Storage pools are not a new concept they have existed in the Unix/Linux world for a long time but finally entered the Windows world in Windows 8, and Server 2012 (I don’t think Server 2008 had them). In the past the size of a physical drive in turn translated into the drive letter. In the olden days people would even split drives into different drive letters, but this is a maintenance nightmare leading to space on one drive letter and none on the other. The idea of storage pools for the most part is convenience. To remove the limitations imposed by the physical size of the drive an thus on a given drive letter. You simply add drives into a pool and let the operating system manage what physical drive it’s on. Need more space, add another drive and increase the pool size. Gone are the days of shuffling around files between drives to balance or free space. You can also decide on a smaller size than that of the physical drive, to have redundancy (RAID). So for example on 2TB drives you could decide only 100G of that needs to be mirrored. All this is then managed by the volume manager. There are a couple of gotchas you need to be aware of with storage pools.
- if you think your drive size could exceed 2TB (and is not starting above 2TB) be sure the partition table you choose is GPT not GUID or you will not be able to grow beyond it.
- if you choose to use thin provisioning (allowing logical partitions to allocate space only as needed) be aware that if you end up running out of space this is REALLY not handled elegantly at all. Here’s an example. Windows thinks 10G is available but tells you it can not copy 1G. That would confuse most people:
- there is no way to change the RAID level of an existing partition. This one is a particularly HUGE issue. It means you basically need to start from a blank system with blank drives. Existing partitions/drives can NOT be added to a storage pool either. So you basically need to start green field, embrace storage pools, copy your stuff onto it and stay there until time ends.
- logical drive sizes can be increased, but shrinking is dicey
- performance is likely NOT going to be your motivator
- performance of a RAID 5 stripe (done in software) on Windows is bad, I mean REALLY bad, I mean so bad don’t even think about it. Read is fine, writing is super slow.
Storage pools a super convenience that would take a HUGE leap of faith and cash to jump into, but once your there, the days of running out of space on this drive or the other would be long gone!
So where to get started? In Windows 8 in control panel search for Storage (it’s called Spaces in Windows 8, Windows Server calls it pools).
As you can see only unformatted blank disks can be entered into a new storage pool. Once the pool is created your now ready to create a storage space. A space in windows terms is a virtual drive. Here you specify if your looking for any redundancy, referred to as resiliency. This would allow you to tolerate a full drive failure (in the case of a mirror), but at the cost of space. Everything is written twice thus halving the space available.
You now have a shiny new drive letter. It’s worth noting if you choose simple (re resiliency) it’s even worse than that. Because your drive is actually stored across two drives (or more) potentially, you could loose everything if one drive failed. Not just what was on one drive. Now amplify this out and say you did simple over 5 drives (as an example). If any one of the 5 drives failed you could loose everything. This is a VERY bad choice, one that Windows sadly does not warn you about.
So that’s about it, a little sneak peek into Storage pools/Spaces in Windows.
Generation 2 of Pokemon is out and there’s lots of new characters, with the Pokedex now up to 242. I won’t go into the new characters, but I wanted to highlight some details on what’s new. I have briefly reviewed a few of the new Pokemon and have not found anything fight wise that is better than the previous Pokedex, ie, no better fighters are in the new characters.
There are new candies collected at Pokestops. Razz berries are the same old ones that are used to “make it easier to catch”. The Nanab berry is used to “calm it down” think a swinub running around of a Zubat flying in different directions. But the most useful one is the Pinap berry which increases the number of candies you get for catching the Pokemon! You can only use one berry at a time.
There are new stones collected at Pokestops. These stones are needed when evolving certain Pokemon.
The whole list is as follows:
Sun Stone (needed to evolve Gloom to Bellossom)
King’s Rock (needed to evolve Poliwhirl and Slowpoke to Sloking)
Metal Coat (needed to evolve Onix and Scyther)
Dubious disc (needed to evolve the Ploygon)
Dragon Scale (Needed to evolve Seadra)
An Evee now has two additional evolution possibilities, and like before you can manipulate these by renaming the Evee before you evolve it to Sakura and Tamao. In all:
Rename as Sakura to evolve into Psychic-type Espeon
Rename as Tamao to evolve into Dark-type Umbreon
Rename as Rainer to evolve into water type Vaporeon
Rename as Sparky to evolve into lightning type Jolteon
Rename as Pyro to evolve into fire type Flareon
A Gloom (which evolves from an Oddish) now evolves to Bellossom #182 if you have a Sun stone (one of the new stones found at Pokestops), otherwise it still evolves to Villeplum.
A Lickitung which previously had no evolution now evolves to a Lickilicky #463 once you learn rollout (which I have yet to sort out)
An Onix that previously had no evolution path now Evolves to a Steelix #208.
As before: Mr Mime is exclusive to Europe, Farfetch’d can only be found in Asia, and Kangaskhan is available solely in Australia and New Zealand. Tauros is the North American exclusive. I don’t know of any new region specific pokemon. (So 3 not available in North America)
No legendary Pokemon are currently catchable. That accounts for the absence of five Pokemon – Mew and Mewtwo as well as the three birds of Articuno, Moltres and Zapdos. The Legendary Pokemon from Generation 2 are Raikou, Entei, Suicune, Lugia, Ho-Oh, and Celebi. You can expect to not find these in the game, as the legendaries from Generation 1 still haven’t appeared yet. (So a total of 10 legendaries).
This brings a total of 13 of the 242 unavailable so really the Pokedex consists of 229.
As I learn more I’ll update this page.
I colleague at work had a pair of home power line network adapters so I borrowed them to play. The idea is that if you can’t pull a wire (or won’t) and can’t do wireless then this is a last choice solution to providing networking to a remote machine in your home, dorm or whatever. The way it works is it uses the power lines in your walls to create a network between the two adapters (you need at least a pair). The adapters work like a hub and create a link for you. You can put one next to your home router for example and that will allow you to have this network join your existing network in your home as well as to provide internet to the remote computer. The adapter have absolutely no configuration possible. They do not have a DHCP server so if you are not plugging into an existing home network then you will have to do manual IP address. The ones I tested provide one Ethernet wired connection and plug into the wall. The item is a little bulky so blocks the use of splitters/octupus, and they do not have passthru on them. They can not be plugged into surge suppressors or UPS because the transformers in these will block the signal. Security wise this is none. So be aware, while I have not proven it, it seems likely that your neighbor could purchase the same adapter and tap into your network (and your internet) without your knowledge. This is a bit troubling for me … To use this particular layout would require a wired ethernet adapter, something not all laptops have. Speed wise from these devices (which are VERY old) I got about 1MB/s when one was upstairs and the other downstairs. When they were right next to each other this picked up to about 3-4MB/s but either way a far cry below the advertised 85Mb/s (notice that’s bit/s). So in the end the work, are simple as pie to setup but are slow (well these ones are anyway).
If your like me you have some old video tapes. Mine are home movies of my daughter when she was young. They are precious and I didn’t want to loose them. Some are more than 15 years old and I was concerned they would eventually degrade so I wanted to digitize them to keep them for all time, as well as make them more convenient to watch. So I looked around a bit and found a cheap USB video capture adapter on Amazon. It was supposed to come with uLead but came with a barely functional PVR from a company called Honetech. I dug out the VCR (actually had to borrow one from a friend the drive belt on mine had disintegrated), found the cables and hooked it up. The code once installed is super basic but does work. I didn’t bother trying to edit the captured video, rather simply pressed play and pause and separated the videos by topic. On default settings here are the capture settings:
The captured video ends up being 16.3M/min. So a 55 min video ends up around 900MB. This works out to only be around .27M/s so a USB 2 device is more than adequate. All of the encoding is done in hardware by the device so you don’t need anything too powerful to do the capture. The file once captured seems to require a video codec that isn’t there by default on Windows. Kodi had no issue playing it on a variety of platforms. DVD players also had no issues with it. At the end of the day the output is adequate and well worth the time to preserve important videos. The capture adapter was cheap, $20 so well worth it. Time wise it is very time consuming. 1hr takes 1hr (thanks Captain Obvious).
If you’ve turned on Windows 10 lock screen spotlight images (how to enable spotlight) every now and then you see an image you like, and would like to save. Sadly Microsoft left out this capability. A quick Google found a number of suggestions for how to do this, all of which are way too complicated. So I decided to make it simpler. Here’s a simple series of commands you can run to save them off. It isn’t perfect in that it grabs some other crap in the process but it’s relatively easy to clean these up. Here are the commands. Note there are only a few of the images saved so if you like what you see do it sooner rather than later.
xcopy %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.ContentDeliveryManager_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState\Assets\*.* c:\windows-images\
ren c:\windows-images\*. *.jpg
Today’s lighting market has become increasingly complicated leaving a consumer with lots of options to wade through. Especially so when buying a new fixture, however evening existing lighting fixtures can give consumers options. Let’s take a quick look …
The obvious starting place is physical. In the halogen area the base size is called G8 or G9 (as well as others):
There are increasingly options albeit pricey ones to replace halogen bulbs with LED which offer better energy efficiency thus less heat.
In the incandescent space there is a small, medium and standard base. A medium base can screw into a standard base but sometimes not the otherway around, and small is unique in size.
There are other sizes I could ramble on about but these are the most common.
Next up is the technology used to generate the light. The older style is simply called incandescent and dates back into the early days of tungsten bulbs. Incandescents consume the most power, generate the most heat, wear out the fastest, are the cheapest, but deliver more normal color of light (more beige than white).
Halogens have made a lot of headway in track and pot lamps. Honestly I hate them, I find them expensive, don’t last anywhere near as long as they say they should, deliver a narrow beam of light and as mentioned above I’ve had issues getting them out of sockets.
CFL or compact florescent entered the market a while back. The designers got clever and figured out how to make them fit in a normal standard incandescent socket. Honestly, again, I hate CFLs and have no idea why they are in the market. Each and every CFL contains mercury which creates a health hazard if it’s broken and a disposal challenge. If you simply throw them in the garbage that mercury ends up in our landfill and potentially our water table. Mercury is a NASTY chemical. CFLs take less power than incandescent but can be slower to turn on especially in the cold (we do live in Canada eh), and deliver a more white light.
Lately LED bulbs have been hitting the market in a variety of existing form factors promising lower power consumption and longer life. Let’s have a look at a box of a particular LED bulb.
There’s lots of information on the label to digest. Lets start with how bright it is. Because incandescent, LED, and CFL all use different methods to generate light comparing them based on the old way of watts makes no sense (or cents for that matter:)) So instead they use a unit of measure of the brightness called lumens. Here’s a chart comparing lumen levels. You can use it if you are replacing an existing light/fixture.
Next up you can see the number of watts this particular bulb consumes to generate those lumens. In this case it consumes 10W to generate the same lumens as a 60W incandescent bulb.
Next up you can see the projected life of the bulb. In this case it is 10,000 hours. Compare this with the incandescent which translates into 1971 hours. This would imply the LED bulb will last 5 times as long as the incandescent. If you look at the price of incandescent bulbs not even counting the inconvenience to change them, buy them and dispose of them they are between 0.50 and $1.25 at CanadianTire. I paid $15 for a 6 pack which works out to be $2.50 a pop. So if the projections of life can be believed LEDs can be justified solely on the basis of their life.
Next up we can look at the savings from an electricity point of view. For every hour they are on they save 50WH and will run for 10,000 hrs according to the manufacturer. So that’s a savings of 500KWH for the life of the bulb (per bulb). According to my hydro bill the cheapest hydro is during off peak hours is $.087 per KWH so this would translate into a savings of a min of $43.50 in hydro bills over the life of the bulb. At a fixture level I replaced a 4 bulb 60W chandelier with a 5 bulb 10W (not that it needed 5 just the one I bought) so that would be a savings of 190WH which translates into 1900KWH over the life of the bulb or a savings of a min of $165.30!
One word of caution some manufacturers quote years based on number of hours per day the bulb is on. Be careful, this can be misleading and is VERY dependent on your use case of the bulb. If you were to leave a bulb on 24×7 this would be 8760 hours so a 10,000 bulb would only last 1.1 years. This is particularly notable on fixtures I noticed when I was buying that did not have a replaceable bulb. IE you replace the fixture not the bulb.
Another thing worth noting is that some of the LED bulbs are not compatible with dimmers. If you want to use a dimmer you need to be careful with the bulbs you choose.
Well I would have to say, I have been slow to jump on the LED bandwagon and I am SUPER skeptical on the number of projected hours for the bulbs life but it looks promising with NONE of the negative effects of CFLs!
I spend a lot of time at keyboards. Typing blog posts, emails you name it. So finding the best keyboard out there is always something I look for. To top it off I have a bunch of devices I use everyday from a Windows laptop to an iPhone to an iPad. Now the easiest solution is one keyboard per device. But this keyboard offers the possibility of covering off 3 devices at a time. Its the party trick it brings to the table.
Up in the top left corner of the keyboard you will see a dial, this allows you to pair and then select from three different devices to talk to. And each device can be uniquely configured as iOS/Mac or PC/Android which customizes the special keys. The special keys are all here from the windows key (cleverly mascarading as a start button?) to the options key on Mac. Start f1 on iOS performs a home function for an iPhone/iPad. Alt/tab functionality works perfectly on an iPad (sadly this function is not built into an iPhone) which allows you to quickly switch between apps.
Switching between devices is fairly quick, takes about 1-2 seconds to have it register. Not instant but not horrible either. I did find myself forgetting which device I was set to and typing on the wrong screen
The keyboard also has a nice slot to hold your iPhone/iPad.
Physically speaking if your looking for the perfect travel mate, this isn’t it. It’s a big bruiser.
Height: 7.68 in (195 mm)
Width: 11.77 in (299 mm)
Depth: 0.79 in (20 mm)
Weight: 820 g (1.81 pounds)
It is powered by a pair of AAA batteries. Given the size of this keyboard why it doesn’t use a rechargeable or AA batteries is beyond me.
I made a mistake and tried pairing it as an iOS device on Windows and it cleverly came up and told me I’d selected it wrongly. I had to delete it and repair it.
Pairing went super smoothly.
The battery level can be seen inside the optionally downloaded ap on the PC, but there is no iPhone or iPad app (there is Android). So without that your guessing the current battery level. The app will also allow you to change some options on the keyboard.
The power switch on the keyboard is oddly located on the underside of the keyboard. A silly decision and give the size of this bruiser it is perplexing why they would do that.
Feel wise the keyboard reminds me of an older chicklet style keyboard. It does not in all honesty have a great feel. Accuracy wise it is ok but not perfect. The lack of feedback from the keyboard means mashing the keys or making mistakes. It is really not a great feel.
Logitech wisely put rubber feet on the bottom of the keyboard and it works well to keep it in place.
There are some curiously missing keys: Page Up/Down, Home/End all of which I use often …
So all in all a great idea, marred by a cheap chicklet feel. Honestly I would not recommend it.
I’ve reviewed a couple of external batteries lately, pokemon Go is a HUGE power draw. Most people that are as addicted as I am walk around with a power bank in their pocket (or two) and a cable to the phone. Onto this one. So far I’ve been impressed by Aukey …
This one is reasonably small and light but they manage to pack in 5000 mAh worth of power. On the output spec it can pump out 5V 2A which is needed for Android phones and some iPads. My iPhone 6 can’t use the 2A, but this makes it more flexible. The only thing missing (spec wise) is qualcom quick charge that would add 9 and 12V output options for even faster charges.
The unit does not have a charge indicator (other than one LED that changes color based on the charge, red bad, green ok, blue good?), nor does it have an LED that could be used as a flashlight. Why this isn’t on every one of these devices is beyond me.
Input wise it can suck back in 2A for faster recharges.
On my iPhone 6 I was able to get 2 full charges out of it. It pumps out a steady 1A into the iPhone. This would amount to about 75% efficient. Not bad at all.
Recharge time was about 3 hours from dead. Not super quick but reasonable.
The charger does not support pass through so you will need to add a cable just to charge the external battery.
I’ve been looking at drones for a long time now, but haven’t belly’d up. I got the curiosity itch and after doing a bunch of reading decided to buy this one. As it turns out a number of my colleagues have also been on the sidelines, so are anxious for this review so on we go.
These drones have come a long way. They have gyros in them that keep them largely level (once you have trimmed them) and what you are doing is simply providing the tilt to move it in whatever direction you want. The moves relative to what is called the head of the copter. In this case the direction the camera is pointing. If you get on the opposite side of the chopper then directions are reversed and it’s super easy to get confused. To counter this the copter has what is called headless mode. This removes the orientation, well sort of. If your behind the chopper the prespective is still off, but rotating it no longer effects it.
This copter is quite rugged but not indestructible. In the first week Is broke two of the four prop protectors. Ooops. They were pretty bad crashes. One into tree and one from a good height onto a rock. But it kept on flying! Replacement protectors and blades can be bought on Amazon pretty cheapily. The copter comes with a second set of blades but not protectors. Odd given the protector takes most of the beating. The protectors do not protect 100% of the copter or 100% of the blades. No idea why they this. It would have been much better had it been all the way around as it is on some choppers.
They included a 2mp camera that snaps onto the bottom of the copter. Careful there seems to be ones out there that are only .3mp. It streams video to your phone over wifi. There is a delay so flying through the phone is problematic. But for taking pics and video it works fine.
The remote is well made to make it simple as possible to fly the copter. They also included a phone holder so you can easily clip your videos and pics from the Syma app for Android and iPhone. I like this arrangement much better than the ones that use your phone to fly the copter. The remote can be used in one of two modes mode 1 and mode 2 the difference is just what the remote control does. In mode one the left controls throttle and rotations while the right controls the 4 degrees of tipping. In mode 2 the rotate left and right switches over to the right controller and the left and right tipping. Personal preference as to which you prefer.
Flying time on the included 500 mAh battery is 5-8 mins depending on whether the camera is on or not. You can buy spare batteries on Amazon to increase flying time. Recharge time is about 2 hours.
Indoor flying to start out with teaching you to be very subtle with the control otherwise you will be smashing into the ceiling and just about everything else. Outside the copter is super light and easily affected by the wind. Thermals can also pull the copter up uncontrollably. Once out of range the copter drops until it’s back in range. Much higher than about 5 km/hr wind and the copter really does not do well outdoors.
There are gyros to keep the copter level, but as you bank forward and backwards you will need to adjust the throttle to compensate otherwise you will find it rising or falling unexpectedly.
To calibrate the copter to hover level put it on a level surface turn it on and bring the controls all the way to the top, then all the way to the bottom, and then lastly all the way to the right until the copter flashes to acknowledge.
This is very much a beginner chopper. It’s a ton of fun, inexpensive and a great place to start. Syma has done a very good job. I don’t have a lot of comparison points given this is my first chopper, but I can say you probably won’t go wrong starting with this one. Both my daughter and GF also gave it a whirl so it has allure to even non techno geeks.
I have to say, I had never heard of this device. It popped onto my radar because I tripped over it. I had no idea it exists. Which is amusing because I have been searching for better and better ways to take digital notes. I’ve spent a ton of time and money on tablet to do just that. So when I saw this I was curious. I wonder over the years how much money and time I have spent doing nothing more than satisfying a curiosity 🙂 I think it’s part of my personality. I love to learn.
So what is this thing? It is pen that when you write on special paper it saves what you write. This can then be uploaded through bluetooth to your phone and into their own app called Livescribe+. You can do the upload offline, or live. I have not been able to tell just how much memory it actually has (ie how much offline you can do), however their website says it has storage for thousands of pages. There are other versions of this pen that use USB or WIFI.
So let’s get started. The pen comes with a safety cover for the end of the pen. Sadly this will likely get easily lost, not sure if they intend this for shipping only. I’ll probably look around or a case to protect the pen in the pocket.
The first thing you need to do is charge it up. On the one end of the pen is the pen tip itself which houses a regular ball point pen that uses real ink. This ink cartridge can be easily removed and there are blue and red ink for it readily available on Amazon etc. I see no way of knowing the amount of ink left in the cartridge. And if you run out of ink your dead …
On the other end of the pen is a capacitive pen tip you can use on almost any smartphone/tablet. Hiding under this is a microUSB charging port, it uses a rechargeable battery. This is a brilliant design rather than use some kind of proprietary plug.
In the middle of pen is a twist ring that brings the ink out for use and turns the pen on. There’s an LED on the pen that tells you the status. There’s even a beep to tell you it’s ready to go.
There’s the usual pen clip on the top for holding it in your pocket, but it is not that firm so I wouldn’t trust it. Also the pen is longer than most.
If there is a complaint, I wish they had made the bottom of the pen where you hold it less slippery. Say use the same knurling they did on the twist. And I wish they had included a cover for the end. Putting it in my pocket could end up with lint obscuring the lens.
All in all the pen is a touch on the chubby side, but weight is fine and not really noticeable. I do wonder how robust this pen will be to dropping. And given how expensive it is to replace, loosing it is going to make me cry 😦 $250 in Amazon.
Ok so we are all charged up and ready to go. Load up the Livescribe app on your phone/tablet and your ready to roll. The pen can pair with up to 4 phones/tablets, but it might be a bit of a challenge to see which device gets the pen if all are on.
On first start the Livescribe app will ask if you want to pair with a pen. It goes out and searches for the pen and adds it. In my case it found a firware update and proceeded to install it. It took a number of tries to complete, not sure why.
Clicking on the pen from within the app gives you everything you might ever want to know. You can see firmware, check for updates, see the battery status, and even help you find the pen by having it buzz (assuming it’s in range). You can even manually unpair one of the 4 devices in memory. All in all well done and thorough.
I had a bit of difficulty getting the pen to quickly move between devices (an Iphone 6 and an iPad mini 2). Sometimes the only way I could get it to move was to turn off bluetooth.
Each device you setup (for example a phone/tablet) is setup separately. All settings have to be redone for each device. This includes setting up your cloud services. Livescribe can send notes out to Evernote and Onenote. These can be setup to happen manually or automatically. There is a LiveScribe account but from what I see there’s no link between the Livescribe app and the Livescibe web site. There does not seem to be a Livescribe portal where the docs are stored. I did eventually see a notebook from one device appear on the other when the pen connected. I almost wonder if the pen storage is how that happened. The lack of a Livescribe portal does make the option to send it off to Evernote or OneNote as a way of keeping this cross platform and always available. Exporting to Evernote and Onenote can be done in one of two ways as an embedded PDF (this seems useless to me) or as a image per page. The image includes the background of the paper. Once in OneNote it can not be edited (except by graphic editors). Handwriting recognition would seem to be further complicated once in OneNote.
It’s worth noting that since the pen seems to keep everything in it’s storage, you may need to be concerned with security if what you are writing is confidential. There is a way to set a PIN for the pen but PINs are kinda limited as far as security goes.
I was surprised to see that the notebook from livescribe didn’t include a loop to put the pen in. Seemed like an obvious thing to do …
One of the things you won’t be able to use it for would be to jot notes down on an existing document.
The output is probably the smoothest digitization of handwriting I have seen to date. I don’t however see anyway to erase what has been written, but then that’s no different that writing in ink.
All in all the pen is quite impressive and works well. If you do hand written notes then this might be the gadget of your dreams! The need for special paper is limiting, but also probably one of the reason it works as well as it does!
- Garmin Fenix 3 navigation
- Storage pools
- Xiaomi Band 2 review
- Pokemon Gen 2 changes
- Home power line adapters
- Converting old home movies
- Here a tracker there a tracker … Apple Health to the rescue?
- Misfit Shine
- Windows 10 Lock screen Spotlight images
- Today’s lighting market
- Logitech K480 multi device keyboard
- Aukey 5000 mAh external battery