Dell Streak Update

September 4, 2010

I have a new Dell Streak, which is a great piece of hardware, with, it has to be said, software that does not do it full justice. Although Android 1.6 is perfectly serviceable, the Streak really needs a newer version of the operating system to really shine.

It has been announced that O2 will be rolling out Android 2.1 soon to Dell Streak’s bought through (and locked to) the O2 network.

This morning my Streak (Dell OEM version) announced that it had an update waiting. Unfortunately this turns out only to have been a minor update, as my device is still running Android 1.6 following the update.

Before -> After

Firmware Version: 1.6 -> 1.6
Baseband Version: GAUSB1A110700-EU -> GAUSB1A111100-EU
Kernel Version: 2.6.29-perf -> 2.6.29-perf
Build Number: 4399->6267

Let’s hope 2.1 or 2.2 comes along soon.

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I *KNOW* I have the manual from my Miele CVA620 coffee machine filed away somewhere safe… however when the built-in display on the machine insists that it is time to run a “Rinsing Cycle”, you can bet the folder containing the manual will be hiding away!

And that’s why I love any vendor who is smart enough to provide me with easy online access to manuals (PDF format is great for this kind of stuff); indepth technical manuals are a nice bonus for the nerdier amongst us. Miele do this very well, it’s possible to find user manuals for all of their appliances here:

http://www.miele.co.uk/customer/OperatingInstructions.aspx

Now why can’t all vendors be that helpful? It’s not like the user manuals contain any kind of secrets that can’t be revealed, there’s one shipped with every appliance out there (and it’s probably printed from a PDF 😉 anyway)! Improving the customers’ experience can be done with so little effort and incremental cost that it astonishes me when a company can’t be bothered to do something so simple.

For the record, the PDF User Manual for a Miele CVA620 is available to download here:

http://www.miele.co.uk/Resources/OperatingInstructions/CVA%20620.pdf

Enjoy!

Windows 7 Update Update

March 3, 2010

Still plugging away with Windows 7 on a variety of machines.
Latest one to feel the goodness is my Dell Latitude E4300, now upgraded to swanky full 64bit version of Windows 7 Ultimate. With an SSD on board it is a nice machine to work on!

Only a couple of tweaks required post-install… convenience rather than driver issues…
… essential install is the Dell Control Point (DCP) System Manager software as it gives you the nice on-screen-displays, and allows you to tweak such things as the backlight brightness on the E4300 backlit keyboard. I am totally converted, I find it odd to use a machine without a backlit keyboard these days!
Get 64bit (Vista & Win7) DCP System Manager here:

http://support.dell.com/support/downloads/format.aspx?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs&deviceid=21360&libid=60&releaseid=R252981&vercnt=4&formatcnt=0&SystemID=LAT_E4300&servicetag=&os=WV64&osl=en&catid=-1&dateid=-1&typeid=-1&formatid=-1&impid=-1&checkFormat=true

Or if that link ever breaks; search from http://support.dell.com/ with your machine type, and select driver and software downloads.

Finally got 50% of what I need to start *that* project…

Dell Mini 9 in white.

Dell Mini 9 in white.

…just off to PCWorld to purchase a copy of MacOS X.

🙂

MacinDell

February 21, 2009

Dell Mini9

Dell Mini9

The Dell Mini9 is an awesome piece of kit…I have used it extensively with WinXP & Canonical’s Ubuntu, but it seems that itis also right at home with OSX. I’ve seen that it can be done before, but this is an extremely nice full guide to hacking your Mini9 to run OSX.

Maybe I need to get myself an “Arctic White” Mini9 to test this on 🙂

Occasionally when a new camera body is launched, it is *essential* that you buy it. I need to upgrade my D80 to a D3 or a D300 🙂

On the other hand, perhaps I should just wait for the next one, as that one is bound to be better…
… detailed specifications of the soon to be launched Nikon D90.

For you Canon guys, don’t feel left out… this guy seems to have some excellent contacts within Canon too, and scooped this, on the forthcoming Canon 400D replacement.

TiVo: UK Comeback?

April 23, 2007

Mike Ramsey (former TiVo CEO), told the Sunday Herald in an interview that TiVo may be planning a return to the UK market. Although, rather than supply it’s own hardware, as it did initially (the Thomson Scenium – still to be seen on the front page of the UK TiVo website http://www.tivo.co.uk/) the intent seems to be to embed TiVo software into Freeview set-top boxes.

Ironically, TiVo’s biggest direct competitor in the UK is likely to be Sky, with it’s Sky+ PVR hardware and service. TiVo originally licensed their technology to Sky, however Sky chose not to use the TiVo software in their set top boxes. Not to mention the fact that on power-up my (UK) TiVo advertise the fact that it is “recommended by Sky”.

I am a fan of TiVo, having had a Thomson Scenium since 2003, and I’m dreading the day it dies. The TiVo user-interface is beautifully resolved… simple and easy enough for my kids to use, yet sophisticated enough to do things such as smart capture of complete seasons of shows (Season Pass feature). From what I’ve heard from folk who have tried both TiVo and Sky+, it seems that the TiVo UI seems to be superior to that offered by Sky.

At the time I bought my TiVo, I had some very clear aims, in terms of getting a cost effective system that just worked, straight out of the box, which TiVo does, well. Doing it all again now, for a number of reasons, I would more than likely go down a different path, and create a system based on the open source project MythTV. One of the reasons is that the maturity of the MythTV project today allows for a smooth installation, and it “just works”, as long as you stick to known supported hardware. Ultimately a system based on MythTV is far more powerful and flexible than a TiVo ever can be, despite the fact that, at least originally, TiVo supported the “pimping” of their hardware. For example my own TiVo (long since out of warranty) has had a hard-disk upgrade to a total of 240Gb, and a marvellous caching controller/network card, which allows a web interface (TiVoWeb) to be used to control the TiVo remotely, very handy.

This brings me to one of the other reasons why I would likely prefer a MythTV solution. Initially TiVo (the company) was quite hacker friendly, encouraging people to play with the hardware, to see what could be done. In fact the original UK TiVo was a PowerPC based Linux system, source code modifications all available, natch, as per the requirements of GPL v2.

However, beginning with the Series 2 TiVo generation (never officially available in the UK), TiVo hardware required all software to be digitally signed before it would run on the TiVo. This process has since become known as “Tivoization“. As with all heated debates, there are two sides to the story, with some prominent supporters and detractors to this apparent restriction of use of GPL’d software.

I can sympathize with TiVo, as, clearly they are subsidizing the cost of the hardware, and could feel that they have a legitimate claim to restrict how that hardware is used, after all they are selling an appliance – i.e. a hardware/software/service combination. TiVo must be able to make money from this! I would prefer it if TiVo stayed in business to provide me with the EPG service that I signed up for when I purchased my TiVo.

The flip side to this, is of course, if you use/bundle software that is made available under a particular license, in this case GPL v2, then you should abide by both it’s spirit & letter. My former employer Novell, has recently been thrust into some uncomfortable lime-light due to it’s agreement with Microsoft; which included a component including some form of patent protection/cross-licensing for customers of Novell’s SUSE Linux product . A deal, ostensibly about improving the (Novell & Microsoft) customer experience, which all the customers I spoke to were extremely pleased with, incurred the justifiable wrath of much of the Free Software Community. The deal with Micorosft even cost Novell a couple of good people, including lead Samba developer, and all round nice guy Jeremy Allison.

I am not a lawyer. My understanding is thatGPL v3 will seek to address issues such as Tivoization, and possibly outlaw parts of the agreement between Novell and Microsoft, but I digress.

I hope that TiVo does come back to the UK.

[From the TVSquad Blog: http://www.tvsquad.com/2007/04/22/tivo-could-return-to-the-uk/]

[Also, from HDTiVo Blog: http://hdtivo.wordpress.com/2007/04/21/107/]