Approaching new things

If I have to give this month a fair shake it is that I’ve been doing things the wrong way. I’ve yet to make any progress in a position that I want because quite honestly these days I’ve yet to get excited about a company or product.

Now, I don’t really want to give the opening of this log entry a very heavy start. Life doesn’t go the way you want it most of the time and I’ve learned to be okay with it as long as I don’t become complacent or a conformist.

I feel like I have been extremely spontaneous about many things this month with the start of new hobby. Like anything, it takes a lot of practice and a lot of trial and error to get good at it. Photography isn’t exactly a passion of mine. Just an interest that I hope to nourish over the following years.

It’s also something that I’ve been meaning to start. I’ve been with computers for so many years that the thought of doing more outdoor activities was never in the equation. Now, these days I want to take control of my life and finally enjoy myself. Go out, travel the world, etc.

A huge part of me doesn’t want to just stay still… I just can’t do it anymore.

I can only hope that everything goes well. Not just on this new hobby but everything I’m planning to do.

I love you, Sony WH1000XM3. But you are too fragile. 😓

I finally got my hands on the Sony WH1000XM3. They’ve been dropping the prices on eBay so I thought: Hey, you know what? It’s time to bite.

I have so many mixed feelings and all of them revolve around the build quality.

A friendly reminder that I’m still a bad photographer

On a fair note, I’ve been extremely spoiled by Bowers & Wilkins. Hands down I feel like Bowers & Wilkins understands that perhaps something that is priced around $350-400 shouldn’t be completely plastic.

Sony, Bose, and many other manufacturers continues to deliver poor build quality just to maximize profits and not compromise on giving people a better product.

Granted, the cans are actually amazing and I feel like while the sound stage isn’t as big as B&W PX it sure makes the B&W PX sweat when it comes to the bass.

This is my third pair of cans while having previously owned Sennheiser MOMENTUM, Bowers & Wilkins PX, and now the Sony WH1000XM3.

I’ll be talking about this on a consumer standpoint, not as an audiophile because I don’t classify as one nor do I have the knowledge many audiophiles have. However, as someone who owns the product I can talk about the differences I’ve found and so on.


In search of passive income

I believe I got the answer to this one… anyone that is a developer knows that at times we consider freelancing or creating some sort of software. Sometimes the idea becomes creating your own software to sustain yourself and your family.

Me? I’ve thought about a few things. None of the ideas are easy or even profitable. The thing about profitability though is that you just don’t know if it’s actually profitable. If you don’t do a decent execution on it then you’ll see yourself in a very bad spot.

Freelancing is tiring. I don’t want to go back into it. The mere thought that I’d have to sit down and build a client list is maddening. It’s just a solid no.

Creating software and selling it might be my route. Sadly, it’s a time consuming one if you don’t have all the pieces come together. I’ve always followed a strict guideline of always plan and always keep it as simple as possible and honestly that has helped me not implement unwanted features.

For now I’m just searching for passive income that I can compliment my current one. It’ll be a tough search.

I don’t think Apple’s thinness obsession is far off…

Over the time I have spent with my Macbook Pro I’ve learned to accept a lot of its cons such as a extremely shallow keyboard. Of course, my acceptance has a limit thus I will never accept the infamous touchbar.

I’ve been in disgust with my Dell gaming laptop, a Dell Inspiron i7559-5012GRY. It’s not a bad laptop. It has given me the joy of playing games with it with a really good IPS display that’s sometimes too bright and a not so bad GTX 960M that can tackle a lot of many things and better than this MacBook when it comes to gaming.

There’s a problem… I hate its bulky design. It’s unnecessarily huge, its weight is unacceptable. The Macbook Pro and Macbook Air has the right amount of weight without inconveniencing the user. This is something that I give the kudos to Apple. I’m the type of person that moves from spot to spot in a house and carrying my Macbook Pro around hasn’t been a hassle at all.

I also think there’s a huge problem with my line of thought. I want a dedicated gaming laptop and a general purpose laptop whose battery can last at least 10 hours. When the market baseline price is starting at MSRP of $2,300… then I don’t think at all that asking for a more sophisticated system is far off.

I think the Surface Book 2 in terms of design has achieved a middle ground… and this is the same idea that if put in perspective we could compare it to the Switch. Except, it’s not a gaming console. The Surface Book 2 is a giant yet elegantly designed tablet with a premium keyboard and GPU slapped in. Now, lets think for a second here.

The normal design of a laptop is that you would have all the components of a computer in the keyboard layer below. The CPU and GPU would be at best 11″ inches away from each other and at worst case scenario they would be near each other… punishing themselves with the heat generated by both.

Whether that’s a design to save money or not when it comes to the manufacturing process… it doesn’t change the fact that laptops cooling systems are behind… leagues behind.

There is one company that managed to click with me in term of design and my demands. A company that I was almost willing to throw my money the second they released the product. Razer’s Razer Blade.

The Razer Blade literally had all the things I wanted in a gaming laptop. An elegant yet incredibly powerful design. A thin form factor, and just the right amount of goodness in it. There’s a huge problem though and that is that Razer quality control is god awful. From all the reviews and experiences I read Razer products seems to last at best a year. because they all happen to die fast. If Razer doesn’t fix this… and apparently it has been an ongoing thing over the years… then I guess simply said they won’t get my money at all.

But maybe, just maybe I’m asking too much.

Perhaps I’ve fancied myself too much over the years. I don’t think going through a lot of life situations I would ever buy an Apple product… at all but here we are.

This world has been connected aka “this site is live again”

As you can guess this site is back. I had a couple of hiccups with SSL as the renew in certbot wasn’t working correctly. I didn’t sweat the issues but it did take me a while to figure out why the site wasn’t loading. Turns out that I had a plugin for wordpress that enforced https thus making me nginx redirect to the https.

I like https. But seeing that it has become a bit of a hassle to maintain it and I only blog on a monthly basis I don’t see why I should consider SSL anymore.

I ended up mass updating a lot of stuff in the database to clean out any https reference that belonged to my site. It turns out that storage.thehumble.ninja has been offline for 2 months now. There’s a quick fix coming for that.

MacBook Pro (2017) Aftermath

It’s been eight months since I purchased my MacBook. I’ve come to accept the little annoyances it comes with and still grief the greater annoyance like the touch bar, because to be honest it’s still one of Apple biggest mistake yet everyone seems to be buying it even though I doubt anyone uses it. 

I updated OSX to Mojave like a month ago. It was a rough upgrade as even the Location Services wasn’t working, and thus the Maps application was giving me a lot of problems for the occasional search. Overall… the dark mode feels half-assed, not like Windows 10 dark mode is any better. I’ve seen better dark themes and I feel both operative systems are failing to deliver a good dark mode experience. 

I think my biggest problem with it right now remains to be the touch bar. It’s simply one of the most horrible ideas ever put in practice. Removing the function keys from the MacBook keyboard sure made me feel hopeless… because games like Guild Wars 2, and any MMORPG that uses function keys are rendered useless on the new MacBook Pro models. 

The keyboard still feels shallow as ever. 

All in all… it’s not the worst thing ever. I can do 99.9% of the things I’m set to do and have yet to come across any barriers. Needless to say, I would happily trade my MacBook Pro for a Surface Book 2.

Stealing back what anxiety has taken

I think it’s time for a little talk. I wouldn’t know where to begin. I just know that if I don’t talk about it, eventually, my anxiety will keep stealing things from me. 

I go by many names and so do many when it comes to the internet. I’ve sailed the interwebs, and have interacted with many people around it. Yet, I’ve never, ever made contact with any of the people I’ve met in real life. It breaks me as a person, because I’ve found a lot of amazing people out there. It sinks me to despair, but it’s all a mental fluff that… well, thing about mental stuff is that it keeps you down, on a short leash for many, many years. 

I never bothered to treat my condition, whatever it is, because I can’t self-diagnose myself and say I have “social anxiety”. The more I read though, it feels like it is what I have. Yet, I’m no professional. 

So I do suffer, and perhaps I’ve given my back to people I didn’t want to do that to. Sometimes the amount of anxiety breaks me, but once I take control as I have done this year, I push back and talk myself out of it. 

And you know, thinking about it… I was never good with people. Sometimes I wondered why they were getting so riled up about. It felt a tad… silly that they would get mad about things. But… I do get mad about things and chalk it up to just… human things. I think, not having that emotional development thwarted any possible growth. Then again, I wasn’t good with conflict either. Most of the time it was just easy to not deal with the emotion, and remain stoic as possible and say you don’t care. 

Not caring is the go-to action for many. Sometimes, deservedly so. You don’t want any extra baggage to process, and perhaps the person gone through a lot already. There’s always a why on the not caring subject no matter if the person says there’s no reason behind it. At least that’s what I believe.

People talking about issues usually begins with a source of grief. Sadly, I’ve forgotten mine. There’s only anxiety, it was the only thing that ever was in my life, became an extension of me. I’d like to get rid of that extension… live life in a healthier manner than desperately scanning a whole area of strangers and calculating possible routes to avoid them. Such a metal gear thing to do. 

I’d like to believe that everyone goes through a personal hell. I’ve learned to never compare my issues to someone whether the person is on the deep end, or faring better than me. It doesn’t take me joy saying, “that’s your issue? worrying about [x] thing? pfft I’ve had it harder”, it always came off as a prick thing to say, undermining the person and the issue with little to no respect to the individual going through it. So, whenever someone comes to me with their issues I just lend an ear, and toss in a few guidances if I can… but usually I can’t, because the person becomes tied to what I say then and relies on the next directions, until the person finds an impossible situation and blames me for all the pointers. So, I’ll just lend an ear, perhaps an advice… but everything else has to be you. 

As for the people that spout that attitude I mentioned above. I’d rather steer clear and find positive people that isn’t on a sadistic path. I feel they’ll take you down as soon as they get bored. Instant gratification sort of thing.

Anyway, I felt like writing a post about this because it was long overdue. There are very, very few individuals that knows about this. After I click publish, so will the world and that’s okay. This is mostly for me than for them. 

I feel like I could go on writing many pages but… long-winded rambling isn’t my thing. 

Sinking into paranoia with hosting services

Now, this post is more rambling and observations. There’s a new trend I’ve been noticing. I use LowEndBox from time to time because well, the offers are the site suggests are low end and I don’t need a 32-cores server as much as I’d love to have that power at my disposal. 

This trend is about the new hosting service providers that have been spawning out from LowEndBox. How they buy, rebrand, and offer the same servers when things go down. It’s business, right? A crappy service provider will give you subpar services. With LowEndBox, it’s usually a person, or two, or three running the hosting business. 

Then it hit me… who doesn’t like getting 16 cores (mind you, not dedicated cores, but vcores running at a really low gigahertz) tremendously cheap? It’s perfect… perhaps too good. You sell cheap services… people buy in, they get fed up after six months and leave. Now, what happens to the data? How do you know they haven’t been taking snapshots of your virtual machine? Even if you were to delete your data how are you trusting your data with in the first place?

At the very core a client leaves, and a normal hosting service will just wipe out the data. But, most of those who promotes themselves over LowEndBox are not your standard businesses. They probably create the business overnight, and say they have been in the business since 2011 but in truth they just acquired the domain in 2018 and Archive.org shows proof that between 2011 to 2017 there wasn’t anything in there. 

So, what I’m suggesting. Or just, simply rambling about because like I said. This is rambling. I am not accusing anyone or any entity. Most of these new hosting providers, behind them, are Chinese, or Koreans. Simply put, they are unreachable to face any real consequence if things go south. 

Now, imagine all the data waiting to be harvested. It’s just sitting there, waiting to be harvested. It’s the real deal here, because if you go with the wrong hosting services I can think of a thing or two that could go down. 

  • Client area logging password when you log-in, you don’t know what’s under the hood of a login area, usually nobody but the creators do. Password re-use becoming a real threat to users who participate in this activity. 
  • Risking all your users data and be held liable for choosing a hosting service that incurs in this practice of harvesting your data. 
  • All users could become targets in brute forcing, credential stuffing, have their mailing address and phone exposed. 
  • Some service providers ask for driver licenses. I would say under no circumstance you should consider ever handing your social security number if asked. 

In conclusion, it’s really scary when you sit and think about choosing a hosting service provider. You don’t know what’s behind each company. I don’t think many people ever sit down and think about this stuff, at least not big businesses or medium companies. But small business owners or entrepreneurs who don’t want to spend much and need that exposure for their service fast. 

As for me, I live on the edge on this one. You can see me promoting some cheap services like ArubaCloud. I don’t have anything of importance nor do I have client data so to be honest all I have is this blog. But, were I to load data from a client, it wouldn’t be service offers from LowEndBox or ArubaCloud. It would be with a reputable hosting service provider. The problem is, how do we identify a hosting provider with integrity? You simply cannot. You are paying someone to rent those servers because you don’t want to deal with all the administration behind it. These days you can simply save a snapshot of a virtual machine, redeploy, and call it a day. 

I don’t think anyone in the industry would ever be ready to accept major players like Amazon, Microsoft, Google scanning and perhaps mining the data being stored in their servers.

What’s the deal?

As time passes I’ve found myself liking to hunt deals. I like buying extreme cheap, it’s satisfying. Oddly enough, I don’t do it because I want to be frugal. It’s amusing to be honest as I just keep this extreme, obsessive behavior of trying to find the cheapest price on items that would normally cost $853 bucks for example. My last deal hunting I found a really nice desktop priced at that price for $200. It was oddly satisfying. 

It doesn’t take long for relatives to comment on how crazy cheap it is. Or “how did I even find it?” I wish they’d stop for a second thinking it is easy. Keeping track on every little product ID is not easy. Doesn’t matter if you have automated it, there’s just too many IDs for one person to track and your attention is sometimes drawn to other things that you may feel you need. 

But, going back to the frugal part. I don’t consider myself frugal. I like to pay the right price whenever I feel it. If I want something, like an iPhone X, I’ll wait for a BOGO and get a relative onboard for it. Now, that’s just an example, but basically I don’t think I ever had this need to be frugal. Deal hunting isn’t about being frugal, at least to me is not. 

Deal hunting for me is a hobby. Sometimes I take that hobby to the extreme. I’ve drove 60 miles just to find out that they no longer have the product. That’s okay. You are not meant to win every round when it comes to deal hunting. There are many players out there and I just happen to be the one that has this obsession with tracking prices and checking the market. 

It’s fun nonetheless. There’s a thrill to it honestly, especially when you are around the clock where things are being cleared out. I just saw a 50″  1080p TV go on clearance for $50. But nobody knew that. The store normally doesn’t advertise such sale and I imagine there are perfectly sound reasons for it. You don’t want to generate that attention. You don’t want to create a “good” habit of making people wait for a clearance. You have black friday but to be honest there’s a lot of pitfalls with black friday. Simply put, you don’t want to buy something that might end up 75% discounted. 

What’s the deal then? Well, in my defense it’s a hobby that keeps me busy. Sometimes I make some money on the side, sometimes I don’t. It’s a nice exercise for people that don’t go out much as it incentivize them. 

Iterative stagnation

I wasn’t sure how to open this blog post tonight. It’s a subject that has been on my mind for a long while and I’ll do my best to explain it. There’s probably a better term or word for this. 

Apple is a trendsetter. I think at this point we shouldn’t question that. Even if Apple isn’t innovating they are still doing iterations of their product every year. As long as there are diehard loyalists Apple will be fine. 

I’m not here to question what Apple has become or what it will become. Rather, observing a certain trend on the latest smartphone flagships.

Over one thousand reasons to say no

These days new flagships are not only having the courage the drop the headphone jack, for no legit reason whatsoever, but are becoming a luxury with the new prices. $1,000+ for a phone. What an insane price! 

Let me toss you an idea. It’s a very silly one, and I’ll probably sound like a conspiracy theorist at best… but what if we have reached the stage of stagnation where upgrading doesn’t make sense? 

If you buy the flagship from 2017 or this year, you are set for the next two or three years because it has gotten to the point that the hardware is just good enough. It’s not becoming that disposable device that needed to be kept replaced every year because the CPU was still crap back then. But from 2017 and on, I’m finding very little reason to upgrade. 

Have you seen the performance on a Pixel XL 2? Sure, it doesn’t beat the benchmark of a Galaxy Note 9 or a iPhone X…. but it’s incredibly smooth. It’s a phone I feel like can last for me until 2020, maybe 2021 until I start feeling that CPU degradation, or battery degradation.

So what’s in the price? I don’t think we are paying $1,000 because the technology behind it is the cutting edge. We are paying $1,000 because you are basically paying the two years you will skip upgrading because your new 2018 phone is powerful enough to last for a couple of years. That’s not good for business in any way. I think the new prices are future-proofing the losses of people not upgrading. 

I high doubt that Apple, or Samsung are paying $500 bucks to make those phones. At best they are probably paying $200-$300 per unit. Sadly, I don’t think there will be ever proof of what I just said so… I’ll take my tin foil hat off and let you folks be. 

Until next time.