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What's in my bag? - Tech I use daily (July 2017)

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It's been a while (more than half a year in fact) since I last updated the "What's in my student bag?" article and a some things changed since.
Also, summer is upon us, which means that we're not going to school anymore and that we are doing more fun things than before... This means that certain items end up staying at home most of the time, but they are nonetheless being used almost daily.


Laptop Nothing changed in the laptop department as of now, however since I will be leaving to college in September, I will have to upgrade it to something more powerful.
This a 2016 Dell Inspiron 11 3164 (Intel Celeron N3060, 4 GB DDR3L 1600, 32 GB eMMC, Intel HD 400, Bali Blue version). This machine is able to handle all of my school work and some very very light games (Heroes of the Storm to be more precise, I have not tried anything else yet). I got it this Black Friday for 1099RON (that's our local currency, here are the converted values: 260USD, 245EUR), it did not ge…

I gave up on Windows 10 Mobile (for now)... for Android

The last time I have used an Android device as my main phone was all the way back in 2013, a Samsung Galaxy Young II. The sluggish interface and poor optimization made me choose a Windows Phone, the Lumia 625, 6 months later. Ever since I stayed on the platform, loving the original Start menu concept, the overall responsiveness, the impressive camera hardware packed in those Nokia (later Microsoft) handsets.

Windows 10 Mobile was, for Microsoft (and for me, because of the new user experience) a huge step forward. Back in 2015, when it was just released, I was still holding on to that Lumia 625 (compatible with the initial release of W10M), which I would swap soon after for a Lumia 640. The unfinished nature of the operating system showed me it was rushed to the market with little regard to user experience, but Microsoft promised fixes and improvements with the Anniversary Update. Those eventually came trough and as soon as I noticed them, I upgraded my phone again, this time to a Lumi…

Using a 10 year old phone (Nokia N95) in 2017 (for 12 long days)

Yesterday (Thursday, May 11) my trusty Lumia 950 broke down and had to be taken to service under warranty. Since it will stay there 5 to 15 days, I needed a back-up phone. The only "smart" device capable of running a relatively modern OS we have around the house is a 2012 Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1". This tablet however is way too bulky and heavy to carry around and I will only use it because I rely on Whatsapp and 9gag. The phone I will be taking with me these 2 weeks (hopefully less though) will be a good old Nokia N95. It should be able to handle calls, SMS and some music playback while I'm out and about (you would think I have some sort of older smart device around, like the Lumia 640 I used to own before I bought the 950 or the 625 before I got the 640 or the Samsung Galaxy Young 2 before that, but I usually sell the old phone after I get a new one).
I thought it would be interesting to share my experience with the N95, so I will log my thoughts every day here u…

DiY: Building my own Stereo RIAA - Preamplifier (for turntables) for less than 35$

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As I was cleaning up my room a couple of days ago, I found this old NAD 5120 turntable hidden between school stuff and papers. We already have one of those around the house that my father used to listen to from time to time. Looking around the web for ways to get my "new" turntable to output sound, I realized that these devices need something like a main amplifier before being connected to anything else. Turns out my father has one, but it's linked to his turntable and keeping mine right next to his wouldn't be very clever (I only used it to make sure my turntable works). That's why I set out on a quest to get a pre-amp for myself. From what I've read online, you can buy them or build them yourself. I'm not an audiophile, so I wouldn't need a 1000$ Sennheiser pre-amp... so I decided that I wanted to build my own.
Upon reading even further and looking at local electronics stores for parts, I came across this: a kit that has all necessary parts, except …

The Vector Watch Review: After all the fuzz

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Watches have come a long way. The are not only a way to measure the passing time, but also (for some anyway) a symbol of status, a luxury accessory. In the late 19th century, when watches became readily available and popular, only the rich and the nobles could afford them. But as time passed, things changed. Everyone can afford a wristwatch. This means that watches evolved. Just like computing (and humanity) did. Both watches and computing moved from analog to digital (even if analog, mechanical watches are still very popular). During the 1980s, digital watches took the stage and gained the hearts of many teenagers. Until the 2010s, when primitive smartwatches began rolling out, nothing changed.
Every company selling smartwatches has a different vision. Apple and Google for instance want your watch to be able to replace your phone in more and more fields. Fitbit and Microsoft created the fitness band, a somewhat "dumber" watch with sporty persons in mind. Other companies, li…

Vector Watch froze up while updating firmware? Here's how to fix it!

Updating the firmware (or "kernel") of the Vector Watch should be an easy process. But it can sometimes fail... and when it does you will be left with a frozen watch, making you feel desperate, because you just spent a lot of money on a device that is not working properly. Fortunately there are ways to get past this. Just as you can solve any kind of problem if you are patient.

If you would like to read my full review of the Vector Watch, click here.

I've had this problem myself and spent quite a lot of time sending e-mails back and forth to the support staff of Vector and reading obscure forums (sorry, but that's the reality). I will share with you the information I gathered in a compact form. If you have other issues with your watch or if this does not help you, please don't hate on me... (for me it worked), but rather write an e-mail to the Vector support department: info@vectorwatch.com.

So, let's begin. Your Vector Watch was performing the initial setup a…

A very late (original) Nintendo 3DS Review

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I know, I know, I am late to the metaphoric party (so don't you dare mention that in the comments). As a matter of fact, I believe late reviews (especially the ones regarding gaming consoles) make a lot of sense: the platform has time to grow and evolve. Even so, many reviewers choose to ignore this and do not update their initial reviews as time goes by.
In this new "series" I came up with, I plan to tackle exactly that issue: I will (re-)review older successful hardware and see how it held up to the future.

In this particular article, I will be covering the original (old) Nintendo 3DS, released 6 years ago, in 2011.

Let's talk specs first. True to its Nintendo legacy, the 3DS was underpowered even by the standards of the time. This is a small spec-sheet:
CPU: Dual-Core ARM11 MPCORE @ 268MHz + Single-Core ARM9 @134MHzGPU: DMP Pica 200 @204MHzRAM: 128Mb FCRAM (32Mb reserved for the OS) + 6Mb VRAMStorage: 1Gb FlashDisplay: Upper: 3.53"  stereoscopic 3D-capable LCD …

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