MarkLeo.Net

Life's Simple Pleasures

hyperloop

Hyperloop

When I first heard about Hyperloop, it really sounded like an incredible next step in transportation. It theorizes that we can travel at the speed of sound at low costs whilst not making a huge impact on the environment. Welcome to the wonderful world of Hyperloop.

hyperloop1

It all started when Elon Musk released a white paper on this technology of how we can transport people through low-pressure tubes. There are a couple of firms out there right now who are working on bringing this to reality.

I had this thought recently when I was travelling to the east coast, heading towards the Kuala Besut jetty to catch a ferry to Perhentian Islands. The east coast was very much connected via a series of small trunk roads and recently the new east coast highway.

Of course, my first imagination would be if there were high-speed rail networks connecting KL, Ipoh, Penang, Malacca, Johor with the east coast cities such as Kelantan, Kuala Terengganu and Kuantan, that would definitely boost the economy in these regions. If folks from the east coast could take a train which would only take 45minutes to reach KL, more and more people might still want to stay outside of KL.

Now, taking one step further, if only Hyperloop came into the picture. Imagine how crazy that would be. Perhaps as crazy as having our own dedicated internet line from our east coast and east Malaysia direct to Silicon Valley.

Bibop Gresta

Bibop Gresta, speaking at Digi Malaysia as part of the Global Entrepreneurship Community

Recently I had the pleasure of listening to Bibop Gresta, the Co-CEO of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies speak at Digi Malaysia. He spoke about the technology and the vision of Hyperloop and possible, a working line by 2018.

Interestingly in the audience was one of the heads of the firm who is working on the high-speed rail network between KL and Singapore, MyHSR. As the ink was already set up, it would be absolutely ground-breaking if the Hyperloop would replace that line. Why? Imagine reaching Singapore from KL within 30 minutes! The Hyperloop targets to connect Los Angeles to San Francisco within 30 minutes for passengers at speeds of up to 750mph (1207kmh).

Bibop Gresta

Group Photo, from left (Bibop, myself, Amran)

The concept of Hyperloop is unique not in terms of technology but how they are crowdsourcing ideas, technologies, and investments. If you want to learn more about that, click on this link.

The startup does seem rather unique, because of it’s way of crowdsourcing ideas and volunteer engineers. What makes it equally crazy is that they want to make it free for users. How does it then make money? The technology has a number of side products, which is energy and also drawing water throughout the lines to areas which are lacking in water. When that doesn’t work, they will feature new technologies to supplement their income.

chromecast_woes_2

Chromecast Woes

In our office, we have a slew of first generation Chromecast devices. About 16 in total and after more than a year, we have been unable to get it to work steadily. Devices appear and disappear in the network even though when I run a diagnostic check, everything works quite well.

chromecast_woes_1

Issues

The same issues that I face are that I can’t detect any of the devices when I use the Chrome pop up even though all TV screens show that the Chromecast devices are connected to the network and to the internet.

In some cases, we can view some devices and some we can’t view at all. And the issue happens to everyone and it changes mostly. For example, sometimes I can view Chromecast A, B and C whilst my colleague might only see A, C and D.

Chromecast_dongle

Troubleshooting

I have done plenty of troubleshooting steps which include setting up the router and wireless LAN controller and the access points. I got the vendor to set up the network devices to match Cisco’s whitepaper in order to get Chromecast working but it still hasn’t resolved the issue.

Even after pouring through forums and speaking with some other folks, it seems that this issue isn’t happening specifically to me but to others as well. I have subscribed to many topics in this Google forum and as you can see in their posts, many other folks are facing this issue.

For our case, we are currently using 1st generation Chromecast devices. They are all connected to the wireless network sitting on the 2.4Ghz band. AP isolation has been turned off and uPNP enabled.

The difficult thing to really troubleshoot our issues is that the error does happen all the time and it is just so extremely random.

Here are some examples of other people’s problems.

Karen Gibbs said:
yes grace got your reply, which was useless since updating and relaunching google chrome itself did not help. And yes i saw that the cast option was now integrated into the google chrome menu itself long before your reply. And yes i STILLL cannot cast from my laptop AT ALL. Despite numerous attempts to add the extension and restarting my laptop and checking this and other forums to get assistance. All i am seeing is your form or automated reply that assumes most people are ignorant about problem solving or basic trouble shooting and nothing that acknowledges that CHROMECAST HAS A PROBLEM WITH ITS OWN BROWSER, WHETHER ONE IS A WINDOWS USER OR A MAC USER! We can all cast from our phones whether it be Android or iPhone. Most of us have even resorted to unplugging the actual device and rebooting. Our chromecast backdrop shows on our TV screen. So chromecast is recognised by our network and able to cast. Yet we cannot cast from our PCs or laptops! And so many people have written on here and in other forums to say this!!! So what is google doing about this!!!!!! Your update clearly DOES NOT WORK! IT CLEARLY IS NOT COMPATIBLE WITH YOUR OWN PLATFORM AND YOU NEED TO TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION. I dont care if this thing cost $10 or $1 as a customer who bought into an idea and a service that no longer performs the way it should I need my issue dealt with. Two to three days of not being able to use the device for the function I expected to use it for is unacceptable.

You can read more problems in which other people face in the forum link below.

Google Chromecast Forums

chromecast_woes_3

Conclusion

I have almost given up on the technology and have since relied more on using a physical cable instead of the Chromecast device. I believe that this issue most likely happens when there are multiple devices connected through a slew of multiple network devices. It probably works better if you have just a router which you are connected to and it probably is more reliable that way. Having a Chromecast unit work with enterprise related devices is a lot more difficult.

After numerous firmware and browser updates, I am still facing the same issue but hopefully, in the near future, a permanent fix will be available.

plug_03

Plug – A Big Ass Battery Pack

The moment power banks hit the market, it filled a real need. People who have been used to having long lasting mobile phones suddenly needed to recharge their phones on the go thanks to the emergence of the smartphone. Enter Plug, a big ass battery pack from the folks over at ChargeTech. The name sounds familiar? I did a review on their thinnest iPhone 6 charging case recently. Check it out here.

plug_01

Their IndieGoGo campaign has just started, so if you are interested in it, you can head over there and support it.

Definitely, something which is useful because it has a solar charger which means if ever you are faced with a zombie apocalypse, you are definitely sure to have power available even when the power stations are down.

I guess this comes as useful for me since I have been reading manga such as Survival and Cage of Eden, having a solar powered battery pack would definitely come in useful in those situations.

plug_02

Useful Facts

  • It has 48,000mAh of power
  • Pass through charging (charge both Plug and your devices together)
  • It uses Tesla Battery Cells
  • Portable
  • Solar Powered
  • 2x AC points, both of which uses a universal point (works well anywhere in the world)
  • 2x USB charging points

Use Cases

Here are some use cases I can think of for the Plug.

  • Great way to keep your devices connected while camping
  • A fantastic charging point when you do photo and video points offsite, especially for your lighting equipment
  • A great device to charge your Drone batteries while you are on the go

If you have any other use cases, do leave a comment below.

Note: This isn’t an advertisement, I believe that this product seems quite interesting and have considered funding it via IndieGoGo. I love searching for projects on crowdfunding sites and this one particularly caught my eye. 

iphone-7

The iPhone 7, Apple Watch Series 2 and missing MacBook Pro

Apple’s September event came and gone very quickly without making so much of a tidal wave amidst the tech world. It really seems as if gone are the days that Apple’s events make huge headlines (they still do) but it isn’t what it has been known for. What Apple did over the week was launch the iPhone 7, the Apple Watch Series 2 and didn’t announce a new MacBook Pro.

apple-special-event-september-2016

Apple Watch Series 2

I really like this new watch. It doesn’t look any different from the first generation version but it is definitely something that I am considering getting. Why is that? In truth, the Apple Watch hasn’t really been a real use to me because the only time I can exercise is during lunch time or after work and I usually go swimming. That renders my Apple Watch a little useless. With the new Series 2, I am glad that I can use it while swimming and also track my swimming exercise. So I am definitely going to consider getting a silver aluminium Apple Watch Series 2.

apple-watch-series-2

Of course, other things which do tempt me is a faster processor as well as WatchOS 3 which makes applications snappy on the Apple Watch. Hopefully, that would indeed be the case as the user experience on the current Apple Watch hasn’t really been top notch.

apple-watch-series-2-pricing-malaysia

A quick search on Apple Malaysia’s website shows that the model that I am looking at is priced at RM1,749. A little bit more than what I paid for the original Apple Watch.

iPhone 7

Every two years, I would normally upgrade my iPhone. It started with the iPhone 4, iPhone 5 and then the iPhone 6+. Seems like this time around, it is time for the iPhone 7+ for me. Now if you would say that two years is such a quick time to upgrade, well, normally my devices are always passed down and each of my devices is used over at least 6 years. Both the iPhone 4 and 5 are still in use and once the iPhone 7 is launched here in Malaysia, I will pass down my iPhone 6+.

The new features aren’t exactly something really to shout about. What I was impressed was how fast the iPhone 6s was. To me, as my iPhone is heavily used, having a faster speed is definitely a great welcome and I wouldn’t mind jumping on the iPhone 7 which some touts as a speed bump rather than a game changer.

What I am torn about is whether to get the black or the jet black (early takes show that it attracts fingerprints like crazy) model. I have been purchasing the white version of the iPhones for the past 4 years so the black is a welcome change.

Here are some of the features which I am looking forward to

  • The new home button and faster touch ID – Apple has finally moved away from a physical button. The physical button which causes everyone to be so paranoid which makes iPhone users put a translucent button on their screen in order to avoid physically pressing the home button.
  •  Dual cameras – I love the camera function on the iPhone. I take lots of photos and videos with it so having something better is a welcome.
  • Improved Speakers – I really don’t like using Bluetooth speakers as the additional step to connect and pair with them seems to put me off. On top of that, the prices of the nicer speakers cost a bomb so having better speakers on the iPhone 7 makes it a feature I look forward to.
  • AirPods – This really looks great because of how easy it is to pair with them. They cost a bomb, at USD$159. So far no prices have been mentioned on Apple Malaysia. We do know however it will be available in October 2016. If you watch some of the videos, I just love how seamless it is to pair the AirPods with your other Apple devices. At any given time, I do travel with at least 3 Apple devices such as my iPhone, iPad and my MacBook Pro. Having the ability to seamless connect and switch between these 3 devices is indeed something I look forward to.

The only problem is that stocks are quite limited and even pre-orders in the US has been delayed until November! That means by the time it is available here in Malaysia, it could be in December. Gives me a bit of time to save up for the device.

Currently, there are people who are selling units on the Lowyat forums, so far it costs around more than RM4,000.

screen-shot-2016-09-20-at-12-02-05-pm

Screenshot of the Lowyat Mobile Phone Garage Sales forum

A new MacBook Pro?

Apple has never been one to annouce the MacBook Pro during September announcements so why should we expect one this time around? Well it was all for wishful thinking. Still, the MacBook Pro is due for an upgrade and with current prices, the laptop is reaching into areas where it isn’t the first choice for many people because of it’s prices.

Previously before the price-hike, the MacBook Pro was deemed to be rather on the slightly above average laptop in terms of price point but now, they are definitely in the premium range. The MacBook is definitely a premium laptop which sacrifices power for portability.

I am looking forward to a refreshed MacBook Pro to replace my current 2014 retina Macbook Pro and was thinking of getting the 15″ version so I can also have the processing power to work on both video and photo edits.

Podcasts

Podcasts – The Tim Ferriss Show

Every morning and every evening I have to brave the traffic towards my office and home. That means I am spending on average 54mins each way. I tried finding ways to fill my time. Previously, I used to play DVD’s in the car but I guess after a while I got a little bored with them. Until I found the beauty of podcasts.

The Tim Ferriss Show

The Tim Ferriss Podcast

Catch the Time Ferriss Podcast on iTunes

Almost every week Tim interviews amazing world class performers on his podcast and the insights are incredible. Each episode is long, ranging from an hour to 2 hours for some.

Tim Ferriss really needs no introduction, he is the author of The 4-Hour Workweek, Expanded and Updated, The 4-Hour Body, and the 4-hour Chef. His podcast has been downloaded more than 70million times.

I have been listening to his podcasts for the last couple of months now and it has been really enlightening. Great insights and great pointers which I have picked up from the podcasts.

Favourite Episodes

Here are some of my favourite episodes from his long lists of episodes.

There are many more episodes. For me, I just subscribe to Tim’s podcast on iTunes and play it off my iPhone on the way to work.

Page 1 of 98

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén