Archive for November 28, 2018

Review: [Fuse]Chicken Gravity Lift Charging Stand

Posted in Products with tags on November 28, 2018 by itnerd

With phones like the iPhone XS and the Samsung Galaxy S9 which support wireless charging, having a good quality wireless charger is important. What does “good quality” mean when it comes to a wireless charger? To me it means the following:

  • Wireless charging that is either QI compatible or QI certified.
  • Multiple charging coils.
  • Excellent build quality.

Well, the folks at [Fuse]Chicken , which is one of the more interesting company names that I have come across lately, sent me this which they claim ticks all the boxes.

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Meet the [Fuse]Chicken Gravity Stand. It’s made of high strength aluminum which feels very solid. The black pad is made of leather that according to the company is from a sustainable source. It feels very classy. The charger has a USB connection which means that if you want to plug it into a wall, you’ll need to supply your own USB to AC charger as one doesn’t come in the box. I tested this with my iPhone XS and it worked flawlessly in any orientation. Meaning that you won’t place your phone in the charger and it will charge 100% of the time. Now while I am a member of Team iPhone, I sought out a friend who as a member of Team Android and owns a Samsung Galaxy S8 and found no issues charging that phone as well.

I also noted this:

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I noted this blue light when you have your phone in the charger. It turns off when the phone is fully charged. The light is something that may annoy you if you have this in your bedroom if you are sensitive to light. For me it was a non-issue as I’m not sensitive to light. For my wife who is sensitive to any light whatsoever, it was a big deal while the light was on. Thus your mileage may vary on that front.

So let’s check the list that I posted earlier:

  • Wireless charging that is either QI compatible or QI certified. – It worked with my iPhone and a Samsung Galaxy S8. While it doesn’t say that it is QI certified, it’s certainly compatible.
  • Multiple charging coils. – I can charge a phone in any orientation. So this is true.
  • Excellent build quality. – It’s not only built well it looks classy.

So this charging stand is a total win. Expect to pony up $59.95 USD for one.

UPDATE: I got this Tweet shortly after I posted the review:

It does not seem to support fast charging. I tested it by charging my iPhone XS for an hour and got a 40% battery life increase. So that doesn’t seem like fast charging to me. To confirm this I gave my friend with the Galaxy S8 a quick call and he noted it didn’t charge at a rate that would be consistent with fast charging but didn’t have any hard and fast figures to share with me.

UPDATE #2: [Fuse]Chicken reached out to me and told me that the coils are 10W which do support fast charge, but they’ve noticed there can be circumstances that can affect that with different device combinations.

A Message To Elon Musk: Buy The Oshawa Ontario Plant That GM Wants To Close

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 28, 2018 by itnerd

Earlier this week, shockwaves were sent through Canada and the United States by General Motors who announced that as part of a shift to electric cars and autonomous vehicles they were closing a number of plants in Canada and the US. Included on this list is an assembly plant in Oshawa Ontario which is east of Toronto. Now cars have been built in this community for about a century. Thus this announcement has not only sent shockwaves through this community, but the entire country as well. Now there’s talk from politicians and the union that represents workers at this plant that they’re going to fight GM on this and force them to continue production at that plant. But I think that this ship has sailed and they need to reach out to someone else who can help them.

That person’s name is Elon Musk.

The reason why I say Elon Musk should get involved is simple. He’s done something like this before. The Tesla facility in Fremont California builds every Model S, X, and Model 3 at present. But Musk got his hands on it when he bought it from GM who along with Toyota were using it to build the Pontiac Vibe most recently. But shut it down and threw thousands out of work. Musk bought the plant and put a lot of those people back to work as they were basically a ready made workforce having built cars for GM and Toyota.

At present, the Fremont facility is cranking out as many cars as it can. But it is clear that Musk and Tesla need more manufacturing capacity. Thus Oshawa would be ideal. Not only does it give him a facility with a ready to go workforce that is highly skilled that he can leverage, he also has a supply chain that has built up around the plant over the century that cars have been built in Oshawa. On top of that, Canada has proven to be one of Tesla’s more successful markets and it could use the positive press of having a plant in Canada to accelerate that. Not to mention that there are key advantages that Canada has [Warning: PDF] when it comes to the automotive industry. Finally, I am sure that both the Ontario Government and the Canadian Government would trip over themselves to help Musk to set up shop here. Thus making his initial outlay a whole lot more affordable to him.

Potential risks? We’ll I’ll admit that there’s only one. His name is Donald Trump. He’s leveled threats about imposing tariffs on Canadian made cars in the past. And were this to happen, it would be ugly. Now Elon Musk is no fan of Donald Trump so he may not care. And given Tesla’s success in places like Europe, he may ship cars made in Canada elsewhere to avoid this. But every other company who makes cars in Canada certainly will care and let Musk know about it. But this shouldn’t stop Musk from making a play to by the soon to be closed GM plant in Oshawa. It’s a win for him, and for Canada.

So how about it Mr. Musk?

 

Review: 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate AWD – Part 3

Posted in Products with tags on November 28, 2018 by itnerd

The interior of the Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate AWD has a very compelling interior that Hyundai mostly got right. To be clear, it’s a very, very good interior. But there are areas where Hyundai could have taken this from very, very good to perfect. Let me walk you through the interior.

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Normally I start with the drivers seat. However this caught my eye. You get an extra window between the A pillar and the side mirror to improve your vision. And it does make a difference when driving.

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The door has all the controls for the windows, mirrors, and on the top right there are the buttons for the custom seat settings.

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The drivers seat is made of leather and is heated, vented, and extremely comfortable. You get all sort of customization including thigh extensions which will be welcomed by taller drivers such as yours truly. Once you dial it in, it is a great seat to spend your driving time in. One interesting trick is that if the car detects that the outside temperature is cold, it will turn on the seat warmer for you and leave it on for about five minutes so that you’re not sitting on cold leather. That’s a nice touch!

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On the top left you see the buttons for the electronic overseers and the panel lighting. You can also see the pedals which are pretty plain and I think that Hyundai could have put some sport pedals in to make things a bit cooler.

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The gauge cluster is impressive. The gauges on the left and right are real. However, everything else is a large and very customizable LCD screen that is bright and sharp.

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The steering wheel is leather wrapped, heated and feels good in your hands. It also has controls for the infotainment system as well as the cruise control system.One interesting trick is that if the car detects that the outside temperature is cold, it will turn on the steering wheel heater for you and leave it on for about five minutes so that you’re not sitting on cold leather. That’s a nice touch!

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You get a tablet style 8″ screen for the infotainment system and below that are the HVAC controls. I should also note that most of the top of the dash is hard plastic. But closer to the front seats there is soft touch material.

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Below the HVAC controls is this cubby with a pair of USB ports. The one of the left is the one for the infotainment system. The right is simply for someone to charge a phone. An audio jack as well as a 12v outlet is present as well. There is also a QI compatible wireless charger that fit my iPhone XS with room to spare.

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The shifter is leather wrapped, and below it, you get the parking brake as well as buttons that controls for various functions. You also get two very serviceable cupholders.

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They passed the Starbucks Venti coffee test with ease.

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The arm rest which is topped with leather has a deep storage area that has a small tray inside it.

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You get a useful glove box. My wife pointed out that it wasn’t lit while the one in our Tucson is lit. Thus she felt that Hyundai could have made this lit as well. I think that she might have a point here.

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My wife really liked this shelf on the passenger’s side as you can drop small items in there. For example, my iPhone XS fit in their easily.

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There is a massive dual panel sunroof that seriously adds style to the Santa Fe.

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Plus for the back seat occupants, there are sunscreens for the windows.

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Beneath the HVAC vents is a cubby big enough for a phone and a pair of USB ports for charging said phone.

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If you don’t need to seat three people (Which when I tried that with three adults it was very tight. Two adults or three children would work though), you an use these handy cupholders.

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The Santa Fe has a ton of space if you fold down the second row seats (which move forwards and backwards to create extra legroom by the way). One thing that I should note is that most of the interior is covered by nice white LED lighting. Except for the cargo area which is covered by yellow incandescent lighting. Ditto for the lights in the vanity mirrors. Hyundai might want to consider making all the lights LED to make the look more consistent and to ensure that the bulbs outlast the life of the car.

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But with the seats up there’s a ton of space for my groceries.

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To help to flip down the seats, there’s a pair a buttons in the back on the right hand side to allow that to happen easily. You do have to flip them up manually though. There’s also a 12V outlet back here as well.

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I was able to flip down the “40” portion of the 60/40 seats to facilitate picking up our cross country skis from being prepped for the upcoming ski season.

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There’s also underfloor storage that did come in handy during the week that I had the Santa Fe.

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There’s another storage area to the right as well.

Overall this is a nicely executed interior. I do think that Hyundai could have done some little things to take this from great to perfect. But I doubt that you’d have any problems spending time in this vehicle. The next part of this review will cover the technology in the vehicle. It has a fair amount of it. Tune in tomorrow to find out what the Santa Fe has to offer from a tech perspective.

Hitachi Solutions America Introduces Advanced Connect for Field Service

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 28, 2018 by itnerd

Hitachi Solutions America, a leading provider of global industry solutions powered by the Microsoft Cloud, has announced Advanced Connect for Field Service, a pre-built, no-code integration that connects Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations (F&O) and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service. Providing the most advanced functionality right out-of-the-box, the solution eliminates the need to build a costly in-house integration to seamlessly centralize and automate common yet complex field service transactions and share the data across the entire business.

Designed specifically for the unique needs of field service, the robust integration synchronizes customer/accounts, warehouses, released products, vendors, purchase orders, purchase order receipts, inventory adjustments, inventory transfers, and F&O project journals entities. This creates a complete end-to-end field service automation solution that optimizes inventory processes, tracks service stock accurately at mobile and fixed locations, provides more accurate warehouse levels, as well as automates invoicing.

Uniquely, everything is included in the solution – product, implementation, upgrades, and maintenance – all at one fixed subscription price point. And, Advanced Connect for Field Service is fully managed by Hitachi Solutions America, so clients can be “hands-off” and free to remain focused on running a successful business.

Aligning the back-office and field service processes with Advanced Connect for Field Service provides greater consistency and reliability, faster response times, and an enhanced customer experience. It also:

  • Reduces IT and consultant time, resources, costs, and risks
  • Accelerates time to value
  • Removes data silos and data integrity issues
  • Reduces time to invoice and improves cash flow
  • Improves operational efficiencies and lowers costs

The integration is powered by Scribe, an agile, reliable, and future-proof integration platform that is easy to learn and use and mitigates deployment fears and risks.

 

Martello Releases Q2 2019 Numbers

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 28, 2018 by itnerd

Martello Technologies Group Inc. has released financial results for the second quarter of its 2019 fiscal year, including the three and six months ended September 30, 2018.  This is the first time Martello has released earnings since going public on the TSX in September 2018.

Q2 Highlights

  • Reported three and six month revenues of $2.0 million and $3.9 million, representing a year-over-year increase of 92% and 86% respectively. This included organic growth of 21%, from increased network performance management software revenues.
  • Gross margin was stable at 93.6% for the three months ended September 30, 2018, compared to 93.4% for the corresponding quarter in the 2018 fiscal year.
  • Martello’s revenue base continued to diversify in this reporting period, with 67.9% of revenues from network performance management software, a decrease of 32% from the corresponding quarter in the 2018 fiscal year.
  • Adjusted EBITDA, which assesses operating performance before the impact of costs associated with acquisition activity and other non-cash costs, amounted to a loss of $343,298 for the three months ended September 30, 2018 compared to income of $17,114 for the corresponding quarter in the 2018 fiscal year.

The Company is well positioned for future growth. Access to public capital markets following the completion of Martello’s reverse takeover (RTO) transaction in this reporting period will fuel new growth opportunities with future merger and acquisition activity. The announced acquisition of Dutch-based software company, Savision on November 1, 2018 is intended to accelerate recurring revenues and provide opportunities to grow Martello’s European sales.