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Dell battery recall

Ugly, ugly, ugly.

And Sony is financially responsible.

Dell is recalling 4.1 million notebook computer batteries
because they could erupt in flames, the company said yesterday. It will be the largest safety recall in the history of the consumer electronics industry, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said.

Dell has reported to the safety agency that it documented six instances since December in which notebooks overheated or caught on fire. None of the incidents caused injuries or death. Dell said the problems were a result of a manufacturing defect in batteries made by Sony.

The safety agency said the batteries’ problems were not unique to Dell, meaning that other companies using Sony batteries might also have to issue recalls. Sony has sold its batteries to most of the major computer makers.

The recalled batteries were used in 2.7 million Dell computers sold in the United States and 1.4 million sold overseas. The total is about 18 percent of Dell’s notebook production during the period in question.

Depending on how many of the batteries are still in use, the cost of the recall could exceed $300 million. Dell refused to estimate the cost, but said the recall would not materially affect its profits. Sony, which affirmed yesterday that its batteries were responsible, said it was “financially supporting” Dell in the recall.

Dell Will Recall Batteries in PC’s – New York Times

Not to mention but this is old news…

Sony was the designer and build partner for Apple’s original PowerBook 5300 battery, which would have been the first mass-marketed laptop with an L-Ion battery.

Introduced in the fall of 1995, only about 1500 of the powerBook 5300 units had shipped when the battery – again, designed and built by Sony – caught fire in an Apple lab. A separate overheating incident at Apple later that week caused the company to pull all the stops to recall and destroy the Sony L-Ion cells. Customers all received two NiMH batteries as compensation.

Dell Issues Laptop Battery Recall


Newton vs. Origami

CNet UK does a comparison between a new Samsung Q1 UMPC (a.k.a. Microsoft’s vaunted “Origami” project) and a 10 year old Apple Newton Messagepad.

Guess who wins?

Apple Newton vs Samsung Q1 UMPC , Special Features at

Once you know who wins this contest, guess if Microsoft’s “iPod Killer” will be successful?

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Sony Connect Player 1.0 review

Here’s another trainwreck about to hit Sony.
A Sony customer at ATRACLife colloquium (a fan site for ATRAC) purchased a Sony Network Walkman NW-A3000 which came with the Sony Connect 1.0 Player software. He shares his review of the software and the device with the community at ATRACLife. Basically, the software doesn’t work and the reviewer had to resort to Sonic Stage, an earlier Sony music management software that was roundly derirded for it’s unusability.
The first part of the trainwreck is that this device and software was not to be sold until later- it was sold by mistake in advance of the official sale time. Sadly, the store that made this mistake? None other than an official SonyStyle store. It gets worse, a lot worse.

I purchased an NW A3000 on Friday, from a UK Sony Centre, who are the first to have the units available in the UK. The unit came with Connect Player 1.0, which I regret to say after a weekend of perseverance is extremely disappointing. Put simply, I can’t get it to work.
I have 4200 Atrac files in my SonicStage database, which Connect Player offers no easier means to import other than File/Directory import. There does not seem to be any way to import playlists from SonicStage. I made several attempts to import the files all of which were ultimately unsuccessful. The software offers the iTunes style option of manual or sync connection to your device (i.e. the NW A3000) but I found that after transferring 200 or so tracks the process would hang indefinitely. The only way to stop it was to detach the NW A3000, which resulted both in the database on the NW A3000 being corrupted and Connect Player not opening when I tried to reuse the software. The only way to get the program open again was to delete the library folder in the All Users\Application Data\Sony Corporation\Connect Player path, which meant that there were now no tracks imported. Lastly I tried to import the tracks and manually transfer them to the NW A3000, but although Connect Player seemed to import the tracks ok (it takes about 4 hours to do 4200 tracks, far longer than in SonicStage) after closing Connect Player, it took 5 minutes to open again and then froze completely. I simply could’t open it without scrubbing the library again.
It seems to me that Sony have rushed this software out – I can’t believe my problems are due computer compatibility as I am using a month old Vaio. There are some potentially good features in Connect Player – drag and drop, the sync function and a folder watch function, which I presume allows automatic updates of any new tracks added by another program such as SonicStage. But there are major drawbacks, not least that it doesn’t work, but also there is no back up tool, so if your database was damaged or your computer blew up, you would be stuck – I don’t think simply backing up and restoring the oma file folders would work with a new install on another machine. The only way to back up would be to use SonicStage back up tool, but then all tracks would have to be imported/ripped with SonicStage and then either the folder watch function used or the files be imported into Connect Player, which seems crazy.

When this software hits the mainstream public, the backlash will be swift and merciless, mainly because Sony music management software has been horrendously unusable from day one. Heads should roll for this (and I would name names but that’s not sporting) but that hasn’t happened in the past so I’m not holding my breath.
If you had any hope for the future of Sony Network Walkman software, forget about it. The distance from iTunes to any legitmate competitor is so far that it is a very significant competitive advantage for Apple. Why Sony has yet to understand that is one of many reasons why Sony is in the dire straits that it is in at this time.

Gizmo Japan

CNet special Japan report

CNet does a special report on Japan’s electronics industry. The main themes are “Cool Japan” (yet again) and how new alliances are breaking down the “keiretsu” factor (i.e. Samsung supplying Sony with TV panels.) There’s also random photos of Tokyo for some strange reason. I haven’t read it yet.
Japan’s sun rises again | CNET
PDF download also available.

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RC planes and digicams

When you merge remote-controlled model airplanes and digital cameras, you get incredible perspectives like these:
RC Groups Discussion – General Aircraft Topics – Aerial Photography – 2005 Calendar Entries