Archive for February, 2007
Another post in a series of “De-evolving Technology Products”
I used to own a Bose QuietComfort v2 headset. I loved it when I flew back and forth across the country, even without music plugged in. It actually does make me less fatigued when I disembark from the plane after having used them for most of the flight. I don’t have that draining, exhausting airplane engine noise in my head, and my ears don’t have to work harder to try to cancel it out as background noise.
But after about 1 year of very careful use, the rubberized cups surrounding the ear pieces, started to “degrade”. It was as if the rubber itself had reached its half-life, and was turning into this flakey ooze that would peel away from the headphones.
Of course, the warrantee from Bose covers every single part of the headphones, EXCEPT the primordial ooze degradation of the rubberized headphone cups. You can’t purchase replacement cups either, even if you wanted to.
So after 1 year of use, your $300.00 Bose QuietComfort noise cancelling headphones are now rendered useless, garbage, and the only resort is to throw them away. They’ve recently updated the design of the v2 version, but it may still suffer from the same problem.
When did expensive technology become so disposable?
Looking for an upgrade, I spied the QuietComfort v3 headphones. The reviews for these are mediocre at best, but they are lighter, smaller and potentially better than v2.
Boy is that assumption wrong! Let’s go over the basic features of the v2:
QuietComfort v2 Features
- Uses an external controller box
- Around the ear design to help isolate incoming sounds
- Very light in weight
- Uses a standard pair of AAA batteries
- Works without a player attached to the other end
- When the batteries die, you can still use them as “normal” headphones
And now let’s see why the v3 is WORSE than the v2:
- Heavier, even though they’re smaller
- Proprietary, expensive rechargeable battery. No AAAs, and requires purchasing a proprietary international charger to keep it going if you buy a second battery (necessary for long flights)
- When the battery dies, so does the music
- On-the-ear design means more sounds get in, and the noise-cancelling drivers must be louderto compensate for ambient noise leaking in.
- Less comfortable to wear on the ears
- Noise cancelling feels “artificial” compared to the v2. Not as good as the v2.
I picked the v3 items up from a few reviews I found, including this detailed review. I can only speak for the v2 headphones that I’ve personally owned.
But based on the higher price, lower quality, heavier weight, proprietary battery and lack of flexibility.. I’d stick with my v2’s or some other vendor’s model of NC headphones.
There are plenty of other headphones that will fit the need and some at less than 1/4 the cost of the Bose. Seek them out and stay away from Bose for these two models. Perhaps the v4 or v5 will solve the problems with price and convenience, but one can never be sure.
One post in a series about De-Evolving Technology Products.
I’m not sure why, in 2007, we have technology companies producing products that do NOT have a dual-switching power supply with their hardware. Case in point, the Linksys WRT54GX2…
This lovely piece of hardware has never powered up for me since I purchased it. The PSU that they ship with it, only works on 120v, and failed to function when I used it in Australia when plugged into my inverter and voltage converters. Everything else I had with me worked flawlessly, except this device.
Examining the PSU case closely, I noticed that it only supports 120v~ 60Hz 220mA.
Is this 2007? Or 1997? The cost difference between a 120v only supply and a dual-switching supply is about 0.03 cents. Why would they scrimp on this, for mere pennies? Very frustrating, and left me without a wireless bridge for my colleagues while I was stuck in a hotel without any Internet access (well, they had Internet access, but it was $2.00 AUD/15 minutes).
I’m going to try to find a replacement PSU for this, and hope that I don’t have to send it back to Linksys for warrantee replacement. The part number is T481210RO3CT from a company called “Leader Electronics, Inc.” (Taiwan, of course)
I fly alot. Not as much as some colleagues of mine, but I do fly quite a bit. I like to travel.
I also like to get deplane each flight in good health, rested and ready for the work of the day. I don’t like getting off of a plane sick, stuffy, sneezing and with additional bacteria or viruses floating around in my nasal cavities or my lungs.
One thing I can’t stand, is when I’m on a flight, of any length, and people just decide to kick off their shoes, stretch out their feet, scrape and scratch them on the armrest in front of them, rub them back and forth on the carpet below your seat or worse… take their socks off and walk up and down the aisle like this.
Seriously, STOP! Leave your shoes and socks on, when you fly!
There is some good evidence that shows what happens when you take your shoes off, cough, sneeze and other things within the confined airspace of an airplane. You and 247 of your closest friends, for multiple hours of confined air, at a time.
It’s not just the air either.
When you’re on a flight and you add the stress of pressure changes on the human body, bad or expired food, and the dehydrating effects of the climate control system, your body can really be compromised. Also, your body can’t digest as well at higher altitudes, so that nice “gourmet” meal isn’t going to get absorbed until you land..
Let’s also not forget that you’re getting ten times LESS air than the pilots get. You can ask the flight attendants to provide you with more fresh air and less recirculated air, if it bothers you.
No new air enters the cabin from the time you leave the runway until the time you enter your destination terminal. If you’re on a 15-hour flight to Australia (as I was recently), that air in the plane is the same air that was in it when you took off from the runway. Lovely.
Did you also know that First Class passengers receive 3 times more air than Economy (“cattle class”) passengers? Is the increased cost worth the extra, clean air? Maybe. You can read all about this and more online on the The Airliner Cabin Environment and the Health of Passengers and Crew book. Some shocking revelations in there.
There’s quite a bit of information on airline and airplane air quality… all without even having the added feature of people’s Athlete’s Foot being scraped off onto the rug and ground in as people track it up and down the aisles.
Airplanes in general, are horribly disgusting and dirty. Did you know that airlines do NOT change or clean the blankets between flights? That’s right.. the blanket you were just sleeping on for 4 hours, is the same one the obese person was drooling on during the last flight, folded back up nicely and put in its plastic bag so you are none the wiser.
The next time I see people with their shoes off on a plane, I’m going to either step on their feet, or spill soda or juice on their socks. I’m getting tired of the health issues as a result of fat, obese, lazy people who insist that the airplane is their livingroom lounge chair.