Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Status Update - PART ONE

I haven't made a post in quite awhile and some of you probably think I am dead, but those rumors are grossly exaggerated! I am still alive and kicking! I have been focusing on other things, but I am here to tell a story. Go to the bathroom, grab a drink, and grab a snack, because this is going to be a long post! There is some landscaping related stuff in here as well as technology related stuff, so just read on.

One of the things I have been focusing on a lot more lately has been weather models since I shovel snow in the winter, I like to know what is going on before the local weatherman on TV even knows! I also like to have a better idea of what is coming instead of just hearing what one person had to say. I am also on quite a bit of weather groups on Facebook as well as a forum.

The winter here in the northeast was brutal this year, and I had some horrible days out there working in it. One time was a snow to rain event which meant I was out in the rain for four long hours doing driveways. I had issues with equipment such as freezing rain before a change to sleet and then snow had made its way into the cables on my big snow blower. This meant that the steering trigger cables had frozen up, so I had to manually turn the large 26-inch snow blower. The chute was also flopping around due to a cable being too loose, which I fixed after I was all done.

Of course, it hasn't been all snow either, as I had quite a busy summer last year as well. For once we had a wet and rather cool, depending on how you looked at things, summer. It was humid but there were very little days over 90, so I still suffered nonetheless. I had issues with mowers as well, such as trying to find a replacement one when mine was having issues. No one had the Honda commercial mower I use in stock, so it was a waiting game there. I finally found one though. I had issues with my big mower not wanting to bag though as well, but I have replaced the part I think was causing the issue. Since I am not mowing yet, I can't test it though, but I should be able to quite soon!

I know that you didn't come to this website to read about my landscaping work so let's start talking tech. The year before last, 2016, I got an iPhone 6s Plus. Yes, I switched to iOS, but I still have my Android phone, a Motorola G4 at that time, for work. The Iphone is my personal line. I used that phone for awhile and I thoroughly enjoyed using it. I never did a review though, or even a post about me switching over, since I ended up getting busy and distracted by other things.

Before I got the iPhone though, I had got a new laptop. I went with a Thinkpad Yoga 14, which is a Best Buy exclusive version of the Thinkpad Yoga 460. It is a nice Core i5 laptop with a 256GB SDD, 8GB RAM, and a 14” screen at 1920x1080. It is a touchscreen and has a Wacom digitizer as well. Being a Yoga, you can fold it into a tablet, but I don't use it much that way since being so large, it is a heavy tablet. The idea was to replace my Surface Pro with it, but it would have been better with a 12 inch one really.

Not long after that, I got a black MacBook. This wasn't my first Mac as I have had a few others such as the PowerMac G4 QuickSilver 2002, an iBook G3, a PowerBook G4 12 inch, and a Late 2009 Mac Mini. This can only run OS X 10.7, so it has been used more as a writing laptop mostly. It has a very nice keyboard but sadly it doesn't light up. This one has a 120GB SSD and 4GB of RAM, and uses a Core 2 Duo processor so it is capable of 64 bit, but it is a year to old to be officially supported by any newer versions of Mac OS X. One of these days I will have to do a review of the BlackBook.

Not long after that, I upgraded to a MacBook Pro! In this case it is the Late 2013 15-inch model with the quad core i7! With 16GB of RAM and a 500GB SSD, it quickly replaced the Thinkpad Yoga as my main laptop. This is the Retina screen model as well and I can say it is a great looking screen! The keyboard is great, and it lights up, and I can say that this is the first laptop where I actually use the touchpad all the time. I only use a mouse if I am using an external keyboard, which isn't all that often really.

Next, I got an iPad, specifically, the 9.7-inch 2017 model. I have been using that a lot more than any of the Android tablets I have ever had, and I think a good reason why I have been using it more is due to the fact that Apple stuff tends to work better together than Android. I can get the text messages from iPhone on the iPad, as well as the MacBook Pro, and pick up where I left off in a conversation. I can also get calls on it, and pictures sync between all the devices as well so I saved an image off Facebook to send to someone on the iPad, I can send the image from the iPhone later on.

More recently, I was able to switch my parents over to smartphones for the first time ever. They went with the iPhone SE on the Xfinity Mobile service from Comcast. This is good since it uses the Verizon towers and network, and since they don't use data, they only pay for the phones each month. I turned off all data access as well, since they are on the plan that charges you 12 dollars per gigabyte of data used, so they won't get any surprise bills.

I also got a new phone to replace the Motorola G4 as well, on the same day they got their new phones, but I decided to stay with Straight Talk since for it, it is cheaper. I went with the Motorola X4, which is a middle of the ground phone, not low end but hardly the best of the best either. It is fine for what I needed, and it is water resistant which is a nice thing for someone who works outside, and I have gotten caught in the rain many times!

The best thing about these Motorola phones is that they support CDMA. Why is that good? Most of the world uses GSM after all. For me, I am on the Verizon side of Straight Talk as I have had many issues on the AT&T side of it. I like to have good service, though Verizon had some issues with one of the 4 storms we had in March this year. It came back the next day, but it was hard to do my work when I couldn't call or text people, nor could they text me if they needed me to come over and do the snow.

Such is life though, I don't take the iPhone with me when working, but it was good to have a backup line. I did forget though that I have a Google Voice number and I could have used that for texting and calling if I had WiFi. Sadly, I didn't always have Wi-Fi, but it would have been better than nothing really.

Not long after getting the Motorola X4, I upgraded the iPhone to a 7 Plus, and this one is a Product(RED) model so I had to find a red case to match it. I was going to get a clear case, but they tended to have bad reviews, and I wasn't in the mood to spend money on a case that would look bad after using the phone for a bit, be it scratches of yellowing, or both on some cases.

So, this is all well and good, but this is CLASSICAL Computing, and this is all modern stuff! You will have to wait for PART TWO that will be coming soon!

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