Karma Go: Fail for us (so far)

Wife and I recently invested in (paid for 3 months of) a Karma Go.     We’re going to be using it in Florida for a week.. the place we’re staying doesn’t have an internet connection.  Its perfect for that..

However, we were wondering if we would be able to ditch our at-home TWC connection as well in favor of it.


a) Its Open-WIFI only – ie, “web site login page” to enable access – and 3 device maximum.     This means that things like the Apple TV cannot connect to it.

b) The “unlimited bandwidth” is capped to 3G – which means, some video, doesn’t play so well.  Other video works okay.    Seems to be playing video from our iPhones is not optimized – it doesn’t scan ahead, stutters, etc.  

c) I tried “cheating” and putting my windows 10 laptop into “bridge” mode, trying to drive a router from that – but nope, 20 minutes of farting around with it, didn’t solve it.

So..   Karma Go won’t be replacing our TWC connection, which means we’ll pretty much have it for vacation times only.  

Having test driven it for a few days, though, I can report that I can play Elite Dangerous while connected to it.

Seiki 39” 4k TV as a Monitor

Those are 22" monitors on either side Keep in mind that this is 2014; this is the first generation of this monitor; that being said:   I would not recommend using this as an all-day development monitor.

The exact item:  Seiki Digital SE39UY04 39-inch 4K Ultra HD 120Hz LED TV.   When it dropped to $405 on Amazon, I jumped at the possibility of using it instead of a portrait 1080p as my main coding window.   (Side note: I used CamelCamelCamel to track the price)

It arrived, and it turned out I didn’t have anything that could drive it.  I went out and purchased an NVidia 700-level card which had HDMI 1.4 outputs on it.. hooked it all up.. and..

It is HUGE.

Panoramic View And it is Painful. 

Problem #1: Refresh Rate

I could not tell at first what was “not right” about it.   Eventually, i figured it out – as can be seen from this video:

Low Refresh Rate

As I move a window around on a different monitor, the motion on this monitor lags behind.  It might be due to the refresh rate – or it might be due to some kind of latency – but the effect is about the same as using a PC over a somewhat laggy (100ms?) remote desktop connection.   [Edit – actually, its more like remote desktoping into a machine, and then running a VM which does not have client tools, and then trying to use that VM.  The annoying bit is that I try to move the mouse to a certain spot, but I keep over/undershooting]

The problem is due to HDMI 1.4 only being able to handle a 30hz refresh rate at 4K resolution.   HDMI 2.0 would fix this – but this TV does not support it. (yet?) It looks like DisplayPort would handle it, but the TV did not have a DisplayPort input either.

Problem #2: Sheer Size

I am used to snapping a window to full screen, left, or right.

With the right software (Winsplit Revolution), I can snap a window to various parts of a 6×2 quadrant as well.

Either way, snapping windows on this monitor did not work for me.  The only place which felt “right” was snapped to the middle column in the monitor – everything else was too far away, too high, or too big.  I would have to physically move my keyboard to once side of the monitor or the other, to focus on a window that was snapped there.   (Given, I have progressive lenses, and pretty bad astigmatism; perhaps younger eyes would not be troubled as much)  

Floating Windows in a Desktop SeaInstead, the solution was to revert to non-maximized, non-snapped windows – keep each window as small as you can get away with, and they all just “float” in monitor space.  The monitor truly is big enough for it. 

Problem #3: Bifocal Nightmare

I have bifocals.  Actually, no, I have progressive lenses .. the limit as number of focals approaches infinity.    With my bifocals on, I could NOT crane my neck up high enough to actually focus on the top of the monitor, from a 3 foot distance or so. 

So, I switched to my computer glasses.   Single focal length across the entire frame.   It mostly worked, except.. the left and right sides of the monitor – were far enough away – that if the center was in focus, then they were not.  The monitor really is that big.

Watching 4k Video on YouTube

Wildlife in Ultra 4k – The picture was amazing.

Elysium Trailer – Fail (for me)

Once again, the 30hz made it pretty unbearable.  However, I have this same problem at most movie theaters as well – whenever a camera pans, I can see individual frames, it is not “smooth motion” for me.   I might just be defective.


Don’t buy one … yet.  Not till there’s a way to do 4K at 60Hz into it.  Or if you are going to, first spend a day as follows:

  • Bring your refresh rate on your 1080p monitor down to 30hz, and leave it there for the day.
  • Move your monitor away from your normal line of sight – to about 45 degrees away from where your keyboard and mouse “face”.   [Edit: don’t point it at yourself!   Leave it angled away from your line of sight.]
  • Change all your fonts to be really small.  Really really small. 

If you can live with these things.. or if you have a need to work with really large excel spreadsheets, which this was a BOSS at), then go ahead and buy one.  For $400, its pretty awesome.  

I’ll be shipping it back on Wednesday (after the snow storm).  Back to just 3 monitors for now.. with the middle one in portrait mode.   I’ll live.

Samsung 700T Windows 8 Tablet Review

image A few weeks ago I purchased this device from a coworker, used.  He probably paid around $1400 for it, I got it at around 50% off; he was upgrading to something that was more “artist-techy”. 

I love it.

It does have its problems.  I’ll get to those in a bit.  However, here’s how it does work for me:

  • It is a full laptop.  Doing class work for TeamTreeHouse.com?  Not a problem.   My version: 
    • i5 processor
    • 120G SSD (fast!)
    • 4G of Ram
  • The display is a wide-screen format, so when watching movies on Netflix, they appear larger than on the iPad (which is a 4:3 form factor, thus the movie must be shrunk more)
  • When using the supplied pen, thanks to near field technology, I can actually hover separately from a click, which is a distinction I do need to make in a lot of my work.
  • The Keyboard that it attaches to, I like the feel of.  There’s a nice click resistance to the keys, and they are spaced nicely; the buttons make sense.
  • When using the keyboard, the keyboard works as a stand for the tablet; I do not need to prop the tablet up separately.
  • A full 1080 display for All the Pixels.  
  • Fully works as a RDP Terminal into work.  
  • I am loving the touch.  There are many things which I used to use mouse or keyboard for, that I now find myself doing with touch – such as, scrolling, clicking into text fields, zooming in to get a good look at something.  
    • There is a built in stylus that becomes pretty handy when I need to get hi-res with the touch.
  • Decent battery life.  Well, for me, that means >= 2 hours.  For others, that would be a joke.  Right now its saying 5 hours left, but I wouldn’t trust that.
  • I did not have much trouble undertanding the gestures.  They do make more sense with touch than with a mouse.   However, I had also played with windows 8 back in the RTM timeframe, so I had a head start. 

Comparing it to my iPad:

  • I am not afraid to create.  Like, for example, writing this blog post.   I would not try to do it on the iPad.  It might be possible.. but little things like, how do I get a picture of my cat into the blog post, would be vexing.
  • I already mentioned the superior screen for watching movies.
  • The iPad can kinda-sorta multitask.. but lets face it, when its trying to load a web page, you do not jump away to a different program.  This one – not a problem.  Something taking too long, run a different app, no big deal.
  • The iPad does have (much) better battery life.   I don’t even think about charging it except maybe once a week.  This one, I charge daily.


  • Something is broken in Chrome.  I cannot use touch to do most things, in chrome, on this laptop.  I can use hover-and-click via a near-field pen.   I do not have the same problems with FireFox or IE, amazingly.   Several other folks have reported this problem.  I find this annoying, as my “default” setup is to use Chrome for personal stuff, Firefox for work stuff, and IE as the “test” browser for whatever website I’m working on.  I’ll probably start using IE as the personal browser on this tablet.
  • I do use it more as a laptop and less as a tablet.  When I enter tablet-world, I find that most of the apps are less-than.  For example: What, no official YouTube app?  I had to download MegaTube instead.   Browsing for interesting apps in the Windows Store is a joke.
  • The high-resolution screen combined with a small screen = very small and hard to read stuff, sometimes.  I’ve had to increase font sizes.  Then again, I am also getting older. 🙂

If things go as planned, I should start doing some python or Ruby coding on this device; might even install the Visual Studio Express stuff.   That will be another report.

I have also not yet used the USB ports, or the Micro-SD card reader, or the Mini-HDMI port.  I assume they will work correctly when I get around to using them.

I will leave you with some artwork I created using FreshPaint:


Freakin Awesome Software: Greenshot

Maybe I’m late to the party, and everybody already knows about this.   I was introduced to it by Michael Thornberry


Why I use it:

  • Hotkey to take a screen capture => easy to start
  • Once screen capture is taken, THEN I get to choose what to do with it, including “just save it as a !#!# file NOW” and “I need to touch it up a bit”
  • In the editor:
    • My most recently N used colors are remembered!!!!  (I use a LOT of color)
    • I can re-edit annotations after I’ve made them, making it closer to Visio than to Paint.Net in its flexibility
    • Built-in obsuffofusticate.  (stupendulous!)
    • When I’m done editing, I can re-enter the pipleline of “what do I want to do with this image”

I suspect I’ve donated to them twice now.  They are that awesome. 

About the only thing I can’t do with them (yet) is to take captures of multiple little areas and put them together to tell a story.   As soon as sourceforge lets me, I’m going to search for that feature request and upvote it.