Friday, July 03, 2020

What's Under the Bed?

Today, we were back in a queue waiting to enter IKEA. I figured if we planned to arrive at around 10:20, then most of the people would already be inside.  The line looked enormous when we drove up. However, that's partly because people in BC are really good at social-distancing.  Actually,  the retail space is so massive that it can hold lots of folks. Most of our 20-minute wait was to allow batches of buyers the necessary time to get up the initial escalator and into the display rooms. 

We went to buy a floor lamp which goes with a table lamp we recently bought there.  In our 35 years together, I am pretty sure we ever had two matching lamps 

It's hard to get through an IKEA without stopping to see something or another. Today, I paused momentarily to appreciate the bedframes with built-in drawers. Of course, plastic storage bins would work under our existing box springs, but honest-to-goodness drawers just seem so much more logical and useful.  Perhaps a MALM with four storage boxes in white stained oak, please?
  Where are the Malms? 
More Likely Setup 
Display Junk

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Drone Selfie in Breezy Conditions

It surely hasn't been the best weather for drone practice. June was pretty much of a washout and so far the conditions in July haven't been great at all. In fact, my phone indicates I last flew on June 22nd. My phone plugs into the controller and the DJI Fly app provides a first-person-view during flight.  It also automatically keeps flight records.  Because of this, I know the following about my history with the DJI Mavic Mini:
Total Flights: 25
Total Distance: 13.4 km 
Total Flight Time: 5.53 hours
  Happy Pilot

Too Blustery to Go Higher

During today's flight at Westminster Pier Park, the drone travelled just 1.24 km in a total flight time of 25 minutes.  My maximum altitude was a mere 26 meters.  

Supposedly, I shouldn't have flown at all because of the wind.  However, I felt I needed to give it a little exercise.  At 50 meters the wind would've been more than 27 kph.  So, for a while this morning, I walked flying at my own height following behind it.  

Some people walk their dogs but I have a drone to follow.

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Happy Wet Canada Day!

The COVID-19 situation made for a Canada Day without the visible celebration. Adding to that fact, the weather today has been rainy since well before we got up. The overcast sky is keeping things dark and the temperature to just 13C (about 55F).   The logs in the gas fireplace are glowing red.

We nearly always take the SkyTrain to its terminus at the Waterfront in Vancouver.  Usually, we're in big crowds who've come for the celebration of our nation's birthday.  It seems odd not to do the simple tradition we've done for more than twenty years. We stayed in New Westminster and settled for a short drive uptown.
  Two Rivers Coffee Flavoured Coffee Pods Variety Pack  
We just got up from a 45-minute afternoon nap, and I thoroughly enjoyed my cup of hazelnut-cream coffee. In fact, it made me so happy that I just ordered a variety pack with 40 different K-cup flavours from Amazon.  I'll have more than enough flavoured coffee for future rainy days.  Shopping is so friction-free nowaday.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Success in Avoiding Messy Menus!

I love my new Nvidia Shield TV for its power and flexibility.  It is a small cylindrical device that hides right inside the TV stand.  It surely beats the two, odd Android boxes I've owned over the years. In fact, I am pretty sure that we now won't be bothering to switch to apps running on our new LG TV as it'll pretty much stay on HDMI Input 1.  The streaming device provides everything we will need to view on the big screen.
  Getting a Sideloaded App on Shield's Menus  
One major headache with Nvidia's menu is that it doesn't recognize apps unless they're loaded directly from the Google Play Store.  However, we get IPTV for our local, Canadian channels through a local provider, Surf Internet. Unfortunately, their television app must be sideloaded.  Even getting the APK file onto the Shield for installation took a little planning.  I set up the Nvidia device to share files on my home network; therefore, I was able to drag and drop from our main Win 10 computer.  

Next, I had to search around for an easy way to access Surf TV through the menuing interface. The most elegant way was to use the online app and build an additional APK.  

I had nearly decided to simply use a side-launcher app.  They are ugly and not very good at determining which apps should be included.  My results were definitely worth the effort and now I do not fear the thought of sideloading any apps not exclusively designed for my Nvidia Shield TV.

Monday, June 29, 2020

While Our EV Charged Up

Rose Garden  
REMINDER TO SELF: The Rose Garden in Queen's Park reaches its peak around Canada Day. (Of course, it could be because June 2020 was very grey and wet in New Westminster, British Columbia.)
  Nearly July  

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Supplemental Memory

Today started off cloudy but ended with much clearer skies.
  Lowe's Canada  
The only picture on my phone today was a quick snap of a wall display at a Lowe's Canada.  My phone often acts as a supplemental memory and is faster than scribbling out notes.  

We had gone over to Queensborough to look inside the competing home improvement center. We usually end up at Home Depot but it's only about a kilometer or so closer. As well as the Lowe's, we popped into the nearby Walmart Supercenter. Walking around was pretty good exercise but we didn't buy a thing.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

I Live to Tinker

Ooma VoIPFor a couple of days, we've found our phone was acting a bit flaky. This seemed odd because we've had great service from our Ooma Telo for over three years.  We've saved a tremendous amount of money by getting rid of the landline.  However, our Ooma lets us keep a flexible, British Columbian, home phone number.

I wondered if the device was developing a hardware problem. The online blue light was fine. I went to my Telo Dashboard and it indicated the device was online too. We had a dial tone, but, after dialling a majority of phone numbers, we'd hear nothing! I could both send and receive calls to my cell phone though. 

I clicked on the online chat button and a representative was with me almost immediately.  She suggested it was a problem with my router/modem ports and protocols. 

Then, I remembered tinkering with my modem settings through its admin page. I often check to verify the dozens of connections made by my wifi smart home devices. I reset a few parameters, and my telephone service is back to normal. 

I am so happy I have enough junk to keep me occupied. I continue to learn technical minutiae most every day.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Coming to British Columbia

A short 24 years ago, at just about now, we landed at YVR ready to make a life in Vancouver.
  Agnes St. Apartment View  
So, we're remembering our very first summer in British Columbia. Above is a view from our rental in downtown New Westminster. Huge housing towers would now block the views we had from our balcony on Agnes Street in 1996.

Thursday, June 25, 2020


At a few minutes past ten o'clock this morning, I took a picture with my phone and immediately posted it on Facebook. It said, "We have to stay close to home. So, we queue up at IKEA rather than at immigration." Although the line was long, it didn't take a long time to get inside. 

Once inside, rather than taking any shortcuts, we did the whole 3-kilometer walk through the showrooms. So many people looking at so much merchandise! Eventually, we got coughed out into the warehouse with all the rows and bins. We got the unit and had to find two sets of little legs in a completely different place.

  Which Bin?

We came home and put the TV stand together.  It was easy job with strong and sturdy results!  After today's nap, it took much longer to stuff all the wires and equipment into the unit.  The TV is on now top and a movie from Prime Video is playing right now!

  Meet MOSJÖ

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Late Spring Cleaning

We've been getting rid of one thing or another since we got back. Clearly, it's good that we own a one-bedroom apartment as it cuts back on the sheer amount of clutter we would collect. Yesterday's old lamp will be heading to the thrift store. So, last night we rather reluctantly began to attack the shoe and boots in the front closet. We've not been around for a Canadian winter for years, so I am not sure why it felt odd getting rid of snow boots.
  Late Spring Cleaning  
Today, I started throwing dress shirts on my bed. I used to have a fairly substantial collection of good quality shirts when I was teaching. I am sure I already weeded the lot. Still, I wondered how many of them I'd actually worn since taking early retirement in the fall of 2014!  Today, I 'went to town' again and found many that'll join the ugly, old lamp and pile of boots. We can drop these off at the thrift shop tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Much Scarier than a Home Depot

This morning we went to the huge IKEA in Coquitlam. It is almost across the street from the Canadian Superstore, the location where we buy our groceries. I think we last visited the year it opened.  That was 2002.

Where's the IKEA Exit?Is Jay running to find a way out?

Goodbye, Ugly, Old Lamp
Shopping for home furnishings surely isn't a frequent diversion for us.

Today, we found the queues were fairly short and we got inside after waiting for about five minutes.

I went to see if the TV stand (or bench as IKEA calls them) had shelves large enough for our receiver and center speaker.  I knew from online sleuthing that the overall dimensions were perfect, but I was too unsure to buy without physical confirmation.  It seems as though I should have checked the equipment rather than the existing unit because I wasn't absolutely sure, even in the middle of IKEA's showroom maze.  I put off the purchase.

The enormity of the place is a bit overwhelming.  Even though we had a few more things to check, Jay panicked and clearly was looking to find an exit.  We slithered towards the door picking up only a table lamp.

We are about twenty years late in getting rid of this ugly, old lamp in our living room.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Qayqayt First Nations: “Resting Place”

After dinner, I decided to take the drone out and run through one battery.  A single flight can last about twenty-five minutes as that leaves enough time for a safe, non-stressful landing.

I walked to the closest suitable place in the neighbourhood.  It is by the École Qayqayt, an English / French K-5 elementary school.  The athletic field gives me some comfortable room to fly.

Nice Evening Lone Hoop Practice Neighbourhood Elementary School

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Colombo Stores, Surrey BC

Sri Lankan Groceries  
Before the end of the month, we'll be marking 24 years in British Columbia. Jay has shopped in a number of little, ethnic grocery stores selling Sri Lankan products. They were mainly clustered around the Victoria and Main Street areas of Vancouver. It takes more than a half-hour to drive to them from New Westminster and far longer on transit; consequently, we don't visit very often. There are a few, specific products not available in any other type of Asian market though.
  Business Card Colombo Store, Surrey, BC  
Interestingly, today was the first time we ever visited the closest Sri Lankan shop. It is exactly at King George SkyTrain Station in Surrey. In fact, the shop sits closely to the physical end of the elevated rail. Today, it was a very quick drive across the Pattullo Bridge and up the hill from home. We hit the shop today and Jay managed to think of a few things to buy. I'm most excited about a type of jam made from the flesh of woodapples. I love woodapples.
  Sri Lankan Groceries

Saturday, June 20, 2020

We're Almost Out of the Woods

And we're almost in them too!

Only one COVID-related death in British Columbia over the last couple of weeks. We're getting ready to open up to ourselves again.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Another Device I'm Convinced I Need

Nvidia Shield TVToday, I found out that my TV provider has created a new version of their Android APK. Unfortunately, I discovered that it requires Android Oreo at minimum. The current TV box I'm using is too old. So, I started looking on Amazon Canada today for a new, cheap, streaming box. 

Yet, you know me. I had to know specifics. I found myself writing a question on a specific device that went something like this: 

"Does this device allow HDMI passthrough of a Dolby 
Atmos signal to a capable receiver?"

In typical Amazon fashion, they queried an average Joe customer who felt the need to answer that he/she really didn't know what I was talking about.

Well, I'm not surprised as it was a relatively technical question.  My experience of not being able to find specifics has pointed me towards a new Nvidia Shield TV.  Damn, there's is always something for me to buy, isn't there?

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