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See more information on my gadgets at gadgeteer.co.za/gadgets.
Oura Ring
Oura Ring

I got this ring on 3 April 2020. It focusses on baseline and trending of overall health measured during sleep (a controlled environment without external stimuli). It uses infrared light to penetrate deeper than green light on most wrist activity trackers, and will there also report on temperature as well as heart rate variations.

It's claim to fame is not "live exercise" tracking as it has no display and does not actually give any summary of specific exercises like the Fitbiot and similar trackers give. It is literally the size of a normal ring so for those who do not like wearing wrist trackers and are more interested in their overall health (or illness) then the Oura Ring could be a good bet. It is about the price of an Apple watch but this ring does work with Android phones, which the Apple watch does not. There is also a case made for its measurement on the underside of the finger being more accurate than from the top of a wrist (hospitals connect heart rate sensors to the finger too). More about its sensors at https://ouraring.com/get-to-know-oura. Some validation studies can also been seen at https://ouraring.com/oura-validation-psg.

UCSF Health and Oura are teaming up to study whether Oura can provide signals that predict COVID-19 illness symptoms. Oura is inviting all users to join the study.

The photos in this album will be documenting what I'm observing about the ring, and also how it compares to my Fitbit Charge 2.

UPDATE 9 Apr 2020: I have been monitoring the first week's battery life and these are my observations: On the 6th calendar day at lunch time Wed 8th April (started lunch time Fri 3rd April) after 5 days of actual usage, the battery warning came on at 25% remaining capacity. This indicates about 15% used per 24 hours. About 11 hours later at 24:00 Wed bedtime it had dropped to 24%. Next morning at 9am Thurs 9th it was at 9% so it does use more at night while in sleep mode. By 13:07 it was down to 7% when I put it on charge. It was fully charged after one hour and 31 minutes. For exercise monitoring I attempted to run a 30 minute "Body Status" check but it reported problems from excessive hand movement so is intended for meditation and no-movement checking really.

UPDATE 22 April 2020: A video on the weekly report that comes through the mobile app - see https://youtu.be/YgZ9hGBF8-M.

UPDATE 3 May 2020: A video on how the correlation trend data works at https://youtu.be/Fmm0Ipsb3Ao.

 

Nextcloud Collaboration File Hosting Suite
Nextcloud Collaboration File Hosting Suite

The self-hosted productivity platform that keeps you in control - you can host it on your own VPS or server, or pay for it as a hosted service.

Share and collaborate on documents, send and receive email, manage your calendar and have video chats without data leaks. As fully on-premises solution, Nextcloud Hub provides the benefits of online collaboration without the compliance and security risks.

The data is fully under your own control as the administrator and you can set two factor authentication, file encryption, connectivity permissions to any external networks, and who may share what with who on your hosting, space quotas. There are lots of additional tools modules that the administrator can activate or hide.

Collaboration is centered around documents, calendars, contacts, photos, music, mind mapping, todos, video chat, password and bookmark management, home budget sharing, notes, polls, kanboard, and much more. There are client apps for users to sync their data (like DropBox) to Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS and Android devices. WebDAV shares can be setup for users to have any app sync to Nextcloud for calendar, contacts, etc. A drive mapping can be done from a desktop OS to quickly open Nextcloud folders as if they were a folder on a local computer.

SKYRC MC3000 Battery Charger and Analyser
SKYRC MC3000 Battery Charger and Analyser

I have been evaluating getting a good universal battery charger that also does refreshing and analysing. The reason is that if rechargeable batteries are well serviced they are good for 1,000 recharges (Eneloops for 2,100) and this is very economical if you consider they cost about 3x the price of single use alkalines. I was very close to buying the Maha Powerex C9000 which would have done all I needed, but I noticed this SKYRC that had the addition of firmware upgrades (future proof), Bluetooth, and a PC link. It was double the price but I did not want to upgrade again a year later, so I bit the bullet.

After two days I can say I'm quite impressed and the charger does all it said it would do apart from a few minor quirks:

1. I don't see the on-device diagram drawing view at all (but I can get better than that off the PC app).

2. PC works fine with Windows but the USB port is just not visible on Linux or Virtualbox Windows (more time on this and I may get it to work as I see there is a DataExport app that works on three OSs indicating this should work).

3. By default a battery refresh cuts off after 2 hours (not long enough) or at the stated capacity you have set. So you at least want to disable the time cut-out otherwise the refresh won't complete.

4. At one point my phone would not connect via Bluetooth but the fault was with the phone - worked after I rebooted the phone. Bluetooth LED stays off, and lights up only when phone connects to it.

A good detailed review of this charger can be found at https://lygte-info.dk/review/Review Charger SkyRC MC3000 UK.html and I have a YouTube playlist with more relevant info about smart chargers and tests on rechargeable batteries at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLdSTEdM8Pkf34XflMqmTfXgx-1rhAHFb9.

An interesting alternative is at Banggood with a video review for around $56. Not quite as advanced and is limited in cell size but pretty good for half the cost - https://www.banggood.com/ISDT-C4-8A-Touch-Screen-Smart-Battery-Charger-With-USB-Output-For-18650-26650-AA-AAA-Battery-p-1248735.html?utm_source=Youtube&utm_medium=cussku&utm_campaign=672526_1248735&utm_content=1081&ID=224&cur_warehouse=CN.

Kindle Oasis Reader
Kindle Oasis Reader

New Kindle Oasis 10th generation ereader arrived 4 Dec 2019. I bought it on the Black Friday Special so got 30% off. It is an upgrade to my Kindle Paperwhite 2 (6th edition). So key differences are:

* 7" screen over the 6" Paperwhite

* 8GB RAM over 4GB RAM

* Auto page orientation

* Page turn buttons

* Waterproof

* Bluetooth audio

* More LEDs but also a warmer colour can be set

* 300 ppi over 212 ppi resolution

 

BlitzWorld Earbuds
BlitzWorld Earbuds

My new earbuds arrived today and although I've not had enough time to test out the playtime it is rated for about 3 hours continuous playtime versus my Airpod's 5 hours. I only use one earbud at a time so 6 hours is more than I need (others listening to stereo music may have a concern about the 3 hours). Price was $40 via Banggood (shipping from China to South Africa was 9 calendar days) vs about $200 for the Airpods.

They fit snugly and I notice if I shake my head they don't come loose whilst the Airpods would work slightly loose if I'm walking or moving my jaw a lot. The Airpods come in one press-in size (Steve knows best!) whilst the BlitzWorld's come with a number of different size rubber pads that can be fitted (looks like they also include quite a few spare ones).

Soundwise my hearing is no longer so sharp and I listen to audio podcasts so it sounds fine but I should still do a proper stereo test with music.

For controls, the Airpods have a super convenient double-tap to do play/pause but that's all it does with Android, whilst these earbuds have a small press button which you have to get used to pressing gently. But the button does do Play/Pause with a single press, a double press gives you Siri or Google Assistant, and a longer press seems to jump forward about 15 secs of playtime. With both earbuds, and listening to music, a long press on the right one will skip forward to the next song whilst the left one will skip backwards (with my podcast player it is skipping fast forward and back to the seconds I had preset in the player). Answering a phone call is a quick press whilst it is ringing (or double press to reject the call) and a single press to hang up.

While the Airpods case has to be opened and only shows a single status light for green or amber (one full charge left) these earbuds have four green LED status which indicates the percentage charge for the case. It also, therefore, gives an indication of how far its charging process is, and you can see the LED status of each earbud through the closed case (blue meaning charged and red meaning it is still charging - each shows separately). On the phone side Android did not show the Airpod battery status at all by default (I know Mac and iOS do this fine) and I made use of a 3rd party app to archive this which it did though a popup on the screen and not in the notification menu. With these earbuds, I'm seeing the charge percentage clearly in the notification menu as well as the Bluetooth settings screen.

But here is the slight caveat, when both earbuds are in the ear (stereo) it seems the left earbud syncs to the right one and only shows the right earbud's battery level. I'm also reading that it may be that the left one syncs to the right earbud and this is why I don't see the battery level of both (only shows right side), and could mean that stereo sound is not streaming over two Bluetooth channels to both earbuds simultaneously... Pairing though is absolutely seamless and quick, whilst the Airpods often needed to be selected in the Bluetooth menu (with Android). In summary, pairing is perfect, but battery level in stereo mode is not showing the earbuds independently and this daisy-chained connection in stereo could be less than ideal for music (Would anyone notice any lag if signals travel at the speed of light?). Bluetooth 5 is also faster and smooth without any stuttering. Again for me using them in mono mode I see the battery level of whichever one I'm using so I have no issues at all.

So in conclusion apart from a bit less battery capacity and the daisy-chaining for connectivity my use case is suited fine for these earbuds at 25% of the cost of Airpods and I won't be experiencing any downsides. There are a number of true wireless earbuds at around $200 (such as the Sony too) that will definitely give very good sound and better battery life, but when I consider my use case and the fact that batteries don't last very long, this price point seems to work for me.

I'll do a follow up in a month or so after some real-world use and try some music out too to see if I detect any issues with the daisy-chaining.

Kanban Comparison
Kanban Comparison

Comparing free and open source Kanboard and Wekan self-hosted alternatives to Trello for kanban functionality

Whilst the free version of Trello has some really nice features along with the slickest GUI on the desktop as well as mobile, what if you want a securely in-house hosted and scalable alternative? One thing you have to accept is you're not quite going to get that same interface especially when it comes to mobile, but there is still rich functionality to be found in alternative products.

The two strongest contenders I found based on similarity of looks and features, as well as ease of installation, were Wekan and Kanboard. KanbanFlow was a strong contender but is similar to Trello in terms of free/priced model and was not open source, and Rastyaboard was another strong contender but is more open core, and needs a request to get it. Both of these contenders had good mobile app support though.

But I was looking for freedom, ease of installation, and features such as mobile access/app, checklists/subtasks, horizontal swimlanes, filters, recurring/repeating tasks, relations between tasks, attachments, activity history, import from Trello and CSV/JSON, Gantt, group assignments, voting, and custom fields. I am looking for it to be used in an office and not for dedicated agile development etc (Taiga is better for that).

The long and short of it though is that Kanboard wins hands down on depth and breadth of functionality (IMHO). It has numerous extra plugins that extend its functionality even further (like adding instant chat, theming, voting, and notifications to external messaging services such as Telegram, Slack, Mattermost, Rocketchat, Zulip, Signal, and more). It has an Android app. Some other nice touches are optional RSS feeds and iCal feeds (latter for inclusion in a remote calendar) for projects and very powerful rules that can be set up (change card colours, notifications, roles, etc that can be triggered by card movements as well as time). It can even restrict a role to just creating and editing cards in a single column/list. Kanboard has way more functionality around due dates than Wekan has, and its notifications extend past just e-mail to Slack, Telegram, Signal and a few other services.

Kanboard has categories with colours (Wekan calls them labels) and columns (where Wekan calls them lists). Already when creating a card on Kanboard you'll notice extra features such as the ability to assign to a group, a priority, original estimate hours, time spent, complexity and a reference field. But on editing a card the standard click on a Kanboard card opens a new detailed page full of options for the card - if you want to do a high-level basic card edit without leaving the board you need to click on the top left of the card and then on the drop-down menu and click 'Edit the Task' (Wekan defaults to the easy edit option). In Kanboard you won't find checklists in the basic task edit screen and you'll need to go to the detailed card/task view. Kanboard only has subtasks (no checklists as well as subtasks) but each subtask can have its own owner, estimated time and due date set. A timer can run separately for each task, and they can optionally be migrated to their own card task. It also has an option to create an automatic re-occurrence (repeats) of a card (based on closure or movement to another column/list with basic rules to set a new action date).

Kanboard's linkages to another existing task (internal link) allow relationships such as relates to, is blocked by, duplicate of, child of, parent of, milestone of, is fixed by (and custom ones can be added). It will search for cards on the current board or other boards. Kanboard can sort cards by due date and also has an advanced filter (with an editable assumption for cards without a due date). It also has a pre-built list of typical queries around due dates (like overdue), tasks not assigned, as well as by person and category. Advanced search has a more informative help and can include parameters like creation date, completion date range, recently modified (useful to see who is updating or not), by tag, reference field, by colour, etc. Custom search filters can be created and shared with all project team members.

Kanboard's views are easily seen and selected from the horizontal menu above the tasks and choices are Overview, Board (columns), List (tabular list), Gantt, and Calendar.

For status updates, Kanboard has very nice functionality to e-mail task details straight out, or to convert a list of all open tasks with details to a PDF file. It also has an analytics view with charts showing task distribution, user repartition, cumulative flow diagram, burndown chart, lead and cycle time, and estimated vs actual time (of course you need to be actively using the timer functions then). There is also a plugin that shows a diagram view of task relationships but I'm seeing a blank image (as some others have reported) so need to sort that out.

With Wekan as the other option, the UI is really much slicker and on par with Trello. It has checklists (for some reason you can have multiple named checklists) as well as subtasks (creates separate cards for them but pulls through no progress status) per card. Wekan's multi-selection feature will filter by label, assignee or manual selection, and will carry out move or archiving actions. Wekan also has an advanced filter which you can enter conditions into but it is not easy for a novice and I could not even get it to filter on 'due date'.

Wekan's views will rotate through card list view, swimlanes, and calendar views. One odd thing about its calendar view is if a card has no end date it won't show in the calendar (so you may have to consider using end date as the due date otherwise it won't show there). Wekan has rules that will trigger on cards added to list/swimlane, moved to/from/archived, and on labels for added or removed, members added or removed, attachments added or removed, checklists added or removed or completed (even for specific items or named checklists). The actions that can be triggered include moving a card to top/bottom of a list, archiving a card, adding a swimlane, creating a new card in a list (could create a new duplicate as a conditional repeating task), add/removing a label, add/remove a member, set colour of card, add a checklist, check off all items on checklist, add checklist with defined items, send an e-mail.

Both allow named colour labels and the attachment of documents and images (latter can be chosen to appear in the card itself as a cover image, so an urgent image can be used as a sticker). Wekan will allow multiple labels per card (Kanboard only one but Kanboard could use groups) and can copy a named checklist to multiple other cards. Wekan also allows the whole card to easily have a colour set for its background. Both allow for markdown editing and the addition of multiple custom fields per card.

Regarding Trello imports, again Wekan is the slickest one with the option offered straight up as you create a new project. Wekan imported everything very well including task status updates, colours, dates, etc and even offered to map Trello team members to members in Wekan. With Kanboard there were two options one of which was an offline script with Trello API details etc required (it created a project with columns but I could not see any tasks), and the second easier option was a 3rd party plugin called TrelloJSON2Kanboard (to use it then go to My Dashboard view and top right of the menu bar is 'Import Trello JSON' which also did a good job but did not offer to map to existing members if I recall correctly).

The mobile side is a bit dismal... out of the two Kanboard has an Android app (crashes on my Android Q phone and on my tablet it only wanted an https address and I'd not set up SSL yet). Both render on mobile though but one worry with Wekan is that it is too easy when clicking to select the project that you click on "archive project" and it disappears, and when in the board view if you don't touch sharply on a column it tends to slide that columns order (not serious, but bit messy). That said Wekan does render the card view nicely and moving the card is fairly easy via the menu (neither supports drag-and-drop in mobile view but Wekan will let you drag a card up and down within the same list). Kanboard shows an "all columns" view of cards but moving a card is a bit trickier as Kanboard's complex menus make it a bit more difficult. It's basic card edit (via drop-down menu is OK but again not as good GUI as Wekan) and its full card edit is "busy"... Wekan definitely wins on a better mobile browser experience. I do need to test the Kanboard mobile app properly though and it looks like Wekan is working on publishing apps.

This overview does no real justice to either application but certainly, with Kanboard the depth of features boggles the mind. If you want something lighter and very Trello like then Wekan could be the option but if you are a data junky, want to ensure lots more detail and are not a fan of pretty material design then Kanboard could be your option. Neither are suited to heavy mobile app usage from what I can see - Wekan is reasonably usable, and Kanboard's Android app still needs to be tested by they have no iOS app.

There is a public view of my Kanboard at http://kanboard.gadgeteerza.co.za/?controller=BoardViewController&action=readonly&token=8a1283532a47257d5e39755b56bb1453854a165687febe5a61e907693641
Kanboard plugins can be seen at https://kanboard.org/plugins.html

TicWatch Pro
TicWatch Pro
Received this watch today to replace my LG Watch Sport which has it's very expensive (with antennas built-in) band. The TicWatch's claim to fame is its two screens, where the Essential Mode one could power the watch for 30 days. It has easily swappable bands too.
Ham Radio
Ham Radio

A new hobby I started around Octoberr 2018. I was on CB radio many years ago but ham radio fulfils a more global as well as community function not only for emergemcies and events but also for general "ragchewing" around the globe. I'm aiming to pass my license in May 2019.

iPhone
Android Phone and Tablet
Android Phone and Tablet
Screenshots of various apps on my Google Android OS phone.
Garmin Nuvi 3790T
Garmin Nuvi 3790T
My latest GPS with free live traffic, voice command control, 3D terrein, etc.
Hubzilla Social Network
Hubzilla Social Network
Showing some screenshots from a Facebook alternative social network called Hubzilla. You can view my stream there at https://hub.opensocial.africa/channel/danie.
New LG 3D TV and Blu-ray Player
New LG 3D TV and Blu-ray Player
I bought a LG LW6510 3D LED TV recently and have taken a few photos to show some of the functionality it offers along with the LG Blu-ray player. My review is at plus.google.com/u/0/photos/112580063909169692065/albums/5....
Tim Leatherman at Cape Union Mart
Tim Leatherman at Cape Union Mart
Tim Leatherman was at Cape Union Mart today to autograph knives and explain how he founded his company.
Linux Mint 12 64-Bit Installation
Linux Mint 12 64-Bit Installation
Upgraded from 32-bit to 64-bit Linux Mint 12 today mainly because I could not access my full 4GB of RAM with the 32-bit OS.... turns out it was well worth it as my Virtualbox is faster and so are file copies at about 80MB/sec. Here are some photos to show you what the installation process looks like...

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