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Showing posts from 2017

Apple's response isn't enough

I'm disappointed. Apple recently responded to the allegations that Apple is purposely slowing down your older iPhones if you have a degraded battery, admitting that they should have told their consumers this before (is it because of the huge backlash?) instead of withholding this information from consumers. We can now, for the next year, go to an Apple store and get an iPhone 6 or higher model replaced battery for $30 if the phone is no longer in warranty.

I think it's great that Apple is doing this. Apple is known for their great customer service and support for their products, and they would replace batteries in warranty for free, so why don't I think it's enough?

1. They've avoided the older models.

Of all the phones, the older models are the ones that have been affected the most. I have two iPhone 5S that are well over the 500 charge cycles recommended by Apple, and I have noticed a slowdown in Geekbench scores. Both score around ~1000 where the online Geekbench 4…

An iPhone user of 24 hours: things I miss from Android

This is the first time I've ever switched to iOS fully, used this as my main device, plugged in my SIM card and everything. To be clear, I'm running on the latest version of iOS, iOS 11.1 on an iPhone 6s. Although this is not a first impressions post, I've already discovered a mounting list of complaints that I have (I understand many of these have workarounds or solutions, and if you've come to the post looking for those, I've included those. If I don't know them, please leave it in the comments!).

1. You can't delete messages from Gmail in the native Mail app. (Solution: download the Gmail app.)

2. You can't change notification sounds of third party apps, namely Hangouts, Messenger, WeChat, and Google Calendar.



3. The Contacts app doesn't tell you which account your contact is from. So when you're editing your contact, you're left in the dark as to whether you're editing a contact in your Google account, iCloud, or other source.



4. Cortana…

US cellphone plans are expensive

Cell phone plans in the United States are pretty expensive. For those of you not living in the US (analytics reports that's 15% of you), let me give you a rundown of the carrier situation here: (hint: it's all about the cost).


US CarriersThere are four major networks, with a few minor ones that are partnered with the major ones: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. AT&T and Verizon tend to have the best overall coverage, while T-Mobile and Verizon tend to have better speeds. Sprint has by far the worst coverage, speed, and network quality, but also tends to be the cheapest or offer the best deals. Verizon tends to be the most expensive, but also offers LTE cellular service in very remote regions of the country.
There are also MVNOs that offer cheaper substitutes or prepaid plans, some of the most popular being Cricket Wireless, Tracfone, and Ting. Project Fi is relatively new and gaining in popularity, but is limited to Google-branded devices, so it will be ignored for t…

What's wrong with iOS notifications, and suggestions to fix it

iOS notifications have a myriad of problems. To say that iOS notifications are perfect and don't need changing would be an insult to other operating systems: I'm going to come and say right now that Android notifications are far superior to any other notification system in any other operating system, it is extremely polished in Android Oreo, and that that is an objective statement.

You might disagree with me. But let's start with complaints I have with iOS notifications, my solutions, and why it doesn't affect Android (or if it does).


You can't group notifications by app.




If I am looking through 6 Facebook Messenger notifications, why do I want to see an ESPN notification in the middle of it? This is something I don't understand: group notifications by app was a feature available in iOS 8 and 9, and then removed with the iOS 10 update. Although you can bring it back with a tweak and a jailbroken iOS 10 device, there is no way to do this on iOS 11. In this way, not…

Geekbench 4 is currently free: why benchmarks don't matter

Geekbench 4 is currently free on the iOS App Store, and Geekbench 4 Pro is currently free on the Google Play Store. So what are you waiting for? Go get it, download it, and benchmark your phone if you so choose. But I am making a claim: benchmarks do not matter anymore. Phones have gotten so fast and operating systems so efficient, there is not a noticeable performance delta between two phones that may have vastly different benchmark scores. This is true, with one slight exception: video-heavy applications. When it comes to 3D rendering, modern processors still struggle with optimized applications or raw speed. To render a 4K project in Premiere using a cellphone is one thing, to render a 3D 8K project from Cinema 4D or After Effects is a completely other thing. Of these two examples I just mentioned, rendering 4K projects in Premiere is possible, but there is a noticeable performance delta between processors. If I were to render such a project on the iPhone X, which hosts the A11 Bio…

Face ID, Windows Hello, and more: facial recognition UI is terrible

Before everyone starts hating me in the comments section.



Face ID is great. It's the hot new kid on the block, and everyone is ranting and raving about it, since it comes shipped on the shiny new iPhone X (it's pronounced ten) that Apple just launched. I'd have to agree, it's a cool piece of technology. Using a dot scanner for additional security and being extremely fast are some great benefits of Apple's Face ID unlock system. In sunlight, it's faster than Samsung's facial recognition system and Windows Hello, both which become interfered with the sun's own infrared light rays.

However, that's not the problem I have. The problem I have is the UI of all of these unlock systems. Of all of them, only Microsoft (and maybe OnePlus, now) gets it right, but it still has other shortcomings. Microsoft's Windows Hello is not available on most computers, and is more than just IR scanning. It's the name that encompasses all of the possible biometric unlo…

A MacBook Pro user of 2 weeks: initial thoughts

I've now been a Mac user for 2 weeks.It may come as a surprise to many of you that know me quite well. As I have not used a Mac long-term for 7 years, many things have changed since then, and I have switched from being an Apple apologist to a user the PC world. Ever since I went there, I do not think I'll ever able to go back: the upgradability, moddability, price, and consumer choice offered by PCs/open mobile computing platforms are things that I can't leave, once experienced.

There's also software that I use on Windows that I can't use on Macs. Granted, I know I can use virtualization software or a separate partition to boot to Windows, but given that I'm only borrowing a MacBook Pro for the long term, I don't want to do too many irreversible things. That being said, I already miss Solidworks, EAGLE, and other engineering programs that only work on Windows machines. I may decide to later, but considering I'm swapping the drive for a 250GB SSD, that do…

Putting together the finishing touches on my quadcopter

Getting the quadcopter up and running is marginally more difficult than I expected, however, it is not difficult to build up excitement for being close to being finished. First, I mounted the standoffs into the frame, and in my excitement hurriedly hand-screwed some of the screws into place before using a hex wrench to tighten the standoffs that refused to budge.




I needed eight on the frame, and I screw all eight in, and have extras left over.




I do attempt to get things to fit the way I want to, but it is extremely difficult and as you can see by the camera on the left side, I have not yet figured out a way to mount the FPV camera to the frame. I may eventually replace the included camera mounting kit with a 3D printed solution of my own.



I attempt to place on top the cover, but unfortunately, the stack is not properly mounted as I was lazy in the beginning and therefore is lose and also does not have the transmitter inserted properly. This will have to be fixed in the future.



Almost read…

Insulating and mounting power connections

Welcome back, almost done... I am getting more and more excited by the day to try out my newly built quadcopter. However, I am also getting extremely lazy and am using extremely bad practices when soldering and putting together my drone.


I was debating whether to redo my soldering since they touched and I had improperly insulated them, however, I took the lazy way out and placed a piece of electrical tape in between them as a way of "insulating" them, however, if it ever comes loose in the future it could easily cause a short in the quadcopter. 

I then complete the rest of the stack, connecting the power cables back to the flight controller. I also had some difficulties getting the stack to fit, so in the end, I opted to add string instead.



Have a powerful day, Gideon Tong

Powering the flight controller

I tried to get the flight controller powered.



Thanks for sharing, Gideon Tong

Soldering ESC cables to the flight controller

I'm running out of time to post these, so I'm going to dump as many as I can with video link and pictures, caption them, and come back and describe what they are. As school starts on Wednesday, I'll try and do my best to finish up the posts, but check back soon for the full post and details while I simply throw videos and photos everywhere!





I appreciate your time reading this, Gideon Tong

Connecting FPV and VTx to PDB without mounts

As you might recall, the PDB I used was a Matek Systems PDB with built-in voltage regulators for 5V and 12V. All the components I bought were 5V components, and thus I would have to fit everything onto the 5V solder pad. Something I didn't do was use the ground for the 12V, as you'll see:



In addition, I also did not use any of the ESC solder pads for the PDB, thus the only thing it was used for was the 5V pad. In hindsight, if a cheap voltage regulator existed, I might have used it because it might have provided more space to solder things onto it as well as additional mounting options, but alas that is not what I did.

The photo I have placed below is the original photo of the PDB and where I decided to mount it. As you can see, I did not actually mount it due to the lack of space, but I still put screws in because I plan to mount it to the flight controller, and just let it rest against the top of the frame. Underneath you can see the bare ESC, since I decided to remove the pla…

Trying to mount the PDB on top of the ESC

Hey, so in this video I do my best to try and start to mount the PDB onto the ESC:



I did have some troubles with it, such as the screws not being high enough for me to put the ESC on and then standoffs, and I could barely fit the PDB on top, but as the stack also needs me to mount the flight controller, I am left wondering what I can do about that, since there is not a lot of room for me to do anything. Freestanding is a risky but plausible option, since the idea is that the limited space of the craft would keep it from jostling around too much.

In the image below, I was able to get the original PDB that I had placed into my quadcopter out without doing any desoldering to the ESC. This was because I did not solder the wires to the ESC very tightly and unintentionally left a lot of slack. However, this slack does come in helpful at this time.



One of the things I had to do that disappointed me a lot was desolder the battery connection to the ESC. It was quite difficult to get it done in th…

Swapping the included PDB with a Matek Systems PDB

So what happened is that I discovered the PDB that was included with my frame, the Martian II, actually is that it only is for the ESC, which I didn't even use because I am using a 4 in 1 ESC. The other problem is that my VTX, Tx and flight controller all use 5 volts, and the PDB does not have a voltage regulator.



At first I was getting work done preparing to connect the ESC to the flight controller, as you can see in the photo below, but I quickly realized that I would need a way to power 5V and the batteries I use are all 12V, 18V type batteries.



That's all I did this time!
Gideon Tong