Tag Archives: Review

QPad MK-85 Keyboard

QPad MK-85 First Impressions

I’m typing this on my new QPad MK-85 keyboard. It’s not that I’m into PC gaming that I bought this; but I spend so much time on the keyboard that I wanted a decent tool for the job. So far it’s been great – the keyboard is very heavy for a keyboard, rock solid construction, and the keys are lovely to type on. Shame it doesn’t correct the spelling for me too.

Here’s a pic. Oh, did I forget to mention it glows in the dark 🙂

QPad MK-85 Keyboard

Review: Dyson DC23 – A Great Vacuum Cleaner

Up until now we’ve used a Miele S718 vacuum cleaner to quite good effect; but since we got a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel last year it was obvious that the Miele was struggling to pick up the pet hair off the carpet.

By the way these dogs are described as “moderate shedders” of hair. I’d hate to see one that sheds a lot!

So we decided to replace it with a Dyson DC23 “Animal”. The vacuum is a compact format, as opposed to an upright, and comes with a good selection of tools and accessories including the all important turbo head for removing pet hairs. The vacuum has reasonably well packaged and took only a few minutes to assemble, though I struggled at one point to figure out just how the hose fitted around the cleaner body.

Time for a try out. There’s a reasonable length of electric cable; but I did think it could have been a few yards longer to reduce the need to keep moving sockets. I had hovered the sitting room only the afternoon before and the dog hadn’t been in there so I was completely amazed by the amount of hair that the vacuum picked up. Hopefully you can see this in the image.

Dog hair in the vacuum cylinder

So that’s a result! If I had any criticisms on this cleaner it’s in the very plastic construction of some of the parts. Only time will tell if these stand the rigors of domestic life.

As well as the large turbo head you also get:

  • Small turbo head for tight spaces (good for the stairs)
  • Wide brush head for hard floors
  • Small round brush head
  • Small narrow head for maximum suction
  • Small flat head for upholstery

The large turbo head and the three small heads all fit neatly onto the body of the cleaner for easy transport from one room to another.

Here are images of the vacuum Cylinder and the turbo heads:

The vacuum cleaner body

Large and small turbo heads

Review: Memeo Autobackup Premium

This software seemed like a great idea – something that would automatically backup my files as and when they'd changed. Unfortunately the reality fell far, far short of the promise with software that functioned very poorly and support to match. Functionally this software looks very good. You create backup 'plans' in which you decide where you want the backup files to go and then select which areas you want to backup. This you can do by selecting from a set of quick picks, e.g. My Documents, My Pictures, My Music etc; or you can select directories from the file system or you can choose files by their Tag. Grand. Once you chosen the files to backup the Memeo goes off and makes an initial backup of everything you've selected. CPU usage during this process is very high, which is only to be expected really, so it's best to start this process at night or let it run over a weekend. After the initial copy has been made then Memeo runs in the System Tray and every time you save a file it gets backed up. You can also keep a number of copies of files, which is good for things like documents. So things were going well for me and my Memeo. I created a few plans to backup everything I have on disk, documents in one plan, pictures in another…. Away Memeo went merrily backing everything up. However after a couple of days I noticed that when I saved a file there was no longer a little pop up to say the file had been backed up. When I opened Memeo I found that all the backup plans had stopped working several days before. There's an active support forum for this product so I posted my problem and got a response from someone in Memeo support:

Delete all the backup plans in the file system and start again.

Now to me that doesn't sound like a solution, it sounds like a desperate measure. Not being offered any alternatives that's what I did. There are instructions in the forum for 'reactivating' a backup; but these didn't work as documented so I deleted all my backups and started again. However the same thing happened again a few days later. I reported the problem again and was given the same response; start again. Even after emailing the log files to Memeo support the response was; delete all the plans and start again. To cut a long story short here I've done this 'start again' process at least 5 times now. I've had Memeo customer support do a remote access session on my PC to try to find the problem. After that they downgraded my Memeo version from Premium to Standard; but the same thing happened. After that their suggestion was (you've guessed it) delete all the plans and start again. In addition to the problem with the plans that stopped working I've also had he following issues with the software:

  • With all plans suspended (paused) the software was still using between 50% and 90% of the CPU (Intel Core 2 2.13GHz). This meant I couldn't just pause the plans, I had to quit the software altogether.
  • Once I got to more that 5 plans they'd (the plans) would start disappearing off the list meaning I could no longer edit their configuration or remove the plan.
  • Plans could not be reactivated once a plan had been deleted. I was a case of starting the whole thing again from scratch.

In defense of the software I will say that I'm running it on Vista Ultimate SP1. Maybe it runs fine on XP; but given the activity in the support forum and the huge FAQ list of issues I'm not convinced of this. I've given the software one star because

  • Louder Voice won't let me give it 0 stars
  • It deserves something for being a good idea

If I ever get the software working properly I'll update this review.

Review: ETEN Glofiish X800

I bought this PDA to be my mobile business partner; phone, organizer, web & email on the go. However poor performance and poor quality has led me to replace it with a standard mobile phone after only 7 months. Purchasing this was an expensive mistake.

Review of ETEN Glofiish X800
Rated as 1/5 on Aug 17 2008 by David Hollingworth


I did a lot of research on-line before I bought this product, read lots of reviews, though most of these reviewed what was in the box. Unfortunately I failed to connect with the ETEN European Users forum. Had I done so I would have thought again about buying this device.

What really swayed me towards the X800 was the VGA screen. There’s no doubt that this is much higher resolution than similar products from HTC, Palm, Toshiba & the like available at the time. The reports that the CPU was ‘slightly under powered’ didn’t deter me. The lure of the screen pulled me in.

I also wanted a device with Windows Mobile 6 so that I could fully sync my Outlook calendar and use Microsoft Office and other productivity tools. The X800 also came with Spb Mobile Shell which is a great enhancement to the basic Today screen.

So what went wrong? Given that the phone was bought to support my business the reliability problems I experienced rendered it worse than useless.

  • The phone would frequently lock up and need rebooting at least once a day. This would often happen when a call was incoming and so this was more than just an inconvenience.
  • It would often drop incoming calls when I pressed the answer button. On one occasion someone (Unknown number) tried five times to call in quick succession, every time I pressed answer the line was dead. Another reboot required and probably lost business.
  • Call quality was poor with a lot of echo on the line and a lot of static too.
  • The camera quality is very poor for a 2 megapixel camera. OK, not essential for business; but it’s something I like to use.
  • Often the phone would go completely crazy and start playing an Arctic Monkeys MP3 track at high volume. Most embarrassing when talking to a client and also requiring a reboot to fix.
  • The voice command will switch on at random. Turning it off would only temporarily alleviate the problem as it would come back on again a short time later. Another reboot.
  • Overall the device is badly underpowered and most operations are sluggish.
  • Battery life is dreadful. The phone needs about 2 hours charging a day to last 24 hours. It’s a lot better with all the radios switched off.
  • Support from ETEN is very, very poor and really only limited to the occasional release of new firmware. My device had the latest firmware when it was delivered.

Some time after buying the X800 I was surfing the net and came across what has to be the best kept secret ETEN users have, the European users group forum. There’s some real experts on this site providing updated firmware and fixes for the problems the X800 has. I’ve installed a fix for poor screen performance that greatly enhanced the response of the touch screen. However I’ve not tried a firmware upgrade yet as this can completely wreck the phone if it goes wrong.

The Glofiish X800 does have some good features:

  • There’s no doubt that the screen is good with a nice VGA resolution.
  • Wifi performance is reasonable though Internet Explorer often hangs. This is probably a problem with IE rather than the phone.

So not many redeeming features. I’m now using a fairly basic mobile phone (review to follow) which also syncs with Outlook and gives me a lot more confidence that I’m going to be able to answer all calls and won’t need rebooting. Now I’ve an alternative I might try replacing the firmware with a version from the user group. If this fixes the issues I’ll update this review, otherwise I’ll just continue to use it for wifi access.

LouderVoice Review Tags: , , , , , , ,
Rate this review at LouderVoice

Goalpro 2008 Reviewed

A face lift, but no new functionality to speak of, doesn’t warrant the hefty upgrade fee for this goal tracking software.

Review of Goalpro 2008
Rated as 2/5 on Dec 30 2007 by David Hollingworth


It was some time ago that I stopped using Goalpro 6 in favour of MyLifeOrganized (MLO) for organizing my goals and getting things done. At the time I felt that Goalpro had an outdated user interface and lacked certain functions that GTD requires such as contexts. Whilst Goalpro has some nice features, like the scratch pad, it just didn’t cut it for me as a tool for day to day use.

I was interested to try out the new Goalpro 2008 version released recently to see if there was any new functionality that would tempt me back to Goalpro. I have to say that I was very disappointed with what I found. Sure there’s a new set of icons that give the tired user interface a bit of a face lift; but really that’s where it ends. The “what’s new” list give a few other items that have changed like the ‘completely revised journal’; but when I looked at the journal it looked exactly the same as the previous version. Other examples include new Calendar and Success Tree options; but it fails to say what those options are and again the Success Tree and Calendar look exactly the same as in Goalpro 6 with the exception on new icons.

Then you come to the price. A purchase isn’t cheap at $89.95; but if this software fits your requirements then it’s worth paying the price. It’s the upgrade price that gets me; a whopping $59.95 for no new functionality. That is nothing short of a rip off and is certainly very, very poor value for money. I, for one, won’t be upgrading.

LouderVoice Review Tags: , , , , ,
Rate this review at LouderVoice