Monthly Archives: May 2009

Sun, May 31st, 2009 by Graves and Allen

Mophie Juice Pack Air – Caveat Emptor

I waited with anticipation for the release of the Mophie Juice Pack Air iPhone 3G case and supplemental rechargeable battery.  Well, Mophie finally released it and it sells for $79.95.  For those of you who, like me, have wished for longer battery life between charges for your iPhone 3G, I have good and bad news for you.

The good news is that the Juice Pack Air, which comes in white, black or (of all colors) purple, will add considerable life between charges to your iPhone 3G.  It adds some bulk (size and weight), but not so much as to make you unhappy to trade that off against the additional usage time between charges.  While Mophie could have produced it with a bit more care to ensuring that the top and bottom matched up more closely, that too comes within reasonable levels of tolerance.

The bad news is that the case appears to impair signal transmission and reception as, when I had the case on the phone dropped calls that it should not have.  I dropped far more calls with the case on than with the case off.

The case charges through a micro USB port.  I have no issue with that as many devices charge using micro USB ports these days and it synched up just fine with iTunes using the micro USB connection.  Unfortunately, rather than mounting the charging port flush with the surface of the case, Mophie’s designers chose to carve a notch out of the case and recess the port. They made the notch relatively small.   As a result many (maybe most) micro USB plugs will not fit into the notch.  Accordingly, you need to carry the micro USB plug that comes with it (or another equally slim-housed plug), which kind of defeats the purpose of the use of a common port that should allow for one cord to charge many devices.

My experience with the Juice Pack Air prove short-lived, however.  About a week after I got it, the recessed micro-USB port broke and prevented me from charging the device.  I do not know if it was because of the recessed port or some other reason.  I do know that I have a number of devices that use the micro USB port connection and have not had any of them break except this one.  All the others have the port mounted flush to the surface of the device.

The worst news, however, is that my efforts to contact customer service to follow up on getting this repaired and on other matters have proven fruitless.  I tried telephoning, making sure to call during their work ours and got voice mail each time.  While their machine took my messages, I have not receive any return phone calls or emails (I left phone number and email information in the message).  I also tried contacting the company for warranty service/customer service through their web site.  Shortly after the posts I received confirmation of the receipt and a notice that they assigned a case number.  The email said someone would get in touch with me soon.  So far, however, I have heard nothing further.

I am not sure what caused the failure of the USB port, but I noticed on the Apple web site that I was not the only one to experience that problem.  I also notice in other reviews of the Juice Pack Air on the Apple web site that others noticed the drop off in handling of calls with the case on the phone.

Normally, I do not like to write negative reviews and generally choose only things I like to write about.  This device promises to be so useful that I thought I should share my experience with others contemplating acquiring one, so that they could make an informed decision.

Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Allen.  All rights reserved.

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Tue, May 26th, 2009 by Graves and Allen

iPhone Apps

The number of people who have iPhones and do not make use of the Apps available in the iTunes Store App Store amazes me.  If you have an iPhone and have not taken a good look at the App Store, you should.  If you don’t have an iPhone yet, take a look at the App Store, it may convince you that it is time to get an iPhone or, at least, an iPod Touch.  The iTunes store reports that it now has over 15,000 apps available, some free, some that you have to buy.

The range of apps runs from amusement to business to productivity to travel to substantive legal and medical information.  For example, I keep apps that provide the California Evidence Code, Federal Rules of Evidence and FRCP on my iPhone.  While Apps do not exist for all codes or even for all states, there are Apps for several codes in many states.  Check the store out for your state codes.

For those of you studying for a bar exam, the Law in a Flash series provides summaries and study aids for Constitutional Law, Federal Income Tax, Evidence, Real Property, Future Interests, Wills & Trusts, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Corporations, Torts and Real Property.

Travel information abounds in the Apps Store.  I recently downloaded a number of additional Apps containing street maps, subway maps and general information about New York, in anticipation of a trip I will take there. New York is not the only city for which you can get travel information;  you can find it for many major cities throughout the world.  You can get information about restaurants (I like Zagat and UrbanSpoon the best).  You can get the local movie listings for wherever you happen to be in the US.

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The bottom line:  Without the App Store, the iPhone was one of the best phones around.  With it, everything else pales in comparison.

Copyright 2009, Jeffrey Allen.  All rights reserved. drugs vytorin canadian

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Mon, May 25th, 2009 by Graves and Allen

SAAS (Software As A Service)

We have seen in recent months a significant increase in the number of software vendors that have shifted from the model of “sell the software in a box” to the model of “sell a subscription”.  The sale of software by subscription, or software as a service offers benefits for both vendor and customer and poses potentially significant problems for the customer.

From the vendor’s perspective, having a subscription-based structure assures the vendor of a steady and consistent income stream.  Instead of a single purchase price of $100 or $200 or even $1000, the vendor gets a monthly payment from each customer of $20 or $50 or more per unit (usually referred to as a “seat”.  While that means less money immediately, it probably means quite a bit more over time than the vendor would have received from direct sales of the software and an occasional significant upgrade.

Use of the SAAS model also relieves the vendor of pressure to generate a significant enough upgrade to justify charging for it, so as to induce customers to pay more to the vendor.  The SAAS subscription model locks the customer into making a payment or losing the right to use the software and, in many cases, that impairs the ability to access data stored in the program or on the vendor’s server or both.

The SAAS model does allow the vendor to make changes in the software relatively quickly and to distribute them somewhat inexpensively.  It also allows for better customer service at a lower cost as the subscription structure will likely mean that virtually everyone has the same version of the software, making it easier to train technical support people to efficiently deal with problems arising out of the use of the software.

Things to watch out for include the fact that if the software stores the data in a proprietary structure, you may lose access to the data if you lose access to the software, either because the company goes under or because you default in payment and they cancel your subscription.

While some of the SASS vendors appear to be responsible and offer good quality and highly useful products, consider the risks before you buy into the model.  Look into what happens if you decide to terminate the subscription for some reason and what happens if the vendor goes under.  You might also look into the question of confidentiality, if you plan to store your confidential data on the vendor’s server.

Copyright 2009, Jeffrey Allen.  All rights reserved.

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