Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Jaybird SB2 Bluetooth Headset Review

I have been working out a lot to make my fat deposits ready for Christmas – plus I have a back condition that goes from painful to life crippling if I do not give it some training.

But I do find training boring – extremely boring. So I bring my iPad – and use the time to watch news via Slingbox/Slingplayer – or stupid TV series.SB2MB-300

But being caught up in a cord between iPad and my ears is not my favourite position. Especially on Treadmill or rowing machine it is not so safe. So I started out with a Jabra Bluetooth headset where I could attach any type of headphones. The unit looked pretty solid and robber coated – but that lasted only about 2 weeks before it died. Died by sweat ingestion.

Jaybird SB2 Sportsband Bluetooth Headset

So I started researching Bluetooth Headsets for sports. Unfortunately there are not a lot available. But the company Jaybird specializes in Bluetooth headsets for sports. So I decided to try them first. So I ordered the “over the head” SB2 model and the older JB-200. Review of the JB-200 will follow later on.

I ordered the Jaybird SB2 online from Jaybird directly. Everything went smoothly but they are not fast to ship. It took them quite a while to get out of the door. But eventually I got it. Customer service while ordering was not very good. I tried to add some ear pads 10 minutes after putting in the order – but their order system would not let me change the order. And their support was absolutely no help at all. So big minus so far on Speed and Customer service.

Then the headset arrived. You get the headset and a USB charger cable with it. But the Jaybird SB2 uses a very old fashioned very thin “pin” based charger in the headphones. I have not seen any of those since my old V-Tech Bluetooth headset. So if you loose your charger cable – you will not be able to find one one in a high street shop. Why they did not use a Micro or Mini USB I do not know.

If you look at the picture – the headset looks very attractive. Well images are lie. The headset is plastic – with a genuine “China” plastic feel to it. It just feels cheap. It fits okay on the head – but it is heavy.

Pairing with iPhone and iPad was no problem. With iOS 4.2 you can use the headsets full feature set – and they worked quite well. You turn on the headset and it automatically connects to the iPad. No issues.

Jaybird and me of to the Gym

So off the the first gym sessions. And the headset preforms well. A little low on bass but apart from that sound quality is good. After 1 1/2 hours in the gym – I start to feel the hard and sharp edges of the headset band pressing on the top of my skull. But everything works. I was quite happy to have found something that works and is sweat resistant. It stayed on even while running – and felt quite stable.  Call quality was okay on the iPhone – and volume adjusted up and down quite nicely.

After about 2 weeks of happy use – suddenly the headsets volume buttons started playing up. Volume down worked but not volume up. That rendered the headset useless. No way to get volume back up equals not a lot of sound. I guess it might be sweat – so I left it to dry and used another Bluetooth headset for a couple of days. After 4 days the volume-up button started to work again – so I took the Jaybird SB2 to the gym – and hey presto – after about 20 minutes – the headset just died completely. Not a squeak or sound coming from it and it would not turn on.

I left it to dry – for about 2 weeks. And it still looks like it charges – but it still does not turn on. Sweat damage I guess. I could send it back for repair – but since I am in the middle east – just shipping it back will cost about $50,- which is half the price of the headset. Jaybird have a “limited lifetime” sweat guarantee on the SB2. But read the fine print.

Conclusion on Jaybird SB2 and Jaybird store

So can I recommend the SB2 – no – not at all. Can I recommend Jaybird store direct – No not at all. If you want to get a SB2 – fine. But find a retailer locally that stocks them. Make certain that they will exchange the SB2 without hassles if (when) it dies.

So my quest for a Bluetooth sweat resistant headset is still going on. Recommendations anyone?

Coming reviews: Jaybird SB-200 and Plantronics 903+ (plus) “behind the ears/neck” headset.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Wikileaks founder accused of rape in Stockholm

Julian Assange arrested in-absentia for rape in Stockholm writes Swedish newspaper Afton Bladet. According to the Swedish prosecutors the case is about rape and molestation.

In an e-mail to Afton Bladet Julian Assange denies the accusations.

Julian Assange was in Sweden for some time planning a potential expansion of Wikileaks since Sweden has one of the strongest laws for the protection of sources.

The news in Swedish here: http://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/article7651572.ab

A statement from Wikileaks twitter: “We were warned of dirty tricks. Now comes the first” and one quoted as a statement from Julian Assange himself says “the charges are without basis and their issue at this moment is deeply disturbing”

Follow Wikileaks twitter here: http://twitter.com/wikileaks for more updates.

So is this just big boy politics and an attempt to silence Wikileaks. Or are there really two Swedish girls who have been violated by Assange. Only the future will show. But if it just is a case of politics – it is a sure sign that Wikileaks is feared – but a rape case is kind of taken out of a bad spy novel.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

UAE threatens to block all RIM BlackBerry services


All United Arab Emirates BlackBerry users today received this message:

Dear Valued Customer,

The UAE's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority has decided to suspend BlackBerry services from Oct 11, 2010. In accordance with this decision Etisalat will soon announce alternative mobility products and services.

Please visit www.etisalat.ae/blackberry for further information and updates

After UAE telecoms company Etisalat sent out their data snatching “virus” about a year ago – the UAE telecoms authority have been negotiation with RIM to open up for “data sharing” of UAE users BlackBerry data transfers (Messages, Mail, Web usage etc) – it seems like the negotiations has come to an abrupt halt.

To cite the TRA (The UAE Telecoms Regulatory Authority) – “In the current form certain BlackBerryUAE TRA Telecoms Authority blocks BlackBerry Services services allow users to act without any accountability, causing judicial, social and national security concerns in the UAE

In plain terms it means “We want to snoop on your messages and data transfers without a court order – and if we can’t we will just block the services”

I see this of course as a attempt to force RIM/BlackBerry back to the negotiations table. But if it will work is uncertain.

So will the UAE really block all BlackBerry services as of October 11 2010? I don’t think so. Every single statesman and woman from Sheik to Sheika are BlackBerry users. Most of the Government owned investment companies (Sovereign Wealth Funds) – uses BlackBerry.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Sony Ericsson X10 rooted

Seems like some of the good guys on XDA (jerpelea, Bin4ryDigit and biktor_gj) have rooted the Sony Ericsson X10. Check a picture here. How it was done is not quite clear yet. But I think it has been the hardest root of any Android until now. But it gives the owners of X10 devices the possibility to “upgrade” early to Android 2.x – probably long time before Sony Ericsson can deliver.Sony Ericsson X10 rooted

The X10 is a great phone – with a great screen and lightweight. I guess with Android Froyo it can get some of the market share it deserves. But Sony Ericsson development is kind of slow. Maybe if Sony Ericsson did not spend as much time trying to secure the operating system – the delivery of Android 2.x would speed up. But well - the guys nailed it.

A lot of the critique has been focused around NOT being able to stop some of the factory selected Applications from running. So you will see things like Moxier Mail and Sony Ericsson Timescape “taking” up working memory on the phone – even if you don't want or need them.

So a true root will be a welcome addition to the Sony Ericsson X10.

Join the discussions on XDA Developer here and follow progress while they “cook” the next ROM/Firmware in their bit-kitchens. We are ready to taste any output.

Monday, 21 June 2010

iPhone OS4 or iOS 4 is ready for download


iPhone_4_MultitaskingSeems like iPhone OS4 -iOS4 is ready for the general public. So tune in to iTunes 9.2  and start downloading.

And lets see if Apples servers can take the pressure. My iPhone 3GS is updating as we speak.

I look forward to trying new e-mail and multitasking

Update:Seems like servers are not the fastest in the world. So for 50% downloaded. Some 370mb and 185 done. But I’m in the Middle East…

Friday, 28 May 2010

N900 sms Nokia on upgrade

Nokia N900 UK advert from Financial Times ouch – lots of heated discussion in the world of N900 users. First Nokia can’t really decide who the phone/mobile computer is aimed at – and then after letting users wait for 5 months for a crucial update called PR1.2 – Nokia finally releases PR1.2 with some of the functions that are needed to make the N900 a killer device.

And what happens? Well when a user finishes upgrading to PR1.2 – the N900 sends an SMS– from the end users handset to Nokia.

Nokia does show in the Terms and Conditions that they will do that – but hey – Nokia – stop fishing money of out MY wallet and sending details via SMS  - that I HAVE TO PAY FOR - to Finland. And what are they putting into that SMS?

It makes me feel a bit – jolted – and my trust in Nokia is gone.

But this is just a case of Nokia miscommunication – once again.

Not to mention that N900 is already “out” and won’t get any more major updates. No wonder 2nd hand prices on N900 are so low – lower than N97…

More here: http://talk.maemo.org/showthread.php?t=53565

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Nokia N900 Mini Review part 2

I have now been using the Nokia N900 for about a . The device is great but still have quite a lot of issues that needs to be solved before it can be a mainstream product.week and a bit

So here are a few more comments

Battery life: Well in default setting battery life is not the best in the world. Since it is dependent on usage quoting figures are not that relevant. But enough to say that you hardly get a work day from the battery. If you optimize a bit – you can get up to a work day. Wi-Fi power and Bluetooth are heavy drainers – so keep Bluetooth off and set Wi-Fi transmit power to 10mw. Default is 100mw. It will impact wireless range but better than running out of juice.


Mail For Exchange: That is the biggest disappointment. It semi works – but only if you run Exchange 2007 with specific service packs. You cannot really call it “support” for exchange. It is very limited support – and it seems like it was not born from the codebase on the S60 MfE. This rules out out as a business phone for many. No remote wipe/key. Syncs all folders you have. If you run in scheduled mode (like every 15. min.) it seems like if MfE looses the data connection – then MfE will not connect again unless you do a full manual sync. Very annoying. You can’t move mails to another folder.

Message Pop Up: When a new message pops up – why can’t you delete the message? Button is greyed out.

Message Notifications: Unfortunately the message notification sound when you are on a call is the same as “Call Waiting” – so you get bugged down checking the phone again and again – only to find out it is a message notification.

Ovi Maps – enough said – just lousy. Give us V3

Camera: Camera takes great pictures in the right conditions. But give it a bit of light that hits the metallic frame around the lens – resulting in distorted and blue tinted pictures that are less than good looking.

Web Browser - Web Gestures: Does mostly only work if you use the stylus. Does not work very well unless you have a pointy finger or long nails. Most of the time the browser is fast. But sometimes it gets kind of stuck and takes forever to load pages. It has been reported some flash applications can stay running even if you close the browser – and thereby eat the battery without you noticing it.

Touch: In general nowhere near iPhone. To many mistakes resulting from touch. Browser is terrible with touch – even with stylus – and have a habit of confusing scrolling with tapping on links every time.

Screen : For indoor use it is great. But not as clear outdoors as the iPhone. Resolution is good. Screen cover is really bad and needs a screen protector. My phone is already so scratched it needs a new “glass”

Bluetooth: Hmm not really ready for prime times. Crashes my Nokia BH-905 headset so it needs a complete reset. Limited support for using the Phone as DUN device (sharing Internet access with your computer)

MMS: Nope not available (yet) – I don’t care – since I do not use MMS – but for some people it is important.

Skype: Works quite well – but not as well as Skype on the iPhone. Lots of fall-outs in speech in my testing. But great Skype can stay loaded in the background.

The worst thing with the N900 is the constant “fight” with Linux Geeks who sees the phone as the 2nd coming. They can make up all kinds of excuses to why the phone (yes phone) is not a phone, why the applications are not up to scratch, If a user asks the wrong question about how to get things to work or why they do not work in another way – they are like vultures attacking dead pray.

The product is an end user product. But the biggest threat to success is the availability of high quality software and the Linux community attitude to “You are stupid if you don’t know how to operate this device”. That is what is killing Linux on the Desktop and it can kill the N900 just as well. So guys – help people. Always think that your mother or grandmother should be able to use the device. Think of your fellow users as people who are not stupid – but people who you can and should help understand all the great things about a Linux based phone. Help fellow developers develop with end users in mind. Not just for users who create arbitrary RegEx statements while playing Doom and know what Bash and BusyBox is.

If nothing is done the N900 will end up being another niche device where interest will dwindle within a short period of time.