Sidetracked by the YouTube bug…

August 2, 2007

I intended to write more tonight, but I got sidetracked trying to replicate and correct that YouTube issue I just wrote about.

Suffice it to say that the 20 minute demo runs the reviewers did on the press units were nice for a quick overview, but they just don’t find the kind of benefits and challenges we’re uncovering here.

This is what this blog is all about.

Stay tuned for more soon (zoon?).

-Mr. Zonbu

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You Tube’d? Weird caching issue wrecks video playback?

August 2, 2007

YouTube LogoFirst some good news.

By the time I got to the end of this troubleshooting I found a work-around for the problem and I can play any YouTube video I try, and even make them run full screen.

In the process of my research I also discovered Obama Girl. Not a bad discovery…

Now back to the disappointing surprise…

Something very strange is going on with YouTube playback.

Before I go any further, I did have Firefox crash previously (or did I terminate it because it froze? I can’t remember). Either way, it resulted in a “white” desktop. I hope that helps the Zonbu team. Now a brief description of the issue:

It’s not a performance issues, the frame rate and audio synch look great (even full screen). It’s some kind of strange caching issue.

Now I’ll preface this by saying I run the broadband ISP I’m attached to so I know the cache architecture intimately. It’s big and complex but it doesn’t cause this problem. At least not with any other Linux or Windows clients.. Read on to discover what is happening…

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The Zonbu sips power…

August 2, 2007

Web GreenAnother quick observation, as I know many are waiting to have this confirmed.

The Zonbu is one of the most miserly computers I’ve ever seen, when it comes to power consumption. I’ve seen it as high as 13W while booting, and as low as 6W while operational.

Non-scientifically (that would be me glancing at my Kill-a-watt meter randomly over the last hour), it seems to run between 9W-12W for the kinds of things I’m doing.

Impressive, to say the least.

-Mr. Zonbu


Shhhh! The Sounds of Silence

August 2, 2007

My #1 favorite thing about the Zonbu so far is what it doesn’t have.

Noise – any of it.

My A/C is off, as the room is comfortable. My fridge is barely audible. No one else is home, the house is silent.

I’m working away, listening to my music in my headphones. I took them off to see if there was any noise.

There isn’t. None.

I’m going to be honest, I’d buy the Zonbu on the basis of its silent operation alone.

After putting up with a huge, power sucking ATI video card in a big PC tower case, this is bliss. No more jet take-off impressions in my living room.

Zonbu: Green is good. Golden, is the silence.

-Mr. Zonbu


Rhapsody.com not playing nicely with the sound mixer…

August 2, 2007

Rhapsody Online LogoThis is a disappointing discovery.

On my simulator, I noticed that I could only seem to get one application at a time to send audio. I didn’t report on it then because I have had odd issues with that on-board sound before, and because its not the stock sound driver/chip the Zonbu uses.

I first noticed it when I was paying a song in Rhapsody and tried to play other audio but any combination of applications on the simulator would cause it but it happened across the board with any combination of applications.

Sure enough, and much to my relief, the Zonbu has multi-channel audio.

If I play one of the stock Bach MP3 sound files and then kick off one of the sample videos, I get both audio streams. If someone IMs me, I get a nice “message arrived” notice. Works just like it should…

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Lots of details on the Zonbu on the way…

August 2, 2007

Pepsi Logo
Well, you’re all in for a treat.

I’m home alone, jacked up on Diet Pepsi and M&Ms; with the new Zonbu box, my digital SLR and pages of notes I’ve taken so far. The timing couldn’t be better to review this box.

I’ve got a long weekend this weekend so there will be lots of feedback flowing to these pages. The Zonbu will get a workout.

One quick note – the performance of the actual box is noticeably better than my simulator. I’m pleasantly surprised, I didn’t expect such a big difference. I’ll be passing the simulator on to a colleague tomorrow and he’ll be trying it out this weekend.

He may even guest write a post or two.

Despite what people have been hypothesizing in the early press reviews and comments, this is a real PC in every sense of the word. No, you’re not going to edit video or play 3D games on it, but it does have some serious firepower.

Expect a torrent of feedback over the next few days.

-Mr. Zonbu


I don’t like to brag, but mine is big…

August 2, 2007

8GB Sandisk CF CardWhoa!

I popped the flash card out of my brand-spankin’-new Zonbu unit before I left the office, expecting to see the familar Zonbu logo on the 4GB card that I’ve seen on the various pre-shipment review sites.

Instead, I got an eyeful. Mine is… BIG.

My Zonbu came with a SanDisk Extreme III 8GB flash card.

Suffering suckatash! Is this a change in strategy?

A response to a supply shortage?

Is someone guessing who Mr. Zonbu is and planting an easter egg so as to unmask me? Oh you naughty Zonbu boys.

Anyone else want to check their unit and tell us what they got for Christmas?

-Mr. Zonbu


My Zonbu has landed

August 2, 2007

Zonbu3QViewMy Zonbu has finally arrived [or is that “Il est arrivĂ©”? ;)].

I couldn’t’ resist that double entendre.

As I said in my previous post, it’s hard to beat the team at FedEx.

First impressions – wow. Its hard to convey how small and light the thing is until you turn it over in your hands. With its silver heat sink and black accents it looks very modern and attractive.

It has a very minimal shipping box that mirrors the colors of the unit (so the large sides and grey and the small sides are black) and the egg-crate inside is made of recyclable material. There is not much surplus packing material, which is nice and eco-friendly.

No one can accuse them of not drinking the green eco-koolaid.

First, a few comments for the Zonbu packagaing/shipping team…

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FedEx Delivers

August 2, 2007

FedEx LogoJust a brief note to let you know that my physical Zonbu should be in my hands before the close of business today.

The good folks at my local FedEx depot are keeping an eye out for it and I’m going to go pick it up to ensure I have it so I can give you a more detailed overview ASAP.

As an aside, I’m disappointed Zonbu isn’t using or at least offering FedEx as an option for delivery.

FedEx, no matter where in the world, has consistently excellent logistics and tracking. In two decades they’ve mis-shipped one package on me, and I did get it back. Now, you pay for that pleasure, but for those of us who might be accused of being a bit “type A”, it is often worth the extra cost to know where our stuff is.

I’m working on a piece on the “buying experience” via the Zonbu store as I think there is substantial room for improvement. Look for that soon and look for lots of updates from me on my experiences with my new toy.

-Mr. Zonbu