22 September 2020


I finally have a modern computer monitor that can directly connect to my not-so-modern, but not that old, Mac laptop.  Typically with laptops using external monitor, I prefer to keep the lid closed.  I have this fear that a laptop is very vulnerable when it's wide open.  A push of the screen in the wrong direction can snap something and it won't function the same way any more.  When not in use, I usually keep the lid either closed all the way or at least leaning toward the closed position.  Alas, the way Mac OS X works, as soon as you closed the lid, the computer goes to sleep.  There's no built-in function like Windows where you can tell the operating system to Do Nothing.  There are utilities to disable sleeping but they don't work with laptop lids closing.  What a bummer!  Ya know, back in the day, the Mac was a superior graphical interface but in some areas Windows now has overtaken it.  Like this Sleeping issue, for instance.  My so-called workaround is to keep the Mirroring function, so that the laptop screen and the external monitor show the same thing, then close the laptop lid but jam it with my Bluetooth keyboard.  The laptop lid is in a slanted position so I don't gain any additional real estate space on my physical desktop, but at least I can see the big screen with the laptop screen sorta out of the way.

21 September 2020


 Part of my daily exercise regiment includes, usually, 30 minutes with Wii Fit Plus.  For those who don't know, the Nintendo Wii game console interface is more physically-involved than other systems.  It's a decent way to get some exercise while playing games.  They even go as far as having exercise programs such as Wii Fit and its sequel, with which you do actual yoga and strength training exercises.  The interaction is achieved with the help of the Wii Board, which the player would stand on.  You can weighed everyday to track your pounds.  You can also find out how balanced you are, even though your left and right sides are not identical, you do want to try to have a sense of balance of the two sides.

Sometimes the yoga and exercises get too boring.  You can unwind a bit by playing Balance Games and such.  They are basically video games but you control by shifting your body to move around.  Just like video games, with some games you can only advance so far and it seems there's no way to complete the game.  With some computer video games,  there are cheat modes that you might find to finally complete the game.  Not a good idea to always cheat, but it's just a game and if you already tried hard enough you just want to get over it.

One game I finally complete is Balance Bubble, found in the original Balance Games of Wii Fit.  Like many things in life, the first few times I didn't get very far.  I kept trying and got better, eventually completed the Basic Level.  In Advanced Level, there are bumble bees buzzing around and would bust your fragile bubble that you ride in when you cross their path.  Again, for a while I couldn't get past these pesky insects.  Luckily, once you know that the bees fly in certain pattern and that you can go backward or stay in place, then it's not too bad.  Also, in places where the wave emanates from the shore, the current isn't that strong so you don't need to overreact and end up crashing into the shore.

I am now trying to complete Balance Bubble Plus.  The route is totally different, there are rotating arms, and there's a dark tunnel that you can only see so much ahead.  You just have to move slowly and carefully avoid bumping into the round objects floating about.  Once you are out of the tunnel, there are two rotating arms, with smaller radius so that you have less room to maneuver, one set of arms after another.  And they rotate in different directions, too!  The furthest I got was past the first set of arms.  Even if I somehow get past the second set, time may be running out, too, so I'll have to try to lose little time in the easier, beginning section.  These games are supposedly to be relaxing but they are getting my blood pressure up!

09 September 2020


 I don't cook so the deal at home is I do the dish-washing etc.  We don't have a dishwashing machine so it's a tedious task that I was happy to delegate to my son when he was home from college.  Now that he's back at the dorm, it's my responsibility again.  I try to make it more tolerable by having something to listen.  I am a big fan of podcasts so that was my first choice.  However, dishwashing can get noisy and as sharp as my hearing is the clanging sometimes muffle the sounds from the podcast off my iPhone.  I would miss the punch line of a joke on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me or Ask Me Another, so that's no fun.  Next I tried my music library, but after a while it gets boring, hearing the same old songs day in day out, even though I have a lot of songs randomly played.  So I tried apps like iHeartRadio.  Strange thing is the app would just stop at some point after playing for like ten minutes.  First-world problem!

Now I am happy with YouTube playlists.  Not just any list, but 70s and 80s rock music, maybe even 60s and I can even stretch to pop music.  Yes, there are advertisements and some even demand you interact with them before the next song plays, so it's not a perfect solution.  What I like is now I finally learn the names of some of the tunes I hear regularly.  Not that the makers of those playlist always list the song names, but some kind souls usually add the names, in proper order, as a comment.  Thank you!  Two songs I now know the names for are The Breakup Song by The Greg Kihn Band and Paint It Black by The Rolling Stone.

02 September 2020


Continued to slog through study session for A+ certificate, so boring since I know most of the stuff, I just don't have the piece of paper to prove it. Let me try to make some puns so I can remember more useless facts and acronyms...

Why are laptops screens never brighter than desktop computers' screens? Because for their memory laptops use Small Outline Dual Inline Memory Modules whereas desktops' memory modules are just Dual Inline Memory Modules. SO DIMM vs. just DIMM!

I did learn something fun, not sure how useful it is though.  Supposedly while some designation for memory speed are usually rounded down for better appearance, such as 66

2/3 becoming just 66, exception was made DDR2-666, as it gets artificially inflated to 667 to avoid looking like the Devil's Number.  Talk about religion of the Western World influencing everyone else.  If the people who control technology believe in Buddhism or Islam then 666 doesn't mean anything.  On the other hand, if the Chinese control these designation, everything will end in 8, as the sound for the number 8 is the same for expansion, more, increase, which the Chinese automatically pair to wealth, health, the usual good stuff.

30 August 2020


No respect, I get no respect.  Yup, when it comes to some jobs, having no certificate whatsoever in the computer field gets me no respect.  Recruiters nowadays probably run resumes through some filter and if there's no A+ or MCSA, or whatever the job demand, then you get filtered out.

I finally took the plunge and registered for a paid A+ online course.  It's not the first time I try to go for a cert, but this time it's online so hopefully the progress-tracking provided, the example tests etc will help.  In the past, I spent x dollars on some set of books then lost interest shortly afterward.  Maybe because work required more time, family matters, whatever.  This time, with the exam voucher already paid for, that should be incentive enough to get the darn thing done.  Plus while unemployed I do have some time.

People ofter mention so-and-so school course is so useless, such as, "When was the last time I need to use trigonometry in real life?"  Trigonometry, I have to agree on that, at least for my line of work (computer support, mostly at financial institutions) but not algebra.  Still, likewise these cert courses are so boring, going into every little details and most likely won't be used ever in real life.  It's like reading a book on how to avoid being sued if you run a business.  It makes me chuckle to think back on all the risky behaviors ex-colleagues of mine did.  Like stacking boxes so high or haphazardly so that they eventually crashed down overnight.  Or management at older jobs where the floor had gaping holes because some tiles were partially removed.  I guess if those people have certs they wouldn't do that.  Or that they don't care about safety, just rushed around getting the job done with the minimal effort and move on to the next one.  Sigh.

At least now I am at some chapter in the online course where it's a little more exciting, different types of USB connections, hard drive connectors etc.  Maybe if I think of a pun to go with a topic occasionally it won't be so boring.  Like SATAday Night Fever or ATA boy!

Have you found something really useful from an A+ cert prep course in real life?

27 August 2020


 Like many people, I buy from Amazon, every now and then, not weekly like some addicts.  I try to support my local businesses but sometimes the local places just don't have what I want. The pandemic doesn't help either.  Getting the stuff delivered to me is convenient, especially since there's an Amazon Locker at my nearby 7 Eleven.  Porch pirates ruin the experience and I once lost a package so now even if I have to pay extra for the Locker I still go with it.

One thing I dread about though is returning stuff to Amazon.  I haven't had the need to do so, until this week.  In my mind, that involves finding some box that would fit the items, pack the items, contacting the seller for some authorization paperwork, print or write the return address, then finally take the package to the post office, which the past few times when I went there on the weekend the queue was long.  Not at all an attractive prospect.  Recently I bought some third-party remote controls for my Wii console and they wouldn't stay synced.  I had to sync them each time the Wii is powered on.  I was glad to find out that it was a rather smooth process to return them.

I had a month to use the product before it's ineligible for return.  I heard about Kohl's store being physical pickup points for Amazon but didn't know that they process returns there as well.  7 Eleven places also handle returns, except the available choices are few, nowhere near where I live.  Kohl's is not as close but I could use a nice walk, some excuse to get out of the house once in a while.  Although the return process for Kohl's clearly mentions no need to pack up the items, I thought since I had a printer and a padded envelope from a different, recent Amazon purchase I would pack the items up.  It turned out to be unnecessary, or probably detrimental to the process in use by the person doing the returns.  She asked me to cut open the packaging and then she did her usual things.  So much for trying to re-use stuff.  I guess Amazon has their fixed process, or the person doing the work just didn't know what to do when the items are already packed.  Whatever, a day or two later I got credited for the purchase on my credit card.

I did notice a small pile of used Amazon boxes by the entrance to Kohl's.  The boxes are probably from people who picked up their stuff and then didn't want to deal with proper disposal of them at home.  If you need a box, Kohl's by Caesar's Bay should be a place to check out.

09 August 2020


I love origami and had a phase during which I was very much into modular origami.  There are so many types of modular origami, as I discovered in the books I borrowed from the public library or bought from elsewhere.  I tried maybe two or three types and found sonobe modular to be the easiest to do.  Sonobe, that's all I know by name.  It's important to know the lingo so we origamists can communicate.

One day at a friend's house, as we prepared to start dinner, my friend's mother started folding these little trays.  The trays were then used to hold bones and such, stuff discarded from the food dishes.  I love origami but so far the stuff I made were just decorative and serve no useful purpose.  I sometimes joke a sonobe ball can be kept in the car dashboard for throwing at bad drivers, but such action would probably escalate quickly.  Anyway, I asked the woman to show me how to make it and was able to master it quickly.  Later on, I showed my own mother and she's been making them regularly.  I just made the ones shown below, as offer to my local Buy Nothing group.

What are they called?  There must be a name for them.  Some Japanese words, I prefer.  I don't make them regularly and usually I would have to reverse-engineer one when I forget.  If I know the name, I can look it up in YouTube.  Better yet, I plan to use Jitsi Meet's record feature to make a YouTube video, just for my own feeble memory to rely on when needed.