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ClickView Review

We signed up for this service called ClickView which allows us to stream videos to any machine on the school network. The idea is quite good, they worry about the Copyright (as long as you get their videos) and all you have to do is install the software on your server, load in the videos and then install the client on all the machines you want to use it on.
It hasn’t all been without issues though, here’s my experiences with it:
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Posted by duck in Reviews, School, 2 comments

Headphones in Schools

We have many sets of headphones, one for every machine infact, that’s over 120 sets of headphones. Every day they cop a lot of abuse, from kids chewing the cables to the fluffy bits on the ears being destroyed.

When you’re looking for headphones to use in a school environment, there’s a lot of things you need to take into consideration, see below to find out what I’ve discovered from my investigations into headphones.

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Posted by duck in IT Issues, Reviews, School

Arduino – 8×8 LED Matrix

I bought myself an Arudiuo, it cost about $30 and basically lets me prototype electronics. It gives me a whole heap of input and outputs that I can use to input stuff into the computer, output stuff from the computer or just have it running by itself.

The first project I built was just some LED’s and flashing them, this second project is an 8×8 LED Matrix that I bought online off ebay. It cost me $16AUD with free postage for 10 of them.

Here is a video of it in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYZcLuxIiZ8

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Posted by duck in Home, How-To Guides

Novell Deploy Error D018

Here is a quick guide to fixing the error that occurs when you’re trying to open a NAL Object via Novell, the Error ID is D018.

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Posted by duck in How-To Guides, IT Issues, School

Review: Logitech Z-5500 5.1 Surround Speakers

Right now I’m listening to music… And I’m listening to them with headphones.
Why?
Because my favourite speakers, my Logitech Z-5500’s are currently broken, so what a better time to write a review about them πŸ™‚

This review isn’t all bad though, the Z-5500’s are my favourite speakers of all time.Logitech Z-5500s

Why I like my Z-5500’s

Power

The Z-5500’s have 505 watts of power, that’s 5 speakers and a 10″ Subwoofer, which makes them perfect for movies or music. I’ve used these speakers at house parties, running them on extremely loud volume all night long with no hassles at all. I’ve even had people say they could hear the music from over a kilometer away.

Inputs

The speakers come with a Digital Optical Input, Digital Coaxial Input, a 5.1 Surround Analogue input and a stereo analogue input. This means I can have my MacBook plugged in via Optical, Gaming PC plugged in via Coax and decks + mixer plugged in via the stereo input.

Size

The Z-5500’s are pretty small, perfectly small enough to fit nicely in my bedroom, it has a nice control unit with a big volume knob on it, and can be packed away into a small plastic crate (minus the sub) to take it places.

Dolby 5.1 Surround

Games and Movies all sound 1000x better in Dolby Surround. When the wall shakes from the sound of a rocket launcher or an explosion in a movie, you know you’ve got a winner. One of my favorite scenes to play is the Atomic Bomb scene near the start of the latest Indiana Jones movie. It’s fantastic.

Sound Quality

The sound from the speakers is awesome, doesn’t distort, lets you play it at very high volume without it breaking up (see the below section about what happens at high volume though).

Warranty

They come with 2 years warranty. See below as to why this is important πŸ˜›

These speakers are *the* greatest speakers I’ve ever found, nothing comes close in terms of power and size.

Why I don’t like the Z-5500’s

Quality

Control Unit

So far I’ve had the whole set of speakers replaced twice. The first time the control unit backlight had died, the second time the control unit overheated and burnt out (eek, smoke coming from the control unit).

Speakers

At high volumes, the casing on the 5 other speakers starts to rattle, I’m fairly sure it’s to do with the front and back section of the speaker, as they appear to be vibrating separate from each other, no damage appears to be done by this other than that it makes a bit of a buzzing noise.

Fuses

If you plug in the power to the sub without all the speakers connected, you’ll blow a fuse. Logitech have acknowledged that there is an issue with the fuse on the speakers.

Price

Logitech can’t seem to pick a nice price for these speakers, I bought mine through my work for $350 and I’ve since seen the price rise and rise as time goes on for exactly the same product. The recommended retail price has gone from $700 down to $400 and back up again to $700 again, currently it is offered for $599 at some retailers.

Bugs

One of the issues I’ve had with both the control units I’ve had is that it doesn’t detect the input properly sometimes, you will swap to an input or unplug your headphones and get no sound at all. To fix it you have to cycle back through all the inputs to get back to the one you want. While it’s a minor annoyance, it’s just another step away from perfection.

Overall

The Logitech Z-5500’s are fantastic speakers, the quality and pricing issues are a bit of a bother, however being virtually the only set of speakers in this sort of category (high power, small form computer speakers) means there is little competition.

Warranty Claims

1. The first warranty claim I did on the speakers was when the Control Unit back light was broken, I contacted Logitech and they arranged a replacement set of speakers through my work where I bought it from. I simply swapped my set over for the new set. Even though the control pod was faulty, they replaced the entire set.
2. I had the speakers running in the morning, I stopped the music and went to work. When I got home the control unit was VERY hot and off. I unplugged the unit from the wall, let it cool down and then turned it back on to find 4/6 inputs were completely dead.
A couple hours later all the inputs were dead and the control unit was warm (not as hot as it was before, but warmer than usual).

5/11/09 – 9:00pm
Warranty claim sent to Logitech

6/11/09 – 5:30pm — 20.5 Hours Since claim started
Logitech contacted me to let me know I had contacted the wrong support line and that they had forwarded the claim onto the Australian Division.
In my defence: It didn’t ask me what country I was from, I googled Logitech and headed to their support section.

12/11/09 – 5:23PM — 6 days 20 Hours since claim started
I finally got a response from Logitech. They asked if anyone had been hurt or anything else damaged. They also said the speakers were covered under a 1 year warranty, but their website says it’s a 2 year warranty. I responded on the 14/11/09 – 1:56PM (2 days late, had a busy weekend) linking them to their own support article as well as with the receipt of my speakers.

16/11/09 – 2:42 AM — 10 days 6 hours since claim started

They apologised for giving me the wrong date (as I had proven them wrong) and gave me an incident number to give to my retailer to get a replacement unit.

17/11/09 – 1pm – 11 days since claim started
Emailed my retailer with all the details to replace the speakers.

Numerous Emails back and forth, nothing happened to get them replaced, this went on for over 2 months. After calling them one day, they complained I was rude in asking them to hurry up and told me to get them replaced by Logitech.

17/1/10 – 7pm – 2 months 11 days since claim started
Contacted Logitech complaining of the treatment I received from my retailer.

18/1/10 – 11am – 2 months 12 days since claim started
Received an email from my retailer letting me know the speakers were on back order and that they were onto it. No reply from Logitech, but I’m guessing they got onto the retailer and told them to get their arse into gear.

28/1/10 – 2 months 22 days since claim started
Replacement Speakers Arrived.

Only took 2 months and 22 days… That’s pretty terrible.

Of those 2 months and 22 days, Logitech took 10 days and the retailer took 2 months and 12 days to get it sorted out.

Posted by duck in Home, Reviews, Warranty

The Mobile Phone Plan Comparison Spreadsheet

UPDATE: 29/1/17 – This article is way out of date. Phone companies here basically give you free calls and all that for <$30 a month. Β Leaving the article here for posterity, but don’t trust it πŸ˜‰

I’ve put together a quick little spreadsheet you can use for comparing different phone plans to eachother. One of the tricks the phone companies use is they say “You pay $49 and get $330 worth of credit!” to make it sound like their phone plan is much better. However to make up for this, the calling rates are higher.
With this spreadsheet it tells you exactly how many minutes of talk time you get on your phone, ontop of that, if you enter how long your average phone call is, it will work out how many minutes of talk time you get once flagfall is called into effect.
One other great thing it does is give each plan a point rating that factors in minutes, texting cost, flagfall as well as the data plan.
Instructions are in the spreadsheet as well as 2 sample plans from Optus and Telstra.

Click here to Download the Phone Plan Calculator (Excel Spreadsheet)

That’s all for today πŸ™‚

Ducky

Posted by duck in How-To Guides, IT Issues

Review: MultiScreen

My school recently bought a system called MultiScreen, it’s a system that connects up to multiple TV’s to play promotional material, it consists of a Server Box purchased directly from MultiScreen with multiple AV outputs and the TV units which were purchased through a local electrical supplier.
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Posted by duck in Reviews, School