OS Quest Trail Log #80: Long Overdue Edition

I’ve dusted off the cobwebs accumulating on this site and have an update of recent activity.

A comic alarm clock ringing

I expected to upgrade my Surface RT on Saturday. I figured any initial rush would be over and it should be smooth. I’m using a Microsoft OS on Microsoft hardware, how many problems could there be? Well, apparently enough, either in quantity or impact, that Microsoft pulled the Windows 8.1 upgrade for Windows RT by the time I got around to it Saturday morning. I’m in no rush to upgrade my desktop and didn’t want to lose the PC for the weekend in the event I had problems. I may try it Sunday night, but for now I’ve yet to see Windows 8.1

So for now I have my recovery disks and backups and I’ll wait for the Windows 8.1 RT upgrade to return. This is disappointing.

Synology

I’ve been running DSM 4.3 since the beta and installed the final released as soon as it was available on August 27th. There’s been three bug-fix updates since it’s release, the latest on October 15th. The second one fixed an issue I was having with photo thumbnails, but I was still having sporadic performance issues on my DS212+. So I ended up re-installing from scratch. I’d been having performance issues since the beta. most due to a thumbnail generation problem. But the performance problems had continued, just with different processes using the cpu. The re-install resolved those issues. I figure the problem goes back to the beta software.

On my DS1511+, which never had the beta software, the update brought an annoying problem. I use rsync to backup this web server to the DS1511+. The destination is an encrypted file share on the Synology NAS. Since the upgrade the copy has failed. It’s was problematic to troubleshoot since the error would occur at different times in the copy process, although more often at the initial connection. I finally found simply dropping and remounting the share resolved the problems. Keeping a encrypted volume mounted when not needed probably isn’t the best security practice, so I just mount it before each backup rather than look for another solution.

I use Video Station on my DS 212+ and this is also being finicky, at least on my Mac. It doesn’t play some of the larger video files, such as movies. No error, it opens but never plays. It’s fine on my Windows PC and shorter videos, such as TV episodes, play fine. I say shorter, because it doesn’t seem to be related to file size. Large Blu-Ray rips of TV episodes play fine while smaller DVD movie rips have the issue. But VLC plays fine on the Mac so there’s a work around.

I’ve gotten used to Photo Station 6 but can’t say I like it. Photo Station 5 can be installed although I’ve avoided going back to that. I figure it’s only a matter of time before I’m forced to 6. I don’t like the iOS apps, whether it’s Photo Station 5 or 6 on the back end. I like the Android version much better.

Phones

I couldn’t bring myself to use my Windows Phone as my daily driver. The lack of a good podcast app was a killer although not the only reason. I use the Audible app and like it more than the iOS Audible app but it’s buggy. It’s gotten better but it can kill my battery in hours if I pause playing and fail to “back” all the way out of the app. But, I could listen for hours without much impact on the battery. I’ve found other audio apps to be buggy too so I wonder if there’s a inherent problem in the OS or it’s just hard to program for.

I love the app switching model, yet I never have more than 3 or 4 apps in the history that I can switch to so I never know what I’ll find in the list. I also find the back button itself confusing – will it bring me back in the app or out of the app?

So I upgraded my iPhone 4S to the iPhone 5S. I find the 5S to also be buggy, some of the bugs were on my iPhone 4S with iOS7. A lot of apps crash occasionally. Waze crashes every time I resume it, without fail. Other crash randomly. I been forced to power off and on the phone twice in the two weeks I’ve had it in order to restore stability. I like it, although it does have it’s flaws.

Website

I’m hoping to clear out the cobwebs and get this website active again. I’m consider a redesign to simplify things, especially the maintenance of the site. If I do start writing here more it will probably be web server and WordPress related at first and I test out different things and do some upgrades. So hopefully there will be changes coming.