I Bought A Mechanical Keyboard And Now All Other Keyboards Are Ruined…

I have wanted a mechanical keyboard for quite some time, but I could never justify the price for one with real Cherry MX switches.  Not to mention my Microsoft Natural Elite has held up great for its more than fifteen year tour of duty, and if Microsoft would have made a mechanical variant of that keyboard I would have bought it in an instant.  Thankfully Corsair ran a deal on its refurbished STRAFE keyboards.  Now I can never go back to a rubber dome keyboard.

I didn’t think it would make that much of a difference, but it is night and day.  Every keyboard press is registered properly and with 100% accuracy.  No more, “did I push that or didn’t I?”, no more squishy feeling.  It immediately made a difference in my response times in games too.  I was still terrible, but at least now I was terrible with my character doing exactly what I was telling him to do when I told him to do it.

It was keyboard bliss until my ‘O’ and ‘Y’ keys started sticking.  I have never had a problem with refurbished hardware before.  I was devastated.  I was worried that my refurbished kit was buyer beware, but after a very quick phone call my new keyboard was being overnighted to me.  A+ for customer service.

Anyway.  Now I hate all non-mechanical keyboards.  I hate them so much.  Yes moving to a mechanical keyboard costs some dough, but it is well worth it.  Just look out for those deals.

Xbox Scorpio Is Beast!

It is clear that Microsoft doesn’t like being the less powerful than the PS4 Pro, so they went all out to beat it.  12GB of DDR5 memory, 4GB more than the PS4 Pro, and it bests PS4 Pro’s memory bandwidth by more than a 100GB/s at 326GB/s.  They boosted the core CPU clock speed by almost a full 1GHz.  Then on top of that they went up from 12 compute units on the standard Xbox One GPU to 40 on the Scorpio, so that is 28 more graphics threads, and 4 more than the PS4 Pro.  What does that mean to us?  It is pretty dang fast.  Fast enough to compete with the PC fanboys that is for sure.

Microsoft has also said that all games will get a boost, not just ones that program for it, so that will be interesting to see.  It will also be interesting to see if they can hit their native 4K resolution promise.  With this kind of power I am sure that they can, but will games’ FPS be able to keep up?  Now all we need know is how much all this power will cost?  I am guessing it will have to launch somewhere around $500, but any more than that and it could be DOA.  Especially since there are no Scorpio exclusive games.  All games should work on both the Scorpio and the Xbox One.  Microsoft should have an interesting E3.  I will be watching that is for sure.  Until then I am going to dream about compute units!

Watch the full reveal below!

I Am Now A Google Pixel User

I have been a long time Windows Phone/Mobile user, so it was hard for me to make the switch to something else.  In the end Verizon made the switch for me, since there are no longer any good Windows 10 Mobile devices on their network.  It was time to branch out anyway, so I am now a Google Pixel user.

There are things I love about this phone.  The fingerprint reader on the back is perfectly placed, so every time I pick up the phone it is instantly on.  The Pixel is fast and responsive.  It takes decent pictures extremely quickly, so there is no waiting around for focusing or anything like that.  Then of course there are the multitude of apps to play around with which I never had on Windows Mobile.  Thankfully Microsoft has Android versions of all my favorite Windows apps.

There are downsides as well.  It looks like a bad iPhone knockoff, but then to keep from getting sued they put a plastic square on the back, and an ugly flat plastic cover on the front.  Which is even more maddening since there are no buttons on the front of the Google Pixel.  It is all wasted space.  My other problems are just normal Android problems.  Like the fact that all the settings are not centrally located, so you have to hunt around to change something (I just want Gmail to stop making noise!!), or that Facebook and Android no longer sync photos.

In the end the speed and the apps make up for just about all of its shortcomings.  The Google Pixel is a good phone that works well.  I just miss Windows Phone’s flare and live tiles.  One thing I didn’t get to try, but I want to, is Google Daydream VR, but since I don’t have $80 to spare, that will have wait until a later date.  If you are on Verizon and want a fast phone with a good camera, the Google Pixel might be just what you are looking for.

I Hacked My T-Mobile CellSpot And Got An Asus RT-AC68U!

T-Mobile decided that it would be a good idea sell fantastic routers at a great price to try and then use those routers to expand their cell coverage, and you know what?  It is a good idea.  Unfortunately for them they decided to repurpose the very popular Asus RT-AC68U to do it, so everyone and their brother used Asus’ great firmware tools to flash the T-Mobile CellSpots to either stock Asus firmware or high end custom firmware.  This of course displeased T-Mobile since the whole point of selling routers cheap is to expand their cell range, so they had Asus make the routers harder to hack, but guess what?  Nerds like me are still hacking these routers and they work great!

I am not going to go in to detail on how to hack a T-Mobile CellSpot since there are a great many good guides online, but I will say if you buy a CellSpot now you will need to follow this step first: Press All The Buttons, and then I followed this video:

Until he put custom firmware on it.  Instead I went the ‘official route’ and flashed the router to firmware version 376.3626 with the Asus Recovery Tool to change the memory size to 64 MB from 32 MB, and then after that simply applied the most recent firmware from the Asus site.  You can download everything you need from the links included on this page: SlickDeals Asus Page.

Overall this router has been a major step up from my Asus RT-N66U.  Everything is just faster, plus there are more options, and it feels good knowing that I got to stick it to the man a little bit by only paying $60 for a $150 router.  Though I think this model is still worth it even if you pay full price and don’t want to bother rewriting boot loaders.  If you haven’t got an AC router yet, there aren’t many consumer routers available better than the Asus RT-AC68U.

The 2016 Roku Stick Proves Good Things Do Come In Small Packages!

Roku-Streaming-stick-2016

I previously raved about my 2012 Roku 2 XS, but recently it started acting up a little bit. I think it was just getting too slow to run the new apps.  Well for $50 or less you can get this year’s Roku Stick, and you should!  I streams everything the bigger Rokus do, but in a small little package.  It is fast, and the streams look great!  It even lets you stream the audio from the stick to your phone so you can watch TV without waking up your two year old.

Roku continues to show the folly of getting a Smart TV.  Why spend $100s extra when you can add one of these to any TV for just $50.  Better yet you can find them all over the place for $40.  At that price you don’t need to worry about the tech getting old because you can simply upgrade it in a couple of years.

If you are looking for a way to get your streaming apps on your TV, but don’t want to spend a lot of cash, the Roku Stick is totally the way to go.  The only reason to get something else would be because you are heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem, so then you would have to get an Apple TV.  Still even if you are an Apple Fanatic, for $40 you get access to everything else the internet has to offer as well.  The Roku Stick is a great device at an even better price.