Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Google Warranty Return Google Nexus 5X

Recovery Mode
Friday, November 11, 2016 was a day that was odd in many ways. But, what I want to talk about is that is the day that my Google Nexus 5X crapped out on my. Mid-afternoon, I noticed that it began to reboot. Saw this as a sign of not a good thing, I powered it down and would deal with it after I get home for the evening.

Evening came and I took it out to see if I can figure out what happened. Powering it on was not really working. It would not go past the "GOOGLE" logo screen into the Android OS. Rut-Roh.... Now it is time to take deeper diagnose measure. Booted into boot menu. When I was able to get into the recovery, dumping the cache, or even a clean wipe was not able to get me past the "GOOGLE" screen. Now, I know this was not good.

At this point, I was thinking, well I wanted a Google Pixel phone anyway.... But, at this time, I knew that it was not in my financial cards. Ie. it was a really nice to have, but not needed..... Then it dawned on me, that I accturally bought the  2 year device protection. The FIRST time that I have ever bought a warranty of that type. Having no choice, I had to make a claim.


Step 2 -- filled out all the required information. I will say it was easy since I like to keep the box of key products like the Nexus 5x so I had all the needed information at my finger tips. I filled out everything truthfully.

Step 3 -- Check email and got a conformation that I was approved.

Now it is important to say that this was Friday night when I filled this out. By Sunday morning, got an email with information that my replacement product was shipped and instructions on how to return my old product. Tuesday afternoon I had the product in hand.

As expected, it was bare bones and "referbed" but to be expected. What was in my hand was a very nice unit. No visible marks.


Like people that are in the Apple ethos, I am in the "Google" ethos. I am sure there are people that would say that is not a good thing, for me it is what I choose and I am very "okay" with it.

So, after inserting my SIM and turning on the the device, I was asked questions.... one of the questions was did I want to recover from a backup. Since, I always do backups, I said sure. A few more questions and loads of downloading later, I was back to 99.9% of what I was right before I noticed that my phone was cycle rebooting.


The experience was quite easy. Interesting note, throughout the process, I did not interact with a human until I returned the old Nexus 5X via the Post Office.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

ChicoBag Resuable Travel Pack (RePETe)

I needed a new pack-able day pack for when I travel. Sticking to the minimalist packing that I lean, I wanted to give the ChicoBag Reusable Travel Pack a try.

Received from Amazon.com packed in the standard box. Due to my over aggressiveness in opening the box with a sharp knife, I put a 2 inch cut in the pack already. The pack was folded up so it turns out that it was just the inside top zipper area that was compromised. So, a fail on my part and Amazon packing.

But, a little blue duct tape and it was all good. But, it does show that this is a pack that is light and made of very thin material that can be cut. Something to be just be aware. I am heading on some business travel later this month and will see how this preforms as an auxiliary bag/day pack during that trip.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Hasta Alaska Kombi Life and me

I have been following a great YouTube Channel Kombi Life for a little while and have watch all of Ben’s videos. I feel while he is not the only person to travel and document this way, but he has a unique method of storytelling. I would say he is one of the top travel documentary people right now. I highly suggest you check it out.

While I would love to be in the Kombi Life, but not able to for many reasons, what I can  to and many others can too is to be a supporter. I happen to be traveling from the California Central Valley to the SF Bay Area the other day. I stopped in Tracy, California for gas and a stretch. There I came across a traveler. She was Switzerland trying to get to Santa Cruz. Knowing that I had some time and I was heading to the Bay Area, so I said why not. Wish I was able to take her all they to Santa Cruz, I was able to get her closer….

It was great to listen to her travel stories. It was also just great to know that I am helping a fellow traveler. So, if you have some time, pick up a fellow travel when you can. Help them through their travels… I know I will and will continue too help if I can. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

An Online MS Viso Alternative LucidChart.com

It has always been a wish that I would find a cross platform alternative program that can do at least as much as MS Viso. I think that I found one. LucidChart.com. While it is cloud based (with an "offline" version via Chrome) it does meet and exceed all that I need to do when I need to draw MS Viso diagrams. While the "free" basic version will get you started you will find that having the premium version will unlock much more potential like importing your own stencils. In fact, I tend to go back and forth on the premium version and the basic version depending on the work that I am doing and the length of contract that I am working on.

So next time you are looking for a MS Viso like alternative, take a look at LucidChart.com. I think you will find value like I have.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Thank You Acer -- Aspire E 15 RAM and HDD Easy to Upgrade

I recently acquired an Acer Aspire E 15 (model # E5-575-52JF, http://goo.gl/meOXYm) from Best Buy from their "Cyber Monday in July" sale. Saving a $100 and free shipping to the store for in store pickup. I wanted a new laptop for consulting and also wanted a project laptop. And, this fit the bill. More on my built out in future posts.

Reading the reviews, one of the complaints with this model is that it comes with only 4 GB of RAM. While, I do agree that is low for Windows 10, further research on this model shows that it has 2 RAM slots for DDR4 RAM with a max upgrade to 32 GB. More then enough for my project.

Popping on Crucial.com, I bought some compatible RAM even before I turned on the laptop. It was a pleasant surprise to see when I flipped over the Acer Aspire E 15 to find that it was a flash from the past. Only 3 screws will remove the panel that will allow for RAM upgrade and HDD upgrade. Five minutes later more RAM was installed and ready for use. This was refreshing not having to remove the entire bezel or more. I wish more vendors would do this for all their models from low to mid to high. When you have to remove of 100 screws to change out anything in a laptop.... I am talking about you Apple and the MacBook Air, it introduces many, many errors even for the seasoned tech.

Anyway, below are pictures and step of upgrading my RAM. I will upgrade the hard drive to a SSD soon, just deciding on what I want/need. Until then, I will stay with the stock 1 TB 5400 RPM HDD. Slow, I know, but I always tell people to upgrade RAM 1st then HDD. So, I need to follow my own advice.

Step 1:
Turn off the computer, unplug from the power supply and flip over to remove 3 screws with a Phillips screw driver.

Step 2:
Carefully pry open the Hard Drive/RAM compartment

Step 3:
From here you can replace either the RAM or Hard Drive very easily. If you are in an area where there is a lot of static charge, be careful and take precautions to reduce that risk.

Step 4:
After replacement of RAM and/or Hard Drive replace the compartment cover and replace the screws. I found it is easier to start putting the compartment back from the bottom (away from the screws) up.

Step 5:
Flip back over, plug in power supply and give it a go. It is always a good idea to run a memory test for good measure.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Ubuntu 14.04 Server: A Bios Floppy Drive Legacy Problem

I had an older computer that I was repurposing an older workstation. Thought I would make a media server. I threw in a CD of Ubuntu 14.04 and I got this error....

mount: mounting /dev/sda on /media failed: Invalid argument
umount: can't umount /media: Invalid argument

Thinking about this a little, I realized that in the bios the legacy floppy was still enabled. Going into the bios and disabling the legacy floppy drive corrected the problem.

Install completed.

I understand that we can never account for everything, but it having the installer bypassing a floppy drive should be something that should be taken into account.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Dollar Shave Club Update 1 Year Later

So, it has been 1 year since I joined the Dollar Shave Club. The question that I am asking myself, is it worth it? Yes it is. My motivations to join the Dollar Shave Club, had nothing to do with sticking it to the man, or because I hated my razor. My reason was more simplistic than that. I just hated going to a store and have to get razors from "behind the counter" or through some other locked cage. It was it was ridiculous and driving my crazy. Now, in addition to the easy of use, having the razors delivered once a month, they are cheaper, and because of the ease of use, I actually changed them more often in turn having a continued smoother shaving experience. Cheaper, less stress, and properly a little more hygienic sounds like a win/win for me.

In addition, there are some add on products that I have enjoyed. It is nice to try something new every couple of months or so. Check them out here.

But, what about the numbers? Before Dollar Shave Club, I was a Gillette user. Enjoyed the product, but it was costly at the retail store. Below are the savings from a year supply of Dollar Shave Club vs. Gillette at a retail store.

$/4-packYearly Cost
Gillette Fusion 4-blade refill$16.99$203.88
Dollar Shave Club$6.00$72.00

Now lets be a little more honest, before Dollar Shave Club, I never bought razors once a month. So, assuming that I was buying once every 1 1/2 months the realistic number would look more like this.

$/4-packYearly Cost
Gillette Fusion 4-blade refill$16.99$135.92
Dollar Shave Club$6.00$72.00

Either way, money is saved. So, I continue to find value with the Dollar Shave Club and will continue their service.

I can not end without saying that they are not the only game in town. Harrys and even Gillette is getting in the game with Gillette Shave Club. There are other options and I might even expand and try one of these options. Go ahead try one of these options too and get a clean blade without all the retail store hassles.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Review: Logitech H800 Wireless Headset

I have a dream… to find the perfect headset that I can use for music, voice/video calls and best if it is Bluetooth/wireless.

This a review of the Logitech H800 Wireless Headset. I picked this up for work specifically looking for a wireless model that I can use for listening to music and for the Skype/gotomeeting conference calls that I do all day. Also, even when I am not using them for sounds, I tend to use headphones to muffle the sounds of an open office. I don't need perfect quite, but I do like to make sure that my attention is not easily diverted, when I am working on a project. In many ways, headphones tell my mind and body to buckle down and get into the zone for a little while.

Anyway, now for the review.


I use mainly Windows machines at work. So, I didn't expect any trouble with the plug-n-play setup. My machines do have Bluetooth, but I choose to set up the headset with the included nano dongle. Plug-n-play worked like a charm and I was up and running in no time.

Note: I did set this up on my home Mac with the nano dongle, and worked no problem. Bluetooth should work for Windows and Mac just fine.

As for a Linux machine, I would expect that the nano dongle would work on most flavors, but I would guess that Bluetooth, would not work out of the box. I will test that when I get a chance. At this time, I currently am not running any dedicated Linux desktops.


The headphones did come with an USB charging cable that for charging. The cable is the typical Type-A Male USB Connector at one end and a Mini Type-B Male USB Connector at the other end. I did have enough juice in the headset for some testing, but I would suggest that you give it a little more charge, if you are going to use them a lot right out of the gate.


The fit seems pretty good. The ear pieces stretch out far on both size and looks to fit a wide variety of head shapes. I have an average head size and shape, so usually the fit of a particular headset is not a problem for me. They are light enough and comfortable to be worn for an extended period of time. Right now, all I can say that I have had them on for 2 hours, and they are still comfortable.


I am not an audiophile and I do have hearing lose in both my ears. Because of that, I may not be the best to judge pure sounds, but one thing that I tend to look for in a headset is that I can control that sounds and is it is loud enough for me to hear conversation and music in my office environment. I am happy to say that the Logitech H800 does that for me.

I already have the Jabra REVO Wireless Bluetooth Stereo Headphones. The Logitech H800 is not the Jabra, but I wouldn’t expect it be the same quality. But if the Jabra had mic like the H800, I would make that my daily headset for phone music and phone calls. But, for now that is not possible.


I like the Logitech H800 headset. I will continue to use them as my daily work headset. Check them out. You may find them nice alternative to a corded headset.