Thursday, 31 May 2012

Dunu I3C-S Quick Review

Dunu I3C-S Quick Review

Thanks to Frogbeats for the sample

Brief:  Dunu makes a sort of Ety

Price:  £76

Specification:  Balanced Armature, SPL 105+-2dB, Impedance 10 ohms, Frequency Response 16Hz ~22KHz, Noise Attenuation 26dB, Weight 16g, Cord Length 1.2m

Accessories:  a soft baggy, a metal hard case, a cleaning cloth, a plane adapter, an impedance adaptor, a 6 1/4mm to 3.5mm jack, a shirt clip, 8 pairs of tips

Build Quality:  Top notch.  They are light maybe even too light but everything looks well put together and the buds look quite premium.

Isolation:  Pretty good.  About the norm for a BA IEM so plenty enough to get you turned into a road stain if you don’t pay attention when out and about.  I’d be happy to use on a plane too.

Comfort/Fit:  Very good.  Always varies person to person but with the guides and the small size, the shape of them I can’t imagine many if any having a problem with them.

Aesthetics:  I think someone over at Dunu has been looking at a pair of Shure 530’s.  they have a very similar goldy bronze look to them.  It catches the eye but doesn’t look gaudy.  I like it.

Sound:  Without the “conductor” they are okay but a bit bright and forward.  With it things get way better but then it gets hard to drive.  If you have something with power then great but if you had say an EU crippled Sony then I doubt you’ll be able to use the “conductor” at all.  Without it’s a pretty bright and a touch crispy, which ironically would be more suited to a Sony like DAP with its warmth to balance a touch.  Even then it may be not enough.  Actually I think Dunu should have just made the IEM 200 Ohms and not bothered with the super sensitive and then just aimed it at Etymotics market as a comfy version of the hf3.  Otherwise it’s a pretty reasonable IEM but next to things like the PL-50 it falls short at its current price.  However if you can use the “conductor” then it’s a much better proposition.  Oh and no a 75 ohm ety adapter doesn’t cut it.

Value:  A mixed bag.  The bundle is clearly about the best out there and the metal case is stunningly lush.  The sound though sans "conductor" is a bit meh.  It can’t really justify its cost until you can use it by which point I’d wager you want something better anyway.  Not a bad IEM but I’m just hard pressed to think of a situation where it would be what I’d recommend.

Pro’s:   With the “conductor” it’s basically a comfy hf3, superb bundle and stunning case.

Con’s:  Most DAP’s will have trouble driving with the “inductor” in use, without it it sounds only so so for the money.

Dunu I3C-S Review

Dunu I3C-S Review

Thanks to Frogbeats for the sample

First Impressions: Okay what’s with the name? Dunu usually give a numerical code and back it up with a name but this is only a code. On to the bundle and as usual its fantastic, Dunu simply offer one of the best bundles you can get and at a price that would shame many more premium brands. Of course not everyone wants all the bits and bobs but one I think most will is the case, it is just outstanding. I notice you also get a “conductor” in the bundle. What I think this actually is an impedance adapter. On the box it says this is to improve the sound if you’re using a headphone amplifier. Nice.

Having a listen it’s easy to tell it’s a BA as is pretty mid centric. Somewhat it doesn’t seem hugely lively and I’m not wildly impressed with it. Adding the “conductor” does make a real difference and personally I’d only use with the “conductor” in use. “Me and a Gun” is playing on them and I know it’s not a complex track but it sounds pretty great. Burn in time but I think these may be interesting.

Source: 1G iPod Shuffle and an HiFiMAN HM-610.

Lows: Right off the bat I shall tell you this is the second Balanced Armature I’ve heard from Dunu. Dunu usually like to go a bit heavy on the bass as is the popular “consumer” sound. This doesn’t do that mostly because it couldn’t if it really wanted to anyway. BA don’t do big kick ass bass. They instead focus much more on quality over quantity and the more you tend towards quality, you get further from quantity. It is a balancing act and this has a good old stab at getting it right. It doesn’t quite get there though. It’s not bad or anything but its playing in PL-50 territory and frankly the PL-50 is a modern marvel that is insanely hard to beat. Head to head the I3C-S is that bit fuller and softer that is pleasant to hear. It does respond well to a little bass bosting so you can always bump it up a notch or two to suit your tastes. Still I do find myself wanting a bit more and finding its quality not quite living up to the PL-50. It’s perfectly reasonable quality wise but I’m no bass head and I want to hit the bass boost button and the HM-601 hasn’t one. Sure a baby FiiO can knock that up but the quality is never going to be more than very competent. It’s pretty good, just not as good as the best.

Mids: The driver at work is known for its mids and here as you would expect are rather good. They are really quite forward though and their middle to upper mids constantly feel on the cusp of shouting at you. They never actually do but they are right on that edge and when mated to very laid back vocals it’s pretty good. When paired with forward vocals it’s a bit much and makes you think about reaching for the volume control. Tonally they share some of the Siren family traits and these sit just to the dry side of the PL-50. A bit of air and dryness but still can flow very well on Nora Jones’s “Wish I Could” in fact that song may be perfect for these. Soft smooth vocals, not really much demand in the low end and not a lot going on up top either. It’s really very nice but once more it’s just not quite nailing the entire midrange in all songs like the best can. It’s a high placing runner up but a runner up nevertheless.

Highs: Quantity wise it is rather a lot for a Siren Armature and is reasonably done. It can be a little much and a little brittle if you let it though. On the Shuffle this was quite noticeable but the warmer and richer HM-601 went along way to fixing that over exuberance. Still I find myself thinking “sure they are pretty good but…..” These are just not nailing it. I hate to keep saying it but a quick A/B with its nemesis the PL-50 and the I3C-S just exposes the drivers failings a bit much. Now it’s a great driver, it sounds fantastic for the cost but it’s a pretty cheap driver and it just cannot give you faultless highs. Here they are overly forwardly presented to you and I’d much rather they were a little obscured. I know I’m being a bit of a nit-pick but the Siren has been used in so many IEM’s that it’s hard not to all compare them when a new one arrives and there is no little scope to be different. I recognise that it must be a hard job to be different. The I3C-S does manage it but it’s not entirely playing to the drivers strengths. I should note that if you love treble then this will offer you a level unlike a cheap dynamic can. Think super crisp and hurling treble detail at you.

Amp Use: Makes a difference, not really much of one though. It’s very sensitive as it is so you certainly won’t need it to add volume. Likely if you are adding an amp it’s a bass boosting one and that’s why you’re doing it.

Soundstage: It is rather wide but narrow. It doesn’t offer a vast sense of scale as dynamics can but neither is it particularly centre focused. It actually feels much more like a line going through your head from ear to ear and out the other side. Instrument separation is rather good.

Isolation: Given its a BA IEM you would expect it to be good and you’d be right. Its right up there with most BA stuff so expect to become road kill if you’re not used to and looking before you cross a road seems too quaint a notion for you. You won’t hear that bus hurtling towards you.

Comfort: Fab. They never bothered me in the slightest and I could quiet happily wear them all day. You get a grand assortment of tips and with the ear guides it’s a pretty soft and secure bundle.

Fit: Perfect really. They fit effortlessly, well once you get the ear guides over your ear of course. Super stable too, maybe make a great gym IEM for some?

Cable: To the touch it’s a little plastic but the Y splitter, chin slider, jack and the cable tie thing all are great. I really can’t pick much in the way of fault here.

Accessories: Par excellence. Not one but two cases, a bundle of tips and the inbuilt cable tie thingy means I can’t possibly fault it here. The metal case is outstanding. Oh and the ear guides too. And a whole heap of other stuff, 6.25mm to 3.5 jack, plane adapter, etc etc. everything you could think off. Oh and one unusual and special one.

Conductor: Well you may be asking what the hell is “conductor” and I shall tell you. In the box the they have a thing labelled a “conductor” that is, as best I can tell, a 200 Ohm impedance adapter. Much like the kind that is used to turn an Etymotic ER4 from a P to an S. I have found that the use of such can do wonders for an IEM provided it has no crossover. Things with crossovers can behave oddly so they may actually make things better or rather a lot worse. The inclusion of such here is something I sort of approve of but I find strange, why not just add impedance to the IEM’s rather than be optional? Anyway it makes quite the difference. So much so it left me a bit unsure what to do about it so much of the review was written without its use.

When in use it really makes a clear improvement, a very clear improvement. The highs clean up a lot and it such much over the over eagerness of the mid to upper mids too. It becomes much better balanced and begins to near PL-50 levels of goodness. The bass is still a touch lacking in quantity and quality could be better too but it’s good enough. Impact and fullness it clearly improved. These all round step up a level or two and begin to become much more of a threat to things like the PL-50 (which incidentally has a rather high impedance.) There is much of the refinements that I very often speak of that can be found when adding impedance to things.

Value: Right now the only price I can see these going for equates to £76. At that price I think I may have to say no. On sound alone they are not cutting the mustard. However as always there is a caveat ta that. The bundle they come with is excellent and possible the best you can find anywhere. It is a great case. Dunu always do a great bundle that few others come close to.

Conclusion: I rather like Dunu but in this case I fear they may have missed things a little. It’s not a bad product in anyway but it’s a pretty cut throat price range and despite that awesome case they just can’t make me love them. They are perfectly competent and capable everywhere but that price tag is a bit too high. Sure it’s got some pretty good resolution going on but it’s not besting the PL-50 there. It can do its sibling the Ares but the Ares has a much more full and enjoyable sound that I don’t really mind so much losing out on the top end detail and ability. It strikes me as Dunu having gone for an almost Etymotic sound with the I3C-S (which is a weird name btw) and given the price is basically at hf3 levels I’m not sure who would go for the relatively unknown Dunu over the big name Etymotic. The case may be fabulous but it’s not that fabulous.

The real wild card though is the “conductor” or impedance adapter that’s included. I normally for many things recommend adding such yourself to improve things but here they give you one. Without it these are somewhat so so but when in use they jump up quite a bit and get dangerously close to the PL-50. So much so if you buy a pair I can’t see anyone ever using them without it. But do you want that sticking out? Also it requires the volume to be rather turned up so that could pose a problem to some. Trying out the normal 75 ohm ety adapter I use really just dint cut it. I cannot help but think that anyone who has something with the oomph to do them justice with the 200 ohm adapter in use is likely to want IEM’s further up the food chain.

Overall it’s a good valiant stab at something different. It’s like a comfortable ety with a really nice bundle but I think its price needs to drop a touch before I can really praise it. It may be a pretty solid buy but I just can’t really think of much if any circumstance where I’d recommend this over some of its competition on sound alone. I guess it depends how much the fit/comfort, sound and bundle all mesh together for you.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Cowon i10 Quick Review

Cowon i10 Quick Review

Thanks to Advanced Headphones for the samples (AMP3’s sister site)

Brief: Cowon makes a fabulous but infuriating DAP.

Price: 8GB £99, 16GB £119 and 32GB £149


Most importantly, MP3/2, WMA,OGG, FLAC, APE, WAV

Accessories: A charging / data cable and a pair of ear buds. Why I don’t know as anyone buying this is going to know enough to have better anyway.

Build Quality: It’s actually a really nice product. It looks and feels very sleek and professional. You man have not heard of them but it’s easily the equal of Sony or Samsung.

UI: It’s pretty with its ability to change the colours but ultimately like pretty much all Far Eastern UI’s it sucks. It’s not terrible though and you’ll get used to it quickly so long as you don’t question why things are so.

In The Hand: It is very nice, the weird curved shape fit my hand perfectly and its tactile matte plastic back felt lovely. It’s a pleasant thing to hold in your hand. The volume button was in a good place to reach but the on / off, wake / sleep button wasn’t, it was a pain but only a little one. The capacitive buttons were horrid to use and a regularly set off one of them without meaning to.

Aesthetics: I like it. The screen looks good so long as you look at it directly, its clean and soothing to behold. It’s a nice looking product; calm and a bit boring, somewhat sophisticated looking in comparison to the competition.

Sound: Love it. Cowon have a reputation for sounding great and they live up to it here. I really, really liked how it sounded even if it was somewhat V shaped for me. So long as I didn’t pair it up with something with too forward treble it was fine. I should also note that the EQ on it was fantastic in that it didn’t suck. On many things you can tell when the EQ is engaged as it turns things to suckage but I could have sworn it was the work of a hardware EQ. I don’t know how they did that but it’s been the best EQ I think I’ve ever heard on a DAP. Also the amp is insanely powerful. I can’t help but recall the similarly proportioned Sony 846 which wasn’t hard to max out and not deafen myself. The i10 can power even my big HD600’s and bloody loud too. When it comes to it audio output I cannot really find any fault. Okay its V shaped and sometimes vocals were a bit too far off but if that bothers you it can be EQ’d back, that’s really all I can complain about when it comes to audio.

Value: It depends on how you like the buttons. In many ways I reminded of the Sony A846, they have the same form factor and are aiming for the same buyer. If it wasn’t for the buttons on the i10 I’d instantly pick the Cowon as the winner. It sounds fabulous, sure the screen isn’t as good but I don’t care. What I do care about is those stupid capacitive buttons as I skip tracks constantly and I couldn’t do it without looking at the damn thing. For me a deal breaker but if you’re happy with effectively touchscreen like controls then I don’t see how you could get a better sounding yet still sleek and pretty cheap option.

Pro’s: Sound quality is outstanding. Feels very nice to hold in your hand.

Con’s: Those capacitive buttons, I hated them strenuously.

Cowon i10 Review

Cowon i10 Review

Thanks to Advanced Headphones for the samples (AMP3’s sister site)

First Impressions: Oooh looks swish, box is a touch on the hippy side but the DAP its self looks nice. When you pick it up it feels very nice. The back of it is all curved and has some soft matte plastic that’s very tactile. It feels as though it fits my hand perfectly, I like. Hmmm what I don’t like is that it doesn’t have micro USB on it. I don’t know quite what the connector is called but it would appear to be the same connector my camera uses. I can sort of let it off a little given the port can do other things regardless of whether they are things I, or anyone else will care about. What I don’t get is why it has capacitive buttons.

Giving a bit of a listen and first thoughts are really positive. The amp in there is clearly somewhat of a beast. Mightily impressive.

Screen: At first the screen flashed lots of colours and the screen looked great but when more fully lit up it was less impressive. Still everything looks crisp and clean. I can’t really say a vast amount about album art as pretty much nothing I added to it worked. I haven’t the patience to check why or do anything about it but is probably related to my having to convert everything to ogg. Apparently AAC isn’t supported which seemed weird but hey ho. So yes the screen looks good but there’s really nothing magical going on but I did find it nicely crisp. What was less good is the viewing angle range, that rather sucked bit given its a tiny hand held device I’m not sure that’s really much of an issue.

Battery Life: The like is quoted as 38 hours for music and 6.5 hours for video. I certainly wasn’t planning on watching video on it so I’ll take their work for it. For music the 38 hours seemed somewhat on the generous side but will be rather dependant on what you use with them earphone wise. It’s easily enough to go for a few days before you’ll need to find a charger. Which is good as it’s not like it has micro USB with cables everywhere around you.

UI: Well there are a lot of things the Far East can really get right but time and again they demonstrate that UI’s are not one of them. This one is reasonably inoffensive but just why does it have a 7 way pad thing on it? It took me a good couple of minutes looking at and thinking how the F do I skip to the next song. Okay I may be exaggerating a touch but it’s not something that should take a whole second of thought. While there is an up and a down there is no left and right so you have to hit diagonal up right to move to the next song. That is retarded. It’s not that the UI is ugly, its actually rather pretty and clearly some thought has gone into it. It has this whole “colour therapy” thing going on which basically means you can change the colour of everything. It’s pretty, useless, but petty. Just why any thought was devoted to that when you have things like diagonal up right actually just seems to mean right everywhere. So in documents you scroll down a page by hitting diagonal up right. It is utter idiocy.

Photo Viewing: It can display photos, I guess could be useful if you have the TV out cable attachment or you don’t own a phone. Tbh it’s not like it does any harm being there I’m just not sure why you would ever use it on screen this size.

Video Viewing: Urgh, it’s rather mediocre and seems to have issue scaling things to fit the screen which is already tiny. Maybe more useful if outputting to a TV but I don’t have the optional cable for that. Honestly thought who is going to use it for video?

Radio: It has one. It does work but I’m not sure I was using it correctly. Was it auto tuning and scanning? If so it was pretty snowy. If truth be told I just couldn’t be bother huffing about with it and I’m sure it didn’t help that I don’t know any radio stations so it’s not like I could manually punch them in.

Sound Quality: This is probably the bits that of most interest. Up until now this review has been pretty short tempered and snarky because they were all aspects that are a bit crap. The sound however is awesome. It’s nothing short of fantastic that such noise can come out of such a dinky little thing. I gave a it a bash with my 300 ohm HD600’s and it could drive them no bother. It could even make them go louder than I’d want. Its performance is pretty staggering for something so small, light, pretty and mainstream. This is the first Cowon player I have heard and it lives up to their reputation well. It sounds great, and if pushed I might just say its the third most enjoyable DAP I’ve heard. Of course thats just going by memory so may not be true, audio memory is a funny thing. Either way it’s great and I like it a lot. Testing it a with a few different things it seems to me that it has a bit a V shaped sound happening. The EQ is set to normal so I assume that means off. The V shape does mean that when you pair it with other V shaped things or for me more so anything with a lot of treble then this was making it all a bit too much. Sure it sounds dramatic but was getting rather wearing on the ears. Still that is a minor quibble particularly when I played about with the EQ. For some reason that escapes me it’s called “Jeteffect” rather than EQ but whatever. Usually applying an EQ effect is the quickest way to make the sound go to hell but no, here its actually really good. I may have no clue what BBE ViVA 2 is or BBE Headphone 2 is but they still retain the high quality sound output. If you want you can pick one that will really boost the bass but not turn he rest to crud. Easily it’s the best EQ functionality I’ve seen. I just wish I knew what some of them were doing.

Setting things back to normal which is how I’d leave it anyway. Overall the bass output is very clean and weighty. It does feel like it is not quite going all the way down with the same degree of energy but that is the most minor of quibbles. The bass is tight and punchy, a little bit elevated in quantity but that it can seemingly just as happily drive the IE7 as it can the ER4 is quite an achievement. It’s just wonderfully capable in its flexibility.

The mid-range is a tiny bit on the dry and open side. They are unfortunately a little pushed back from the bass and high’s too but it’s a bit of a trade. Their very openness and the more obvious transparency that offers means you can live with it. It’s only the slightest bit V shaped anyway and I think the touch of dryness works superbly. If I’m honest I’ve never been the biggest fan in the world of rich warm DAP’s. I do prefer sources to be either bang in the middle or a touch on the dry if they must be flavoured. This does it so well it’s happy with a dry cooler ER4 or really warm stuff like the IE7 or 8. That is a pretty impressive versatility that it can cope with arguably the two extremes so well. The air and transparency served up in either is just great. The only down side is if you want things to go really warm and rich, smooth and soft then the i10 will not go there in the same way that a Sony can. It’s really more about what style you prefer than either really being correct but I don’t recall the Sony A846 offering up this level of detail and versatility. The mids here are so transparent and open, just great.

The highs are a touch forward for my tastes and the quantity they produced when paired up with other treble forward things was a bother. I’m rather treble sensitive and these could push me to a place where I was skipping songs because they were too bright. As DAP’s go I wouldn’t say it was the worst for this but it was still a bother. More positively they really didn’t have any edge or brittleness to things. Believe me I goaded them too and yet they stayed perfectly composed and smooth. It could possibly be event too smooth for some; I know some people like it to be a bit gritty up top to better capture their attention. Besides there being a touch too abundant there is really nothing I can fault.

In the Hand: As an object to hold it’s actually really nice. Super light yet solid and weirdly curved. I know it doesn’t look anything special when you see the curve in photos but it’s actually very nice to hold, or maybe it just happened to fit my hands perfectly? Not so sure about the button arrangement though, the on off button was possibly in the most irritating place possible but yet that’s fairly minor in comparison to the capacitive buttons. They are a total pain. Whoever at Cowon okayed putting them on the i10 should be fired. I repeatedly hit down when I was aiming for the middle, play pause, button. Also the use of capacitive buttons means I have to lock the keypad before I can put it in a pocket. Once it’s in the pocket I then can’t do anything to it without having to pull the damn thing out again. For the love of god Cowon, why did you do this?

Format Support: Hmm, when I first looked it thought wow, impressive. So impressive they even have APE an OGG support. Bizarrely they don’t have AAC which I can only assume is because Apple said give us all your money if you want AAC. That’s a shame but not really a big deal, just a little inconvenient for me since I already keep a library of stuff in AAC. Otherwise the spec sheet says it can do FLAC so I know that will please a fair number of people.

Conclusion: Toss a coin. Something’s about the i10 were stellar, namely its sound quality but other things like the capacitive buttons were horrific. I cannot for the life of me think of a good reason why Cowon put them on in place of real buttons? I don’t think is much more to say about them as for me that would be the deal breaker issue. I need real buttons on a DAP so I don’t have to look at it to control it. To remove that ability and give nothing in return, no touchscreen niceness as compensation I just don’t know what they were thinking.

For me the other side of that coin is the sound quality. It was just outstanding and I loved it, just loved it. Sound is a bit V shaped and if the UI was less rubbish I might see if I can find a way to bump the mids up a tiny fraction as the EQ is superb. Even with just the presets the sound quality remains great and that means if you are the sort of person who needs a bass boost, then you can. You don’t have to go buy a bass boosting amp to raise it and retain sound quality. That in itself is pretty damn impressive as it means you could live with just this little DAP on its own. You really, really could, so long as you don’t skip songs with the frequency I do. There is just no way I could buy one and live long term with it.

Now you may not mind capacitive buttons in which case if sound matters then this is a great player. (I am pretty much ignoring all its other functions as they are just stupid.) Who in their right mind going to use this for reading documents? Even video or photos that are fed to a TV, I bet no one ever actually done that with one of these. If you are going to buy one of these it is because you care about sound quality, that’s it, well or you’re Korean. Actually if you have ever heard of Cowon and you’re not Korean then you probably are someone who cares about sound quality.

I really struggled with the i10, as an all round device I can’t decide what to make of it. The sound quality I adored but the stupid capacitive buttons made the device useless for me. I tried a day out and about with it but got so annoyed I swapped to the Shuffle I had spare in my bag. I was then made instantly miserable by how they sounded in comparison. I know not everyone hates capacitive buttons and not everyone skips tracks like I do so maybe for you the i10’s faults won’t matter. For me they did big time but I can’t ignore how fun sounding it was, it’s a real dilemma.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Tech I love – BE Broadband competition

Tech I love – BE Broadband competition

Hello, I don't normally do a shameless spam everyone to enter a competition thing but right now I'm a bit unwell so can't do very much else and because I think Be* are a company that deserves to be plugged. 

For those who don't know Be* or Bethere (don't ask why they can't seem to make up their mind about the name, it's called Be* and used to always be written with the asterisk but the website URL is bethere.)  Anyway they are an ISP in the UK that provides service over ADSL2+.  as an unbundled provider that means that they (like everyone) use the bit of wire that BT own but everything between the phones exchange and the rest of the internet is using Be*'s network rather than a repackaged BT service.  For those that don't know BT's network is not great and at peak times is known to choke under all the traffic it has.  On the other hands Be*'s network is in my experience fantastic. 

Having been a bit ill I've been at my parents for the last week and they have Sky broadband and theoretically they should get the same speed as I do.  (The line sync rates are almost identical but as they used to get 8mbit sync  on an old ADSL1 connection I'm not going to comment on how appalling it is that an ADSL2+ connection with Sky syncs at a lower rate than Tiscalli managed)  So being used to Be* at home its really easy to forget that they are superb at what they do.  Of course they are one of the more expensive ISP's out there but you get what you pay for.  However its really easy to forget just how good they are compared to the competition as most of us aren’t changing connections very often.

The last week I spent convalescing and suffering the horror that is Sky broadband I thought let’s give my mobile connection a go and see how it compares.  The mobile in question was the HTC Sensation XE (the review of which is below somewhere) and I was using it on 3.  My normal mobile is on O2 via Giffgaff but Giffgaff forbid tethering.  So, out in the sticks where my parents live (no 3G on O2 and only 2 bars on 3) I thought how good can it be?  well 3 surprised me, if not stunned me in that it consistently hurled data at me ranging from about 3mbits to 10 but mostly sitting at around 5 or 6.  It was still a mobile connection so ping times where high and sometimes it would randomly drop and speeds would plummet as happens with wireless.

So how does all this relate to Be*?  Well before being back on a non Be* connection these were all things I never thought about.  I never needed to.  My Be* connection has been practically faultless in the roughly 3 years I’ve had it.  Sure they have some routing issues occasionally and I did have an issue where I had to ring the customer support.  The CS is all based in Bulgaria which may put off some people but actually they are fantastic.  If you are in anyway techy and actually know what you’re talking about you I'm sure will have been frustrated by getting CS agents who clearly know vastly less than you do.  (Oh Sky you know I'm looking at you.)  This is not the case with the Bulgarians, they know exactly what they are talking about and if you talk technical then they actually know what you're talking about!

Be* is the summation of what I want from technology.  It sits there and does its thing and I don't have to think about it in the slightest.  Technology should be about what it can do for you and just work in a way that's seamless making the internet a pleasant experience.  No sitting getting annoyed and thinking "what the hell is going on!"  It isn’t what I could ever refer to as a sexy or cool technology but I can’t really think of any more important that an internet connection.   Everything I do just about goes through the internet (I have no TV but I do have Netflix) and short of electricity I’m hard pressed to think of anything more important to my normal day to day life.