Category Archives: Gear

Posts about hardware, software, or the tech industry itself

The Xbox One- Six months later

I received my Xbox One back in November.  I have some observations to share after something approaching six months living with the big black box.

  • There are no where near enough good games available yet for the Xbox One.  Titanfall is out, but yet another multiplayer shooter isn’t really all that appealing
  • I expect the game selection to improve vastly by this fall
  • the One itself is solid, quiet, and performs well.  The hardware hasn’t shown any quirks at all yet
  • There were some pretty serious shortfalls with the Xbox One software initially.  Forming up and communicating via parties was clumsy in the extreme, the friends interface was inefficient, and everything felt slower than it should because of the multiple steps through the UI that always seemed to be necessary.
  • Microsoft has been doing an impressive job fixing up those shortfalls with a fairly quick release schedule.  The improvements since January in particular have been remarkable.  I would say there is still room for improvement: adding friends to a party still feels slower than it should be, and looking up friends and their achievements is sluggish.  But I’m happy with where things are heading
  • The Kinect is… interesting, but not exactly overwhelming.  I’m probably not the “target demographic”, which seems to be people who use their Xbox One as a “home entertainment center”.  I don’t hate the Kinect, though, so it could be worse
  • It is finally possible to hook up a third party chat / audio headset.  Microsoft starting shipping the headset adapter in March

Continue reading The Xbox One- Six months later

Getting quantified: Fitbit Flex

Two weeks ago I purchased and started using a Fitbit Flex.  It is basically a set of accelerometers, some computing, and a Bluetooth wireless connection bundled into something you can wear on your wrist.  This little gadget won’t turn me into an athlete, but I’m hoping it might make me a little more aware of my astounding lack of activity.  And in the process, possibly shame me into moving a bit.

Fitbit flex

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Recording my rides: the Race Optics EVO-HD Camera System

It occurred to me shortly after I bought my first motorbike last year that video taping my rides might be kind of interesting.  I started investigating the various options, ranging from duct-taping or velcro-strapping an off-the rack home video camera onto my bike, through custom-built video rigs specific to motorcycling.  What I settled on was probably overkill for my needs, and turned out to have some unexpected frustrations: the Race Optics EVO-HD Camera system.

Race Optics EVO-HD

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New iPhone: or why I cancelled my Rogers account

I’ve had a couple of tiring and rather stressful weeks at work in a row, so I decided to take Friday afternoon off.  Since it was cold (and getting colder) I couldn’t really go for a ride on my motorbike.  Instead, I decided to practice some retail therapy and “upgrade” my BlackBerry Bold to an iPhone.

iPhone 4: this changes everything

My BlackBerry is on Rogers, so off I went to my local Rogers Plus store…

Continue reading New iPhone: or why I cancelled my Rogers account

How the iPad changed my life…

I received my iPad directly from Apple in early June and have been living with it since.  I mean that phrase more completely than is usual with something of a technical nature: this device really has become part of my life, far more quickly and completely than I expected.  The iPad is more than the sum of its parts: not exactly “magical”, but truly something new that goes beyond the mere technical details that describe it.  And yet not all is well in this wondrous future into which this little booklet-sized computer has ushered me.


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Kevlar pants and motorbike GPS

I’ve been sick with a sinus infection for the last several weeks, and am now mid-way through my second week of antibiotics.  The infection was the outcome of my earlier flu that made my motorcycle lessons a bit more challenging.

The illness has somewhat impacted my “biker geek” adventures, but hasn’t halted them entirely.  I’ve managed to put a bit over 600 kilometres on my Vulcan, 200 of which was accrued on my ride yesterday with my Nephew Shane and his cousin.may15_ride1.jpg

Continue reading Kevlar pants and motorbike GPS

Network attached storage- ReadyNAS NV+ and NVX

Years ago, shortly before the turn of the century, I had a pretty good backup solution. I had a 20 Gigabyte tape drive that I used to back up all of my storage.

That was a decade ago. Somewhere along the line, the combined increases in total storage I had to back up plus the slowness/cost/general hassle of maintaining tapes mean that my backup strategy broke down. I tried various things in the interim, including network attached storage in 2006, and the Time Capsule for backing up my Macintoshes. The Time Capsule works great, but even with a terabyte of disk storage I am rapidly running out of room- and it does nothing to back up my Windows or Linux machines.

I needed something expandable, multi-platform, fast, and inexpensive. Well, three out of four isn’t bad, I guess…

Continue reading Network attached storage- ReadyNAS NV+ and NVX