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Subject: Better Baby Bumpers
From: LoveLearn (
Date: 2003-09-26

Dave wrote:
In the spirit of DIY, I applaud your suggestion and respond with, "Give
it a shot and report back with the results!".

I'd love to but I don't have the needed G sensor chips. Nor do I have
enough time to do all attractive projects. I'd test this Better Baby
Bumper idea by enclosing peak reading G sensor stain gage chips in an
equivelant case, then perform and record lots of drop tests. While
there's a perverse pleasure in jumping to final demolition derby style
testing as a first step, "go/no go" testing only tells if a trial passes
or not. That's not sufficiently instructive and it would be too
expensive. Test results distributed over a well defined scale would be
required. Only after improved bumper versions consistently showed drop
test results well below the hard drive's G ratings would I consider
dropping an Archos protected with my Better Baby Bumpers. In other
words, I wouldn't drop mine unless I knew acceleration peaks passing
through the improved bumpers by contemplated drops were about as risky
as dropping it on a pillow. Product makers and vendors have a much
stronger incentive to perform those tests than we individually do. After
all, better mechanical shock protection would lower return rates and be
an important marketing advantage compared to mp3 players without
equivelant impact protection.

Fred wrote, "it tends to get sticky. Second, it will deform permanently
when left sitting in one location." It will assume the shape of its
container. I tried to address that when I wrote "inside an elastic,
puncture resistant outer skin that would slowly restore any impacted
bumper to it's original shape." I intended to describe an elastic outer
shell cast or formed in the desired shape. Impacts would allow it to
transfer the energy to the inside sticky motion resisting fluid for heat
conversion. The outer shell might require 5 minutes to pull the inner
goo back to the original shape, but eventually it would. After that, it
would be ready to absorb another impact. Sorry I didn't make that
description clearer. If I had I think you would have agreed that sticky
semi liquid characteristics would cause no problems when contained
within a memory shape returning outer shell.

Fred wrote about I-pod hard drives, "I would be willing to bet . . . . .
that it has a much higher G-tolerance than does the conventional laptop
drive in the AJBs." That seems like a good guess. Smaller scale versions
of any design generally have that advantage. When 1.5 inch drives
arrive, they'll be even more shock resistant.

John wrote, "every dollar involved in production reflects 4 dollars at
retail." I think the average for US manufactured goods runs closer to
5:1, but for low production items, the ratio is even higher.
"we alpha geeks" I'll bet others among this group have been called
"McGuiver" too. For participants unfamiliar with McGuiver, he was an
irrepressibly innovative TV series character played by Richard Dean

Scott wrote, "I hardly see the point in making it extraordinary outside
and half-assed inside."
It seems to me that the more fragile the insides are, the higher the
incentive is to protect the hard drive etc. from peak shock loads. Same
information, just different interpretations.

I've read a lot of shots about Archos Quality Control. As I understand
it, the Archos parent group is in France, and they contract with a
Chinese factory for production. This may have been a great combination
for low cost production, but it may allow important differences between
prototype quality vs. production line quality. Hewlett Packard obtains
high quality production from their designs which they have made under
contract in far eastern countries. But I'll bet HP rather than a
subcontractor controls QC. Short cycle production runs before changing
model design are notorious for increasing QC feedback problems. A
calendar of Archos model changes would be instructive. Products from the
end of a production cycle usually show fewer problems than those from
the beginning. I try to avoid first day's production items like the
plague if I can. Production from near the end of a production cycle may
buy you less current technology than waiting for the new model. After
early bugs are worked out seems like a good buying time to me, but
that's just my take on this issue.

My 20 Meg Recorder/Player has yet to do even one tiny thing wrong. All
these negative reports make me even more careful since I don't think
it's as robust as I'd like it to be. My first Sony headphone experience
with it left me ready to shop for an external amp since I wanted higher
volume than this combination could produce. Then I bought an Etymotic
ER-6 set which sounded much better and could play louder too. But when
my Etymotic ER-4P earphones arrived I found that their lower electrical
resistance resulted in the Archos being able to drive sound pressure
levels higher than I can comfortable stand! So I'm no longer even
considering an external amp for it. On balance, I'm pleased with my
Archos other than lack of an integrated AM-FM section to allow me to
record AM talk radio shows that may occur while most in the time zone
sleep. That's why I bought a Sony SRF-S84 AM-FM radio which is about
the size of a butane lighter yet gives better sound than 99% of larger
receivers. Xin's review of the FM section in Archos would have
discouraged me from buying the FM Archos Recorder even if lack of an AM
section were not a deal breaker issue for me, which it certainly was. I
like my little Samsung flash card swapping mp3 player which you can
throw it at a carpeted floor without apparent harm. For longer louder
playing, I love the Archos performance I've experienced so far despite
fears for it's fragility. I don't know what will eventually seduce me
from it. But I'm keeping my eyes on Xin's Mp3 project since I find his
other works so well done. He is impressively results driven. For some
fun reading, here's a link to his site.
John LoveLearn

Page was last modified "Jan 10 2012" The Rockbox Crew