Friday, 23 October 2009

iHome Reson8 iPod/iPhone Alarm Clock and Dock

I've been on the lookout for a clock/dock and speaker system for my iPhone 3G and first generation iPod Touch for some time and finally my search is over with the purchase of iHome's Reson8 system.

Part of the problem has been that amongst the hundreds of docks available on the market, I was struggling to find one that met my specific criteria of:
  1. Size - portability was a must-have as I'm on the road a lot

  2. iPhone - fully compatible without having to shift into Airplane mode

  3. Charger - a given, as I don't want to carry extra docks and cable around

  4. Sound - good quality sound in a bedroom or hotel room

  5. Good looks - I don't want to wake up with something ugly

  6. Clock and Alarm - basic functions with sleep and snooze facilities

  7. Price - under £100.00; it's an alarm clock for goodness sake

To be honest I would have liked a dock that could also sync with my MacBook Pro, but that wasn't going to be a show stopper.

iHome's Reson8 or Model iP27 gets a tick mark in all the boxes. It has a relatively small footprint (W26xH4.5xD17 cm) when flat and when unfolded in normal operation (W26xH12xD13 cm). That gives a clue to it's canny design. When travelling the Reson8 lies flat (in it's own included carry case) and when you get to your destination you simply lift up the hinged speaker, plug the iPhone or iPod into one of the provided dock adapters and away you go.


All iPhone functions are available while the iPhone is plugged in, but there is no sync facility as I mentioned. The phone will automatically charge as long as the system is plugged into the mains.

For such a small piece of kit, the Reson8 gives out a belting sound, easily enough to fill a reasonable size bedroom or hotel room without distorting. Pushing up the volume will certainly attract unwanted attention from other paying guests or family members depending on your location. A side mounted switch turns on the EXB or UPRO Wide Stereo function giving extra sound enhancement in the same way that the loudness button works on some stereo systems.

There is a simple LCD clock with a single alarm. Both snooze and sleep functions are provided allowing auto shut down at 90, 60, 30 or 15 minute intervals. The volume in sleep mode is independently adjustable from the normal volume. A four way dimmer switch is available for the display. The alarm works perfectly well in combination with the sleep function. A DST switch is incorporated into the unit for good measure.

The glossy black finish attracts a bit of dust and some grubby fingerprints, but the overall look and feel of the unit is very pleasing. A remote control is provided for many of the functions which has a very firm and durable feel to it.

I paid less than £90.00 including P&P for my Reson8 and I'm delighted with it. It's been well worth the wait. looks good, sounds good, and does everything demanded of it. You can't ask for much more than that...

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Duplex Printing on HP DeskJet 970Cxi - Update and Solution

Even before the proverbial ink had dried on my last entry, I seem to have found a potential solution to the problem of printing in full duplex mode on an HP DeskJet 970Cxi under Snow Leopard.

I stumbled across a piece of software called PrintFab 2 which is, according to the maker's blurb, a

"printer driver suite with RIP functionality. PrintFab's innovative “dynamic” color profiles ensure full control over color mixture and ink consumption combined with perfect print quality."

Installing PrintFab 2 sets up a "new" printer according to the configuration info you supply and loads the PrintFab driver as it's default. It's a simple enough process, and it restores duplex functionality to my DeskJet 970Cxi. It does an awful lot of other stuff by the looks of things but I'll investigate that during the next 30 days of my free trial.

PrintFab 2 may be an overkill solution, and it isn't cheap, running in at about £45.00 for a single user license for the simplest home version. But for peace of mind, saving trees, and saving the time I waste looking for alternative solutions, I think I may have finally found my Holy Grail, and I don't mind paying a small price for that.

Duplex Printing on HP Deskjet 970Cxi - Hopes Raised and Dashed

Ever since installing Snow Leopard I've been moaning about the downgraded printing service I now receive, specifically the lack of full duplex support for my trusty old HP DeskJet 970Cxi. Being the external optimist that I am, I regularly do a search for news of any potential fixes.

Earlier today I performed my weekly Google for my personal Holy Grail (what lofty ambitions I have!), and got quite excited when I found Gutenprint 5.2.4. The Gutenprint drivers installed with Snow Leopard are from the 5.2.3 version. I was a little surprised that the release date for the latest version was July 29th 2009 because it predated Snow Leopard's release but decided to go ahead anyway.

There were no specific details in the release notes pertaining to either Snow Leopard or my DeskJet, but I downloaded and installed the package. As I was in Firefox I decided to run a test print of the Gutenprint download page to see if I could detect any difference. I ran a check on the printer installation a sure enough, the driver for the HP DeskJet 970Cxi was now "HP DeskJet 970C - CUPS+Gutenprint v5.2.4", a definite improvement.

I went into the Print option in Firefox and my pulse started racing as the dialog box came up and had a tick against the "Two-Sided" print CheckBox, and the "Two-Sided" printing Listbox gave me a default option of "Long-Edge binding". The Gutenprint 5.2.3 driver had all references to double sided printed greyed out, and rendered useless.

The excitement was short lived as the printer started churning out separate sheets for each page in the same way as its predecessor. I guess there is still some hope. The possibility of double sided printing has been restored and single sided printing does still work with the new driver.

So near and yet so far...