Maybe that idea you have had for years isn’t a bad idea, so why not commit to it?

CREATIVITY IS ALLOWED. IMAGINATION RULES!

Photo by duncan c.

I like to think I have a very good imagination. It fuels me when I’m being creative, it creates a spark within me. I guess, my inner mind, or whatever you want to call it keeps popping them up from time to time.

I like to think that everyone goes through this. The voice just keeps bringing up old ideas I’ve had. Deep down I think they would be super fun to do. Whether the people like them or not I do not know. I think the last thing want to think about is if other people like it. As to why, it’s very simple. When you create things you are creating things you want to create. The moment you start creating things because people like them I feel everything becomes a chore to do.

Whether the idea is to throw it at the market and see what happens or not ultimately you are creating something because you want to create it. Obviously there’s always the business side of things and that’s a whole other type of thought process.

I guess after many years I’m actually baffled that old ideas I’ve had for applications or games keep resurfacing.

There’s a lot of way things can go wrong.

You implemented the first stage of your idea, then what?

This happened to me once but I have gotten stuck in the past with ideas that started really simple and then as I progressed I stumbled upon another issue: “what do I do next with this…?”

Or you can just start toying with the different outcomes

It’s what I usually do when I get stuck and I can’t progress with a problem or a creative issue. If I get stuck, I step back, grab something to it and may widen the scope that perhaps we need to twist it a little bit to give it a new shape.

The biggest reason I’m bringing this is because we are all getting old, honestly.

I didn’t have a lot of things in life. I think a person once in a while stops and wonders if they should continue without ever fulfilling that idea or product you have had in mind. Ultimately it all falls down to regret I believe.

In a sense this summer I did over-commit to a lot of things. Learning Japanese, setting some personal goals I’m currently working right now, learning photography, and learning to draw.

Now for the drawing part I still genuinely suck but I’m also confident that I will get better with practice. I haven’t really given up. I got to the part that I don’t want to watch TV or series and I just want to focus on what I really want to do rather.

Has it been done? So what? Do you know how many series subscribe to the same tropes? Do you know how many Zelda clones are out there and that hasn’t stopped people from buying them or any “clone game” or “clone comic” or “clone book”.

One of the things I learned before I end this post, because some of you are probably wondering “well, you know, this is really common knowledge”. It isn’t common knowledge, and I like to think people need to be reminded. A quick example would be opening nottheonion subreddit and check the titles and wonder if any of the content presented had any common sense? You could argue that the subreddit isn’t a valid option, then I guess you can easily browse the news and see all the news reported of people doing things that don’t have a modicum of common sense in them.

I guess I just wanted to write this off my mind. What is common to you is uncommon to someone else. What you have thought about may be new to someone. So, maybe that idea you have right now isn’t so bad?

My eGPU experiences so far with a Macbook Pro (Mid/2017)

The current GPU I use (2020)

I think when it comes to buying high-end laptops it doesn’t matter if it is MacBook, or a Dell XPS, or a Razer laptop. Most of the cost can easily range from $2,000 to almost $3,000 and that alone could be a crazy price if you don’t have a job good enough to tackle that type of price.

I really never thought I would do this type of setup. The thought of using an eGPU was intriguing at best. It’s a technology that is still in diapers and it makes you wonder what sort of future it holds for Thunderbolt/USB-C for these types of scenario. I do believe there’s a market out there that wants eGPUs to evolve to the native speeds a GPU would run attached to a motherboard.

On a personal taste, I’d rather use a laptop, because it’s portable and I can leave with it at any time and do my things both on a professional and personal level. Then I can just come back home, put my MacBook Pro on the desk and just simply plug in the eGPU. And that’s all you really have to do. I haven’t found myself to be frustrated with it, some operative system issues aside.

Truth be told using a really good GPU and putting it inside a eGPU enclosure can limit your GPU power of what it can really do. You will never see the true potential of a video card you purchase compared to plugging it to the motherboard. In fact some games, mostly old ones with really archaic structures won’t detect an external eGPU even if its life depends on it. And here are some examples:

Soul Worker

Soul Worker is an old MMORPG (if we can call it that) released a few years ago to the west. When you try to run this game it just literally fails initializing.

Select Compile Heart games

For whatever reason Compile Heart games struggles to even use eGPUs. The performance is worse compared to the built-in dGPU my MacBook Pro has to offer.

Final Fantasy 8 Remaster

It seems that once again the team has sort of failed to detect more than one GPU apparently? I don’t really remember well the issue I was having and all I know is that the launcher didn’t even want to start. And this is just to name a few of the notable issues with the eGPU setup. However, I should note that it seems that people with normal setup and a normal computer have ran into this issue so hopefully Square Enix will fix it someday… probably not.

And I’m sure there’s many more games that aren’t quite as compatible with eGPUs. Internally I don’t know what the code does under the hood, but because we are talking about games that were developed 5-6 years ago I can’t simply be hard on them for the fact that they are underperforming because developers didn’t know eGPUs were going to be a thing.

And let’s be real a lot of the operative system layers have changed and we can’t really expect developers, especially game developers to keep up giving support to already released products. That’s not viable in any way.

The experience so far

So the experience so far is that it’s been pretty good but there are a lot of really rough corners, especially in macOS (OSX). For example, sometimes I connect the eGPU while I’m booted into OSX, and the operative system won’t even pick up the eGPU and I know it tries to because the eGPU icon shows up but then mysteriously exits. Anyhow, let us begin!

The macOS Experience with eGPU

I would say that it started really good. Initially I didn’t have a lot of problems compared to what I’m confronting now. There’s a really weird bug that would make the kernel literally hog the CPU. I assume that it is a driver issue that doesn’t know how to handle certain scenarios but no matter what I do it just always shows up eventually.

Basically all you have to do is plug in your eGPU and maybe the first two hours it works well, but if you trigger the bug you’ll notice that your system slows down to a crawl, your macbook gets worryingly hot, and the Activity Monitor is just tell you the CPU is on fire.

As to why this happens, I have no idea. I have exactly no one to reach out to about this nor do I know any Apple developer. Even if there was a Apple developer that I knew about I doubt everyone would have access to GPU drivers or even have the knowledge.

All that said, when OSX isn’t giving me heartburns with the eGPU it works incredibly well to the point I just love using it because it how well it works with multiple displays.

The Windows 10 Experience with eGPU

I would say that my setup with Windows 10 is quite…. unique in many ways that would make any decent human being question my ways.

I have Windows 10 running on a NVMe storage enclosure. It works blazingly fast except when the storage overheats, which it does, then Windows 10 will throttle it down the best it can to prevent damage.

Storage issues aside, and honestly the storage issue isn’t even an issue unless you have a setup like mine.

The best eGPU you can get is with Windows 10. I say this after playing games to completion like Trials of Mana and I’m almost done with Tales of Berseria as well… I have ABSOLUTELY almost no complaints about Windows 10 handling eGPUs.

Microsoft did an amazing job, minus some…….. issues with how it handles PCIs that would fail the detection of the eGPU or even fail to load it. However, once you overcome the issue you can play a lot of games at a decent framerate speed.

Overall eGPUs just performs better with Windows 10, for me.

In conclusion, this was a rather short and to the point sort of post. I’ve revised the post many times to the point I just wonder “what else can I really talk about eGPUs?” while the concept may be hard to wrap around your head, especially to technical people who would just question “who would plug a GPU through a USB port?”, turns out that there’s quite a big community behind the idea and it doesn’t surprise me.

The idea of having a laptop that is capable of running an external GPU is baffling even today. But, when you consider that you don’t have to spend and additional $2,000 or $3,000 then the math would work out in your favor.

Now, if you are an streamer then this is a completely horrible idea. The 40Gbps connection is being blasted away transmitting data with the game you are currently running on 4k, why would you think it’d be a good idea to stream on a eGPU? It isn’t. I have tried it. Those frames will never make it to Twitch through OBS.

All that aside. I’m rather complacent with the setup. It’s the most absurd setup one could have, suiting me completely.

Sometimes I wonder if WordPress is unbeatable…

For years I’ve been looking at possible replacements for WordPress. I’ve thought about Drupal but it requires too much time to setup to bother. I did like Movable Type when it was open source ages ago but that somewhat died really quick as well… plus you needed to have extensive knowledge of Perl to get somewhere programmatically, something I didn’t have.

Checking other languages like C#/Java/NodeJS seemed to have good contenders… but in the end it was a mix of:

  • How much time do I really want to spend on this?
  • WordPress is extremely well documented with its StackExchange site as a backup if things go wrong.
  • Ghost blogging platform looked like a great contender but at the time there wasn’t much documentation on how to create plug-in. Plus it would defy my “how much time do I really want to spend?”
  • PHP is still one of the easiest language to get around. And like JavaScript it’s also one language you can mess up pretty quickly or misunderstand.
  • In an unrelated note I’ve noticed PHP community has gotten worse? There seems to be a lot of zealots than in the old days when everyone was just happy with what they had. Most of my fond memories with the PHP Community was how open it was to help.
  • In another unrelated note: Python community is still one of the most loving helpful folks beating almost any community. They are chill and ready to help.

Unrelated notes aside…. it seems that even in 2020 WordPress remains to be one of the strongest platforms ever created. It’s easy to get into, easy to work around changes, easy to do stuff.

If you have any open suggestions just let me know below if you ever stumble upon this article.

It’s good to be 127.0.0.1(home): New (blazingly fast) host

Hurrah!

I’ve been meaning to actually move this site to a new host. Not just this site but all the other sites that are under this…. I can say that I’ve been successful and it took me a sweet 3 hours to configure everything.

Ouch!

Now, usually moving large amount of files I don’t even bat an eye to that. I just put my trusty rsync command to do its magic and get all files transferred.

What took me a bit was the MySQL configuration part. Now it actually has more secure configurations so it’s really nice, but…. I had users set to specific IP addresses that I’ve forgotten about. Testing nginx configurations was remarkably fast… to the point I was surprised how little you need to get nginx running. I also have extra users for PHP FPM so they run isolated from everything.

What’s left is a series of doing some security configurations and update the backup script I’ve used for all my sites.

All in all. I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time. Yay me!

Learning 日本語「Japanese language」

Hopefully I wrote that right in the title. The featured image is by Freebird_71 under Creative Commons license.

So, I am thrilled and also committed to the notion of learning a new language mostly because while not only it allows me to expand my knowledge of learning a third language, English being my second language, the excitement of understand and talking to foreigners is always exciting.

In the past I did try doing my best to learn the language but the motivation wasn’t there. There was a lot of turmoil in my personal life, and honestly the focus just wasn’t there at all for me to even put myself through the grind. Not only that but I felt like I just launched myself at it without organizing and structuring myself a bit more. It’s not just “oh, yea, open a site and learn a few words and now you know everything”.

I’ve been trying a lot of different stuff this year. Some did stick with me others didn’t really stick with me, for example: drawing is a skill that I would love to work on but the commitment isn’t quite there yet. Photography I enjoy doing but it also requires a lot of planning so it’s not something I do often.

I guess, what I’m trying to say is that of all the hobbies that I want to work on. Learning a new language, and traveling seems like the calling I want to answer.

Photo by Almir de Freitas

For me using Anime or Manga would be the most crude and lamest reason to learn a language.

My main motivation to learn English wasn’t because I wanted to watch Lost, or Games of Thrones or any series that’s running. For me, a person that was born as a US citizen on an island whose main language isn’t English created a conflict for our future careers.

It was first out of curiosity, then as I began communicating with people from different parts of the world mostly thanks to the internet it hit me that the internet helped me out little by little correct myself, and by trial and error just learn more about the English language and the people who uses it.

But most importantly, it was and it will always be a business decision.

Learning English today open doors everywhere. Especially in the United States, or even United Kingdom. Whether you agree with that or not, if you were born already in a English-speaking country then honestly what I said may be pointless. But if you were born in a different country that speaks Hebrew but all the opportunities are in English-speaking countries then you have to put everything on a balance what would benefit you more in the future.

Photo by cogdo.

So in a way, my reason to learn a new language this time is to talk to more people, to meet more people, to know their views and daily life, to hangout with them and maybe even go to karaoke sing broken English-written songs, who cares, it’s all in the name of entertainment and blowing off steam.

I feel like just using a medium like anime or manga as a reason to learn a language is disrespectful to the country. And this not only includes Japan but any country in the world. I just think it’s a very short-sighted and immature reason, but I get the pulling of doing so, especially from young people that are growing right now and have easy access to anime/manga/series that we really didn’t have back then and where harder to get. The appreciation I have for translators will never be enough for their work on exposing a medium of any kind out there. Be it in Japanese/Chinese/Korean.

I’ve made a lot of accommodations, and I have been heavily putting a lot of hours into this. All I hope is that it goes all well and that my hard work eventually pays off.

My mistakes with pizza dough

Initially I thought making pizza dough was a bit tedious…. and it is if you are trying to open a business and want to get a good savory crust out there.

Here are some of my really stupid yet it could probably happen to you(tm) mistakes I’ve done with the dough.

  • Not letting the yeast activate and thrive within the environment. Believe me when I say if you don’t see ANY foam after 10 minutes in your mix(warm water(110-115F)/yeast/a pinch of sugar) then it’s time to throw out the mix and start over. Or maybe the active dry yeast you bought is past its time and expired (died) or you got a bad jar.
  • Kneading the dough harshly at the start when you are scrapping off the bowl and mixing the water and flour together. Don’t just put all your force into it. Treat it gently let it mix and when you see it’s springing back from the force then apply force and keep folding and kneading for 5-8mins. I’ve done the mistake that because it was too sticky I thought the dough needed more flour so I added more until I ran into a hydration issue…. at the end it was becoming a sticky mess because I applied too much force into the dough to the point it just got all over the counter.
  • Not salt enough. This isn’t a huge issue itself, but not having enough salt will make the dough taste……. bland, like nothing. However…
  • Not having a good quality olive oil for a complex flavor that adds up as the yeast does its job.
  • The elasticity of the dough depends on various factors. Could be it isn’t generating enough gluten because you decided to throw in the yeast at 150F water which will kill most of yeast if not all the yeast. You could have ran into a hydration problem where your dough is so dry it cannot do its job properly. Anyway, elasticity is still something I’m working on… and I’ve found it’s all about having a good healthy yeast that is active and foaming happily.

So…. those have been my stupid mistakes so far. I used to have such a good olive oil and I like my dough to bit a tiny bit more sour/yeasty taste on the side.. not chewy I don’t think I’ve ever liked a chewy pizza.

2019 has been one of the hardest year of my life

At some point in your life you come across a series of choices on how you want to continue your life. In truth, these choices are always available to you at any time and it’s up to you how you want to proceed. 2019 has been a beautiful year of growth. It has also been a very painful year, especially on all things related to my health, both mental and physical health were impacted.

It wasn’t the best. I wasn’t the best. It just wasn’t the best year.

What makes a year good?

For me, it’s finally having the courage to throw all the baggage I’ve carried for so long in my life. It broke me, it was the heaviest of the heaviest, and yet I still carried so much of the pain and anguish. From the past, present, and future. Some of the most painful moments in my life were the ones that never happened. It was just created from anxiety and depression. Some moments were real as well, and they were equally painful.

2019 is itself the end of an era for me. The final chapter to a badly written book with really bad characters in it.

 I really look forward to the following years, because they are going to be amazing and not because I say so but because I can finally walk the path I want to walk. Steer where I want to steer. See what I want to see.

To experience the world for the first time without the shackles of judgement is what I’ve wanted. I’ve judged myself harshly through this decade more than I have judged anyone in my life.

2019 is itself the the end and the beginning.

So for the following years all I can hope is that every year is met with many events. I want to enjoy my time with friends, family, and take as many decisions of what I want to do free of judgement. Whether it’s a good decision or not, it matters not.

iPhone X impressions

It almost feels like a decade. Back then I knew that I would never own any Apple product because I was just too poor to afford anything other than low quality phones. Plus, everyone sort of just wanted to hate on the brand because it was more of a status than anything else.

Of course those were the days. I still consider Apple products to be vanity items. They are fashion items that impresses no one these days because of how mainstream it has become. These days Samsung/Google/LG and a huge array of manufacturers can match and outmatch in certain scenarios the iPhone in terms of hardware.

As for me, well I’m just a guy that doesn’t like where Google is heading. I think Apple knows where the direction is heading. Mozilla were actually the first organization that started to market Firefox not just as a browser but a browser you need because it doesn’t track everything about you and try to sell your data.

It’s not about I have nothing to hide but more into “whatever I do is my business. I don’t know marketing companies profiling what I do. And if they are they should pay the big bucks to me.”

Well, enough about my opinions of how I feel about the current things going on in 2019.

So I received the shiniest of the shiniest: an iPhone X 256GB (unlocked).

How is it?

I think for the first time in many years I don’t feel compelled to talk about the performance or compare it to anything. I moved away from Google Pixel 2 XL to iPhone X. Both phones have an amazing performance.

It’s not about the performance. It’s about the company.

These days I’ve wondered who’s got my back. I think Apple recent advertisements on privacy are rock solid. They deliver a crystal clear message that whatever you do — be it browsing, watching, listening — it all stays in your phone. Your data doesn’t go to chinese servers to be analyzed.

I’ve been trying to cut off Google products for many years…. it was one of the hardest thing to do. Years ago I decided to move to Fastmail. It took me like 2 months of preparation of what I needed to do. I’ve yet to replace the search engine because Microsoft hasn’t improved theirs… and Duckduckgo is basically Bing in disguise.

As far as impressions go. I like the iPhone X. The Face ID feature works better than I thought. Performance-wise it’s okay but I knew that already. Apps wise, let’s be honestly, there’s an insane amount of apps in the App Store.

Functionality-wise could be better… but I don’t really have many complains because by now I’m used to iOS due my iPad.

In conclusion: I like the iPhone X. It’s all I expected it to be. It has a very sturdy design with an amazing display and a good battery life too.

You did what now? So I am now part of the Apple “family” with the switch to iPhone

I know what you are thinking. Them judging eyes, shaking your head in disgust. But why?

I grew tired of Android. I didn’t grow tired of Windows 10, heck, I love Windows 10 and I love the new Microsoft, but there is no Windows Phone is there?

Google has left me a bit bitter, especially with the garbage the is the Google Pixel 2 XL. Whoever did the quality control on those devices need to be fired. That’s how bad it is.

For a long time I’ve been investing into Apple products… I own the iPad which I love and I think it’s probably one of the best tablets in the market right now outmatching any out there. The iPad has an insane battery life and you could literally browse for hours or watched 4-6 episodes (probably a bit more depending on settings) of series.

The MacBook Pro has left me a bit of a bittersweet taste. I do love the build quality but the recent MacBook Pros have left me scratching my head because it seems Tim Cook isn’t doing his job. Tim Cook is no Steve Jobs that’s for sure. It seems he has focused all his ideas in pure vanity and not usability.

But, the main reason I love my MacBook as some of you may guess: the battery life, and because it’s UNIX but it factors really low into the decision-making. I’m not really petty to throw a tantrum if it’s UNIX or Linux. I could use Windows just fine.

But the recent problem that I’m seeing about Windows 10 is that all their updates are shipped broken. That’s a HUUUUUUUGE no for me. I have gotten to the age of not wanting to deal with more technical issues on my own devices. I’m just not putting up with more broken updates until Microsoft fixes their mess.

With Microsoft’s move to Linux and OSX I’m actually very happy. I can use my favorite editor: Visual Studio Code which honestly I don’t think anyone from Microsoft ever thought it’d be one of the best tools out there. C#/F# and .NET Core runs pretty well on my machine. Python/PHP/Java/etc are already languages that ran on my machine.

The investment has been done already. I’ve had my MacBook Pro for like a year now… and the iPad about the same length. I am not happy with a few things like Finder actually being a very crappy app that makes Explorer look almost oscarworthy. But maybe I’m just used to Windows File Manager (Explorer) and I actually deem it better than Finder. It also provides even more value with OneDrive now that you can leave your files in the cloud.

I don’t know what’s going to be the future of OSX. I don’t think whoever is making the decisions knows what they are doing. Microsoft is catching up fast and I don’t think they are prepared for it. OSX needs to up their game.

Having said that. Strange times ahead for me as I fully submerge myself in Apple.

The quest to eargasm?

I feel like I may have… gone a little overboard on a lot of things. Buying headphones is certainly one of them.

In full picture:

Sony WH1000XM3, Bowers & Wilkins PX, AKG N60C, Sennheiser HD6XX (Massdrop Edition)

I don’t consider myself an audiophile or anywhere around that. Heck I could explain right now, or try to, on why I have so many… headphones. Part of it is experimenting. The thing about headphones, especially reputable ones is that the retain value so I can easily sell it back without losing much.

Sony WH1000XM3 is meant to be replacing my Bowers & Wilkins PX. These two are the ones I use at work right now and they’ve been wonderful. The Bowers & Wilkins PX certainly wins against the WH1000XM3 when it comes to acoustics…. but when it comes to bass Sony headphones just have the upperhand as the Bowers and Wilkins aren’t as bassy as I’ve had hoped for.

The AKG N60C is actually the one I use at home and it’s connected to a bluetooth transmitter that is connected to my TV. The consoles and most devices are connected to the TV using the TV input ports provided… so I basically route all that sound through a optical audio cable that plugs to the bluetooth transmitter. The AKG ones aren’t meant to outmatch anything. I just found them super cheap and quite reliable for my needs and all I wish is it had more battery life in them.

The Sennheiser HD6XX I use mostly with my Macbook Pro. I just use when I’m alone as they are open headphones, else I’d switch to the closed ones that I listed above.

In terms of quality… I’d dare say I’ve had a greater impression with the Bowers & Wilkins PX and the Sony WH1000XM3 when pitting it against the Sennheiser HD 6XX. Don’t ask me why. I just find the Sennheiser ones to be lacking something and I don’t know what.

Overall I’ll probably end up selling the Sennheiser HD 6XX if I can’t find what’s wrong with it. And part ways with the Bowers and Wilkins PX but as of late a big part of me doesn’t want to give up on the Bowers & Wilkins. I love them. They were my second headphones and I’ve found them to be incredibly delightful to use. I do have minor complains with the clamping… it’s quite… rough after a few hours, but overall I really enjoy using them.

If I ever go high-end with cans… you won’t see me do that this year for certain. I think I’m going to stay in the mid-zone for a long time. I’m also hoping to do a write-up on Sony WH1000XM3 at the end of this month.