Archive for October, 2010

The Zoom H1 audio recorder

October 29, 2010

A word sums up the Zoom H1, “bargain”.

Whether you want to record a lecture, your band or the birds in the back yard bird bath this recorder will do the trick.

My reports compliment the excellent review on the Zoom H1 which can be found at the Blind Cool Tech web site

The recorder reminds me of a torch, the microphones are at one end of it.

The machine is incredibly easy to use and although much information is presented on the screen a person without sight can get along very nicely without it.

Making a recording ins incredibly straight forward, just turn the unit on and press the one button on the front of the unit, the Zoom H1 starts recording, to stop recording press the same button again. To play the recording just made press the play button.

The only difficult tpart of this recorder to master is when you change sampling rates and recording formats, you change the format with the flick of a switch on the back of the unit and sampling/bit rates are controlled with the fast forward/rewind buttons however by default the H1 uses 16 bit 44.1KHZ wave files for its recording and they should be perfectly acceptable for just about every recording application. If you want to create MP3 files then its just as easy to connect the Zoom H1 to your computer and copy your recordings from the Zoom to your system and then use your favorite software to encode to your desired format and specification.

I’ve done several recordings with the Zoom, I particularly like the auto level control which is switched on and off by a switch on the back of the recorder, levels are monitored well and change very slowly, you can hear Neil demo this function in his review of the H1.

By default manual level volume is quite good so you may wish to leave the auto recording switch off though it may come in handy if recording low level noise such as in lecture theaters.

The H1 handled line in sources extremely well, tried it on a variety of equipment here including some tuners and my Roberts Ecologic 4 DAB+ radio.

The recorder sells here for about $120.00 but you can’t as far as I know get the accessaries pack here yet, the accessaries pack includes an AC adapter and USB cable. A standard mini USB socket is used on the Zoom but I don’t know where you’d begin to find the plug necessary for the AC adapter, I don’t even know what voltage you’d need for the input.

The H1 takes 1 AA battery so that makes the machine even more impressive considering the quality that comes out of it.

Finally, its worth noting that the H1 has an internal loud speaker though loud would be the best word not to describe it but its there all the same.

More on the Zoom H1 shortly.


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Uniden Cordless Phone Part 3

October 24, 2010

So far so good with my new Uniden Cordless Phone system, I have most of the menu system sorted out and the only parts to go now are the menus which appear when the phone is “off hook” and those which appear on the base unit, otherwise all the handset menu system has been transcribed.


The menu system for all 3 handsets is exactly the same and is entered by pressing the button with the label “Menu” displayed above it on the screen, the other 2 keys are for lines 1 and 2.


The menu system consists of the following options:

Retrieve   message

Handset Setup

Answer Setup

Clock Setup

Global Setup

Call Blocking


Many of these menus have sub-menus as many options control line 1 and line 2 thus a separate menu for each line, a case in point is the Retrieve Message menu option, when this item is selected the user chooses between which answering service he wishes to hear incoming messages from, either line 1 or line 2.  When one of the lines is selected the handset beeps, the current time and date is announced and the message count is then read with a brief summary of the options available to you, if further help is required then the “0” key can be pressed and all the options available are spoken, not bad at all! once you get used to how it works and this system is better than some cordless phones I’ve heard about where everything is displayed on the screen rather than spoken prompting.  Whilst the spoken prompting system on this phone could undoubtedly be better its not too bad and I can get along with it nicely.


I’ve tured the “t-coil function on for all handsets, I’ve since been to my hearing specialist and had my hearing instruments reprogrammed so that this function is now available to me and I can report with great satisfaction that the “T-Coil” system in both hearing instruments and phone handsets work quite well, very easy to hear if nothing else.


That about wraps it up for now and please give me feedback on this as there may be things I’ve neglected to cover about this phone system thus far.



The Australian waging war on NBN: Conroy

October 20, 2010

I don’t normally comment much on anything political but this situation is different given the amount of money involved.


We’re expected as tax payers to shell out 43 billion dollars on an uncosted plan which will benefit.. well who, anyone? Not likely.


I just can’t see why we need to shell out so much money for this when we need more public housing, we need more hospitals, power bills are going through the roof and the most vonerable in the community are suffering badly.  Steven Conroy and his fellow Parasites in Camberia seem to have lost any compasion for anyone but themselves, let the prices go up and let us spend tax payers money and who cares about Pensioners or anyone else, that seems to be the apauling attitude which this Government in particular is proud to present to the Australian community so as far as I’m concerned? Well the more people who bash Mr Conry about his selfishness and his ridiculous plans then the better for all concerned, in short Mr Conroy you’re a sook who can’t take any opinion apart from your own selfish one.


The Australian waging war on NBN: Conroy: “Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has ramped up his attack against The Australian newspaper, accusing it of ‘waging a war’ against Labor and trying to destroy the National Broadband Network.”

(Via .)

Cat binner escapes prison sentence

October 19, 2010

This is about the most disturbing case of animal cruilty I’ve heard of.


Now before I go any further I’m not a great cat lover myself but there’s no excuse whatever for cruilty to animals of any kind and those who are deliberately cruel? Well they have something wrong in their mental makeup in my view and it would appear that such people have a very bleak future and they could be a danger to society in general, if people are cruel to animals then they’re likely to be cruel to humans.


I think the judge in the following story was more than fair to the woman concerned in the sentence handed down and its hoped that she will not reoffend.


I also object to the campaigns waged against her which included death threats as you’ll see from the article.


Cat binner escapes prison sentence: “A British woman who sparked an internet hate campaign after she was caught on camera dumping a cat in a rubbish bin has been spared jail.”

(Via .)


October 16, 2010

For those expecting an all talking phone system then you’re going to be in for a disappointment as this phone does not talk unless it has to. For example when the answering machine propmts you to select a line for its settings that is to say, whether to turn answering service on or off for line 1, to delete messages for line 2 and so on so at least with that part of the device you’re able to get some prompting.

Unlike the previous model of Uniden phone I have this model does not include “voice prompting” so you certainly need to know the layout of the menu before you can set such things as date/time or even record and set greeting options for the answering machine, yep they’re all in the menu system but there’s a great upside to all this, once you know the layout of the menu strcture then its global, meaning that most options can be set from your handset and applied globally if you want that. I’ve got sighted help transcribing the menu system for me as I explained in my last post.

So what other features have I managed to use with the phone? Well I know at least how to manipulate messages on the answering machine and I can easily turn the service on and off for either line, this can be done with “voice prompting” from the base unit by pressing the appropriate buttons when the base is in “Standby” mode.

When base and handsets are in “Standby” mode various keys have default actions and shortcuts throughout the system. For example if you press the left side of the square you go into the phone book, each phone book is different for each handset and the base but there’s a way of copying contacts across the system from one device to another. Pressing the right side of the square takes you to your Caller ID list which is only available if you subscribe to a caller ID service or if you have a VOIP line connected which supports it.

The up and down sides of the square select between lines 1 and 2 for ringer volume, so pressing “down” and then pressing the right softkey will select line 1 and then its just a case of using the up and down sides of the square to adjust the ringer volue, that’s handy!

Again full marks for the team at Uniden for giving the system handsets with outstanding audio quality and clarity for a phone and that reason alone in my opinion is why someone should buy this model.

I’ve managed to turn on the “T Coil” option for each handset but my hearing aids don’t have this function enabled at this time, I’ll have this fixed in a few days ready for the next installment .

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Uniden XDECT-r055+ Cordless Telephone System

October 13, 2010

I bought this telephone a couple of weeks ago and it finally arrived on Monday and there’s a bit of a learning kerb for this thing if you don’t have sight <smile>.  Thankfully a couple of people are giving me a bit of a hand.  One person tracked down a PDF version of the user manual, I knew where I might find it however the Uniden Australia web site at is far from accessible at the moment and this status seems to change.


The next step is to have the menu map translated into a format I can read, for the sighted user using the phone its quite logical and straight forward and it probably would be for me too if the menu map in the manual was arranged in a straight forward manner but unfortunately its one of those “speech bubble” type things and if you know what I mean by that then good because I’ve got no idea, all I know is that my sighted help said its going to take a good while to translate.


So now that I’ve got the boring crap out of the way what about the system itself? Well as you’d expect from Uniden, this system is yet another brilliant product.  This system is the second I’ve had from Uniden and I’ve been pleased with both and there’s no doubt about the fact that Uniden certainly make some of the best cordless phones available today on the Australian cordless telephone market.  Yes, a good Uniden model is more expensive than other cordless phone systems but let me assure you that with a Uniden phone you get what you pay for and that’s a quality product.


In this system you get a base, 3 handsets and 2 repeater stations.  Additional repeater stations and handsets are available if you need them and I think the system can support up to 10 handsets though I’m not sure how many repeater stations can be accommodated.


Repeater stations obviously mean that this phone was meant to “go the distance”, I haven’t done any serious testing with the system yet but I do plan to and I’ll publish what I find here.


Audio quality from each handset is superb, volume loud and this applies to both speakerphone and earpiece.


I like the buttons, whilst they are quite flat to the surface they’re made out of plastic so no more failing rubber key pads.


The system supports 2 phone lines and that’s convenient for me as I can have say line 1 connected to my VOIP service and line 2 connected to my PSTN line, you can join both lines together whilst on a call or you can have different handsets using a different line.


The answering machine works for both lines though I haven’t done much with this yet as I’m still trying to find out how to record a greeting.


Each handset has a “T-Coil” facility but I’ve not tried this yet with my hearing instruments.


The system has a “Do Not Disturb” function, it appears this mode can be activated at a certain time.


You can have the phone block unwanted callers which match a given telephone number so perhaps this facility wouldn’t be all that practical as telemarketers usually block their caller ID numbers.


Each handset has a handy alarm clock feature.


Handsets are headset compatible and a headset came supplied with my system, volume and audio through this is excellent.


that about wraps it up for now, I’ll write more on this phone system as I learn more about it.


The RRP for this phone is $399.00 Australian.


Its stated that this phone will not interfere with any Wi-Fi products and I haven’t seen any sign of this thus far.



Saturday Morning

October 9, 2010

Nothing much happening here, just going through some preferences of Marsedit, the blogging editing tool for the Mac to see if I can make the user experience a little more friendly.


I’ve just gone through some of the preferences and changed the editing default to the RTF editor rather than HTML, perhaps this will make a difference.


There are some really good blogging tools around, Marsedit is one and Blog Booster for the Iphone is another.  I got Blogject going though I can’t remember much about it, that was a Windows client.  I had limited success with Windows live.


All Windows stuff is out of the question right now as the Windows system isn’t working, thank God for the Macs and the Iphone <smile>.


A good afternoon to you all, just waiting on my Fish And Chips To arrive.



Tweet App For The Iphone

October 8, 2010

This is a very simple but yet powerful Twitter client for your Iphone or Ipad and is very accessible to boot. Once again the developer has gone out of his way with this app to make it friendly and easy to use and the update again underlines this point with some very new handy features.

The first is the auto scroll to most recent Tweet, wasn’t any fun previously when I had to scroll through hundreds of tweets to get to the most recent one.

Next are the notification alerts when new Tweets come in and you can set this to be notified of different types of Tweets, say friends, mentions, messages etc, when a new Tweet comes in the Iphone vibrates so this feature is of no use whatever if you’re using an Ipad or Ipod touch so I hope the developer will put notification by sound into the next update? We’ll wait and see.

Tweet now has an “Auto-Refresh” feature which updates the Tweet list every 5 minutes.

I’ve not used the multi column mode so I know nothing whatever about it, seems rather useless when you have a small device like an Iphone to work with but perhaps it would be more useful on an Ipad?

Tweet defies the rule that states, “you get what you pay for”, in this case the free Tweet app gives you “More than you bargained for!”

Good Work!

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The Paid Version Of Blog Booster

October 5, 2010

I just bought the Paid version of Blog Booster.

Thus far I haven’t noticed all that much difference between “Free” and “Paid” versions. I was happy using the free app so why buy the “Paid” one? Because I like the app so much and I was interested to see what the “Paid” version would offer me. I have no trouble whatever in supporting developers who are able to write good apps I can use so there we are! .

Most of the buttons in Blog Booster are labeled to allow easy access on the Iphone or Ipod touch though some are a little difficult to work out so I’ll have to look for some way of contacting the developer to see if this situation can be rectified.

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Memories At Nidnight By Sidney Sheldon

October 5, 2010

Just finished reading this exciting and thrilling novel but then again aren’t all Sidney Sheldon novels both exciting and thrilling? I think I I’ve read most of his work now and I’ve not been able to put one single title down thus I was absolutely tired out from yesterday’s reading session, read the conclusion of the book this morning.

The author has a wonderful way of ttwisting each plot of a novel right up till the very last words and Memories At Midnight is certainly no exception to the writer’s rule, the plot travels down twisting and winding roads all the way up till the last few paragraphs.

I managed to get a good audio copy from the Vision Australia Library. I bought several Sidney Sheldon books as paperback novles, at the time of purchase I couldn’t find audio copies anywhere.

I did find an audio copy of the book Nothing Lasts Forever at the Itunes Store but was sadly disappointed as quite a bit of content had been edited from the audio product and yet the Itunes store made the false claim that the book was “unabridged”? Well I certainly wouldn’t describe the condition of the audio version as “unabridged” if content which was clearly printed in the paperback version had been removed.

so its back to Google to search for titles from Sidney Sheldon which I’ve not read yet, must be nearing the end of published titles now.

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