Mar 29 2015

Big-ass keyboard

Adel Gabot

IMG_0573

I bought this large-font USB keyboard from CD-R King for my brother the other day, for him to give as a birthday gift to his boss.

He texted me one morning a few days ago and asked if I was going to Cubao the next day, and if I was, could I buy him one of these large-key-and-font kiddie keyboards from CD-R King? I was, and so I did.

It has cartoony, big-ass keys in a gaudy, multi-colored plastic case, and I don’t know why anyone would want such a horrid thing. If he was giving it as a gag gift, I’d certainly understand, but it’s only funny the first couple of minutes. After that, then what? Then again, he’s always been that kind of a gift-giver.

I really like using my IBM Model M keyboard on my iMac now. It’s an indescribable pleasure typing on it. It makes loud clacks and all, and is a big, heavy sucker compared to my tiny, light Apple Bluetooth Keyboard, but there’s just something wondrous about it. I actually try to find things to just type on it, and I can’t seem to get enough. It feels like I’m really getting work done, and gloriously noisily. And there’s really a finality, a definite sense of… typing something substantial (even if the content was really meh).

Actually, I kinda regret selling my other Model M last month, I like the keyboard so much. Some reader of this blog actually wrote to me the other day asking if I had any more Model Ms, they were really hard to come by. Huh. Sorry guy, the one extra I had left was a bit wonky and missing a few keycaps.

I wish I had something like a Model M on my new/old MacBook Pro; it would make typing on it so much more fun. As it is, the short-throw, LED-illmuninated chiclet keyboard is ok, but I wish… oh, I don’t know what I wish.

But getting back to the big-ass keyboard, Apparently, it was a hit at the office anyway. According to my brother, some girl actually offered to buy it from their boss if he wasn’t going to use it anyway. Hm. It takes all kinds.

 


Mar 28 2015

SSD Part Three

Adel Gabot

Case-Open

Finally, my Crucial SSD arrived yesterday at around 1PM.

(And here I was preparing for a nail-biting, close-of-day last minute delivery. Sort of anti-climactic. Or pre-climactic. Whatever. Point is, it was damned early.)

I was checking on the website of OCS, the delivery service Jen used, for the past couple of days and was pissed that the tracker number of the package didn’t turn up any records. I called them up Thursday morning, and got worried when they said the same thing. I put it down to worker incompetence, and just settled for waiting. A call at the end of the day again still turned up nothing on their end, worrying me some more.

The next day assuaged my concerns though. The website still had zero info, but when I called the airport branch of OCS they said that the drive was in town, that it arrived last night, and was scheduled to be delivered that day.

Thank God.

So it arrived early, and I got to disassembling the MacBook Pro and installing it right away (incidentally using my new Torx screwdriver set to remove the four nubs off the old drive and transfer them to the Crucial SSD). I carefully put the notebook back together and set about restoring my system via Apple‘s immensely convenient Time Machine, on which I backed up the system earlier that morning.

Turns out I didn’t need my bootable Yosemite flash drive anymore; the system had a restore partition that I could boot from, I found.

I came across a small glitch at the start though—the system was asking for the Crucial drive’s password so that it could restore my system on it. Password? I hurriedly texted Jen, who texted back and said he didn’t put a password, but gave me a couple of factory options to try. One of them worked, and I was off!

Restoring a 40GB setup took all of 20 minutes. The system was amazingly fast! It was, as the reviews said, like a brand new computer. Booting up was incredibly fast; I normally had an interminable wait before the Mac was ready to use, but this time that boot-up just took seconds.

The battery consumption was also appreciably slower. I now get a solid three-plus hours of power, as compared to the former one-and-a-half to two. Not as good as a new battery of course (that would be six to eight hours), but I’ll take anything at this point.

The Mac was also cooler to the touch, and the internal fan didn’t spin as much, if at all. It was just pleasantly warm and whisper quiet, and not almost-hot and fan-noisy as it used to be. A bit lighter to carry around too, although that may just be my imagination.

A Black Magic Disk Speed Test of the regular old Hitachi 256GB SATA drive of the MacBook Pro:

Regular MacBook Pro 250GB Drive

The same test, this time of the Crucial M4 256GB SSD:

Crucial M4 2656GB SSD

I STILL haven’t enabled TRIM support and haven’t turned off the pertinent hard drive settings in Terminal with this test. (I did, later, but it was too bothersome to take a screenshot of that too and upload it. Heh.)

A lot of my passwords and settings were casualties of the restore, and had to be re-entered in the MacBook Pro, but that was a small price to pay. This thing is blazing fast, lemme tell you.

So far so good!

 


Mar 27 2015

Yukimura

Adel Gabot

20150326180040

I finally got the new PS4 System Update 2.50 on my machine late yesterday afternoon.

(Don’t you hate the way the PS4 logs you out automatically when you turn it back on and then insist on you updating first before it lets you sign on again? Can’t you let the gamer decide when he wants to update, for crissakes?)

Incidentally, the update is codenamed Yukimura by Sony.

It’s nice, particularly the Suspend/Resume feature on the games. You can put it in rest mode in the middle of the game session, then pick right back up where you left off when you get on again—no more restarting the game.)

But that’s only big feature for me, despite all the hype Sony’s been heaping on the update. New accessibility options are nice, and so are the new gameplay sharing options. I especially kinda like it that they now allow you to remove non-trophy-scoring games from your Trophy list. But I guess the Suspend/Resume feature is all that matters to me. And the ability to back up your system.

It’s now backing up my PS4  to an external USB drive, and should take a few hours. (Damn, but it’s slow! Maybe because it’s a USB 2.0 drive?)

The one feature I’ve been waiting for all these months still hasn’t arrived: the ability to make the PS4 your media player. DLNA support please! I really don’t know what’s taking the feature so damned long. It’s been on the PS3 ever since the beginning, and it should be a simple thing to enable it for the PS4.

I think Sony’s dragging its feet because adding DLNA support is not going to generate them any revenue, and they’d rather focus on those that do first.

Ah, the vast freedoms afforded by capitalism.


Mar 26 2015

Trackpad

Adel Gabot

screenshot_120

I’ve always used a Bluetooth Apple Trackpad with my 27″ iMac, ever since I got it in 2011.

I preferred the tidy, neat, space-saving motion control of the trackpad rather than the desktop-encompassing, wild and crazy technique that a mouse insists on. I didn’t like frantically moving a mouse around all over my desk.

I had to buy the trackpad the day after I bought the iMac because the iMac didn’t come with it, shipping instead with a pesky Bluetooth Apple mouse.

So I put the mouse aside, bringing it out and using it only when I had to charge the batteries in the trackpad, and putting it away again after the batteries were powered up again. Been that way for years.

One of the things I especially like is the ability to just swipe my fingers to switch between my desktop Spaces (whole screen environments), in which I assigned the specific apps I always run under Mission Control.

The first Space handles Twitter and Safari, the second one Vuze and Beamer (and the Finder windows for my downloads and media), the third one for Messages, Mail and Slack, and the fourth one for iTunes and for those apps I just turn on when I need to on a more or less daily basis. Then there’s a fifth and sixth one just on reserve.

I just swipe my fingers across the trackpad to switch between the always-on Spaces, which essentially means I got six virtual desktops. Convenient, right?

That’s why I got royally pissed when a Yosemite Beta update tanked the trackpad’s Space-swiping ability two weeks ago. It refused to swipe between the desktop Spaces, forcing me to click on the app’s icons to get to that Space. And God forbid if I need to go to that empty sixth Space to start an new app. (I realize it’s only a usability glitch at heart, and the computer still works fine otherwise, but dammit, that’s how I like doing things!)

It got so bad that I had to transfer to the mouse, which still had the swipe thing intact. I tried everything to get the feature back in my trackpad, but to no avail. I redid the Systems Preferences, undid and redid the pairing of the trackpad, turned it on and off, rebooted many times over, but nothing worked.

Then a possible solution occurred to me this morning: check the internet for others with the same problem. Maybe there’s a solution somewhere on the net.

Dang. I always forget to do that so basic thing. Always.

So I checked, and lo and behold, there were some users it also happened to. And there was a solution being proffered on an Apple Discussion Site: un-pair the trackpad, reset the PRAM, shut everything down, and then restart and re-pair the trackpad.

I did it, and dang, it worked!

I’m back to using the trackpad again. But damn, I had to suffer through two weeks of mousing around.

Gotta remember to check the internet next time. All the time.

 


Mar 25 2015

SSD Part Two

Adel Gabot

mbp3

So I went and bought the 256GB Crucial SSD from that PhilMUG member, finally.

I’d been hemming and hawing for a week trying to decide (with my meager financial savings) whether or not to get one. It would certainly greatly improve my computing experience with the MacBook Pro. I’d even settle for just the 120GB version, if I could.

I looked at Amazon, where the 250GB SSD was selling for a little over $100, but with shipping it could eventually cost $150 or more. The 120GB version was selling for less, but still, it was a damned bother, and the shipping costs were still pretty crippling.

I had actually been negotiating with Jen (the PhilMUG guy) for, coincidentally, a Crucial 120GB SSD too (who would’ve thought?), which he was selling relatively cheaply. I was on the verge of making a deal when he doubled-checked and found out he was actually selling a 256GB SSD! Which changed the mechanics of our deal—he had to double the price, which effectively took me out of the game.

Then this weekend, he reconsidered and was offering it to me at a drastically lower price, and only to me. I went and checked and he was actually selling it to me at the Crucial website price, but without all the expensive shipping nonsense. Hmm.

It was still damned expensive, mind you, but after I did some financial acrobatics and shenanigans, I said, why the hell not?

So yesterday I deposited the amount in his account, and I’m now waiting on tenterhooks for the drive. It’s coming in from General Santos City in Mindanao, where he’s been temporarily assigned as regional manager for his sales company, and it should get here by Friday at the earliest, or sometime during Saturday or Sunday.

Great. It’s going to be another interesting weekend!


Mar 24 2015

Interesting and fun

Adel Gabot

I had an interesting and yes, fun time at our first Monday Editors’ Content Meeting at TSS yesterday afternoon.

At first, I thought it wouldn’t push through. At 9:30 Monday morning, I/we got a message on Slack from Pok, our boss, telling us that instead of Wednesday, the Content Meeting will be held Tuesday morning at 9:30, just for this week.

Obviously, no one had told him the editors were meeting on Monday instead.

Sigh. I had worked myself up for a Monday afternoon meeting, and here we were getting rescheduled for Tuesday morning instead. So that sent my Monday to the cleaners. I resigned myself to a lazy day at Starbucks again, and under-dressed accordingly for the trip.

Then, as I was getting ready to leave with my iPad, I got another (private) Slack message from Troy telling me that our Monday meeting was still on regardless, and could I still make it?

Of course I could. But damn it, could you guys make up your minds?

So I changed to more office-y clothes and exchanged my iPad for my MacBook and headed out, but passed by my bank in Cubao first to conduct some needed business. I got to the office in Makati a bit early, and went to my *empty* cubicle to work on a new arena.

When the meeting finally started, I was struck by the easy camaraderie of our small four-person group: Troy, Tami, Ana and myself. We were still in the process of looking for a news curator, and a sports guy, so we were on skeleton mode, and doubled up where needed.

We had a nice, productive, fun time, sharing work and jokes, and ended an hour and a half later tying up all the loose ends for the Holy Week break.

We’re kinda sorry about losing Lara (well, not really), but her leaving us apparently did the group a world of good.

With all my work done, I now go on a two-week “holiday” for the Holy Week.


Mar 23 2015

Surgeon

Adel Gabot

Surgeon Simulator_20150322200206

Yesterday, I took advantage of the weekend’s Flash Sale at the Playstation Store, where they sold a helluva lot of stuff at incredibly deep discounts.

They only had four for the PS4 among the 75 they spread out for all their platforms, and I already owned one of them, so that was the bummer part. Of the three I didn’t yet own, they were selling Tennis In Your Face, Home and Surgeon Simulator for under a dollar. Under a dollar!

Tennis In Your Face was a simple hit-the-ball-at-an-angle-and-take-down-various-targets game, so that was obviously out, and Home was a simple 8-bit type horror platformer that communicated with title cards. Ack.

The last one was Surgeon Simulator Anniversary Edition, which was exactly what it said it was. A surgeon simulator. It used to sell for $12, but this weekend it was going on sale for $o.91.

That one I bought.

You play a doctor with an intentionally very unreliable and shaky control system, which makes for great laughs while you’re operating on various people. It’s a very unlikely and unrealistic premise, but immense fun, as it turns out. At least in the beginning.

I still have to play some more and see if it really is a riot, but it looks to be that way.

I’m glad Sony sometimes has these sales. Breaks the monotony a bit with sales that don’t break the wallet.


Mar 22 2015

Clear till April

Adel Gabot

screenshot_01

Yesterday I went apeshit-crazy and did four—count ‘em—four arenas for TSS, and I’m working on one more today, so I’m clear until the month after next. Five advanced arenas in all.

I literally had nothing to do at all, so I thought I get some advance work done on the business/tech arenas. So I took the time and did one. And then I did another one just for the heck of it. By the time the sun was beginning to set, I found myself doing one more, and then after dinner, one more. Then after that, I did the legwork for one last one to complete the month, which I’ll finish up this morning.

Let’s see. I did The Rise of Mobile Commerce, Gadget Care for The Summer, Bad Bandwidth and Brownout Prep yesterday, and then Condo Boom which I’ll wrap up this morning. Then I’m clear to do other stuff for TSS if the need arises. If not, I’ll just be just sitting pretty until May.

Granted, the last couple of arenas were sort of pushing the edge of my writing skill that day, and they probably need a quick rewrite, but the point is I got them done. That’s five links per arena, for a total of 25 links all in all, five sets of CTAs and five creative titles and decks. That means I must have gone through at least a couple of hundred links to find the final 25 to put in, and did a ton of work to write introductions to each arena.

Sheesh. The things you do when you’re bored.

 


Mar 21 2015

SSD

Adel Gabot

mx100-intro

Been thinking seriously of upgrading the MacBook Pro‘s drive to a Solid State Drive or SSD. It’ll give a much needed boost to performance and make it feel like an entirely newer laptop, and it’ll save on battery life to boot (I meant, in addition to, not really to “boot”; heh).

Now, I have its original 250GB 2.5″ hard drive, which is ok, but damned slow if you ask me.  But I had to wait until my previous Amazon order was delivered before I could order one (a Crucial-branded 128GB one that costs $99, plus shipping) though, because that’s how I am.

Last night, I tried to swap the drive out with a 500GB I had lying around the house, and successfully disassembled the notebook and installed it.

I had carefully reassembled the laptop already with the new drive in it when I realized that the old drive had four screw “nubs” on the sides that had kept it from rattling around on the inside of the computer. I found this out when I tried to install it in the cheap old CDRKing enclosure the 500GB was originally in, and it wouldn’t fit. Damn it!

And here I was psyching myself up to put in the OS, update it and then reinstall the Time Machine backup.

So I tried to remove the nubs, but it turned out I didn’t have the right sized Torx screwdriver to remove them. Double damn. So now the decision came to whether I kept the 500GB in and risk it, or restore the 250GB back in the laptop.

I disassembled the notebook again, and the 500GB seemed safe and solidly placed enough inside, but I took the safer route and changed it back the way to the way it originally was.

That was that.

This morning when I checked PhilMUG, I was surprised to find there was a guy selling the same Crucial drive I was originally intending to order.

It was going for a reasonable (if a bit high) price (P4k), but was still negotiable. I texted him to ask if it came with an adaptor to make it into a regular 2.5″ drive, and I’m still waiting to hear from him again.

After working on a new TSS arena this morning, I went window shopping on the usual sites, and found that the SSD drives were going for similar (reasonable, but still high) prices like the PhilMUG guy was selling, but I found one that was twice the size I was looking for (256GB), and selling for just P2k.

Thing was, he had cribbed it from his old Toshiba laptop, and it came in bare and without an adapter. Add to that the fact that he could only do meetups in the Las Pinas area, so I was a little wary. But I texted him anyway, and am still waiting for a reply.

Wouldn’t it be great if that last deal came through? Lemme look on the sites again for 2.5″ drive adapters.


Mar 20 2015

Cubicle

Adel Gabot

In line with the construction of the new office, I found out that I now have an entire cubicle at my disposal at TSS. At least, I had the choice of one—none of them were assigned yet, and I get to take my pick.

The last time I had a desk was my job at ABS-CBN. Before that it was an entire personal office at Hinge Inquirer, before that I had an office I shared with another editor at Mega, and before that one I had another personal one at K-Lite.

My desks became my personal space at whatever job I had, and I outfitted it accordingly with my junk. I stuffed and piled it high with my stuff, and it made my desk/office a small piece of home away from home. I think most people are that way with their tables and offices.

But as it is now, I hardly have anything to mark my TSS cubicle as mine. Been trying to think of what I could put there, but I come up blank. I cut out a lot of the extraneous, inconsequential things out of my present life, and I don’t have a lot of personal things anymore.

Paperwork has long been converted to digital form in our computers, and the large piles of paper have entirely disappeared from most desks—including mine, if I had one. Books and magazines have disappeared as well, becoming digital ghosts that just exist in devices. Pens and writing implements have largely been long gone as well. (Maybe I could bring in a cup to put in a couple of pens or something.)

I supposed I could put in a small power strip so I could charge up my devices. And maybe a couple of extra chargers as well.

Outside of that, I got nothing.

Oh well.