Tag: shopping

Entries for tag "shopping", ordered from most recent. Entry count: 11.

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# Xiaomi Smart Band - a Very Good Purcharse

Dec 2019

Despite being a programmer, I'm quite conservative with technological novelties. For example, I never owned a tablet and never felt a need to have one. I was also aware there are smart watches on the market, but an idea of spending 300 EUR for another device that I would then need to charge every day seemed like too much for me. Neither I was interested in those smart bands that claim to monitor your pulse, sleep, and count your steps.

What made me revisit those types of devices was a real need I felt many times recently. Sometimes I was attending a conference, sitting on a talk with my smartphone switched to quiet mode. I was repeatedly pulling it out to check the time or to see if anyone tried to call me or sent me a message. Those are the situations where it's important not to miss the talk I want to see and to catch up with my friends, while having my phone ringing would be undesirable. Another time I was on a party in a club or concert where the music was so loud I couldn't hear or feel my phone ringing, while that's also the time when I repeatedly check the clock not to miss the show of my favourite DJ while trying to hang out with my friends. Then I thought: maybe a smart watch could provide those two simple things: show the current time and display notifications from text messages, Messenger etc., notifying about them using vibration?

After some research I found out that smart bands do exactly that if I disregard all sport-related features. I chose Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4, but devices from other manufacturers would probably provide the similar experience. It surprised me it costs only 140 PLN (33 EUR). After charging the battery, installing special "Mi Fit" app on my Android phone and pairing the two devices using Bluetooth, I could configure my smart band to change wallpaper etc. (BTW the default ones are terrible, but their format has been reverse engineered, so there are many user-created watchfaces available to download on the Internet.)

This device has only 512 KB of RAM and 120x240 pixel screen, but even with those parameters looking like some Atari computer from 30 years ago it provides many useful features. First and foremost, it shows current time and date - for 5 seconds after activated using touch screen. It also vibrates when there is an incoming call or a new message. You can configure which of the apps installed on the smartphone display their notifications also on the band, but these can be basically the same as the notifications on the phone, so any messaging app will work - whether Messenger, WhatsApp, Signal, Tinder, or standard text messages. Sender and text can be seen on the band, but responding requires pulling out the phone. Additional features I like are showing current weather and the weather forecast for the following days for current location, timer, and alarms, which can wake you up using vibration - useful not to wake up other people sleeping in the same room. The biggest surprise for me was battery life. 20 days declared by the manufacturers seemed unrealistic, but after I charged it for the first time on November 20th, it worked until... yesterday, which gives 29 days. One disadvantage I can see is that now I must have Bluetooth enabled on my phone all the time, which drains its battery faster, but I charge the phone every day anyway.

This article is not sponsored. I wrote it from my initiative, just to share my experiences with this type of device. If you consider it useful to have current time and incoming messages available on your wristband without a need to pull out your phone, a smart band like Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4 is a good choice.

Update 2020-07-12: Regarding notifications, see also my post: How to Disable Notification Sound in Messenger for Android?

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# Good Buy: ADATA DashDrive Elite UE700 128GB USB3.0

Jan 2015

When I was browsing online shop, I was shocked to see that the market of USB flash memory sticks ("pendrives") changed so much recently. I have many pendrives that I was given or won as a prize somewhere, mostly 2-8 GB. My biggest pendrive was 32 GB that I bought several years ago for a very occasional price, as for that time period. Now I can see that the most reasonable choice (for money that I want to spend on a pendrive) is 128 GB!

So I started searching for a model to buy. Sure pendrive is not so complex as a laptop or a car - it's just a small accessory, but anyway I wanted to make a good choice, so I decided to look for following criteria:

Finally I found this one and I bought it for myself, as well as for my family as Christmas present: ADATA DashDrive Elite UE700 128GB USB3.0.

I'm quite happy with it. Transfers that I actually measured by writing and then reading one big file from/to SSD disk are: 110 MB/s write, 181 MB/s read, which is enough to write a 2 GB file in just 18 seconds and read it in 11 seconds.

(This article is not sponsored. It's just my personal recommendation.)

Important Update 2015-06-04: I have two of these pendrives and after half year of using them (not very much - mostly for backup and moving files between computers, once every few days) they both started showing errors and losing files! So eventually I do not recomment this model!!!

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# Aero2 - Free Internet in Poland

Mar 2013

Did you know that in Poland there is free access to the Internet available for everyone? It's called Aero2 and it works through 3G. To use it, all you need to do is:

1. You need a 3G modem. Not every modem works though. List of compatible modems is here: Aero2 – zestawienie zgodnych modemów. I have ZTE MF821. It costs about 200 PLN.

2. You need to pay 20 PLN. It's a deposit and it will be returned if you return your SIM card.

3. You need to fill in the order form and send it, along with printed confirmation of transfer of your deposit and copy of your identity card, to the address shown on their website.

4. After about one month they will send you SIM card. Of course you cannot make phone calls with this card - it is only for data transfer.

5. Enter connection parameters:
APN: "darmowy"
Username and password: empty
IP and DNS addresses: automatic

6. You have free Internet :) It's not very fast and will disconnect you every hour, but still usable for browsing websites. I think it may be useful when you travel e.g. in train or after you move to new house and don't have new Internet connection yet. So if it's so cheap to get it, why not give it a try?

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# Radeon HD 5770

Apr 2010

I'm not a hardware specialist, so every time I want to buy something, I do a quick research to see what's currently available in stores, what's already a standard and what's an expensive novelty. Next I imagine in my mind a power(price) function and find its inflection point to see what product is most reasonable to buy ;)

I've been fan of Intel and NVIDIA, but I must admit that now my PC is dominated by AMD. Some time ago I wanted to buy a 4-core CPU. It turned out that Intel i7 processors are very expensive and that's how I've bought AMD Phenom II.

Now it's the same with graphics cards. I thought it's a good time to buy one with DirectX 11 support. I've been waiting for some time for these new cards from NVIDIA 4xx series, but now as they are available in stores I see they are very expensive, while I can have a GPU with DX11 support from AMD for about 600 PLN. My choice is Radeon HD 5770. It is not the most powerful card available (it actually has its power cut by half comparing to its higher versions), so I can see it's the speed what costs most. While for me the capabilities are more improtant. I just wanted a card with DX11 support. Of course AMD cards don't have CUDA technology, but well, it's vendor specific anyway while DX11 has Compute Shaders.

BTW, anyone wants to buy GeForce 8800 GT? :)

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# I Recommend Mass Effect 2

Feb 2010

In the past week I bought, played and finished Mass Effect 2 (on PC) and I want to strongly recommend this game. It's really great. I generally like RPG games. I also played and finished first version of Mass Effect and liked it.

Version 2 is much better though. Graphics is better, more detailed. They've removed all the annoying things like long elevator travels or driving "Mako" on the planet surfaces. They've introduced some nice minigames instead - gathering resources from the planets (quite boring but I liked it), hacking electronic circuits and hacking code (which are great ideas). As a main gameplay, they've taken all what's best in modern RPGs (like lots of talking, hard moral choices, nonlinear story, personal history and problems of characters) and shooters (like cover system, aiming, boss fights). Game is quite long (it took me 9 days to finish it), but as for RPG it's an adventage.

As a summary, I strongly recommend Mass Effect 2 to anyone who likes RPGs and/or shooters. I can't remember when I played any game so passionately since The Witcher, and I played dozens of great of games since then. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks Mass Effect 2 is great - professional reviews and sales indicate it's generally very successful.

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# WTS Keyboard

Jan 2010

It definitely wasn't a good buy. I was dreaming about new keyboard with multimedia keys to control mp3 player instead of binding strange global hotkeys like Ctrl+Alt+Home, so I was more than happy when I chose nice looking A4-Tech X-SLIM KL-7MU model with USB, headphones and microphone extension cable. It was part of my hardware upgrade together with new processor, motherboard, monitor and more. I've also installed Windows 7 then.

It took place 1.5 months ago and I've experienced many things since then. Most things work fine but I couldn't get rid of strange feeling that coding on my new computer is less comfortable than before. I blamed it on Windows 7 and I was partially right as there is a scandalous flaw in this new Microsoft product - GUI is no longer hardware accelerated! So it's no suprise that I can often see windows and controls being drawn as I move them, scroll them or type my code, even after turning off all the animations, transparencies and even all this beautiful Aero. As a proof, look at this YouTube video: Windows 7 GUI slowness. I just feel like working under Linux before installing graphics drivers. What a shame, a big step backward...

But after comparing my experiences from work with these from home I've noticed that it has to do something with the keyboard. I've always been opposing to "flat", laptop-style keyboards and my new A4tech one is just like this. So I returned to my old-school, white keyboard. Now the GUI of Windows 7 still annoys me a bit, but coding is much better. You may tell it's the matter of taste but as for me, I'm sure now that I prefer to code on a keyboard with high "step", where I can clearly see, hear and feel whether I've pressed particular key or not. I just type faster and make less mistakes on such keyboard. I'm also sure it's not the matter of getting used to it as I tried to use laptop-style keyboard now for more than a month as well as for three months when I've been in USA and in both cases I couldn't start to like it. So now I want to sell my new great keyboard (see the auction). Anyone interested? :)

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# Dobry zakup: Pendrive Kingston DataTraveler 150

Feb 2009

Podobno wielkim wyróżnieniem dla firmy jest, kiedy jej marka staje się nieoficjalną nazwą wszystkich podobnych produktów. Tak było z określeniem "walkman" na przenośny magnetofon czy "adidasy" na wszystkie buty sportowe, tak jest też z określeniem "pendrive" na przenośne pamięci flash.

Taki właśnie pendrive kupiłem sobie ostatnio i gorąco polecam. To Kingston DataTraveler 150. Dałem za niego na Allegro ok. 180 zł. Jego pojemność to 32 GB. Ponadto jest bardzo szybki - jego prędkość to (samodzielnie zmierzona, a nie deklarowana): odczyt 30 MB/s, zapis 15 MB/s. Dla porównania, mój poprzedni Kingston 2 GB miał odczyt 10 MB/s. Poza tym bardzo dobrym rozwiązaniem jest, że na czas podłączenia USB skuwkę można zatknąć od drugiej strony zamiast kłaść ją gdzieś na biurku, gdzie łatwo może się zgubić.

Pendrive Kingston DataTraveler 150

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# WD Raptor: Nieudany zakup

Nov 2008

Kupując rok temu nowy komputer pomyślałem sobie, że tym co najbardziej wszystko spowalnia jest w dzisiejszych czasach prędkość dysku. W końcu uruchamianie systemu, włączanie programów, ładowanie planszy w grach - to są te chwile, w których procesor czeka na wczytanie plików.

Początkowo chciałem zbudować sobie macierz dysków RAID. Po małym rozeznaniu stwierdziłem jednak, że sprawa nie jest prosta. Po pierwsze, RAID 0 jest szybki, ale mało bezpieczny, bo awaria któregokolwiek z dysków powoduje utratę danych. Po drugie, szybki i bezpieczny RAID 5 nie jest obsługiwany przez płyty główne, a jedynie przez dodatkowe kontrolery kosztujące od 1000 zł. Po trzecie, taki RAID od płyty głównej nie działa sam z siebie - trzeba go instalować w systemie, co może być kłopotliwe, kiedy ma się trzy różne systemy operacyjne.

Postanowiłem więc być sprytniejszy i kupić sobie superszybki dysk, który ma 10000 RPM (obrotów na minutę - zwykłe dyski do pecetów mają 7200 RPM). Kupiłem WD Raptor 74 GB płacąc za niego niemało. Teraz z całym przekonaniem chciałbym przyznać i przestrzec - to nie był dobry zakup. Taki dysk faktycznie jest szybszy, ale przyrost prędkości nie jest aż tak duży, żeby zrekompensować wysoką cenę (w tej chwili za nieco ponad 200 zł można kupić zwykły dysk o pojemności 500 GB). Co najgorsze, Raptor okropnie hałasuje charcząc podczas czytania i pisania tak jak te stare dyski sprzed 10 lat. W dzień to jest fajne, bo słychać kiedy dysk pracuje bez spoglądania na lampkę, ale w nocy nie daje spać.

BTW: Chce ktoś kupić dysk? 74 GB, bardzo szybki, cichy i tani ;) Zapraszam do mojej aukcji: Allegro: WD Raptor 74 GB, 10000 RPM - WD740ADFD.

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