Google’s New Logo

Here’s Google’s new logo in case you’ve not seen it yet:

Google's New Logo
Google’s New Logo

So what do you think?  They’ve switched to a new sans serif font and it’s certainly cleaner.  The colors are the same for the new part although they might have shifted a bit in tone… I can’t tell.  Personally, I like this new logo better than the old one which had a serif font.  Even now I have to think really hard to remember the old log.  The only negative is that I would think they will get a lot of criticism for how simple it is.  So simple that a 3rd grader can put it together in Wordpad in 5 minutes (or less).  I certainly hope they didn’t pay a consultant to come up with this but it certainly wouldn’t surprise me!

Do you like it or hate it?

Upgrading my Mac Mini (mid 2011) with an SSD

I’ve been thinking about doing this since I bought it.  I have a mid 2011 Mac Mini that I bought off Craigslist for $350.  A steal really if you think about it.  It’s in great condition as well.  It came with 8 GB of RAM, an i5 processor and a 500 GB 2.5″ SATA drive… the mechanical variety.  8GB of RAM is a bit puny in this day & age when you want to do video editing and other RAM intensive tasks.  But it’ll do for now.  The biggest upgrade by far will be this SSD as it will just make the whole computer feel brand new.

Purely on a whim, I decided to do it today.  Amazon told me that if I ordered in the next 8 minutes (at around 1:52 PM Pacific), I could get it with free shipping the same day.  Is that nuts or what?  That about a logistics network!  But that’s a story for another time.  I went and bought a Crucial BX100 500 GB 2.5″ SATA SSD.  It was only $150… 2 years ago I paid nearly that for a 120 GB SSD.  A 500 GB back then would have been nearly $1,000 if you can find one.  The prices have really gone down.  In any case, this was highly reviewed and I’m familiar with the brand.

After putting in my external SATA enclosure that I already have, I formatted it with the Disk Utility.  Then it was a matter of rebooting into Recovery Mode and running Disk Utility again to Restore my boot drive to the SSD, which basically just copies everything over.  They call it Restore but it was basically cloning the drive.  That took some time, even with an SSD writing the data.  Afterwards it was a matter of following some YouTube videos on how to take the Mac Mini apart and putting in the new drive.  Easy peasy and how I have a blazing fast machine.  I couldn’t be happier.

Next up will be a RAM upgrade if I get around to it.  :-)

Minecraft for Windows 10 Beta

I talked a little bit about my thoughts on Minecraft for Windows 10 Beta in my post about going back to Windows 7.  I figure I would take some time to expand on that just a little bit.

The biggest gripe for me is that the worlds are not not compatible between the new Minecraft and the old one.  I know the new version is built off of the Pocket Edition of Minecraft and some things may not be 100% compatible in terms of certain crafted items and what not.  But come on! Changing it so that users have to make a choice between one or the other is so 1990’s!  Seriously, it really reminds me of all of the different versions of Microsoft Word document formats.  You would think that in this day & age they would make it a priority to keep file formats as compatible as possible.

Another thing that I didn’t like was how crafting changed in the new Minecraft.  It’s definitely more like the Pocket Edition in that regard. For example, you’ll have to use the Stone Cutter to make almost anything stone-related.  That’s just so stupid but I suppose that’s what you get when you develop from that code base.  The last gripe is minor but adds up when you’re playing a while and that has to do with how chests work.  Before I could take a single item from a stack and put that into my inventory.  On the new version I can’t do that.  I’ll have to take the entire stack by clicking and holding on it and then dividing it in my inventory and putting what I don’t need back into the chest.  That’s just so annoying.  Putting things into chests is the same.  I could live with that if that was the only annoyance.  But it’s not.

So are there any positive to it?  Yes… there is.  It runs pretty damn fast and doesn’t have the lag that I’m used to on the old Java based version.  This is especially noticeable on my Windows machine where it used to take forever to launch.  The new version is almost instantaneous.  That’s cool but not nearly enough to make me want to switch.  So like switching back to Windows 7, I’m also switching back to the old Minecraft.

What are your thoughts on Minecraft for Windows 10?

Back to Windows 7

I was excited when I got Microsoft’s notice that my copy of the Windows 10 upgrade was available to install.  I read up on the installation process and prepared my USB drive so I can do a clean install.  Afterwards I spent hours setting up my programs and getting things to run just so.  I even tweaked a lot of the privacy settings in Windows 10 that people were complaining about.  I was ready to go!

Well, that honeymoon was short lived!  While I found certain of the new features beneficial like Cortana, it just wasn’t enough to overcome all of the drawbacks of the new Windows 10.  Privacy was a pretty big one for me.  After reading more about what’s going on, I just wasn’t comfortable with what Microsoft was getting from me even in the most minimal settings.  Additionally, certain things just did not run well.  The new Minecraft for Windows 10 was a disaster.  It ran super fast, sure.  But the worlds weren’t compatible with previous versions of Minecraft meaning I couldn’t bring any of my old worlds over.  Nor could I take new worlds back.  Other issues I had included various instabilities and annoyances like USB drives ejecting but not notifying me that it was.  One of the bigger ones was that File Explorer ran like a dog.  It took forever to access anything.

I know Microsoft has high hopes for Windows 10 and as a shareholder, I certainly hope they do well with it.  However, if personal experience is any indication, they’re going to have to work mighty hard to win over converts.  For me, I formatted my hard drive and happily went back to Windows 7, where things not only worked, but worked as expected.  I hope your experience was better as mine definitely was not.

Windows 7
Back to good, old Windows 7.

My new Nexus 9

I just got a brand new Nexus 9.  I was debating between this and the new Dell 8 7000.  As a result of this, I’m getting rid of my iPad 4th Generation as well as my older Nexus 7 from 2012.  So why the switch out of the iOS ecosystem?  Well, it’s simple really and not totally a complete switch.  I still have my iPhone 6 Plus and I don’t see changing out of that pretty much ever.

The main reason for the switch is because of my drone.  I bought a DJI Phantom 3 Professional to get into the hobby and it requires a tablet.  Of course, the app supports both iOS and Android but there are a few things you can do on Android that you cannot on iOS.  The main one is screen recording.  I want to be able to record what’s on the tablet screen so I can edit that into my videos.  You can’t do that with an iOS device.

Secondly, I’d like to get back into emulators to play the old retro games.  That’s not available on iOS without jailbreaking either.  So I find myself with an Android tablet and an iPhone.  The iOS world is still ahead of Android I’m afraid, despite the latest updates, Lollipop and Material design.  It’s just more stable.  The Nexus 9 has great internals and yes, it’s coming on a year old but man, it’s not as smooth or bug free as iOS.  And this is on a brand new device.  My Gmail app has already crashed and another one refuses to work.  The American Express app is apparently not compatible with my device but it was with my old Nexus 7.  Who would have thought?  Yes, maybe that’s on the American Express app developers, but still, it shows why Android will NEVER, EVER overtake iOS.  There.  I said it.  But I still have a use for it.  I just have to put it with its quirks and instabilities.

Anyways, here’s how it looks:

Google Nexus 9
Google Nexus 9

Welcome to Phuoc's Blog! A personal blog of Phuoc Le from San Diego, CA.