Way back in 2007 I bought a desktop computer from Beat Buy. I nice shiny desktop with a quad core processor and 3GB of RAM. It even had 2 hard drives that equaled 500GB of storage! Being it was the early 2000’s I was still of the mindset that tower computers were best. At the time it was awesome, I had Windows XP Media Center installed and it was my media hub with all my music, videos, and files.
Fast forward about 10 years and a hard drive replacement later and the computer is still chugging along but at a very slow pace compared to my 2017 MacBook Pro. I installed Windows 10 Professional but even with a clean install it took forever to boot up and launch programs and that’s with almost no programs installed. Chrome was a dog and took its sweet time to load web pages. Some of my past posts have chronicled how I put an SSD into my 2011 MacBook Pro but since that computer died, I took out the SSD and just had it lying around. I tried using it as a backup for my NAS but it was too small. I then decided to clone my Windows computer but how to do it?
Google to the rescue! I found an article that had some instructions on how to use Clonezilla (which is free) to clone a hard drive to an SSD. A lot of the commands were like old DOS prompts that I experienced throughout the years but I made a few errors trying to do the clone.
Major Fail: I should have unhooked all of the hard drives to prevent cloning to the wrong drive. I had a backup of my data drive but as luck would have it I cloned my Windows dricento the data drive. That kinda pissed me off.
The second time around I unhooked everything except for what I was going to use and it worked like a charm. All my apps and settings were there and things launched like lightning comparatively speaking to using a regular hard drive. However I did notice that the drive partitioned itself! Weak! I really wanted a full 1TB system drive but after thinking about it, it really didn’t matter. It’s not like I was going to keep data on my SSD, that’s what my NAS and cloud storage accounts were for. I also had a backup which I’m probably never going to access since it’s all old stuff that I may one day look at. After rummaging through some settings I set up the data partition and decided to do some speed comparisons (more user experience than actual data collection and comparisons).
The boot up to Windows 10 was awesomely fast and the login was almost instantaneous! I launched Chrome and didn’t have any real issues. The programs that load on start up still took a little time but it was way faster than before. Now am I going to use my desktop over my MacBook Pro? Probably not since it’s in the office and I mostly work in the dining room these days. The MacBook Pro is also still way faster and I’ve gotten used to using the touchpad and my gestures for navigation. It will benefit my wife who uses the desktop more than I do. At least now she will be able to get things done quickly rather than waiting for things to load. Using the SSD has definitely extended the life of my desktop, maybe it will run for another 10 years or until Microsoft stops supporting the hardware in it.
Over a year ago I bought an iPhone 7 and one of the missing features was the headphone jack. In truth this didn’t bother me too much, I had my Bose bluetooth headphones and I was fine with using the included lightning EarPods. Just recently I got a pair of AirPods and I must say that its been pretty awesome. I use them more than almost all of my other headphones (except for when I’m flying). They’re not very large so its portable, they have pretty decent sound like regular EarPods, and the best part is that they don’t have any wires. I think that last part is the most important since I like not being tethered anymore to my phone if possible.
I do bring the case with me everywhere, mainly so I have a place to put them away because I’m scared of losing one and these things aren’t cheap. The fact that they just pair with my iDevices is pretty sweet. I have had a few problems here and there with the sound when I take calls but its normally short lived. I also managed to pair it to my work laptop so I don’t need to use wired headphones when I am on WebEx or doing some training that has sound. Unfortunately activating them is a bit harder on a Windows 10 laptop compared to my MacBook Pro but it just means when I walk away from my laptop its not in any danger of flying off a table.
I’ve seen a lot of review videos about the AirPods and even tried out my fathers pair since he had them before I did. I’ll admit that it makes me look funny when I’m walking around with them but sine they are so common now in California I don’t look so weird. There aren’t as many people wearing them in FL so I still look a little funny there. I thought they were going to release a new version of the AirPods during the iPhone event but I was surprised that they did’t. I guess they didn’t need to release a W2 chip since the current version is pretty awesome.
The only reason to get rid of my AirPods will be because they won’t hold a charge anymore. I hope that won’t be for at least a few years, I need to get my money’s worth out of these things. They are truly useful for things like writing blog posts while watching Netflix, no wires to trip over!
I’ve recently been testing my GoPro with my motorcycle with some mixed results here and there. Today was my latest test using my chest harness and putting it on Time Lapse. I think I need to make some adjustments to the Time Lapse mode when I go on rides because what was a 1 hour ride goes by in just 15 seconds when I spliced it all together on and posted it on YouTube. Thats the first video that you’ll see on this post.
The second post is a few weeks ago when I was testing the suction cup mount that I put on the side of my bike. It wasn’t bad but I don’t think it will stand up to riding around on the highway. I only rode around my community but I’m still fearful that the GoPro will fall off my bike. I’ve been playing with the idea of putting a mount on my helmet, the only thing is, once its on my helmet its never coming off. It’s a big step for me to do that and I don’t really go anywhere interesting on my motorcycle anyway. I’m more interested in using the GoPro for our family trips. It worked especially well when we went skiing/snowboarding. I was able to put the chest mount on and film my family skiing/snowboarding.
I even tried using my GoPro at the water park. It worked like a charm there, although I have to flip the videos since right now they’re upside down. I don’t know why that is but its a really easy fix in my view. The great thing about the Hero Session 4 is that its already waterproof to a certain extent so I don’t have to worry about breaking the thing. It’s a great little camera, sometimes I wish it wasn’t always shooting in wide angle but thats a limitation that I can live with. I can always just use my iPhone as well for that sort of thing if I don’t want to shoot in wide angle.
I’ll be doing some other testing with it later, especially around the settings of the time lapses. I use it for my daughters kung fu classes and graduation ceremonies because I have a stand for it and it works great. The GoPro was definitely one of my better purchases (although I used points for it which makes it all that sweeter). I think I’ll do another test tomorrow or this coming week when I’m off to Atlanta. I want to get more proficient with the GoPro so I can chronicle my family through the years, especially my daughter as she grows up.
I’ve recently run into some trouble with the wireless in my home and no matter what I do I can’t seem to fix it. I’ve tried everything from rebooting the thing, messing with the configuration, to even calling Comcast to see if they could do anything on their end to make the thing stop dropping the wireless signal every hour or so which forced me or the wife to reboot it. I’ve been using the Netgear since I switched over from AT&T to Comcast because it had gigabit Ethernet, wireless capabilties, and it supposedly had a media drive component so I could stream stuff. Well the Netgear has been quite disappointing to date, I’ve never been able to get the media server part to work (and its well documented that it totally sucks as a feature), the wireless is completely unreliable, the only part that even seems to work is the cable modem aspect of the device.
I was able to dig out my Linksys X2000 that I used when I was using AT&T. It has a wireless router component to it and I decided to dig this out of my little tech storage area and connect it to the Netgear. Now this thing is really old so it only can do 10/100 on its ethernet ports so its not as fast as the Netgear when I connect something to the modem directly. What I did do though was I connected the Linksys to my home desktop and the router and I connected the Linksys and Netgear to my NAS so it can still take advantage of Gigabit ethernet and regular 10/100.
I was able to check everything out that connects in my house and it all seems to be OK. I changed the SSID on the Netgear to be unique and as my backup and used the original SSID on the Linksys so everything would still be able to connect like it used to. So far so good, I haven’t really tested the speed between machines but at least to the internet it seems to be the same as if I was just using the Netgear by itself. While I’m glad I found a work around solution this is by no means something that I wanted to do. I purposely bought the Netgear to be my single device to consume internet and be able to use it from multiple devices. The fact that I had to bring out my Linksys after all this time is kind of a bummer. It does do Wireless B/G/N but doesn’t use the 5Ghz band but thats technically ok by me since I was using the 2.4Ghz band at home because of my HP Photosmart printer. Linksys actualy makes a better product than Netgear so I’m expecting to have a lot less trouble with the wifi going forward.
Now the thing I really want is fiber to come to my neck of the woods. I would love it if I had Google Fiber or something, then my internet would be screaming fast! I think I’ll have to wait a while until that happens, until then I’ll be suffering with Comcast.
One of my goals is to try and eliminate my wallet and I think I’ve somewhat succeeded. Behold the CardNinja! I actually have a wallet case for my personal phone but the problem I had with it is that it only held 3 cards and maybe some money. That wasn’t nearly enough to replace my wallet, especially on the road when I have to bring my corporate card. I’ve more than once forgotten to switch out my personal and business cards which was getting a bit annoying. I also knew I didn’t want to buy a new wallet case for my work phone because I am most likely upgrading to the iPhone 7 for work and who knows what kind of case I’m going to need for that one.
I was browsing the interweb as usual and came across this gem when I was looking for deals on just whatever online. I bought a couple of these to try out. It just sticks to the case or the phone and can be peeled off later. The picture shows my work phone with my work credit card in it. So far its pretty snug in there and I don’t really notice the extra bulk of the CardNinja. The real test will come next week when I have to go flying for work to see how this thing holds up. I’m a little less gentle with my work cell but it still sports an Otterbox case which was more than I provided to my 5S which just had a screen protector.
Depending on how this works out, I might transfer back to the Otterbox case with the CardNinja for my personal phone and use my wallet case on my work phone. I’m trying to get down to the smallest footprint for work and home in what I carry. I’m still waiting for the day that almost everything is done by NFC or they just scan something on my phone screen, then I won’t need to carry all this crap with me anymore.
Last year I bought a iPad Mini with Retina display to replace my iPad 2 that I had been using since its release. The reasons for doing this were numerous but the biggest reasons was the size and internal space. As with any new device that I buy, I had to protect it somehow and at the time I decided to go with the black iPad Mini case offered by Apple so it would give my iPad Mini full protection all around. I used the case for about a year and I couldn’t find a lot to not like about it but the one thing that did kind of bother me was that I couldn’t easily remove the cover without leaving the entire device naked.
That gave me an idea for what to ask for for Christmas this year. I decided to go back in time a little bit and change what I used for protecting my iPad Mini. I would forego some of the full protection I had with the case and instead go with a Smart Cover like I did with my iPad 2. There have been a few improvements with the smart cover (the magnets don’t damage the case of the iPad for instance) and they had more colors available. I decided to go with a Project Red case so it stands out and so I can find it easier in the dark. To protect the back I got a Dodocase Book Back, again I had one of these for my iPad 2 and worked really well back then so I figured this time around should be no different.
What this does is that it makes the iPad pretty much its true size again since it lost some of the bulk it gained with the Apple Case. I can now remove the cover which was one of my little peeves with the case as well but the trade off is that now the sides are exposed so there is the potential that I could damage it easier or even crack the screen if I dropped it. While not ideal, I think the new benefits outweighs the risks. I now use this configuration even when traveling since it stays in my back pack most of the time during work and only comes out when I get to surf the internet at my hotel.
TiVo Series 2
It finally happened after 11 years, my TiVo Series 2 has died. I received my TiVo as a gift from a friend when I left my home in the north east and moved to Florida. It has faithfully served my family since then and has been transported from western Florida and then to South Florida. This has been a primary viewing device and on screen TV guide for so long for me I don’t know what I’m going to do while we decide if we buy more TV from Comcast or get a new TiVo.
I’m pretty sure the hard drive is fried after doing some symptom research on the TiVo forums. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal since the solution is to image another hard drive using a computer. The issue is that the hard drive in a TiVo Series 2 uses a really old connector that my current computer doesn’t have. I went on a recycling binge a year or so ago and tossed out my old computer that would have been perfect for this job. Now I’m faced with a decision of spending $150 to repair an 11 year old TiVo, getting enhanced capabilities from Comcast, or get a new TiVo which would set me back around $900 including the lifetime service plan.
I’m personally leaning towards the new TiVo since it has so much better functionality than my old one. It’s a large purchase and I’d like to use the money for something else but I do like being able to record my shows when I’m away from home. I don’t want to use my computer for that because it sucks so much more power than a TiVo and I would have to watch it on my computer and not my big screen. Only time will tell if I get another one anytime soon or not but I definitely want one 😉