Monday, September 13, 2010

Nalgene Multidrink Review

Yes, I know what you're thinking... "Ryan, why the heck are you reviewing a BOTTLE."  Well here's the deal: Product reviews are often a dime a dozen when it comes to any new "hot" item (eg, an ipod or a laptop). So for the most part I wouldn't bother with a detailed review on those kinds of products.  I saw these new Nalgene MultiDrink bottles and was going to order one, but there's relatively little information about them on the web at the current moment.  Any "reviews" I've found were just a brief opinion combined with a stock photo of the bottle.  As of the time of this writing, the MultiDrink doesn't even appear on Nalgene's own as a service for anyone considering purchase, I thought I'd post a review of the bottle w/ more detailed photos.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Giving thanks where thanks is due...

So it might be lame, thing to do this early on in a blog when I should be posting innovative new content, but I have a few product related posts to make.  Recently I've had trouble with a couple of the electronic gadgets I use frequently...and even though both of these devices were out of their respective warranty periods, each company went above and beyond what they were obligated to do and rectified the problems.  Quality customer service is becoming harder to find, and googling any company/product will turn up a nearly endless supply of complaints...because bad PR is so much easier to get than good PR.  So I'd like to take a minute and 'give back' to the companies that helped me out recently by adding some positivity to the list of search results. Also, since my experiences have been with what are both somewhat common problems, hopefully this post will help others find solutions...

Eventually I will post a more detailed explanation of why you need monitor color correction if you're a photographer. In my case, what really prompted me to get a Huey was the huge color differences between my two 20" Dell 2007FP monitors. Apparently during the production life cycle of this monitor, Dell used two different LCD panels. This created what became known on the web as "The Dell Lottery" since one type of panel was higher quality / more desirable than the other, and there was no way to tell which you were getting before purchase. Having purchased my two monitors at different times, I ended up with one of each.  Using both monitors on the same desktop was difficult, because when compared to each other, one monitor had an obvious green color cast that made working with even non color critical applications like word documents frustrating.   Looking back and forth between the two, I always felt like my eyes needed to adjust because of the color difference.

This is when I stumbled upon the Huey Pro.  It's arguably not the most advanced color correction device on the market, but it worked for my needs and the price was right.  The Huey Pro is able to create color profiles for each monitor so that they match each other in color.

About a month ago, I noticed that one of my monitors had an obvious green color cast.  I tried recalibrating with the Huey, to no avail. Multiple attempts at recalibration resulted in either no change at all, or an extreme red color cast on one of the monitors.  After some more troubleshooting, I contacted Pantone, and they sent me a new Huey right away....even though my unit was out of warranty. I appreciate when I get this kind of service from a company, because they could have easily told me to 'screw off' , but they went above and beyond to make everything right.   I suspect my resolution was easier, because of  a batch of defective units that made their way into circulation.

My other recent experience with good customer services comes from the folks over at Netgear. Years ago I bought a ReadyNAS RAID network storage appliance. The ReadyNAS was developed by a great little company called Infrant. More recently, Infrant was acquired by Netgear.  I've had mixed experience with Netgear in the past, both with their products and customer service.  So I assumed the quality of support for the ReadyNAS would go down drastically after the company changed hands.  Thankfully, Netgear kept the ReadyNAS support forum, which is an excellent resource for ReadyNAS users.

Recently, the power supply in my ReadyNAS died. This is the second time I've had this happen during the time I've owned the unit. However it was the first time this happened out of warranty.  Thankfully after a few calls and emails to various levels of support at Netgear, they replaced the dead power supply on my ReadyNAS that has been out of warranty for years. Note that it did take persistence on my part to get Netgear to take ownership of this problem, and I had to reference some posts on their forum to show that premature power supply failure was a 'known issue.' It took more work on my part than I think it should have to get this problem resolved, but ultimately Netgear did provide me with a solution. A note to anyone who stumbles across my post because of the same issue,  here's a post describing how to replace the failed power supply with a standard ATX model.