Avoid TigerDirect

I just got this in from my friend Josh. Somewhat surprising that a major online retailer would try to pull this stuff. I think I’ll stick with NewEgg when I need tech gear.

I recently purchased a Motorola H700 Bluetooth Headset from one of our favorite retail venues, Bestbuy. I paid full retail price, $124.99 for the H700. It’s a little expensive but I just got tired of the Jabra ($79.99) headset underperforming so I decided to upgrade. After purchasing the H700 I found out that TigerDirect.com had the H700 for $54.99 so I decided to buy one from there and return the one to Bestbuy. All totaled, I paid $71.00 with 2nd shipping from TigerDirect.com. I was very happy to save the $55. Today I received the new one from Tigerdirect and immediately, I noticed that the package was different. The one from BB had to be cut open with a knife (its that hard plastic bubble type package) and the one from TD opened up like a clamshell (no knife, just snapped apart). As soon as that happened, I got curious and began comparing the two packages directly.

To make a long story short, I determined that the product from TD was a knock off. The quick start guide was a different color; the pictures in it were pixilated and blurry. The user manual was cut wrong, the cardboard packaging that shows thru the clear plastic bubble was all pixilated and the colors were off…after a closer look, even the Motorola M circular logo was misprinted.

I called TD and explained to them that they were selling counterfeit products and that I wasn’t paying for it or the shipping. They of course denied the facts but did agree to cough up the total cost, shipping included.

I sent it back and I’m not buying from them ever again.

Vonage – Recommended!

I first used Vonage about four years ago. At the time, I really didn’t need it. It was a new technology and I thought it was worth trying out. I was pretty impressed at the time, but Lingo and Packet8 both came out with cheaper plans, so I figured I’d give the others a shot. I returned Packet8 within the first 30 days because of severe latency issues. I don’t know if they were still working out the bugs in their system or what, but it was painful to use. I used Lingo for about two years on their $8 plan because it was a pretty good deal. I never had the best quality, and the sound level was always really low even with the phone cranked to maximum volume. But for $8 per month, it was hard to beat. I canceled Lingo when I moved last year and just used my cell phone.

I decided to get Vonage again on Monday. I went to Circuit City and purchased one of the D-Link Vonage Telephone Adapters (VTA) for $50 that came with a $150 mail-in rebate. Not a bad deal even without the rebate, when you consider what Vonage charges through the web site. I brought the VTA home and was making phone calls in about 5 minutes. Setup was really, really easy. Phone quality is way better than it ever was with Lingo, and I really can’t tell the difference from a land line. I got the first month for free, and once I get the $150 back, that will pay for about 3-4 months of service. Vonage is definitely king when it comes to VoIP, and I highly recommend them.

Not another Vista review…

Sorry, but I couldn’t resist.

I’ve been running Windows Vista on my laptop for several weeks now to try it out and figure out some of the headaches that it will undoubtedly cause for those responsible for maintaining and supporting computers around the world. I’ll give it to Microsoft, they definitely know how to make you feel like you need to upgrade. My laptop, a Dell 600m with a Pentium M 1.6 GHz processor, ran sluggishly with Vista and 512 MB RAM. So, I upgraded to 2 GB and it runs a little better. My computer, which is fairly up to date hardware-wise, got Vista’s lowest performance rating of 1. I’m betting that greater than 90% of computers out there will get this rating (if they’ll even run Vista at all!).

My brand new Microsoft Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse 4000 doesn’t work right at all in Vista. The scroll wheel works sometimes, and the software won’t install because it requires Windows 2000/XP to install. My ATI Radeon graphics chipset does not perform even close to the same in Vista as it did in Windows XP. Don’t even bother trying to hook up an external monitor with a different resolution, it will cause problems. If you like to suspend your computer at night when you go to bed, count on Vista locking up about 75% of the time when you try to resume.

I’ve run into quite a few programs that simply refused to run on Vista, and others that are severely broken when you try to run them in Vista. While I applaud Microsoft for trying to make things more secure, they have made accessing the Application Data folder very difficult, and have blocked off some things that should be more easily accessible if you have administrative clearance. In Linux, if you type in the root password, you have root access to do what you need to do, even if it’s just change some settings. In Vista, if you want to do something that requires administrative access, sometimes it’s as simple as clicking continue, other times, it’s near impossible without significant effort to make something happen.

I just ordered in a new hard drive so I could have one drive for Windows and one for Linux. However, I will be loading Windows XP and dumping Vista when the drive comes in. I’m done with the hassles of broken programs and having to fight with the security to let me access simple settings.

Problem with CentOS 4.3 Fresh Install

I was working on a fresh install of CentOS 4.3 and the box was being incredibly sluggish. For a machine with 1 GB of RAM, I realized that the system was using 200 MB of RAM, and 100 MB of swap space for no apparent reason immediately after boot. I couldn’t understand why this was happening until I figured out that there are some problems with kernel that is included with the default CentOS 4.3 install. So, I downloaded kernel-smp-2.6.9-39.0.2.EL.i686.rpm from the CentOS testing archives, ran rpm -Uvh, and rebooted. This solved the problem. It took many hours of frustration to figure that out, so I hope this post saves someone the trouble.