Thursday, December 04, 2008
Monday, December 01, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Ok, in my previous post I bemoaned the fact that my 19” flat panel monitor broke and took my $150 Matias Tactile Pro 1.0 keyboard with it. I thought I’d follow up on an experience that made me have a huge amount of respect for the Matias company.
Why a $150 Keyboard?
I realize most people purchase keyboards that cost $30 to $40 US dollars these days. Often they don’t purchase keyboards at all but use the ones included free with their computers. So knowing one can buy a completely usable keyboard for $30 then why would I spend $150 on a keyboard? There are actually several answers but I’m only going to discuss one in this post. (For more information on the history of this keyboard read this article on TidBITS.)
Now That’s Customer Service
I type A LOT. It's basically my livelihood. If I couldn’t type, I’m not sure how I could support my family. Because of the fact that I probably spend 10 hours a day typing and it’s so important to my family’s well being I’m willing to invest in a decent keyboard. The keyboard I’m talking about is the Matias Tactile Pro 1.0. It’s a wonderful keyboard that feels great and supports your hands long into the night. When I found my flat panel monitor had broken the keyboard stands off of the back basically making the keyboard useless I was crushed. I went to the Matias site to even see if they were making a Tactile Pro keyboard (I knew they had long discontinued the 1.0 version.) I also knew that due to a tight budget lately, I might have to replace it with a $30 keyboard. I found Matias was no longer making a Tactile Pro keyboard. They will release a 3.0 version next year but the 1.0 and 2.0 versions are no longer available. I know they make a really nice USB 2.0 keyboard but it isn’t anything like the Tactile Pro.
Disappointed, I filled out the web form to be notified when the Tactile Pro 3.0 keyboard becomes available. There is a message section and I just put in pathetically that the feet had broken off of my Tactile Pro 1.0 keyboard so I needed to purchase a new one.
Ok, now you know how web forms work. The email address goes into a database and no one ever reads the message section.
Except at Matias!
Less then 24 hours later I was contacted through email by a customer service representative.
She wrote to me that if I give her my address she would mail me replacement feet. That’s right. I sent her my address. And a few days later, Matias paid $6.50 CAD to send me an envelope with two replacement feet.
My new Feet
Truly amazing. Matias, you have a customer for life!
Sunday, July 06, 2008
This morning I walked into my office to check email and saw this.
That’s my Samsung flatpanel sitting on my keyboard.
You can see the stand is no longer attached to the back of it. Last night it was fine and hadn’t been touched or moved since then. So sometime during the night the metal bracket holding it to the stand simply gave up.
Now that’s depressing enough as it is, but if you look a bit closer you’ll notice that the weight of the monitor broke the feet off of the bottom of my Matias Tactile Pro keyboard (which cost me $150 USD.)
Why someone would spend $150 on a keyboard will be my next blog entry, but to give you an idea you can read this (You have to at least read the section entitled Protecting the Alps.)
Now I think I should point out this monitor has had a very easy life. It just sits on my desk. It doesn’t move around or travel. It just sits there. It literally broke due to its own weight. I think it is still under warranty so I’ll have to try and find the original paperwork (which reminds me, I need to clean up and organize my office.)
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
- Stereo Bluetooth headset support (A2DP)
- Copy and Paste
- Video recording
- Global search (they let you search contacts now, but not notes or calendars, Palm OS has had this for years!)
- DUN tethering (so I can use the phone as a 3G modem on my laptop either over Bluetooth, or preferably, USB)
- Notes syncing with Outlook (on Windows) or Mail (on Mac OS X)
- A ToDo app with syncing with Outlook (on Windows) or iCal (on Mac OS X)
- MMS (picture messaging, so far they still only support text messaging)
- Chat/IM support for popular chat apps (MSN Live Messenger, AIM, GTalk, etc.)
- Voice activated dialing
- Syncing music/video/podcasts and calendar data over Bluetooth or WiFi. Why should I have to connect a USB cable just to sync?
- Forward camera and video chat support
- Undo in most apps (something PalmOS apps have had for over a decade.
- Turn by turn GPS
- Bluetooth support for keyboards and standard devices other then headsets and headphones.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Ok, so the nearest printer to me happens to be an HP OfficeJet L7780 all in one. Now I don’t need the scanner or other features accessable from my computer, I just need to print. So I go to HP’s website to download the printer driver. I know that they will try to give me an installer with scanner software, etc. on it, but I just need a printer driver.
I get here pretty quick with a little searching:
I choose Windows XP ‘cause that’s what I’m using. And finally I get here: http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/softwareList?os=228&lc=en&cc=us&dlc=en&product=2512010&lang=en
Now it has a few options. There is a full feature software and driver. No doubt that includes the scanner software and more that I already said I don’t want. It comes in at a whopping 314MB. Good thing I don’t need all of that. Let’s see what else? There is a CD ordering option. Two software removal utilites. A wireless configuration utility. A Basic feature software/driver at 68MB (still too big to be what I want) and a Basic Features software/driver 'for IT professional use only' at 43.39MB (oh, BTW the IT pro only is at version 7, where as the others are at version 8.0.1 AND it was updated 2 months prior to the 8.x versions.) Nice eh?
Well I go for the one for IT pros anyway (hey I’m a pro right?) even though it is a full version older. I like the idea of it being over 20MB smaller, and the new software is probably just for the scanner.
Ok after the rather long download across an overburdened wireless network I get my .exe file. Double clicking it expands to a new folder with my drivers in it. That folder is a whopping 80MB with 280 files and 26 folders. Wow that’s some printer driver.
I decided I couldn’t stand it and had to dissect the driver installer and see what extra stuff I could eliminate. Once I eliminated anything that wasn’t needed, this is what I finally had:
The 80MB folder with 280 files and 26 folders is now 9MB with 7 files and 0 folders. Yes that’s right.
Now let’s see what I kept. One of the space savings was eliminating languages I didn’t need, so I go rid of several .cab files for foreign languages and just kept p3i2enww.cab for English. This eliminated a few MB but wasn't too significant.
I also kept the .cat file which provides the driver signature. Without this the driver will still install but you’ll get a nasty warning from windows that the file could be malicious and asking if you are absolutely certain you want to install it.
The other files you see there have necessary driver installation information.
All the other files I eliminated, I didn't need. A lot of them were HP's picture viewing software, scanner software, OCR software, etc. Like I said, I just needed to print!
Doesn't seem like too much to ask they make just the printer driver available to download, at least for "IT Professionals." Oh well, I saved it on our workgroup file server for everyone else to use as needed.
Hope this helps you streamline your printer drivers.