Category Archives: General

Anything that doesn’t really fit anywhere else…

New VAT rules not that bad in EU after all

With 1st July 2021, EU declared there will be no exemptions on items under certain value like we had till this date. From now on, if you buy something for 1€ or 5000€, you’ll have VAT applied to it. Given I had experience with customs before, the times looked pretty grim for ordering anything outside EU, especially on the cheap from AliExpress as it would add massive extra costs. If stuff is stopped in customs, you get annoying delays, they slapped VAT on top of original price and their extra fees were absurd. Last time I imported stuff and went through customs, their “manipulation fee” was like 8€ or some shit. And I think it’s a fixed fee and not item value based, so if you ordered something for 2€ you’d pay 10€ because of their sticky fingers.

Well, it looks like it’s not that grim after all, at least for AliExpress in particular. AliExpress now charges VAT during purchase already for EU customers which is slight annoyance, but whatever. This is purely based on costs of the item and per my country, the VAT is at 22%. Which is not that terrible addition when buying certain cheaper gadgetry or spare parts for stuff. I was looking for some 3rd party spare parts for my robot vacuum and I got bunch of filters and side brushes for 22€. I paid a bit over 4€ of VAT for it. Given I’d get a single filter and single pair of side brushes for this price for official genuine parts, it was still well worth it. And since VAT was already paid, this means I should be exempt in the customs. They’ll see the VAT was paid and the package should go through without extra costs or delays. At least that was my experience from before anyways, if I paid VAT at purchase time already. And since they know AliExpress automatically charges VAT now, I shouldn’t even be required to provide receipt from purchase, assuming sellers properly equip packages with required documentation. We’ll see in 1 month time when stuff should arrive…

New domain for easy access to my rants

After having issues with my free .tk domain, I’ve decided to dump it and go with full on proper domain. Not through WordPress coz I’m a cheap bastard, so it’ll still be just a simple domain redirect to WordPress blog, but it’ll be easy to remember. Now I just have to change it in all my apps which will be a massive pain in the ass. But oh well.

You can reach my blog via rejzor.com or www.rejzor.com. Easy enough to remember? 🙂

Thanks Mozilla for doing the right thing with Other Bookmarks in toolbar

I tend to shit on Mozilla for their dumb design decisions, but I’m going to make a different post this time. I’m gonna thank them for finally doing the right thing with Other Bookmarks in bookmarks toolbar, new button that appeared in Firefox 85.

Initially I was annoyed when it randomly appeared in my Firefox 84 builds, because I don’t like it there and I’ve already made Firefox Tweaker for that and then during testing, I’ve noticed right clicking bookmarks toolbar actually displays “Show Other Bookmarks” toggle selection. Meaning my Firefox Tweaker setting is kinda obsolete, but it’ll help me set Firefox up faster on reinstalls so I’ll just leave it there.

Thank you Mozilla, thank you for finally doing design changes the right way, by giving users option. Not everyone is a fan of changes you make and whenever you make something just your way, whether users like it or not without any easy way to change it, that’s a real dick move. But when you do the change, but give users an option to still revert it, if they prefer it the other way, now that is what I can stand behind. And all things should allow such control.

Especially since a lot of Chromium based browsers are doing these “dick moves” and they have zero option to tweak things the way we can in Firefox using Firefox Tweaker for example.

Follow this mentality more and avoid forcing users into things and you’ll get more users. I’m certain of that.

Movie “Breach” is the weirdest thing I’ve seen in decades

Recently stumbled upon a movie called “Breach”. And since it was about space ship and weird shit happening on it, I was immediately interested. Then realized Bruce Willis and Thomas Jane are in it and it’s a recent movie from 2020. I was like whaaaaaat, how did this thing fly under my radar?! How nobody talked about it anywhere?

Only other movie giving me wtf vibes after watching it was Uwe Boll’s House of the Dead where I literally dreamed about it and had mild nightmares. Like, by just how little sense it made as whole and that haunted me in my dreams that night after watching it. And Breach is on that very same level. It’s actually really difficult to put it all together…

It’s like the authors of this movie got inspired by bunch of cool sci-fi games and movies like System Shock 2, Doom, Aliens (both originals and Prometheus), Stargate- SG1, Dead Space and then just somehow executed it really poorly with really dumb and inconsistent plot, cheesy dialogues, really weird interactions with characters, really weird combat scenes, really weird aliens, really weird ship structure, really weird faster than light travel, really weird ship reactor, really weird… well, it’s a really weird movie with even dumber and weirder final scene.

And there is just something that just can’t escape my head. How the hell Bruce Willis and Thomas Jane ended up in this movie?! How can one make such a weird low budget, low effort movie and get these two actors on board unironically.

I know people often mock Nicolas Cage for crappy movies that don’t even hit theaters, but my god I cannot understand this one. Did I mention it has Bruce Willis in it?

I’m starting to believe this movie was actually a plot by Bruce Willis and Thomas Jane to troll everyone in this god forsaken year of 2020. It was like their “fuck you everyone” gig and I hope they had fun doing it and even more fun laughing at us idiots who watched it. Coz my god I haven’t watched anything this dumb and bad in decades. Not years, decades! If you want a lethal dose of cringe, then by all means, watch it!

Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2010 Remastered is a complete ripoff

This year, we’re not getting a new NFS game. We’re getting a remaster instead. A remaster of a game that actually still looks good even 10 years after it’s original release back in 2010. So, that was already a rather weird decision. You’d expect a remaster of older games that don’t even have any concept of wide displays or 4K and actually look dated. Like legendary NFS Most Wanted 2005 or NFS Carbon that I liked a lot too. But no, they went for NFS Hot Pursuit 2010.

EA is charging 30€ for this game. Watch the comparison video someone made between original game from 2010 and the new “remastered” version…

It literally looks the same as game from 2010. Only thing better is anti-aliasing that better eliminates jagged edges from the looks of it. EA somehow didn’t get the memo what “remaster” even means. This ISN’T a remaster. This is a ripoff. And you can bet your ass the game will have ZERO support after release, just like original and it’ll have no anti-cheat either, just like original.

I’m a huge NFS fan and even though the landscape of racing games is as dry as Sahara, I’m not gonna buy this low effort cash grab ripoff.

To make matter worse, EA apparently killed off the original game on Steam and Origin, because I can’t seem to be able to buy it anymore. Original game that looked the same as this bullshit remaster and cost under 5€ on Steam/Origin was purposely killed off so they can push this 30€ garbage. EA, you fucking donkey assholes… Don’t buy this! Don’t even think of it! JUST DON’T!

EDIT:

Origin and Steam don’t sell the original anymore, but there are still keys available in other stores:

https://www.allkeyshop.com/blog/compare-and-buy-cd-key-for-digital-download-need-for-speed-hot-pursuit/

Servers are still up and playing original is still possible.

I bought myself a robot vacuum cleaner for 45€ on AliExpress and I’m super impressed

I was browsing AliExpress the other day for some stuff and I came across a deal that was almost impossible to resist. I didn’t actually need it, but curiosity got me. Was always fascinated over robot cleaners, but was never willing to drop 500€ or more on it just to try it out. Because it was discounted from some 600€ down to just 45€, I said, what the hell, even if I throw it away after 1 year or even less it’s not gonna be a huge loss at this price.

Midea, what is this brand?

It’s from company called “Midea” (model is MR06) and after some searching, I found out Midea actually isn’t some no name Chinese brand you can only find on AliExpress, but a huge Chinese robotics company that acquired famous German robotics manufacturer KUKA not long ago (if you’ve seen orange robotic arms in factory tours, those are all KUKA robots).

The robot

Unboxing experience was quite similar to iRobot, big box, robot is about the same size as all the iRobot units and is actually designed better by not having stupid shiny black plastic chassis. I absolutely hate that on iRobot because it scratches super fast and then looks ugly as hell. Also because almost all iRobot units are black, they are fingerprint and dust magnets. Nothing worse than dirty looking device that’s suppose to keep your place clean… This Midea robot is matte white except the top cover is shiny white plastic. It has two side brushes (you get 2 pairs in the box) that sweep dirt inwards toward the belly brush (single brush, dual brush system is patented by iRobot so no one else can use it but them) and also has turbine that creates actual suction and air passes through a dust bin with washable plastic pre-filter and what looks like HEPA filter (you get 1 extra spare in the box). It’s probably just EPA, but hey, better than micro filter either way. Unit feels super robust and chunky and really well built. Has an IR sensor I think on top just like iRobot and uses M-SLAM collision system (collision switches) to detect walls and obstacles which also has a rubber lip so it doesn’t always slam into furniture with plastic and also has sensors below to detect stairs or other edges to prevent falling down. Access to NiMH battery is easy with 2 screws so I’ll be able to replace it easily when it wears out. It comes with charging station and it has EU and UK adapters (I got both even though you were suppose to pick one during ordering) in the box and you can charge the robot with the station or by directly connecting it to adapter.

Summary of contents:

  • 1x robot
  • 1x docking charging station
  • 2 pairs of side sweeping brushes
  • 2x EPA/HEPA filter (1x inside robot, 1x extra)
  • 1x EU plug adapter
  • 1x UK plug adapter
  • 1x remote control (2x AAA bateries, not included)
  • 1x large cleaning brush (another small one is attached to dust bin)
  • User manual in several European languages and English one is well written

Control

You can fire it up with single button on the robot or by using included remote control with more controls. It’s a bit chunky but does the job. It has very basic scheduling that can’t be set on per day basics, but you set it in delay and it repeats that cycle every day. If it’s 17:00 in the afternoon and you set 1 hour schedule, it’ll fire up at 18:00 and repeat this cycle every day at 18:00 from then on. It’s a bit weird, but when you understand the manual and try it out, it’s fairly simple and kinda makes sense. You set a delay when to start and when it starts, it fires up 24 hour internal timer that then sends it to clean every day at the same time.

Remote has few other controls like 4 different cleaning modes ranging from random motion to parallel motion cleaning, spot cleaning and return to docking station button.

Oh and the robot is talking about things it’s doing in pretty well spoken English. It says cleaning, confirmations of schedules, when cleaning is completed it says “Cleaning completed” etc. Pretty nice.

Cleaning

After setting all up I fired it up and it moved about my room and the motion logic is pretty decent. I’ve seen basic robots several years ago that cost like 4x as much that were just moving all over the place like headless chicken, missed bunch of dirt and then failed to return back to base even though it was 3m away in its visible sight. This one moved pretty nicely along walls once it found them and when it hit thin obstacles or corners it tried to rotate around and not just turning away. While it was cleaning I jammed it with my foot against table and it was making funny noises for few seconds until it said something about obstacles/getting stuck and turned off. Good to know it won’t burst into flames trying to move while being stuck and has a safety feature that just shuts it off entirely. Checked the dust bin after it returned to base and there was quite some dust and dirt particles in it and I’ve cleaned half of the room with a cordless vacuum just before delivery of robot happened.

Cleaning is done by side brushes sweeping dirt towards center of the robot where central brush is picking up dirt and throwing it into the dust bin. It also has a turbine that creates suction effect so it’s not like those crappy robots that just brush the dust into the bin, this one actually vacuums. I don’t know how strong it is, but the effect is there and the air flow on the exhaust part of the robot was fairly strong so it has to be helping the brushes to some degree for sure.

Noise

I was also quite surprised by how quiet it is. You can certainly hear it working, but the loudest part are motion motors for main wheels that have slightly whiny noise, the suction turbine is quite tame and not really annoying at all. It was cleaning while I was listening to music and the suction noise sort of became background noise of the room so I only really heard wheel motors. Also very impressive.

Final thoughts

I’m still shocked I got a proper full featured robot that doesn’t really look that much different than robots that cost 500€ and more. I was skeptical when buying, thinking it’s a scam of some sort, but the more I was inspecting the unit, the more shocked I was what an amazing deal I got here. It looks good, it’s built well, comes with enough spare parts to work for quite a while, battery access is simple and most importantly it seems to clean well too.

This is basically 0 minute impression and not exactly a full fledged review since it only did one cleaning run and I’ll have to use it for longer to see how it really works over time, but so far shockingly impressed. I mean, for freaking 45€ with free shipping! And because it shipped from warehouse from Spain, I had no customs or extra taxes. For 45 €. FOURTY FIVE EUROS! You can hardly get a good cordless handheld vacuum cleaner for this money and here I have a proper robot. Unreal experience this. If you have any questions, let me know and I’ll try to answer them if anyone is interested in this unit and managed to find it at similar insane price.

UPDATE 2020-07-15

Been using this robot for more than 1 month now and I’m even more impressed than in the beginning. And a bit scared for the future. Coz if this one dies one day, which one to buy then?

There is no way I’m gonna buy a robot with single side brush seeing how much wider scope dual brushes have in sweeping dust and dirt into middle of robot where it picks it all up. Dust bins on others, even iRobot look really cheap and clumsy to clean where this MR06 has amazing bin. You can take it out and when open you have easy access to any part so cleaning it is super easy.

Navigation is spectacular given it’s only using bumper switches and IR for navigation. It always seems to follow the same routine for scheduled cleaning. It either begins the cleaning by circling the entire room twice around the edges and then goes zig zag through entire room surface. Or in reverse order, starting with zig zag pattern and then finishing with around the edges path. There are other manual modes, but this seems to be the default for scheduled cleaning.

And with navigation, there is cleaning. And that is amazing as well. I don’t have any carpets (used to have one tiny and it actually cleaned it really well), just laminate flooring and even if I clean the filter and checking it after next cleaning and dust bin will have bunch of stuff in it. I used to vacuum the room with a cordless vacuum cleaner every day and sometimes even more times a day and it always looked clean “on the surface”. But after first few cleanings with the robot there was unusual dust and debris as well as few tiny dead bugs that I’ve never seen in the cordless one. Then I watched it how it’s cleaning and noticed it’s dual side brushes actually sweep super deep underneath the furniture. A furniture that’s just few millimeters above floor. Apparently it swept all this crap from underneath the furniture and packed it into the dust bin. There is no way I’d ever get under there with ANY vacuum cleaner, be it corded or cordless. But these side brushes did it as they are positioned super low coming from underneath the robot. Impressive.

Seeing how this robot is so amazing, I’m wondering if those costing 6x more can even be any better. And in what way. I could use 3 times a day schedule, morning, mid day and evening because there’s a lot of dust because of computer, but that would really be the only thing I miss. Instead mid day schedule is done automatically and I fire it up manually in morning and evening. I can’t think of a single other thing I’d want with the robot. Remote activation with phone? Maybeeeee? But if you have good scheduling, it’s frankly not really needed.

When time will arrive and I hope it won’t be soon, I’ll be looking at Midea robots again. This thing is freaking amazing and it totally hooked me into robotic cleaners. So convenient and thorough I only use the cordless one now to clean everything above floor where robot can’t clean 🙂

Hey Canonical, why such hard separation of Ubuntu and Kubuntu?

I’ve always been a Windows guy, but had a soft spot for Linux because it’s a viable alternative that has come a long way. And it’s perfectly free. And Ubuntu is probably a front runner here, being one of the most popular distros in existence today, excluding Android.

What is strange to me however is the whole Ubuntu and Kubuntu deal. And it’s a bit baffling actually. Debian is probably the most widely used Linux foundation and Ubuntu is the most popular distro within Debian family. But the desktop (interface) Ubuntu is running is such absolute trash that should be exterminated with orbital nukes.

It just wastes so much screen estate and is so incredibly clumsy for multitasking I have no idea how it can be a thing people actually use. It’s so incredibly bad, for real.

And here is the funny part. Till just few days ago I thought Kubuntu was a 3rd party fork of Ubuntu with KDE desktop instead of Gnome and I was generally avoiding it because I don’t like micro distros that are a fork of a fork of a fork etc. They tend to have crappy support and as a result crappy general experience. What I didn’t know is that Kubuntu is actually Canonical’s (makers of Ubuntu!) own fork of Ubuntu! The very maker of Ubuntu is the maker of Kubuntu as well!

That’s right. They get new releases at the exact same time, Ubuntu and Kubuntu are identical down to very last bit, except the desktop interface on top. Ubuntu runs Gnome and Kubuntu runs KDE.

I just don’t understand why Canonical is doing this extreme separation of both to a point people might think they are entirely different distros like I have. I just can’t understand why Canonical doesn’t list Ubuntu and Kubuntu on same webpage and just gives users option to pick between both types of desktop interfaces on same page instead of running two ENTIRELY separate entities on entirely separate webpages that hardly mention they are actually “sibling” distros and not “cousin” distros. And also making it ubundantly clear (see what I did there? 😉 ) that they are the same thing everywhere, so people know it right away instead of having to dig out this information across various Wiki pages. Coz only identification of them being related is mention of Canonical at the bottom of Kubuntu webpage. Something anyone can so easily miss.

It’s really a shame because Ubuntu is super popular and a great foundation, but Kubuntu is just a better experience thanks to KDE. It’s just weird why Canonical is pushing Kubuntu on the side when it’s actually a much better version of Ubuntu. Without any downsides of being a 3rd party fork of Ubuntu like many others…

Come on Canonical, give Kubuntu same love and endorse it more. A lot of other distros like Manjaro offer choice of Gnome or KDE on same webpage and you just pick whatever you like the most. Where with Ubuntu and Kubuntu, they are separated so hard you can’t even know they are related without doing some extensive info digging.

Is it really so hard to add “Don’t like the Gnome desktop interface? Here is our Ubuntu alternative named Kubuntu. Same thing, different interface”. And just point the link to Kubuntu page. Then do the same on Kubuntu webpage, just for Ubuntu. And make it clear they are sibling distros. It would greatly help the popularity instead of people who dislike moronic Gnome just turning away entirely. Like I have for so many years…

Ubuntu (Gnome desktop) – ubuntu.com

Kubuntu (KDE desktop) – kubuntu.org

Gigabyte, do you even test your broken AORUS Engine software?

I wanted to install AORUS Engine for my AORUS GTX 1080Ti and after installation, it just doesn’t run. At all.

So I checked event viewer and the damn thing is crashing because of itself. I thought my months old Windows install was getting dirty so I just installed it clean. Guess what, exact same result. It used to work fine, but now it’s just broken to a point it won’t even start anymore lmao. Get your shit together Gigabyte…

Full details:

Faulting application name: AORUS.exe, version: 1.5.9.0, time stamp: 0x5c94a430
Faulting module name: GLedApi.DLL, version: 1.0.0.1, time stamp: 0x5b2215bf
Exception code: 0xc0000005
Faulting process id: 0xfe8
Faulting application path: C:\Program Files (x86)\GIGABYTE\AORUS ENGINE\AORUS.exe
Faulting module path: C:\Program Files (x86)\GIGABYTE\AORUS ENGINE\GLedApi.DLL

EDIT 2019-04-08:

Tried version 1.60 that was just released. Same thing. Wouldn’t even start. Lets play a game how long it’ll take for Gigabyte to fix this shit…

Direct URL tracking of Royal Mail parcels

I’ve already posted a guide for DHL and UPS parcels here, but Royal Mail seems to be quite common in Europe so this will be helpful too…

To track Royal Mail parcels/packages directly using URL, just copy this to your browser or bookmark:

http://track2.royalmail.com/portal/rm/track?trackNumber=[TRACKING_NUMBER]

Just replace the [TRACKING_NUMBER] with the actual tracking number supplied to you by the store. I always store tracking number as bookmark so I can quickly check the status on my phone without having to manually open Royal Mail tracking page and copy&paste the tracking number in the field. This way it’s much faster and convenient.

Ditched Google for good. Entirely this time.

Several months ago I’ve ditched everything Google and avoided it like plague. Only thing still following me was Android. Sure it has several neat features, but user privacy sure as hell isn’t one of them.

And with phones, you really only have 3 options. Dumb phone, Android or iPhone. There is no in-between. Some people say “uh oh, use a different Android ROM without Google Apps. I’ve had a different ROM and my banking app was endlessly protesting because it was unlocked (but not rooted!). Besides, if you don’t use GooglePlay, you’re really using just a better feature phone. What’s even the point then? So, I’ve done something unthinkable. I’ve said in the past I’d NEVER EVER own anything made by Apple. And here we are, in 2019, I ate my own words, spit them out and bought iPhone XR.

I know I’m essentially just trading one big corporation for the other, but Google repeatedly disappointed me with their practices as well as with their MO of hoarding data like mad and not giving a single fuck about it. Where Apple, their efforts in regards to privacy show they actually care and that also shows not only internally, but also externally. Set “Location” to NOT ALLOWED and apps will respect that while still work. Where on GooglePlay, if you set that, most apps will just endlessly bitch about it and just blatantly refuse to work until you do even though they don’t need the damn location info at all to operate. And just having Location enabled reports everything to Google where they pinky promise not to use it in any way. Sure… Besides, Apple is selling products. Expensive ones, but they mostly make money with that. Google hands almost everything out for free. Guess how they make money. From YOU. So, that’s another aspect.

I’ve always protested Apple idiocies and boy iPhone has some of the dumbest things I’ve seen last 2 decades. But it also has quite some really neat things. I’ve had to escape Google and I just took a plunge and said to myself: “I’ll adapt if I’m forced to.” And I have. It’ll still take some time to figure it out entirely, but so far, I like the experience in general. And build quality is indeed premium. It just feels as good as much as I’ve paid for it. A lot. Sure, it’s still expensive, but at least I have a company behind it that at least on the outside gives a damn about user privacy and software support basically guaranteed for the next 5 years. Which is just a wishful thinking with Android, which absolutely sucks in this regard.

We’ll see how things unfold, because a decade ago I wouldn’t buy an Apple product. And back then I also never thought I’d be ditching Google with such joy a decade later…