All posts by phuoc

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

Fusilli with mushroom sauce

Last night I made a fantastic pasta dish and it was dead simple.  Start to finish I would say about 20 minutes if you’re using fresh mushrooms.  I started by boiling the water for the pasta, which took maybe 5 minutes to start boiling plus another 10 minutes to cook.  In the mean time, I chopped up some white onions and garlic and sautéed it in butter and olive oil.  It probably would have been better if I used shallots instead of onions and garlic but that’s all I had on hand.  Then I chopped up one box of regular white button mushrooms.  This went into the pan to sauté with the onions and garlic while the pasta cooked.  After it cooked down a bit, I seasoned it with just salt & pepper.  Then I added heavy whipping cream (1 pint) and cooked on medium heat to reduce it slightly.  The pasta was drained and when I felt the sauce was the right consistency, I dumped the pasta in and mixed well.  I finished with freshly ground pepper.  It was delicious!  My wife doesn’t normally eat pasta and she gobbled this one all up.  If I had fresh porcini mushrooms, this would have even been better.  I’ll give this another try with shiitake and oyster mushrooms just to try something different and see how it goes.  If you’re going to use dried mushrooms instead, you’ll have to allow 30 minutes to reconstitute it.  But save that water for the sauce!

Fusilli with mushroom sauce
Fusilli with mushroom sauce

Apple Music

Apple recently announced that they too will enter the music streaming business.  At $9.99 a month to stream all the music you want, it’s not any different from any of the other music streaming business at its core.  The overall experience may be different when using the service on an iDevice or Mac compared to how it would work with say Spotify.  You’d have to think that an Apple service on Apple hardware would be able to leverage everything the platform has to offer and do tricks other services can’t or won’t be allowed to do.  The other big thing to keep in mind is whether Apple can sign more artists to this service.  Remember the whole debacle about Taylor Swift leaving Spotify?  That could make a difference to some people.

I however, have a different take on the whole thing.  I see this as a further evolution in how the music industry is completely changing before our eyes.  Whereas it used to be that you can buy a record, tape, CD, or digital album and pretty much own the right to do with it as you please for the rest of your life, including passing it on to heirs, this model changes the game entirely.  You don’t own perpetual licenses anymore.  You simply own a subscription that will allow you to listen as long as you pay.  Stop paying and you’re done with listening to music.  Some will argue that there are benefits to this model.  Namely that you have access to all the music you’d want without having to buy all those individual albums or songs.  There’s some validity to be had there but for the average person, they just don’t listen to that many different artists.  Maybe it’ll help them discover new music but the radio used to serve that function.  I think the crux of it is simply more money for the record labels themselves.  You really can’t blame them with how the whole industry has changed.  But I’m decidedly against this move.  I liked it when you can buy something, physical or digital, and own a copy of it for the rest of your life.  This new model turns the whole thing on its head.

Who knows?  Maybe Apple can pull this one off.  If they do, music as we know it will change forever.

Nielsen TV rating

My family’s been selected to participate in the Nielsen TV ratings again.  This time it’s a little different in that they’re asking for anything you watch on your TV, including DVR recordings, Netflix, Youtube, etc.  I watch less TV than ever yet I probably have more screen time than ever.  It’s just that my consumption of content has changed from what someone has decided to broadcast to me to watch I choose to watch myself.  Five years I cut the cord and got rid of cable.  I’ve not missed it at all.

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Homemade Roast Pork

Oh yes baby!  Success!  I made roast pork from scratch today.  In Vietnamese this is called “heo quay ” or char siu in Chinese or chasu in Japanese.  You can use it in banh mi or ramen or pretty much anything else that calls for roast pork.  This stuff usually goes for around $13 a pound.  You can make it at home for $3-$4 a pound.  It’s dead simple and when done right, the skin is crispy and puffy like chicharrons.

To make it, rub your piece of pork with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and five spice powder on the meat side only.  Rub the skin side with a mixture of salt & lime juice.  Put it on a plate, skin-side down in the fridge overnight.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and roast on a rack skin side down for 45 minutes.  Raise the oven to 450 degrees and continue roasting skin side up for 10 minutes.  Then broil until the skin puffs up.  Let cool before slicing.

Homemade roast pork
Homemade roast pork