Radar detectors 

Gave my escort 9500i away. It’s the third one. The other two were stolen out of the car. Remember to keep the glove compartment locked! Anyway time to look for a new one. 

Wirecutter recommends the Valentine V1 for $400 direct. The patent on their directional lights expired but the $600 Escort Max is more expensive and requires a $50 per month subscription. 

Plus for $50 you can go to Best Buy and they will direct wire it so you don’t need that ugly cigarette lighter attachment. 

Apple support rocks!

Ok Apple may be past its prime but i am still amazed by its customer service. I hope someone else takes up the mantle. 

We had a bad Thunderbolt connector on the motherboard and it was fixed in four days. Plus the screen was delaminating so that got repaired too. 

Nice work and $300 saved. Only bummer is that port looks dead again. Don’t know if a bad repair or maybe something wrong with a DisplayPort cable. But why does it break one but not the other port?

Using a PC Keyboard with a Mac

Well, this has been fun, I really love the Corsair 70 mechanical keyboard, but getting ti to work with a Mac is quite a trick, here are the two big things you need to do:

  1. The Windows and the Alt key are reversed on a PC Keyboard, so the Command key and the Option key should get flipped. You can do this in the Keyboard or just get used to the flip. This is in System Preferences/Keyboard/Modifier Keys
  2. The Function keys do not manage brightness and so forth. You need to download Karabiner and the in Change Key/Change F1..F19 Key & Functional Key make the change so you can change the brightness and the sounds etc. Note that with this keyboard, the Mac recognizes it, so it’s other keys like mute and volume work. As does Play and rewind.

Watching the Olympics

Well it took some research but here’s the guide to watching the Olympics. Get an over the air antenna and hope you can see an antenna. If you can, then OTA is still free and it comes out on NBC. If you get a box then you can even make it a DVR. Not a bad choice, but you need to have line of site to a TV tower 🙂

  1. If you have a Cable, Satellite or other subscription. Download the NBC Sports application and use your credentials. Works on phones, AppleTV and all the various android players.
  2. If you have “cut the cord” your options are a little more tricky. You can subscribe to SlingTV Blue for $20 a month and Sony Playstation Vue. Despite that last name it is actually not tied to the Playstation at all. A huge caveat here is that SlingTV Blue only works for NBC certain markets like NYC, Chicago, Dallas, Hartford, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Diego and Washington, D.C., but not Seattle, so the only way to see NBC is to have a VPN that egresses into these markets that you either hook into your router or use a Mac or PC and then Airplay or Chromecast to your set top box. Most VPNs will ingress and egress from the same region, so if you say select a NYC access point you will egress with a NYC IP (hint, hint).
  3. If you are lucky enough to live outside of the US (or have a VPN that egresses into these countries like Tunnelbear), then you can use the BBC.co.uk by egressing there. You could also use Canada, but this requires a login to the TSN.ca network.

N95 masks

If you go to China these days, you want to make sure that you have the right kind of masks. N95 is the designation for pollution masks that are good at filtering. Mybeijinghealth.com has some good recommendations:

  • 3M N95 8210 Plus. These filter out 95% of particulate 2.5 microns or larger. $18 for 20, they are not a bad buy on Amazon. the more important number is fit test because a leaky mask is pretty useless. These masks are also certified in the US.
  • Vogmask. These are also highly rated but are washable, so for $30 not a bad buy if you are organized and don’t lose it. They are also a lot prettier than the 3M disposables.

Continuous integration

Well this is a big topic, but I’ve been looking at CI products for a while now. We have some unique requirements that make it hard to pick one such as:

  1. 8GB of real memory for certain builds particularly Boost and QEMU
  2. Ability to install and run docker containers as the build system itself needs to start docker containers. So it can’t itself run be run inside docker.
  3. Sudo privileges for various packages so it can’t run unprivileged.
  4. Ease of use is really nice too as I’m not too expert.
  5. Run Ubuntu 14.04. This is less of a problem now but six months ago this was a problem as most build environments used 12.04.

Here’s what I’ve found:

  1. Not many systems tell you how much memory they allow. For instance CircleCI is limited to 4GB and it is not obvious when it fails as it will wipe a container. Also it’s virtualization does not permit swapfiles so you can’t expand this limit
  2. Codeship in it’s legacy mode does not allow sudo privileges although it does provide 10GB of real memory.
  3. Travis CI would seem to work but it is $120 per month so it would be nice to be able to have our own servers too.

So what are some others to try:

  1. Jenkins. This is supposed to be hard to use, but will run on our own servers
  2. Bamboo. Also heard some good things about this Atlasssian product
  3. Drone.io. Ok I admit it a cool name!

Bluetooth add on for cars

If you have a car and want all the modern amenities like bluetooth connection, here are your options:

  1. Really old car without auxiliary jack but with tape player. We just sold our car that was literally 20 years old. The only options seems to be either a bluetooth to FM transceiver or to a tape player to aux cable. Neither work super well, the FM transmitter really doesn’t work well in urban areas as there are so few clear channels. And the aux cable tends to fail as those 3.5mm contacts are unreliable
  2. Auxiliary jack. Cars in the mid 2000s started to have aux cables. Here, you want something like Lifehacker’s Anker Soundsync. This plugs into the aux cable and connects via Bluetooth LE to your phone. The main limitation is that it does not work  with multiple phones. The iClever HB01 (not the HBo1+) is the multiple phone choice.