Crossing lines

I can vividly remember certain points in the past where a palpable change happened and I knew I crossed a point of no return… yesterday was one of those days. Some events are inevitable despite our efforts to delay them; In my experience, the best way to handle them is head on. I understand that change is a constant, and I have learned to make the best of what I have while I have it. I wish I had more time, but I am thankful for what I got. I feel sad that a chapter of my life closed but excited at the same time, starting a new journey. I just can’t get used to this feeling of subtle shifts in relationships that drastically alter the course of your life and the people around you.

If I were being honest with myself, I’d say I was happy with the status quo and kind of gotten complaisant, but hind-sight is always 20-20 I guess. I have little to no control over the people and situations around me; All I have control over are my actions and how I chose to proceed from here. It is with a heavy heart that I look fondly back into the past and optimistically look towards the future.

To new, adventures!

Lazada return process and experience

TLDR: Lazada doesn’t really handle returns/refunds, it is up to  you and the seller to reach an agreement on where or not you get a refund or replacement.

My first return / refund experience was smooth, I mailed back the item, got the funds in my wallet then withdrew them via LBC remittance. The entire process took 5 days from processing the refund to withdrawing the funds, which was a pleasant experience considering that it was from a seller from China (I had my doubts). I wasn’t lucky the second time around; which is kind of ironic being it was from a local seller, less than an hour’s drive from my location.

I purchased an item from a local seller from Taguig on July 1st, and got the item on the 3rd. The item was faulty and I immediately requested a return from Lazada on the same day. At this stage, the seller has 5 days to reply/respond to your return, if not lazada will automatically process the return for shipping. I shipped the item back on the 8th, since the seller wasn’t responsive. But the item failed to reach the seller since LBC was unable to deliver to to the seller’s listed address on Lazada; so So 4 days later, on the 12th, the item was sent overto the Lazada warehouse.

After numerous follow ups to Lazada via their customer care phone line (02)795-8900 and email support at CSPH@care.lazada.com, I was informed via their phone support that Lazada has a 20 day period for shipping and sorting from the date of shipment, but cannot guarantee what will happen once that time has elapsed. All they can say is that they will “escalate” the issue to the appropriate team; then reiterate that I get in touch with the seller.

Now I am left to wait for the seller to receive the item and whether or not they will actually refund my money. Note that a refund isn’t guaranteed even though the seller receives the shipment, it is still under their digression whether or not they will refund you or send you a replacement. Lazada can will only escalate the request to a dispute if you don’t get a refund or replacement… which basically amounts to nothing. Don’t expect any buyer protection from them.

Even though Lazada states that it is “Fulfilled by Lazada” it is still up to you to get in touch with the seller for after-sales support. They only act as a middle-man advertising platform. Do no expect them to give any credible after-sales support on behalf of their sellers. Thankfully, this isn’t a big issue in my experience as the item I bought was relatively inexpensive; though I must admit that I wouldn’t be keen on patronizing their services in the future after this experience. I would rather buy directly from the seller and cut the middle-man all together.

Remembering the strong

The strength embodied by the truly strong transcends their life and is passed on to the people who allowed themselves to be swept by their example. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be guided by such a person through huge boulders and hard places; Perhaps more than I will every realize until it is my time to pay it forward.

Enough time has passed mourning your passing, and it’s time to stop fucking around with half measures.I’ll admit I was scared, I still am, but you didn’t raise a coward.. you were anything but.

You will never be forgotten in my house which you help me build. I will let my actions show my appreciation for your love, just like how you showed me, I love you.

Head up, chin down, and soldier on.

 

HorribleSubs batch downloads

HorribleSubs took down their batch torrent section after their site update last year. Which made it cumbersome to manually download each and every magnet link for the shows I want to get. Thankfully, there’s this Chorme extensions: HorribleSubs Downloader which lets you copy all the magnet links to your clipboard for a particular resurrection e.g. 1080p, 720p, or 480p on each series page. After that, it’s just a matter of adding the magnet links to your torrent client, qBitorrent in my case.

Now, it’s time to catch up on my Anime shows 🙂

7.25L of awesome

After being on the AMD Ryzen platform for 18 months, I decided to go back to Intel & NVidia. Yes they present tremendous value in terms of hardware but I find Intel/NVidia to be more stable in terms of day to day operations and overall more efficient in thermals and power consumption. But I want to highlight the Dan A4 SFX ITX enclosure that can house all these hardware:

  • Intel i9 9900K
  • G Skill Trident Z 2x16gbgb 3200 DDR4
  • Asus Strix Z390-i
  • Gigabyte GTX 1070
  • Corsair SF600 SFX PSU
  • Corsair H80 AIO
  • Dan A4 SFX case
  • …and I managed to fit 2x 2.5 drives and 2 M.2 drives 🙂


Apart from the case, all the parts are off-the-shelf hardware you can purchase at reputable resellers. I had to go with an AIO to cool the 125W TDP 9900k since the Noctua L9i/a isn’t rated for my CPU. I can opt to get a 65TDP part and use a full length GPU but I have more CPU intensive workloads and a GTX1070/1080 or even an RTX2070 is more than enough for me. That and the prices for new GPU’s are just banana’s! It’s really not worth buying new GPU’s now a days, I’ll probably hop on the RTX / Navi hype train when a new architecture is released and the prices of those parts drop.

Too old to code …for bread

I define old relative to my stay in the freelance service sector space for about 2 decades now. I feel that I have overstayed my welcome and it is time to move on to other interests. The primary motivating factor for me is that I don’t find fulfillment in the work I do anymore. Not to mention the compensation relative to the value you’ll have to provide isn’t worth it in most cases… You barely break even in most cases. I still want to code, just not for my bread and butter anymore.

I like creating things, making concepts into working solutions for like minded individuals. But in this age of subsidized, instant gratification of turn-key solutions by companies; More and more people don’t see the value in investing in an idea or concept. Which in turn means less potential clients for us small, boutique service providers, who consequently have to compete against each other for this shrinking resource. I can’t blame people for wanting to get the best bang for their back but at the same time you can’t milk the cow dry and expect more milk in the future. This juxtaposition has led me to be burned out and I can’t help but think that my industry is slowly regressing into monopolized per-packaged everything.

I used to be idealistic, thinking I can make a living off of my passion. Which I did for a time, Sadly all good things come to an end. I have reached the conclusion that I will need to separate the things I do for pleasure and business. I don’t want to go into the economics of things, since there are too many variables. My only gripe is the double standard of of the industry of wanting to pay less for more. Taking advantage of the vicious cycle of peddling low paying jobs to those who have no choice but to take them. This is a common practice in a lot of industries, and I understand that it’s a product of market forces. I have nothing against the people who partake in this practice, that’s their hustle and I respect that. I’ve been there. All I am saying is that I don’t want to be part of that anymore. I want to provide value to my environment and community, and be able to look back and have personal pride in my contributions.

It is still an idealistic undertaking, but I don’t wanna partake in any rat race. I simply want to stay in my lane, do things in my pace and enjoy the journey and not stress about the destination. I am thankful that my tenure in the industry has afforded me the opportunity to make this choice; I wish the same for you, who is in a similar predicament.

Re-building my Playstation, NES, SNES & Arcade classic console

Following the disappointment that was the PlayStation Classic Console, which I was totally set on buying; I decided to re-build one myself. I really wanted to have one for nostalgia and to revisit Resident Evil 2 before I play the remastered version on the PS4 next year… unfortunately the overwhelming negative reviews knock some sense into me. So After window shopping on Lazada and Shopee, I ended up with a cheaper yet more capable system. Here’s a quick rundown

  • Raspberry P 3i Model B plus : 2,349.75 PHP (Lazada)
  • Raspberry Pi Official 2.5A wall charger : 374.75 PHP (Lazada)
  • Raspberry Pi fan and Heatsinks : 179 PHP (Lazada)
  • Retroflag NESPI Case+ (with safe shutdown/reset) : 1,089 PHP (Lazada)
  • Retroflag SNES Wired game controllers 2 pcs. : 1,424 PHP (Shopee)

This brings me to a total of 5416.50 PHP which is still cheaper by 1,000 PHP compared to the PlayStation Classic which as of the time of writing retails at 6,500 PHP locally. I didn’t buy a micro SD card since i got a lot laying around, but the cost can be easily swapped out with the fan and heatsink which were optional. I primarily use an XBox One controller with this but I purchased 2 wired controller for visitors and/or kids who wanna play.

I opted to get the Retroflag NESPI Case+ primarily because it had the safe Shutdown and Reset functionality which works with Retropie 4.4. It also helped that it looked and functioned almost the same as the Original NES Classic from Nintendo. In order to make the buttons on the NESPI Case+ work, you’ll need to install a script on GIThub:

In order for the script to work, you’ll need to turn a switch to “ON” on the NESPI Cae PCB as shown in the upper left corner of the photo below. The PCB also has a fan header you can use to attach a fan to the case. I  attached one to mine along with some heatsinks to help with thermal performance.

I used this guide I found on reddit to build Non-merged rom-set for Final Burn Alpha and load most of the games I played as a kid.

Once everything is put together, it looks identical to the NES Mini.

Salsa Cutthroat 2019 review

TLDR: It is basically a mountain bike with drop bars… and it’s awesome!

I recently got myself the Salsa Cutthroat 2019 with the Apex build kit. I would’ve wanted to opt for the Force 1 build kit but they didn’t offer the frameset in black, so I had to swap out some parts:

  • Replaced Apex groupset with a Force 1 groupset with hydraulic brakes.
  • Replaced the WTB wheels with the DT Swiss CR1600 Spline
  • Replaced the 18T star ratchet with a 54T star ratchet on the DT Swiss 350 Hub
  • Replaced the PG-1130 cassette with an XG-1180 10-42 cassette
  • Replaced the WTB saddle with a Brooks C17 carved
  • Replaced the Truvativ crankset with a Race Face Next R crankset 36T
  • Replaced the PC1110 chain with a KMC DLC11 chain
  • Replaced the aluminum seatpost and CowChipper drop bar with Carbon versions
  • Added a SpurCycle bell
  • Added One Up Components Pump and EDC tool combo

…All compatible parts went to my wife’s Salsa Journeyman bike to maximize the spare parts.

I basically wanted to emulate the Force 1 build on the black frame which ended up costing a bit more than the stock Force 1 build kit. But it’s all good since I got to know the bike more by replacing the components. I could also offset the cost by selling the parts I swapped out.

The bike has a carbon frame and fork with 29″/700c wheels which can’t be interchanged with 27.5/650b wheels. You can swap out the rigid fork with a suspension fork though, or get the build kit with a Rockshox Reba fork. But what really sold me on the bike was it’s versatility. You can run it light without any load, roughly 9kg with pedals; or you can use it for touring with frame packs and still keep the bike weight relatively low. The ride is surprisingly supple and compliant without having any active suspension. The small size frame also fits me just right at 5’6″ and still allowing me to stand-over the frame with both my feet planted on the ground. There are a lot of things I really like about the bike which makes up for the few things I dislike. Here are the high’s and low’s of the bikes as I see it:

What I like:
  • Lots of mounts on the frame and fork for bottle cages and racks.
  • Availability of bike specific frame packs and bags. Salsa bags have a similar build quality to Ortlieb bags which I also like.
  • Versatile bike for bikepacking or gravel grinding. You can also swap out the drop bars and build it up as a straight hard-tail.
  • Low maintenance, with no active suspension. The rear wheel is easily removed thanks to the clutch read derailleur from SRAM and almost tool less disassembly of the DT Swiss 350 Hub
  • The black on Black version of the bike complements their camo-green frame packs really well.
I dislike:
  • No 27.5/650b wheel support
  • Expensive. You can build
  • not much information like reviews and long term ownership on the bike and brand

To sum it up, it’s a niche bike for people who want something specific and a bit unique. It’s a polarizing take on bike builds where you’ll either dig it or pass on it which suites me just fine. If you’re into adventure riding or bike packing but want to do some light trails or single track then I can’t think of any better bike than this, especially something that’s available in the Philippines. If you can swing the heavy price tag then I’d say go for it, you won’t regret it.