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Japan version of “The Office”

Posted by Madbot on Mar 14, 2016 in Madbot Madness

Madbot says:
By SNL.. Little did they know how accurate this is..

 
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Silver week War Thunder – Hayabusa time

Posted by Madbot on Sep 21, 2015 in Madbot Madness

Madbot says:

Took advantage of the silver week in Japan to catch up on a few games of War Thunder.

Noticed the new planes in the Japanese tree namely the KI-43-I and KI-43-2 Hayabusa model 1 and 2. Had played with the plane previously but that was before learning concepts of Boom and Zoom and energy fighting.

Equipped with better understanding on better ways to fly these planes, the flight experience improved significantly.

Being Japanese made, these are still mostly weak as paper, and the machine guns they pack are loaded with frozen peas instead of bullets. Nevertheless, the flight experience was joyful and rewarding.

 
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Weekend project – Raspberry Pi + touch screen + Angry Bird speaker + XBMC

Posted by Madbot on Dec 21, 2014 in Madbot Madness

Madbot says:

So good…!

Picked up the spare Raspberry Pi with an old build of Raspbmc (XBMC on Pi) + USB WiFi dongle, and added:

– New touch screen from Adafruit
– Angry Bird speaker from Dad
– Mirror the HDMI output on the mini screen via frame buffer copy

Frame rate is not fast.. But not complaining..!

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15

Fix – missing Android phone contacts in Audi MMI bluetooth

Posted by Madbot on Aug 19, 2014 in Madbot Madness

Madbot says:

So very happy with the new Audi A3 2015, only to quickly discover the technologies have changed so much since my last car that I really don’t quite get what half of all these buttons do.. The rental Audi cars in pervious years have helped but the fact my phone has also changed from iPhone to a Nexus 5 added to the confusion. I felt like a total noob..!

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Bluetooth was one of the first problems. The Nexus 5 connected without a problem except I seem to have ended up with very limited set of contacts that most don’t even have phone numbers registered. None of the contacts from office’s Exchange account made it to the car.

Much playing later, discovered a fix. It turns out the car was sync’ing the Skype contacts for some crazy reason. To keep a long story short, if you are having the same problem, here is how you specify what contacts should be sync’ed over Bluetooth to the car.

1. Make sure you are not connected to Bluetooth.
2. Open the ‘People’ app on the phone – you should see all your contacts here.
3. Click on the 3dots on bottom right of the screen to open the options screen.
4. Click ‘Contact to display’. This lists all the accounts you have setup on the phone.

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It’s here where things get tricky. Pay attention now.

5. Scroll down and click on Customize to open ‘Define Custom View’. This page lists all the accounts you have setup on the phone with a down arrow on the left.

6. Expand each account and SELECT only those accounts with contacts you want to sync to the car and UNSELECT the ones you don’t want. The car will see only the contacts in the account you select here. Click OK when done.

7. Go back to home screen and connect to Audi MMI via Bluetooth and viola! Your contacts have now sync’ed with the car.

This method may also work with the VWs.. Your mileage may vary. 🙂

 
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Internet in Vancouver Canada as a tourist

Posted by Madbot on Jul 6, 2014 in Madbot Madness

Madbot says,

Things were not so easy this time in 2014.

2 years ago, tethering on Rogers prepaid was no issue. While price was not cheap, at least we were able to get internet access across our different devices. This time in 2014, things were not so straight forward.

After dealing with Rogers last time, I was happy to go with them again this time. $15 for SIM card and activation (ouch) plus prepaid plus $40 voucher in order to get the $30 data plan (gouge much?), finally got a SIM card for the Nexus 5.

However, there is no LTE. Apparently it’s not available on prepaid plans as they thought people will chew through their data plan too quickly. Geez, I got the 1GB data plan for 3 days stay, why are you worried I would blast through my plan? Seems they are just trying to slow me down.

But wait, there is more. There is no longer tethering. Went back to the shop to ask the staff as the Nexus, even with tethering on, was not passing on data. Oh, apparently Rogers does not allow tethering on prepaid. Geez, I paid for the data plan already, right? There is not even an option to pay and enable it. The staff give me a nudge nudge wink wink saying if I ‘mod’ my phone then maybe I can get around it.

What’s more, Rogers’ Internet data plan even on 3G is unstable. It would go along happily and then just drop the data. Connection is still up but no internet access. Real rubbish here.

Got fed up after a day and decided to root the Nexus and enable the tether. Rogers, you suck and give your customer no options to use what you charged them.

20 minutes rooting the phone later, Nexus is back up with tethering enabled. The data still drops out after a while but a quick flip to airplane mode and back resets it. Now I can tether away with one day and 900MB left on my data plan.

Rogers, you suck.

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Fun with watch bands

Posted by Madbot on Jul 3, 2014 in Madbot Madness

Madbot says:

Resisting the temptation to pick up more watches, recently started to play with changing watch bands.

For just 10 to 20 dollars on Amazon, the old watch suddenly gets a new, fresh look. Picked up 3 bands so far and having fun changing and swapping between different watches.

The old Casio, a fantastic watch but looking a bit young, suddenly looks respectable enough to be like a dress watch – for my taste anyway. Love it.

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War Thunder –

Posted by Madbot on May 25, 2014 in Madbot Madness

Madbot says,

Started playing War Thunder mainly to play the British and Japanese planes (ie Spitfire and the Zeroes). The Spitfire I grew to love as my flying and battle tactics improve, but the zeroes remain a sensitive spot. They are agile and simply the best turn fighters in the game, but they are also very vulnerable. A few bullets easily snap a wing off or set the plane on fire, leading to a frustrating death. It is almost as if Gaijin (the Russian developer company who got their name from a Japanese word) had it in for Japan.

Many months later, I am deep in the tier 3 for UK and Japan trees and start to work on tier 4 planes. When frustrated by the progression, I switch to the other nations for a taste of something different and see how it is they so easily set me on fire..

Surprisingly, after much annoyance with the early German planes, the tier 2 BF190 and BF 109 are very enjoyable to my play style – after resisting the urge to turn with the enemy. The tier 1 was even fun after fully upgrading the FW 110C. This was like playing the over powered Russian planes but made you feel good because it took some constraint and technique. Very satisfying.

 
16

League of Legends – Fix for cannot connect to PVP.NET Oceania region

Posted by Madbot on Jan 1, 2014 in Madbot Madness

Madbot says:

Got talked into playing LoL by nephew.. went through the process of downloading, creating the account (on the Oceania server), downloaded and installed the client.. upon the first login, encountered certificate errors that seems to first authenticate me through the login, but then pops up a connect to PVP.NET error. The game client then closes. Checked firewall, ports, everything is fine.

Played with internet explorer settings, tried manually adding the certificates.. in the end, this is what worked. Interestingly, I could log into NA (North American) region perfectly fine, just not the Oceania region.

It turns out the DigiCert SSL certificates were invalid. To fix this, go to:

https://www.digicert.com/digicert-root-certificates.htm

Step 1. Scroll down the page to Intermediate Certificates

Step 2. Download 2 Files and save to your desktop:
— DigiCert Secure Server CA
— DigiCert High Assurance CA-3

Step 3. Double click on both of them, one at a time. Doesn’t matter which one you do first.

Windows should pop up a box giving you the option to install the certificates. On OSX, it should open ‘Keychain’

Step 4.Follow the steps and install both certificates.

When done with both, log into LoL again and hopefully everything works!
LOL

 
2

New geek toy – Casio GB-X6900B (2013 model) G-Shock

Posted by Madbot on Sep 22, 2013 in Japan, Madbot Madness, Techno

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Madbot says:

With all the talk about wearable tech and smart watch from Samsung, Sony, and Apple, there was already a number of smart watches on the market. One is by non other than my childhood favorite,Casio.

Casio released their bluetooth enabled watch in 2012 under the G-Shock line. Instead of the pitiful battery life of other smart watches where they barely last a single day, the Casio units boast battery life of up to 2 years. Impressive, right? The key difference is the Casio units do not have a full graphical screen like the others. Casio therefore avoids the “smart watch” tag and calls these simply “bluetooth enabled” watches.

The pre-ordered unit GB-X6900B arrived this morning and setup, while far from being intuitive, was completed without too much pain. The watch pairs with either Android or iPhone via bluetooth and the G-Shock app.

This 2013 version offer some extras over the original 2012 model. Functions include:
– Notifications (as in watch beep and vibration) when the phone receives a call, email, or social network (Facebook, Twitter, etc) notifications,
– Music control. Forward, back, play/pause via 3 of the 4 watch buttons. Can also map volume up/down if you prefer. Each button can be remapped to different function via the app.
– Phone finder. Misplaced your phone but the watch is still connected? Trigger the phone finder on the watch and your phone will make itself known by screaming blue murder.
– Link alert. Watch notifies you if phone becomes out of range, eg., if you’re about to accidentally leave your phone (or watch) behind.

Android phones get the additional ability of SMS notifications. iPhone does not appear to allowed this. Email notification is “dicky” as it’s not done by the phone mail client. Instead, you configure email accounts in the G-Shock app and the app logs into the mail account periodically to check if you have a new mail. Hope Apple stop being a dick and loosen up the restriction soon. My iPhone 5 would really appreciate this. Thanks!

While out and about on the bike this afternoon, the bluetooth enabled watch became useful quite a few times. It reminded the wife of her nail appointment was coming up while we were at lunch via our shared calendar. Notified me of a couple of Facebook notifications that were mildly amusing – although I turned it off after the 3rd time. The most useful part of all, it vibrated away when the wife rang. The phone was in my pocket or in the bike pouch – without the watch vibrating (I turned off the beeping) I would not have heard the phone ring and then end up in tons of trouble with the good wife.

This function will be most useful at work (on the few occasions when I wear it in to the conservative setting..) where the phone stays in silent mode most of the time. Wife is already suggesting I wear it even at home.

Oh, and the watch looks fantastic..! The usual G-Shock look that is chunky, techie and the big G symbol remind me of Gatchaman (aka. Battle of planets or science ninja team). Wearing it secretly satisfies my childhood fantasy.. ;-). The wife doesn’t share my enthusiasm but she tolerated it and was glad I don’t plan on talking into the watch, Dick Tracey style.

Pre-Ordered via Amazon Japan for around US$150. The other model GB-6900B is a smaller and cheaper version with the same functions. Each model comes in 3 color variations different for each model.

Update: The phone finder can play a song on the phone or a number of sound effects regardless of silent mode setting. While it’s going off, you can double tap the watch face to stop the sound. Unfortunately the tapping aspect is not working for me. Need to press a button to stop phone finder. Could this be a bad unit..?

Update 2: Received a replacement unit from Amazon JP and still the same problem – no tapping. This got me thinking more.. And the result is: the manual is wrong. The manual says you tap the screen, but if you follow it, nothing actually happens. Instead, tap on the face frame and magically, it works! The tapping needs more force than you would expect, say compared to an iPhone with touch screen. It’s ok to be tough – this is a G-Shock after all. I am guessing the tapping triggers the same movement detector used to put the watch in power saving mode – since the watch face is not a touch screen.

Now to return the replacement.

Update 3: Updated to iOS 7.02 this morning and the watch no longer connects with the iPhone. The app shows “searching” for the watch. But when the app tries to “connect” to the watch, the bluetooth symbol flashes as if it’s connecting, and then drops out. It then does this in a loop while the watch gives up and shuts off its bluetooth. Tried deleting the partnership in the app, restart the phone, etc and nothing worked. In the end, here is how I got it to work:

1. In G-Shock app, delete partnership.
2. On iPhone, go into Settings/bluetooth. Delete any watch partnerships. There should be one.
3. Restart iphone.
4. After iPhone starts up, go back into G-Shock app to connect the watch. iPhone will ask you for confirmation, say yes. That should be it!

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Android 4.3 – I can’t believe it’s not butter

Posted by Madbot on Jul 27, 2013 in Madbot Madness, Techno

Madbot says:

Not bad Google, not bad. The ‘original’ Nexus 7 of mine enjoyed initial dedicated love and attention for several months where I faithfully carried it to work everyday – in case I have a need for it. I enjoyed discovering more Android with it and doing things Steve would never let me do on the iPhone and iPad. It was a real performer compares to the other Android tablet – Asus transformer. I was charmed by project butter and became one of the converted.

However, as time wore on and patches after patches got loaded, the butter knife became blunted and the 7 lost performance fast. Over time, I discovered it needed a minimum 2gb of free space to function in a barely acceptable speed. Even then, some apps were still extremely frustrating and switching between apps infuriated me more. Even the simple act of bringing up a keyboard could take seconds. SECONDS! Using some iPad 1’s at the office made me ask myself why I ever left Steve’s world. Sure, I later discovered having 3gb of free space made it slightly more tolerable – but then why would have to put up with this?

The Nexus soon joined the Transformer in a pile of wasted technology.

But now Android 4.3 is out and installed, initial thoughts were happy ones. Apps are more smooth and while it’s not as iPad-like, it’s certainly made the overall experience more enjoyable.

I still question why it takes a second to bring up the keyboard – and I had given up on Swype and those cool keyboard apps to switch back to the default in the name of performance, yet the lag is still there.

But you know what? Using the (original) Nexus is enjoyable again. It has brought back the smile on my face. Well done, Google. Can we keep the butter going now? It really should stay as part of Android’s bread-and-butter. Keep up the quality!

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