Let the rainy season begin!!

Ahh, Spring! A season that bring vision of warm weather, refreshing breezes, having a nice glass of ice tea on the terrace of your local coffee shop… But nope! Here, it means a ton of storms. It has been raining non stop for the past four days or so. I has not been so bad that I had turn the heater back on but pretty close.

I had such high hope of getting back to running outside and try out my new Garmin GPS watch.  I already signed up again for the Omaha half marathon and I think that I can cut at least 10-20 minutes from last year time’s, but I really don’t want to be on the treadmill for more than a couple miles. Hopefully we get a couple nice weeks before the unbearable heat of summer, get some good runs going.

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Hey, remember how I said that I was looking into getting a Huawei P10 if/when I came out in the United States? HAHAHAHA, what a fool I have been! Turns out I misread a couple articles. When I read “there is no announced release for the US”, I assumed there was an implied “yet” but after looking a bit more into it, the word seems to be that it won’t be released in the states… Bummer.

Well, at least there is a silver lining in the form of my second choice of phone: the Mate 9. It has almost the same specs, it has a bigger screen, better resolution and higher pixel density, but most importantly, I can actually buy it right now. It apparently comes with Amazon’s “Alexa” thing but it will disabled/deleted faster than you could say “useless piece of $%*#!”. There is a Pro version with 128 gigs of memory and 6 gig of ram but it’s nearly $300 more expansive… Yeah, I’ll pass. The one thing I am not too keen on is the fingerprint on the back rather where the home button is, I guess I could live with it.

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Something kinda funny happened at the office recently. As we prepare to give one of our building to UNO, the security department has been doing upgrades to our system, and they must have messed something up because all the employee badges stopped working, but only on some doors.

I remember walking into the building and seeing this long line in front of the security desk. Tried to buzz in and could not get in. I could wait in line for like ten minutes or walk to the back of the building and use the other set of doors that apparently worked fine. So apparently we have two different set of access authorization for one building, which is seem really dumb.

The way they seemed to have fixed it is what really takes the cake. As far as I can tell, the doors don’t lock anymore, the badge scanner is blinking like you just buzzed in. They also doubled on security guards to avoid a situation where the front desk is unattended and someone sneaks in.

Problem: people can’t go through the security doors. Solutions: A) fix the access issue issue or B) unlock the doors… I guess they went for the lazy option…

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Talking about the office, I think I am finally seeing the light at the end of tunnel. I have been trudging through two projects: one that is not due for another 6 month and another one that’s 6 month overdue.

The design for the October project are about a precise as tarot card reading. It’s full of assumptions, maybes and several section label “to be determined”. Some changes in one program don’t match the changes in an associated copybook. It’s a complete mess.

The other overdue project is that late because it was also a complete mess. When I got the design for the project, all it had were a couple input file layouts (which, surprise, surprise turned out to be completely inaccurate). I improvised a report program and waited 3 months for test files. The test file they sent us were not formatted and were only to test connectivity… after waiting another month, we finally got some proper test files and discovered how far off our assumptions were. I rewrote most of my program only to determine that one of the input file is actually useless and the we should only two of the three files.

I effectively rewrote that program three times now but it might finally be over. All I need is for the other team to confirm the reports and I will finally be free to trudge through one project instead of two…

I guess it’s officially spring…

 

As you might have heard, the spring equinox was this Monday and it has officially been spring for three whole days, and to be honest you can hardly tell. We had this gorgeous day on Sunday with temperatures in the low 80, I went on a nice six mile walk, got a chance to wear so shorts for the first time in while… and couple days later it was sleeting… I was literally freezing this morning… It is supposed to get better in the upcoming weeks and genuinely can’t wait for so nicer weather. That is until real Summer kicks in and it gets unbearably hot… I need to to move to Hawaii, at least the temperature are constantly nice year long there…

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So there has this brouhaha going around about how Microsoft was push “intrusive ads” in File explorer going on last week and earlier this week and I just can’t fathom what planet these people live on. Maybe it’s because I am a techie and most tech website are for the common lowest denominator, and probably because click bait makes more money, but I was not inconvenienced at all by the supposed “dastardly move” by Microsoft. First of all It’s hardly intrusive, it was just a “banner ad” that, unless you have a tiny screen and font at maximum, is far less intrusive that your average online self playing video ad, and it actually has a X at the top right to dismiss it, something that a lot of articles fail to mention. Sure, there is a setting that will probably prevent future ads, but it take less than a second or two to click on the X and once dismissed that ad never reappears. Also I think that the ads are somehow tied to your Microsoft account because it only appeared on one of my three Windows machines and they are all up to date. This seems like such a storm in tea cup, which I guess is the general trend in media these days…

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I have been looking for a new phone and I think that I have found what I am looking for, the Huawei P10 ( and probably the plus variant). It has a nice a large screen, 20 mp rear camera, Micro SD slot, runs on the latest version of android, has an headphone jack and most importantly it should be cheaper that comparable phones from popular brands like Samsung or Apple. Yes it is from a Chinese brand which might scare some people but Chinese phone maker have been making some really good ones. My current phone, the Oneplus 2 is really competitive in there of feature and price. There is no release date for the american market yet, and I am not risking buying an import from ebay (plenty of scammers), so I’ll have to endure my wonky phone for a while longer. I’ll also keep a look out for possibly the Oneplus 4 that might come out later this summer, or just go for the 3T which has gotten a lot of good reviews.

I guess it’s winter again…

It seems that WordPress had a brain fart and this was never posted… Just pretend that this post was made a week ago….

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Last Monday it was gorgeous outside! the sun was shinning, there was a light breeze and it was like 80 degrees outside. Summer felt like it was around the corner. Now, it’s gloomy as hell and the temperature are in the low twenty degrees and it was technically snowing on Friday… Why oh why is weather so inconsistent these day?  I don’t mind weird swings in temperature but this is really brutal.

But Alex, surely there is more going on the world than stupid weather! Why yes voice in may head, there is!

I went to the movie theater the other day and went to see the new King Kong movie and was actually pretty good. Sure, some of the characters are not very three dimensional and feel somewhat pointless but most of them die so to me that not really an issue. Visually, the movie is incredible. The fight scene with Kong at the end is really cool, and unlike the 2005 remake of the original, it does not feel like it too long. I was surprised to see that the movie was barely two hours. If you liked Godzilla and are curious about some of the coming movie in that shared universe, I would strongly recommend giving it a watch. Also do make sure to stay for the after credit scene, it is well worth it.

The one thing that annoyed me the most was not in the movie itself but one of the trailers, the one for “Life”. It’s a sci-fi movie that opens with “Spirit in the skies”, just like Guardian of The Galaxy, it has a cocky Ryan Reynolds just like in Deadpool, It has the international space station breaking up and entering the atmosphere just like in Gravity, there’s an alien that kills on instinct and they try to kill with a flame thrower just like in Alien. It’s like Sony decided to take elements from very successful sci-fi movie, threw them in a blender and decided that because it worked for others it will work for them… Oh so blatant plagiarism…

Also I definitely need a new phone because my current one is starting to act up strangely. First of all one of the quirks is that there is no vibration only mode, the ringer volume cannot be completely turned off. I cannot silence my phone, which means that i can’t silence my phone… Now that isn’t an end all issue, I just put my phone on airplane mode. Comes in quirk number two: when I turn off airplane mode, my Bluetooth devices can’t connect anymore unless I reboot my phone. This is really annoying. It also happens even if I don’t use airplane mode. Oh and for some reason, if I don’t reboot my phone once in a while, the Youtube app decides that synchronized audio and video is for sissies and desynchronizes… That last one baffles me, somehow I can understand the Bluetooth Issue, but Youtube? I think I should start looking for a new device….

Uhmm? What’s that? New AMD CPUs are coming out this weekend? And they look like they might actually be good value? That sounds very exciting! What? Oculus just cut the price of their Rift headset by $200? Wow! This might just be the best moment to buy into the VR experience… But what’s this? Nintendo’s latest console is coming out this Friday? Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti?  My oh my! So many things to buy!

But chances are… I ain’t buying any of them. All of these are definitely tingling my interest but I not sure I can justify buying any of them.

While the new line up of AMD’s CPU look promising: 8 cores, low energy consumption, more affordable than a comparable Intel CPU. However, I would need to get a new motherboard, which would cancel out any price advantage, and my current system is an ITX form factor, and no ITX motherboard with the new AM4 socket are available yet. Besides my current computer is still more than powerful enough to play current releases at near max settings anyway. The GTX 1080 TI would be easier to slap in my current computer but again, I don’t need to upgrade my computer.

What about the Oculus Rift? $200 off is definitely a great deal! This is more of a grey zone. I really want to get into VR and price had always been a big roadblock. One problem I have is that the Oculus room scale setup has been hit and miss for many people. Supposedly there is a new update coming to fix the tracking issues but information is thin on that. Another is that HTC has better tracking and is working on new controllers that supposedly are coming out later this year. Plus, there is a chance that they will cut their pricing as well to remain competitive. Oh and I still have some issues with Facebook’s/ Oculus’ decision to have timed exclusives for their platform. I think I’ll continue to wait and see how the VR landscape evolves, besides I doubt that Oculus will raise their price again any time soon.

What about the Nintendo then? What’s wrong with that? Well, while there seems to be some positive words going around, I think I’ll wait until more proper reviews are out. Big issue like the Red Ring of Death tend to not show up in review hardware. Plus the current release line up of game is a bit thin. Sure Mario Kart is a safe value but I am sure that more interesting games are bound to come out.

In the mean time, I guess I can always put some money aside and try to pay off my car early… Or maybe I should look for a new phone… That could use an upgrade….