Nexus Player, Ultrawide, G Watch?


We’ve had a Chromecast in the house for a while, and it’s been awesome. Really easy to put stuff on the TV, and cheap too! When I noticed the Nexus Players received a price cut though, I couldn’t resist. My one real complaint about the Chromecast was the fact that it only had 2.4GHz wireless. Wireless N helped a little bit, but unfortunately we live in a 16 unit apartment, which has a 2.4GHz wireless router in each unit… For something as sensitive as streaming media, that’s a recipe for disaster. Although most of the time the Chromecast was good, you’d get good hiccups with HD content in the evenings when everyone was online. The TV we have has 5GHz wireless N, but it was still really slow and not at all a pleasure to operate. The Nexus Player however supports up to Wireless AC (2×2 MIMO), which is fast as hell, provided we have an AC router. (At the moment we don’t but we’ll take advantage of the 5GHz wireless N anyway). So, the Nexus player is basically a beefy Chromecast, with built in and downloadable apps and games, and voice search. It’s a nice replacement, looks good, feels good, operates quickly. Let’s just hope that Google doesn’t plan to wrap up the idea of Android TV.


Also back to 3 monitors! I ended up getting a 25″ LG Ultrawide for ~200 dollars as a birthday gift for myself. My GTX670 still pushes 2560×1080 about as well as 1920×1080, judging by game performance in Battlefield and Borderlands, and the extra screen real estate is absolutely awesome for EVE online. I’d love to add an additional one, but I really don’t have the desk space. I’ll likely end up just switching my 19″ for another 21.5″ and keep things like that.

Last but not least, I ended up scouring the internet over vacation for a G Watch. Yes, it’s one of the first Android Wear devices released, but guess what? The internal specs really haven’t changed, even with the newer, higher end watches. They all run on the same chipset, with similar battery sizes, and similar sized screens. The only real difference is the quality of the screen and watch case, and if it does or doesn’t have GPS/heartbeat sensor built in. Considering the 100 dollar price tag, and the fact that wear has been receiving pretty regular updates, I figured it’s time to see what it’s all about. I hope to have some pictures and a quick review up sometime after it’s arrived.

Long Time, No Update?

2015-06-03 13.44.26

It sure has been a while since posting anything. I figured since I’m on vacation I may as well update a few things here. First off – The Nexus 5 is still an absolute monster of a phone. I fall deeper in love with it every day. It’s now ~2 years old and I’d still consider it a flagship. Running 5.1.1, stock to the bone, it’s absolute butter when it comes to the interface and day to day use. I can see myself being happy with this phone for at least another year or so. Battery is meh, but it does last a day. We’ll see what Android M brings! By the looks of things, the Nexus 5 should be one of the first devices to receive it, and battery life improvements seem positive already.

The Shield tablet received Lollipop 5.1, which improved performance a ton – No more random lags in Chrome, or when switching apps. I likened the Shield to a truck prior to 5.1 – Slow to get up and running, but a beast once it started moving. Now it’s more like a sports car – Super quick and super powerful. I can say the tablet is a pleasure to use, a pleasure to hold in hand, and it fills the hole that the Nexus 7 left when I gave it away. Maybe one day I’ll get the controller and cover for it as well, but for now it’s been great as just a media consumption device/web browser/kitchen assistant.

I’ve also started playing EVE Online. I think at some point I ranted about how I detest the idea of pay to play titles, but I can see the advantages now. EVE is fantastically complex and absolutely hilarious – The entire game is essentially PVP. It doesn’t matter where you’re at, there’s always a risk of getting killed by another player. I do have a bit of an interesting take on the game as I got a fairly well developed character from a friend who stopped playing a while ago. You can check out my adventures by clicking this link here – I’ll be updating it from time to time, hopefully with pretty screenshots. [Link]

My EDC hasn’t really changed a lot. I’ve changed from the mechanic’s ring to a dangler type system as I was finally able to find some cheap ones on eBay. I love supporting communities, but at 20 dollars for two P7 suspension clips? I’ll have to pass. The cheaper knockoffs seem built just as well and I was able to get 5 for about 10 dollars, which is probably more than I’ll ever use. The nice thing about the dangler is that it prevents things from just turning into a ball in your pocket and looking awkward. It’s a lot easier to just pull out your key chain as well!

I was also considering switching out my MiniChamp for an Alox version, but thinking now, the most commonly used pieces on it are the blade, the file, and scissors… Which all exist on the Classic SD. So I might end up just grabbing a Classic SD in plain silver Alox and retire the MiniChamp to a first aid kit or something, where it might get a bit more usage. Silver is definitely a must though! It seems silly, but most of my other stuff that I carry in my pockets now is silver (Everything else on my keychain), and so is my Cadet. There’s a lot else I’d like to add or change in my carry, but it’s really not a necessity.

Anyway, that’s about it for right now… I’m going to get back to enjoying my vacation, maybe play some EVE.

Popov Leather Card Holder

Popov Leather Card Holder

I did say I was replacing my Fossil wallet with something else. Here it is! It’s a Popov Leather card holder in royal blue with cream stitching. They use a nice thick leather and high quality hand stitching. I couldn’t resist grabbing this beauty when I saw they had a discount on top of their already clearance pricing for the older leather models. The wallet holds 5 cards in the main compartment and has a wrap around pocket for cash, notes, or smaller key fob loyalty cards. If you’re looking for a quality hand made leather wallet, I can recommend Popov Leather.

March 6th Pocket Dump


Will monthly pocket dumps become a thing? Maybe. You can probably see that from last post I did end up getting my wallet replaced. The replacement just arrived today, a royal blue card holder from Popov Leather! This is made with their old “Mellowtan” leather, and I ended up getting one of the last ones. They’ve since moved to using Chromexcel leather. Build is solid as expected from a hand made, hand stitched piece. It’ll hold 5 cards, stretching to accommodate more over time as leather naturally does. The leather definitely feels a lot nicer than the Fossil wallet, and holds just as much. Beyond the wallet, nothing else has changed. I would like to swap out the strap on my watch for a NATO band in the near future, as the current strap is wearing out. I may end up swapping out the Minichamp for the silver alox version as well, but that’s more of a vanity thing.

Mobile Tech For 2015


Okay, okay. I know I did say earlier this month I was going to be sorting out my flashlight situation, but I had a good opportunity to replace my now non-existent Nexus 7. I had been looking for a while to replace it due to poor quality memory (Either controller or flash) causing the thing to be slow as dirt for multitasking. It served me well for 2.5 years, but ended up leaving me as a gift to someone else. As a result, I’ve been tablet-less since Christmas, and I definitely missed not having one.

I really wanted to replace the Nexus 7 2012 with another Nexus device. The first possible choice was the Nexus 7 2013 which improved on the 2012 in pretty much every way. The only issue though is at this point it’s close to a 2 year old tablet, and the SoC (System on Chip) is getting a bit long in the tooth. A new 2 year old tablet started at 250 bucks, and there were better options for a bit more. On top of that, I wanted something just a bit bigger in the screen department. The next stop was the Nexus 9. Although it was a lot newer and faster, the 8.9″ 4:3 screen was a bit of a turn off, and the price point felt a bit high for what you were getting in a device.

Final stop for my tablet search is what you see above. In my opinion, it’s what the Nexus 9 should have been. It’s the Nvidia Shield tablet. The specs are:

  • 2.2GHz quad core Nvidia Tegra K1 w/ 192 core Kepler based GPU
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB storage (MicroSD expansion available)
  • 8″ HD IPS display (1920×1200)
  • 5MP front and rear facing cameras
  • 6700mAh battery
  • 390g weight

Also included are dual front facing speakers, a stylus, micro HDMI output, and your usual array of connectivity options. The cherry on top of the package is it runs on stock Android Lollipop with a few Nvidia goodies baked in. I can’t really offer much beyond initial impressions, but compared to my Nexus 7 2012 this device is night and day difference. I was initially fearful that the 8″ size would be almost as unwieldy as a 10″ tablet like my Transformer, but it I was wrong to be afraid. The 8″ size makes it more appealing to grab compared to my phone when I’m looking to do reading or browsing. On top of that, it still retains similar portability of the Nexus 7, however I will need to look into a new sleeve for it.

The screen is considerably better and the resolution is exactly what I wanted. Though 2560×1600 would be nice, 1920×1200 is plenty high res for an 8″ device. Color reproduction and contrast is good and there aren’t any dead or stuck pixels. The back light is very bright, and goes down to very dim as well. The front facing speakers outperform just about any other tablet solution I’ve come across, making for good and clear audio even in noisy environments like the kitchen. Build wise it feels good in hand with no real flex or play. My only complaint with the hardware is the power and volume buttons. They’re very shallow travel and take time to get used to pressing, but I feel I’ll get used to this in due time.

Performance wise the tablet flies. I’ve experienced no real issues with lag or stuttering with normal multitasking. The specs on the tablet also ensure some future proofing, with the SoC currently being one of the fastest on the market when it comes to gaming and general day to day use. Although the tablet is marketed as a “The ultimate tablet for gamers”, my reason for purchasing wasn’t gaming. The device is arguably the ultimate 8″ stock Android tablet on the market currently. My only issues with performance would be in regards to battery life, which is a bit middling. This is to be expected considering the SoC in the tablet. I can estimate I’d get a good 8 hours worth of screen on time for browsing and general usage, dipping down to 2-4 for gaming depending on the title. Standby drain however is pretty exceptional, dropping only about 5% a day idle. So for casual use, I could expect the battery to last a few days, but only a day if I’m using the thing constantly.

The Nexus 5 and the Shield make for a very powerful and very portable Android pair. I don’t think I’ll have many complaints related to speed in 2015, that’s for sure. For now I don’t plan on adding anything more beyond accessories. Perhaps a sleeve, the Shield cover, a Bluetooth keyboard, and perhaps the Shield controller. Just enough gear to make things a bit more usable while on the go. Later in the year, if I plan on blogging a bit more, I may add a Windows or ChromeOS notebook. There are some things that the notebook form factor and “non-mobile” operating systems do better, and content creation is one of them in my eyes.

February Coffee: The Roasters Pack and Parachute


It’s been a dark few months… Cafe Eureka closed up shop due to lack of interest in exotic coffees in the surrounding area, and I haven’t been able to find a really great local bean since. Any of the local retailers in Sackville sell some of the more locally available goodies – Just Us, Laughing Whale, Full Steam, etc. None of it features a roast date however, and none of it is really roasted to my liking. The end of January rolled around and I hadn’t used any of my coffee gear since December, and I was really disappointed. A few slow evenings at work lead to some researching and reviews, and suddenly I was subscribed to two wonderful Canadian coffee subscriptions. Both very different, but both offering exactly what I wanted: A consistently fresh and good cup of coffee, with monthly variety.


First up, The Roasters Pack. The Roasters Pack curates three exceptional coffees every month, packs them in wonderful resealable bags, bundles them with some nice information on each coffee, and ships them express to your mailbox for $29.95. Now, The Roasters Pack is definitely more expensive than Parachute, however it gives me one of the major things I want: variety. You get three four ounce bags of coffee from a variety of roasters across Canada. The examples this month were fantastic: A Costa Rican roasted by Phil & Sebastian out of Calgary, a Colombian roasted by Bows and Arrows out of Victoria, and a Kenyan roasted by Anchored in Dartmouth! Each bag is good for about 5 cups of coffee (I use a 17:1 water:coffee ratio, and generally use about 20g of beans in a cup) which gives you lots of time to play with different brew methods or just dial in a great cup. I can safely say the tasting notes on each bag are pretty spot on! It’s not overblown or outrageous, just well documented notes that come out in a proper brew. The included info cards are awesome too, and there are included discounts for each bag of coffee, which is shipped direct from roaster when ordered. For variety and quality, The Roasters Pack should definitely be considered.



Parachute Coffee is similar to The Roasters Pack, except they curate a single coffee each month and ship a 12oz bag directly to you for $25.00 flat. Parachute gives me 12oz of good coffee that I can reliably brew 15 cups out of. This month’s coffee was a Costa Rican from Detour Coffee! Notes are smooth, buttery, tangerine, and I definitely get that in the V60. There’s some nice brown-sugar, nougat-y flavors in there too. Parachute also includes some really well done info cards inside, giving you some basic brew tips, and the roaster’s thoughts on the coffee. For something different every month at a reasonable price, Parachute is a good choice!

Monday Mail Call

Yay Monday! I’m on a short vacation and back to work on Thursday, and wasn’t expecting a package until Wednesday at the earliest, but checking on the tracking for my MEC order this morning, my package was somehow out for delivery! Included in it was a Victorinox Cadet, a FourSevens Atom A0, and a nylon MEC rain cover for my backpack.

The Victorinox Cadet is my first “full sized” Swiss army knife, however it’s only an 84mm. It’s usually coined as the ultimate everyday carry Swiss army knife, featuring a main pen blade, a fingernail file and cleaner, a cap lifter/bottle opener, large flat head screw driver, wire stripper, can opener, and small flat head/Phillips driver. It’s extremely thin with only 2 layers, and the “Alox”  (Aluminum oxide) scales ooze quality. Overall first impressions are good fit and finish, nice snap to the tools, and good feel in the hand. Can’t wait to start carrying this around.


The Atom A0 from FourSevens is a minuscule key chain flashlight formerly known as the Preon P0. It’s made of stainless steel, includes a Cree XPE emitter and runs on a single AAA battery. As you can see above, the thing isn’t any longer than a 58mm Swiss army knife – Perfect key chain light! The tail has a nice magnet in it that allows it to stick to any capable metal surface, meaning you can have it hanging hands free if necessary. It’s capable of tail standing too, though not really necessary. The head has no real way to concentrate any beam, so it’s a completely floody light. They’ve replaced any reflector inside with a glow in the dark coating, making the light easy to find if you drop it. At minimum, the light can run for 90 hours at it’s 0.25 lumen “moonlight” mode, perfect for navigation when you don’t want to lose vision. At maximum, the 25 lumen beam is good for about 5 meters, and can run for about 1.5 hours before needing a battery swap. The little thing is also waterproof up to 3 meters! Wow! Overall impressions thus far are that fit and finish is good, it feels nice in the hand, and it doesn’t make the key chain too bulky. A lot nicer than the Photon Freedom I had prior. The beam is definitely all flood, no throw at all like the Solitaire, but that’s what I need in a key chain light. In tests, the glow is bright, and no issues with the magnet!

As for the MEC cover, it seems well built and looks to fit my bag just fine! It’ll be great for rain and heavier snow. The little pack it comes with is connected directly to the inside, so I’ll never lose it. It’s going to be one of those nice additions to the backpack that’s been sorely lacking for a little while.

The Flashlight Dilemma

Well, not really a dilemma, but more musings on what I would really need in a flashlight. I recently put in an order with MEC for an Victorinox Alox Cadet, a MEC nylon backpack cover, and a FourSevens Atom A0 flashlight. The Atom A0 is intended to replace the Photon Freedom Micro on my key chain. The Freedom Micro is a nice light with a great size, however the output on it isn’t spectacular, especially compared to the cost of CR2032 batteries. The Atom A0 is one of the smallest AAA flashlights on the market, measuring not a whole lot longer than the battery itself. I look forward to covering this light in more detail when it comes in next week.

Of course, a new light got me thinking that I really don’t have much in the way of lights in my EDC, or even just available for usage if necessary. I didn’t realize until looking into it this week the multitude of light options on the market! I currently carry a Maglite Solitaire LED in my backpack, which is a fairly throwy little AAA light that can throw 37 lumens, and is built pretty well. Between that and my Photon Freedom, that’s about all I have. I really want to widen my range with at least one additional light, preferably something with more output, more throw, and a longer run time.

I have decided that lithium cells are a must. To maintain the size I want and get the output I want, you can’t beat a lithium cell for overall output. Of all the options, the 18650 cell appears to be the best value currently. Although the start up costs are going to be a bit steep, it’s worthwhile in the long run. You won’t get the same kind of output from a AA or 2AA light – The power just isn’t there. I’ve decided my best bet is going to be going with a Thrunite TN12 2014 edition, bundled with a charger and 2 Thrunite protected 18650 cells. The charger is universal as well, so should take care of AA/AAA NiMH batteries, and anything else like 16340s, 14500s, etc. The TN12 will put out about 1050 lumens at the high end, and a 0.3 lumen moonlight mode on the low end. It seems well built and compact, and reviews are pretty favorable. To buddy up with that for smaller jobs, I’m also considering adding a Thrunite Ti3 to my order – The little AAA light is a bit longer than what I’d like on my key chain, but is an absolute monster with a max 120 lumen output! It’d share the same cells as the Atom A0, so no need to worry about having to carry more than two types of batteries.

These are of course just musings, but I’m hoping to have my light situation sorted out by the end of the month. as for my MEC order, I should be expecting it sometime this coming week, so look out for some photos of the Atom A0 and Victorinox Cadet!

Leatherman Wave: My Review



I love my little Leatherman Squirt PS4. The thing is as small as a 58mm Swiss army knife, but packs a lot more more useful features than something like the Classic SD. For anything I’d run across daily that requires pliers, it usually does the trick. I do come across some occasions however that may require a larger tool, and for that, I’ve chosen the Leatherman Wave.


The Wave is a well built stainless steel tool featuring a total of 17 functions and outside accessible blades. It weighs in at about 8.5 ounces, is about 10 cm long when closed, and 16.5 cm long when opened. Both the weight of the tool and the tight tolerances in Leatherman’s machining lend to a very premium feeling tool with very little play in any of the features, no unwanted gaps in the pliers, and no real rattling. The pliers function well as both needlenose and regular pliers, providing good grip in most situations. The wire cutting portion of the pliers is both good for hard wire and regular wire, however I question the overall durability considering they’re not replaceable like some other Leatherman models. In real world testing, the cutters performed admirably, however I don’t believe I would use them on anything beyond high gauge wires.

The outside accessible tools are all locking, which adds to the utility and robustness of the tool. The 420HC blade is about 7.5cm long, adequately hardened, and has a nice utility edge on it from factory. Cutting tests so far have been satisfactory. The serrated blade makes very short work of fabric. The serrations are only on one side however, and aren’t ideally placed for a left handed user. One can differentiate the serrated and plain edge blade by the small amount of jimping on the serrated side. This makes identification easy. Both blades have a thumb hole, which supports one handed opening once you’ve worked the blades in. I haven’t had any reason to test the saw as of yet, however the teeth are fairly aggressive, and I believe it should do a very good job cutting through small branches or anything else that was required. The file is two sided, one side being your standard wood/metal file texture, and the other being diamond coated. Again, no real opportunity to test the file in any capacity as of yet, but for the small things I’ve filed with it, it has performed admirably.

Moving inside, you have the locking inner tools as well. The locks are very strong and easy to release when needed. Featured here you have a can opener that also has a wire stripper function, the large bit driver, the spring action scissors, the small bit driver, and the flat head screw driver. The can opener is a can opener, and will probably not get used regularly, however should perform well enough. The bit driver is one of my favorite features of the Wave, and one of the reasons for choosing it over other tools on the market. Coupled with the bit kit and bit driver extender, I have really no reason to carry a dedicated screw driver. Although the bit driver only supports Leatherman’s custom bits, the extender supports full sized hex bits, widening your range of possibilities even further. The included scissors seem to function well and the spring back action works admirably. The small bit driver is limited, but covers any need for a glasses sized Phillips or flat head screw. The large flat head screw driver is quite honestly more of a pry bar than anything, as the bit kit and bit driver tend to cover my flat head needs. Oh yeah, it has a ruler too – I almost forgot!

My final thoughts on the Wave are that it’s probably the best, most readily available EDC multi tool you’re going to come across. The Charge from Leatherman add a few nice things, however the Wave still covers all the basics. I like the build quality, the tight tolerances, and the good range of tools (bit driver!). It’s not all roses however, and there are some minor issues with the tool. I didn’t really like how tight it was out of the box, however a few days of playing with it made it a lot easier to open and close. On top of that, out of box there were a few sharp edges, which could be a bit hard on the hands. What would I like to see in the Leatherman Wave? First off, a left handed model. After that, longer scissors, and the flat head driver replaced with something else like an awl/reamer. Replaceable wire cutters would be a bonus too! I guess my ideal tool is a crossbreed of the Wave and the Surge…

In summary, if you’re looking for a premium multitool that’s going to cover just about any daily task you’d have, look no further than the Leatherman Wave. If you’d like to buy the Wave, feel free to help me out and use this link to Amazon! [Link]