HP Products and Tech Support

Thanks HP for the failed product and failed support.

HP Products and Tech Support.

I have a keyboard that came with my PC. I have never turned the keyboard on until today, I wanted to use it. I put a set of batteries in it… nothing. I switched to a brand new set of batteries… nothing.

I searched the web and found a few dismal links. And finally stumbled into HP’s support site. After looking for several minutes I found a generic keyboard and mouse support page that referenced a picture of my keyboard. I found absolutely no information about what to do if you keyboard does not turn on, other than change the batteries and re-pair the device.  But there is a big note on my keyboard stating that it can’t be re-paired.

Even doing a search for the exact model number on their website turns up nothing but a link from several years ago in their forums. The support guy who answered the question did not even give useful information.

So my rating of the ease of use of HP Support: 1 out of 5 It took quite a while to even find information at all about this product, and what I found was not useful, or meaningful.

My rating of documentation for this HP Product: 1 out of 5

My rating of this particular product: -1 out of 5. Epic fail. No lights, no instructions, no details, No functionality.  I suppose I could let my kids play with it as a toy??? Or smash it on something if I want to make a dramatic statement to those around me?

As a side note they had a youtube video about mice and keyboard trouble shooting, it was pretty clear to me that the techs who were doing the video didn’t want to be doing the video. After watching the video I learned nothing useful.

Thanks HP for the failed product and failed support.

 

The answer to the question is…

Technology is not your savior, it isn’t even the road to utopia. It isn’t a magic bullet that can cure the world’s woes.

Technology is not your savior, it isn’t even the road to utopia. It isn’t a magic bullet that can cure the world’s woes.

I have come to learn that people want what they want, and technology is just a tool they use. Even in the absence of technology they still try to do what they want. Technology just facilitates what ever they are doing.

So, if a doctor wants to save lives… technology can help.
If law enforcement wants to stop a crime… technology can help.
If a criminal want to steal… technology can help.
If someone wants to blackmail… technology can help.
If someone want to cheat on their spose… guess what… technology can help.
If a person wants to learn… yep technology can help.

Pick anything people want good or bad. Technology can help them do it better if used properly.

I think the problem is people WANT things that are detrimental to themselves and others. It has been that way since the beginning of recorded history. Look at slavery. As far back as history can tell me there have been slaves. Slaves were the OLD form of technology. They could help you do what you wanted to do, better, faster and cheaper. It was just more directly abusing of people, and yet those who did it justified their actions. Technology has helped us distance ourselves from the abuse, but we still do the same things.

So the problem isn’t technology. It is people, they always want MORE, faster, better and cheaper. And they are willing to sacrifice others to do it. Technology just allows them to do it better. Some people want to hurt and destroy others, pick your cause, technology just allows them to do it better.

So… what we are looking at is that people haven’t changed really since we have recorded history. We have always saught what we wanted, and used anything to get it. Including other people, technology, the law, or religion.

Some people are charitable, but for MOST it is a means to an end. They want to feel better about them selves, they expect something in return, even if it is in the after life, or maybe it is on a camera, or maybe a tax deduction, or any other of a dozen reasons. Again the using something to get what we want, and guess what technology can help them do it.

Since the begining of history, people have saught new ane more creative ways to do things that benifit hemselves ussually at the cost of others. So let me ask the following:

Do you think new laws will fix the problem? We (humans) have been making new laws since the begining I’ll wager.

Do you think a “better” technology will fix the problem? Since we invented the plow we keep getting better technology, yet we have the same problems.

Well maybe we need better education… that will fix the problem right? Is our education better than it was in the stone age? Do you think it has made people better? Smarter sure… but better? We have a ton of technology to help people learn.

Do you think the “removal” of opposing forces and bad influences will fix the problem? Ever hear of Hitler he used that kind of logic? Ever hear of ethnic clensing? Would your removal be justified? Would your cleansing be more correct or humane?

The only thing in common with all the history I know is… people. Technologies change, laws change, ideals change, money changes… but it is always people.

So how do you fix the problem of people?

I don’t think there is an answer out there that hasn’t been tried.

Hour 1 with Amazon Kindle Unlimited

I’m beginning to think that Kindle Unlimited is where Amazon throws its bargain books people wouldn’t normally buy…

I have started reading a lot more recently and decided I would give Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited a try. After my first hour, my experience has been dismal at best. EVERY book I have searched for has NOT been available with Kindle Unlimited. Every author I’ve searched for, Every series I’ve searched for, Every title I’ve searched for, they have all not been available with the service… I’m hoping I find some redeeming value in the “free trial” but so far I’m beginning to think that Kindle Unlimited is where Amazon throws its bargain books people wouldn’t normally buy, just to get them to circulate.

Finally SeeMeCNC Rostock Max v3 Working

Alright, It has been a while since my last post. I’ve been working hard at work AND working on my printer a lot as well. I’ll try to sum this up to make it easy to digest. When I assembled the printer ONE of  the screws holding one of the carriages was loose. That thew off the calibration.  After it was fixed I STILL had a lot of problems with inconsistent prints. Using the exact same settings, it would print great once, and then fail the next. I have reduced the remaining problems down to the filament I’m using. I’ve seen the diameter range anywhere from 1.9mm to 1.6mm. Usually it is pretty close to 1.6mm, however, some times it will just get larger. When this happens it really screws up my prints. I was able to compensate for this some by slowing down the print, and turning up the heat. This made sure that there were no clogs in the nozzle. When it got thin, unfortunately it would still under extrude.  I did not by “cheap” plastic, it was rated pretty good on Amazon. But I will not be buying from that manufacture again. It has cause me a ton of headaches.

The printer has been great. I did get my first nozzle jam, it took about an hour to clear.  When I was changing filaments, I took the bowden tube out too slow and the plastic came in contact with the heat break and solidified. I had to disassemble and hand drill it out.  As side from the jam (which was my fault), the printer has been amazing. I’ve been trying to test the limits of what it can do and so far I’m very pleased. I think I’ve hit some of those limits, and I’m thinking about modifying the printer to get finer resolutions. I’m thinking about switching to a .4mm nozzle, but for MOST parts the .5mm one I have works fine. I no longer have the headache I had from my last post. I would like to thank the SeeMeCNC people on the forums for being patient with me and helping me figure out what was wrong. They are great folks. Since I got it fixed up, it has been running almost all the time I’m home just to test what it can do before I start making my own parts.

I did switch my software to Simplify 3d and all I can say is Wow! That was a HUGE difference in setup time, calibration, and tweaking.  I went from tweaking for DAYS to get a good print to tweaking for an hour or less. It allows me to tweak as much as I want, but the built in defaults for my printer worked right out of the gate.  (Some of that tweaking may have been the stupid filament with the variable diameter, but still, I was able to mitigate it to some extent with settings.)

But… all that said, when the filament diameter stays relatively constant I get really good prints. Here are a few I liked:

http://www.thingiverse.com/make:308013

 

http://www.thingiverse.com/make:307523

 

http://www.thingiverse.com/make:307534

 

http://www.thingiverse.com/make:307527

 

http://www.thingiverse.com/make:308016

 

http://www.thingiverse.com/make:307529

 

SeeMeCNC Rostock Max v3 Assembly adventure Day 3

If you know me, I’ve been talking about 3D printing for about 3 or 4 months. I’ve been studying, and researching, and trying to decided if I wanted a 3D printer, and if I do, what I want and why.  I did all my home work and decided to get one. The one I wanted MOST was the Prusa i3 Mk2, however they had to get imported from out of the country AND there was about a 3 or 4 month wait before they could ship when I was looking to order.  So… with that in mind. I did a LOT more homework. Based on the title of the blog post you can see I ended up on the SeeMeCNC Rostock Max v3. Found here.  It was only $100 more than the assembled Prusa (but once you factored in import duty, and shipping it ended up about the same).

I finally ordered the Rostock Max v3, and it showed up in amazing time. Faster than all the tools I ordered from Amazon at the same time in fact. (Not prime shipping). I got the tools this weekend, and started assembly. I used to assemble electronics back in the day, but I have to admit it has been a long time. Me and a friend use to manufacture boards for Cellular routers, so I’m ok with electronics, and I know my way around machine shops and tooling so nothing here was completely new, other than the printer and the principles of 3D printing itself.

Day 1

I started getting all the parts out, and was quite amazed at the number of parts, involved. I expected quite a bit, but I’ve got a nice sized Rubermaid container at my feet full of zip lock bags loaded with nuts, wires, fixtures, electronics, motors and lots of other goodies. I tried to stage the parts, and tools, create a work environment to do this in. It has very intricate parts and much larger parts. So I had to clear off a work bench that was comfortable for detail work like soldering and such, but I needed a larger work space for the frame. So I started to get all that ready. When I was done with that I started to assemble the hot end. I didn’t get far.  I was buried in parts, and had a question.  I asked it on their forums and got a good reply by the time I was ready to go again.  Here is how far I got on day 1: And in case you are wondering a “day” for me is the time left over from work/family/life before I go to bed, so don’t expect a full 8 hrs of labor here…

Hot End day 1
Rostock Max v3 – Hot End day 1

Day 2

I pushed a bit too hard. After getting the help I needed, it was a stupid question, but I needed the answer. I was able to get much further. Here is where I got for the second day (2:30AM).  I had the hardest time getting the base plate, thermal fuse, and pcb lower edge to all be parallel. I found that losening or tightening one seemed to throw everything else off. I tightened it as much as I dare for small aluminum parts, but I must admit I am afraid it will come lose or out of alignment. (Not sure how important alignment is, but the instructions highlighted the importance…)

Day 2, PCB Controller, Leads, and guide

 

Day 3

And today, Day 3. I made a lot more VISIBLE progress. I actually finished the entire Hot End assembly, including the fans etc. I started off doing all the PCB soldering, then put the fan assemblies together (that went pretty quickly… other than trying to strip the small gauge wires, that was painful.)  Then a little bit more soldering and the finishing covers.  Today went much easier than the other days. Here is the finished product:

My initial impression of this after putting it together (just the hot end assembly). This is a nice tight package. I can tell a LOT of time went into the design and layout of this project.  I am concerned about any of the internals needing repair/replacing. Doing so would be a full day task at least. Many of the components are soldered directly to the board, so hot swapping replacements is not an option. (Fans however are plugged in… BUT the fan cables are wrapped around everything.) Maybe my concern is unfounded. I won’t know until I’ve been using it for quite a while. But over all I like it, I’m just scared, this after all was a huge investment.  However all the reviews I’ve read say it is good stuff. Time will tell.

This project would be a real doozie for someone working with mechanical/electrical things for the first time. If you have never used a soldering pen, or are not comfortable taking apart every day things and being able to put them back together (reliably) you may want to get it pre-assembled, or ask a friend to help you who knows this stuff. It is not impossible or very hard, but learning on this project would be daunting for the un-initiated.

At the end of today, I tested continuity through my heater/fuse, and it worked. I tested continuity between heater/fuse and the aluminum block, and that was not connected. I tested resistance of the thermistor at the PCB and it came to just under 100k (98.3k) I think. I checked all the fans, and they can spin freely. I did not run any current though to test them. I tested all the screws and they seemed tight, so far as I can tell I put it together right. I took a TON of pics a long the way too. I just posted the end of day shots.

Well this ends day 3 for me. Lets see what the next day has.

Tangled Web of Thoughts

I am going to start this post with a disclaimer. I do NOT have all the answers. I am taking a philosophy class. I am a technology person. I will be speaking in VERY broad terms and using a VERY broad brush. I know there are exceptions to almost everything, I’ve met most of them.

My topic today comes from my philosophy class, a project I’ve been stewing on for the last 12 years, an internet video I watched yesterday, and several conversations I’ve had with people. This is not fully formed yet, and I still have a lot of research to do on it. I however did want to post this out there for thoughts.  I want to talk about how people think about knowledge and how they gauge truth and how that impacts society in general.

Definitions

Foundational thinking:  this could be summed up with Plato’s concept of JTB (justified true belief), In order to say that you “know” something you have to be able to make assertions that are correct and infer a correct conclusion from it. That you can define its parts. That in order to know something you have to “prove it” with some “logical” process is the concept.

The problem of infinite recursion: In order to say you know something you must define all of its components, but in order to define its components you must define the definitions of all the sub-components, but in order to define all of the sub-components you must define all the sub-sub-components… etc… it goes on for ever. There are several proposed solutions to this… one of them is network thinking

example of infinite recursion:

  • duck = type of bird
  • type = a category or classification
  • of = expressing a relationship between a part and a whole
  • bird = a flying animal
  • category = a grouping of something
  • or = a word used to link alternatives
  • classification = …
  • …. you get the idea.

Network thinking: The concept that in order to “know” something you simply need to have enough pieces of data in your “network” that are congruent with that information. If you have information from 3 or 4 sources and they all seem to be congruent with each other, that information may be considered as “known”. That number may change depending on the person, circumstances, or type of information under question.

Network: A lose term meaning a source of information. It could be a literal computer network or social network. It could be a loosely related group of publications and professional contacts, it can be personal experience. ANY source of information, data or opinion can be in a network.

From the top

I know there are many forms of thinking and I did NOT cover them all. I did cover the two I want to talk about though. In my parents generation and some of my generation the predominate form of thinking (that I have seen) is the Foundational type of thinking.  There are MANY flaws with this mode of thinking, it leads to infinite recursion, as well as the general philosophy that TRUTH can never be truly found or known, because even if we found it we could never really know it. My generation really bore out the fruit of the idea that truth can never be found.  It lead to wide spread hopelessness and a general lack of purpose. As a response to this the concept of a “network” of truth or thought has come out of the mix. The idea was if we can never “know” for sure, if we know enough points that do not conflict with a concept that we can probably assume it is true.

This network model is applied by individuals in both the macro and the micro. Inside the individual and outside.  In order for a network to remain stable its nodes must be congruent, and because people inherently tend to seek stability incongruity becomes a destabilizing factor. These networks are not just used in the formation scientific ideas, but in the formation of self worth, sexuality (I don’t mean gender preference I mean how they think about sex… the brain is the biggest sex organ in the human body), spirituality, appearance and much more. When in-congruent ideas are presented to an individual in this context the in-congruent idea is not just a challenge to the concept… it is a personal assault at the deepest levels. The network node (idea) in question is a part of the stability of this person, if this becomes in-congruent, it might devalue or change something else, causing a cascade, or even worse… systemic questioning.   Because to question the network is to reject the network or at the very least cause an incongruity that cannot be reconciled. When faced with this type of threat it is simply easier to reject the threat (the person doing the questioning or the idea) and push them out of reach that to solve the conflict of thought.

People who function primarily in a network model require many points of contact to know things, including themselves. If a person functions in network model, the network tends to be fundamental to the identity of this person. It defines who they are, who they are not.  The more points of contact they have and the more congruent it is the more stable the information base is, the more stable the person feels about their world view, about them self.  I think this is very evident in the emergence of social media and its profound impact on first world culture.

Once someone is pushed out of a network, they either find a new more appropriate network OR they make one of their own.  Each social network in turn becomes a specialized condensed version of a social structure, philosophy, brand or concept.  Although it works the same with other networks social networks are easier to visualize, but news networks, computer networks, and religions work the same general way.  Something that the internet age has inadvertently provided is the ability to make truth virtually irrelevant.

These groups (or networks) do not bother to really argue with each other or debate facts any more.  Instead, they manufacture what the OTHER GROUPS represent and argue against their version of the other group. (I believe this was known in the past as a straw man argument.)  The local group’s version of the “other group” (or argument) is often the worst possible representation of the outside group.  Because the arguments and representations are made so provocative… they get repeated and talked about…  Even if no one can prove them.  Our media, in order to get ratings, pushes this information out there because it is so provocative, making it MORE provocative each time. Our internet algorithms do this too… the most talked about things are PUSHED to the top of the rankings (even if they are NOT true).  This pushing and splintering of the internet has caused extreme polarization. Groups that are fundamentally against each other not just in idea or principal but to the very core for reasons that they themselves don’t necessarily even know any more.

We have built a system that is literally designed to push popular information into the forefront. The information in the forefront is usually the worst. Each network (social group, religion, news outlet, political party, economic class, medical journal, scientific community…) becomes its own isolated network, which allows false ideas to run rampant. Because so little is fact checked and so little logic is used, it allows for micro (or macro) cults to be formed. Each group targeting what the see as “the enemy” and vilifying them.  Add to the mix, our current culture is designed (or functions, take your pick) in such a way that questioning the group can, and very well may, get you kicked out of the group to which you desperately need to belong to in order to maintain your identity.

You can add in people who intentionally spread misinformation and on top of that the people who report incorrect information just because they don’t know better. It makes finding real facts incredibly difficult for the average person. Making it even more difficult even IF someone actually wanted to look up the truth of a situation or the facts involved in something to distinguish between fact and fiction.

In the end… this leaves us with groups of people who are highly emotionally charged who are unwilling to be reasoned with. Who are don’t want to be criticized or questioned. Doing so automatically disqualifies you from being able to contribute to the group.  This is NOT a good place to be. It allows room for people who are manipulative, persuasive or coercive to build networks of their own cults.

While you read this I am sure you had a network/group or two cross your mind that you believe may do this, please be willing to consider that someone somewhere in the world is probably looking at YOU thinking you are in a network doing the same thing.  You are not exempt from this. If you got offended at the statement you should probably consider it even more.

League of Legends Community is Awful

League of Legends… Your players officially suck. I like the game, it is quite enjoyable. Your players have got to be some of the worst I’ve encountered…

Yep I said it.  I’ve played on and off for a year or two. Purely casual. I have no delusions of making a pro-league, or even making any notable mark.  I play for fun… well I try to. But the community is full of such salty SOBs it is VERY hard to enjoy.  Many of the players seem to think they are going to be the next Diamond Champ and make it pro… and that my game play will ruin them. And rather than “help a casual” player or explain. They would rather rant, curse at, bitch and complain.  I have a full time job and a family. I do this in between all the other adult things I have to do… so I don’t have time to spend memorizing tons of crap for a game that in 10 years probably won’t be on the market.

League of Legends… Your players officially suck. I like the game, it is quite enjoyable.  Your players have got to be some of the worst I’ve encountered, actually now that I think about it… they are the worst I can think of. That is saying something.

I have now vented. I am going to step back from the game a bit. Take a breath and decide if I ever even WANT to play again. The last game I played was not particularly bad, in fact it was typical for the games I play. The fact that it was typical… and that I wanted to throw my computer in the trash after playing should be an indication that “I shouldn’t play”…  The only reason I came back was to play with some mutual friends, but this is not worth it.

If you are a League of Legends staffer… your current marketing “meta” may be great for pulling in kids and single guys who hope to be pro-video game players. But you seem to have forgotten many of the people who just want to have fun playing. Some one worried about how many clicks they can work into a micro second while focusing on 3 different targets, memorizing a continually changing list of champs, skills, items, and maps Isn’t fun… it’s work.  If I wanted to have to sit down and make spread sheets, perform calculations, and raise my blood pressure… I can get paid for that now. And oddly enough I find my job more fun… again mental note to me… if this IS the case… WHY am I playing? Just to be social?

Well I’m debating if I ever want to go back in. If I should just uninstall the game and walk away and encourage my friends to do so. They have the same problems with the community as well. Fortunately I have not invested more than $5 in the game. Just a lot of time, but I’m thinking I’ll cut my losses and move on.

Point 1: League community USUALLY really sucks. (In my experience, I have found the RARE exception but they are rare.)

Point 2: At the end of about 75% of League of Legends games I want to throw my computer away and claw my face off… even when I win people complain.

Point 3: This game takes a TON of time to learn the Champs, Maps, Items, Meta, combos, synergies, etc.

Point 4: I find other things more fun, like my real job… I’m not a workaholic and I don’t go around recruiting people to do what I do. But I enjoy my job more than this feeling I have right now at the end of a game.

Point 5: The only reason I do play is to be social with a group of people I already know, but when they play they turn into SOBs too. It seems to bring out the worst in people. I hear them slamming down their mice, bashing their keyboards, cursing the other players… screaming at the top of their lungs at their own team mates, because they didn’t do what they WANTED them to do at that exact moment to help THEM.

It sounds to me like League of Legends is the wrong game for me.  I encourage you to consider where you spend your time.  Are you spending it in a video game full of sucky people, that is highly competitive, rapidly changing that in a few years no one will care about? Or are you spending it doing something you actually enjoy?… You can still game. I just want you to consider WHAT you game and WHY.  You only get one life. Don’t waste it on games and/or people that suck.

I know my next game will be something I chose intentionally because I like it and enjoy it.  I may pick up League again with a friend every once and a while. But my time of studying it, playing it on my own, or really “trying” to figure it out are over.  It will keep changing, and I have no intention to spend my brain power to keep up with this game.  If the community had been better this may not have been the case…. but that is the world of IF… I don’t live there.