New New Lappy

I’ve been itching for a new lappy for a little while now. It’s not that I really needed one although the current one’s battery life left a fair bit to be desired for. And I think there were issues starting with the wireless card – every now and then it required a restart to pick up the wifi internet. Mild annoyances but nothing crazy.

Then Ebay decided it wanted to do another one of its 20% off sales. Has Ebay had any breaks from sales in the last 2 years? Coz it sure feels like it’s constantly having one. Shouldn’t complain though… Well I got myself another Asus.

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Pretty packaging – tick. I was a little worried there when I was opening the slightly boring/ugly exterior box, didn’t realise there would be another box inside it. Have to hand it to Asus for packaging, they do a good job.

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It’s pretty bare bones on the inside though. Power adapter and USB to ethernet plug. No manuals… I mean I know we’re all about saving the trees and all but there’s just something different about being able to physically flip through a booklet. Scrolling a PDF ain’t the same thing. No microfibre cloth which I thought was odd as every other Asus laptop I’ve had came with one, including the refurbished unit. There is a basic laptop sleeve which is a practical inclusion.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Asus, hence the 4th lappy from them. First one was a 12incher I had for years and only upgraded to a bigger screen though towards the end one of the keys kept coming loose and had to keep popping it back into place. The second was the only one to completely die so I hacked it to pieces afterwards. Third one had a hard drive failure but was under warranty so after replacing the drive it has been smooth sailing since. And given it was refurbished to start with, these three and a half years were good ones. Now it’s time to start a new relationship.

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There’s just something aesthetically pleasing about Asus. The zen circle pattern on the top, the large smooth touchpad and this time rounding off with the backlit keyboard. Things I miss going from 14″ to 13″ is no dedicated page up and down keys. And having the function key on the other side of keyboard away from the arrows requires two handed navigating. Smaller text is the other issue, playing around with resolutions and adjusting text size is tricky as things get unpredictably fuzzy. I’ll eventually work it out…

The mineral grey has a slight purplish hue which I’m appreciating more and more. The gold/brass coloured hinges are still growing on me though. At times they do seem a bit flamboyant but it’s a unique look. Still nothing compared to their royal blue lines. I may get tempted in a few years. Especially when minimal bezels become more mainstream and I can go back to a 14″ without sacrificing portability.

Only petpeeve with the Zenbook Flip is the sides and bottom of the chassis aren’t 100% flush.

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It’s not the entire border, and it’s less than 0.5mm but still… Just one of those things to live with I guess given everything is mass produced these days. Overall I’m happy. Brand spanking new lappy around $1.3k. I’ve just got to stop splurging now. First new tablet, now new laptop. Alright spending embargo… at least for the next few months…

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Christmas

Another year eh?

By all accounts it was a good one this year. I got some peace and quiet. Sure I had the parental obligations but apart from that, I got my summer hibernation.

Sydney is really too hot for turkey. But I just had to do it. My first turkey roast ever.

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Pretty good for a first attempt I reckon. Though now I’ve come to the conclusion I really don’t dig it that much. And it has nothing to do with dad’s salty but otherwise tasteless rolls of meat he gets from the supermarket every year. Turkey is actually that tasteless. I skipped the brining so at least I’m not dying from sodium overload. Jointing a turkey seems easier than a chicken, but the connective tissue is tough. Not a fan. And the weird thing is I never realised there was such an obvious distinction between light and dark meat on a turkey. Chicken is much more subtle.

So the past few days have been either cooking, eating or dreaming about food. I dreamt someone made a salmon sashimi cake and damned if I didn’t want it when I woke up. It’s not as gross as it sounds. Just a whole heap of salmon arranged into a round cake shape. Man to have that much sashimi… *drooling*

Apart from food I managed to snag myself an early xmas present a few weeks ago. Gotta love them Black Friday sales from across the seas.

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Such a fancy box. The device isn’t half bad itself. But man the bargain price… about US$250 inc shipping. Sorely in need of a tablet upgrade for a while. 1.5gb of RAM just doesn’t cut it these days. Especially when you have multiple tabs open on Firefox. The damn thing just keeps crashing.

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I think my main petpeeve with all the 8inch tablets these days is hardly anyone does 16:9 screens anymore. I want to hold it properly in one hand damnit. That and bezels. The fact that this one has thin ones makes it perfect. The screen is nice and sharp. The fingerprint sensor is a novelty, my phone still doesn’t have one. Great speakers. Awesome battery. Only thing that annoys me is EMUI but nothing a new launcher won’t fix. I haven’t gotten around to rooting just yet. Can’t decide if I want to go down that route or not. These days since most things are customisable it’s becoming less and less relevant. The perks of having control and managing backups still has me on the fence. But more so for a phone than a tablet so I guess I’ll see when I upgrade the phone.

Have to put it the Huawei. Maybe it was prejudice but I never did expect to see something of this quality. Still can’t get over how well put together the box is. Though it did take me forever to find the screen protector.

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Seriously, of all places you snuck it there? Well it was a pretty good hiding spot I have to admit.

So now all that xmas-ey stuff is over. Only a couple more days until the end of the year. Yay? I haven’t decided yet…

Vivosmart HR

So it was coming up to a year since I had my original Vivosmart and it was pissing me off as the band starting cracking. That and the LED display started losing pixels. I kept dealing with it since it still sort of worked, I could still make out my messages and all that, it just required scrolling back and forth to get it to land on the pixels that did work. But then chunks of the band started to fall off and I ended up with this.

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Definitely not useful. I was never sure when the band would just pop loose since it never struck me as that secure in the first place. So then I was umming and ahhing over what to replace it with as I really wanted something able to read emails and messages. I didn’t want a real smartwatch as most of them are just so big and bulky, not to mention poor battery life. In the end I ended up settling with the new Vivosmart HR.

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First impressions – the strap seems flimsy for a $200 device, it feels so much chunkier than the previous generation, the display is much easier to read. So far I’ve been using it a few weeks now. The display is awesome – no problems in sunlight. I was worried about it being so shiny. Within the first week I thought I had scratched it up when I swung my wrist and hit a doorway. I ended up with white marks on the edge of the display which at first I couldn’t remove. Over time I managed to rub it off and you would even pick that it had been banged up. Battery life does suck a little compared to the previous generation. Then again this little sucker has to power up a HR monitor. I should really turn that off since I don’t use it much. Apart from when I’m bored. And wonder how on earth it thinks I haveĀ  heart rate of around 50 when peddling on an exercise bike all puffed out.

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It does have this groovy weather notification thing going on. Again not really that useful and probably sucking up juice. Speaking of juice the charger sucks. Someone shrunk the cable in half. Who the hell thought that was a great idea? The clip in for the charger is also crap. Way too fiddly lining up the bits. Plus all that clicking in and out to charge is bound to crack something one of these days. Another annoying thing is I think it undercounts steps compared to the last one. Unless the previous one overcounted? I have noticed that when taken off and put in a pants pocket, the older Vivosmart would still count steps taken whereas the new one doesn’t. Not sure whether that on it own would account for the roughly 10% discrepancy.

Overall, I guess I’m pretty happy with it. Especially since I picked it up when 20% off. Not sure I would’ve paid full price for one. Then again since when have I ever paid full price for anything? Fingers crossed this one lasts me more than a year. Given the higher price it better otherwise I shall be mighty pissed.

Resolution?

Don’t think I made a resolution this year. Not that they really ever turn out well. Since I forget about a few months in if I’m lucky. Otherwise I just can’t be assed. So would my resolution have been to get fit? Well, probably not. But look new toy!

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I guess I’ve been tossing up the idea of a smartwatch for a while. Except they’re all so damn big. And expensive. And I don’t really need all the crazy features. So after staring at the Vivosmart for a few months I decided to bite the bullet. And get it much cheaper off ebay.

The nifty little thing does what I need it to. Flashes up messages when my phone is on the other side of the room and buzzes me when my phone is otherwise on silent. Which is handy at work when my phone is usually stashed behind a computer somewhere charging away. As a plus it tells me what an utter failure I am at moving around. I swear I’m on my feet but it reckons I ain’t taking enough steps so it relentlessly badgers me until I do aimless loops walking around the house until it resets its (what I call the) lazy bum meter.

I’ll have to give it a week or so with the sleep tracking before I make up my mind whether it’s just wishy washy crap or not. Given I’m a light sleeper and I haven’t worn a watch to bed in years, I’m waking up just coz I’m wearing the damn bugger. On the plus side it shows me the crazy spikes at 3am where obviously my brain has decided nocturnal rest is for wimps. One day I’ll get a hang of this sleep thing. Anyhow wearing the Vivosmart is still better than having the phone on the bed. Which was what I was doing when trialling the Sleep Android app last year. Yep no… my bed is only large enough for me. Don’t need the hassle of rolling over the phone in the middle of the night, or kicking it onto the floor by accident.

Overall, I think it’s a cool little device. Early days though, so hopefully battery life isn’t the shithouse. Another reason for not getting an actual smartwatch is having to charge the thing everyday. Reason I got a phone with good battery life is so I don’t have to. Not going to add to my tech with something needs the extra attention.

Guess we’ll see if I can beat the random goal it sets me tomorrow. I failed miserably the first few days. Well actually no, I just didn’t wear it a full 24hrs once and then fiddled around with settings and somehow changed the time. Which reset my step counter for the day. Grr, first world problems. It gave me a crazy low 6768 steps today. Nailed it plus plenty. So yeah, we’ll see what tomorrow brings.

My New Dyson

I don’t think it was that long ago when I was adamant people were crazy to spend hundreds on a vacuum cleaner. That was before I got sick of lugging around a big heavy machine and getting the cord stuck around things. Which of course gets Sherlock’s attention which could eventually lead to electrocution. Actually my Nilfisk wasn’t that bad. I just got suckered in by Dyson.

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So guess who has a fancy ass vacuum now? It does take some getting used to. There’s the whole holding down the trigger thing. If you forget and relax the pressure on your trigger finger well the vacuum shuts off. Which I suppose is good for battery life. Speaking of which I can pretty much do a 2 bedder off full charge. The attachments are many, but just testing out the motorised head, it picks up a loooooot of stuff. I vacuumed first with the old one, then did a once over with the Dyson.

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Yikes. That’s a lot of hair. Damn moulting cat. So anyway… while other people are out spending big on fun xmas presents. I buy myself a bloody vacuum cleaner. Sorry, a blood fancy ass vacuum cleaner. I suppose there are worse ways to spend $300. At least this way it’s a lot less effort to motivate myself to vacuum. Which means I can concentrate on my to do list which has kind of fallen by the wayside.

Finish off this year:

  • Hem curtains
  • Get the skirt/curtain done for my console table to hide shoes
  • Sort through giant pile of bills and file them
  • Find some frames for the canvasses I brought back from hols
  • Get rid of the crap cluttering the kitchen bench and dining table (half of which relates to point three)

I suppose the list isn’t too bad for the next two weeks. Trying not to aim too high as I just end up failing spectacularly.

Next year:

  • Do up the balcony – cover up ugly crumbling concrete and air conditioning unit
  • Fix some braces to balcony table so it stops wobbling
  • Get some plants which I hopefully don’t end up killing
  • Look into changing out the vertical blinds in the bedrooms and kitchen
  • Do something about the transition between laminate and carpet at the bedroom doors

There will probably be more things to add to that list, once I remember them. But so far it’s a start.

New lappy

So three months without a lappy I finally get around to getting a replacement.

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Ain’t she pretty? Well kind of… Had issues finding a lappy to satisfy my anal retentative requirements, one of which was normal sized arrow keys. That ended up ruling out most brands and anything under a 14 inch screen. Haswell was taking its time getting onto the market so I just gave up and got a cheap refurbished Asus. Warranty is 12 months so even if this lasts me 2-3 years I’m still ahead. For a refurb, it’s in pretty good shape. The surfaces were a little grimy but nothing a bit of spit and elbow grease won’t fix. There’s one tiny scratch on the lid but unless I’m staring at it, it’s not that noticeable. Plus I have my eye on some laptop skins to change the look anyway. My main petpeeve about the S400 is the shallow keyboard. There’s not much travel and half the time my spaces aren’t registering as you really need to aim for the centre of the spacebar, and firmly at that. I suppose it’ll just take getting used to. It’s got to beat typing on a tablet and I got used to that.

On that note, how long does it take to get used to Windows 8? OMG did whoever invent it go out of their way to make things complicated? Yes metro looks nice… but switching between that and the desktop interface is doing my head in. Especially when you have apps, and then desktop apps. And random hidden menus. At least it has the customisation thing going for it.

Now to spend more hours playing around with rearranging my tiles…