Planned Obsolescence

Have you ever noticed that your gadgets don’t fail within the warranty period. And that a day (or thereabouts) after the warranty expires, problems start popping up? I’m pretty sure it’s not random. There’s just too many smart people in tech. It’s definitely by design.

There’s this thing called Mean Time Before Failure (MTBF) and manufacturers definitely would want the MTBF to be after the warranty period. Or conversely, the warranty only as long as the MTBF safely permits.

The past few days, I’ve been noticing my Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3) Slim booting, beeping three times, then shutting down. Leslie said it’s an overheating problem. I couldn’t believe it since I practically only use the PS3 for watching videos. It’s just a glorified media player so to speak. And I can usually start it up with a bit of trying.

But last week, I bought a copy of the brand-spankin’-new Assassin’s Creed III (AC3). As soon as I got home I excitedly popped the disk into the drive and started playing. I wasn’t playing for long when the PS3 suddenly shut down. This is serious: It’s affecting my gaming!

So I went and visited some computer shops and inquired how my PS3 can be fixed. I had two options: re-flow and re-ball. Re-flow is where they heat up the solder on the chips and reflow them. Apparently, the PS3 uses lead-free solder which has this tendency to crack after some thermal stress. The other option is to re-ball which is where they replace the lead-free solder with a lead solder.

Both options are rather expensive at a few thousands. And they’re not guaranteed to last long. The best warranty they can provide is three months. And you are supposed to play for only an hour or two per session. Then you have to cool down the PS3. How medieval is that?!?

Dismayed, I decided to just let the PS3 die with dignity. I just ignored the booting and rebooting problems and doggedly kept playing. Unfortunately, without even getting through 3% of AC3, the PS3 was bust. No lights, no beeps, no nothing. It’s dead, Jim.

Which bring me back to planned obsolescence. Just a month or so back, Sony released the PS3 Ultra Slim. Or PS3 Slimmer. Coincidence? I’m pretty sure it’s not. Will I be getting it? I’m pretty sure I won’t.

iOS DLNA Players

I though I’d update my iPhone DLNA Players roundup.

I’m a fan of Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) because of its promise of using standards-based technology to make it easier for consumers to use, share and enjoy their digital photos, music and videos.When I got myBuffalo Linkstation, I started streaming movies and music from it to thePlaystation 3. But I had to stay in front of the TV.

When I got theiPhone 4 and later the iPad,I got media players that I can use anywhere in the house. I was lucky enough to be able to get VLC from the App Store while it was available. However, it meant copying files using iTunes to the iPhone. Somewhat, archaic to say the least and definitely a far cry from what’s possible with DLNA. So I went around searching for a DLNA player. Here is the result of my research.

Continue reading

iPhone DLNA Players

I’m a fan of Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) because of its promise of using standards-based technology to make it easier for consumers to use, share and enjoy their digital photos, music and videos.When I got my Buffalo Linkstation, I started streaming movies and music from it to the Playstation 3. But I had to stay in front of the TV.

When I got my iPhone 4, I got a media player that I can use anywhere in the house. I was lucky enough to be able to get VLC from the App Store while it was available. However, it meant copying files using iTunes to the iPhone. Somewhat, archaic to say the least and definitely a far cry from what’s possible with DLNA. So I went around searching for a DLNA player. Here is the result of my research.

Continue reading

Red Dead Redemption

Finally finished Red Dead Redemption (RDR). I sort of rushed through it so that I can get started with Starcraft II but it still too quite some time. This game world is huge! I thought after playing Assassin’s Creed II (AC2) that I’ve seen huge. Not so. While AC2 has towns, RDD has towns and a whole lot of countryside between the towns. And what an awesome countryside it is: rivers, hills, mountains, trees, bushes, shrubs, wildlife, people… and if you want to shoot at those, you have a whole arsenal of rifles, shotguns, pistols, and even knives.

There are so many things to do: gather flowers, hunt animals, hunt outlaws, herd cows, break horses, rob trains, the many side quests, and of course the main quest which takes you across the border to Mexico and back to hunt down some former gangmates in return for the freedom of your wife and son. A spaghetti western through and through. And an epic one at that. This is more of the story and the world than the action or the puzzles. If you’re into that, you’re going to like Red Dead Redemption.

Rating: 3/5

Army of Two

James and I finished Army of Two today. It is a co-op action game about adventures of two mercenaries or private military contractors (PMC) as they prefer to be called, across several years. During this time, they go from being idealistic green soldiers, to gung-ho PMCs, to outlaws who must clear their names.

Continue reading