Gadgets

IT at Home: Nexus 5, Mohu Leaf, Toyota RAV4 EV

My common job entails writing and speaking virtually solely about enterprise IT, however each infrequently I like to think about how private know-how impacts my day-to-day life.

IT at Home: Nexus 5, Mohu Leaf, Toyota RAV4 EV

Three acquisitions have come my method previously couple of months: the Nexus 5; the Mohu Curve 30; and a 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV.

Nexus 5

I will preface this by saying I have been a Google cellphone person because the authentic G1 hit the road. What do I like about them? Primarily the sturdy design and absence of service supplier skins and crapware that afflicts most each different smartphone platform.

Nexus 5

On a latest enterprise journey, I screwed up the cost port on my Nexus 4 and after fixing it (because of a terrific JerryRigEverything YouTube video), I made a decision to retire the poor beleaguered factor to backup standing and purchase a brand new Nexus 5.

For these of you who have not learn the myriad critiques of Google’s newest/biggest Android cellphone, here is what you get with the Nexus 5: a 5-inch roughly edge-to-edge 1080p show, a 2.26 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor operating Android KitKat 4.4, an 8 MP digicam with OIS (optical picture stabilization), 2 GB RAM, wi-fi charging, NFC, a 2300mAh battery and 16-GB/32-GB storage choices.

What do I feel? It is largely terrific. Briefly, I bought a bigger, sharper HD show, better-quality sound (each with the handset and speaker), far quicker efficiency (partly as a result of new Snapdragon processor and partly on account of LTE compatibility), and extra responsive controls.

On this final level, amongst my major beefs with the three Nexus 4s I owned (sure, three — the primary two suffered breakdowns through the guarantee interval and had been changed by Google) had been their wonky energy and quantity buttons. In distinction, the Nexus 5 has labored like a allure.

Some reviewers have criticized the Nexus 5’s design, significantly its sharpish corners/edges in comparison with the Nexus 4, however I discovered that cellphone a bit too lozenge-like for my style.

There are some problematic points: The 8 MP digicam could possibly be method higher (Google is reportedly engaged on a corrective software program replace); lack of micro-SSD assist is but once more a disappointment; and battery life is simply OK (although in all probability half and parcel of the Nexus 5’s slim 130 G weight).

These comparatively minor — apart from the digicam — disappointments apart, the Nexus 5 delivers considerably improved efficiency and person expertise in a lighter, slimmer package deal, no skins or crapware wherever (pause for blissful smile), quick LTE entry and higher controls. And all for about half the value of different top-tier unlocked sensible telephones. What’s to not like?

Mohu Curve 30

“Chopping the cable” — cable TV, that’s — has been getting plenty of press these days and for good cause. Within the realm of awful investments, the long-term price of cable TV qualifies as one of many market’s poorest bargains. In reality, the one method it is smart is when you’re a stone sports activities fan or so gibberingly hooked on first-run cable dramas and comedies which you can’t assist your self.

It is a vital (for cable operators, anyway) ongoing development, latest analysis suggests. TV, broadband and cellphone communications suffered a internet lack of 113,000 viewers in Q3 2013. The whole variety of misplaced cable subscribers since 2010 is an estimated 5 million.

My circle of relatives hasn’t used cable for greater than 20 years, however the course of grew to become markedly more durable after the switchover to digital broadcasting in 2009, on account of our home being situated on the bottom of a hill dealing with away from native broadcasters’ antennas.

We stumbled alongside till late final yr after we acquired a Mohu Sky roof-mounted digital antenna that pulled in additional HDTV stations and delivered higher image high quality than we would beforehand loved.

The Mohu Sky works high-quality in our front room, however stringing the antenna wire again to my workplace (the place my HD monitor may function a TV) was an excessive amount of hassle. The answer? A brand new Mohu Curve 30 indoor antenna that lives on high of a storage cupboard close to my desk.

The Curve 30 is a barely convex, matte silver, unobtrusively fashionable rectangle. Set up merely required connecting the coaxial cable to the HDTV port behind my monitor, then operating the simple set-up course of.

Efficiency is greater than sufficient for the suburban space the place we reside. Whereas it would not pull in fairly as many stations because the roof-mounted Mohu Sky, which is configured to obtain stations from as much as 50 miles away, The Curve 30 will get all of the stations I care about. Between the Mohu Sky, Curve 30 and streaming Netflix, I waste hours if not days on leisure with out losing a penny on cable TV.

The EV (Not) within the Driveway

When my spouse and I not too long ago went looking for a brand new automobile for her day by day commute, higher gasoline mileage was an necessary concern, as was her choice for smaller SUVs. We appeared at varied hybrids, however what lastly caught our consideration was a 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV, the all-electric model of the corporate’s smaller SUV.

Toyota initially launched the mannequin in 1997 as a fleet car, then pulled it in 2003 on account of poor efficiency. A brand new model hit the California market in 2012 with a battery pack, charger and drive practice designed and manufactured by Tesla. The 90-plus miles per cost it delivers is greater than sufficient for our wants, and since (like Teslas and different EVs) it accelerates linearly, with not one of the shift pauses in automobiles with transmissions, it is a hell of plenty of enjoyable to drive.

The clincher for my spouse was California’s latest extension to 2019 of a rule permitting lone drivers of EVs and different clear different gas autos to make use of HOV lanes. In different phrases, the RAV4 EV appeared like a ticket to commuter heaven, and it actually was for a month, earlier than the charging system started to malfunction.

We took it to the native Toyota dealership, bought a loaner and, two days later, had been instructed by the service supervisor that the charger wanted alternative and {that a} new one had been ordered from Tesla. And that is the place issues have remained for practically 4 more and more irritating weeks.

Probably the most fascinating and useful options of the RAV4 EV is its computerized diagnostic system. Principally, a Toyota mechanic plugs the automobile into a pc that is networked with the Tesla manufacturing facility, about 15 miles away in Fremont, California.

Troubleshooting is overseen by Tesla technicians who direct repairs made by Toyota. That has all labored as designed, however regardless of all of the splendidly highly effective IT that was dropped at bear on designing and constructing our automobile and diagnosing its issues, nobody can inform us when Tesla will ship the brand new charger.

That is proper — Tesla apparently has higher, deeper perception into our automobile’s innards than it does into its personal provide chain.

There’s an excessive amount of implicit irony happening right here, however we actually simply need the damned automobile mounted. The parents at Toyota at least have the graciousness to be embarrassed in regards to the state of affairs.

If anybody at Tesla occurs to learn this, they could wish to take into consideration why one of the vital vocally self-professed “innovators” in Silicon Valley cannot present clear provide chain transparency to its companions and prospects. That easy screw-up has sadly difficult our in any other case glorious EV journey.
IT at Home: Nexus 5, Mohu Leaf, Toyota RAV4 EV


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