Aug 19 2009

Drobo Censorship

Category: Moan,TechnologyRobert McGovern @ 10:10 am

This is a quick post from a forum post I just made. Mostly so it lives on, incase Data Robotics once again censors its new forum.

The context here is that Data Robotics (makers of Drobo) has taken over handling of the forum. Previously it was handled Capable Networks but was suddenly stopped. The first a number of us knew about this was this email from the 17th of August

Dear DroboSpace Member,

Earlier this month, the DroboSpace Community and Forum went offline as Data Robotics, the primary sponsor of the site, ended its long-time community partnership with Capable Networks (our company). DRI has since launched a closed, company-managed support forum on its own corporate site under the DroboSpace name.

We here at Capable are exploring our options for continuing to support an open, independently-owned and operated Drobo online community like those we run at SlingCommunity.com, TiVoCommunity.com, and MyOpenRouter.com.

That’s where you come in. Over the past two years, you helped us create a thriving Drobo community built around valuable content that became the most popular destination for lively discussions around Drobo-related products. It would be a shame to see all the information and conversations vanish, but that depends on your involvement and support.

If you would or would not like to see an independent and open community return, please send us an e-mail with your thoughts or feedback to drobospace@capablenet.com. We look forward to hearing from you and will certainly respond to the community when we have finalized our decision.

Thank you for all your help and support.

So something happened and apparently they fell out, thats fair enough, it happens in business all the time (*cough* Apple / Microsoft … well Microsoft / the world).

Going to the url, I found the new forums and in the General discussion forum there was a discussion by a few Drobo users who were a little upset at the handling of the transition (myself included) and questions regarding the old forum data that was apparently lost in the transition. The next day that 8 post thread was deleted.

In its place was a post by a rep for Data Robotics rep stating the new goals of the forum

About the New and Improved DroboSpace
Hello all,

Thank you all for participating in the new and improved DroboSpace! Now that we’ve got the site re-launched, we thought this might be a good time to share with you some of the thinking behind the decision to make the changes to the site.

Considering the myriad of social media conversations occurring online daily and the numerous sources of peer-based feedback available on the web, we found ourselves in need of a way to quickly and directly share information with our customers — and to let them share their thoughts and concerns with us (and each other). The prior incarnation of DroboSpace was run by a 3rd party, and this made it difficult to provide direct information in a timely fashion. DroboSpace is now operated by the Drobo experts in the Data Robotics Support organization, with the new goal of responding to questions, providing useful feedback, and otherwise supporting the Drobo user base.

Some of the advantages of the new and improved DroboSpace include:
• Quickly respond to hot topics with our in-house response team
• Provide direct information to our community without third-party lag time
• Create and customize as many membership groups as needed
• Provide an ad-free zone dedicated to Drobo user support and developer discussions
• Cross-link information from our social media network of followers at Twitter and the Drobo blog

These new and more useful self-help and support-based forums will eventually be expanded internationally, providing all of our customers foreign and domestic the ability to exchange information with each other.

We’re looking forward to connecting with you on the new DroboSpace, and will be working diligently to maintain, update, and improve the site in the days, months, and years to come.

Best regards,

The Data Robotics Support Team

That was great (though slightly late), but a few of us took issue with a few of the points in that post. Particularly the mention “Provide direct information to our community without third-party lag time” which as it was an open forum (well you had to have a Drobo serial number to signup but thats a separate issue) and had no moderation queue was a little strange. So we questioned that and found this morning that our posts have been removed and the topic closed. (yes I suggested closing the topic but only after they post a followup, didn’t suggest they closedelete it)

So now there is a new post titled Censorship, questioning what is allowed on the forum. Time will tell if that too will be removed, sadly I think the answer is probably.

This last little bit is my addition to that thread. I hope they listen, I really do.

Indeed particularly as this is supposed to be a general discussion forum.

Please Data Robotics, building a community by removing posts you don’t like is not the way to go. You will always get praise & complaints and, as I said on Twitter, our complaints here are about how this transition was handled. They are not technical issues, hence not posted in the more Technical forums, but they are still valid issues.

Some complaints can be silly (I’d want my HD lights to be Indigo for instance) and some will be real. Good customer service & relations is to take it all, ignore those that you feel are invalid (or post to them & lock them BUT don’t delete them) and respond and encourage those that are valid (like complaints about connectivity options, like lack of Firewire connection on the DroboShare) with discussion.

We like / love our Drobo’s, thats why we are here. Personally I hope that Data Robotics continues to do well, yes I’ve had a few problems with my Drobo & slowness of support at times but in the end the issues where sorted out satisfactorily. I simply have issues with how this transition was handled and what seems like apparent misrepresentation of the facts (3rd party lag time)

I honestly hope you will take the time to read this and not simply delete it. I see from email Jennifer that you did reply yesterday to the other thread but all the messages are now gone


Jul 01 2009

Back luck with Apple’s 24″ LED Cinema Display

Category: Moan,Personal,TechnologyRobert McGovern @ 11:01 pm

[Was a Verbatim copy of post I made to the forums on MacRumors, now with Addendum]

I appear to be having bad luck with the 24″ LED Cinema Displays, I am on my 4th new one and debating getting a 5th or giving up and getting a refund.

This has been ongoing since late May, I ordered an ACD to go with a new 17″ MBP and kept it even though I returned the MBP.

Number 1) Bad Back light bleed

After hooking it upto my Mac Mini in the interm, I was watching Star Trek 6 and noticed it was a bit “light” along the top and bottom borders. Later in the evening, I darkened everything off and ran LcdTest and found that there was quite bad bleed from the backlights. Some [URL=”http://gallery.me.com/tarasis#100065″]photos[/URL] here if your interested.

(Technically there was also a settling creaking sound from it when it was initially warming up each time I first started using it. I haven’t noticed this with the other 3 and it didn’t really bother me that much)

So sent it back and got

Number 2) Had 3 dead pixels

So promptly arranged an exchange and got

Number 3) Speck of dust between screen & LCD

Its not bad, but to me quite noticeable, particularly as its about 4 inches in from the left and about 4 / 5 inches down from the top. If you move a light window around its easy to spot. If it had been within an inch of the edges of the screen I might have said keep it (and my wife would have preferred me too). So onto Apple again and we now have

Number 4) 3 black marks (poss 2 black pixels and one dust) and one stuck Green Pixel

So kind of excited to get this one today, had high hopes. Quickly unpacked it, hooked up the 13″ MBP, ran LCDTest and low & behold in the bottom left there was a faint black speck that wouldn’t disappear and then 3 larger (2 black & 1 green) spots towards the top middle right which where particularly noticeable on the red screen of LCDTest and actually also on the default background. As you can imagine, highly disappointed.

So, at the moment I have both number 3 & 4, though 3 is due to be picked up by TNT tomorrow and 4 only arrived today but I’ve already emailed the support person I have been dealing with about the problem.

I am not sure what to do, as I said my wife wants me to just keep number 3, I am inclined to try one last time as I really like the screen & its handiness regarding cables, webcam and so on (speakers are a bit meh to be honest) but I also at a point of just jacking it in and getting a refund.

I could keep the 3rd one but I struggle with the idea of spending that much money to have a speck of dust under the glass thats always visible on light backgrounds. Its a lot of money to not be “perfect”.

To be fair to Apple, the sales / support people I have been dealing with have been wonderful, very helpful, generally courteous if a little slow to respond (there was a week between the last replacements, despite them being emailed with a few hours of receiving the new one). Each time, so far, its been do I want to try another one or just get a refund and they’ve sent the replacement out before getting the old one back.

Its been quite frustrating to have not had a screen to work with all this time as I have boxed them up immediately after finding the problems. With 4 cats & 2 children around I didn’t want to tempt fate and introduce a new problem

PS There was a “minor” hiccup on their part, for the 3rd ACD they booboo’d and initially put the order through as a replacement 17″ MBP. The only reason anyone noticed was that I phoned up wondering with the RMA email & the order email mentioned a MBP & not an ACD. They managed to finally put a hold on it a couple of hours before it was due to be delivered to me.

[Addendum]

I should note as well that up till now I haven’t had a problem with Apple’s other Hardware (Airport Extreme, Airport Express, iPhone 2G, iPhone 3GS, iPod 5G, 2 Apple Alum keyboards one wired & one wireless, Late 2006 MacBook & 13″ MBP) . Its only this 24″ display and it worries me a little as we where considering the possibility of an iMac instead. I don’t want to go through the same shenanigans again.


Apr 02 2009

Ridiculous Shipping Costs for a Comic

Category: Moan,PersonalRobert McGovern @ 10:09 pm

Can’t think of a title, the curse of blogging I suppose coming up with a title that captures the post.

Anyway, a little moan (I will probably do loads of them, thats just me). The other week I discovered that Boom! Studios was releasing a bunch of movie related comics, Finding Nemo, Cars, The Incredibles, Toy Story and the Muppets.

I tried to order them via my comic shop her in Germany but they are only available in the US only. Not a huge problem apparently you can order them directly from Boom! Studios.

Well … lets see each issue is $2.99 each which is fine however a subscription for 4 issues of Cars is $20.99 (um my maths suggests that should be 11.96). Postage to Germany is a whopping $27.50 via the USPS.

WTF, $27.50? What are they shipping the damn things in? A special comic tube?

It improves slightly, if you add a 3 issue subscription of The Incredibles ($14.99 … again 3 * $2.99 < $14.99) and a single issue (issue 1 which isn't part of the subscription because you can order one of 4 different covers) raises the postage to only $30.75 I want to support the publisher, I really do (parituclarly as I am enjoying their Farscape comics and I'm kinda curious about their Blood Bowl comic) but that is too rich for my blood. *splutters* Just put a single issue of a comic in and they want $27.50 to post that!!?!?!!?! I'll save moaning about the fact they have to make these comics US only, I am guessing that is out of their hands and very much down to the licensor.