Spare Time Labs 2.0



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H8S Bootloader

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printf II

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New Furnace

New Furnace
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Gas Fired Furnace

Down Memory Lane


Wheel Patterns






JNA Benchmark

Contact Info
Created 23.11.2001

Stupid things are often done
by intelligent people
for the best of motives.

Behind every stupid thing
there is a very good reason,
even if it is a wrong one!

I created this page to publish here things that I'd like to say face to face to someone, if I only knew where and who that someone is. For example, being a product developer myself, I would very much like to give feedback on many products that I've come across. However I don't want to tell it to the poor distributor or sales person whom I've purchased the thing from. What good would that do? I know that if this kind of feedback actually reached the original designer (or even a manager ;-) they would consider it and it might actually make a difference. But how do you approach something like Microsoft or Siemens or Nokia to name a few? They are so big that chances of my feedback ever reaching anybody who could make a difference is infinitesimally small.
I might have called this page flames, though I try to keep the flame thrower only at pilot level; I was much tempted to call it "Unpopular Opinions" after a Dorothy L Sayers book, but then I came up with the idea of glitches. This name brings invariably to my mind a scene from the movie "Robocop" where the manager-in-charge comments, after a very menaching looking robot with arms like twin gatling guns has blasted some poor employee to death, "don't worry its probably JUST a GLITCH"!

I'm in no way implying that I'm faultless myself, I once thought I made an error but in that thought I was mistaken ;-)

FUJITSU / Siemens


I'm writing this on my employers Lifebook. Don't get me wrong, this is pretty much okay as far as PCs go, but has some not so nice features.

Look at the image to your left; when docking this laptop to the docking station it is very easy to damage the connector. There is no way to change that connector, you need to swap the main board. This damage happens easily because underside the laptop, on the right side on the docking station there is an earthing spring that pushes back as you insert the laptop. This easily causes the laptop to enter left side first in to the docking station and then one of the pins that are supposed to center the floating connector actually enters the connector and ruins the main board! We have had to replace at least three main boards because of this.

Would you believe it, the laptop and the docking station have indentical power supplies but different connectors! There seems to be no technical reason for this. But it does mean that if you need to go to the board meeting and give a fancy PowerPoint presentation you'd better remember to take that other power supply from home to the office as you surely do not want to drag your docking station with you.

Unplug the power supply from the docking station and see how your computer re-boots. Yes, it works, even in the docking station, without a power supply, running just fine on batteries, but unplugging the supply causes it to re-boot. Nice, and I thought that having batteries would give me some extra proctection late at night when I stretch out and kick that power cord.

Once the laptop is in the docking station you cannot insert/remove any PCMCIA cards. Why is that? They work ok, you just cannot insert/remove them. Instead you are forced to use the oh-so-inconveniently placed PCMCIA slots at the back of the docking station. Be sure to remember to remove any flash memory cards (for you digital ixus) from the docking station before you leave for home with your laptop. Otherwise, no birthday pictures.

To remove a PCMCIA card you need to push a small lever next to the card slots. Fine, but if you push it by accident then you have no choice but to remove the PCMCIA card. This is likely to crash your operating system (won't name it here but you know the one...). If you do not remove the PCMCIA card then the docking station will remove the afore mentioned small plastic lever as on the docking station there is a small flange, the purpose of which is to prevent inserting/removing PCMCIA card while docked!

A minor inconvenience is that the power switch on the docking station is located so that moving the docking station sideways easily turns the power off (without warning).

The carrying case, along many similar ones, has the problem that if you don't make a habit of zipping it up every time you close the lid, you are sure to forget that it is un-zipped and grab the handle as you leave for home, only to observe the laptop flying onto the floor. Actually, I do not know if this is an official Siemens case I have, but at least Dell has a better one where the lid does not open completely, thus eliminating the possibility of a disaster.

Other than that it is a fine piece of equipment, regs Kusti.

Nokia TV

A nice one from Nokia; the channel up key switches to the next higher up channel, unless, of course, you press it too long. Then this annoying and useless on screen menu comes up (see picture on the left). Once in this menu you have press the channel down key to get to the next higher up channel, and you need to press OK to get rid of the menu. Very clever.
Me and my wife, we surf the channels a lot, because like Bruce said, there is nothing on. Now, on most TVs if you press in rapid succession 2 and 4 to get from channel 4 to 2 and back (in order to avoid that adult movie on channel 3) you end up on channel 24, which is not there as we only have four channels here. Nice!

Other than that it is a fine piece of equipment, regs Kusti.

Sony, name it

This one really annoys me. Most VCRs have a keypad with keys 0,1-9 and then some. But I've yet to see one where you can easily punch in the timer programming; instead you have to some strange (and usually small) special keys to do the programming. And some companies, like JVC, have the nerve to call it 'Express Programming'. Argh!

regs Kusti.

Krups Aroma Control

This one is for the people at Krups. Don't know if it was marketing or engineering that bungled this, but please: if it ain't broken, don't fix it!

Krups had this nearly perfect coffee maker (the right one on the picture), until somebody decided it needed a facelift. And of course the old but gold one is no longer in production. I've gone through quite a lot of coffee makers in my time, about a dozen or so (for some reason they don't make things the way they used to, all the things I handle have a tendency of breaking down...or is it just me?). The old Krups was almost perfect and white ( which,if you have not noticed by now, is the main criteria in this housedold when selecting appliances). So when when it refused to stay on and the pot handle got broken (it was not me and I did not do it on purpose) I thought, hey, we need a Krups. So we bought the new one (on the left in the picture). Oh boy, does it s..k.

First of all it is a lot higher than the old one, so I had to hack the kitchen cupboard arrangement. There is no reason for it, and in this case, bigger is not better.

Secondly although the filter system swings out, you have to lift the lid to fill the water tank. Well, that is common enough in coffee makers, but the swing out filter which is shaped like a sphere has a two centimeter stick out on the side, which is difficult to see and which the coffee spoon seems to caught by every time I try to fill the filter with grounds. And the mess it makes.

Speaking of the swing out filter, there is a lever that opens the filter outlet valve (to let the coffee flow to the pot) only when the pot is in place. Nice idea, but in practice it tends to swing the filter out and not open the outlet valve.

Then the 'AromaControl', a bi-metal what-not that is supposed to improve the aroma by letting the hot water linger a little longer in the filter. Never seen a coffee maker that is as complicated as this one. This AromaControl feature is just one more thing to break down, and I've now seen it dysfunction in two units within months of purchase. And does it improve the aroma..haha.

Furthermore, the coffee flows throught the cap of the pot, the cap which has a valve that opens when you insert the pot into the machine. I suppose the idea is that once you remove the pot from the coffee maker it closes automatically so that the coffee stays hot a little longer. Nice, but the cap gets scratched and looks awful within weeks!

And the ultimately, the cap is hollow, and if you have a mishap with the filter so that it flows over and grounds get into the coffee, then the grounds fill the cap, so that the next pot is again full of grounds, although you thought you had it all cleaned up so well.

other than that it is OK (and white) regs Kusti.


Talk about sustainable development. Why are they shipping thin air with CD and DVD packages? Why is all that oil wasted on packaging air? Not to mention forcing people to buy new furniture to store them. Just look at them! The original CD package was not too bad, though it was twice as big as necessary. But the new DVD package really blows your mind. It is in every way incompatible with anything we've previously had. It is bigger than the CD covers and in the critical dimension it is even bigger that VHS casette! Well done, now you can't store DVDs with either CDs or VHSs. How clever can marketing people be? Yeah, yeah I know all about visility and struggle for shelf space, they can shove it...

regs Kusti.

Recycling Thin Air

This one makes me feel ashamed of being a Finn. We are recycling thin air! We have, or so we are told, one of the finest bottle and can recycling systems in the world. But can you believe, the creators of the system decided that you need to return the cans intact. No, you cannot crush them at home; instead you need to be careful and return them nice and round. In a more civiliced country you would crush them at home and be able to return hundreds in a single bag, but now you are lucky if you can fit a dozen into one plastic bag. Oh, and if one is crushed, and they crush like egg shells, there goes your refund. And it is not like they actually wanted intact cans, no, you treat them like lilies all the way to the refund machine, only to hear the machine crush them as soon as you enter them! And don't tell me that it would not have been feasible to have the bar code or somesuch at the bottom of the can. Hello, they are planning to implant RF-ID or some such an every plastic part!

regs Kusti.