a short instant… I immediately got an Geo-IP Blockage message…

So I read that, thought about it and logged into my Amazon.de Account to have a look at what the problem could be. There I was explained that I had no Prime-Video an that I should start the Test-Month. I did not really realise what had happened so I started (for the second time) the Test. But it was not as I imagined the Prime-Video but for the whole Amazon-Prime what I really didn’t want, so shortly after that my first mail to the support went out… It took me 3 mails until somebody finally nearly understood what I wanted and so my Prime month was cancelled. If I can ever try again a free month of Prime services is what I still do not know but honestly, it started to pull my leg as much that I do not care any more…

Back to my Video. My free Test-Week of Prime-Video (yes for the rest of the world not living in Germany, it is only one month) kept on running and after 4 mails after 5 days my problem was still not solved. After the Geo-IP- Blocking, I ran into Error 5505 where nobody again could help me.

I was given the advice to completely move my Amazon Account to the UK Store. But that is something I really do not want to do, due to the fact that my movies as well (which is even more important) all my shopping at Amazon would run over the UK shop!? WTF? To try it out, I simply followed the guidelines and came to the point to switch to foreign Amazon Shop’s but UK was not an Option. I could chose between French and the USA. French was not the language I wanted and American as primary shop? That’s a no go for EU citizen! Again I was of to write to the support. We had arrived onto mails No.6&7 an still no solution in sight…

Finally I have realised that my FireTVStick is sticking to the German Amazon Shop, and which is even more important, that you can not watch Prime-Video on that device. It can only be done over Tablet’s and Phones. It was the last reply from the support that explained everything to me.

What I have to say about the support of Amazon… Honestly: Thumbs up! They were always very friendly, always trying to help and even tried to call me. Respect on that!

So my final conclusion for the Product itself? Not really ready for the market in Luxembourg! If I have to take my tablet / phone to stream it over that device onto my TV that’s not really an Option. Their product can not even be used on their own player? Really? Maybe they should have put some more thoughts into the production bevore launching their platform for the main part of the countries. As Luxembourg is always special with Geo-IP and as Germany is still a licensing issue for Amazon I will stick for the moment to my regular VOD service even if they do not have as many new movies as Amazon does… Netflix here I come again!

Obwuel ech schonns Client bei der Konkurrenz sinn (Netflix fir se net beim Numm ze nennen) hunn ech wei ech d’Noriicht gelies hunn dass een bei Amazon Prime-Video kënnt Client ginn mech dorobber gefreet. Direkt Samschdes drop hunn ech een Test-Account op gemeet  an hunn mech kuerz drop op deen éischten Film gefreet. Mä meng Freet war vun kuerzer Dauer… Ech krut direkt mol een éischten Fehler vun wéinst Geo-IP- Blockage…
Gelies, iwwerluet an op Amazon.de ageloggt fir no ze kucken wou den Problem läng. Do krut ech kuerz drop mol erkläert dass ech guer keen Prime hätt an op ech den Test mount wielt ufänken. Obwuel ech et net richteg verstanen hunn, hunn ech mol den Gratis-Test Mount dann ugefaangen an der Virstellung et wier fir den Video eleng. Neen dat war fir den kompletten Amazon-Prime, wat ech net wollt an wou ech also dann kuerz drop mol schonns déi éischten Mail un den Support gemeet hunn… Nuje… Et huet 3 Mailen gedauert bis dass iergend een dann och nëmmen unnährend verstanen hat wat den Problem wier, an den Mount gouf dunn mol annuléiert. Op ech jeemools nach eemol den Gratis Test Mount kréien weess ech éierlech gesot net, mä ass mer och elo ze blöd et nach eemol ze erklären…
Zeréck bei den Video. Meng Gratis Test Woch vun Prime-Video (jo fir den Rescht vun der Mënschheet ausserhalb vun Däitschland schengt et net een Mount ze sinn) ass also gelaf an no 4 Mailen an knapps 5 Deeg huet nach ëmmer keen den Problem geleist gehat. Vun der Geo-IP Blockage sinn ech op Error 5505 gefall an och opgrond vun deem Fehlercode konnt keen mir helefen.
Ech krut dunn virgeschloen mäin kompletten Amazon Konto op Amazon.co.uk eriwwer ze migréieren. Dat well ech ower net, well dann meng Akeef wei Filmer komplett iwwer UK géifen lafen. WTF?! Egal… Wollt et trotzdem probéieren op dat klappen geif, also der Mail vum Support mol gefollegt mä op den Punkt koum, wou ech guer net UK als mäin Kindle-Shop auswielen konnt. Wat den Kindle mat Prime an Video ze din huet, entzitt sech menger Kenntnis mä mäin Problem wor also nach ëmmer net behuewen. FR an USA waren déi eenzeg Méiglechkeeten wou ech ugewisen krut. Franseich well ech net wierklech an Amerikanesch als Haaptshop? Geet jo guer net… Also alt erëm eng Mail un den Support. Mir sinn bei Mail No.6&7 ukomm an nach ëmmer keng Léisung an Aussiicht.
Ech hunn schlussendlech realiséiert dass mäin FireTVStick op den Däitschen Marché gebonnen ass, an wat nach vill méi wichteg ass, dass de keng Prime-Video Offerten kanns op deem kucken. Des Offer kann just iwwert Tablett / Handy gekuckt ginn, wat mir an der läeschter Mail vum Support erkläert gouf.
Wat ech nach iwwert den Support vun Amazon soen kann… Ganz éierlech: Top Service! Si woren wierklech ëmmer immens frëndlech, hunn ëmmer probéiert ze hëllefen an hunn souguer probéiert mir un ze ruffen. Respekt fir dat!
Mäin Fazit: Definitiv nach net prett fir den Lëtzebuergeschen Marché! Wann ech meng Tablette / Handy muss huelen fir se doriwwer op meng Telé ze streamen, dann ass dat net wierklech praktesch! An ganz éierlech, et funktionéiert net um Player deen aus hirem Haus kennt? Éierlech? Villäicht hätten se sollten méi Gedanken an d’Realisatioun stiechen ier se hir Plattform op den Marché geworf hunn. Well Lëtzebuerg nach ëmmer speziell wor betreffend Geo-IP an well Däitschland fir Amazon nach ëmmer een Lizenzen Problem ass, muss ech wuel bei mengem regulären VOD Provider bleiwen, souguer wann deen net esou vill Filmer am ugebuert huet wei Amazon… Netflix hei sinn ech erëm!

Bitcoins on the move again

For all those of you, who know what Bitcoins mean, here my call that the game about the evolution of the currency is on again ;-)

During the last week, the value of Bitcoins went from about 300$ up to just over 500$ but couldn’t keep it’s value for a long time. In less than 12 hours it went aggressively down again an so did the risks linked to Bitcoins go back up again.

Why this is worth an entry? During the last few month, the value of the currency always stayed between 220$ and 280$. This was far away from it’s record which was over 1000$. For the last year the value was quiet stable, compared to the extreme variations of the last days!

As usually… Don’t play with money you can not afford to lose!

Fir all déi, wou Bitcoin net iergend een Friemwuert ass, hei dann den Appel dass d’Wetten rëm amgaangen sinn ;-)

An deeër leschter Woch ass den Cour vun knapps em 300$ op just iwwert 500$ erop geschoss, ma huet sech mol keng 12 Stonnen halen kënnen. Aktuell ass en rëm am fräien Fall an huet erëm een extremen Risiko.

Firwat mir dat eng Meldung wäert ass? Déi leschten Méint ass den Cours ëmmer an der Géigend vun 220$ an 280$ ronderëm gependelt. Dëst wor wäit vum Rekord Cour vun iwwert 1000$ ewech an wor ower elo dat leschten Joer wierklech roueg. Mä esou krass Schwankungen sinn wierklech extrem seelen um Marché!

Ewéi ëmmer… Spillt net mat Geld wat der net bereet sidd ze verléieren!

Baofeng and Pofung Comparisons

I wanted to publish for some time now a very simple comparison of Baofeng / Profung Amateur Radio devices. You can find those devices for a cheap buck anywhere on the net and this is how i fell over them as well a few years ago. Something needs to be said before starting: You need a Amateur Radio License to use these devices! They are not allowed to be used by everybody, even if a lot of sellers do say so in the online shops. And you are not allowed to use them on PMR, LPD or Freenet Frequencies. So if you respect these rules you are good to go!

That said, there are some other information’s, you should know for these devices. They come from China and the quality is what you pay for! Honestly in my opinion the production quality is excellent. The houses of the devices are of excellent plastic. Some of you might say, that they can not be compared to the high quality devices from other brands, but honestly paying twice or even ten times the price of some devices is nice if you don’t have anything else to do with your money! For starters, simple projects or small budget people, they might be a real alternative.

The only tricky thing about the devices is the programming. If you would like to do it by the official software, you will be reminded how Chinese they are. The software always starts in some Chinese signs and you need to find the menue with the languages. But as soon as you get that, you’re ready to go! One last thing about software for your devices. For each model there is a different software and you need the right one to be installed and used for each model. Chirp works as well but not all functions might be working.

2015-10-24 17.47.50

Model UV-5R
Baofeng
UV-5R+
Baofeng
GT1
Pofung
GT3
Pofung
LCD Screen Yes Yes No Yes
Band 70cm + 2m 70cm + 2m 70cm only 70cm + 2m
Double PTT Button No No No Yes
Power Output 4-5 Watt 4-5 Watt 2 Watt 4-5 Watt
Price +/- 33 € +/- 34 € +/- 20 € +/- 43 €
Remarks At the beginning was… Follow up of the UV-3R but a major improvement apparently! The Plus version apparently does a little more frequencies on the edge and it has a shiny front panel. It’s the classic Baofeng device! Very simple and cheap 70cm device. Has a simple voice scrambler integrated. Has different LCD Screen (honestly not optimal for use in the sun) but has the double PTT button (no need to switch channels for talking on different channels).

Me for my part I am very satisfied for what I paid for! I do also own Yaesu devices and have access to various other manufacturers of professional devices, and I have to say that the signal might be more clean than on the china devices, but for my private needs it is more than enough!