New Phone (Motorola Moto G6)

"Moto G6 and Case" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/100 sec, ISO400
“Moto G6 and Case” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today I replaced my old phone, a Motorola Moto G4, with a new one. I went with the latest in the Moto G line, the Motorola Moto G6, which was on sale at Costco for a nice price of just $189, unlocked. Three and a half years ago, I bought the Moto G4 for $179, so it’s keeping with the tradition of a nicely-priced mid-range (some would say “budget”) phone. I just can’t see myself spending a ton of money on a phone, even though I know they are huge parts of our lives.

"Old and New" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/100 sec, ISO1000
“Old and New” Cedar Park, 2018

As you can see from the photo above, the size is about the same, but the screen is slightly taller, and better quality. I ordered another wallet-style case since that is what I prefer – having my drivers license, main credit cards, and a bit of cash with my phone simplifies things for me. I just grab that, my keys, and my camera and I am ready to go! Plus the wallet-case is nice protection for my phone. I don’t need a screen protector for the phone… my G4 doesn’t have any scratches on it. It looks brand new! So hopefully I can sell it for a decent price.

Moving my data from the old phone to the new one was really easy, and only took about 20 minutes. Almost all my old apps were downloaded and installed automatically and settings came across as well. Plus using Lastpass made logging into everything painless. I highly recommend using a password manager!

"Transfer" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/100 sec, ISO500
“Transfer” Cedar Park, 2018

Once everything was installed, I decided to use a different launcher instead of the Motorola Launcher. I mainly don’t like how the folders look with the Motorola version, with the tiny app icons stuffed inside. I went with Nova Launcher, which I used to use with my old Samsung Galaxy S3 several years ago, and since I actually bought the “Prime” version for the S3, it was still available for installation even for the new phone! With Nova Launcher, I now have the extra customization options to change the icons. So far here is what my phone screen looks like. Nice and tidy:

"Tidy" Cedar Park, 2018
“Tidy” Cedar Park, 2018

The folders on the bottom row are (from left to right) chat/messaging/phone, maps/location, music, Instagram/photo-related, and fun stuff like games/Kindle/Netflix. I like the simple look with beautiful illustration as background.

I’m enjoying the speed boost that comes with the upgrade to the Motorola Moto G6. And I am very happy that I was able to get a good deal on a solid phone. 😊

I hope you had a nice day!

またね~


Sticker on the New Power Bank

"Team Zissou" Austin, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO800
“Team Zissou” Austin, 2018

こんばんは。

Today’s photo is of the sticker I put on my new power bank. Do you know what movie that sneaker is from? If you guessed The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou you would be correct!

I bought a new power bank because Bay’s battery went kaput and I gave him my Anker power bank. It was good, but it was too heavy and kind of overkill on my power needs, but perfect for Bay. While I was in China, I found that my Anker pack was just too heavy and bulky, but my Mom’s much smaller power bank was great. So I opted to get a smaller capacity 10,000 mAh Oprout power bank (with enough flat surface space to decorate with sticker) and it suits me fine. If I need to, I can even put it in my jeans pocket.

Anyways, so far so good!

I hope you had a nice day.

またね~

No Spoilers Please

“TTL Uke” Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/15 sec, ISO2000
“TTL Uke” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

So, we watched Avengers: Infinity War the other day, a week or so after it opened in theaters. During that time, both my kids were avoiding spoilers and friends’ conversations about the movie, and I guess they were successful in making it through the week spoiler-free!

But speaking of spoilers, I was watching the Japanese taiga drama Segodon yesterday, and the title of the episode was shown on the screen. It was “Nariakira’s Assassination” and I was like, “Nooooo!!!” What a spoiler! But as it turned out, it was just an assassination attempt which he survived. Whew! 😌

That got me thinking about another spoiler I stumbled into many years ago. It was before Star Wars Episode 1 came out, and I happened to see the tracklist of the soundtrack. One of the titles of the songs was “Qui-Gon’s Noble End”. 😨 What a bummer to see that before watching the movie huh. Oh well, I thought that movie wasn’t so great anyways.

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Today’s photo is of my ukulele but shot through a view camera. I thought it was a neat perspective. BTW, I used Snapseed to edit this photo instead of Lightroom like I usually do. My desktop computer’s data hard drive is on the fritz, so I wasn’t able to load the library. I have everything backed up, so I’m not too bummed that it’s on its last legs, however, my backup is a few weeks old and I’m currently doing another one this evening, but it’s kind of stuck. I’ll let it go overnight and see if it finishes.

Regardless, I have ordered a new hard drive so we’ll be up and running on the ol’ desktop rig in a couple days. It’ll be nice to declutter that drive, although not by choice. I have all my important data ready to restore, but other things like downloaded media and dorama weren’t backed up and I probably won’t try too hard to transfer all those things to the new drive. If I really need them, I can download them again, right? 😄

I hope you had a nice day!

おやすみ

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Apple AirPod Bluetooth Delay

So Koa got a set of Apple AirPods for his birthday, but I noticed he was wearing his wired earbuds the other day. When I asked why, he said there’s too much of a delay when watching Youtube videos. I would have thought that there would be some kind of buffering/delay that happens to counter any latency, and there is, but apparently, it’s not good enough.

Today I read this while doing a little research on the issue:

The only case where lag is a problem is musicians with split-second timing needs or scientific measurement apps.

I guess since Koa is an Honors Band percussionist he is ultra-sensitive to the timing, this all makes sense. Oh well. 😔

ASUS RT-AC1200 Router and Chromecast

I wanted to post this little PSA in hopes it helps save someone a bit of frustration.

We recently switched our ISP (Internet Service Provider) and needed to buy a new router. We went with the ASUS RT-AC1200 router, which isn’t gigabit, but since our service’s bandwidth caps at 100 Mbps, we didn’t need the extra throughput.

For the most part, the router works great, but we did have some trouble with getting our Google Chromecast to work with the router. It had trouble keeping connected to the ASUS router. Even the setup via laptop or smartphone was difficult and wouldn’t finish successfully. Sometime we’d be able to see the Chromecast from other devices, and the Chromecast even indicated that it was connected to our network, but it we couldn’t cast with any reliability. I tried many things, and finally figured out the correct setting for the router.

TL;DR

Make sure the 2.4GHz access point is set to “Legacy”. Also, you may try disabling IPv6. If that doesn’t work, the last thing to try is to disable the router’s firewall feature.

After setting this, and rebooting the router, the Chromecast stays connected to the network and we can cast from all devices without problems!

Scheduling Google Photos Backup

Like many amateur photographers, I take photos every day and use Lightroom to edit them on my computer. I like to use Google Photos Backup to make a secondary backup of my photo directory which can be useful because I can take advantage of Google’s amazing image search algorithms to find photos quickly. Say I want to find a photo of some sushi I know I took, but don’t know exactly when I took it, I can just search for “sushi” or the place I was at when I ate it, and after Google finds the photo, I can go to Lightroom and zero in on the date to find the original photo. Saves a lot of time! Just the other night, we wanted to know when we adopted our dog, Lani, and by simply searching for “dog” we were quickly able to find out the month and year we brought her home.

However, there are two drawbacks to using Google’s automatic photo backup.

  • First, when it is uploading photos, it kills our Internet bandwidth here at home. (“Papa! Why is the Internet so slow?!”)
  • Secondly, it will automatically start uploading photos as soon as I import them into Lightroom. This happens before I delete the unwanted photos, so my Google photos online library gets cluttered with photos I don’t need. For a while, I dealt with this by pausing the backup using the system tray icon (I use Windows) before I imported, but that is a hassle, and I sometimes forgot to do it.

So, to solve both of these issues, I set up an automated task to run in the wee hours of the morning. It took a bit of trial and error, but I finally got it working using Task Scheduler. Here’s how I do it. (I am using Windows 10)

Scheduling Google Photos Backup

First, we’ll create the task that starts the backup:

  1. Open Task Scheduler by opening the Start Menu, typing “Task Scheduler”, and selecting it from the list.
  2. From the Action drop-down menu, select “Create Basic Task”.
  3. In the dialog box, give the task a name. I went with “Photos on”. Then click “Next”.
  4. For the Trigger, select “Daily”, then click “Next”.
  5. Select the date and time you want the backup to begin, set it to recur every 1 day, then click “Next”. I went with 3 AM.
  6. Select “Start a program”, then click “Next”.
  7. Browse to the Google Photos Backup application. Mine was at “C:\Users\barro\AppData\Local\Programs\Google\Google Photos Backup\Google Photos Backup.exe”. Click on “Next”.
  8. Click on “Finish”.

Secondly, we’ll create the task that ends the backup:

  1. From the Action drop-down menu, select “Create Basic Task”.
  2. In the dialog box, give the task a name. I went with “Photos off”. Then click “Next”.
  3. For the Trigger, select “Daily”, then click “Next”.
  4. Select the date and time you want the backup to end, set it to recur every 1 day, then click “Next”. I set mine to 5 AM, giving Google Photos Backup 2 hours every day to do its thing, although it probably only needs a few minutes. YMMV depending on how much you are backing up.
  5. Select “Start a program”, then click “Next”.
  6. In the Program/Script box, type “TASKKILL /IM “Google Photos Backup.exe” /F” (minus the outside quotes), click “Next”, then click “Yes”.
  7. Click on “Finish”. That’s it!

If you want to test that it is working correctly, you can edit the times in steps 5 & 4, after first making sure Google Photos Backup is not currently running.

I hope this helps someone who wants to automate their backup. Just to add, Google Photos is not my primary means of backup. I have two separate backups of all my data on external hard drives, one of which I keep at the office. Also, I’m not an expert at Task Scheduler, so if there’s a better way to do this, please let me know!

Little green men

"Update" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO1600
“Update” Cedar Park, 2017

こんばんは。

Today I got a nice surprise in that my phone received an update! I know, it’s a silly thing to get excited about but still, I love the little goodies that come with the software refresh. This time, I am most happy with the option to have a different wallpaper for the home screen and lock screens. I actually used to be able to do it when I had a different home screen launcher, but these days I am too lazy to add all the fancy stuff to my phone. I like to keep it streamlined (which is why I have a Moto G that runs a barebones version of Android) and simple. But if that stock experience includes cool animations and goodies with Android N, then it’s a win-win!

I hope you had a nice Friday.

またね~