Xiaomi Mi A2: A Great Budget Device

7 Oct

While browsing through Amazon one day, I came across a budget device that caught my eye. The spec sheet looked good, it was part of the Android One program, and was super cheap as smartphones go. I decided to order one, and have been using it for about a week now.

The Xiaomi Mi A2 features the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 chipset which delivers surprisingly good performance and fantastic battery life for the price. The model I purchased has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage which is more than enough for me, however there is also a model available with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.

While the display is not an AMOLED or even OLED display, it still gets the job done. Colors are vibrant and look good, and even at full brightness I’ve still been able to pull at least 5 hours of screen on time out of this phone.

Usually with cheap or budget devices from Xiaomi there are major compromises made in the camera department. I’m happy to report that although the camera in the Mi A2 is not the best you’ll ever see, it does take some fantastic photos and has a great manual mode for those of you who like to get a little more out of your photos than the auto mode offers.

The Xiaomi Mi A2 is also a dual sim device. What’s interesting is that when I attempted to use my Freedom Mobile sim in it, it immediately went to roaming even though the spec sheet says it supports AWS bands, however if you use the code *#*#4636#*#* and select the appropriate banding for Freedom, it will join the network and work just fine.

Overall I’ve been super impressed with this device, and at $330 with free next day delivery, this phone is fantastic for anyone who wants a device that “just works”.

If you’d like to order one for yourself, you can order it here. This is not an affiliate link, and I do not make any money from Amazon.

Twitter…. Let’s Talk

8 Aug

Dear Twitter:

You were one of the very first social networks I ever signed up to be a part of and that i quickly fell in love with.

You were fast, convenient, and I could send a text message to you for you to post to the internet! It was mind blowing at the time.

You were an innovative company with some fantastic ideas to change the way people communicated across the web.

I spent a good portion of my life trying to become a developer that would work well at Twitter or worst case work with Twitter.

Now I’m not sure who’s bone headed idea it was to place all of these restrictions on your APIs, but you need to take a hard look at what you’re doing, because you’re about to go the way of the dodo.

  1. Developers are your allies and not your enemies. They are developing better and different ways of accessing Twitter.
  2. Some of them have more users of their apps than your native app on Android or IOS.
  3. Your apps are trash. You should know that by now. That’s the reason apps like Tweetbot and Flamingo are amassing massive numbers of users, and you’re struggling to have people use your developed platforms.

Somewhere along your timeline Twitter you forgot what and why people use your service.

Stop restricting your biggest supporters, and improve your products. By choking out the people developing on your platform you’re going to loose a lot of users, and a lot of support from some of your biggest supporters.

Your API changes are a massive mistake and are hurting your community directly.

If you ignore your users and your developers, then don’t expect to be around much longer.

Sincerely.

Andrew Goldenberg

It’s Been a Hot Minute

5 Aug

It’s been quite a long time since I’ve written a post on this here blog of mine and I felt like it could use some love.

I decided to try out this new Gutenburg editor and see what everyone is complaining about but to be honest, I quite like it.

It’s super minimalistic and only shows the bits of UI that you actually need while writing a post. I think this is by far the best way to write a blog post! It’s still very much what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) but a lot cleaner and more simple.

I can see how this would be a massive change for someone who has been using WordPress since the beginning but who is not a coder, but for me this looks pretty damn good.

I just noticed that this editor is automatically placing my paragraphs into paragraph blocks and offers me a way of editing that paragraph inline. For instance if I wanted to make some text bold, I could do exactly that by simply mousing over this paragraph, selecting the text I want bold, and clicking bold.

Let’s try a link; HostingEh is my web hosting business that I run as a side project at the moment, but with continued growth, I could likely make a full time living doing. Yep. Even entering a link is dead simple!

How about a photo?

Yep even a photo again is dead simple to add inline. The last thing I’d like to see is how my theme handles this. As far as I know, my theme does not have any kind of customization handling this new editor so we will see what the finished post looks like.

Either way, this is super cool and modern. I love it.

Industry Standard: The Advanced HVAC Story

19 Sep

So for those of you that have visited us over the last couple of weeks or so, you would have noticed that our kitchen is torn apart and is in the process of being renovated.

During this renovation a breaker was tripped and as a result, our outdoor AC unit would not power on. Knowing that I know absolutely nothing about electricity, I started to google around for a reputable HVAC company that could come and have a look at what had happened and get it resolved.

Advanced HVAC had a paid google ad that allowed you to text them straight from the ad, so that’s what I did.

As you can see, the gentleman on the other side of this conversation mentions their hourly rate is $95/hour. So in my head I said “Ok it’s probably going to be under an hour, so $95 + Tax is likely what it’s going to cost me.” To me that sounded fair.

So they schedule a “call out” for me for between 1:00PM and 5:00PM.

About an hour after the initial call, they called again to ask if they could come closer to noon as they were finished up early. I told them it wasn’t an issue if they wanted to show up earlier and so they confirmed they would be at my house closer to noon.

The technician didn’t arrive until 1:45PM (Closer to 2PM for those who know how to tell time). He wen down, flipped a breaker, went out to his vehicle, wrote a work order, and demanded I pay them over the phone before he left my house.

I called and spoke with someone at their offce to arrage for payment. When I mentioned the invoice seemed higher than it should be, he told be it was “industry standard” to charge a “call-out” fee. This is a fee to simply send a truck to your house. Then on top of that, if you want the guy to come in your house and do something, well that’s $95 per hour. But if they just come by, $95. I thought that was a load of shit, so I called a couple other HVAC companies. Lo and behold, this is not an industry standard. It’s some made up charge to charge me 4 times the cost of flipping a switch.

The labour portion of the invoice was $35!!!! Be careful of companies like this who are not up front about their pricing.

Thanks Advanced HVAC! I will most certainly not be calling you guys again!

Dear Recruiters

6 Sep

My name is Andrew Goldenberg, and I am an experienced backend developer from Ottawa, Ontario Canada.

You seem to pay a lot of attention to the buzz words on my LinkedIn profile and not very much else, so let me answer some of the most frequently asked questions.

Do you know Java?

No I do not.

Can you add Java to your resume?

No I will not.

Even if it means being considered for position x?

No. I do not wish to be considered by your client as a candidate based on false pretenses. Do you think we like to look like complete idiots on the first day at a new workplace?

I understand that a large portion of people lie on their resumes and that it gets them through the door but it’s a revolving door that will soon put them out on their ass.

What languages can you write in / function in?

I’m sure if you read my profile you’d already know the answer to this.

Do you have any experience with WordPress?

Nope… sorry… What’s wordpress?

Honestly guys. If you’re going to even try to waste my time without even glancing at my profile for the information you seek, then don’t bother me with your “FANTASTIC OPPORTUNITIES with MASSIVE GROWTH POTENTIAL”.

Now let’s talk more about the fantastic opportunities you want to tell me about! if you can’t tell me the following about the job, please don’t call / text / email / smoke signal me.

  • Who is it working for?
  • What is their culture like?
  • What is the pay / benefits?
  • What technology stack ┬ádo they work on?
  • Where’s the office?

If you can’t answer those for me, then why am I going to spend my time on a potential dead end? If you’re not OK with disclosing that information, then I’m not OK spending my time with you so that you can sell me to a company that I don’t even want to be at. I don’t do arranged marriages.

Sorry, not sorry.

Andrew Goldenberg

How to Get LTE on the Blackberry Keyone on Freedom Mobile

8 Aug

Last week I went back to the Blackberry Keyone as my daily driver only to notice that for some odd reason, I could not get it to connect to LTE. I live in Ottawa so Freedom Mobile’s LTE network uses band 4 (1700/2100) for LTE which means this phone should work just fine. “No sweat!” I thought as I quickly dialed 611 from my device. I’ll just ask tech support…. maybe it’s just a provisioning issue..

When I spoke to Freedom Mobile’s ‘technical’ support team (and I use that term loosely.) the lady on the other end of the phone told me that in no way shape or form is a Blackberry going to work on their LTE network, I stopped her and told her she had to be mistaken. I live in Ottawa and Ottawa uses band 4 for LTE which this device has. Why would it not work? “Blackberry will only work on our 3G network.” I was told.

I did some googling and soon learned that the Blackberry Keyone needed a very minor change to get it working on LTE. Here is that change:

    1. Open your dialer (The phone app)
    2. Press the following: *#*#46368676#*#*
    3. You will be presented with the menu in the first screen shot.
    4. Tap Phone Information.
    5. You will be presented with the menu in the second screen shot.
    6. Under “Set Preferred Network Type” select either LTE/WCDMA or LTE/WCDMA Auto (If the option is there.)
    7. Hit the home button and you’re all set.
    8. Your phone may drop your connection temporarily as it tries to connect to LTE.

Screenshots

Please note: This will only work if you’re in one of the areas that Freedom Mobile uses band 4 (1700/2100) for their LTE. The Blackberry Keyone does not have a band 66 antenna, so it still won’t work.

Fuck Off Rogers

11 Jun

Another anti-competitive and anti-consumer move is approved by our useless telecom regulator.

Rogers was given approval to purchase AWS-1 spectrum from Videotron the other day and this should have never been allowed to happen.

Rogers is already insanely spetrum heavy and is nowhere near reaching their network capacity.

Shit like this makes my blood boil. This spectrum should have to be surrendered by Videotron and put back up for auction for the smaller carriers. This bull shit with big companies getting bigger while the little guys get screwed every which way by the big 3 douchebags is enfuriating!

The CRTC needs to get off its ass and keep working towards fixing this broken system! I’m so tired of seeing anit-competitive behaviors like this from companies that keep claiming they have enough competition here in Canada.

Rogers, Bell and Telus own every other small brand in Canada aside from regional carriers like Sasktel and Freedom Mobile.

So fuck off Rogers! You lie through your teeth!

TouchPlow: Uber for Snow Plows

10 Feb

TouchPlow WebsiteIf you live in Canada like I do, you probably hate clearing your laneway as much as I do. TouchPlow is the solution to that problem!

I have to admit that this week I let my laziness get the best of me and by Saturday, my laneway was covered in ice and so using my snowblower wasn’t going to work too well for me. This is where TouchPlow came into play.

As the title of this post states; TouchPlow is the Uber for snow plowing!

TouchPlow is super simple. Create an account, add an address, describe your laneway, and book a plow. They offer varying prices depending on the size of your laneway, whether or not you want them to clear your walkway, and how fast you want them to show up and plow your laneway.

When the job is done the plow operator has to provide proof of the job being completed, and you are notified by the app that your laneway has been plowed. You also get to leave feedback for the operator which is reviewed by a real person within a couple of business days.

I am super satisfied with how the job was completed and how fast it was done! I ordered the 4-12 hour service, and it was done within 2 hours! Incredible!

Thought it was worth sharing! Check out the images below for how it works!

Android Download | iOS Download

Back on the Vape Trail

23 Jan

E-Leaf iStick PowerLast week I decided I was done with smoking cigarettes for good. I no longer wanted to feel that heavy chest feeling in the morning. I no longer wanted to be wheezing when I went to bed. I no longer wanted to be out of breath walking up short flights of stairs. I was done with all of it.

I headed to a local vape shop and picked up some supplies, and am happy to say I haven’t smoked in a week now.

It’s super simple to get off cigarettes with this method and in my opinion, these devices do a lot less harm to your lungs than a cigarette does. I no longer wheeze, my smokers cough is nearly gone, not to mention I no longer smell like absolute dog shit!

I’m quite happy with the decision and where I’m at. The next step would be to get off nicotine entirely, but I really do enjoy my vape / smoke throughout the day as a way to take a breather, so it will be much harder to stop entirely.

For now I am happy with the result over the course of a week, and I’ll continue to work hard on keeping off the smokes.