Category Archives: Panama Journal

YES, WE HAVE NO BANANAS

Well that is not quite true. Lilliam just bought 4 bananas for 90 cents. They are 2 for 50 cents.

Our local food market says that bananas are scarce in Panama at the moment.

An another front, you will get a charge out of this. I had an appointment today and when I went to start me car, the battery was dead. Luckily, I have a battery charger, but it is sort of a trickle charge and the battery won’t be ready until tomorrow.

This is another good reason to live within walking distance of the Rey supermarket and my local fruit stand.

Note to self. Pay attention when parking car in garage to insure the lights have been turned off.

Way To Go Amazon

I received an email today from a company whose product I had purchased that was ordered through Amazon. The company was wanting me to review the product.

The email reminded me of the order, which I had sent to my daughter in Texas. I looked at the order on Amazon and it was delivered on the 3rd of August.

The shipping notice said it had been left at the mailroom. Unfortunately, there is no mailroom.

I contacted my daughter and it must have been left by the front door and walked off. Bummer.

I wrote Amazon and explained the problem. Two hours later I received an email from Amazon stating that they had credited my account. Now that is what I call service.

Way to go Amazon.

The Best Times Of Our Lives

It seems like I always find myself in deep thought when Lilliam is away. I never know what is going to trigger it. This morning it was this viral YouTube video that was on the news. The news only showed a small portion of the video, so I googled it to watch the whole thing.

Of course that got me to thinking about my grandson who is getting married this Sunday. When you meet the perfect partner and you know it, it is one of the best times of your life. I know he has done well and I am happy for him.

For some us, it takes a little longer to find that perfect partner. For some of us it takes a few false starts and a little help from divine providence. I am one of the lucky ones and forever grateful to providence.

You know how YouTube will follow a viewed video with another similar video? I continued to watch several more videos, each showing couples starting off on this complicated journey through life.

Each video took me to another and another. Many used the same Bruno Mars song, which apparently has spawned many flash mob wedding proposal videos.

Like the following videos.

There were flashmob dances using this song all over the world and it was refreshing to see so many happy people. Black, white, caucasian, asian … Color wasn’t important, nationality wasn’t important, religion wasn’t important. So many people and all happy because they had found that one perfect person.

Each video took me to another until I happened on the following one.

It was so elaborate and professional I had to search a little more to find our about the creator, Justin Baldoni. As it turns out he is an actor and producer and currently in a TV series “Jane The Virgin”. A pretty funny series that had me hooked after watching the previous videos.

As I watched the series, it hit me. I miss Lilliam. When she isn’t around, I feel lost. It is like a part of me is missing when she isn’t here. When she is here I have all that I need in the world and when she is away I have withdrawals that can only be quenched by her return.

A previous poem of mine says it best.

By Chance
By Don Ray Williams

Though you entered my life,
Quite simply by chance.
You awakened new feelings,
Of love and romance.

Those feelings get stronger,
The more you’re away.
You remain in my dreams,
Every night, every day.

In my dreams, I still hold you,
Close to my heart.
I can feel my blood rushing
Even while we’re apart.

Please don’t stay gone long.
I miss you too much.
I need you close to me.
I long for your touch.

And when we meet again,
I hope there will be
A long loving kiss,
Because you also missed me.

Tech Bits & Bytes

When Lilliam goes out of town, and I have no one to motivate me to get out and about, I seem to turn into a research junkie. Such is my state at the moment.

Before I begin on my current post, I just did a speed test and remembered I hadn’t mentioned Cable Onla upping my speed. I didn’t request it and these sort of surprises are always pleasant.

Now where was I. Oh yes, researching on the Internet.

One has obviously been related to my TV failure in the bedroom. I am now convinced that the problem is capacitors on the Power motherboard. Monday I will try to get by Electronica Nacional before 11 AM when the tech takes his mid day break.

Next, I have two grand children that are of the age that I want to start immersing them into technology while I still have some ability to participate in their learning process. One is 9 and the other is 11. They are the ones I took my MacMinis to in May. My grandson is already interested and is a prime candidate.

My interest is insuring they both understand the components that reside in a PC and teaching them enough so they can decide if they want to be users or developers.

R-Pi3A new device (or at least one I haven’t paid attention to) is out called Raspberry Pi. It is in its 3rd iteration and is nod the Raspberry Pi 3.

The best thing about it is what you get for the price. $35 will provide you a complete computer with WiFi, Bluetooth, etc.

A quick search on the Internet will find plenty of sites dedicated to projects/reviews for the R-Pi. HERE is just one.

The R-Pi came out a little over 4 years ago and has spawned several competitors, but for my purposes, I will stick with the original as it gives me many more sources to pull from.

If you read the articles, you will see that the R-Pi provides you a foundation for a simple computer. Much more powerful than the 16 bit computer I worked on for Texas Instruments to provide the Navy with satellite navigation. It loaded programs from mylar tape. Things have changed a lot since 1967.

This one can receive programs from many sources and even had a 64 bit processor. It uses HDMI for video and audio, so can connect to a TV of monitor and can use a USB keyboard or a wireless keyboard.

The main storage will be a micro-SD chip up to 32 GB and has 1 GB of SDRAM. I mean this is quite a piece of hardware for $35.

There are several OSs for the unit with the provided system being Raspbian. This is a Debian Linux system tailored for the R-Pi.

I am also considering a kit from KANO. While it is more expensive than the sum of its parts, it comes with enough pieces that you can use it upon arrival. It also can probably get them started without much help from me. It does use a different OS, but most Linux systems are pretty similar.

I have tentatively put this on my Xmas list for the both of them. There may be a competition going on between them and a little competition never hurt anyone. The final decision hasn’t been made as I am still in the study phase.

Whatever becomes the winner, I will also have to pick up a R-Pi for myself. I had been planning on building another Linux PC to play with and this is a cheaper option. It will also force me to do a little studying to catch up on some of the newer programming languages. It appears that I will have to study python. Python seems to appear in all articles I read.

Fun times ahead. I hope the grandkids have as much fun and learn as much as I will.

On another front, my grandson Noah is getting married next Sunday. I would like to be there, but it just isn’t possible. He had been planning on waiting until the school break between semesters of college which I might have made.

His sweetheart is a real doll. I think after he met Lilliam he thought, “I gotta get me one of those”.

13442635_10207874495558430_2868844910987799191_o

They will make a good pair and I think he chose well and I wish them much happiness. The wedding gift is in my research radar. If you have a suggestion, toss it out there.

The next couple of months should be interesting. Both Apple and Google will be coming out with new software and hardware. I hope to be able to watch both of the announcements. I will be able to install the Apple OS, but the Android will be more difficult.

With Android, I will have to wait on the hardware provider and the cellular provider. I have decided my next Android device will be a Nexus because Google insures that the Nexus devices get updates when they are released.

I ordered a few items that I am letting my daughter play with until I can pick the up on our next trip. One was the Amazon Echo Dot. I plan on integrating it into several areas such as controlling lights, and some security projects. The Dot is the smaller and cheaper version of the Amazon Echo.

FluanceIts speaker is intended only for responding to commands and not music. I also bought a standalone speaker to use with it from Fluance. The combination of it with the Dot cost me about $10 more than the Amazon Echo, however, the sound improvement is beyond comparison.

My only concern is whether I will be able to pry both of these items out of my daughter’s hands.

The last item I will cover is a new software app I have started using. It is OneNote from Microsoft. It is a little strange to be using software from microsoft and not own a single piece of Microsoft hardware.

OneNote is free and syncs between my MacBook Pro laptop and my LG G4 cell phone. I am using it to keep track of my research lists, my shopping lists, websites of importance and notes want with me at all times.  I had tried Evernote, but to get the most out of it required $ and free is better for me.

Well the rain just started and I think I will watch a movie. I have been watching the Olympics as I wrote this and I need a mental change. Mr. Robot maybe on KODI?

Are you Watching

Are you watching the 2016 Olympics. Last night’s opening was unique. I couldn’t find it in English on Cable Onda and decided to try KODI. It took some doing, but I finally located the Olympics.

Today I have been watching several events. Boxing, women’s basketball, rowing, and one of my favorite sports Table Tennis.

20160806_101639_HDR

On Kodi, I have about 20+ different events I can watch which means I can watch what I want and not just a single channel. I got to see the US Women win the Air Rifle. Who knew that air rifle was a sport.

The best thing is there are no Zika mosquitos buzzing around me.

Another Panama Service Experience

I mentioned the other day that my Sharp 53” TV is failing. My friend Jim, in Ft. Worth, basically diagnosed the problem. It has not been confirmed by a local David service person, but it sounds right, If I had a good work bench, the right tools and quality capacitors, then I could probably fix it myself.

The other day MultiMax told me that the Sharp Service center was close to Universidad Latina. I couldn’t find it on my drive to that area.

Yesterday, i decided I would go by Electronica Nacional and see if I could talk to a tech. When I got to Electronica Nacional, the tech wasn’t there.

I talked to the receptionist and she was able to better describe where the Sharp repair might be. I left and went to the area.

Still didn’t see the shop, but did see a Sony repair shop in the approximate area, so I thought I would take a shot and ask them about the Sharp repair center. They eventually came up with a name and location across from the MOP office on Brenes. OK. Off again.

Driving down Brenes, I didn’t see it. I stopped and asked a store employee for the exact location of the MOP office to verify I was in the right place.

Still can’t see any sign of an electronic repair store, so I asked another person in a bakery. The lady told me it was probably at the end of a group of auto parts stores. OK. I walk down there.

At the end of the auto parts stores, I came to an open door with a lot of old TVs out side and no sign. I asked about the name I had been given by the shop near Universidad Latina. Sure enough the name was that of the owner, but he wasn’t there. The fellow I talked to gave me his number.

So I now know the place, but have no confidence that taking my Sharp TV there is a wise idea. I tried searching the global repair sites for Sharp and the nearest one I found is in Mexico. Doesn’t help me.

I may go back to Electronica Nacional and talk to the tech. Like chicken soup, can’t hurt.

Where Does My Time Go

The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.

It seems like forever since I have made a blog post. I have several research projects and house projects going on and have been using YouTube to do a lot of the technology research. Lately I get up, have breakfast and hit YouTube. While there is plenty of information on the Internet, watching a YouTube broadcast seems to give you a better idea of a product than just reading text.

I have had a major breakdown in the house. My Sharp TV in the bedroom has a significant problem. It powers up and runs for less than a minute and then the picture shuts off. The sound continues, but no picture. I can unplug the TV and plug it back in and have the picture once again (for less than a minute).

So I have a task to see if I can get it repaired. I stopped by MulTiMax, where I bought it, to find the local repair location. I was told it was across the street from Universidad Latina, so I am going to have to make a run and talk with them, before I take it off the wall. I normally have taken most electronics to Electronica Nacional, but I will follow MultiMax recommendation.

I miss my bedroom TV and hope to find a solution this week. Getting any appliance repaired in Panama is always a challenge. This is such a great TV and not having it is a major downer.

I think I mentioned that I have become TWiTer.  This Week in Tech (TWiT) is a Netcast and there are several different topics that will interest those who like to keep up with technology. I don’t watch the programs live, but there are several I have started watching on a weekly basis. One of the best is Security Now.  It is a good place to learn of any new security breaches in all of the technology platforms.

Another Netcast, I like, is The Tech Guy. Now his job is the type of job I wish I had.  Leo Is responsible for the TWiT Netcast group and hosts many of the broadcasts.

One of the things that happened recently was the expiration of the free Windows 10 Upgrade. I hope you got it, if you are a Window’s user and on relative new hardware. If you are on older hardware it probably wouldn’t matter. However, if you want to upgrade now, it is going to cost you around $120. I am glad I moved to the Apple platform.

In case anyone is interested, I am really not committed to any platform. I try to stick to the one that costs me the least in terms of effort and money.

I use Android for my cell phone (doubt that I will ever go back to Apple). I use Apple for my main personal computer (I doubt that I will ever go back to Microsoft), however, I am considering getting back into the Linux arena. I use Amazon for my streaming media player (I can’t imagine moving to a non Android based player).

Speaking of new technology, I hope to pickup some new items at eShop this week. One of the items is an Honor 5X cell phone to replace a friends iPhone 4S. I knew she was wanting to replace her iPhone and this phone appeared on Amazon for $120. A fantastic buy. I will help her get it setup and know she is going to be impressed. For the price, it was a great buy. I feel confident she will not miss here iPhone.

I have a couple other posts I will try to get done in the near term when I can break away from my background tasks that seem to be consuming me. At least now, the rumor that I have died will be put to rest.