Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Catching Up

With a cup of Nicaragua Matagalpa from Flagship Coffee Roasters (defiantly filling a large Starbuck's cup), the ASUS tablet up and running it's a good time to make an attempt to catch up on several things.

Tablet Computing

Because I'm typing this text using the ASUS MeMO I'll update its years-worth of usefulness. After a lot of research I purchased the MeMO as a replacement for an aging and failing MSI Netbook. Its primary use is as a portable word processor and sometimes internet surfer and it does both these things adequately after adding a bluetooth keyboard (Anker Model A7726) and finding an application (TextMaker) that mated well with Word 2000.

The single nagging problem with the ASUS is the abundance of bloatware the manufacturer puts on the machine. It is more an irritant than a problem except when multiple downloads occur. In general the MeMO is a satisfactory replacement for the Netbook; more transportable, quicker to start up and does what it was purchased to do.


Bicycle Computing

When my VDO bike "computer" ceased working I discovered the VDO C3 Wired Cycle Computer at model was no longer available except in a wireless model. I've never had good fortune with wireless computers and the wireless VDO I purchased as a replacement failed to function properly. I've no need for most of the data that modern bike computers can provide, but the VDO's "Navigator" function (which allows for independent tracking of intermediate distances) was extremely useful when touring. I could not find a similar function on any devices at a price I was willing to pay, until I discovered the SunDING SD-563B, a wired computer costing about $10.

Not only does the SunDING have a count-up and count-down function for time and distance like the VDO's Navigator function, it is back-lighted, too. Unlike the VDO and many other computers, the relevant information I want to see most is always visible; time of day, current speed and distance traveled. Stopwatch, average and maximum speeds, count-up/count-down and even temperature are all available in one of the three modes accessed by pressing a single, centrally located button. The display is large enough be read with my aged eyes. I gave a SunDING to a friend who rode the 2016 RAGBRAI where it functioned so well that when someone cut the wire from the pickup he purchased two more; one as a replacement and the second as a back-up.

The first of the SunDING computers I purchased functioned frustratingly, resetting for no apparent reasons at unpredictable times. Because of the success my friend had coupled with the low cost I was willing to take a chance on getting a second one. The replacement has worked properly for many months and miles. Like my friend, I also purchased a second one just in case! With the SunDING readily available on both Amazon and ebay at a range of prices from about $6 to $16 or $17, the purchase of two is not a budget burden. One additional consideration is to purchase from someone selling in the USA thereby avoiding the long wait typical of China Post where delivery can take twenty to thirty or more days.


Cellular Fix

It's been more than a year since I upgraded to my current smartphone, the LG Stylo. The phone is oversized and fits the broad category of phablet, but is a good choice for my large and mildly arthritic hands. I was disappointed when I found a crack in the back plate of the phone and anticipated having difficulty finding a replacement. My worries were misplaced. On ebay I found an assortment of replacement back plates. I ordered one (Unbranded/Generic) priced  at $1.99 and free shipping (by China Post) from forever-mall888, figuring it to be a minimal risk whether it fit or even arrived.

When the back plate arrived after about a month, which was still within the anticipated delivery time, it not only fit, but was more than a back-plate. The vinyl-like material wraps around the edges of the phone providing some impact and scratch protection. All of the necessary cut-outs for USB, camera, speaker, et cetera, are where they need to be. After two months of use I see no evidence of undue wear which suggests that it might outlive the phone.