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Synology DSM918+ Review: Something So Simple, Yet So Unbelievably Frustrating

By on Feb 1, 2019 in Hardware | 0 comments

The promise of the Synology DS918+ is that it’s a simple way to setup a powerful network attached storage (NAS) solution. This language is featured prominently in the description on Amazon: High-speed scalable storage serverFeaturing a powerful quad-core CPU, Synology DiskStation is perfect for home users or small businesses looking for a compact and reliable shared storage solution to process intensive workloads. After a few weeks of near-daily struggle with the DS918+ and Synology’s shockingly poor support, I thought it time to share my experience. Let’s Start With The Basics: Setting up the DS918+ This part was simple enough. I installed my three new 8TB Seagate IronWolf drives and ran through the basic setup, configuring them in a RAID 5 array. The DS918+ installed the available updates and I teamed the 1GB network cards for some added speed. I connected them...

Why Can’t The MLB Stop Spoiling Games For Fans?

By on Jun 18, 2018 in Software |

Baseball is the only sport I care about in the slightest, and I’ve been a Cubs fan for most of my 36 years. There was a brief time before I knew what baseball was that I wasn’t technically bleeding Cubs blue and I had to take a short break in the 2000’s in order to decide if I can handle any more disappointment, but other than that, big fan. Over the past few years, I’ve consumed all of my baseball through the MLB’s various streaming services. This has generally consisted of web browser based video players, the Roku app, and the MLB At Bat mobile app. None of these has ever been perfect. Audio issues, low quality, and massive buffering have all been frequent. However, in 2018 things have taken a severe turn for the worse, and MLB support seems completely unable to help. I work a lot, so I rarely get to stream games live. That means I don’t...

How Three Massive Companies Fail To Get VoIP Right

By on Jan 1, 2018 in Blog Posts, Internet, Software | 0 comments

For years I’ve been using Skype for my business telephone system. Although it’s never been perfect – the admin interface is atrocious and reliability is a problem – Skype is simple, cheap, and has all of the features I need. Well, it did have everything, until they inexplicably decided to axe custom voicemail greetings. Without the ability to have professional voicemail greetings for when customers can’t reach someone, Skype can’t really be considered a proper solution for businesses. I did a bit of research and asked around for better solutions. My needs are simple: I’m looking for a good softphone, an easy to use admin interface, the ability to import my contacts from Skype, and I need to be able to port my phone number. I came up with three companies that seemed to meet my requirements: Vonage, Jive, and 8×8. Although they all advertise...

How to Export ALL of Your Skype Contacts

By on Nov 5, 2017 in Software | 0 comments

It’s been a while since I made the move to Skype for handling all of my business calls. There have always been problems with Skype for business use, including confusing billing and an abysmal management interface, but the removal of custom voicemail greetings was the last straw. Tomorrow my number is being ported to Vonage. The most important thing to migrate over from Skype is my contacts. I’ve got years of phone numbers saved that I don’t want to have to re-enter. One would think this would be an easy process. After all, Skype does include the ability to backup contacts to a file, but this ended up exporting less than half of my contacts. When people call my phone number, which is setup through Skype, I see their number in caller ID. Then I rename it to their personal or company name for future use. Apparently, Skype doesn’t consider these to be...

Incompetency Run Amok: Why I’ll Never Fly British Airways Again

By on Jun 25, 2017 in Blog Posts |

A trip overseas is never easy. You plan for months, making sure everything is in order. Passports have to be issued. Presents ordered. Bags packed and re-packed. Airline tickets monitored for months to get the best seats and price possible on a reliable airline. Alona and I, with of our 15-month-old son, Roman, set out for Ukraine flying British Airways (BA) so he could meet her family for the first time. BA’s ticket pricing was stellar. We spent $1,800 in April to purchase two adult economy fares with one infant in the lap. It was $200 less expensive than our 2015 fare with Delta/KLM which didn’t include the infant fare. Over the years I had heard good things about British Airways. They regularly outrank all American-based airlines in ratings and I seem to recall flying with them once or twice in years past and having no issues. Back in late March BA had a massive global...