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Thursday, 18 February 2016

Yet another status update of techie goodness

Here it is again, another round of status updates. Let's start with the beginning of the week: Sunday. On that day, I decided to watch anime and 4K videos (unfortunately you cannot easily combine both) on the downstairs big screen TV. It was a test of the capabilities of all my laptops: the MSI gaming laptop, Macbook, and Chromebook.

First up is the MSI gaming laptop. It was the only one that played 4K videos without issues, but the battery life (up to 3 hour-ish?) is too short for long-term anime watching. Next is the Macbook. Although it has the longest battery life (over 6 hours), the Mini DisplayPort does not support HDMI audio due to being an older Late 2009 model... Guess it wasn't the fault of my weird (and cheap) Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter + DVI to HDMI cable. And finally, the Chromebook. Surprisingly, it plays 1080P video on the TV without any issue (and can last 4.5 hours)! So we have a winner there, and it happens to be the most portable. I did forget to try my dual-boot tablet again, but it should still work fine and only supports mirroring (1280x800). One day, I'd like to try a MHL adapter for my Nexus 5 or something like that. Along with a OTG hub so it can charge at the same time.

Later that day, I noticed my old Pebble Classic smartwatch sitting around unused. Although I did give it my dad, he barely uses it and left it discharged for weeks. That unfortunately bricked it again, and left me scratching my head as the recovery mode didn't seem to work. After many attempts, I finally managed to boot it into recovery mode by holding Back+Up+Select before plugging in the charger, after it completely ran out of juice. Now it's a notifier for my iPod Touch LOL. Yes, I'm wearing two smartwatches (one on each hand). Put a Street Fighter 2 watchface on it, and away we go!

List of apps for my LG G Watch and Pebble Watch in that order (including "built-in" ones, although that sort of depends on your phone):

2048, Agenda, Alarm, Audio Recorder, Authenticator, Calculator, Compass, Find my phone, Fit, Flashlight, Google, Keep, Maps, Notification Toggle, Settings, Stopwatch, Timer, Together, Tool Box, Translate, Weather, World clock.

Settings, Music, Notifications, Alarms, Watchfaces, Mr. Runner, My Steps, My Vancouver Bus, Pokedex, Shake Dice, Stopwatch, Timer, XKCD Comics.

Yes there are some duplicates, but I like to use them according to what's convenient and which one is actively receiving notifications or doing other tasks at the time. Also I replaced Fit (G Watch) with My Steps (Pebble) cause I don't really care for it, and it uses up battery. Surprisingly, which my LG G Watch is stuck with Android Wear 1.3 (Lollipop), the classic Pebble has been updated with new "Time" features via a more recent firmware...

During the busy weekdays where I have work as a Software Quality Analyst, somehow I broke the Bluetooth function on my gaming laptop... It was consistently appearing and disappearing in the tray, Settings app, MSI SCM, and even Device Manager! Seems like a buggy hardware switch, because restoring a system image didn't fix the problem. Therefore, I decided to try to reproduce the problem with a Linux LiveCD to see if it's a software, firmware, or hardware issue. Fortunately, it was fixed when I manually pressed the hardware switch to re-enable Bluetooth in the live environment (doing it in Windows didn't help). Then I updated the Bluetooth drivers just in case, and that seemed to have fixed my WiFi lagging issues as well (both are integrated)!

Lastly, before this gets too long; I decided to put Facebook Messenger back on my phone, because I kept the Facebook app itself there and there's little point separating them (and getting two buzzes on both wrists). So what did I put in its place on my iTouch? FreeTone. This handy app gave me a Vancouver number, and allows free calling/texting to (pretty much) any Canadian or U.S. number without using credits! Of course there's a banner ad, and you'll need to buy/earn credits for international calls, but this is the best one of the group I think. Texts were delivered and received without lag, and I could easily pick up or call others (sound quality could be better though).

OK, you've heard (or in this case read) enough from me, so I will be going now. G'night all!

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