ExpressVPN Review

My experience with ExpressVPN has been pleasant for the past 7 days. I share the account with my wife and daughter primarily for consuming media. But one pleasant surprise is that you get Youtube Picture-In-Picture functionality when connected to US servers, atleast on Android. This is a YouTube premium features as far as I known, but I am finding it pretty convenient that I have access to it without paying extra.

I paid $99uSD for a 15 month month subscription, and I feel I am getting my money’s worth. There are cheaper alternatives but the reality is you do get what you oay for, so I opted for ExpressVPN which has reasonable pricing with reasonable ly good service.

You can use my link here to signup so both you and I get an additional 30 days for free. You’d want to use the Opera browser with their free VPN service to signup since ExpressVPN has different offers depending on your location.

A Sociopaths’ take on the ECQ for SARS-COV-2

We’re in the tail-end of week 6 of the Enhanced Community Quarantine implemented by the national government last March 15, 2020. Apart from the increased difficulty getting food and other “necessities“, not much has changed from our way of life. In actuality, it improved our quality of life; Air quality is better, noise pollution has gone down and our monthly expenditure has gone done. But I feel this is just the calm before the storm which majority of people don’t seem to notice. Regardless, the best course of action is to take the life lessons / reminders this experience has enlightened me with:

Privacy is freedom: The less people and the internet knows about you, the less people you’ll have trying to stick you with their unsolicited opinions up your ass because they have too much up theirs. It also pays to have less competition in this rat race we’re currently in.

It’s always your fault: Regardless of what policies governments and institutions institute, or decisions other people make for you, it’s you who’ll have to live with the consequences not them.

Murphy’s Law: “If something can go wrong, it will.” I’m already asking myself how I can better prepare for the next pandemic, let’s face it, we know it’s gonna happen again.

Stay away from social media:  “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience” — Mark Twain

Granny still knows best: Rule #1: The Boss is always right. Rule #2: if the Boss is wrong, read Rule #1.

 

Live desktop summer feels

It’s been years since I last played with my desktop. Since PC hardware has grown by leaps and bounds since I last tried, I figured to give it a shot. Inspired by the Google Pixel live wallpaper I use this Ocean weather theme for Rain Wallpaper, an app you can find on Steam. Another theme on my rotation is this Elegant weather theme I found on DeviantArt.

Deploying a WordPress plugin repo on github to WordPress on WIndows

I never learned how to use Subversion which is why publishing my work on WordPress becomes such a chore. Thankfully, I found a script that can deploy a local Git repository to WordPress.org. This script assumes you have the following setup and working in your Windows environment already:

  • SVN, in this case I use TortoiseSVN
  • GIT, I use the GIT-SCM and Github Windows client
  • Already have a WordPress.org account and existing repository for your project

The script is originally from GaryJones from github which I modified to suit my needs. Simply put the script in the repository folder and change out the CHANGE_ME values before running the script.

You have the option to set the path of the local repository within the script or in the prompt, what I prefer to do is to just drop the script in the working directory and run the script there.

 

 

Subaru WRX, an end to a story

I finally got a Subaru WRX, an aspiration of mine since cr I was in grade school watching WRC on AXN. I opted to get a used low mileage (29,000km), slightly modified one for half the cost of a brand new current year model. There ia significant riak in getting uaed cars but with a little luck and a lot of research, there are pretty big savings to be had. Thankfully my prudence paid off and I got a good one for a reasonable price. The car already had most if not all the modifications i wanted:

  • Invidia Q300 full exhaust
  • STI brembo brakes
  • STI 18″ wheels
  • Mishimoto Cold Air intake
  • Tuned to a modest 300 hrsprs

All i needed to do was some basic maintenance stuff to the cat:

  • Change all fluids, oil, coolant etc
  • Replaced all brake pads
  • Replaced all filters
  • Check tires and alignment
  • Replaced tint
  • Changed ownership and renewed registration for the year

All in all, it costed me half of what a new WRX goes for in today’s market, which is a good deal in my book especially if you count the cost of the modifications done already.

I should be feeling elated that I got the car I wanted for so long at a good price yet I can’t help but feel this empty disappointed feeling. I am happy I achieved the goal I set out to get, I just had this expectation that it would bring greater satisfaction. I should’ve paid more attention to the journey and not the destination now that I can reflect on it. It is a sexy car and I am glad I got it. The greater takeaway for me in this experience is that I shouldn’t hinge my happiness or expectation of happiness based on material things. It’s so cliche but so true at the same time… experience is still the best teacher.

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.