Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Replacing Modem in HP Envy 17T

I was completely dissatisfied with the 802.11N modem that came with my HP Envy 17t laptop. Also I was using an external Bluetooth mouse that I'd have to have an adapter for. So I thought it would be good to upgrade to a Intel Dual Band Wireless AC 7260 802.11 AC with Bluetooth.
Another consideration was that I wasn't going to do it if it was too much $$$. So I luckily found one online for a reasonable amount and bought it. Here's my video of me installing it.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Olympics Thoughts

I’ve been a lifelong watcher of the Olympics. I can still remember Nadia and her perfect scores, the gut wrenching USA hockey win, and many many other events.
After college I mostly quit watching professional sports. Most recently when people would ask me who I was going to root for in the Super Bowl my question back to them was “who’s playing?” I know, that sadly, the Olympics are becoming more and more pro, but fortunately the vast majority of the athletes are not. But this isn’t what I’m going to write about. I’ll get to that in a moment.
But first, Thursday night our kitty cat passed away. She was a happy part of our family for almost 15 years. And no, this isn’t what I’m going to write about but just wanted to give some context of what was going on in my life the night before the Olympic opening ceremonies.
The next morning we started to watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games and well I almost started to tear up. It was early in the ceremonies where a little girl was introducing us to the Cyrillic alphabet. She would say the letter and a word and on the screen we also saw images of many of the wonderful cultural related things that make Russia such a wonderfully fascinating country. Famous personalities, and the great and wonderful achievements of the Russian people. I’m not unfamiliar with Russian history, I’m a self-acknowledged history nut. I’ve primarily studied about the bloody and brutal Great Patriotic War against the Germans and its axis partners but I have studied some of their other history as well.
So why was I sad? Because all I could think of was that the Russian people have such potential to do even more and fabulously great things but they have a government that is rife with corruption and greed.
No, I’m not implying that the current Russia people are void of greatness, it’s just harder to achieve greatness when there are many obstacles in the way.
Peter the Great helped the Russian Empire get out of their much earlier dark ages, and I feel the fall of the Soviet Union was the most recent dark ages that their vast land had. It is unfortunate that as one of the commenters said, that there are some in Russia today that harken back to those dark ages under the Communist regime as it gave them structure. It didn’t make them materially wealthy but they could raise a family within the guidelines set by the government and seemingly have a good life.
I’m under no illusion that any of our governments on the Earth are free of corruption, just some have less than others.
I enjoy watching the Olympics as I can put my blinders on to the darker side of people and organizations and watch athletes from around the world compete. I don’t always just root for my own country but for the athlete. I’m in awe of the athletes that go and compete knowing that they are unlikely to win against a powerhouse country, but compete they do. And in these winter games I get in awe of the countries that have teams that never see a snow flake in their own country!
A number of years ago I almost quit watching the Olympics as I couldn’t stand the pathetic coverage by my countries winner bidder for covering the games. Fortunately now, with internet technology (VPN), I can tap into another countries coverage and enjoy the games again. I did that for the London games and I’m doing that now for the Sochi games.
Oh how much more enjoyable the games are when I can watch the events live, despite the time difference, and watch events that already happened at any time of my choosing. Our house doesn’t subscribe to cable or satellite TV which is a big no no in the eyes of the network’s corporate overlords in being good enough to watch my own countries coverage.
But we all know that the Olympics aren’t just about the athletes unfortunately. When the Olympic Committee is more concerned about the logos on the phones of the athletes than letting the athletes, well just be athletes, is a turn off. But I try to ignore that as best I can so that I can enjoy the games. I’m cynical enough already, so at the time of the Olympics I try to put that side of me away and just enjoy the competition.
So for you fellow cynics out there, let’s go ahead and enjoy these games despite the best efforts of the unsmiling tyrants and corporate overloads of the world and root for the athletes and hope for a better tomorrow.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Nokia DT-900 Wireless Charger

I definitely enjoy technology and Santa knew that and got me a Nokia DT-900 Wireless Charger!
I've never particularly liked having to plug in my phone to charge as inevitably I would try to insert the cable upside down and was concerned I might someday break the USB charging port on my Nexus 5. Fortunately the Nexus 5 support wireless charging so now with my wireless charger I can place my phone on it at night and by morning it is all charged up! An excellent device!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

HP Envy 17t TouchSmart Quad laptop review

Santa brought me a laptop early this year and here is what is in the box:

Now that I've played with it a few days here are some of my followup thoughts.

Though I forgot to give it a rating in the video, on a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give it an 8. I find it to be a very excellent laptop for my needs, which are video editing and working on my web site. Later I may do programming on it.
Here are the specs:
  • 4th generation i7-4700MQ 2.4GHz
  • 16GB RAM
  • 2GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M
  • 1 TB Hard drive
  • 1080p Touch Screen
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Fingerprint reader
  • 802.11b/g/n WiFi

Friday, November 15, 2013

Short video comparison between Nexus 5 and Sony HDR-CX380

A couple mornings ago I was able to take a video with my new Nexus 5 phone of a train going by. I had done a similar video with my Sony HDR-CX380 so I thought I'd toss the videos together and do a comparison. I think the Nexus 5 did quite well. It won't beat my Sony, but it is good to see it can handle some low light conditions well.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Goodbye Virgin Mobile!! Hello Nexus 5 with T-Mobile!

After 10 years I've finally quit Virgin Mobile and have gone to T-Mobile! HIP HIP HOORAY!
Why T-Mobile? Well they have a $30/month plan that does 100 minutes of yaking, unlimited texting, and 5GB of data which should do me quite well as I don't yak a lot. So I'm even saving $5/month compared to Virgin Mobile.
Another reason why I left Virgin Mobile was because of their poor support for their phones. The whole GPS and Motorola Triumph debacle and then the failing texting with the HTC EVO V 4G was the last straw. So I bided my time until the right phone came along and I could find a good plan. I had originally thought about the Nexus 4 but it wasn't quite what I was wanting so I was patient and waited. When rumors of the Nexus 5 came out that sure looked like a phone I could be happy with.
so all that I had to do is figure out which of the 3 carriers it supports to go with. I had been with Virgin Mobile, which is owned by Sprint, so that would be my last choice. AT&T is known for gouging customers so they weren't my first choice. T-Mobile, though not as big as Verizon or AT&T, started offering some of their "uncarrier" plans and features which were very appealing. So I decided to give them a try. Got a couple of their SIM cards, one to test, and another to port my number too.
I signed up and tried out T-Mobile to see how the coverage was around my home town and even took on a road trip and it did very well so I decided to not wait and went ahead and ported my number.
You Virgin Mobilers out there will want to be aware if you want to port your number you will have to call Virgin Mobile's retention department to get your account number (it's not your phone number). They will of course try to persuade you to stay, but be firm and polite and get the number as you'll need it to port.
I entered my porting info on T-Mobile and at midnight that same night the port was complete.
I'm thoroughly enjoying my Nexus 5 phone and here's a follow-up video. The screen is nearly 5" and 1080P so very happy with that. It has a quadcore processor so very fast. The LTE speeds from T-Mobile are very nice.
KitKat is also a nice improved version of Android. One reason I chose the Nexus 5 is that I'll be able to get the upgrades from Google and not have to wait for a phone company! Such Freedom!

Panorama sample:

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Saying Goodbye to Virgin Mobile

Well it is time for me to say goodbye to Virgin Mobile. It's been a long run, 10+ years, and their cell service was pretty good.
So you ask why is he leaving? Well, after the GPS debacle with the Motorola Triumph, and then the texting fiasco with the HTC EVO I decided that I was going to leave Virgin Mobile over a year ago, it was just a matter of finding the right phone and the right cell company.
Last week I ordered the phone I've been looking for, the Google Nexus 5! Should be in my hands this week if what UPS says is true. I had originally thought about the Nexus 4, but it wasn't quite a big enough advance over the HTC EVO so I bided my time. When rumors of the Nexus 5 started coming out I knew that was going to be a phone to look very closely at, provided the rumors were true. Turns out, they were.
So Virgin Mobile, if you had only owned up to the faults in your phones in a quicker fashion and actually fixed them quicker I might have stayed. But you never fixed the Triumph, and it took an inordinately long amount of time to get the EVO fixed. So, your lack of support for the equipment you sell for using your service drove me away.
I can choose from at least 3 carriers to start with to use my Nexus 5 with. I've decided that based on their way of bucking the traditional cell carrier plans I'm going to try T-Mobile. I'll try them out for a few weeks and if all goes well I'll port my phone number. If not, then I have a couple others to try.
So Virgin Mobile, it will soon be adios, and no, you won't be able to persuade me to come back!