Thursday, October 15, 2009

Popcorn Hour C200

I used to use a Popcorn Hour A110 as a media playback device at home. It worked well, but when the upgraded C200 was announced, I had to have it; there was no rational reason or justification.

Well, I got it, and its even more awesome than the old one; its just a lot bigger. Think old-school video machine! Pity I'm watching it on my old rubbish TV; time to get an LED/LCD.

PS. While I was looking at this, I also investigated a Mede8er. It looks pretty cool, but I'm more confident in the development and codec roadmap of the Popcorn Hour team.

Dell Mini 10v as a Hackintosh

Very short post; got a Dell Mini 10v, which is exactly the same as the the Dell Mini 9 I blogged about earlier, except, (duh) 1" wider. This makes a big difference in both keyboard and screen comfort, so I would recommend this over the Mini 9 any time.

Same motherboard, webcam, bluetooth, 3G modem, wifi, except its a regular drive, not SSD. No biggie for me!

Don't buy a DroboPro or a DroboShare

I posted about the Drobo before. This month, I ordered its bigger brother, the Drobo Pro. Think the standard unit, but with iSCSI and 8 drives - awesome, the hotness!

Except, for two epic fails;

  1. It only allows one host to connect at a time using iSCSI
    • Which begs the question then WTF bother ?

  2. It behaves exactly the same as the Drobo with respect to logical volume size (i.e. 16GB)

These are stupid restrictions. Even more of an epic fail is the companion product, the DroboShare, which also has two epic problems;

  1. It doesn't support the Drobo Pro
    • So you can't network a Drobo Pro

  2. It only allows one username/password to be created, and that user has full write rights
    • Which makes it absolutely pointless as a NAS device

Come on, Drobo, fix these stupid restrictions.

Posting a US parcel to yourself

I've always battled with Amazon, amongst other vendors who refuse to ship directly to South Africa. I used to always beg, borrow and hijack colleague's luggage, and trade favours to ship parcels in and out.

I had to return a Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 lens, which stopped auto-focussing. A colleague took it through, but they would only ship back to a US address. Now I was stuck!

Enter, a US-based remailing company. For a deposit of $8, and for $8 per package, I get a US address which they'll re-mail to me (giving me the choice of options).

I was sceptical of the service, but my parcel arrived two weeks after being posted, and I am now a happy customer. I was e-mailed constantly about when my parcel arrived and when it was sent off, and they even filled out the customs declaration for me. They offer re-packing and storage facilities, but for now, one package at a time seems to work. Its a great service.