Friday, May 22, 2015

Bodum Electric Fruit Juicer Review



In search of the perfect fruit juicer we took a gamble and bought the Bodum juicer which was on special offer at the qoqa.ch website.

Unfortunately the product has not met Agata and Marcus's high Engineering expectations or tests.


 The unit is quite large and made on the outside from plastic.  Because it is very light and the parts loose fitting it gives the impression of a cheapo product.

But it does work as a juicer ...  well sort of




In a nutshell:

+ It works as a juicer
+ After juicing you can put the transparent top on, press down and it spins faster to extract the last drops of juice   (and also transferring any pulp to the sides of the silver strainer)
- The red plastic squeezer against which you press the cut fruit is an odd shape and works well for smaller fruit only.  For larger fruit like grapefruit your hands become uncomfortably close to the metal strainer [your hand is stationary and the silver strainer is rotating quickly
- The silver strainer has a sharp edge.  It's so sharp that whilst removing pulp I actually cut my finger.  So it is dangerous in fact  (I could therefore also slice finger whist juicing too, it is the top inner edge)
- The dark grey plastic into which the juice drains has curves in both directions. So which ever way you place in the dishwasher you find it /full of dishwasher water/ after a cycle
- The red juice stop that stops juice dripping out is really plasticy and looks and feels cheap.




Summary
The Bodum Juicer works to squeeze juice, yes it does

But not particularly well.

It's lightweight construction feels cheap.

The parts can't all be easily washed in a dishwasher and feel cheap too.

The silvery strainer has a sharp edge that can cut your hands.

Not recommended!

(Instead we would instead recommend and will go back to our older Philips HR 2752 juicer  )



Links
Bodum ManualPhilips HR 2752 juicer 


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Seagate Expansion External Desktop Drive



This both a review of the 4TB Seagate Expansion Disk drive and also a money saving hack ...

Background

I am playing  commissioning and testing a new Network Attached (NAS) Storage device and filling it with 4TB Hard disks.

I needed another disk.


Plus I also need a disk enclosure to house a smaller SATA disk to act as backup for another computer.


As so a cunning plan was born ...


Hard Disk Prices

It is actually pretty flippin annoying but a survey of the Hard disk marketplace reveals that it is quite often cheaper to buy a hard disk inside a dedicated external enclosure, with power supply  instead of buying a similar bare drive.

I know, it is just bonkers.


I bought the 4TB from Digitec for 135 CHF
(Note the Seagate website has a different 4TB unit but right now it's not available in Switzerland)



Packaging

What is included in the package



 Zoom in to see part numbers etc.



iFixit tools used to open up plastic case.  No screws are used just plastic clips.







Bare drive is removed and will be used as an archive disk for my server.   The RPM spin speed is a disappointing 5900 RPM.   Here is the datasheet for the drive which is ST4000DM000




The USB to SATA bridge just attaches to the drive and may be manipulated using the windows Drive Settings program



 I now use an Orico horizontal dock for occasional archiving and this will be the purpose for this bare disk.



Native Drive Performance


These tests were performed using the native electronics before dismantling!


Connection to a USB3 port first on my Xeon Server and then on an old i7 (2009) desktop PC and finally on a laptop.   Same performance figures throughout.




 Partition layout as delivered


Windows file copying using Total Commander 64 bit. Damn fast!


Now tests using HD Pro











Despite the moderate spin speed this hard disk performs excellently.  (Click on images to enlarge as usual).



Attachment to Apple Mac Mini

I need a nightly backup of only 1TB of information. So I have installed an older and smaller 2.5 inch drive in the now otherwise unused black plastic enclosure.



(Rather frustratingly this drive has bad SMART status by HD Tune Pro and other diagnostic software, but NOT using Seagate SeaTools Diagnostics, so I can't return it to Seagate for replacement. Hmmm.  Hence dodgy label on it)



Drive is now partitioned to Apple Mac OSX with HPFS filesystem then this is carved up and virtualised as required to VMware guests which perform the actual backup.



Summary

The Seagate Expansion provides a cost effective external 4TB hard disk.  Other capacities are available.

You can use the external unit of open it up for the bare drive only should you want that, since that bare drive can't be bought for that price separately.





Links

Seagate 4TB at Digitec
Picasa Photo Album hires

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Marcus gets even OLDer




Wiz Khalifa: See you Again


I can hardly believe it.  Today, May 20th, Marcus finds himself another year old.

Yes, now even older than old.

On ones Birthday I confirm that all of us should pass the time

- Not working

- Being a little pampered by friends and family

- Staying in good spirits as usual as befits the occasion

- Doing the things you like to do


So what happened today Marcus?





  • I got up early  (06.00) to walk darling Agata to work, she had a meeting.


    I met my 21K steps goal no problem

  • I applied for a job at a local University


  • I did some hardware modding




  • I made the first serious test of my Bicycle using legal short Triathlon bars

  • I readup on Secure Hash Algorithm standards and techniques


    and played around a little with some code


  • I did some further planning on Mobile living, prompted by some top secret International packages that arrived today.


  • I did some Cycle race planning for the month of May


  • Agata took me out for a special romantic dinner

And Finally
The following videos  reflect the excellent mood I am in today.


As usual, thanks to my great wife Agata for making every day special and this day special++



From the contemporary charts (May 2015):


Galantis:Runaway





Kygo:Firestone





Lilly Wood: Prayer in C




Kiesza:Hideaway





John Newman: Love Me Again




Years: King


Happy birthday me, the rest of your life is waiting.  Don't be late.


Marcus and Agata go Wine Tasting



Marcus knows the following things for sure about wine


  1. In an ideal world Marcus would drink no wine, however the right wine tastes very good.
  2. Agata knows a lot about wine and what wines Marcus likes, so he normally follows her advice and direction
  3. We live in Lausanne part of Vaud canton and a wine producing region of Switzerland.  But Swiss wine like most other Swiss items costs a fortune



Late last night we smoozed down to central Lausanne for a night of wine tasting ....




We were taught some wine appreciation basics


Eye
To analyse the wine first by its colour against a white background in good light.


Nose 
To analyse the aroma of the wine after swirling it in a glass and seeing what component smells we can detect.


Mouth

Finally tasting the wine in question and checking for factors including acidity, simple/complex,  structured/volume

Marcus commented that this process left an extraordinary large time between pouring the wine and actually drinking it.  Just saying!

During the evening we tried 3 whites and then 3 reds shown above from right to left



Between white and red we had a few snacks



Summary

It was a fun evening but for Marcus it confirmed his suspicions:

Marcus eats simple foods and his palette is not sophisticated enough to detect subtleties of wines

I will continue to follow Agata's overriding advice: Drink this wine husband, you are going to like it. 

In the longer term though Marcus thinks that all wine consumption should be terminated and sacrificed to the temple of running and cycling faster.



Tuesday, May 19, 2015

OCD Lite


Mr Monk and the Keyboard


It's time for a small confession. Marcus and Agata will admit to harmless OCD  (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).  Of course we prefer to think of it in other terms

- Particular People

- Gentle OCD
- Bad Memory

OCD At its worst

At its worst OCD can be defined as an Anxiety disorder. Serious sufferers perform repeated actions such as washing, cleaning and checking that might at first appear amusing, but when seen over any time period are recognised as quite disturbing.

5 minute OCD Documentary





OCD and Anxiety

Particular People
It's no secret that Agata and Marcus are quite precise, methodical and persistent.   This is along the same pathway to OCD but at the productive end.


Gentle OCD

Marcus's perspective is that gentle OCD is usually charismatic and part of what makes us different.  

You can test any obsession is not too severe by seeing if you can stop doing it temporarily, and assuming that you can, how uncomfortable it makes you feel.


Essentially if you can't stop doing X, even as a test you need to seek professional help.


Bad Memory Philosophy
There is a philosophical school which suggests that certain low level activities are absorbed into are brain as automatic actions. This is purposefully so, to relieve our brains of thinking the mundane action through.   Locking the car or house door are common examples.

And so when we reflect on whether we carried out the action, our "brain" just cannot remember, it was performed automatically. Many  actions fall into this category and so when I really want to know whether I locked the door I may have to go and re-check it, even though in the last 100 occasions it was never found to be unlocked.



Too Important Wasteful

Being a particular person I am quite critical of people who claim they are too busy to be careful, and cost justify an overtly wasteful and intentionally careless lifestyle.

It typically goes like this: My time is too precious to do:  Any recycling, to put my litter in bins, to park my car properly etcetera.


Such people use the cost of their time to justify selfish, unsociable, wasteful and bigoted behaviours. Basically they are wankers with a cost benefit excuse.





Friends OCD Confessional
I asked friends for their OCD/ foibles.  Thanks to those who replied and here is a small anonymous selection:


-  Toilet paper has to fall over the top and be presented (I've been known to turn it round at other people's houses).

- Checking the light switch is off multiple times because that last click didn't feel "right".

- Weighing and graphing my weight every day for the last ten years.


- Checking car keys, house keys, wallet and phone are where I left them.


- All underwear must be matching and must match the outfit worn on top.


- Keeping all the computers with ALL the latest application updates, OS,  security updates, virus updates

 
- When hanging washing on a rotary line all underwear must be hung on the outside of the line. Socks must be in pairs and bras and knickers in their matching sets. 


- Plastic washing up bowls must be cleaned immediately after use to ensure they are stain free.


- Checking the speed limit on a road I have driven on by looking at the signs on Google maps


- It is obligatory to wash my face and pee and have popcorn before a film.

- Every time the mailbox is passed it must be checked even though there is only one delivery per day

- Food types must be separate on a plate and always eaten individually.  They must not be mixed on the fork.

- All pillows must be placed on the bed with the opening facing the same way, unless it means the pattern does then not match the duvet or the curtains.


- Earrings and necklaces must match and must match/tone/compliment outfit.


- House must be cleaned in this strict order: dust, wipe down, swifter, Hoover, clean floors.

- The petrol gauge in the car must NEVER read below a quarter.


- I have to eat toast by biting the corners first, then eating the crusts around and then what's left of the centre after. 

- The stacking of my food bowls, one stack for striped and another for non-striped (never mixed).


- Todo lists are written with the title in red felt and the rest in black pen, crossed out once done in blue.

- If using both shampoo and conditioner they must be the same brand.


- When putting tinned foods in the cupboards like should be with like, and sweet and savoury should not be mixed


- Magazine, newspapers etc are always read from the back


- Doors are locked, lights off, appliances off.

- Checking car is locked, brake on, in neutral, windows shut, boot locked, interior light off 


- Semi skimmed milk always on the right in the fridge door - full fat to the left.


- Washing hands because the last thing I touched might not have been clean.


- Restoring a computer if the slightest unexpected thing happens, so that the computer is perfect.






Marcus / Agata OCD 

(Marcus unless noted)



  • All fluids in fridge door are sorted in weight order with the heaviest closest to hinge to put least stress on hinge.
  • Toilet paper roll holder comes out at the top
  • Paper money must be sorted from small to large denominations and all in same orientation
  • Putting dirty plates and kitchen pots into dishwasher as the meal proceeds

  • (Agata) Putting the spoons into the dishwasher correctly end up. Marcus says: who does that, really that's weird!


  • Checking the front door is locked
  • Checking the heater in the basement is off
  • Listening to my Podcasts in time sequence
  • Stacking the cups in the cupboard: higher the shelf the taller the cup
  • Sports clothes are used once then washed. - We just like the luxury of starting an exercise in fresh clothes.  However this does mean we change our clothes at least 3 times each, for each of us, per day.
  • All spare cables and tools must be put away before the next day if working on a computer or electronics project


  • (Agata) fastidiously cleans all her sports equipment.  Here you see the inner lining of the Cycle helmet is washed
  • (Agata) Unlocking the car first then boot second just in case car keys fell inside the boot(trunk)  and fell closed, locking us out
  • (Agata) Turning lights off after exiting a room even if you are shortly to return.

Known Foibles

  • Never installing Computer fixes immediately (need confirmation from Forums they are okay)
  • Making sure that I complete my 21K daily steps
  • Sunday is music preparation day for the coming week
  • Every item we own is photographed and every document scanned
  • At least 3 copies of all Computer data, stored in at least 3 different countries
  • Always try to wash my hands when entering home  (This is honour of Marcus's parents who emphasised this behaviour since they lived for decades in countries without comprehensive sanitation)
  • Never sitting down on public toilet seats!  (We think this is just basic paranoid hygiene)
  • An excessive focus on reducing weight
  • Shower after exercise. This usually results in over 3 showers per day and 3+ clothes changes which could be regarded as excessive.


Our Hero: Mr Monk
Mr Monk on a Motorcycle


Mr Monk is a now ended TV series about an American detective with quite severe OCD which he uses to his advantage to solve criminal cases.




Mr Monk and the Blood Test



Mr Monk touching the Lamp



(Unfortunately there are hundreds of un-watchable low quality Mr Monk YouTube clips.  Don't be tempted, just buy the DVDs below)



So in summary:  We think that mild OCD, which we classify as Charming OCD is an essential part of modern characterful living.  And we would not want to lose it for the world.


And detective Adrian Monk is our hero!



Links

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Technological Plateau or Plat OH



Last Tuesday evening I, Marcus was running late for a meeting by the lake with the darling wife Agata.

So I scrambled my Bike equipment together (Water bottle, Heart Rate monitor, gloves etcetera...)  I also of course grabbed my trusty OnePlus phone which I primarily use as a Cycle computer with Runkeeper.

But disaster ...  I had not made my daily update of the Beta release of the Android 5.1.1 Operating System (based on Linux Kernel 3.4.67)



Oh well,  I can do that whilst cycling!   So the download was kicked off, paused whilst I was in the Bomb proof basement   (Swiss law you know) retrieving bicycle and resumed as I flew past our Aldi supermarket at about 30Km/h.

At the traffic lights I was able to reboot into the TWRP recovery utility,  apply the update and reboot.

By the time I was in central Lausanne a few minutes later the update had applied and the phone started Android 5.1.1

I made the meeting with Agata and with the phone now fully operational I was able to cycle back with Runkeeper monitoring the cycle ride as well as my Garmin sportswatch, which was the only record on the way down.



What's my point?

I can remember the old way to compile and install a Linux kernel using make and the C compiler 

- It was fairly automated
- But had to be done on the home computer
- Needed an edit of a Configuration file or menu based update
- Not whilst cycling!
- Backouts were not so trivial

Today 


Monty Python: Four Yorkshiremen

Actually,  I am not saying that /We had it tough/ in the old days,  in fact I am saying we had it exciting because the technology was just in its infancy:


Difficult
Without the Internet a monthly magazine or meeting of like minded souls was you entire contact with the community.  You did not search Google for a problem you had to literally ask around.

Not a Commodity
(who was doing it)
Not many people had any idea what you were doing. Writing a program or debugging a compiler error:  people had no idea what you were talking about.

Hardware Pretty Lacking
Hardware was 8bit or 16 bits even at the Mainframe level 32bits. Unreliability meaning just don't power it off or move it was commonplace meaningful advice not a superstition.

Software Lacking
Software just did not do enough. In early word processors for example proportional spacing of text on paper and on screen was just a dream, you wrote in a tagged language that was formatted, you could not see the formatting mistakes until printed, and colour, well again a dream.

There was no Graphical User Interface  (GUI)

Applications were so slow that software optimisation had to make best use of resources like memory


Concrete Examples (vs old skool)
Today in 2015:Bittorrent Sync some 10GB of research papers to a friend 6000Km away in just a few hours  (vs post papers or a hard disk taking weeks)

2015: Install a new OS kernel in 5 minutes  (vs make -compile one in about one hour)

Today: Cloud Sync 10TB data in weeks (vs get on a plane with 10, 1TB hard disks and take to the offsite datastore every few months, oh and bring the old disks back)

Then: QHD resolution on my PC 10 years ago (vs QHD resolution today on my flippin Smartphone)

Then: UNIX running on my Server in 1980 inside 256KB memory (vs Linux running on my phone using  3,145,728 KB memory)

Then: GPS portable navigator in 1997 qualifying me as a space alien, vs today GPS with maps on every Smartphone in the house with turn by turn navigation and Adaptive congestion routing.




Summary
It used to be a continual battle getting the technology I had to work fast enough.  Plus at the time few people even knew what the technology was.

Today, my Computer and Electronics technology is commodity based, relatively cheap, and often so fast and capable that any Upgrade would seem to be just ridiculous.

On the flip side I don't see great new Technology chasms opening up for youngsters to grapple with.  Sadly today it is more like polishing the car than re-inventing or creating it.

Today, by my old skool standards:

Everything works more than just fine.  

Fantastic.



Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday Sermon: What Atheists wish Christians knew about them




Sunday Sermon:  What Atheists wish Christians knew about them

This video highlights these points:

01.  We have morals too

02.  You don't know us better than we know ourselves

03.  We deep down don't believe in your particular god

04.  We don't hate your particular god

05.  We don't all disbelieve because something bad happened to us

06.  Believing isn't a choice

07.  Most of us used to be Christians too.

08.  Quoting the Bible doesn't work like a Jedi mind trick

09.  We don't worship the devil

10.  Hell doesn't scare us. To us the concept does not make sense

11.  Not all of us are anti-theists.   




Analysis:
These days the world is so large and complex that you sometimes miss something charming and well spoken.







Yes, I had not heard of Neil Carter until I came across the above  Openly Secular Video.  

[ NB:The Openly Secular YouTube channel is a set of 2 minute segments from Secular people explaining their religious stance and usually their thoughtful journey out of religion ] 


So when you have finished with the above.  Also consider





Neil Carter: Introduction


Godless in Dixie Blog

Godless Bingo

Saturday, May 16, 2015

OnePlus One Cases



Some people seem to be under a delusion that but for other people in the world their phone would be safe from damage and accidental destruction.

Marcus is not such an idealist.   My OnePlus One phone whilst not super expensive would be annoying to replace and really is 


Indeed all electronics in the Marcus and Agata household gets a very tough time.   Their reward  in Silicon Heaven will be truly deserved.




First protection is via a hard shell case that clips onto the back of the phone




- I don't have a screen Protector installed, but the latest eBay sale does include one I notice
- The hardshell case is just proud of the front glass display, so that a fall onto the ground has a good chance of not touching the screen
- The case is thin and quite rough meaning the OnePlus won't slip out of your hands

Although this adds to the thickness significantly this is more because the native thickness of the phone is so skinny! 




Bicycle Protection

Rather than use a dedicated Cycling computer  (I hear the Garmin Edge 1000 is excellent)  I instead use the OnePlus Smartphone with a combination of applications, usually at least Runkeeper.



 First note that  Token Triathlon bars are installed as shown.




The bars are so angled that the Armband cannot fall off the Triathlon bars during a steep descent or braking



A single Velcro square holds it tight.   I've tested it and even if this falls off i.e. the armband is then loose the strap passing through the guide is so tight that it's impossible for the armband to fall off the triathlon bars.

The back of the case is Neoprene





The fit of the phone  (and hardshell case) is snug and obviously you can operate the display using your fingers  (not with gloves) without taking the phone out.

In Android  (not iOS which does it better) you can't say keep the screen on indefinitely. And annoyingly Runkeeper still does not have this setting.

So Screen Timeout  is installed and needs to be started before any ride




Here is the final bicycle installation with Runkeeper loaded.




To Summarise

- I have a Hardshell case that protects the Oneplus One again accidental falls

- I use a sports armband mounted onto a Triathlon bar so that the phone can be used as a Cycle computer / Navigation device whilst cycling.

It all works very well.







Links
OnePlus HardShell Case
Token Triathlon Bars
eBay OnePlus Armband