Wandering through technology reviews…

bag002How do you know when it is too early for tech? That was the question sent to me many years ago, when I first started doing reviews. I reviewed, and still do, some things that while they were interesting never really took off. The person was asking how I dealt with that.

Reality is I look for technology that solves problems. The problems I am, or am not solving using Tech are specific to me. Not that others don’t have the problem but my perception and how I deal with it, is wholly me.

My reviews then are based on how I use the many different devices and gadgets I carry and review. Initially for example, when flying to Europe you were off-line for most of the flight. You had to have movies that were on the device. I carried Archos media players. Over time I moved away from them and moved first to the Zune devices and then the iPods. Now, I am beyond those and simply keep everything on my iPhone or iPad. If it is a book that I refer to often I load it on my Kindle. But the total sum of devices I carry is reducing.

bag007I used to be a huge Delorme device fan. I have to say they have the worst customer service ever and I may write about my experiences with that group eventually. But I had a couple of Delorme Devices until this spring. A hand-held GPS (PN60) and their Satellite communication system (in-reach). I got rid of my last Delorme devices and don’t use them anymore. Gotenna, or Beartooth will rapidly replace the in-reach systems. Why? Because you can use it with your cellular device. Plus, you don’t have to deal with the worst customer service organization ever. I cancelled my service after 4 years and they wanted to charge me to the end of the year. I had to point out twice that in fact I had no-contract and had not had a contract for more than a year. They couldn’t charge me for the year, but they continued to try and threaten over and over.

In the past I was also a huge hand held weather device fan. Kestler makes the best, I still love the devices but the value I get from the device is no longer relevant to me. I can with my iPhone get the same information and carry fewer devices. I can measure wind with a Valuud system right on my device getting both wind speed and direction. I can measure temperature, humidity and barometric measurement right on the phone. So why carry the Kestler? Just another device that needs batteries and well you have to carry more batteries! The two weather stations I rely on for home use are the Bloomsky and the NetATMO systems. I have a Davis computer attached weather station as well but don’t really use that one as much as I did three or four years ago,

I do my reviews based on what is of value to me. My reviews are focused on the what and how of my using the device. I had a CubeX 3d printer for the past two years. During that time, I cursed 3d printers. I hated the software and the printer. Now I have the Dreamer from Flashforge and 3d printing is truly simple and easy. I love being able to just download and print. From dragons to Labradors, 3d printing is easy now! The evolution of my thinking was more from the perspective of being a hobbyist and early adopter to being someone that actually used the 3d printer all the time for things I needed. That subtle shift made the hobbyist printer useless to me.

Printers are another area of change. I used to have many more printers than I do now, although we do still have a number of specialty printers. I do have one that prints electrical circuits (Agic) and one that prints photos (Canon) as well as a couple different ones that print the Zink style. The two that print Zink are ones I backed for different reasons on crowdfunding so I don’t count them. I am down truly to one portable printer on the boat and tow canon network printers for the house. I have a plotter but that is only for me to use and isn’t shared.

bag028I moved from HP printers to canon printers for two reasons. The first was ease of set-up. The canon printers are just easier to set-up and use. The second is the ability of the canon printers to support iPhone and Android device native printing without jumping through hoops. I got rid of my last HP printer a little over a year ago, and after 14 years of HP only, I don’t miss the HP printers anymore.

Anyway, review are what they are. Mine are focused on how I use the gadgets and technologies I review. I also review customer service. Based on that here is my current bad list of customer service to end my blog today.

· Delorme In-Reach horrible customer service

· Vonage Horrible customer service

· Best Buy Without a doubt the worst

Images today courtesy of Henry O Andersen

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Technology wanderer