Thursday, July 21, 2016

Android Earphones King

Xiaomi Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro
There's a new king!

Earphones with Mic for Android recommended:
But, good as they are, the Xiaomi Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro is better than Klipsch but even less expensive than Sony! In fact it is better than any earphones this blog has tried under $100. Sound quality is stunning!
  • Hybrid dual drivers: dynamic for bass, balanced armature for treble
  • Metal sound chamber machined by CNC
  • MEMS microphone reduces noise interference on calls
  • 3-button remote for calls, music, and volume
  • Kevlar fiber cable for durability
  • TFE end section minimizes microphonics (clothing noise)
  • Comfortable fit and good isolation with multiple eartip sizes
  • Tuned by Grammy award winning tuner Luca Bignardi


To avoid counterfeits (a serious problem), buy from:

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Windows Monitor Calibration Issue

Calibrating your monitor is important because most monitors are not calibrated by the manufacturer, and do not display accurate color. See Calibrate Your Monitor.

But even after you've calibrated your monitor, it may not display accurate color, especially if you are running Microsoft Windows and have uninstalled the calibration software.

If you research this issue you're likely to be told that Windows doesn't load the calibration CLUT (Color Look-Up Table) properly, and advised to keep calibration software installed. But even then your monitor may not stay calibrated, shifting between calibrated and uncalibrated for no apparent reason. The truth is that monitor calibration can be made to work properly under Windows if you take the necessary steps:
  1. Stop Losing Display Calibration with Windows 7 details how to configure Windows to use a calibration color profile. But that may work for you at first, only to shift back again. Something may seem to be fighting with Windows. If so, check the article again, and see the note regarding Intel display drivers, which will lead you to:
  2. Intel’s Video Drivers Kill Display Calibration, which explains how Intel interferes with display calibration, and how to solve the problem by disabling the Intel Persistence module. If you use Sysinternals Autoruns to disable Persistence, your monitor should then stay calibrated even without calibration software installed!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Disable Windows 10 Upgrade

Why not upgrade to Windows 10?
  1. Privacy: Windows 10 collects data on you, sends it to Microsoft, and there's no way to completely shut that off.
  2. Bugs: Quality control has taken a back seat to rapid releases, so bugs are more common than earlier versions.
  3. Compatibility: Windows XP and earlier Compatibility Modes have been removed, and not all software and drivers work properly in Windows 10.
  4. Control: Options to control updating have been removed from consumer versions.
  5. OneDrive: Feature regression.
  6. Media: Media Center and DVD Player have been removed.
  7. Cost: Microsoft is being coy about the cost of Windows after the free Windows 10 upgrade "promotion". Subscriptions might be required.
Bottom line: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." But with Microsoft aggressively pushing Windows 10 upgrade out through Windows Update (over and over), it can be hard to avoid an inadvertent upgrade, and the ongoing nags are annoying.

KB3080351 How to manage Windows 10 notification and upgrade options provides instructions for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 to disable Windows 10 upgrade through Windows Update. Group Policy is not available in Home versions of Windows, but the Registry method should work. Either method should work in Pro versions.

Registry method (Home and Pro)

  1. Create a restore point in System Restore in case you make a mistake.
  2. Copy the following lines into a file named something like DisableWin10Upgrade.reg
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


  3. Double-click that file to Merge these changes into the Registry.

Group Policy method (Pro only, not available in Home)

  1. Download and install KB3065987.
  2. Search for Edit Group Policy and run it.
  3. Under Local Computer Policy open Computer Configuration → Administrative Templates → Windows Components → Windows Update.
  4. Edit Turn off the upgrade to the latest version of Windows through Windows Update, change to Enabled, and click OK. 
Screenshots from Group Policy method in Windows 7:

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Electric Shaver Sweet Spot

Panasonic ES8103S
Choice is good, but too much choice can be too much of a good thing, and with the plethora of rechargeable electric shavers on the market, with prices from $15 to $500 (yes, $500!), it's hard to select a shaver that's not only a great shaver but also a great value. Pay too little and you risk a shaver that is underpowered, cuts poorly, charges slowly, doesn't hold a charge, is hard to clean, etc. But if you pay too much you can waste money on features you don't need or even get features that don't actually facilitate a good shave.

Features that matter:
  • Fast shave
  • Close shave
  • Minimal pulling or irritation
  • Cuts longer hair not just stubble
  • Popup trimmer
  • Fast charging
  • Long battery life
  • Easy cleaning
  • Wet shaving
Foil vs Rotary. Each type has pros and cons, fans and foes, and the truth is that both can work well enough that you should go with the type you prefer. My own preference is for a good foil shaver, because it gives me a faster, closer shave with less irritation. But see note at bottom.

How many blades? Foil shavers can have anywhere from 1 to 5 blades (currently at least). More blades are touted as being better, but are they really? 2 blades cut much faster than 1 blade without adding much bulk, and 3 blade shavers can have the advantage different types of cutters, slit for longer hairs in addition to standard foils with holes. But past that number (more than 3 blades) there's little increase in shaving speed to compensate for the added bulk, weight, and cost, and not just the cost of the shaver itself.

Replacement Blades and Foils. To maintain shaving efficiency, blades and foils should be replaced regularly, at least annually, more often if needed. The cost of replacements is often overlooked when choosing a shaver, and the cost of a single set of replacements can be almost as much as a new shaver. Over the lifetime of a shaver you'll probably be spending more on replacements than you did on the shaver, so do pay close attention to replacement cost.

Battery technology:
  • Poor: Nickel-cadmium (memory effect degrades capacity)
  • Good: Nickel-metal hydride (no memory effect)
  • Best: Lithium-ion (high capacity, fast charging, light)
Foil brands:
Sweet Spot: When all is said and done, the sweet spot of electric shavers (as of this writing) is the Arc3 (3 blade) Panasonic ES8103S:
  • Great shaver
  • Great price (less than $80)
  • Wet or dry shave
  • Easy cleaning
  • Affordable replacements
  • Fast charging
  • Long battery life
  • Light and compact
  • Comfortable to hold
  • Excellent pop-up trimmer
Norelco 6100
Best alternatives:
  • Panasonic ES8109S: Essentially the ES8103S with a cleaning stand.
  • Braun 340s or the newer Braun 3040s. Closest Braun equivalent to the Panasonic ES8103S, but nickel-metal hydride battery is not as good, and shave isn't quite as good.
  • Philips Norelco Shaver 6100: If you prefer a rotary shaver, this is the one to get.