Akom's Tech Ruminations

Various tech outbursts - code and solutions to practical problems

Reviews Amazon no longer lists the items you ordered in emails

Posted by Admin • Wednesday, December 30. 2015 • Category: Reviews
Which is really a pity. When I search my mailbox for something I ordered, I'd like to find it. I should not have to remember where I ordered it and go to every store website. I tried to bring this up with Amazon customer service with entertaining results:


You are now connected to Pooja from Amazon.com
Me: How can I enable itemized order information in order confirmation emails? I understand that I can view it on your site, I am specifically asking about emails.
Pooja: Hello, my name is Pooja. I'm here to help you today.
Pooja: To be able to pull up your account please provide me your name, e-mail address and the billing address.
Me: My question is not account-specific
Pooja: May I please place you on hold for 2 minutes while I look in to this for you?
Me: Yes please
Pooja: I'm sorry but you'll not be bale to view the order details unless it is directed from the website.
Me: So when I order 10 items from Amazon I cannot have an email listing them?
Pooja: You'll receive an email confirmation for the items once you've completed the order/
Me: This email only lists the first one or two, followed by "... and 8 more items".
Pooja: In the email if you'd click on the link you'd be directed to the site for full item details.
Me: Can I have an email listing all the items?
Pooja: Would you like me to send you one ?
Me: I'd like you to send me one every time I place an order
Pooja: I'm sorry but that is not possible.
Me: Pity

Reviews Motorola Droid X Battery Life woes may not mean a defective battery

Posted by Admin • Monday, July 26. 2010 • Category: Reviews
Last week my wife replaced her Blackberry Storm2 (9550) with a shiny Droid X, and was relieved to find that the Droid kept up with her insane usage load just fine - whereas the Storm2 would lock up every few minutes (probably memory or garbage collection issues). That's the good news. Unfortunately, the X introduced a new problem - battery life. With her usage, it lasts 4 hours. The Storm2 lasted 24 or more. Granted it's a bigger display, but the specs promised ... well, a lot more than 4 hours.

We theorized that it may be runaway processes and excessive number of apps, or defective battery, but as it turns out it's neither. This is what I did:

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Reviews The Valor ITS-301D DVD/CD/MP3/MP4/etc car head unit

Posted by Admin • Tuesday, September 8. 2009 • Category: Reviews
I recently bought a truck to replace the conversion van as a tow vehicle, and decided not to move the Innovatek head unit from the van to save myself some hassle. This gave me an opportunity to try out a new device as I was somewhat frustrated with the Innovatek (see review). I was looking for basically the same exact thing, but one that worked, well, better. Oh and of course having a TV tuner is no longer of any value.

I can spoil the suspense by saying that the Valor ITS-301D proved to be an improvement and I have only positive things to say about it. Some details:

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Reviews Aliph Jawbone 2 overheats and nearly burns fingers, melts internally

Posted by Admin • Wednesday, January 14. 2009 • Category: Reviews
Got a shiny new Jawbone 2 from Buy.com the other day, and this is my experience with it over 2 weeks, ending in its eventual return. This also details my experience with Aliph Customer Service.

Initial pairing: I missed the "I am in pairing mode the first time I'm turned on" window, apparently - and getting it to go into pairing mode by holding the two buttons down took at least 20 tries. (seriously) In retrospect, I'm glad that it isn't so easy to put into pairing mode - I might do that inadvertently... But it worked, and boy did it work well. We tested it with a Shark cordless vacuum in hand, and the other person could only vaguely tell that there may be something making noise in the background. With NoiseAssasin disabled, you could hear the vacuum cleaner clearly instead of the person.

All was well, until...

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Reviews Vimeo vs Youtube for flight video

Posted by Admin • Wednesday, December 10. 2008 • Category: Reviews
A few months ago I posted my successful flight video recorded with on-board camcorder on my RC plane. I posted in youtube, because, well, that's what everyone does.

The video was an 160MB two-pass Xvid AVI, and once it made it through the youtube hamster wheels, it didn't look so good, especially while flying high over the tree-tops - they all meshed together into a mess of pixels. I complained, but resigned to my low-quality destiny.

Some time passed and it occurred to me to look into Vimeo. Here are the results

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Reviews The Mystery B6 balancing LiPo/LiFE/NiCd/NiMh/Pb charger (review, sort of)

Posted by Akom • Tuesday, October 21. 2008 • Category: Reviews
The Mystery B6
I got this charger because the little unit that was included with my R/C plane just did not inspire a lot of confidence. It did charge, just took hours, and gave no hints about why. So I figured I'd go and buy something that gives me a little more information. And I found it. In Hong Kong. But now it's on my desk.

For being able to charge anything, the $50 and two weeks of waiting simply doesn't seem excessive.

As far as I can tell, the Mystery B6 gets a fair amount of negative commentary on the forums. People seem to question its voltage precision and balancing accuracy. So I thought I'd run a very simple test.

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Reviews Gentoo Linux on D945GCLF with Atom 230

Posted by Akom • Friday, September 26. 2008 • Category: Reviews
I decided to downscale my asterisk server (currently Athlon XP2000) to something that's not quite as power hungry. The server barely does anything most of the time, but consumes just over 100 watts.
The Atom 230 on the D945GCLF

$70 later I was staring at this very cute little green square, complete with a chipset fat/heatsink and a very naked CPU (needs no cooling at 5 watts). It looks hilarious in my small tower case, hides entirely behind the vertical ATX power supply (I realize I can run this off a Pico PSU)
Power improvement? (Same case, power supply, hard drive) A7N8X-VM with Athlon XP 2000+ : about 100-110watts at idle. D945GCLF with Atom 230: About 45 watts at idle. (At this rate, the power savings will pay for my expenses in 10 months, roughly - including the $30 for the 2GB DDR2 RAM)

The following is a small list of issues and solutions I've come across while migrating my Gentoo server over to this thing.

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Reviews My Review of the Innovatek 362 DTM Head unit with DVD,TV,MP3,Rear View Camera

Posted by Akom • Friday, September 5. 2008 • Category: Reviews
I got this thing for our Conversion-Conversion Van. I wanted it to do everything for me. (Also take a look at our Wanna-B-RV(ers) blog entry on this)
The innovatek box
Overall I can't say that I'd recommend this unit, but for some specific applications (such as ours) it seemed to work out.

The breakdown:

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