By February 6, 2006

Best and Worst Gibberish Gadgets of 2005

After reviewing 42 items in 2005, I figured it was a good time for a look back and the gadgets and games I covered last year in Gibberish. As is typical I suppose, the things I reviewed ran parallel to whatever I was concentrating at the time. After we got our Sony PSPs, I rattled off 7 reviews. When we started drinking more tea instead of coffee, I did a write up of Adagio.com, our teaware, and our favorite teas (which reminds me, I need to reorder some White Peony). And so on.

So, after all that blabbering in 2005, what were my favorite and least favorite things that I reviewed?

Worst Gibberish Gadget of 2005:
Broadvoice Voice Over IP Service
Talk about an overhyped underperformer. I really thought our hand-built computer system was going to win out when I got the idea for this story, but goddamn if going through my reviews didn’t trigger a Tourettic volley of expletives. I think it’s a combination of cable internet connectivity, Broadvoice’s service, and VOIP in general, but look elsewhere if you are considering for a landline replacement.

If there’s the slightest glitch in the Matrix the IP-to-phone adapter will shit itself, resulting in a dead line and necessitating a reset. We drop a few calls every week, or some weird shit happens where one party can’t hear the other. Lady Jaye was speaking with her mother recently and this happened. Lady Jaye could hear her mother just fine, especially the part where her mother yelled, “I HATE THIS PHONE” and hung up. Isn’t that a great way to spend $39 a month?

While not officially supported by Broadvoice, faxing over VOIP is like playing the lottery. Need to fax in that expense report, or documents chronicling a camcorder theft? As Jack Nicholson said, “roll the dice and take your chances.” There is no pattern to why one fax will go through fine, and the very next fax to the same number will take multiple tries before success. My own personal record is 11 attempts to my employer’s expense report line.

Oh yeah, while you have unlimited minutes to most countries in Europe, if you call a mobile phone over there you get charged up the ansu. I had one teleconference call with a vendor, to the tune of almost $9 for less than an hour of talktime.

Let me put it this way: I think VOIP sucks so badly that I’ve considered getting a regular landline again.

Congratulations, Broadvoice, you’re the biggest piece of shit Gibberish reviewed this year.

Best Gibberish Gadget of 2005:
Casio G-Shock GW500A-1V Watch
Hey, ranting about Broadvoice felt pretty good. But not as good as I feel when I think about the Casio watch that I wear daily. Partly because it has some sentimental value (Lady Jaye gave it to me), but also because it’s a kickass gadget that I use all the time. Aside from my glasses, it’s the first thing I put on in the morning, and the second-to-last thing I take off at night before I go to bed. This thing has survived a bonk during our move from Maryland to Virginia, a direct hit from a paintball gun, swimming in pee-infested gym pools, and the massive shocks associated with couples doing what couples do. And no, I don’t mean picking out curtains together.

As I said in my initial review, the only thing I lament is the lack of a countdown timer, but I’ve gotten used to not having one. I use the stopwatch every time I grill outside, where the difference between turning a pork chop at 7 minutes and 30 seconds versus 7 minutes and 50 seconds mean the difference between grill marks and scorch marks. When the world come crumbling down, this watch will still keep going. Of course, who gives a fuck about time when society has crumbled, but whatever.

G-Shock GW500A-1V, you’re the best Gibberish gadget of 2005!

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