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ARK: Survival Evolved Review – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

By on Mar 30, 2016 in Games | 0 comments

There are times when ARK: Survival Evolved (ARK), the dinosaur filled survival game in development by Studio Wildcard, is awe inspiring. Your initial hours of exploring the island and fighting to survive will be at times frustrating but more often engrossing and rewardi read more

Why You Shouldn’t Buy Google’s OnHub Router

By on Oct 30, 2015 in Blog Posts, Hardware | 2 comments

Way back in the heady days of October 2012 I purchased a popular wireless router – the ASUS RT-N66U. It was so cool that ASUS even nicknamed it The Dark Night. For nearly three years it was not only the router I wanted, but the one I needed. It more than got the job done. Then we moved into a new house, and the wireless speeds mysteriously became unreliable. Even 30 feet away I couldn’t get a decent test result. My 100M/10M Internet connection was hobbled. I ran tests and quickly found that a wired connection to the router worked perfectly. 2.4ghz was fine, but since the limits of 802.11g meant I couldn’t fully utilize my bandwidth, I opened a ticket with ASUS support. After a week of fruitlessly testing different settings, the 5ghz band’s performance was less reliable than Lindsay Lohan. ASUS initiated an RMA. But wait, isn’t this an article about...

Ukraine: A Village Far From the Front Lines

By on Jun 20, 2015 in Blog Posts | 0 comments

It’s not easy to get to Ukraine. You have to want it. A few weeks after I began dating my girlfriend, Alona, she started asking if I would ever take a trip home with her. I fell in love and my fate was sealed; six months later I was on my way to a small village in central Ukraine.   Getting There The trip began in a taxi to an Amtrak station at home in Norfolk at 4AM. The train took us to DC where we took an Uber to a hotel and stayed overnight. The next day we rode the shuttle to the airport and flew to Amsterdam and then to Kiev in Ukraine. The flights were long but bearable. If you go straight to the village from Norfolk it’s about a 26 hour trip, all told. Once we arrived in Ukraine I immediately noticed the reserved nature of the Ukrainian people. They quietly went about the business of disembarking the plane, making their way to the baggage claim, and waitng for their...

My Favorite People on Twitter

By on Mar 30, 2015 in Blog Posts, Internet | 0 comments

For some reason I have a really difficult time finding interesting people to follow on Twitter. There is a lot of useless noise out there, but every once in a while a magnetic persona shines through. Here are a few people that keep me coming back to Twitter like Adam Sandler to bad movies.   Laura Watkins – @OneHelluvaDame Laura is one of the funniest people I know. Her tweets are often raunchy but good-natured. She usually talks about her tiresome jobs, peculiar boyfriends, and sweatpants. My grandma once raised money for a poor family to buy Christmas presents. They bought a monkey. I probably think about this every week. — Laura Watkins (@OneHelluvaDame) March 2, 2013 If you're a Zumba instructor and they find out you don't have an ankle tattoo, do you get fired? — Laura Watkins (@OneHelluvaDame) August 17, 2012 Neighbors fighting....

How To Replace Symantec’s Backup Exec

By on Mar 16, 2015 in Blog Posts | 0 comments

Back in 2012 I wrote a long post about my terrible experience with Symantec Backup Exec and their lackluster technical support that still remains one of my most popular posts. It seems I’m not the only person who was fed up with Symantec; far from it. At that time I decided I would never again purchase another copy of Backup Exec (BE), and I never did, but it hasn’t been easy. It’s tempting to simply upgrade whatever you have in place, but after years of less than stellar releases from Symantec the time finally came to find a replacement. I found two. Arcserve Backup The first, a more traditional product, is Arcserve Backup. It installs on your server or workstation in a similar manner to BE and can backup to tape or external drives, among other options. Setting up and managing jobs will be familiar to anyone who has been using Symantec’s product, though there...

Soma Water Filter Review

By on Feb 9, 2015 in Blog Posts | 1 comment

The folks at Soma put a lot of thought in to their product but I wonder if they actually spent much time using it. The things fails at almost every aspect of being a water delivery system and sometimes even the simple, beautiful design hurts the functionality of the Soma. From filling to pouring, there are problems. First, the Soma is a little tricky to put together. You’ll feel like you’re going to break the thin, flimsy lid. Apparently Soma knows this is a weakness, so they’ve produced a video showing you how to put the lid on. Seriously. It’s part of a longer video welcoming new customers by giving them incorrect information about their own product. In the video we’re told to simply soak the filter for 15 minutes and it’s ready to use, but in the instructions that come with the Soma you are told to give the first three fills to your plants. Seems...

Good Riddance, Serial

By on Dec 18, 2014 in Blog Posts, Internet | 0 comments

The first five episodes of Serial were wonderful. Well researched, produced and told by its creator, Sarah Koenig, the story followed an arc that lead the listener deeper and deeper into a mystery that seemed to be heading towards a conclusion. Instead, the story meandered for seven more episodes as the clearly obsessed Koenig tried desperately to justify her infatuation with the subject, Adnan Syed. Koenig employs every possible tactic to convince herself and her audience that she isn’t wasting our time. She hires a detective to be sure that she isn’t missing something; he says the case work was above average, that the detectives did their jobs well. She interviews a lawyer whose job it is to free innocent prisoners and who, to no ones surprise, finds some way to get involved in the now massively popular case. She wants to test the DNA on items possibly still in storage...

How’s Life Treating You?

By on Sep 25, 2014 in Blog Posts | 0 comments

Tonight my neighbor casually asked a question I’ve heard many times before and never stopped to think about: how’s life treating you? It’s an informal greeting, by definition, though I can’t find its etymology. One thing is clear; when people say it they are asking how you are doing, not how the world is affecting you. The world doesn’t act upon us; we are part of it. We’re like leaves floating down river, but because we are capable of swimming against the current for a time, we have the illusion of control. In the end the current always wins out and we must relax and “go with the flow”. It’s the times when we are least concerned with our environment, the people and things around us, that we are most at peace. My sister has a degree in historic preservation and works for a historic preservation society in Boston. She spends all of...