All posts by Brad

Tascam DR-05 does NOT support Line Level Recording

Product: TASCAM DR-05 Portable Digital Recorder
Issue: Line Level Recording

The product information for the Tascam DR-05 Portable Digital Recorder clearly states that the unit can perform both unbalanced microphone level recording as well as line level input. However, unlike the first generation DR-07 or other similar units, the DR-05 does not have two input points, but a single 1/8″ input labelled “MIC/EXT IN”.

In practice the DR-05 has no option to change the level of the input for this single input and as such it treats all input only as microphone level. This results in extremely poor quality and over-driven line level input recording. DJ Cotts did a great YouTube review of this very issue (below). This post is to validate and confirm his findings. If you are a DJ or someone looking for a line level recording device, avoid the Tascam DR-05!

Amazon Fire TV Hulu Performance Issue

Product: Amazon Fire TV (Gen 1)
Issue: Unreliable playback performance in the Hulu application.

In September of 2015 I discovered that several programs I regularly view through the Hulu application had a tendency to skip or stutter throughout playback. I found through web searches that this appeared to be growing issue with users of the product, however there were no clear solutions to the problem presented.

I reached out to Amazon tech support on three occasions over the following three months. The initial advice offered was to clear the cache of the Hulu application and try again. While on occasion this would improve the issue, it was not consistent and generally only improved the performance for a short period (a single episode of playback or less). I was unable in subsequent contact to Amazon Support to receive any confirmation of the problem being a known issue or any intent to resolve, only a promise that the issue would be ‘escalated’ the “Technical Team” to resolve the problem.

My final inquiry on the matter on November 4th, 2015 was aimed at determining if the problem was only present in the Generation 1 Amazon Fire TV and if it may be resolved in the new Amazon Fire TV with 4k. The support representative was again unable to confirm any issue was known or existed and therefore was unable to speak to whether the issue would be resolved on the Gen 1 devices or had been resolved with the new 4k devices.

Update: On 1/28/2016 I finally broke down and ordered the new Amazon Fire TV with 4k and the issue with playback on Hulu is resolved. I suspect at some point during late summer 2015, an update to either the Hulu app itself or changes to the core Fire TV code resulted in a performance bug that affects some shows in the Hulu app. This bug either does not affect the new 4k version of the device or the new device has sufficient hardware performance to overcome the issue.

Privacy Violation and security vulnerability with “Verizon Cloud”

Carrier: Verizon Wireless
Product: Verizon Cloud
Device: Samsung Galaxy S3 (SCH-I535)
OS: Android v4.4.2

The default behavior of the “Verizon Cloud” application enables automatic backup of all of the possible items from the mobile device prior to the user pressing accepting the terms and conditions. These item include:
Call Logs

To disable the default behavior, the user must accept the terms and conditions of the application in order to open the application and disable the default behavior.

This default behavior effectively holds the user’s data hostage, forcing the user to accept the terms and conditions under duress and is tantamount to unauthorized data theft. While Verizon may, under some circumstances, already have access to some of the data types inherently as they transit the Verizon Wireless data network, there is a reasonable expectation of privacy for some types of data that originate on the device or are loaded directly on the device such as photos and videos or content loaded via Micro-SD card or Wifi.

Verizon should, at the very least, change the default behavior of the Verizon Cloud application to not backup any data to the cloud prior to the user accepting the terms and conditions. Ideally the application would not begin any data backup operation to the cloud until the user has explicitly opted-in to the backup of each data type after accepting the terms and conditions.


Originally published 7/27/2014 via G+