Archive for Geeky

POD: MineCraft Getaway

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Today we have a picture from one of my MineCraft worlds. It’s taken a while for me to try it, but with Jacob spending so much time playing Ithought Ishould give it a try. It’s a suprisingly adictive game, one that I’m really enjoying playing with my boy.

Tech Tuesday: A Big Unboxing

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For months I’ve known it was time to get a new computer, but it’s a hard thing to pick a computer. This week I finally pulled the trigger and got a new computer. Well work pulled the trigger, but I picked what it was aimed at. I considered a number of options for my computer, from laptops to touchscreen desktops. In the end I settled on a Lenovo K450E. I’ve set up a lot of Lenovos for clients recently and I’ve been impressed with the quality of the hardware and their customer support.

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POD: Portal Hunting

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For the last few weeks I’ve played a game Ingres on my phone. I like the merging of digital and real world  of the game. Of course this means that when I’m out walking I often go an extra block here and there to ‘Hack’ a portal. The kids aren’t really fans of this, often groaning when I insist we walk past the local library so I can check on my portal. The real winner is Ruby, our evening walks have grown longer as I get more into the game. Tonight we went all over the neighbourhood as I tried to capture 3 portals and establish a Control Field.

POD: Xbox and Beer

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With the family all snuggled up in their beds, it’s time for me to relax with a beer and some Watch Dogs, my father’s day gift from the family.

Tech Tuesday: Lumia 520

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At the beginning of December I purchased a new phone. The Nokia Lumia 520. I bought if because it was cheep and my phone died, and with over a year left on my contract my options were limited. I did look at other low-end phones, but I couldn’t see using a low-end Android phone after having my Mid to High end phone so long. So that left Windows Phone and I have to say that I mostly like it. For the last 4 months I’ve been working on this review and I look at it today and realise that It’s not really done. I’ve written about half the programs and features that I’ve wanted to, but with the release of Windows Phone 8.1 in the coming weeks I thought I’d clean up what I have and publish it and hopefully find the time to follow-up in the weeks to come.

The Lumia 520 is clearly low-end hardware, with its 480 x 800 screen, 512 MB Ram and only 8GB storage. The processor is nothing special,but even with these limitations it doesn’t feel low-end to hold or 2 use. The area that I bothers me most is the camera, it’s a 5 Mega Pixel, without a flash. Even with its limitations I have managed to capture quite a few pictures that I am proud of. A big plus is the inclusion of a micro SD slot that can handle up to 64GB SD cards to make up for the limited storage and the remove able battery gives me some options to get more life out of the thing.

The front of the phone has 3 Captive touch buttons, Back, Windows, and Search. One of the hardest things to get used to is the layout, the HTC Amaze has 4 captive ouch buttons starting with home, so there was an adjustment. Along the top edge is the Headphone Jack. Right side has the Volume Rockers, Power Button and a dedicated shutter button. The Left has nothing, The bottom edge of the phone has the micro USB connector for charging and connecting to the computer. The SD and Sim Card slot is under the phones back cover next to the removable battery.

When I was researching phones the lower resolution of the 520 worried me, I thought I’d miss the pixels, turns out that I don’t. The picture is vibrant and sharp, with great outdoor viewing. There are times when I do see where more pixels would be nice, but in my day to do use it’s not an issue.

Getting used to Windows Phone 8 has been a bit of a challenge,. Though there are parts of it that I think are better than any other smart phone, all to often as I use them I hit limits that leave me scratching my head and hoping Microsoft fixes in a future update. Notifications is a perfect example. When ever there is a system notification it comes down from the top of screen in a green bar. You can select it or swipe it away. Once it’s gone it’s gone. You can’t leave it for later review. It’s annoying specially after coming from Android Rich notification system, which has gotten even better in the last few releases of android. Still I like the core vision of Windows Phone, one I hope that Microsoft continues to refine in future version of the OS. Now let’s look at some of the features that makes Windows Phone such a compelling OS.

A Sea of Tiles:
When you start with windows phone you are presented with a sea of tiles, most have the same colour. It’s a clean uniform look. If you have attached it to an Active Microsoft account the People Tile comes to life with pictures of your contacts. The photo tile shows off your own photos from attached accounts,. The Calendar has you next event, it’s almost magical. Out of the gate Windows Feels more like your own device then any others I’ve used. Unfortunately you soon realize that it’s only skin deep. At every turn the clean and useful integration seems to just fall short of what you want.

The Live Tiles can look great, the uniform sizes makes the user interface clean and crisp, but they are so inconsistent with what they show. I know this isn’t all Microsoft fault, they created the platform the app makers have to use it and to few of them are. But their own apps are so hit and miss there is no surprise that the rest of the developers aren’t taking full advantage of it.

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POD: TTC Bus

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Today as I was heading back to the office I was a couple of new TTC buses. Well at least it was the first time I’d seen low floor articulated buses. Turns out they have been on the road since December. It’s nice to see new buses on Toronto streets, I just can’t wait till the new streetcars enter service later this year.

POD: Haking the Wii

From Picture of the Day 2013

For weeks Jacob has been asking me to hak the Wii so he could play Newer Super Mario Bros. Today I finally did, first with our old Wii and then on the main one. It was a simple process and he was so happy once it was done. I have to say I’m quite impressed by how well done Newer Super Mario Bros is. It could almost be from Nintendo.  Of course now I want to explore the other possibilities I have with the Wii now that we have the Home Brew channel.

When Backups Fail

Stack of Harddrives

Recently I have found myself thinking about why I started to blog. What did I hope to accomplish by writing in such a public way. My First blog was called Michael’s Thoughts. I started it to write about becoming a father. At least that’s what I think it was. You see I don’t have my original blog online anywhere anymore. I hosted it on a domain I no longer have. When I took it down I’m sure I backed it up, but over the last few weeks I have been looking for the files and I can’t find them.

I have gone through a couple of computers and a few different hard drives since I took my old blog down. And while I have found the sites supporting files, I can’t seem to find a backup of the data file. I know there was one, I remember thinking about setting up a site to see my old posts. Even looked at the SQL files, but I never took the time and now the files are lost. They don’t seem to be in the multiple directories of backups I have on my desktop, or my server. Are the stuck on one of the Hard drives I have attached to my spotty external drive enclosure? or in the stack of hard drives I’ve got stuck on a shelf in the store room.

Or have I just not looked hard enough, it’s so easy to get distracted while going through old files. Last night is a perfect example. While looking for the backup I found my T directory. It contains all my old Turing programs. I tried to run one of the compiled apps, windows promptly informed me that application didn’t run in this version of windows.

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POD: Skylander: Shroomboom

From Picture of the Day 2013

Another day and another Skylander, Today we have Lightcore ShroomBoom. The little guy showed up in Jacob’s Easter Basket. I’m not sure what’s so special about Lightcore Skylanders, but Jacob sure seems to like him.

POD: Skylander: Tree Rex

From Picture of the Day 2013

Tonight a Skylander Giant makes an appearance as my picture of the day. For tonights Skylander I’ve chosen Tree Rex.