Browse Month

January 2011

What ever happened to the HP Slate?

Ever wonder what happened to the HP Slate? It was buzzing around the blogs for a while then pfft.. nothing. I found out where HP put them! In their printers!

Ok.. maybe they aren’t re-purposed Slate’s.. but they are removable 7″ wi-fi android “Zeen” tablets. No access to apps according to websites i have read. Screen quality sucked. Looked like 16 bit graphics or seriously stretched images. I wonder if these are being counted in the iPad vs Android polls.

Your low voltage stuff isn’t working

I got a call last week from an electrician telling me….

“I installed the outlets where you marked them on the wall but now your low voltage stuff isn’t working. It keeps tripping the breaker. I unplugged it. Just wanted to let you know”.

I explain to the electrician that there isn’t any low voltage stuff installed yet except the cable companies house amp. Electrician confirms “yep that’s the thing that keeps tripping the breaker”. I then explain that the house amp has to work or they lose internet and TV in the den. The electrician tells me that he will check it again and call me back. This was Friday. Fast forward to Monday morning. I have to meet with the electrician at 8AM to go over the work they did and find out whats up with the house amp. Oh.. an added bonus was that the electrician didn’t leave a note or tell the client so i also got an email at 7AM from the client about the issue.

Your Low Voltage Stuff Isn't Working
Your Low Voltage Stuff Isn't Working

I got there early so i checked TV in the Den.. not working. I go over to find the house amp in the closet disconnected. I look at the newly installed outlet and i seen burn marks and the house amp power supply is smoked. I tested the outlet and it was testing ok. As a temporary fix i bypassed the house amp by barreling the input and output. I immediately hear TV in the Den and internet is working fine. I don’t really know what happened. My uneducated (because i wasn’t there) is that the electrician got confused by the RG6 cable being used with the house amp and wall wart and some how wired it up wrong. I really hate that they use an RG6 for power for a lot of CCTV and Satellite devices. I know its convenient for technicians but its confusing to anyone else. The electrician was adding an outlet in the closet near the low voltage panel because some genius didn’t think about having power where all of the 2+2 low voltage cable from the apartment ran back to. All he had to do was unplug the walwart from the hall outlet where it was plugged in temporarily and plug it into the new outlet in the closet. I’m guessing he disconnected some of the RG6 cables and wired it back up wrong. Everything is working now.

The “low voltage stuff” was working when the electrician got there. It was not after he was working in that area. His new outlet or his re installation of a power cord killed the house amp. But for some reason he thought it was okay to call me up and let me know that i (now) have a problem. It didn’t register as his problem for some reason. The reason it was not my problem (and why i quickly let him know that over the phone and this morning) is because i was there when the cable guy came out (4 times) and made sure that his installation was done and working properly. I had the den TV installed and working properly and i had the clients wi-fi network setup and working properly before i left. And more importantly.. these things were done, tested before the electrician began his work. I was able to “point the finger” because a schedule exists and someone is making sure its being followed. If the cable guy, the electrician and I all showed up at the same time trying to work around each other it would have been much more difficult to pinpoint what the problem was and when it occurred. Having someone to blame is not the primary issue. My fear with the house amp was that somehow the electrician energized the low voltage box causing the circuit to break over and over. I was worried that i would be blowing things up all around the house if they left there assuming the issue was solely with my “low voltage stuff”. I wondered if the electrician brought 220 over to my 110 outlet. This happened before with an automated gate and they had power and ground reversed. I smoked 2 Crestron C2N-IIF’s screwing around with that gate when i finally urged the client to get a new gate guy to come and look at it.

Whether its 1 guy installing a TV for an hour or a team working on a large project for a month… everything has to be based on a schedule. Without it… chaos. When you have your act totally together you will find that all of those problems you dealt with in the past really belong to someone else. The cabinet guy for not following your drawings or the sheetrock guy for covering up your speakers or the landscapers for cutting your speaker wire. Those problems were yours because you were not following a schedule that allowed you to properly coordinate with others.

Laptop Bag – Another chapter of my ongoing obsession with tool organization

I found my first (of 3) Kenneth Cole Roller Laptop Bag at marshalls about 5 years ago. It was $99. It got damaged and i bought another one for $50 at tjmaxx but it was slightly smaller. When i finally found a larger one again at marshalls it was $50 and i gave the other one to my sister. It fits in the overhead bin on an airplane. The wheels make it super easy to manage when you have to walk far with it from a parking spot or thru an airport. It matches my luggage :).

Its big enough to organize and carry up to a 15″ laptop, programming cables & IR learners and basic testing gear. 17″ laptops wont fit inside of the smaller carrying bag and they kind of bang around in the compartment without it. I usually have 3 bags with me now. My vetopropac XL for tools, my okeechobee parts bag and my laptop roller bag. These 3 guys get me thru 99% of all service calls and upgrades.

Here are some iPhone pics.

Apple v Android

I’m very sorry cousin but I’m afraid the city life is a bit to much for you.. i shall motor you back to the country….

iPhone4 vs Android
City Life Isn't For Everyone

Rule #1 Hang Up Call Back Trick

Ever get connected to an idiot when calling tech support? You knew from the moment he opened his mouth that nothing good was going to come out of it? Cut your losses early! Hang Up! Call Back! Pray for someone else!

Tech Support Sucks
Tech Support Sucks