MonoPrice 802.11N1 Adapter
Posted on October 14, 2010 and filed under Devices.
I’ve been struggling with my ailing MacBook for awhile now. It’s had a bit of a hard 4 years: bad palm-rests, bad fans, poor battery life, bad CD drive. The most recent is bad WiFi signal strength. It could be a bad Airport card, or just a bad antenna, but either way I can’t get a connection more than 20 feet from the router. I could try replacing the card and antenna, but that would end up being about $80 and a couple more cracks in the computer’s shell.
Instead, I went for the 802.11N1 1T1R from MonoPrice. It set me back a total of about $11, and was billed as being OS X compatible, which is only partly true. It is compatible, but they don’t give you the drivers. The card uses the RTL8188SU chipset from Realtek, and unfortunately, in my mind, Realtek has become known for cheap components without the drivers you need. Fortunately, there is usually a company using the chips that is also willing to provide some sort of support for them. In this case it’s Airlink101. They uses their own part numbers, but it looks like the AWLL5077 uses something similar to the RTL8188SU. I’m not sure how long this link will work, but the main idea is the model number. Based on some posts on the Ubuntu Forums, but it may also apply to the 8712/8191/8192 chips, but don’t quote me on that.
On another note, we have the issue of using Airlink101′s resources. Of course, if something breaks, then it’s my/your problem not theirs, but in the grand scheme of things, they are really helping to solve the problem of driver support on Mac’s. To be honest, I would not buy this card again, the driver issue is annoying, but the card is actually quite fat and blocks my second USB port. If you need a WiFi card for your Mac, look into Airlinks101′s products. I can’t guarantee they will work, but you can get a much smaller card with the same chip and save a bit of space and trouble.
Posted on August 20, 2010 and filed under Apps,Devices.
I have yet to hear of a service that does this, but if there is, they need to ramp up the PR.
Probably one of the most frequently used reasons people avoid using location services is privacy based. People don’t want to spell out their exact location, or worse the location of their house or workplace. But, what about a geolocation service that will allow you to redirect your location for any given place. Say you are at home, you could setup a 1 mile bubble around your house that would send you to any one of a few locations near-by (coffee shop, bookstore, bar) or just remove the location data all together. There are some inherent issues with storing specific locations in order to redirect/remove them, but that is just a matter of trust and security of the service provider. Our billing information is stored with any number of companies and we really don’t think about it twice. Such information is often synonymous with our home addresses.
The actual technology behind this sort of service is beyond me, but ideally it would be built into the the device doing the updates, probably a mobile phone. It could also be an intermediary service that would handle the location translation/repositioning/deletion. I think location based services have a lot of promise, but until someone figures out how make it foolproof to keep certain information private, I don’t think it will catch on as fast as it could.
That’s about as far as I’ve gotten in thinking about this, but in my mind it seems like a really good idea for a new business. If you like it, take it and cut me in on the money.
Posted on June 14, 2010 and filed under People,Websites.
So what is Facebook’s problem? They have a HUGH number of users, or shall we say “customers”, and yet they have very little and very poor customer service.
What triggers this feeling is MG Siegler’s post Facebook: Calacanis Is Lying on TechCrunch. The basics are: Jason Calacanis said he deleted his Facebook account, but the process did not proceed as expected and the account was still active after the 14 day “cooling off period.” Facebook feels that the system functioned correctly and that the problem is on Calacanis’ side.
But that is the wrong answer.
Whatever happened to “The Customer is Always Right?” The customer is not always right (ordering a Big Mac at Wendy’s) but in this case, Calacanis is right, no matter what he did or did not do. Facebook needs to grow up, and also know when to shut up. I don’t really care if Calacanis is lying or not; he had an expectation of what was going to happen and that expectation was not met. Instead of arguing about the facts, just fix it. Offer to put the account on an expedited delete cycle, or just delete it immediately.
I think it’s time they woke up and started acting like they really cared and not like they’re fighting their users. They need to step back a bit and find someone outside Facebook that they respect enough to listen to when they’re called out on the things they’re doing.
Google Chrome(ium) for Macs
Posted on July 24, 2009 and filed under Apps.
Although Google has not yet released a version of Chrome for the Mac, as part of an open source project you are still able to get a developer’s build of the underlying program, Chromium, on its Google Code page. Google also appears to be offering a very early version of Chrome, all be it slightly hidden from their main download page. Both are still quite feature limited, most notably in the areas of Flash support and bookmark management, but are showing some promise even at this early stage.
Updating between builds still look to lack some of the convenience found in similar open source tag teams like Webkit and Safari, but one would expect those sort of features to be appearing in future versions. As an interesting note, Chrome seems to already have the visual half of this feature implemented, but I have yet to be able to actually use it. More on that in the future.