Friday, 30 December 2011

Hand Tools Made in China

If India is the BackOffice support of the world, then China must be the factory of the world. The things the country churns out is amazing. They only need to work on their QC and they would be world class standard.

There are a couple of neighbourhood stores near my estate that sells a lot of China made products. But my favourite is the hardware selection.

I had to dismantle my daughter's crib and put it in storage. Instead of using the Allen key that came together with the crib, I decided to buy a set.

I got this 9-piece Hex Key or Allen key for SGD4.90. The package claims that it is made from Cr-Mo-V(Chromium-Molybdenum-Vanadium), which is synthetic steel used amongst high-end tools. It comes in a nice plastic jacket that holds it in place and you can hang it in your garage if need be or if you have one.

The fact that it costs so little is incredible. China-made products has reduce these items to a 'disposable' level. Even if it is not made from Cr-Mo-V and start to rust, I can just throw these away and get a new one.

Now compare it with this: Stanley 85-753 22 Piece Long Arm Metric Hex Key Set at Amazon.

Stanley is a reputable US brand, well known for its quality tools. Their hex key in the picture is made from black oxide finish which resists rust. At the moment, it cost USD13.34 which is within acceptable range. But somehow, I would still choose the China-made tool. I do not have to care too much if it is a China-made product.

Another China-made item which I bought was this measuring tape.

It has 2-quick buttons, one on the side and one underneath. When the buttons are depressed, it holds the tape in place.

The slider lock holds it more longer. It has a solid industrial feel to it. Cost: SGD3.90
A man is only as good as his tools. But as long as it goes the job done at a tremendous cost savings, why not?

I may not own a garage or a workshop but these tools, in their small way, helps me get the job done.

Monday, 19 December 2011

AC Ryan PlayOn HD2 - 17th Dec 2011

I stumbled onto a blog recently. What is unique about this blog is that the blogger covers his penchant for his tech gadget and his travels. Topics which are very close to my heart. Both subjects are supplemented with generous photos. I have to say his gadget acquisition is quite generous and so is his travels.

His blog inspired me to spice up my own blog. This blog was originally intended as a platform for me to sell Lian Li case accessories. But Ive found other ways to display these items i.e. mainly through forums. And I do not want the blog to go waste.

So I am presenting my first un-boxing photos of AC Ryan PlayOn HD2. I originally wanted to build my own HTPC but the cost and upkeep is just not worth it at the moment. My brother already has the same AC Ryan and he is raving about it. And coincidentally, AC Ryan Asia Pac was having a sale at their warehouse over the weekend and it is not far from my own place. So it was like a sign that I have to get these items.

The side of the box shows the EZ Drive slot for the HDD.
 The various type of file types supported by the the player.

The other side of the box shows the type of connectors.

Optional items: the wireless keyboard and Wifi dongle.
Which I bought as well.

The keyboard.

The USB Wifi dongle.

The unboxing begins. Items are nicely pack.

There are 2 items in the box i.e. the AC Ryan media box and the peripheral box.

Stand-by items. Generous number of cables, including a HDMI cable. But AC Ryan uses a 2-pin plug. Even the 2-pin plug can be used in Singapore, the 3-pin plug that majority of appliances uses I feel is more stable and less dangerous.

Unboxing was easy. The setting up is another story. I did not get any HDD as I wanted to set it up as a media streaming from my network and I already have a NAS on the network. AC Ryan can locate my router(D-Link DIR 615)  but getting connected has not been successful. Will update on my next post.

Dec 21st 2011 Update:
I have been unsuccessful till date on getting the AC Ryan connected to my wireless network. Upon advice from the AC Ryan staff via their forum, I have upgraded the firmware to the current. Ive also disabled the encryption on the wireless router to make it an open network. Both my laptop and AC Ryan are able to detect it as an open network, no password required. Laptop was able to get connected but AC Ryan still showing Test Fail error message. I am at my wits end.

Dec 30th 2011
I feel like throwing the AC Ryan out of my 2nd floor window. Till date, Ive yet to connect the damn thing to either my wireless or wired network. Even connecting it through the wired network will show the dreaded 'Test Fail' error message.

On the wireless network, AC Ryan can detect my wireless router but it still refuse to connect to my network, even after I enter the password.

The funny thing is, my brother has the same AC Ryan but using a DLINK 655. Mine is the DLINK 615. We did a test of my AC Ryan on his wireless network it was connected effortlessly.

So I suspect it has to do with my Router or Network. I have done a factory reset of my DLINK Router and yet no change. Still fail. This damn thing is taking too much effort for me. I am seriously considering to either

a) put it away with the rest of my gadgets that failed me storage. This would allow me to try out the device at a later stage. But at the moment, I just hate looking at it.
b) sell it away.

I should have gotten the Boxee instead!

Dec 31st 2011
My brother came to my place to take a look at the AC Ryan. We decided to do a factory reset of the D-Link DIR 615 router. And we networked all the devices back, one by one. And lo and behold, the AC Ryan instantly connected itself to the network. No Test Fail error message. It was such a relief. It was able to detect my NAS and PC. So now I can play the movies from my NAS.

However, I noticed there is a tug of war between the IP addresses. I am using Network Magic to monitor my network and I can see the router keeps dropping certain devices and re-issues another set of IP addresses to these devices. To reduce this, I would have to assign static IP addresses for devices like AC Ryan and NAS. My Compaq laptop is another problem. It is very slow in detecting my local network. Sometimes, the laptop can go on days without picking up any IP addresses that the router assigns. I would have to assign static IP address for this as well.

Otherwise, the AC Ryan is connected to my network and is able to locate/see my NAS and I am happy that my investment is not a waste afterall.