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Archive for June 2005

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Headset not just for gamers

Tuesday, June 14th, 2005

These days most headsets are designed for cell phones or computer/console games. Thus their sound quality leaves something to be desired. In my years as a Macintosh consultant, I have come across hundreds of headsets, microphones and headphones and found a few to be adequate for a specific task. So sitting next to my Mac are three microphones, two headsets, and a couple headphones. Why so many, you ask? Each one is needed for a specific task. I need one microphone with good sound quality for doing voice overs in Final Cut and iMovie, but it is just too bulky to use every day with iChat. I have the same problem with headphones for iTunes and Soundtrack Pro, the good ones are just not comfortable for everyday use. You get the picture.

When I received the “.Audio 85” from Plantronics, I thought to myself “great one more set of headphones to clutter my workspace.” But then I did a little research and found out that a Plantronics headset was used for Neil Armstrong’s historic “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” transmission from the moon in 1969. So I figured, I should give it a try, as a company who has been around since 1962 might know what they are doing.
First off, something on the packaging caught my eye. “Designed for use with iMac, PowerMac, PowerBook, iPod” was displayed proudly on the front. In fact the largest type on the package says “Foldable Stereo Mac Headset.” For you Windows users, this may not be a big deal, but to Mac users a product designed specifically for us is wonderful.
After opening that package, I thought they had forgot something as there was no software CD. I soon found out,audio85_settings that isn’t a problem. I plugged it into an available USB port,¬†went to iChat and select “Plantronics Headset” for both Sound output and Microphone. Next I clicked on the phone icon next to a name in my buddy list and a few seconds later I was talking to someone in another country.
audio85_ichat_sidebar The sound quality was amazing, far better than any other headset so far, in fact the person on the other end of the chat commented that it sounded much better than normal. That must be the noise-canceling microphone at work. On the cord there is a mute control and volume control, so you don’t need to keep iChat’s windows displayed. The adjustable headband and microphone fit comfortably and was very lightweight.
I next tested the microphone for quality, by recording audio with my professional microphone and then recording the same dialog with the .Audio 85’s built-in microphone. I never expected it to match the quality of a high-end mike, but I was hard pressed to tell the difference between the two recordings.
So far it has eliminated the need for two mikes and a headset. Let see how it does with replacing a pair of stereo headphones. I listened to a CD and a few MP3 files while it was still plugged into the USB port. Next I unplugged the .Audio 85 from the included “USB plug & play” adaptor and connect it directly to my iPod. The sound quality with both setups was amazing. The headset even folds into a about a quarter of its expanded size.
The .Audio 85 comes with a leatherette carrying pouch for storing and travel. The .Audio 85 has a suggested retail price of $79.99 and is available at Apple’s online and Retail Store as well as other retail outlets where Apple products are sold. Plantronics’ web site should be updated with information about the new headset by the time you are reading this article. I can definitely recommend the .Audio 85 headset for any Macintosh user, that needs a microphone or a headset or a pair of stereo headphones or any combination thereof. I liked it so well that I have already ordered a second pair to add take along with my PowerBook.

Lemon Laws

Sunday, June 5th, 2005

I live here is Los Angeles, CA, and recently needed to research our Lemon Laws, here is what I found. Many states have a “Lemon Law”, and California is no exception. If the motor vehicle you buy or lease in Wisconsin turns out to be a “lemon,” the manufacturer has to replace it free or refund the price after deducting a reasonable amount for excess mileage. Below are the statutes for California:

 

1790. This chapter may be cited as the “Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act.”

1790.1. Any waiver by the buyer of consumer goods of the provisions of this chapter, except as expressly provided in this chapter, shall be deemed contrary to public policy and shall be unenforceable and void.

1790.2. If any provision of this chapter or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held unconstitutional, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of this chapter which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this chapter are severable.

1790.3. The provisions of this chapter shall not affect the rights and obligations of parties determined by reference to the Commercial Code except that, where the provisions of the Commercial Code conflict with the rights guaranteed to buyers of consumer goods under the provisions of this chapter, the provisions of this chapter shall prevail.

1790.4. The remedies provided by this chapter are cumulative and shall not be construed as restricting any remedy that is otherwise available, and, in particular, shall not be construed to supplant the provisions of the Unfair Practices Act.

1793.22. (a) This section shall be known and may be cited as the Tanner Consumer Protection Act.

(b) It shall be presumed that a reasonable number of attempts have been made to conform a new motor vehicle to the applicable express warranties if, within 18 months from delivery to the buyer or 18,000 miles on the odometer of the vehicle, whichever occurs first, one or more of the following occurs:

(1) The same nonconformity results in a condition that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury if the vehicle is driven and the nonconformity has been subject to repair two or more times by the manufacturer or its agents, and the buyer or lessee has at least once directly notified the manufacturer of the need for the repair of the nonconformity.

(2) The same nonconformity has been subject to repair four or more times by the manufacturer or its agents and the buyer has at least once directly notified the manufacturer of the need for the repair of the nonconformity.

(3) The vehicle is out of service by reason of repair of nonconformities by the manufacturer or its agents for a cumulative total of more than 30 calendar days since delivery of the vehicle to the buyer. The 30-day limit shall be extended only if repairs cannot be performed due to conditions beyond the control of the manufacturer or its agents. The buyer shall be required to directly notify the manufacturer pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (2) only if the manufacturer has clearly and conspicuously disclosed to the buyer, with the warranty or the owner’s manual, the provisions of this section and that of subdivision (d) of Section 1793.2, including the requirement that the buyer must notify the manufacturer directly pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (2). The notification, if required, shall be sent to the address, if any, specified clearly and conspicuously by the manufacturer in the warranty or owner’s manual. This presumption shall be a rebuttable presumption affecting the burden of proof, and it may be asserted by the buyer in any civil action, including an action in small claims court, or other formal or informal proceeding.

(c) If a qualified third-party dispute resolution process exists, and the buyer receives timely notification in writing of the availability of that qualified third-party dispute resolution process with a description of its operation and effect, the presumption in subdivision (b) may not be asserted by the buyer until after the buyer has initially resorted to the qualified third-party dispute resolution process as required in subdivision (d). Notification of the availability of the qualified third-party dispute resolution process is not timely if the buyer suffers any prejudice resulting from any delay in giving the notification. If a qualified third-party dispute resolution process does not exist, or if the buyer is dissatisfied with that third-party decision, or if the manufacturer or its agent neglects to promptly fulfill the terms of the qualified third-party dispute resolution process decision after the decision is accepted by the buyer, the buyer may assert the presumption provided in subdivision (b) in an action to enforce the buyer’s rights under subdivision (d) of Section 1793.2. The findings and decision of a qualified third-party dispute resolution process shall be admissible in evidence in the action without further foundation. Any period of limitation of actions under any federal or California laws with respect to any person shall be extended for a period equal to the number of days between the date a complaint is filed with a third-party dispute resolution process and the date of its decision or the date before which the manufacturer or its agent is required by the decision to fulfill its terms if the decision is accepted by the buyer, whichever occurs later.

(d) A qualified third-party dispute resolution process shall be one that does all of the following:

(1) Complies with the minimum requirements of the Federal Trade Commission for informal dispute settlement procedures as set forth in Part 703 of Title 16 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as those regulations read on January 1, 1987.

(2) Renders decisions which are binding on the manufacturer if the buyer elects to accept the decision.

(3) Prescribes a reasonable time, not to exceed 30 days after the decision is accepted by the buyer, within which the manufacturer or its agent must fulfill the terms of its decisions.

(4) Provides arbitrators who are assigned to decide disputes with copies of, and instruction in, the provisions of the Federal Trade Commission’s regulations in Part 703 of Title 16 of the Code of Federal Regulations as those regulations read on January 1, 1987, Division 2 (commencing with Section 2101) of the Commercial Code, and this chapter.

(5) Requires the manufacturer, when the process orders, under the terms of this chapter, either that the nonconforming motor vehicle be replaced if the buyer consents to this remedy or that restitution be made to the buyer, to replace the motor vehicle or make restitution in accordance with paragraph (2) of subdivision (d) of Section 1793.2.

(6) Provides, at the request of the arbitrator or a majority of the arbitration panel, for an inspection and written report on the condition of a nonconforming motor vehicle, at no cost to the buyer, by an automobile expert who is independent of the manufacturer.

(7) Takes into account, in rendering decisions, all legal and equitable factors, including, but not limited to, the written warranty, the rights and remedies conferred in regulations of the Federal Trade Commission contained in Part 703 of Title 16 of the Code of Federal Regulations as those regulations read on January 1, 1987, Division 2 (commencing with Section 2101) of the Commercial Code, this chapter, and any other equitable considerations appropriate in the circumstances. Nothing in this chapter requires that, to be certified as a qualified third-party dispute resolution process pursuant to this section, decisions of the process must consider or provide remedies in the form of awards of punitive damages or multiple damages, under subdivision (c) of Section 1794, or of attorneys’ fees under subdivision (d) of Section 1794, or of consequential damages other than as provided in subdivisions (a) and (b) of Section 1794, including, but not limited to, reasonable repair, towing, and rental car costs actually incurred by the buyer.

(8) Requires that no arbitrator deciding a dispute may be a party to the dispute and that no other person, including an employee, agent, or dealer for the manufacturer, may be allowed to participate substantively in the merits of any dispute with the arbitrator unless the buyer is allowed to participate also. Nothing in this subdivision prohibits any member of an arbitration board from deciding a dispute.

(9) Obtains and maintains certification by the Department of Consumer Affairs pursuant to Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 472) of Division 1 of the Business and Professions Code.

(e) For the purposes of subdivision (d) of Section 1793.2 and this section, the following terms have the following meanings:

(1) “Nonconformity” means a nonconformity which substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of the new motor vehicle to the buyer or lessee.

(2) “New motor vehicle” means a new motor vehicle that is bought or used primarily for personal, family, or household purposes. “New motor vehicle” also means a new motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight under 10,000 pounds that is bought or used primarily for business purposes by a person, including a partnership, limited liability company, corporation, association, or any other legal entity, to which not more than five motor vehicles are registered in this state. “New motor vehicle” includes the chassis, chassis cab, and that portion of a motor home devoted to its propulsion, but does not include any portion designed, used, or maintained primarily for human habitation, a dealer-owned vehicle and a “demonstrator” or other motor vehicle sold with a manufacturer’s new car warranty but does not include a motorcycle or a motor vehicle which is not registered under the Vehicle Code because it is to be operated or used exclusively off the highways. A demonstrator is a vehicle assigned by a dealer for the purpose of demonstrating qualities and characteristics common to vehicles of the same or similar model and type.

(3) “Motor home” means a vehicular unit built on, or permanently attached to, a self-propelled motor vehicle chassis, chassis cab, or van, which becomes an integral part of the completed vehicle, designed for human habitation for recreational or emergency occupancy.

(f) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), no person shall sell, either at wholesale or retail, lease, or transfer a motor vehicle transferred by a buyer or lessee to a manufacturer pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (d) of Section 1793.2 or a similar statute of any other state, unless the nature of the nonconformity experienced by the original buyer or lessee is clearly and conspicuously disclosed to the prospective buyer, lessee, or transferee, the nonconformity is corrected, and the manufacturer warrants to the new buyer, lessee, or transferee in writing for a period of one year that the motor vehicle is free of that nonconformity.

(2) Except for the requirement that the nature of the nonconformity be disclosed to the transferee, paragraph (1) does not apply to the transfer of a motor vehicle to an educational institution if the purpose of the transfer is to make the motor vehicle available for use in automotive repair courses.

If you would like to check out a car before you purchase it, there are several services such as CarFax, that will give you a report on the vehicle in question.

Also before proceeding with any legal matter, it is best to seek the advice of an attorney. Check out Google for a list of lawyers in your area.


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