Tag: hardware

Technology for Good – episode thirty four with Salesforce’s John Tascheck

Welcome to episode thirty four of the Technology for Good hangout. In this week’s episode our guest was SalesForce SVP of Strategy, John Taschek. John and I are both longtime members of the Enterprise Irregulars, but this was the first time John and I had had a conversation outside of email!

Some of the more fascinating stories we looked at on the show, included a very successful Kickstarter campaign for a small router which can completely anonymise your internet activity, Lockheed Martin announcing that they’ve made a breakthrough on nuclear fusion technology, and Satya Nadella’s response to his gaffe last week about women seeking a raise.

Here is the full list of stories that we covered in this week’s show:





Internet of Things





Open Source


(Cross-posted @ GreenMonk: the blog)

Sustainability reporting in tech companies – the hardware vs software divide

Nature's fragility
Photo credit Koshyk

I wrote (and subsequently updated) a post a few weeks ago reviewing the Sustainability Reports of various companies in the technology space.

I updated the review again this afternoon (see the updated review below) with the 2009 reports from IBM, Adobe and SAS.

Something which struck me previously, and which hasn’t changed with the new rankings, is the yawning chasm in attitudes to sustainability reporting between hardware versus software companies.

Obviously this divide has a lot to do with risk – hardware companies who have significant manufacturing facilities, with massively complex supply chains, often containing toxic substances have far more exposure to risk than software companies.

This is reflected in the table below where eight of the top ten listings are hardware companies.

On the other hand, the bottom of the table is all software companies (with the exception of Apple – because they refuse to produce a sustainability report!).

The real odd one out though is the leader, SAP. Their sustainability reporting is out on its own. It is way ahead of any other organisation I have come across and this despite the fact that they are a software company!

One factor may be that they have a significantly European representation in senior management – they have a very different thought process when it comes to sustainability. SAP say they want to be an exemplar and an enabler – and, so far, they seem to be delivering on that.

None of the other software companies seem to take sustainability reporting anywhere nearly as seriously as the hardware companies.

Why do you think that is?

Buffalo TeraStation 2tb Home server review

I bought a Buffalo TeraStation 2TB NAS box the other day. It arrived today – Wohoo!

Buffalo TeraStation 2TB NAS up and running

The NAS box has 4 x 500mb drives in an external box (see above). The box has an ethernet port at the back allowing it to be plugged into the router and accessed across my entire home network.

The 4 x 500mb drives come pre-configured as RAID 5 (giving approx 3 x 500gb usable space) but it can also be configured as RAID 0 or RAID 1 through a simple web interface.

1.36 TB Available!

Check out the bottom of the window above – 1.36TB Available!

I’m now busily copying my music, video and photo collections onto it so I can free up that space on my laptop.

Copying iTunes onto TeraStation

The drive is refreshingly quiet, has a simple web-based configuration tool and took all of about 10 minutes from unpacking to mounted on my Mac desktop!

Thanks Branedy for the recommendation – hopefully this will work better than the Western Digital MyBook I bought a while back which was a DOA!

Recyclable, transparent ink cartridges

As a follow-on from yesterday’s post about hacking inkjet printer cartridges – in retrospect, a much better solution would be for printer manufacturers to make recyclable, transparent  ink cartridges which warn when your ink is running low but only stop printing when you actually run out of ink!

Now what are the chances of that happening?

Can inkjet printers be hacked?

Ars Technica have an article about something I have long suspected, inkjet printers are filthy, lying thieves!

The article quotes figures from an Epson sponsored study (!) which show that inkjt printers regularly report that they are out of ink when there can be as much as 60% of the ink left in the cartridge.

Not surprisingly Epson printers came out of the study best with figures of 20% of ink remaining when the cartridge reports empty.

The really annoying thing about this is that all the manufacturers are aware of it but they do nothing to fix it. If a cartridge reports as empty, the printer will cease to print, even if there is plenty of ink left.

Does anyone know, is there a way to get around this (apart from buying a laser printer)?

Philips Wireless Headset

Philips sent me a wireless headset to try out during the week.

It is a bluetooth headset with a few funky features:

  • The microphone is about 6mm long (as opposed to the boom mikes on many headsets which come right around to your mouth)
  • It has a separate audio jack/bluetooth dongle so you can plug it into your mp3 player and listen to your tunes wirelessly
  • You can use it with your phone and mp3 player simultaneously!
  • It is rechargeable and comes with a charger

It is also supposed to be able to connect to your computer but I couldn’t verify that – on my Mac, I couldn’t get it to maintain a connection and my Vaio couldn’t see it at all (having said that, that is more likely a Vista problem than a problem with this headset, as the Vaio can’t see any bluetooth device!).

With people concerned about the health and safety issues connected with heavy mobile phone usage – a bluetooth headset seems like an ideal device as it allows you to keep the mobile at a distance from your head.

See more here and here.

Philips tell me it retails for between €90 and €130.

Nokia N70 and E65 cameras compared

I took a couple of close-up photos of my bookcase to compare the quality of the cameras in the Nokia N70 and the Nokia E65

Here is a copy of the photo the N70 took:
Nokia N70 photo of bookcase

and here is the E65’s photo of the same bookcase (in high quality mode):
Nokia E65 photo of bookcase

As you can see from these images, the N70 photo is higher quality! The colours from the N70 are richer and there is a lot of noise in the image from the E65.

The fact that the N70 takes better photos than the E65 is strange given that the N70 was released well over a year ago and the E65 has just come out.

Nokia E65 quick review

My Nokia E65 arrived today and it is even nicer in reality than the site would have you believe!

My first impressions of the phone are very positive although I did get a fright when iSync told me it doesn’t support the E65 – eeek, how am I going to synchronise all my contacts and calendars? Fortunately after a quick search I found that Nokia have a downloadable script which will update iSync to synchronise with the E65.

The handset is beautiful (I went for the Mocca model) and the screen resolution is amazing (240 x 320) in a phone so small (105 x 49 x 15.5 mm).

The desktop and keyboard are extremely well thought out giving quick and easy access to the most frequently used functionality.

The phone is also very responsive. Previous Nokia models would take one or two seconds to open a new blank text. The E65 opens it almost instantly.

Where I am based in Rushbrook, the Vodafone network coverage is poor but the E65 seems to handle the low coverage better than either the N70 or the E61. There is a notable improvement in call quality.

The built-in wifi, one of the main reasons I decided on the E65, has been working exceptionally well. Despite working very closely with Truphone support we were unable to get the E61 to receive incoming calls on my US landline number. However, the E65 hs no trouble getting calls on my US number (so far!).

The only downsides of the phone I have found, so far, are the lack of games on the phone and the poor quality of the camera. But, at least it does have a camera. This was another factor in my deciding to buy this model.

Overall, I’m extremely happy with the phone and would recommend it to anyone.

Microsoft ruins Christmas!

I decided a while back to treat myself to a games console for Christmas and after some discussion, I settled on an Xbox 360. I would have bought a Wii except it doesn’t have a usable optical drive and we don’t have a DVD drive so I wanted the games console to double as a DVD drive.

I bought a Pro Console with wireless controllers to cut down on the cable clutter. I bought Viva Pinata and Pixar’s Cars which I could play with my three year old son Tomás (Cars is one of Tomás’ favourite movies).

He was very excited he was going to play these games as soon as his papa had set up the new Xbox on Christmas day.

Imagine the tears rolling down his disappointed little face when I had to tell him that he couldn’t play with his new games because the Xbox wouldn’t work with our TV (pdf).

I called Microsoft’s Support line and kudos to them for having it manned on Christmas day but the news wasn’t good. The staff there informed me that I needed to purchase a high def adaptor if I wanted my high definition games console to work on my high definition tv. Obviously.

And it is not that they wouldn’t work in high definition only, no they wouldn’t work in high def or regular.

And where could I get one of these? “At your nearest Xbox reseller” – yeah good luck finding one of those open on Christmas day.

This is completely ridiculous – this is a problem created by Microsoft. There is already a standard in place around high definition cabling. It is called HDMI. HD Ready TVs have a HDMI input, by definition. All Microsoft had to do was put a standard HDMI connector on their AV cable and their Xbox would work on every HD Ready TV out of the box.

But no, Microsoft go with their non-standard cable so they can gouge us for another 30 or 40 Euros.

In our house, Microsoft is not the Borg, Microsoft is the Grinch who stole Christmas.

Thanks a million Microsoft. Your cheapness destroyed my son’s Christmas.

Komplett refunds me!

In a previous post about consumer rights, I mentioned how I had asked Komplett for a refund for a faulty drive they had sent me.

Having read on the Consumer Association of Ireland website that I was entitled to a refund, not just the options of repair/replace which were offered on the Komplett website, I emailed Komplett saying I would prefer a refund.

I received an email from Komplett this week informing me that my credit card had just been credited with a full refund!

Excellent, now I can look to getting a different external storage solution. Several people have recommended Seagate so I may give them a look.