Monday, March 20, 2017

New goal for 2017: 100wpm average in TypeRacer before the end of the year

When I was watching YouTube reviews on mechanical keyboards before I bought my mechanical keyboards (note the s after keyboard, because I had to buy two), I came across a site one guy used to test how well he could type on the keyboards he reviewed. It was called typeracer.

What you do on that site is, type - as fast as you can. You are given a paragraph to type and it shows the realtime words per minute. You have to type in the correct case, type the punctuations and type with correct spellings (correct, according to the paragraph) to finish each test. To make it fun, they have made it like a game, hence the name typeracer. While there is a practice mode which doesn't record the performance into your profile, this racing mode which you race against other people (or racers) records your performance into your profile. Of course, if you are cheap, you can close the race midway if you feel you are not going to get a good score and it will not be reflected in your profile. By default, you will be racing against some random people who are logged on like you, but you can also race against your friends by inviting them to a race. I haven't used this feature yet, but I think that is the most fun part of it.

So far I have done over 500 races and I average about 70 words per minute. There are people who can type faster than 150 wpm and you can check some videos on YouTube where they do it in real time. It is amazing how fast some people can type. Buy they have few tricks up their sleeves which I don't use. If they misspell a word, they would quickly press Ctrl + A to select all the text you typed into the text box, and type the word from the scratch. I don't do that. I use backspace to erase letter by letter and correct it. Doing the former method would save a lot of time in typeracer, but you cannot do that in real life when you are writing a document. I want to improve my real-world typing speed by improving accuracy, not by employing these typeracer specific "tricks". So I will probably continue to do it the way I do now.

Serviced my car for the first time

According the service manual, my 2007 XV40 Aurion only requires an annual service if driven under normal conditions. I don't drive the car often - I don't have to. When my parents were here, I hardly drove to work. I walked to work because it took only 20 minutes and because my wife had all the support she needed. There was no real urgency to get back home.

Since owning the car, I had only done about 7,000km, out of which about 1500km was for driving practice (my wife and I).

After the VVT-I hose burst incident, I wanted to get the service done as soon as possible. But I didn't know where to take the car to for the service. Toyota dealerships are known for ripping off people (as that is where they make up for the little margin they make selling cars) and some others are known for misdoings (like magically finding issues that were never present in the first place, leading people to believe that they did something).

After a bit of looking around, I came across a site called fixedpricecarservice.com.au (which they have renamed since to autoguru.com.au) where you can find mechanics to get the service done. They gave me several options with mobile mechanics. Mobile mechanics would come to your place and perform the service then and there which was not only convenient, but also you could monitor their work to make sure they weren't doing anything 'naughty'.

I contacted the highest rated one, but it didn't work out. Then I contacted the 2nd highest rated one called Australian Mobile Mechanics and they arranged the service to be performed next day. I told them that I had bought some parts (engine oil, filter etc) on sale and they deducted the cost for those parts. I lose the warranty on the parts, but the 1 year warranty on labour is applicable. The service charges ended up being $134, for the 105,000km logbook service. I was at 102,500km at that time. It is not cheap, but it is not that expensive either. Car service in Australia is expensive, because labour is expensive.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Fixing the Edifier Exclaim E10BT BlueTooth issues

About 9 months ago, I bought a new set of speakers for my PC called Exclaim E10BT from Edifier. They sound superb and they have a very small footprint. Both of those features were equally important to me when I was searching for a set of speakers.

However, it has a feature that I didn't really want or use, but it has started causing me a lot of inconvenience. That is BlueTooth connectivity. You can connect to it from your phone and play back music via BlueTooth. It sounds like a handy feature to have. But it doesn't ask for a key to input when you connect to the speakers. Anyone with a BlueTooth device can connect to it.

This would not be a problem if you were living in a big house. But I am currently living in an apartment and there are other people living near me. Someone has paired their TV or device to my speakers. Every now and then, they would connect to my speakers and I would start hearing nonsense through the speakers.

There is no way I can disable BlueTooth on these speakers. The manual doesn't have any information relevant to my issue.

However, I figured that I might be able to do something about it.

When the speakers are connected to a device via BlueTooth, another device cannot automatically override it. You have to terminate the existing connection by pressing the power button on the speakers, and then try to connect. So, if something from my end can connect to the speakers before that other pesky TV does, at least I have the control. Luckily, my desktop PC which the speakers are connected to, has support for BlueTooth. So, that device on my end can be the desktop PC.

I connected the desktop PC to the speakers via BlueTooth and observed its behaviour.

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