Sunday, July 28, 2013

Assembling a wireless car charger

While it didn't make sense for me personally to use a wireless charger in the car, it may work for you. Here's how I made one out of all Samsung accessories without any soldiering skills.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Wireless charging, is it a myth?

I currently use the Samsung Desktop Dock for Infuse 4G on my nightstand for my GS4. It fits the phone quite well, has a port out the back that lines up nicely with the speaker and activates dock mode (which launches Dock Clock). I decided to replace this setup with the Tylt Vu, a recent kickstarter project. The Vu allows the phone to wirelessly charge at a 45 degree angle so you can still see it while charging (one of the major problems with Qi). Unfortunately, it doesn't stay connected to the phone as there is some sort of incompatibility with the official Galaxy S4 back plate. Both are fully Qi compliant so very frustrating. It's also worth mentioning that the Desktop Dock worked with both my GS3 and GS4 and cost a whopping $10. It takes the same amount of time to dock in either the Vu or the Infused dock but the Infuse dock charges twice as fast. Strike 2.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Galaxy S4

True to my word I bought the Galaxy S4 the week I got back from vacation. It's simply awesome. It took a little while to get used to the larger device size but I picked up an iPhone 5 the other day and wondered how I ever squinted at that tiny little screen. I picked up an iPhone 4 and actually gave a full "ha!" out loud. I am just floored by all of the features and options with this phone. My only disappointment initially was that their isn't a stable version of Cyanogenmod out there for GS4 (SPHD-720) yet. The good part is, I really got to have some hands on experience with TouchWiz and it has come a long way since I used the Samsung Galaxy S 4G. I would have missed out on the amazing camera software in TouchWiz not to mention some of the really fun features . My Bluetooth is working much better now. It turned out that it was Waze that was intercepting the pause/play controls.

I went whole-hog on the wireless charging and purchased a Tylt Vu, Samsung Galaxy S4 charging kit and the Samsung Universal Car Mount. My plan is to integrate the charging kit into the car mount with some mad dremmel skills. I'm hoping I'll be able to connect the car mount to my proclip like I was able to with the Samsung Infuse car mount I was using for the GS3. I'll post when I get it done.

I also picked up 2 packs of TecTiles 2 in my order to give those a try. I installed NFC Task Launcher and created a 4 minute timer for my french press process. I simply set my GS4 on top of the coffee grinding after I've ground the beans and it starts the 4 minute brew timer before I plunge and pour the coffee.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

iOS to Android - Take 2

Google Now was the hook. I immediately fell in love with the intuitive and simple nature of the Google Now app and it's great little "cards" that show my next event, how long to get home, current flight status and a whole host of other great information. Google voice search lives up to everything Siri failed to deliver. It's fast, accurate, responsive and informative. I wanted more, but to get more, I had to do the unthinkable, I had to give up my iPhone 5.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

What's the deal with BitCoin?

"Another currency, you say, why the heck would I want that?" It's a good question and one I asked myself recently when Bitcoin starting becoming a common

theme in a lot of the tech blogs I read. Before we start to talk about Bitcoin technically, it's better to clear out the philosophical reasoning behind it.
Uncontrolled inflation - Government needs more money? It prints more money, the money you have is worth less. That sucks.What's wrong with government backed currency (US Dollars, Euros, British Pounds, etc)?

  • The costs of money - I have to pay a bank to hold my money, they use my money to give other people money which they get paid for as well. I don't want to carry around fat stacks of cash so I use a credit card to simplify transactions but now I have to pay the credit card companies money. Sounds like everyone gets a slice of my money!

  • Control - If the government thinks I am doing something wrong, they have the ability to freeze all of my money. Where my money comes from and goes to is reported to them.

This is why we need a better currency and Bitcoin looks like the right solution. In my first post on Bitcoin, let's see if it's inflation-proof.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The dreaded SMART failed email

My NAS emailed me about a 3 weeks ago telling me that a drive had failed.

This email was generated by the smartd daemon running on:
host name: shank-nas   
DNS domain:   
NIS domain: (none) 

The following warning/error was logged by the smartd daemon: 
Device: /dev/sdc [SAT], Self-Test Log error count increased 
from 0 to 1 For details see host's SYSLOG. You can also use 
the smartctl utility for further investigation. Another 
email message will be sent in 24 hours if the problem 

I ignored these messages for a while, after all, this drive had just been replaced. It was part of a 2-drive enclosure that I purchased from woot a few years ago. The enclosure starting stalling on data reads in November of 2012 and I sent it in for RMA repair. They send me a new unit with supposedly new drives. Less than 1 month later, this one starts failing. Go Hitachi.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Home NAS

I've officially exceeded 500 titles on my HTPC and recently had a scare in which one of the drives in the LVM array started exhibiting errors. I decided it was time to separate the disk from the front-end and put some redundancy in-place. I checked out some of the turn-key solutions like Synology and QNAP. It seemed steep to spend $650 for an enclosure with no drives so I set out to build my own.