Blog

The thoughts, opinions, happenings, and just plain ramblings of a seemingly boring person.

New Watch: Garmin Vivoactive 4

I've worn a Pebble Time on my wrist since 2015. That's over 7 years with the same device, and probably the longest for any 'mobile' device that I've owned. Even after the Pebble company's demise at the end of 2016, it was still the most usable smartwatch for what I needed. Only now that its battery life is going to roughly 3 days have I needed to replace it, and it was a somewhat begrudging replacement.

Why it took me so long

It took me so long because none of the 'new' smartwatches would be more functional than the … Read more →

Working on a MacBook Pro (take 2)

It's coming up on 3+ years that I've been working on a MacBook Pro, so earlier this year I was due for a computer refresh. I was extremely critical of the hardware of the 13" 2018 MacBook Pro that I received last time around, so I was very much looking forward to a replacement that would hopefully be better.

This timed well with Apple's migration from Intel chips to their own 'Apple silicon', but I was pretty sceptical of the architecture change. I worked in support when Apple migrated architectures from IBM PowerPC to Intel way back in the mid-2000s, … Read more →

Using a Stream Deck for Productivity

Steam deck mini on a desk next to a keyboard

The Elgato Stream Deck is a series of products that are basically a board of buttons with little LCD screens on each one. As the name implies, its main target customers are streamers, who often need quick access to buttons to control cameras, overlays, sounds, lighting, or special effects.

I am no streamer (ANGTFT), but I recently bought a Stream Deck Mini for productivity.

I work 100% remotely, and spend a lot of time on Zoom calls. I got sick of hunting for the audio and camera toggle buttons with my mouse in each meeting, as well as … Read more →

Console Purchasing Wars: Xbox Series X

Last week, I finally got an Xbox Series X! I say 'finally' because despite working for a Microsoft company (I even have a Microsoft employee ID and email address), I have no special access (or pricing) to any Microsoft hardware.

Like everyone else desperately trying to find one, I've had to watch Twitter stock alert accounts, ring around tonnes of stores, and do everything else to try and secure a console ahead of scalpers. Even though the scalping price on eBay isn't too exorbitant—roughly about 25-30% above the retail price—I've refused out of principle to take that easy way … Read more →

Using a Cheap(ish) Android Tablet as a Digital Photo Frame

Like any regular family, we've taken a fair bit (probably too many) of digital photos over the years, especially since the kids came along.

I've dutifully put them all in organised folders on our home NAS, and of course, made sure that it is all backed up.

However, when do we actually look at our photos? Hardly ever, unless some special occasion prompts us to have a look back in time.

So, I thought I'd look into getting a digital photo frame that we could put in our living room and would randomly display photos directly from our … Read more →

New Mobile: Google Pixel 5

The two-and-a-bit year cadence of getting new phones continues! My previous phone, the HTC U11+, has performed admirably over the past two years, and for the most part, still is. It's been a great phone, especially for the multi-day hospital stays I've had over the past few years.

However, as seems to be the pattern with my phones, at the two-year mark little things start to creep in. With the U11+, its screen would sometimes show weird hues after touching it, and also leave horizontal lines that would take a few seconds to disappear. Very distracting.

Although I've been … Read more →

Migrating to VS Code

Friendship ended with Atom, now VS Code is my best friend

I should probably add a disclaimer to start this post. At the time of writing this post, I work for GitHub (and by extension, Microsoft (who own GitHub)). As a GitHub employee, I have no more insight into Atom's or VS Code's development or roadmaps than any other member of the public. Both Atom and VS Code are developed as open source communities on GitHub. All opinions in this post (and more generally on this blog) are always my own.

For the better part of the last 5+ years, I have used Atom as my editor of choice … Read more →

Ori & Remote Play Sequels

Ori and the Will if the Wisps

Ori and the Blind Forest is one of my favourite games of the past five years. I've played through it multiple times, and even purchased it a second time (as the Definitive Edition) not just to get more content, but to also give an extra bit of money to the devs (I had bought the original game with a heavy Steam discount).

I have always played the game using Steam's "Remote Play" feature (previously called "Steam Home Streaming"). The game runs on my Windows gaming PC in our study, but I play the game on my living room TV … Read more →

NUC Replacement: Nvidia Shield TV Pro

Nvidia Shield TV Pro

We've been using an Intel Celeron NUC for the past four years. It has served as a Plex client, a (buggy) Steam Home Streaming (now called Steam 'Remote Play') client, and occasional console emulator machine.

It did an admirable job over that time, but it was time for an upgrade. Windows Updates became an annoying – and on the Celeron – a time-consuming distraction. Steam Remote Play was buggy on it, and Plex had announced the intention to deprecate their desktop clients (I was using OpenPHT, which has also been mostly abandoned). Plus, the hardware wasn't keeping up … Read more →

New Keyboard: Logitech MX Keys

Logitech MX Keys

In the time since my last post on getting a keyboard, I'm now on my second one since then. 😆

The Corsair Strafe that I was using since 2015 started stuffing up at the start of last year, with flickering lighting and key double-presses. It is quite disappointing for these Cherry switches to only last ~4 years.

At the time, I still wanted mechanical switches, and nothing came close to the silence of the Cherry MX Silent Reds. So I got a ten-keyless keyboard which I liked the layout of: the Fnatic miniSTREAK.

I really loved the smaller … Read more →