Design Con 2015
Breaking News
Comments
Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
<<   <   Page 2 / 3   >   >>
Bob Lacovara
User Rank
Rookie
re: Chronic Christmas gadget conundrum
Bob Lacovara   12/19/2011 6:49:50 PM
NO RATINGS
Even when the gift does something that the recipient wants, the proliferation of functions often makes a perfectly fine product turn into a nightmare. I bought a digital picture frame for my wife. All I wanted was something of moderate resolution to replay her costume jewelry photos endlessly. I did some research read some review, bought a unit. Dropping photos on it was easy. The horror started while trying to program it for start and end times... it has what is possibly the worst gui that the world has ever seen. Terrible, terrible terrible. But there's more: it has an audio function, which likes to come on at 6 AM. I can find no way to disable the audio function but one of these two: cut the speaker wires, or remove all traces of music from the device memory. If I hadn't already programmmed it, and delivered it as a gift, it would surely have gone back.

Bert22306
User Rank
CEO
re: Chronic Christmas gadget conundrum
Bert22306   12/16/2011 11:36:20 PM
NO RATINGS
True, but that's why these devices are so often viewed as "gadgets." They fill a specific function, but they fall short in many other ways. So, there has to be a way of packaging less "gadgety" devices in a way that the average joe can master. Otherwise, the future will consist of nothing but mediocrity.

phoenixdave
User Rank
Rookie
re: Chronic Christmas gadget conundrum
phoenixdave   12/16/2011 11:29:09 PM
NO RATINGS
Simplicity of operation has almost always led to a successful product....consider the iPad....and the Clapper...

Bert22306
User Rank
CEO
re: Chronic Christmas gadget conundrum
Bert22306   12/16/2011 8:45:42 PM
NO RATINGS
Yunko: "The example you gave us above a good one. Unless you are an EE, or really patient, and more importantly, you are really driven to install this fantastic home entertainment system at home, you probably donít want to waste your time sorting all these things out. Simply put, itís a nightmarish gift for most people. "I am not quite sure how CE vendors can help sort out such a conundrum." The problem with (supposedly) overcomplicated CE equipment interconnections is that these interfaces have been accumulating, bit by bit, over many decades. And worse, some of the systems involved, like satellite and cable, intentionally resist efforts to have their receiver functions built into the TV displays. The excuse they give is that allowing CE vendoirs to build in their functions would make future upgrades more difficult. There might be some truth to that. But I think the main reason they resist is, they prefer to have subscribers give them that monthly revenue to rent out what should be unnecessary outboard boxes. But there is a way out. Something like USB. Check out the NAD Electronics product line, for example. They offer a phono preamp (i.e. that little amp with RIAA equalization, that is used between an old tech record player cartridge and, usually, any "line level" input to your audio system), but this one has a USB output. Not line level analog. Now, imagine if ALL your audio and video boxes could be simply connected to USB ports, either individually or daisy chained. No need for the assortment of different cables for each function. I tend to be more of a straight stick guy, so I usually opt for the technically simplest interfaces. However there's no reason why these interfaces can't be hugely simplified. The vendors have to agree that it's a good idea, and get on with it.

Duane Benson
User Rank
Blogger
re: Chronic Christmas gadget conundrum
Duane Benson   12/16/2011 6:15:45 PM
NO RATINGS
I recently purchase a USB video capture device so that I can turn all of my old family VHS tapes into digital files. As instructed, I installed the software, then plugged it in. Everything seemed to work except that I couldn't get the audio to work. It took a bit of googling, but I found that certain USB audio devices don't work in Windows 7. They're supposed to use the built-in USB audio driver, but it just doesn't see them. I installed VMware and the XP disk that I had from before the upgrade. The sound worked, but even on my six core 12GB machine, VMware / XP couldn't keep up and dropped too many frames. I ended up building an XP box out of leftover parts and that works fine. I set up a WiFi printer/scanner/fax not long before that and went through a similar set of exasperating adventures to get the thing running. I've been doing this stuff for decades and have trouble with way too much of it. I have no idea how non-tech savvy folks get much of this to work or work fully. I'd guess that a lot of the no-problem-found units are like the video capture; working fine, but not compatible with my system or like the printer; poorly laid out controls and very non-intuative setup and operation. The third case is quite often an obscure problem that the repair technicians can't identify or don't look for. I had a noise problem in and original equipment car stereo once. My guess was that it was a grounding issue with the speakers: noise at low volume that didn't change in volume as the radio got louder. Three trips to the dealer all resulted in no-problem-found diagnoses. A couple of months after the last visit, I received a recall notice from the manufacturer about a grounding problem with the speakers.

KB3001
User Rank
CEO
re: Chronic Christmas gadget conundrum
KB3001   12/16/2011 2:28:01 PM
NO RATINGS
Offer videos showing the installation process step by step over the internet, perhaps? In the future, augmented reality will surely allow us to take consumers through the process seamlessly.

KB3001
User Rank
CEO
re: Chronic Christmas gadget conundrum
KB3001   12/16/2011 2:24:39 PM
NO RATINGS
Many companies here in the UK offer a home installation service. I see it as a business opportunity!

KB3001
User Rank
CEO
re: Chronic Christmas gadget conundrum
KB3001   12/16/2011 2:20:25 PM
NO RATINGS
I seldom read manuals when I buy/get a new gadget! I find it exhilarating to get something to work without reading the manual :-) and most of the time, it does!

agk
User Rank
Rookie
re: Chronic Christmas gadget conundrum
agk   12/16/2011 12:09:53 PM
NO RATINGS
Recently a dish tv was added to a television set in my mothers house.Already this TV is connectted to a DVD through AV connction and a cable connection through its RF input.The inputs are full. So i bought a switch unit to switch the av connction between dvd and dish. The switch was not functioning properly. I returned the same and bought another make and the system started working.But the difficulty was in teaching my mother how to switch between remotes and the switch box.This needs lot of patience.And for few more days till she become practiseed with it, i was requied to give support. This is a simple job when compared with the gadgets now avilable. Sure with so many gadget gifts you will have lot of fun and pleasure.

junko.yoshida
User Rank
Blogger
re: Chronic Christmas gadget conundrum
junko.yoshida   12/16/2011 11:04:21 AM
NO RATINGS
Exactly, Frank. The example you gave us above a good one. Unless you are an EE, or really patient, and more importantly, you are really driven to install this fantastic home entertainment system at home, you probably donít want to waste your time sorting all these things out. Simply put, itís a nightmarish gift for most people. I am not quite sure how CE vendors can help sort out such a conundrum. Set up that requires simple, intuitive, easy steps. What do we think we need here?

<<   <   Page 2 / 3   >   >>


Flash Poll
Top Comments of the Week
Like Us on Facebook
EE Times on Twitter
EE Times Twitter Feed

Datasheets.com Parts Search

185 million searchable parts
(please enter a part number or hit search to begin)
EE Life
Frankenstein's Fix, Teardowns, Sideshows, Design Contests, Reader Content & More
Max Maxfield

Are Today's Designs Bound by the Constraints of Yesteryear?
Max Maxfield
25 comments
As part of my ongoing Pedagogical and Phantasmagorical Inamorata Prognostication Engine project (try saying that 10 times quickly), I'm working with Jason Dueck from Instrument Meter ...

Jolt Judges and Andrew Binstock

Jolt Awards: The Best Books
Jolt Judges and Andrew Binstock
1 Comment
As we do every year, Dr. Dobb's recognizes the best books of the last 12 months via the Jolt Awards -- our cycle of product awards given out every two months in each of six categories. No ...

Engineering Investigations

Air Conditioner Falls From Window, Still Works
Engineering Investigations
2 comments
It's autumn in New England. The leaves are turning to red, orange, and gold, my roses are in their second bloom, and it's time to remove the air conditioner from the window. On September ...

David Blaza

The Other Tesla
David Blaza
5 comments
I find myself going to Kickstarter and Indiegogo on a regular basis these days because they have become real innovation marketplaces. As far as I'm concerned, this is where a lot of cool ...