Big Phone to Small Phone to Bigger Phone (Part 1)

The past month has definitely been a difficult month for smartphones.  It all started out when I purchased my Motorola Droid Turbo 2 shortly after launch day last year.  The phone was marketed as having a “shatterproof display” and even carried a dedicated 4-year warranty exclusively for the display if you found a way to damage it.  I quickly found out that even though most people have said it’s a marketing gimmick, the screen indeed does not break.  It has been the first phone I have carried without a case and while the phone itself suffered bumps and bruises, the screen was flawless.

Unfortunately while the screen was flawless, the internal parts were not.  After a long honeymoon period, the phone began shutting off randomly, then always when it fell on the ground.  Then more frustratingly it sometimes did not power back on immediately.  This left me in a panic a few times as I was left without communication.  Fortunately I had my ever-reliable BlackBerry to help me through a few sticky situations.

Contacting Motorola (not Verizon), I obtained a replacement new device (Moto-Maker) and vowed to treat this phone with utmost respect and would not let accidental falls happen, no matter how durable the screen is.  Much to my dismay, the phone still shut down and rebooted on its own, and had difficulty starting back up.  The longest it was down was four days (with the battery charged, if you were curious).  Same again, I contacted Motorola and I was sent a new phone.  But here’s the interesting part: For the 1 and a half weeks that my Turbo 2 was inoperable, I used an Apple iPhone 5.

If you want to comment on my Turbo 2 woes and experiences, comment on this post.  For my thoughts about the Apple iPhone, see the next post.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update

A year has come and gone.  Windows 10 is one year old.  To celebrate, Microsoft has ceased the free program and released a comprehensive update that (possibly) adds features to your existing installation.  Just like any update, it involves a multi-gigabyte download followed by a verification followed by at least three restarts.  When you login again, your computer welcomes you (again) and is happy you’re here.

My computer welcomed me with a constant BSOD that was caused by my ASUS motherboard’s USB 3.1 controller.  A Google search found the solution.  Hopefully your update experience will be flawless.  Thanks Microsoft.

Vehicle Maintenance and Service Tracking

It occurred to me that the world needs a PHP/MySQL vehicle maintenance and service tracking script.  There are plenty of geeks that love cars and maybe even have two or three of them.  As any used car owner knows, maintenance and rebuilding is very important.  I just simply want a web front-end open-source script that allows the user to enter details about their car and have a ticket-based system to track things that need to be fixed on their automobiles.  Do you agree?

We Are Now Secure!

Thanks to a fantastic new effort called Let’s Encrypt, this website is now utilizing SSL encryption.  Since there is not an official client for Windows, I used a Github project called letsencrypt-win-simple.  It was super-easy to run and within a matter of seconds, the certificate was installed and bindings updated.  It was stupid simple!  Let’s Encrypt’s goal is to get the Internet encrypted.  There are many benefits of this endeavor.  I’ll be working to encrypt the remainder of my websites soon.

Windows 10 Setup Hangs at Checking for Updates

I am trying to update a (really) old computer from Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 10 using the Media Creation Tool (Upgrade this PC) but it never continued past “Checking for Updates”.  Fortunately I found the solution on Google.

  • Leave the Windows 10 Setup window open
  • Go to Services and stop Windows Updates
  • Delete the contents of C:\SoftwareDistribution
  • Start the Windows Updates service again


Browsers and Batteries

There has been some hype about Microsoft’s current advertisement campaign about the fact that their Edge browser consumes the least amount of battery power and therefore provides the longest runtime on laptop/mobile/tablet devices.  I would like to share my thoughts.

  • Microsoft Edge just simply works.  Unless you are browsing corporate websites (which typically are not updated on any basis of frequency), it just works.  The pages render fine and it is fast.  This is due to the fact that it is a simple program designed to just browse the web.  It has no add-ons or plugins to weigh it down.  The browser is not glamorous, it doesn’t sync your settings, it has no killer features, it just simply works.  Period.
  • Google Chrome is horribly bloated and weighed down.  When it was launched in 2008, it was lightweight and simple.  Eight years later that is all completely changed.  Google itself loads seemingly uncountable features that all consume resources on your computer.  But there is no denying its success is agreed upon by a gigantic 60% of the world’s Internet users.  Unfortunately, Google has forgotten to remain resource-friendly.  All the added features and compatibility equals high resource consumption and you pay for that in the lowest battery life of all the browsers.
  • Opera still has my support, but has grown stagnant over the past few years.  Oh, and they still have not yet fixed the broken sync feature.
  • Vivaldi is currently my browser of choice.  It reminds me of the Opera that once was years ago and is very fast and feature-rich while being friendly on resources.  I invite you to give it a try, especially since it is free.

Of course none of this matters to desktop users, in fact you should install all browsers on a desktop system if you have one.  Laptop users have limited abilities if you want to stay mobile for long periods of time.

Motorola Droid Turbo 2 Reloaded

About 4 hours later of off-and-on supervision, my phone is successfully backed up, reset, and all apps reinstalled and the most important ones restored from backup. Android still has issues folks, make no mistake. This particular reload was long overdue as I has purchased this phone with Lollipop and had upgraded to Marshmallow. The battery didn’t last a day and this morning, I literally could see the percentage drop every few seconds after restarting it. Since the reload, it seems to be acting normally. Hopefully it will stay that way.

Thank you Pebble

It was a little difficult but I have a brand new Pebble Time again. And surprisingly it is not a refurbished unit. The steps to gain a warranty replacement was more than usual. I suspect that Pebble is trying to avoid being taken advantage of by less trustworthy folks.

The best part is that while my original Pebble was embossed with “Kickstarter Backer” on the back, I had little hope that the replacement had this unique feature, long after the original Kickstarter campaign. I was pleasantly surprised to find my replacement featured the same bragging right as my defective unit. Thanks Pebble.