Royce Eddington

Nothing to see here. Move along people.

Month: August 2011

Seagate GoFlex Satellite needs to go back to beta (review)

I have an upcoming project where I need to securely stream videos to multiple iOS devices for a training seminar, so I decided to give the Seagate GoFlex Satellite a try yesterday to see if it would do what I needed.

I should have known things were going to go bad just looking at the box.

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Somebody in Seagate’s art department needs to hold an iPad someday. This is ridiculous. A five year old can see this picture is wrong.

 

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I should have known this was going to be the start of something…. terrible. Something that would eat two hours of my day just to get set up and running.

 

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Right up front, I found out this fugness is NOT plug and play. The Seagate GoFlex Satellite is about as friendly as a crackhead rattlesnake on a burning cactus.

Once you take the Seagate GoFlex Satellite out of the box, you’re going to have to do some work before your iPad can see it (let alone use it).

I’ll skip over the 55 minutes of trying to get this thing installed and researching Seagate’s online tech support and just list what I had to do…

  1. Charge the Seagate GoFlex Satellite for 30 minutes into a wall outlet using the plugs they provide.
  2. While it is charging, go to Seagate’s download page and get your sync software for your platform (mac or PC) and install it on your desktop.
  3. On the iPad, while it is connected to a live WiFi network, download GoFlex Media (by seagate) AND 8player Lite in the iOS store. Install both of these apps on the iPad.
  4. After 30 minutes of charging, unplug the usb cable from the back of the Seagate drive
  5. Press the RESET button on the bottom of the device with a tack or pin for 5 seconds to clear out the factory garbage on it
  6. TURN OFF EVERYTHING IN THE AREA THAT AUTOMATICALLY CONNECTS TO WIFI NETWORKS. Not kidding. If anything auto connects to the Seagate during the next steps, the drive’s WiFi will never blink blue and update.
  7. Turn off the WiFi on the iPad (by going to GENERAL and WiFi)
  8. Connect the Seagate GoFlex Satellite drive to a PC – not a mac.
  9. Download the latest firmware update for the Seagate GoFlex Satellite from Seagate’s website
  10. Save the update directly to the root level of the GoFlex drive
  11. Safely eject the drive from the taskbar of your PC. (You can’t just unplug this thing straight. It may lose the update.)
  12. Hold down the power button on the side of the Seagate GoFlex Satellite for 15 seconds to turn it off.
  13. Wait 15 more seconds.
  14. Press the power button to re-boot the drive
  15. The power light on the drive will blink green and then go solid. Then the light under the WiFi will start blinking green… then stay solid green…. then blink again.
  16. After two minutes of this green blinkage, the wifi light will blink blue very briefly. This is where you MUST connect through WiFi on your iPad. (Miss this opportunity at your own risk!)
  17. While the GoFlex is blinking blue, on the iPad, go to GENERAL and WIFI.
  18. Turn the WiFi back on the iPad
  19. Under CHOOSE A NETWORK, pick SEAGATE GO FLEX WIFI
  20. Once the checkmark appears next to the SEAGATE GO FLEX WIFI network and the WiFi icon appears by the iPads’ name on the top menubar, go to the GoFlex Media app on the iPad and launch it.

Nothing to it!!

Once you have cleared the hurdles of connecting this device, these are the screens you will see in the GoFlex Media app on the iPad…

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This is what you will have to deal with. It’s not like having a external flash drive or a folder you can just tap-open stuff with. It’s definitely not a Mac-like app. What you see above is what you get.

Once you’re connected to the drive on the iPad, you can change the name of the drive as it shows up in WiFi as well as assign a password. That’s about it, though.

To get files on the drive, you will have to use that sync app that was downloaded to the desktop and connect the Seagate GoFlex Satellite directly to your mac (or PC). When you use the transfer app, whatever files Seagate’s app does not support will not get copied over. If you drag and drop files, the files will copy over, but the Seagate app will not list them in the VIDEO or PHOTO views. Also, if you try and drag-and-drop files directly to the drive, some files may not transfer depending on how your computer is set up for external NTFS disk write access.

You can download files from the GoFlex Satellite drive to the iPad in the app, but you can not send any files from the iPad to the drive. It’s strictly a one way street.

Also, Seagate’s GoFlex app also does not support .flv videos (among a few other formats).

Oh, and the drive is formatted NTFS. If you re-format it into any other type, it won’t work anymore. It’s NTFS or nothing.

Right. So back to the other app that was downloaded to the iPad – 8player Lite.

The reason 8player Lite was downloaded to the iPad is because Seagate’s own technical support staff recommends using this app instead of Seagates’ GoFlex Media app!! Not kidding. The techs’ comments in their own forums and on amazon.com constantly mention this app instead of their own.

It’s pretty obvious why. Launching 8player Lite will get you to a old-style PSP navigation system…

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Click what you want and the icons appear under to list content, or to the right for hierarchy. To back up a level, just click to the left.

It’s exactly as I remember my PSP system’s navigation.

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The best part is that this app will list everything you dragged and dropped. Everything.

This is really handy to see what you really have on the drive in a category pane, and I believe it’s how a file-management app should behave.

But what really sold me on the 8player Lite app was this…

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It played .flv’s. This little app actually played everything I had… every format, every size, every medium.

That’s a pretty sad state of design when I would rather have an old PSP interface than the one Seagate designed in 2011 for an iPad.

OK, now for the bad part… you can’t get online while you’re using this thing. The ipad is only connected to the Seagate GoFlex Satellite through WiFi, and if you try to get anywhere in Safari, you will just wind up at a web-interface of the files you have on the GoFlex Satellite drive. To get back online, you have to break the WiFi connection and switch back to your original network in the iPad’s GENERAL and NETWORK settings.

(You can also just switch off the Seagate GoFlex Satellite drive with the power button on the side, but your iPad may or may not reconnect to the previous wireless network as quickly as you could do so manually.)

Let me tell you, no internet access gets old real fast.

So to sum up my complaints…

  1. This monstrosity is NOT plug and play out of the box! Connecting a WiFi drive should require no more than 5 minutes.
  2. NTFS only is a poor decision considering most iPad users are also mac users as well.
  3. There has got to be a way to surf the internet while the drive is connected. Maybe make this drive an FTP server that can get a DHCP address from a wireless network and let the iPad app act as a GUI FTP login? Or let the drive login to the network as a alternate configuration. (EX: if network named “X” is detected, then set IP address to “Y” and login with “Z” credentials.)
  4. A Mac-like GUI. Something for the iPad shouldn’t look like something from the Napster-lovin’-90s.
  5. There is no SEND TO DEVICE option. A storage drive that you must to connect to a desktop or laptop to load files to it is just ridiculous.
  6. There is no on the fly converting. Seagate needs to take a look at AirVideoFree on the app store to get an idea on how it’s supposed to be done.
  7. There are two green lights on this thing. The problem is one of these lights only turns blue and flickers when data is streaming or you have a window of opportunity to connect to the drive. IMO, this light should REMAIN SOLID BLUE when ANY device is connected and revert to green when NO ONE is connected. Ideally, it should also blink blue for every number of users connected and flicker blue when data is being transferred.
  8. User/password combos would be great.
  9. The getting started video is on the drive, and you can only see it after you have connected! This video needs to be put on the root level of the drive (or in a big TRAINING folder) so people can view it when they need it!
  10. No love for .FLV.

Right now, bottom line, the Seagate GoFlex Satellite stinks on ice. But the potential for this drive is enormous.

I think of this drive like one of those fantastic big-budget sounding movies, with characters you’ve always wanted to see on the big screen. But what got made was something with C and D-list actors and director who doesn’t know anything about the project or material they are working on. Just bad all around.

Once the damn thing is connected to the iPad the first time, it behaves. Somewhat. But would I recommend a Seagate GoFlex satellite right now? No. Absolutely not. It’s actually easier to “cloud” data than use this device as it is now.

It needs work to be iPad friendly, and it needs a complete overhaul to be actually useful.

If the software updates make major improvements, I’ll re-review the drive.

UPDATE : If anybody from Seagate reads this post, let me strongly suggest you call Verizon and Sprint. Team up with them to make a 4G WiFi server. Their WiFi hotspot devices (like the Verizon 4G LTE MiFi) and your drive tech. Think mobile 4g hotspot, storage, streaming and internet access. All on one local device, no cloud needed. You will not be able to make these things fast enough at the factory.

The EPA wants to get HFC-134a regulated like freon

Today I learned something interesting.

As part of my job, I get to periodically read the Wolters Kluwer Law & Business’ Workplace Guide to EPA and OSHA.

Oh yeah. It’s exactly as fun as it sounds.

Anyhow, something on page 17, first paragraph got my attention…

“The EPA prohibits the sale of Freon to anyone other than a certified technician. The EPA is in the process of developing a similar restriction for HFC-134a, although none currently exists.”

In other words, the EPA wants to ban WalMart, Target, Pep Boys, Auto Zone and every other car-accessory place from selling those A/C recharge units.

Granted, a lot of people don’t even know or care where the automotive section is at the stores, but if the EPA gets this idea through, getting the gas to repair, seal or recharge an A/C unit won’t be possible unless you’re a “certified technician”.

Scam much?

Those recharge units usually sell out during the summer months, and HFC-134a is supposed to be 100% safe for the environment too. This regulation is either a power grab by the EPA, or worse, HFC-134a isn’t environmentally friendly as first thought and the EPA wants to quietly pull it off the market.

Either way, it’s going to be up to WalMart, Target, Pep Boys, Auto Zone and every other car-accessory place need to fight this and get to the “why”.

And for the record, I’ve used those HFC-134a rechargers on my car, and they do work.

Finding batteries and flashlights when they’re sold out at WalMart and Target

Living in the Texas valley has given me firsthand experience with dozens of hurricanes. From the moment they change from a tropical depression to a category 1, it’s time to get ready for the worst.

Every single time a hurricane heads my way, the WalMart and Target stores throughout the valley quickly sell out of batteries and flashlights.

Seeing bare shelves at a mainstream store was pretty intimidating when I first moved here, but I’ve since found there’s plenty of places to go to get flashlights and batteries before a big storm hits.

  • Hunting and Outdoors stores! This is actually my first stop when a hurricane is coming in because they carry a massive variety of flashlights, lanterns and batteries. (Cabelas, Academy)
  • Hardware stores! Tons of batteries and construction-level flashlights abound! (Lowe’s, Home Depot)
  • Kids toy stores. Often overlooked, these stores always have lots of batteries and some passable flashlights. (Toys R Us)
  • Arts and crafts stores. A seriously overlooked stash of batteries can always be found here, but they carry mediocre flashlights at best. (Michaels, Hobby Lobby)
  • Home accessory stores. They have a massive battery wall, but they’re usually hidden somewhere in the store among the appliances and bed accessories. (Bed Bath and Beyond)
  • Office supply stores. They do have most batteries and they’re usually on an endcap display near the front of the store so you can run in and run out. (Staples, Office Depot, Office Max)
  • Radio Shack. Yes, their custom batteries are overpriced and stink on ice, but they usually do have a lot of them.
  • And finally, “scent and body” stores. Places that have soaps and candles and things that smell usually have a wall dedicated specifically to candles. Yes, they’re all probably going to be scented, but they’re also all massive glass encased urns of solid wax, they will burn for hours, and these places always have plenty of stock. (Bath and Body Works, Yankee Candle, Williams Sonoma and Cracker Barrel)

If you have around $300, though, I highly recommend investing in a generator from Sam’s, Costo, or one of the home improvement stores in the area. You can get a decent generator in the $300 price range, and with a few gallons of gasoline, you can have actual plug-in power. Fans, microwave ovens, and lamps are awesome to have on when the rest of the city has been dark for over 12 hours. If you do get a generator, be sure to…

  1. Get a high-gauge extension cord since the generator will be outside your home and you will need to run an extension cord inside to your home to plug everything into.
  2. Set up the generator BEFORE the storm! There’s some small things to put together before a generator can be run for the first time, and you definitely don’t want to be unpacking one of these things in the dark with no A/C.

Hope this little trivia helps.

Fixing the Firefox “…due to mozilla’s security features error” pop-up

I upgraded to the most recent version of Firefox, and for awhile, I was getting a “…due to mozilla’s security features” pop-up error on a lot of websites I visited.

I found the solution to get rid of this highly annoying “feature” from a user named Castaign buried in the Firefox forum.

“This is likely caused by the Web Fixer add on. If you have this add on installed, you should have a small icon on the bottom right corner of Firefox (next to the authentication padlock icon) that says Fix. Click this to access the Web Fixer menu and choose Quick Settings –> Change Settings –> Other Options tab. Uncheck the box labeled “Show message on security errors”. You may need to restart Firefox for the fix to work.”

Thanks Castaign!

Avoid the shiny metal HP v220w USB flash drives

HP POS

HP POS

Please excuse my looooong absence, but I’ve been extraordinarily busy with hundreds of work projects these last few months.

Recently I purchased a HP v220w USB flash drive. It was on sale at the time and was the cheapest 16gb stick on the shelves, so I figured why not. A flash drive is a flash drive, right?

I first plugged it into my main desktop PC running Windows 7. It mounted, then disappeared, then re-mounted, then disappeared again.

OK, I thought, maybe it didn’t like Windows 7 or that particular PC. I rebooted the Windows 7 PC and tried plugging in the HP drive again, but got the same disappearing mount trick.

So I made the rounds…

  • Plugging it into a MacBook Pro Laptop : Wouldn’t mount five out of five times.
  • Plugging it into a Mac Pro 12-core Desktop : Wouldn’t mount five out of five times.
  • Plugging it into a Windows 7 desktop : Wouldn’t mount first 3 times. Mounted on 4th try and stayed mounted! Unplugging it and then plugging it back in… it wouldn’t mount.
  • Plugging it into a Windows 7 Laptop : Wouldn’t mount first 4 times. Mounted on 5th, then disappeared.
  • Plugging it into a Windows Vista desktop: Wouldn’t mount five out of five times.
  • Plugging it into a Windows XP desktop (the “emergency” spare): Wouldn’t mount five out of five times.

At this point, I knew it was a bad flash drive. So I went back to the store I bought it from and got an identical replacement HP drive. The same size, the same 220w variety.

So imagine my surprise when I plugged this new flash drive into my systems and the Same! Damn! Thing! Happened!

I was impressed. In all the wrong ways, mind you, but I was impressed.

So I looked online. Specifically HP’s own website where they sell this… thing. It’s full of one star reviews and people reporting similar experiences.

SO, in summary, I have to say the HP v220w USB flash drive is junk. Did I say junk? I meant ABSOLUTE GARBAGE. A USB drive that will not mount? That’s a textbook example of terrible engineering and rotten quality control.

HP: screwing up accessories every other company gets right.

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