executive
  • So the holidays are always a drag for me. Lots of hours and very little time for anything else. They are over now thank goodness.

    As far as site updates here or my other blogs I’ve done very little other than maintenance updates, etc. A post here and there but that’s about it. Same with the BBS. The machine it’s on hosts my home automation server as well for the time being and I regularly reboot it but that’s about it. Haven’t even updated the software or anything.

    The great majority of my free time has been with my family or playing Ingress (as usual)

    Anyway, if you have any problems with the BBS (no, the doors still don’t work) or one of my sites, feel free to contact me. I’ll do what I can to get it fixed up.

    Thanks, and hope everyone is having a great year so far.

  • Reviews 02.01.2015 No Comments

    The Moto 360 isn’t exactly new any more and there are plenty of reviews from folks that have a lot more knowledge about the equipment and industry than I do but I wanted to share my impressions after 12 days with the watch.

    First off, I really like my 360 and really want to love it but there are some niggling issues that are really irritating me. Some of them I can work around, others… Not so much.

    First off, when I purchased my x-mas gift I ordered it with the metal band rather than leather. While I like the look and feel of leather I am very rough on my equipment so wanted something that would last so I spent the extra $50 damned dollars it cost for the metal band. I have the black on black by the way. Anyway, I have to say that was a complete fucking waste of $50 I could have spent elsewhere. Thanks Motorola! At 5’6″ 175lbs I’m not a particularly large guy but the watchband, which is not adjustable at all, squeezes my fucking arm to death. Either my wrists are bigger than the norm or they are making the bands for little girls. I’ve solved that by purchasing a $20 metal mesh band from Amazon. Not only is it adjustable but it just feels and lays better against my arm. The band is the first issue and one that I didn’t come across when researching the Moto 360.

    The second issue, and one I was completely aware of before hand, is the battery life. Smartwatches for the most part don’t have great battery life but due to the equipment that Motorola used it’s not as good as it could be. Even with the horrible battery life there are a couple of issues. If you use any of the third party animated or detailed watch faces battery drain is worse, to the point where it won’t last an entire work day for me. Not a huge deal as when I’m cooking I can’t wear a watch anyway. That’s where one of the bigger problems lies. Several times I’ve removed my watch and left it in my jacket, powering it down only to come back at 1pm to find it had powered itself back up and sitting at 10% power or less. That’s just plain horseshit. Since my Note 3 also supports wireless charging I went ahead and ordered a qi charger and will start keeping it with me. That will work but it’s definitely not a true solution.

    The last big issue I’ve had is with software. I don’t know if it’s a problem with Google Hangouts or with Android Wear but since syncing up Hangouts has been crashing horribly when I receive notifications. It’ll crash 50+ (or more) times daily. I’m a very heavy hangouts user so this is my biggest annoyance. I tried turning off the hangouts notifications on my watch but that doesn’t seem to do any good. Apparently this isn’t an issued problem. Several other people I know have the same issues.

    Ok, so those are the bad things. Overall, I still love the watch and there are a thousand little things I can and want to do with it. I’ll try and post some of them as I get everything set up.

  • A couple of weeks ago I gave in and ordered a Google Cardboard kit. If you aren’t familiar with it, cardboard is the VR headset that you can make out of… You guessed it, cardboard. Well, a few other things as well.

    You can find directions on how to make it here as well as links to vendors who sell the $25 kit if you aren’t as handy or if you’re lazy like me.

    Some pics of the kit…

    image

    image

    The directions from the company I got it from, DoDoCase, aren’t all that clear but they do have a YouTube video up with step by step.

    image

    The finished project.

    image

    One thing I found was that it’s big enough for a regular phone, but the screen itself on my daughter’s Moto X just wasn’t really big enough. My Note 3, however, was the perfect size. Problem is its and extremely tight Fit. Unless I left the case on it was constantly adjusting the volume due to where the buttons sit. With the case on I had to bend the top flap a good bit for it to sit in there. Now that I’ve put one together I’m pretty sure I could use the miscellaneous parts and get my own cardboard except make it bigger so that the Note 3 will fit in.

    I have played around with a couple of the apps you can download from the play store. Hang gliding, Google Earth tours and stuff like that. It’s pretty cool and it’s almost as much fun to watch someone else hold it up to their head and move around as they are doing stuff. Like a drunk Stevie Wonder.


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  • Reviews 20.11.2014 No Comments

    Back in February of last year I got the opportunity to try out and review the Bassboomz Portable Bluetooth Speaker. It’s still going strong and my wife is currently using my portable speaker in her classroom. I enjoy it but she uses it on a daily basis and still loves it over a year and a half later. She’s in a fairly large classroom and it fills her room with sound.

    The main reason I bring it up is because Bassbuds is having a Black Friday promotion which runs from Friday, November 28th through Monday, December 1st. If you’re interested in their line of in-ear headphones or portable speakers you should go check it out. Bassbuds has a huge color range of headphones, the largest in the world according to their web site.

    BassBuds are currently one of the leading luxury high performance audio solutions around. They deliver superior digital sound with deep bass and crisp high notes, all distortion free. Each pair also includes 6 different sizes of silicone tips and 3 sizes of memory foam earbuds. The memory foam buds mold to the shape of your ear canal for comfort. That’s always been one of my issues with earbuds, I just haven’t been able to find a comfortable set. I use earbuds myself when I’m playing Ingress as I tend to use a certain PTT app with my phone. The integrated MP3 controls including play, pause, skip and voice control also allow me to control the push-to-talk app I use. Uncomfortable earbuds tend to make my temper wear thin so the memory foam is great. I also like the fact that I can get blue headphones as they correspond to the faction colors in the game.

    They also have new collections since the last time I wrote about them including Bassbuds FC which represents five premier league teams (Football, Rugby to my fellow Americans) – Liverpool, West Ham, Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle and Aston Villa. They’ll give fans a chance to wear their team’s colors while listening to quality sound.

    Unique and new (to me at least) to the Bassbuds headphones is their I.C.E. tech. Basically it allows you to change out cap designs on your headphones with club insignia, Swarovski elements or just plain caps. You can also get BassBoomz portable bluetooth speakers in your team colors as well.

    classics-box_9_2

    BassBuds and BassBoomz make a pretty cool gift for the holidays (or any other time) and they come individually packaged in a gift box. During the Black Friday Promotion BassBuds will run $85 and the BassBoomz $130.

    You can also hook up with the folks from BassBuds on various social media platforms such as Facebook/bassbuds, Twitter/Bassbuds and Instagram/bassbuds as well. Go check them out and if you’ve used their products let them know what you think and share it with the rest of us.

     

     


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  • Ingress 13.07.2014 No Comments

    http://m.imore.com/ingress-googles-augmented-reality-game-hits-iphone-and-ipad

    Ingress is the game I’ve been playing for the last 18 months or so. Very much a social oriented game I’ve also managed to lose about 18 pounds and gotten in much better shape playing.

    Think geocaching mixed with War or King of the Hill.

    Check out the link and download it. Ingress is free (except for your time and possibly gas…)

  • BBSing 10.07.2014 No Comments

    Currently the DOS based games are offline. I am currently running under Win 7  and just haven’t had the time to configure things properly (or really see if it’s possible lol)

    Everything else is up and running.

  • … So after messing with the Vera for a couple of days and figuring out that I was not going to be able to get X10 working properly with my TI103 interface I broke down and ordered an Insteon PM from Amazon after a conversation I had with Doug Gregory from DKC Automation (a very helpful guy and a great site by the way. I’ll post a link in the sidebar when I get the chance, or you can just Google it)

    I received the insteon modem and hooked it up successfully as far as I could tell. The logging mechanism on the Vera sucks balls so I was never very sure about what I was doing. Anyway, I added a couple of my devices and managed to get them to each turn off once and that was it. Couldn’t dim, wouldn’t turn back on unless I did it manually.

    By this time I was pretty pissed off. It works fairly well for zwave but I only have a couple zwave devices right now and I have an existing Aeon Labs stick for my Homeseer computer for those.

    I shipped my Vera 3 and the Insteon modem back to Amazon and have already gotten refunds for them. I’ll probably order a couple of zwave modules now and call it a day.

    Overall the Vera 3 is a good idea but definitely not mature enough for a robust home automation system, at least not if you use a lot of diy stuff like a lot of people. If you are strictly zwave and don’t need a lot of events and intelligent decisions it’s not bad. I’d say for the beginner it’s probably even great but it’s frustrating for several reasons :

    1. Lack of documentation and help files. The links to the are there in the interface but they are broken.
    2. No support for a lot of existing automation hardware except for plugins (that you might or might not be able to access)
    3. Tech support that won’t give you a clear answer or help. I was forced to go to an outside vendor for help with items. He’s great but I didn’t even buy the main product from him, just a lamp module (which I’m still using by the way.)
    4. A backend in the cloud that is broken and doesn’t communicate well together.

    There seems to be a growing community for the Vera and as it matures and grows I’m sure the how to’s and help files will improve but until then I’ll be sticking with Homeseer.

  • The move to its own computer has finally been accomplished. I’ve gotten Shadowscope up and running on a partially dedicated laptop instead of a VM now. I say partially because it also houses my home automation software. That’s more for ease of use because I’ll be somewhat integrating the two. Nothing on the surface, mainly just so I can get mobile notifications of new users, logins, etc.

    The connection may not be the fastest initially because I currently have it sitting in my living room on WiFi until I finish configuration on everything. Once I put it back on a Wired connection things should be better.

    You can still access the board via telnet port 23 at bbs.shadowscope.com or click the link at the top of the page to log in from here. If you have any issues please contact me via Hangouts or through the contact link on the sidebar of this page.

  • So a few months back my old laptop that ran Homeseer, my home automation software, finally died.

    I’ve used it for quite a long time and mostly ignored it. I’ve been running Homeseer for about 13 years now and ported my setup from a couple different PCs but always managed to save my configuration through the transfers and upgrades. This time I don’t have a backup unfortunately.

    I’ve invested a lot of time and money into the system over the last decade and a half. Most of it is x10 hardware but there are a few other kludges in there as well. My weather system, a zwave module or two and a boatload of scripting. The last five years or so I’ve deactivated a good bit of it but left the core system up and running that I didn’t have to tinker with.

    After my system died I figured it was time to move on to some newer technologies. Zwave is supposed to be more reliable and it’s wireless so I wanted to make sure that I could use something that was compatible with old and new. Homeseer is but I also wanted a dedicated controller as well.

    After reading some (obviously not enough) reviews and docs I settled in the Vera 3 from MiCasa Verde. Quite a few of the other Tasker users I communicate with use the Vera and there is a plugin that let’s you communicate and hook Tasker up with it. Pretty cool.

    The Vera (the lite version and the 3, which is what I purchased) are pretty cheap for HA hardware. According to their web site it’s compatible with Zwave, insteon and x10. I figured it would be a win/win. Something to help me move into new territory but still stay on a budget.

    I received my unit last week and immediately set it up. Several things I noticed right off the bat. Initially you go to getvera.com and create and account, which redirects you back to the home network and finds your vera(s). This has its good and bad points which I’m not going to get into.

    Anyway, I set up my account through them, found my unit and started the setup. I was able to add my one Zwave module with no problems but that’s where the ease of use ended. You’re supposed to be able to go to apps.mios.com and browse/download apps from there. Sort of like the Google Play store. Not a bad idea at all. Unfortunately even though my Vera was linked to my account when I tried to go to the external app store it told me I had no units linked to my account. The answer from their text support? Download the apps from within the Vera interface. That’s fine and dandy but NOT what I was trying to do. I guess that’s not something they are trying to fix.

    Another glaring omission is there are absolutely NO help files or documents to access from the Vera. Apparently a previous firmware upgrade in the last two years broke the links and they just haven’t bothered to fix it. Tech support did say they are working on a new release within the next two weeks that fixes the issue. We’ll see I guess.

    I’m tired and have to work in the morning so will finish the second part of the review then…

  • So I’m finally in the process of moving my BBS to it’s own dedicated box instead of the VM it’s been running on for the last year and a half.

    In the meantime I’ll update the software and some of the plugins and maybe even get around to checking my damned netmail that I’ve been ignoring. Ugh. Between work, family and Ingress I haven’t had much time for the BBS.

    I’ll also be running my Home Automation software from the same laptop as my old OLD laptop died a few months back. Shouldn’t be any issues there.

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  • image

    One of my restaurants sits at a pretty bad intersection with no light. I opened the store in 94 and ran it for a few years, just picked it back up last month. It’s always been a really bad intersection but in the few years that I’ve been away from this particular store they’ve opened a movie theater and shopping center next door. Needless to say traffic hasn’t improved.

    Luckily nobody was hurt but all three vehicles were pretty trashed. That’s the tailgate of the pickup in my parking lot. A wheel from one of them rolled across the parking lot just prior to me taking the pic and calling 911.

  • https://play.google.com/music/m/Bpu5jutgtyvqjfpfslndjagmhii

    Really starting to like the band Halestorm. Judas Priest has always been one of my favorite bands and they’ve done a kickers job covering Dissident Aggressor.

  • Ingress 08.05.2014 No Comments

    So what exactly is it that’s taken up so much of my time the last couple of years and dragged me away from something I love so much?

    Actually it’s several things and it’s somewhat complicated.

    I think I really started to drive away in 2010 when my father died. Just had more important things on my plate at the time. This one and my other personal Blog I did keep writing here and there but my crime site still pretty much sits and sits and sits.

    Facebook probably has a bit to do with it as well. Most of the other Jawja Bloggers are on Facebook as well you see and it’s so much easier to sit down and write a line of garbage than to actually think about what you’re going to post and well, post it.

    Work also had a lot to do with it. I was sent down to south Georgia in August of 2012 until October to run 8 stores. Crappy Internet connection, etc…

    Anyway, all of these just sort of came together over a two year period and took my attention away from writing anything. Then along came Ingress and that’s all she wrote.

    Ingress is an augmented reality game from Niantic Labs, a division of Google. Currently it’s only available for Android but iPhone version is coming pretty soon.

    Calling it an augmented reality game is like calling the winner of the Kentucky Derby a nag though. It’s so much more (and it’s a huge fucking time suck as well.)

    Ingress aims to take you away from your PC and your house and makes you take a look at the cool stuff around you. It can involve a LOT of walking (352 kilometers so far) and driving as well if you want to.

    It’s also really a social game as well, at least if you play for any length of time. I played line wolf the first three months and then started meeting people from outside of my area. Since then it’s been ON.

    I’ve traveled for the game… Chattanooga, Nashville, Savannah, all over the state of Georgia and eastern Alabama. I’ll be in Birmingham June 7h for an event and there are several more scattered all over the world.

    I’ve made countless new friends playing, both online and in person. That part is quite similar to blogging and I enjoy it. I’ve also introduced a few people to the game as well, including family members.

    Really the best way to see what it’s all about is to just get the game and check it out but be warned, it’s higher addictive lol. ingress

    If you’re on Facebook or G+ there are also open communities there that you can get more information from as well.

  • Yes, I’m still alive!

    I had planned on getting online and writing a short review of the Themer app by MyColorScreen as I received my beta code this morning. Alas, that’s not going to happen this morning although I will try and get it online by the end of the day.

    What I did find when I logged onto the site for the first time in months was that Google had decided my site was the home of malware and should be avoided. Dayum.

    Earlier this year I started using a couple of 3rd party plugins that would pull in my posts from Google+ and turn them into blog posts. Seemed like a pretty cool thing to do and as I currently spend what little time online I have on G+ that was very convenient. Anyway, what I found was that the Google+ Blog plugin had pulled in everything I had ever posted on G+ and duplicated each of them 16+ times. WTF? So I ended up having to delete 2500+ blog posts that were all duplicates. Since I wanted to keep one of each I just couldn’t go in and blindly delete them all. Fucking asshats.

    So I think I’ve gotten rid of all the duplicates now, if you notice any please let me know.

    I have also disabled almost all of the 3rd party plugins I was using here on the site and gone back to the stock commenting system (actually using Jetpack for this now).

     

    As far as the BBS, it’s still online and you should be able to get to it via telnet OR the applets linked to above. I haven’t even logged in in months or checked my netmail. That comes soon. It’s still hosted in a virtual machine on my desktop BUT I do have a laptop set up running Windows XP that I will be moving it to at some point soon. This will mean more resources for the BBS and more disk space as well for files. I’m still running Synchronet and will update it to the latest version as well.

    As always, if you have any feedback for the BBS or my blog please feel free to contact me at one of the above links.

  • +Ingress I'm not one to complain much, at least not in public but just felt the need to say this.

    I'm all for improving the game and as it is still a beta there are obviously going to be some things that are buggy.

    How about before adding MORE animations, avatars and badges we fix some of the things that are broken such as:

    1. The problem with fields and links not showing up like in my screenshot below. There are several fields that are all linked correctly but only showing the links in both Intel as well as the scanner. In one case a link I made after driving a hundred miles last night isn't showing either. Irritaring.

    2. Or Portal Vectors. USELESS as is. I drove from Temple, GA to Weaver, AL tonight and while there put up another field. The vectors it showed me while in Weaver trying to hunt down the ONE portal that is there? 84 kilometers away. WTF? After I drove back to Temple (where there are around 30 portals in a two mile range) it only showed me vectors for a couple of portals 10km away. Or how about letting us get more info when we touch the vectors. "Target?" When I'm walking that's OK but when I'm driving that's another less than useful feature since it's not tied into navigation. You've already got it working with #fieldtrip  why not steal some of that code?

    Anyway, just my #rant  for the evening. I do love the game, just would like to see the current bugs that actually impact game play fixed prior to adding more eye candy.

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  • I generally try and stay out of politics but you know…

    Reshared post from +Sean Badoud

    +citizen j 
    +Chris Lichowicz 
    +Michael Neidlinger 

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