ZaTab

January 27, 2013

To be completely honest, I’m a little disappointed with ZaReason‘s tablet offering, the ZaTab (N.B. currently sold out while they develop the successor). And I feel guilty about saying so, because I love ZaReason and I want them to succeed.

Here’s the basic problems I’ve been having with my device.

  • Device doesn’t charge. This is kind of a big problem for a device to have. It’s kind of a qualified "doesn’t charge", though, because if you plug the USB cable in just the right position, it will charge, but slowly (36 hours for a charge?). It seems like the connectors aren’t well-seated or maybe the case is coming loose, or maybe the connectors are breaking off the motherboard. Who knows? I wrote support an email on the 14th of December. I thought I’d cut them some slack for the holidays, but it’s been almost three weeks without any response — even so much as a "sorry, we can’t help you, it’s almost certainly completely fucked and it’s out of warranty". (I pinged them on Twitter too; nothing.)
  • When a MicroSD card is inserted, the device becomes much more sluggish and seems to run out of charge a lot faster. Maybe this is related to the above, maybe not. This was with a 32GB card; I haven’t tried anything else since them.
  • No clear way to update device. Maybe this is my fault for factory-resetting the device, but it’s running CyanogenMod 9, right? So why can’t I just easily install Cyanogen 10 to see if the above problem goes away? I don’t want to dick with flashing ROMs and installing the Android SDK. That’s the whole reason I bought a free device!
  • Oh, a standard micro-HDMI connector doesn’t quite fit into the port. You can order a cable with the tablet that has a micro-HDMI connector that’s an itsy bitsy bit longer than standard, which works. Yuck.

I don’t want to jump to any conclusions as far as what this means about ZaReason’s technical chops or their business practices or whatever. Maybe I just got a bad one, or I was too rough on it, or it got banged up in shipping and it’s no one’s fault. But when I buy devices, I want them to just make my life unilaterally and unequivocally better. Instead it seems like nobody ever sells exactly the product I really want, and ZaReason just manages to come a little closer than everyone else.

I guess the good news is that in the last few years, open hardware has suddenly gotten a lot more plausible. Please be aware of PengPod and Jolla. It’s a brave new world..

Comments Off

Dr Nic’s 8 steps for fixing other people’s code

January 27, 2013

A clearly-articulated if somewhat Ruby-centric and dated ("now do svn diff") explanation of how to contribute a patch to an open source project.

  1. Snoop around

Load up the project into your editor and poke around.

If it has test cases (!) try running them. You may need to create some databases and/or modify the Rakefile/connection details to work with your database. Hopefully the project comes with rake tasks to create/drop the databases. rake -T should find them.

Comments Off

Insane Clown News Network

January 27, 2013
Tags:

This was hilarious three years ago. Juggalo News discusses Obama’s healthcare reform, circa 2010.

Seen via JWZ.

Comments Off

Regarding Foursquare and Please Rob Me

January 27, 2013

Haven’t posted in a while. I decided I’d catch up a little bit on my backlog. Here’s a post about society’s fears that thieves will use publicly-available information to rob us.

http://travelogue.betacantrips.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/answering_machine_paranoia-20100219-133718.jpg

Comments Off