Jawbone JAMBOX update – It falls well

One other thought regarding my Jawbone JAMBOX, I’ve discovered that it’s surprisingly robust when it comes to being dropped.

How have I discovered this? Well, I put it on a counter top, table or other large flat surface, turn it on and do whatever else I’m doing. A couple of hours later it has vibrated itself off the desk and hit the floor.

So far, no dents and no apparent damage, but it makes me wonder about the long-term viability as speakers don’t usually handle repeated impacts particularly well. Blah.

On the plus side, since giving up even trying to pair to multiple devices, it’s been an absolutely fantastic speaker. Can’t wait to take it travelling again!

netflix.ca – A giant “don’t bother”

Over the Thanksmericangiving weekend Microsoft was running a “Free XBox 360 Gold” promotion, and along with that, NetFlix was offering 30 days of free streaming service. I figured why not try it out, maybe we’d find some interesting movies or TV series that we’d enjoy?

Signing up was reasonably easy, although I would suggest creating your account on your computer first rather than trying to type out a decent password on an XBox 360. Twice.

The first thing that jumped out at me was the selection. More specifically, the lack of selection. It took me a good 15 minutes of flipping through TV shows and movies to find something I would watch to test out the streaming video quality and functionality. No, not a show to actually sit down and watch, just something to try out to gauge the video quality.

I ended up watching about 5-10 minutes of Mythbusters episodes. You won’t have to worry about spoilers of new TV shows if you’re a bit behind on your PVR watching since the available TV episodes were years old.

Recalling how much money and resources Netflix puts into algorithmically determining user preferences I thought I’d give it a chance, so that evening I spent about 45 minutes on Netflix’s website telling Netflix all about my movie preferences, genres I enjoy (and not), rating movies it offered to help Netflix learn about me. I also installed the iPhone and iPad clients, thinking I might go watch a movie on the iPad. Unfortunately I still couldn’t find anything that interested me. The suggestions weren’t bad, but I’d seen the movies I wanted to see and literally couldn’t find anything that I hadn’t already seen that interested me.

I picked one and sat through about 15 minutes on the iPad. Video and audio quality was good, but the movie didn’t grab me enough to care so I went to bed.

I got Lori set up with Netflix on her iPhone too to check out the selection, she watched a few more shows than I did, but the month trial isn’t even over and neither of us can find anything to watch.

The video quality was good, the interface isn’t horrible, selection of clients was nice. Heck, it even streamed video over 3G, something Apple can’t manage on the iPhone 4 (although other video-calling capable phones have been doing it for years), but what’s the point when there isn’t anything you want to watch?

More annoyingly though, when canceling service Netflix.ca is careful to spell out that they terminate your service immediately and you forfeit the remainder of the time you prepaid. Let me type that one again more slowly: Customer pays for service. Customer decides to not renew at the end of the agreed upon prepaid term. Netflix says “great, but don’t tell us until the last possible minute or we won’t bother to give you the service for which you paid.”

Sorry guys, but that’s a dickhead move and it pretty much guarantees I won’t bother trying Netflix again even if they ever get a decent selection of movies / TV shows.

(And yes, I’m aware that it was a trial and I’m not actually out any money. I plan on keeping it that way)

Kindle 3

I got a Kindle 3! Yay!

All in all, so far, I love this device. I’ve been reading books on my iPhone and iPad so far, but at this point, I’d highly recommend it!

I got the $139 version which has wifi only, but for $189 you can snag a 3G version that will let you download eBooks from anywhere without setting up your own wireless network.

So to start with it, the packaging is very Apple-like. So is the charger. That’s nice. It doesn’t come in a shipping box, the box it comes in IS the shipping box, that’s a damn nice design to avoid wasted packing materials.

Out of the box is a nice experience; the Kindle itself is wrapped in plastic and the screen has instructions on how to get started printed on it. If you want to look like less of a fool than me, you won’t try and pry them off since unlike most devices that have a beautifully printed plastic cover over the screen, the startup instructions are the screen itself! Talk about a great first impression.

Oh, and yes, there is a charger plus a USB cable included in the box. Another nice touch in a day where $300 devices *cough*iPod Touch*cough* don’t include power adapters.

I already have a Kindle account and read eBooks on my iPad and iPhone, when I fired up the Kindle it was pre-configured to my Amazon account and once I got wifi connected, I was immediately able to download books that I’d already purchased.

The screen is absolutely beautiful, the Kindle is so much lighter than I’d expected, and it’s a very comfortable fit in the hand. There are page-turn buttons on the left and right, so it’s great regardless of which hand you’re using at that particular moment.

Unfortunately I did have one fairly major problem with the wifi setup. On the plus side it should work fine for most normal home networks, the problem only occurs when using a configuration that is more common in business networks.

If you really care about the details, read on:

It’s looking like a bug in Kindle’s network stack.  Specifically, the device breaks when a DHCP server returns this configuration:

Subnet Mask:
Default Gateway:
DNS Server:

After the Kindle obtains an IP address, it attempts to send a DNS lookups to, but routes the packets to the default gateway instead of correctly delivering them to the local network.

Interestingly this works on “normal” home LANs where is both a router and DNS server, but breaks on a more “corporate” style LAN where the router/firewall/default-gateway is not the DNS server.

I’ve reported the problem to Amazon’s support, we’ll see how much hassle it is to get through the first level support droid.