Sunday, January 27, 2008

MacAlly ICEKey and IOGear MiniView KVM Switch

Unfortunately, the MacAlly ICEKey USB Slim Keyboard and the IOGear MiniView Micro USB Plus (GCS632U) KVMP switch cannot work together to give you the full functionality of the keyboard.

If you want to use this keyboard with this switch, you have to live with the fact that your volume and eject keys will never work on the keyboard.

There is a method of emulating the special keys using combinations like pressing and releasing "control" and then pressing and releasing "1".

Interestingly enough, the MacAlly iKeySlim keyboard works great with this KVMP switch. Additionally, while the ICEKey requires driver installation, the iKeySlim does not.

So, there you have it. You've been warned.

NOTE: You may have some luck with this tip I found on macosxhints, but I didn't. Let me know if you get something figured out.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Geek Squad sucks

UPDATE: On January 14, I received a response:
Who sent this to me from

Thank you!

Sara Yanari
Agent 191
Mission Specialist
Geek Squad Operations - Corporate
Cell: (612) 919-4855/Office: (612) 291-9689

"Serving the Public, Policing Technology, and Protecting the World"

Want to know more about Geek Squad? Or keep up on the latest info?
Geek Squad Photo Blog:
Idea Festival:
Squad Cast: http://forums....squadcast

There are two possible reasons for this response:
  • "Agent 191" doesn't understand "Reply-To" and delegating of support messages.
  • "Agent 191" might think that my message was some internal joke played on her by other people at Geek Squad.
Either way, "Agent 191" looks a bit like an idiot or an ass (or both). When you see those Geek Squad commercials, these are the people you're dealing with.

I sent a snarky response back (one to info, and one to Agent 191 directly), but I haven't received anything else. So, now when I teach classes to my young engineers, I refer to "Geek Squad" where I used to say "lay people." Snap! (or something)

An e-mail I just sent to Geek squad:
Subject: Complaint: Packaging information of CAT-6 crossover cable

"Geek" squad --

     I purchased a CAT-6 crossover cable of yours yesterday. The packaging surprised me. You advertise yourselves as some sort of elite group of geeks, but the printing on the packaging makes me wonder if any of you know anything about technology at all.

     There are several examples on the front of the package, but one sentence in particular is especially troubling:

"Your geek squad network crossover cable uses an RJ45 connection allowing you to connect between similar types of equipment without the use of a hub; one PC to another PC for example."

     The difference between a crossover cable and a standard patch cable has nothing to do with the "RJ45 connection." For one, both cables use a type-45 "registered jack (RJ)". "RJ45" describes the PHYSICAL connector. That is, it describes the PLASTIC end that mechanically snaps into place when the male version is inserted into the female version.

     The difference between a crossover cable and a standard patch cable is the 8P8C (i.e., "8 position 8 contact") termination type. A patch cable has a T568A termination at one end and a T568B termination at the other end.

     It would be wise for you to change the wording to something like:

"Your geek squad network crossover cable uses an T568A-to-T568B termination allowing you to connect between similar types of equipment without the use of a hub; one PC to another PC for example."
Otherwise, it just simply doesn't look like you know what you're doing.

     When I picked up the cable and saw the text above, I was seriously worried that it would have the 500 MHz bandwidth I needed. Unfortunately, because it was the only one available and I didn't want to terminate my own and risk the crosstalk, I had to buy your expensive cable. My computers came up with gigabit link, so I'm guessing things are fine, but I wonder what I'd find if I walked down the hall and tested these things on a network analyzer.

     Clean up your act, Geek squad.

     Thanks for your understanding --
     Ted Pavlic
A bit much? (yes, I realize there's a typo... I said "patch" once where I clearly meant "crossover")