Three months of Nabaztag: A rabbit with a mind of it’s own

NabaztagIt’s been three months since I got my Nabaztag/tag internet bunny, so I thought I’d share my experiences so far.

Services
As far as I can gather, the actual rabbit itself is a pretty simple computer, and it requires heavily on the central server, which is maintained by Violet. As a user, I need to select ‘services’ in order for the rabbit to actually do something. I’ve tried quite a few, but have currently settled for a a small number of services. Having Nabaztanck read the news out loud at given intervals for instance proved to be more of a nuisance than I would have imagined. Because the text-to-speech messages aren’t always very easy to understand it required a high volume setting, and that meant the rabbit would interrupt phone calls, yap over interesting TV segments, etc…

Currenly, the most important service I use is email notification. This usually works quite well, but not always. Sometimes it keep telling me I have threen or more new emails even though I’ve just checked my mail, on other occasions it fails to notify me of new email.

A mind of it’s own
Two services that I love (and are enabled by default) are ‘Nabazmoods’ and ‘Tai-Chi’. Both make the rabbit do random stuff, which is fun. Both aren’t very intrusive and I’ve set both to ‘often’. Unfortunately, these aren’t the only thing that make Nabaztanck seem alive. It also has occasional insomnia, staying on well beyond it’s user set bedtime. Other days it fails to wake up. unplugging the power chord and plugging it back in usually fixes little glitches like this, but I can’t help but wonder what causes this erratic behavior.

Violet has issued statements emphasizing how they’re pioneering ‘smart objects’ technology, but I get the feeling they’re using that to cover up the fact that they’re somehow unable to keep a client-server application running that basically uses no new technology. They’re just using trusted technology in new ways, and are not inventing new things as much as they’d like us to believe.

So, should you buy one?
This post was in no way meant to discourage people from buying a Nabaztag bunny. They’re great fun. Just don’t expect it to be a reliable email notifier, or anything else for that matter. Unless Violet manages to get the platform running smoothly, expect your bunny to be a little more moody than you set it up to be on the website under ‘services’… which is not a bad thing per se. I know I still love mine.

11 Comments

  1. Hi,

    The flash movie you build to send messages, are you willing to share it? So I can use it on my website?

    Kind regards,
    Justin Meyer

    Comment by Justin Meyer — August 12, 2008 @ 2:05 pm

  2. totally a waste of money.

    Comment by hackyourlife — September 7, 2008 @ 4:30 pm

  3. Nabaztag/Tag bunny is a complete waste of money. The company does not provide support or customer service. The user forum is a dead zone where people ask the same question–how do I get it to work?–over and over again with no answer.

    This is a cute plastic knick-knack that only works after many hours of tinkering and then doesn’t work very well. The company is well aware of this and that’s why they have a ridiculous 7-day-from-delivery return policy.

    Don’t buy this junk!

    Comment by D.D. — January 4, 2009 @ 12:17 am

  4. Well, I wouldn’t be so harsh, but I do find that Violet takes ridiculously long to fix what I feel to be both simple and important bugs (email notification currently working for anyone out there?)

    My guess is that it’s time for Violet to go bankrupt and release the server software as open source. That would enable the user community to finally fix what Violet has been unable to.

    Comment by Roy — January 4, 2009 @ 10:35 am

  5. Hello Roy, if what you describe is through i sure hope that will be the future for this gadget, since while it worked for me for almost 2 weeks, it suddenly stopped working/being offline for a week now.

    Comment by evelyne — January 12, 2009 @ 4:11 pm

  6. I ordered one of these for my girlfriend and it never worked. After trying to get it up and running for several weeks with their tech support they finally told us to return it and they would refund the money. We returned it over a month ago and they still won’t refund the order. They’ve stopped replying to our email requests too. Fabulous. Guess I’ll stick with real rabbits from now on.

    Comment by EE — January 14, 2009 @ 4:45 am

  7. @EE: the responsiveness of Voilet’s support desk is epically bad. It can take weeks for email to be replied to. Months before they fix bugs. Maybe they’re focusing on that new Dal Dal thingy they’ve just released…

    Comment by Roy — January 14, 2009 @ 11:22 am

  8. I couldn’t help but want to comment. I purchased a nabaztag:tag last week. I did not receive a confirmation e-mail, but when I sent an e-mail to ask about this, Violet was very quick to respond and give me all the information I needed. The rabbit arrived today and was set up in about an hour. Because I use a mac laptop with a general wireless router, I had to do a little tampering. I am not very literate when it comes to advanced configurations, so I felt that being able to configure my rabbit without any help was a plus. So far, the only problem I have had with my rabbit is a wrong time zone. I had ordered a mir:ror and nano:ztampz as well. I was able, by the afternoon, to fix up the rabbit to welcome me when I returned home. It then sent a twitter notification and played a little tune while I was setting all of my stuff down. Outside of some difficulty with time zone, I have been beyond pleased with my nabaztag:tag!

    Comment by Odoru — April 25, 2009 @ 6:37 am

    • Hi Odoru. I’m sure there are plenty of people that are very happy with their Nabaztags. If you don’t use any of the services that are having trouble there’s no reason not to be happy. I’d very much like it to check my email, but that’s been on the blink for months now.

      Comment by Roy — April 25, 2009 @ 12:11 pm

  9. Good review. Your comments about sometimes not going to sleep, missing e-mails, imperfect diction etc coincides 110% with my own experiences.

    One thing to note for those who can’t get their rabbit to work is that the rabbit only seems to connect with WPA TKIP encryption (for me anyway) . It does NOT seem to work with WPA2 or any form of AES encryption on wireless routers.

    I still love my rabbit though even with / because? of its imperfections.

    Roy, whatever you’re on which gives you your amazing prophetic powers you should bottle and sell it. Any share/ horse racing tips you can give us?
    I hope that the new owners Mindscape who took over yesterday will put some effort into developing the server software and some new apps to revive interest in armenian rabbits. Who knows they might even be able to incorporate it into some of their games in some way.

    Comment by Jamie — October 21, 2009 @ 6:31 pm

  10. Link: Nabaztag wifi bunny finds a new owner | Roy Tanck's weblog