Thursday, October 27, 2016

Microsoft new Surface family, Wowow!

Yesterday, Microsoft's Surface Studio introduction, and Today is Apple's turn. I seriously think Microsoft did that to steal Apple's thunder and with whatever Apple is going to show today, they will still be looking like out-dated. And the most amazing part: no one, not even in their wildest dreams, would have thought that Microsoft could come up with dream machines like this! Great job! Microsoft. But only if you can ship it earlier, not the year after..... and it's not right to put down 2017 without any specific date and time.

Apple still has chance to update their keynotes and also win the games if they can ship the new things today.

One last thing, Microsoft should do Thunderbolt 3 on their Surface Studio, if they really want professional to use it. USB 3.0 Type-A is out-dated, a technology from year 2008, not 2017 :) Did you listen to me? Microsoft :)

Hello Again! Surface :)

Friday, September 9, 2016


I had a chance to train some new soccer ball referees for the league which is very strict about the training class.
So several key points and can help you to ease your referee tasks

1.) 10-1-10-5-10-1-10
In between first two 10 minutes are so called first and second quarters.
In between, there is 1 minute break, called Water Break. 
During this water break, no coaching allowed!

Between second and third quarters is 5 minutes halftime break. By the end of second quarter, blow the whilst twice to stop the game for 5 minutes break.

By the end of 4th quarter, blow the whilst 3 times to end the game.

2.) Kick-off 
We can let the visiting team for kicking off the ball at the first quarter, and Home team do the kick-off during half time (3rd quarter).

Only two players can stay in the circle, the other team must stay aside out of the circle.
6 yards.

3.) Last Play
When it approaches to 9:30 and the ball is out of bound, the person who time the game can tell referee about this, then referee can call "Last Play", that means once the ball is out of bound or scored, game must stop for water break, halftime break or ending.

4.) Team Throw or Kick
If Team A is RED, Team B is Blue. Team B kick the ball out of bound from "Touch line" (two side lines on each side), Team A can do throw in. Player must have two feet on the ground to do Throw In.  Referee can call "RED Throw"

Kick has two different kicks, one is Corner Kick, one is Goal Kick. 
Team B kick the ball out of Goal line, Referee call "Red Kick" and place the ball in front of the goal / gate, and let the Red team kick.

Corner Kick happened when Team A kick the ball out of its own goal line. Team B can do Corner kick from Corner Arc.

5.) The ball is out of play when: all of the ball is completely outside the outside edge of the touch line or goal line, either on the ground or in the air.

6.) The method of scoring
A goal is scored when the entire ball goes completely over the outside edge of the goal line, under the crossbar and between the goal posts, while the ball is legally in play

7.) Match record / Match card
The coach should complete the match card before arriving at the field. The top five lines of the match card should filled in with the match information, team name and colors and coach and assistant coaches names. Each player should be listed numerically, not alphabetically, which his or her first and last names. All players should be listed whether they will be playing that day or not.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Death Wish Coffee. Strong and Smell.

I roasted coffee by myself so I know what is a better coffee and I know it's better to roast myself than in grocery store. A friend of mine introduced this Death Wish coffee to me, it has an odd name and taste a bit bold, but better than Starbucks.

Oh, and I love the bag it comes in and the logo they came up with, it fits. This coffee is super caffeinated and I was thinking I was going to turn into a flesh eating monster but surprisingly that didn't happen. I like my coffee light and sweet with half and half or creamer and I am very satisfied. It's organic grown according to the seller.

 I will continually try it :-)

Monday, August 29, 2016

USB-C Dock - The Best Baymax for MacBook

Last year after my visit to the local Apple store and being confused with USB-C and Lightning interfaces, I did intensive research and found that the new interface USB-C is pretty cool only if you have right gears including adapter or docking station to take advantage of this new technology. It’s a new all-in-one solution for power, video, and data delivery using a single cable. Instead of having a backpack full of multiple cable types, you can have one type for all uses and USB-C is the only connector currently available to support the full functions of USB 3.1.

Amazon is always a great resort for me to buy gears though this time, it looked like such new technology has been either mis-used or immature to adopt. Many reviews indicated the poor quality of cable and lack of charging capability of their USB-C devices. You will be fine if using a USB-C Windows laptop, Dell has a good laptop where has several interface ports. Such charging function is just an extra bonus for them, but if you have MacBook like me, you must need a charging device while doing data transfer and video output all together through a lightning-like port: USB-C - the one and ONLY one port on MacBook.

With that in mind, I pretty much skipped all the little brands on Amazon and only focus on the big guys. I was looking for several big brands, OWC, CalDigit and Belkin. OWC one looks very good though I do not like a plastic casing, plus several Amazon reviews revealed its incapability of supporting Apple DVD burner. The SuperDrive.

Belkin has nothing but all USB-C cables, that's great. Cable business may make more sense to them.

So I settled down to CalDigit's one. After waiting and waiting, I finally got my CalDigit USB-C dock. Been a long waiting though the waiting is over and it's more than worthy to wait such a long time ;) It works pretty well.

I was surprised to know CalDigit is sending out their USB-C Dock with a Thunderbolt 3 type-c cable. (Included in 149 dollars deal)

Lots of bad reviews on Amazon talking about how their poor USB-C cable burnt their computers. 
Benson from Google also has intensive experience with many of those poor quality cables: 

So getting a Thunderbolt 3 cable from CalDigit did ease my tension since Thunderbolt is backed by Intel and Apple, the cables certified by Intel should be much more sturdy.

And just to let you know the similar Thunderbolt 3 cable on Amazon is costing more than 20 dollars, like this 0.5m (1.6 ft) Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) USB-C Cable - Thunderbolt and USB Compatible  and CalDigit gives that to you for free.

Next, I tested out superdrive, iPad charging and my WD USB 3.0 4TB My Passport Ultra Portable External Hard Drive. All are working properly. Ethernet is working well too. Apple MacBook got power from this USB-C dock.

Both Ethernet and Superdrive require driver download and installed.

My superdrive is connecting to one of the USB ports on the back. iPad Pro is connecting to the USB-C  port on the back too. Charging time is faster than Apple's iPad pro adapter. 

I got an expensive Apple MKQ42AM/A USB-C to Lightning Cable (2M). For any Type-C cable to iOS Devices, you should always get an Apple cable to be safe. 

I was trying my cheap Samsung 4K display to connect to either DisplayPort or HDMI on the back. Again, works fine. It can do 2K/60Hz or 4K/30Hz. No problem. 

I was also surprised to know I could do fast offline charging on MacBook disconnecting through the USB-C port. According to CalDigit site, the front USB port can also do fast offline charging too. The Type-C port can do up to 3A, which is 15W, the front USB port can do 2.1A, which is 10.5W. Both are perfect for iOS devices.

I tested this companion few days,  and like it. It is designed for the desktop use, not portable, so having it with a solid sturdy built and heavy aluminum case is what I was looking for. It's a good investment comparing to an 80 dollars dongle from Apple. Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter. So if you travel a lot, get an Apple one, if you need a desktop version, CalDigit's one is one of great choices.

9/2 Updates: I guess this quick review of CalDigit USB-C dock did draw many visitors. I got several emails and asked me about this dock. 

The part I like about this dock is the laptop charging, 4K support that comes from HDMI or DisplayPort, my 3-year old SuperDrive DVD burner support and more extended USB ports. Plus an extra bonus FREE Thunderbolt 3 cable!
While looking around this dock information on caldigit site, I was delighted to know that they have lots of useful information on its faq. 

You can find all your questions from that page including monitor support, charging and superdrive, network. 

According to this faq, the 4K monitor is limited to MacBook's 4K/30Hz. Dual monitor support is not supported in MacBook. I was trying to connect both HDMI and DisplayPort to two monitors, one is 4K and one is my old 1080P, they both showing the same screen, so mirror support for dual monitor in confirmed, no dual extended. This is limited by MacBook, not by this Dock. It can still support dual monitor showing different screen if I connect it to a  WindowsThunderbolt 3 laptop. I dont have it now.

9/7 Updates: To answer the same question from several MacBook users who had tried the USB-C bus powered dock or other USB-C docks and had trouble when two external hard drives plugged in at the same time, I can confirm that CalDigit USB-C Dock has no such problem. I tried both WD and Seagate bus powered portable drives, both are connecting to this dock. I can transfer files in between two drives and speed are USB 3.0 level.

11/1 Update: Lots of emails came to me and asked me if I still like this USB-C Dock. The answer is YES. I did not find any problem so far. I am not a heavy and pro user, a single 4K 30hz video output, charging, USB HDDs, network and SuperDrive are all what I need.

11/2 Update: I was told by someone who read this blog that his CalDigit USB-C Dock works and does charge Apple's MacBook Pro 2016 he just got today. All the features are expected including video, charging, ethernet, USB drive. It charges up to 60W and that matches what caldigit said on the FAQ. i will be testing one soon too.

11/4 Update:  I also got a MacBook Pro 2016, 13" one that has no fancy touch bar. It is from my friend. I ran a full test with my CalDigit USB-C dock today. It works as expected. One thing I want to point out is that although Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C have smilier functions, they are actually different things. Thunderbolt 3 can do USB-C, charging, video, audio and PCIe.  USB-C can do charging, video, audio and USB. USB-C can not do PCI-e, which is Thunderbolt's main protocol. All these features are optional, so ask around before you buy the laptop and accessories.

If you are like me, do not care about all the new technologies and only want to find a cheaper and reliable product to use,  this USB-C dock does serve the purpose. If you like crazy 40G thing, daisy chain 6 devices, dual extended 4K / 60Hz monitors, you must use Thunderbolt 3 dock. Ask your wife if she allows you to spend 300 to 400 dollars on such Thunderbolt 3 dock :)
For me, a USB-C dock that is less than 150 dollars is good enough.

I have received many emails asking me about CalDigit USB-C Dock and Thunderbolt 3.  I can tell you if you want to do MacBook Pro charging, 13" or 15" , USB-C dock can do it.  If you want to have a single extended monitor up to 4K/30Hz or 4K/60Hz (which requires firmware update from CalDigit and will bring down USB 3 speed to 2.0. This is same design as Apple's new USB-C LG monitor). 

I hope this can give you a good direction.

11/26 Update: I was told by several MacBook Pro 2016, 15" Thunderbolt 3 users who have CalDigit USB-C docks that their external monitors did not work and freeze the macOS when they attempted to plug in monitor. They claimed they were told to try several things, one is to reset MBP's NVRAM, one is to update to macOS 10.12.2 beta. After all the updates and cleanups, MacBook Pro 15" and CalDigit USB-C dock now are happy campers. USB device and external monitors are functioning properly. 

02/19/2017 Update: So I have been using this dock, it works perfectly with my MacBook. I also tried it with MacBook Pro Thunderbolt 3 touch bar, it works fine too. I was notified by CalDigit and several readers to update this dock's firmware as well as macOS to 10.12.3. After that, my MacBook Pro has been working correctly. No freeze-up. Very nice!

My email is  crazydiamondstar AT if you have any questions. 

Below you can order this USB-C Dock directly from their Amazon store

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

All the USB-C products you need for your MacBook and MacBook Pro

Below you will find the USB-C products that I have been using and testing for a long period of time. They all work very well. Last Updated on Feb 21, 2017

Saturday, February 20, 2016

QuickBook can not save PDF....

It's a loooong journey before I found the answer. Tons of suggestions on the Internet and some one even came up with a very good long check sheet.

However, my problem is probably simpler but hard to find the answer. It caused by the printer port.

They said Windows 7 64-bit would always point to LPT1 port as default. QuickBook needs to use NUL port instead of LPT1. So it's simple, all you need just change this setting from QuickBooks PDF Converter -> right click -> Printing properties -> Ports -> check on NUL -> Apply -> Restart computer.

So if your Windows is 64-bit, chances are you are having the same problem that I had before. It took me 2 whole days to debug this. Lesson Learned!

Monday, February 8, 2016

A Super Cool Car on the FreeWay :)

Saw a super cool car on the freeway today, looks like it's more than a racing car, perhaps it's the new "Transformer"? :)

It's called a "Slingshot" made by Polaris Industries in Minneapolis MN. MrShiftright from

Friday, February 5, 2016

1984 Mac - The best Super Bowl commercial

Every year, the commercials during Super Bowl are not just very creative but also costing a lot of money :) They try to drive you to buy their products and try to memorize their brand names.

There are several memorable Super Bowl commercials: 1984's Mac, is probably one of the most unforgettable one of all time.

You have never seen it before? It's either you are too young, or you don't car about Super Bowl :)

Here you go -

This commercials is believed (commonly) to be inspired by the book of "Nineteen Eighty-Four" written by George Orwell.

The book of "1984" from George Orwell -

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Zika Virus & The Hartley Family

What is Zika Virus?

According to CDC - Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes)

So a family having two daughter with microcephaly, from Kansas has shared their story and offers help to those families who have the same disease.

Indeed, Zika virus is the source of causing babies to have small heads and brains. I am posting their blog here to support them. Please go their blog and pass your love to them.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Intermittent Drop Out - USB, Thunderbolt, FireWire and more...

If you are like me - a poor guy with very little money in the bank, most likely you would buy a cheap enclosure and pop in your own hard disk or SSD. I did that all the time until someday I learned it is not saving me any money, it probably costs more of my time to find out the problem.

Have you ever removed the hard disk from a portable drive, such as Seagate's, and replace it with your own SSD? this can definitely give you a fairly fast speed, however, you should not do this. Read the technology specification FIRST! and pay attention on the power budget.

USB 3.0 can provide 900mA/5V, so total is 4.5W per port. If you read the 1TB SSD's manufacturer website, you may find that they require way more than 4.5W, sometimes, it's 7W or more. The same requirement applied to portable hard disk too.

Tell me how could you make a USB 3.0 portable enclosure which only draw 4.5W from the host to support 7W to the SSD?

You may said: Wait a second, but, it works for me, I could see the SSD in my system, I could use it, I could format it, erase the data, the only problem is it could drop out intermittently.

Well, read the SSD's data sheet again, did you see "Peak power consumption", "Average power consumption" and such? and what is the capacity of your SSD? most 256 GB or below might be OK, the 500GB and 1TB are very power hungry ones, you should not rely on 4.5W bus power.

What happened when SSD does not get enough power? You probably know the answer - Disconnected or Dropout or System hang. Data would be lost for sure. This can explain why you see "Intermittent Drop Out" if you plan to use your own SSD in portable device.

So what is the solution? Use the power adapter to the enclosure! YES and that is the ONLY answer.

Aside the enclosure power budget problem, I have seen many people using Samsung T3 Portable SSD - 500GB - USB 3.1 External SSD (MU-PT500B/AM) and plug it in to one of the following Hubs

Anker Ultra Slim 4-Port USB 3.0 Data Hub
USB C Hub, HooToo Shuttle 3.1 Type C Hub with Power Delivery for Charging, HDMI Output, Card Reader, 3 USB 3.0 Ports - Silver
AUKEY USB C Hub, 4-Port USB 3.0, Aluminum Body for MacBook, Google Chromebook Pixel

Satechi Type-C USB 3.0 3 in 1 Combo Hub for MacBook 12-Inch (with USB -C Charging Port) (Space Gray)

In my opinion, this would not work. These bus powered USB hubs are all failed from the design phase. You should not do bus powered hub that has more than 1 USB 3.0 port. Apple's laptop does not provide too much power to drive a bus powered hub that has 2 or more than 2 USB 3 ports. If you have a hub, does not matter it's USB 3 or USB 3.1, you need an external power to the hub. For those hubs that can do both bus powered and self powered should tell customers only use self powered mode. This can prevent customers from data lost and unstable system.

If you have MacBook 2015, and want to add an external USB hub or dock, your best bet is OWC USB-C dock or CalDigit USB-C dock, or any hub that does have correct power budget for all the extended ports plus the system itself. You do not want to buy a hub that can only rely on the power from Mac or PC laptops, and you do not want to buy a dock that came with a 72W power supply and claim can provide 7.5W on 5 of the USB 3.0 ports while providing 30W to charge MacBook. This does not make sense to me. Do the MATH yourself! ;)

Update 9/9/16: I am using CalDigit USB-C dock now, it works great and has correct power budget and buffer for the entire system and ports. No dropout bus powered drive.


Monday, February 1, 2016

USB-C cable & Thunderbolt3 cable! Quality! Quality! Quality!

Back to year 1996, you might not care about the quality of low-speed USB 1.0 cable, now it's 2016, with the new standard coming out - USB 3.1 Gen 2, Thunderbolt 3, and more, you are looking at the entire different world of the new interface and protocols comparing to the 20 years ago.

The old USB 1.0 or 2.0 or even 3.0 cable that has Type-A/B on both ends are pretty easy to implement nowadays, well, probably not USB 3.0 cable since it is pretty high speed data transfer rate. However, the newer invented - Type-C interface, is facing huge challenge which is introduced by combining power delivery, and displayport video protocol.

The worst case of the bad type-A/B cable is to cause data lost. But what about Type-C cable?
If you get a bad quality of Type-C one, you may potentially damage your devices and computers or smartphone. Seriously? oh... YES. Remember, it combines Power Delivery and Data all together in one cable. If the cable does not follow the specification, it would do the terrible thing.

Take a look at one of my favorite Engineer's reviews
his FAQ:

and also his co-worker, Vincent Palatin, in Google's USB-C team

and CNN:

Benson from Google has done amazing jobs, in fact, I am wondering why he has so much free time to review those crappy cables :)

Benson, you should spend more time with your kid :) Just kidding.

I have an access to both Apple MacBook 2015 and Google's Pixel from my friend who sold me as a refurb one. Cable makers or device makers are welcome to reach me for the reviews. I will also post the results here.

Device getting hot? Good or Bad?

Heat is the death to your valuable device! Keep it cool! But HOW?

Back to year 2001, I had a chance to work with some project with some top mechanical engineers who had been working on several big projects. I actually learned some interesting things from them.  They totally changed my wrong idea of the ME design. One is the "overheating device" where most people believe it's bad but in reality, if you feel the chassis or enclosure or housing is pretty warm, that means your device housing is "proactively" dispense the heat that generated from the logic board and chips, or at least it's trying to pass on the heat to the enclosure then to the air.

In other word, if you put two identical logic boards side by side but with different enclosures around, one is plastic and one is aluminium, they would have slightly different life-span that caused by different heat-dispense methods.

The warmer aluminum housing is actually a better design v.s. plastic one where you may feel just slightly warm or nothing. The heat would be circulated inside the plastic housing much longer than the metal housing, which is a bad thing to your board and components on the board. The aluminum enclosure on the other hand could proactively dispense the heat and pass it on to the metal - as long as it does not burn your hand, you should be happy to get a metal case. Moreover, if you have properly housing design, you can pass heat to other objects that have proper contact to your enclosure. For example, heat can be passed on to not just the air, but to entire table. Using a overheating logic board without any heat-dispense design is not smart at all.

In EE world, the higher transfer rate would introduce more heat, thus, designing a proper housing to cover around the board and provide an efficient way to dispense the heat would be critical to the product.

A lot of new technologies nowadays claiming very fast speed and high bandwidth, no doubt that they all would introduce heat, such as PCIe SSD, Thunderbolt 40G, 10Gb, 100Gb Ethernet, even the Cloud server room that accumulates lots of lots of HDDs, SSDs, CPUs, Ethernet controller, Routers, Switches are taking heat as the BIGGEST challenge, thus, choosing a good enclosure is important.

I have seen some products on Amazon selling the identical products with different material of housings. I would choose the metal one which should have better heat dispense if the board and chips generate heat continuously.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Basketball Passes...

Do you know there are three different kinds of passes to pass the basketball to your team member?
It's the "bounce pass",  "chest pass", and "overhead pass". 

3 different passes

The chest pass is named so because the pass originates from the chest. It is thrown by gripping the ball on the sides with the thumbs directly behind the ball. When throwing a chest pass, the players should strive to throw it to the receiver's chest level. Passes that go low to high or high to low are difficult to catch.


The bounce pass is thrown with the same motion however it is aimed at the floor. It should be thrown far enough out that the ball bounces waist high to the receiver. 


The overhead pass is often used as an outlet pass. Bring the ball directly above your forehead with both hands on the side of the ball and follow through. Aim for the teammate's chin.