Thursday, March 30, 2017

Review of Google Wifi Mesh Router System

The Good:

  • Can be easy to set up for most people
  • Great speeds with mesh network
  • Simplified menus
  • Awesome support

The Bad:

  • Doesn’t have some advanced features
  • Need a google account and smartphone
  • One shared port





Style
It looks different than your typical router. I personally like the way the some of the other routers look, with antennas coming out all over the place. They often look mean and like an alien mothership with blinking lights. It shows that it’s a serious piece of hardware that can kick ass. This look is not for everyone. The styling reminds of something Apple would put out.


Google made it look to blend in with your furniture



Since it would be placed through different parts of your house, the styling’s main objective is to be unobtrusive. I think it accomplishes this task.



You can adjust the brightness of the light



Setup
Setup is pretty easy. You have use an app on your smartphone to set it up and must have a google account. There is no browser interface. The wireless covered my three story house better than Netgear R8300 which was the same exact price. (The Netgear died 18 days after purchase – common issue with that router).






Most people have a modem coming from their ISP. I had Verizon and they were able to configure on their end so that wouldn’t need a modem(this can be done with some haggling). It’ll take some time to release the DCHPs from their end (usually overnight) so some things may not work correctly right away.


ISP cable goes into the port with the globe, shared port on the right. Powered by a USB C port. 




I had this issue where one of my ports was not working and for some reason it would not let one chromebook sign on even though I had two of the same model and it let the other one on wifi. If you do have modem from your ISP, reboot your modem after you have installed your primary wifi point.
You connect the wire coming from your modem or ISP into the globe socket and then from there I connected the other Ethernet port into a switch. I then connected my other Ethernet cables into the switch.

If you have switches that are only rated for 10/100 you’ll only get a fair signal. You’ll need gigabit switches to get a great signal. Google Wifi doesn’t give you any real numbers to see. They rate their signal as weak, fair, good and great.
My house has Ethernet ports throughout the house so I used the other two wifi hubs as access points throughout the house but had each one connected via Ethernet. This is the equivalent of having three routers connected to my ISP at different stories in my house.
Google wifi is the evolution of their OnHub router. Google did right by integrating it into their previous system. If you own an OnHub you can use this as another Google wifi point.

Configuration
I was disappointed that you can’t stop the SSID from broadcasting but it’s not a deal breaker. There is no Mac filtering, content filtering or url blocking. For most can live without these features especially if the trade off is for a great wifi signal all over your house. I just wish Google offered these items considering the price you are paying for the router.






Overall, Google makes things easier to do. Most of the features with the router are standard on most high end routers or if you use DD-WRT. Google does most of them, but easier.
You can identify what’s on your router and rename it something you’ll recognize unless you can memorize the MAC addresses of all your devices. Google Wifi makes is really easy to do this on one screen. You can do this on other routers but it’s more clumsy.


Renaming devices are really simple


You can pause internet on a group of devices or a single device at any time. Again, this can be done with your more advanced routers but Google makes it so easy. I do wish they added a feature to schedule times of when they are connected and when they don’t have access.






I have all the chromebooks in one set up. All I do is click one button and it pauses the wifi connection. I can also schedule the time that the wifi will come back on for these devices. This can also be done on an individual device basis as well. The schedule feature is only for 24 hours to turn back on or no time if you want the device not to be connected. You get real time data as well to see what is taking bandwidth on your wifi system. Again, you can usually do this with other routers, Google just make is easier to do.


You can see what's on your network and real time data



You can see the history of the bandwidth up to 60 days

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Fluval FX6 Review

Review for Fluval FX6

The Good:
High capacity for media
Put any media you want
Self Primer
3 year warranty


The Bad:
Price
Doesn't come with much media


The new FX6 model came out around 2011 to replace the highly popular FX5. There are very few commercially made filters for large tanks. This new version uses 10% less electricity than that FX5. The filter is rated for 400 gallons but is rated for 925 gallons per hour. To me it seems like it really should be rated for 220 gallon tank as you want to turn over your water 4X per hour. I suppose you could use it on a 400 gallon tank but you'll be doing water changes a lot more often.
I'm running this FX6 on a 75 gallon tank and I'm running 2 FX5 on a 180 gallon tank. Overfiltration, possibly. However I can't argue with my results. Healthy fish, clean water and I do water changes 20% once a week.

Set up in fairly straightforward and easy. It has a self priming feature that helps getting started easy. It also shuts itself off every 12 hours so all the air trapped inside escapes and you have less noise and the most efficent flow.

There are also control levers to change the amount of flow coming in and out of your filter. You can use these to fine tune your filter and also change the amount of noise the filter makes. My is right next my couch so if it make even a little noise, I can hear it.
I put a styrofoam lid under the filter to reduce vibration. The filter can become a little bit noisey. It's usually not from the motor but from the air trapped inside the filter swirling with the water.

Fluval recommends the following media setup for this filter.
I can understand the logic of how this is set up. The water goes through the mechanical filtration first and then goes to the biological filtration and then a water polisher at the end. I guess this will work well if you also want to do maintenance on the filter every month, which they also recommend.

I'm going with a completely different media arrangement. I've removed all the mechanical filtration and put in Fluval's Biomax media in all the trays and even where the mechanical filtration would be. This gives me almost 3X the biological filtration than their recommended setup. This reduces my maintenance on the filter to once a year.


The biological filtration is only good for the amount of "food" (fish's waste) it gets. Since I removed all the mechanical filtration, the waste slowly starts to build up in filter. This wastes provides more food for the bacteria which in turn provides more biological filtration.
My once a year maintenance is removing all the trays and washing out the build up of waste in the filter and then I top off any Biomax that is needed and then put it back on the tank. The whole process takes about 15 minutes. I usually do it in the summer as I can just do it outside plus the warm temperature will keep alive most of the bacteria.


This setup will not work for everyone. It works for me. I've been using this setup for the past 4 years and have never lost a fish.

The great thing about this filter is that you can put whatever media you want. My arrangement works for me and my fish. You can customize it to whatever you want. It comes with two media bags.


The filter is a bit expensive, especially for a 75 gallon tank. What I'm paying for is using up less of my time to do tank maintenance. Some people really like to do tank maintenance. I do not. I want to keep as minimal as possible. Weekly water changes, cleaning the substrate and glass once a month is all I do.


I do like the Biomax but I am thinking of switching to lava rock. It is about 5X cheaper and offers as much surface area if not more. You will need to break the lava rock into smaller pieces. I'm going to experiment with a small canister filter first before I put the lava rock into the FX6. I've noticed that the Biomax breaks down at a rate of about half a box per year with my set up. Initial set up was expensive as the FX6 used up 9 boxes of the Biomax at $10 a box.



What comes in the box:

Two bags for hollow rings (not Biomax)
  • Rubber hosing
  • Rim Connectors, clips and suction cups
  • Inake stem
  • Output nozzle
  • Lid fasteners
  • Filter canister
  • Utility valve and hosing
  • Drain cap
  • Pump unit (motor) and power cord
  • Rubber feet
  • Media baskets
  • 1/2 media baskets
  • Filter lid and other accessories

AQUARIUM CAPACITY  |   UP TO 1500 L (400 US GAL)


For fresh and saltwater aquariums up to 1500 L (400 US Gal)
Flow Rate: 2130 L (563 US GAL) PER HOUR
Pump Output: 3500 L/H (925 US G/H)
Mechanical Area: 2,100 CM² (325.5 IN²)
Media Basket Capacity: 5.9 L (1.5 US GAL)
Filtration Volume: 20 L (5.28 US GAL)
Head Height (max.): 3.3 M (10.8 FT)
Wattage: 120V/60HZ – 43 W AND 230-240V/50HZ – 41 W
Dimensions (L x W x H): 40 X 40 X 53 CM (15.75 X 15.75 X 20.8 IN)

Huawei Honor 6X Review

Review for the Huawei Honor 6X

The Good:
Solid build quality
Dual-SIM support
MicroSD support
Dual cameras
Fast fingerprint reader
Good price to performance ratio
Comes with a screen protector

The Bad:
Huawei's own interface
EMUI feels unpolished
No USB Type-C
Weak speaker
No dual band wifi



Design
Overall, the buttons on the 6X don’t feel very tactile and don’t offer the satisfying click that many users look for, which is unfortunate. On the left side of the device, you’ll find the power button and volume rocker, while the headphone jack is placed at the top. On the bottom of the device you’ll find the microUSB port, flanked by two grills – one that houses the speaker unit, and one that hides the microphone.

Finally, the right side of the device houses the dual-SIM card slot/microSD card tray. There’s also a fingerprint sensor on the back, which sits below the dual-camera sensor.

It came with a screen protector already in place! Why doesn't every phone manufacturer do this?! Everyone know how hard it is to perfectly put a screen protector without any bubbles or dust.


Display
5.5-inch LCD display with a 1080p resolution, and it is a fine display overall. Sharpness isn’t an issue and it gets bright enough to allow for comfortable outdoor visibility.

Performance
Honor 6X comes with Huawei’s own mid-range processor, the Kirin 655, backed by 3GB of RAM
Everything is as fluid and responsive as expected in everyday use, and the device also handles graphically-intensive gaming with little issue. Performance is easily one of the highlights of the Honor 6X, especially when you consider the price to performance ratio.
It's a capable processor, scoring 56,602 on the AnTuTu benchmark, which measures overall system performance. That puts it above the Snapdragon 617-powered G4 but below the Kirin 950-powered Honor 8 (91,712). It's also no match for the Axon 7's superior Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 (141,989).
Battery
device coming with a large 3,340mAh unit. Huawei claims that the Honor 6X can last for as long as two days with moderate usage and for 1.5 days with heavy usage, which is certainly a very lofty claim. I did get around 1.5 days of battery life quite consistently though, with usage that involved a lot of gaming and a fair amount of watching videos on Youtube.

Camera
Every dual-camera setup utilizes the secondary camera differently, and the Honor 6X comes with a 12MP primary shooter and 2MP secondary unit, with the latter being used purely to capture depth information that can be taken advantage of when using the camera’s wide aperture mode.
The wide aperture mode lets you dial in the aperture from f/16 down to as wide as f/0.95, which allows for a very large bokeh effect. While changing the aperture does give you more or less depth of field, it doesn’t allow more light into the camera, so it’s not a true aperture change in the purest sense. However, the bokeh effect does work quite well and looks very convincing.
The overall camera experience has been quite impressive. It is fast to focus and capture photos, and the photos are surprisingly very pleasant, especially for a mid-range smartphone. The photos come with excellent color reproduction, are well detailed, and the camera does a great job with balancing highlights and shadows, which certainly wasn’t expected from a device in this price range.

It also performs fairly well in low-light situations. Highlights are mostly kept in check, with only a few rare occasions where they would appear overexposed. It is only in the poorest of lighting conditions where the camera falls apart completely, but most low-light shots are perfectly usable, with pictures coming with a fair amount of detail and minimal noise.




Network and Connectivity
The Honor 6X is an unlocked GSM phone with LTE bands 2/4/5/12/20/38, like the Honor 8. The only key omission is band 17, which improves building penetration for AT&T users. The phone showed strong network performance on T-Mobile throughout my testing in midtown Manhattan, registering a top download speed of 16.6Mbps. Other connectivity protocols include Bluetooth 4.1, but there's no NFC or dual-band Wi-Fi like you get on the Axon 7.
Software
On the software side of things, you get the Emotion UI skin on top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but an official update to Android 7.0 Nougat is expected to arrive shortly. The user interface is very bright, colorful, and somewhat cartoonish, and you get everything that we’ve seen from the EMUI in the past, like the transparency effects and the lack of an app drawer.

The notification panel is still split into two tabs: one tab for notifications, and another for Quick Settings, which is a layout that doesn’t feel as easy to use as what we have with stock Android.


Conclusion
If you’re after a phone but don’t have enough money to pick up a flagship, this is a great alternative.

In a budget market flooded with options, the Honor 6X sticks its head above the water with a premium look and good spec in almost every area.

The chipset will be able to run most of your favorite games and the battery life is solid enough to get you through a hectic day.

With a good camera on both the rear and front, it’s hard to go wrong with the Honor 6X.

Specs:
Display            5.5-inch IPS LCD display 1920 x 1080 resolution 403ppi
Processor Octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 655
GPU               Mali-T830MP2
RAM              3GB
Storage           32/64GB
MicroSD        Yes, up to 256GB
Cameras         Rear: Dual 12 and 2MP with phase detection autofocus, LED flash, 1.25┬Ám pixel size, wide aperture range from f/0.95 - f/16
                       Front: 8MP
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, 2.4GHz Bluetooth BT4.1, Micro USB, GPS/AGPS/Glonass/BeiDou, Navigation Satellite System
Sensors         Hall effect sensor, Fingerprint sensor, Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor, Compass, Accelerometer
Battery         3,340mAh Non-removable
Software      Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, Emotion UI 4.1
Colors         Gray, Gold, Silver

Dimensions and weight 150.9 x 76.2 x 8.2mm, 162g