• Category Archives Reviews
  • Colba.net review

    So Like I mentioned in my last post I have new Internet so now i feel is an apt time to review my old ISP


    Choosing MY ISP:

    first off I was paying a lump sum of $481 annually as it gave a discount over monthly payment this included the internet service($299.4) and dry loop(119.40) and tax or ~$40 per month. I purchased my modem(tp-link) from amazon for $20 instead of renting or buying($90) one from colbanet (zone)

    the service I was paying for was ADSL2+ max speeds of 24mbps/1mbps unlimited bandwidth at the time of subscription it was the best option  all other options bell, videotron, electronic box,distributel; were either more expensive for the same service (or way out of my budget), blocked critical inbound server ports(80,25,21), had tiny bandwidth caps (i.e.100gb combined/month), and/or were shitty companies.

    Service hookup request:

    very straight forward sales rep wasn’t pushy, I told her what service option I wanted and that was it set up install date paid and done. 10/10

    Service install:

    because its an independent ISP (used to be the first ISP in Montreal 56k/16k modem service) they lease Bells phone lines for ADSL service we have the bell tech come to install our line now we live in an old apartment building (circa 1910-1920s) our old twisted pair was rotted and was practically unusable so he went beyond the minimum (like many of bells techs have a reputation of doing) gave us some brand new cat5 straight out to the buildings distribution panel (mind you he did it during a downpour) and ran the drop exactly where i wanted it inside. I was verry impressed I would have given him a tip if i had any cash at the time.



    modem: tp-link td8816 (solid fucker never had to reboot it only ever was off when the power went out)

    router: started with a Dlink dir-601 (running DD-WRT) sometimes slows down and needs a quick power cycle (currently being used as a switch/ wifi AP)

    later/current:TP-link TL-WDR3600 (stock os) (no complaints but nothing super postive to say about it)

    i  owned it all so it dont matter I did have some experience with there Zhone modem didn’t like it so bought my own



    I was getting 15mbps down and .6-.8 mbps but very few network outages there was a period of about a month where the speed was very bad. it turns out bell/colbanet were upgrading equipment and the speed jumped and stabilized at 15/.8 once they finished ,so it did get better and also latency was excellent 10ms-40ms was common and rarely saw it above 100ms

    the office hours for the administration kind of suck for the end user 9-5 mon-fri the tech support is 24/7 though




    not a fuck was given

    me:i would like to cancel

    sales rep: ok, i need your phone,name,etc

    me: X,Y,Z

    SR: ok you will be disconnected on the last day of your billing period (jun 13th) and your account will be closed on the next day

    and done, total time:5min. Absolutely no attempt at customer retention or even asking why i was terminating service with them



    so the reason i left was first I needed better speed  and the “better” options were $50+ a month for a slight bump in download and 7mbps upload and also included a 300gb bandwidth cap  + dry loop fee



    overall: 8/10

    if you are tech savvy they are the best option for ADSL (they offer IPTV now as well) I do recommend them if you are on a budget but if you can spare an extra $10/month i would recommend a different ISP


    knowing how few actual people visit this site on a daily basis I doubt anyone noticed the downtime. Today I upgraded my internet from my shitty ADSL2+ 15mbps down /.8 mbps up (colba.net paid for 24/1 $40/month with annual lump sum payment) to my new ISP with VDSL2/FTTN and a data rate of 20-22mbps down and 8-10mbps up (pay for 25/10) the difference in price is a $10 cad increase per month. however the modem that they give u seems to be a bit of a pain to use and doesn’t seem  stable hopefully it will settle down in the next few days

    update: whelp i got fed up with the shitty netis modem/router failing all the time and loosing network coning so i reconfigured the network so that the netis is in bridged modem mode and my primary router is managing the traffic instead and so far the internet speed has increased because of it, awesome, and im having no connection issues with the server anymore so i will continue monitoring and hope everything stays solid (managed to get it working in less than an hour instead of the 4-5 hours fucking with the netis interface yesterday)

    I am guessing the netis wasn’t able to handle the network load that we have in our home so it would overload and crash out  but now its only job is to be a network gateway  which only talks to our fiber node also it seems I am on a static IP (or just a very long lease) now so I don’t need to worry about name server propagation downtime when the network craps out or the IP gets rotated  or dealing with mail servers that dont like dynamic ips. However the down side is if my server gets hacked and ends up on a bunch of blacklists for spamming its gonna be a pain in the ass to recover from (speaking from experience)


    update2: Im getting the speed im paying for FUCK YEah

  • Followup to vistaprint

    so i got my vista print order about 5 minutes ago let me first go on to say the address labels are useless absolutely useless for their intended purpose. Because I used the template based editor I wanted something else ware the “address line fields” were so i put it there so I wouldn’t have to play with the formatting too much but of coarse they use the same fields for the “promotional” address labels. so I guess the only application for them is as a name tag.

    On to the card itself. The paper quality is about what I expected, standard business card stock and the edges are clean. The font size is smaller than I expected i should have gone with 1 or 2 points larger the graphic print quality is ok but the bold text is full of white spots from low resolution printing and even the black text feels feathered because of the low DPI. I had a QR code put on my card and it has a white boarder and a thick boarder at that because of coarse they don’t give the option for a transparent boarder. In short don’t use vista print its a shady company that wants to up sell you on everything and give you the lowest quality print job they can.

  • Dirty Business Practice

    So the other day I had to make a business card for a class I decided to use vista print since that’s what the teacher recommended due to its price point for the most part the design process was somewhat limited with a decent set of templates with their background images. I found one i liked made it up and was fairly happy with it so i went to the check out process. First its all good select your quantity paper stock finish type etc. Problem is if you just click next for the card it takes you through a line of do you want this accessory or that or this shiny thing or maybe a magnet with your design on it etc. then you do a standard checkout process until you give them payment info and show your order review then it gives you one final promotion and if you are not paying full attention you miss it. It gives you 2 options 1 accept without promotion and 2 accept with promotion. well I was going fast so i missed it (and to be honest when you have done enough online orders it becomes pretty automatic). So i accidentally clicked accept with promotion(which is at the bottom of the 2 invoices displayed so i got another 8$ tacked onto my order at the very last step of a standard checkout.

    I see no reason to ever give them any more of my money if they try to get you to buy every other thing they sell just before checkout and then subversively try to trick you into buying more than you want. Ads are fine and fair play even the annoying “buy all our shit” thing before checkout is ok. But tacking on an option after words is down right dirty business practice. Granted its partly my fault for not paying attention, but i got caught in the trap that was designed specifically for people who stopped paying attention to the last step of online ordering (scroll to bottom, click accept order) because of more honest companies. Now i’m stuck with 140 return address labels and i don’t even send mail more than 2 or 3 times a year

    Vista print does everything to trick you into buying more stuff so don’t give them the business.

  • Upcomming review

    I will be testing and  reviewing the Atmel  ATXMEGAB1-XPLD  evaluation kit in the next few weeks.

    I will be looking at how responsive the board itself is, how useable the IDE is and how it holds up  to extreme temperatures being in southern Canada  we get nice cold temperatures in the winter and up to 40ºC in the summer  😀

    If any one wants to check out the kit before I get my grubby hands on it, or take a look at some the other Stuff Atmel has take a look here: canada.newark.com/atmel

  • The pebble

    So I got my hands on a pebble smart watch (black).

    2013-11-03 12.54.34
    The pebble with a custom watch face I made with canvas.



    Wrist Strap:

    My initial reaction was to the feeling of the wrist band (made of TPU rubber). Its a 22mm wide band and has pogo pins so easy enough to replace them with better straps, I’m not much of a fan of rubber straps on watches (I don’t like sweaty wrists).

    The screen:

    Contrary to popular belief it uses a monochrome(1 bit) LCD display and not an e-ink display it uses a lot less power than a color LCD but  more than an e-ink.  It’s crisp and has a back light that’s just bright enough not to blind you in the middle of the night. One thing to note is that in certain lighting condition rainbow patterns will appear on the lcd  but on a positive note it has a very wide viewing angle. I can read the display at a 10 degree viewing angle.

    Body design:

    I find Its sleek looking  built entirely of polycarbonate the front is scratch/ shatter resistant although a bit bulky on ones wrist. The buttons on the pebble are a bit tough to push down( likely do to them being sealed against water entry)

    2013-11-02 00.31.22
    Front of the pebble with the “Just a Bit” face.
    2013-11-02 00.31.49
    Back of the pebble.

    The Charger:

    The second thing I took note of when i opened  the package was the bizarre connectors on the left side, after about two seconds of thinking the make perfect sense; the fact that they want the device water tight (to 5 ATM), you cant do that with a standard USB plug and socket design. Unfortunately it only supplies power to the watch to charge the battery, so all the data stuff has to be done via Bluetooth. It’s done most likely do to the size (they wouldn’t want any unnecessary components). In any case the charging cable fits well, and is held in place by two (probably neodymium) magnets. Although it falls off rather easily and will go and stick to something else made of ferrous metal. I was worried it may be causing a dead short fortunately the designers thought of this and molded a small ridge structure that is taller than either pin so it wont short (also probably to keep the proper orientation).

    2013-11-02 00.31.39
    View of the charging connectors.
    2013-11-02 00.38.42
    The charging “plug”.

    Battery life:

    It is reported to last 7 days on 2 hours of charging I haven’t tested this as I haven’t had it long enough as of writing this but its been running 3 days straight as of now)


    It runs off of Bluetooth version 4 so yay for power saving  and I can connect with my phone on the opposite side of the apartment just fine (~15 m).


    The vibration is strong enough to get your attention but I doubt it will wake me up (upon testing the alarm will bring me out of deep sleep). That brings up another point its silent no speaker peizo or other wise to be seen granted its not a positive or negative note just something to point out

    Water proofing:

    Works in the shower and submerged I was using it as a remote for listening to music and yes I like listening to metal in the shower deal with it.

    its been reported to work to 80 + feet  I don’t go SCUBA diving so I cant confirm.

    The android app:

    OK…. not a strong point but not bad either its fairly easy to navigate but I have some issues with it.

    First issue:

    I had some issues with connecting to the pebble and when ever you restart the app you need to re-setup your watch on the app
    and I would often have it stuck “connecting” but once I stopped messing with the connections and finally got a good connection to the watch it went quite well.

    Second issue:

    It contains only a very limited number of “watch-apps” only being different displays (or watch faces if you will ) and to get more you need to hunt through the play store (or one of the apps that hotlinks to other play store apps) some i understand like needing access to network or GPS but many of them just push notifications and it would be nice if the official app gives a better selection so you don’t fill up your installed apps page with a bunch just for pebble infrastructure.

    Third issue:

    I cant seem to find a bloody stopwatch /timer app for it I would assume it would be standard install (given that I had cheap digital watches with that function 16 years ago. Upon further investigation I found a site (mypebblefaces.com) that has user crated apps and faces  many of the timers are meh and I cant find a simple stop watch but plenty of nice watch faces.

    The watch UI:

    What I like:
    Quite clean and intuitive to navigate and can select various faces from the get go, but can get a little more complex with the addition of various apps. I like the use of the accelerometer you can tap or shake the watch to make it light up.

    What I don’t:

    1. There is to auto wrap on the menus so yeah scroll to the bottom then 2 seconds later need to scroll all the way back to the top, it auto scroll’s very quickly but still not as good as an auto wrap

    2. The music app needs some work I would like to be able to adjust the volume like holding the next/last song button or double taping

    3. The back-light is about 2 seconds too short for my liking and would like to configure it other than on/off/auto

    4. Text that’s too long is just truncated with … and I would rather have it scroll into view (or at least give the option)

    My wishlist for the pebble (in order of importance):
    1 Auto wrapping menus
    2 Built in stop watch/ countdown timer
    2 The music app
    3 Options for the wrist strap
    4 Adjustable length of back-light
    5 More space for apps (this may just be a hardware limitation barring that have something built in to the phone app for easy swapping of watch-apps)
    6 Scrolling text of things that don’t fit on one line
    7 Pushing alarms to the pebble.
    8 a battery level indicator that always shows you the current level (at least 5 segments)

    What I’m running (I’ll probably do a review on a couple of these):
    1 Music Boss (not a watch app)
    2 Canvas for Pebble
    3 Pebble Bike
    4 Pebble Dialer
    5 Calendar
    6 PebbleApps
    7 Ring my Phone
    8 K9ToPebble
    9 Just A Bit ( I like reading BCD)


    Over all I would give it a 7/10

    It looses points mostly for the android app and some missing / “could be better” functionality that may be addressed with future firmware updates. Its useful but not a necessity if you don’t own a watch  and want a good quality one grab a pebble its only $150


  • Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. review

    it was fun but too short it took maybe 4.5 hours to beat the campaign on hard
    the story was a bit generic and lacking details to make it more emersive like the ace combat series does so well at least America gets attacked on its home soil which is soo rare to see in military games its always Americans fighting else ware like in russia, china or the middle east but never on there own soil i would give it a
    3/5 fun to play not emersive enough