TL;DR: The i-Rocks Crystal USB Keyboard, also known as i-Rocks IK6, is an actually pretty decent piece of hardware, great for the sale price I got it at, but definitely not at full price.
So a few days ago I was at Digital Mall with the Bear after watching Guardians of the Galaxy. We were browsing for a cheap keyboard for me to use in the office; the keyboard on the Dell Latitude I was using drove me nuts.
As it turns out, it was Labour Day weekend, and so everyone was having a sale. We passed by Jayacom and saw people lining up like crazy. Bear and I decided to skip that queue and just go on our normal route when in Digital Mall. This means heading up to AllIT and working our way down.
When we came down an hour and a half later, I was already half-set on getting a cheap RM19 keyboard from V-tec (despite seeing an e-View at RM17 but that was mushy as hell) when I came across the Jayacom Labour Day sale.
The first thought that went through my mind was “Ah, so that was the crazy queue.” The second, of course, was to see what they have. As it turns out, they still had stock of the keyboard deals. Of the three, only one was not a keyboard bundle.
They still had 2 units left of the i-Rocks Crystal USB keyboard, aka the IK6.
I actually still had my doubts about the keyboard even after buying it, mainly because the videos about the sound was quite loud. I wasn’t sure if my colleagues were going to kill me when they heard it.
As it turns out, it’s a case of “it sounds loud on video, but is really quiet in real life.” Which it is. The i-Rocks is very soft compared to even some of the membrane keyboards I tested, but it has this really nice solid feel when typing. At the very least, the rate of errors I made during the test was far lower than it had been on the Latitude.
And in case you wanted to know what I was typing, check it out below. Note that I didn’t use the entire video, just parts of it as the OnePlus 2’s mic actually picked up the conversations in the office.
This is a rather quick typing and sound test to see how loud the key is in real life.
If you listen to a lot of videos, the iRocks, which is supposed to be mechanical, sounds really loud. However, in actual life, they are very muted. In fact, I think they are actually much more silent than even a good old Dell or Logitech rubber dome, depending on which you get.
This video was taken in my office, and I shall stop the recording now because I think that is enough for the day.
So here’s how you do a batch wav to mp3 conversion.
Easy Batch .wav to .mp3 conversion with Audacity
Step 1: Open Audacity. Drag and drop your files into the window. If you are going to make any changes to your music, then use the Make a copy of the files option as your import method. Otherwise, Read the files directly from the original should do the trick.
Note: you will need to select this for every file you’re importing, so I recommend doing it in small batches unless you want to spend the next 10 minutes clicking “Ok.”
Step 2: Once they’ve all been imported, select “Export Multiple.”
Step 3: This is where it gets fun. Specify your format and the bit rate. Then select Split files based on tracks. When naming files, the easiest is to Use Label/Track name.
When you click on Export, the usual metadata box will appear, and you can populate the details as needed. By the way, this is also a manual, file-by-file process, so if you have hundreds of files, you may be here a while.
And then while it converts, go and have an ice-cream or have a drink and sandwich before coming back to your new mp3 files! Many thanks to this Audacity thread for the help!
“Eliminate Render Blocking CSS in Above-the-Fold Content”
This particular error has been bugging me for quite some time. I’ve been reluctant to hard code the error away due to fear of screwing up. A few weeks ago I came across the Speed Booster Plugin and it seems to have solved my problems.
Only thing is that there’s no “list down what steps you need to activate” settings text list. It’s either having to watch their promo video or download the settings file.
So you can consider this to be a step-by-step to setting up Speed Booster with W3 Cache. I am actually considering moving away from W3 due to Yoast’s advisory, but for now this will do.
Setting Up Speed Booster With W3TC
Install both plugins.
Deactivate W3TC. Activate Speed Booster.
On your Speed Booster page, enable all plugin options under the Main General Options and Remove Junk Header Tags.
Click on the “Still Need More Speed” option.
Tick everything BUT Disable all above CSS options on mobile devices.
Scroll down, click on Save Changes.
Under General Settings, ensure the following are ticked:
Page Cache Enabled and Disk: Enhanced
Minify is enabled > Minify mode Auto > Cache Method Disk
Browser Cache is enabled.
Verify Rewrite Rules is also ticked.
Click Save all settings and move to the next section.
Under Page Cache, ensure the following are ticked (you can experiment with which you prefer):
General: Cache Front Page and Feeds.
Purge Policy > Page Cache, ensure the Front Page, Post Page and Blog Feed are ticked, if they are not already.
Under Minify, ensure the following are ticked (everything else unticked):
Rewrite URL structure
Under HTML & XML, ensure only that Enable is clicked. Inline, Don’t minify, leave the rest unticked.
That’s it. Once done, save everything, purge all cache, and then run Pagespeed. Good luck.
This was asked by JoNa, my junior copywriter. He was looking to replace his aging Macbook Air, which has seen some pretty intense battles, but looks like it’s approaching the end of its life (5 years is pretty damn good for a laptop).
Now, a Macbook Air costs RM4K at least, which is rather pricey considering its specs. However, it is called “air” for a reason. It’s ridiculously light and thin, making it easy to lug about to and fro work (and when your commute is upwards of an hour, that matters). Thing is, me and Sid convinced him to look at options beyond the Macbook Air. Compared to say, five years ago, there are now many more options that can do the job for a better price.
So here’s a rough guide to making sense of those laptop specs when you’re out shopping:
Almost all manufacturers use Intel, with a few gaming laptops utilising AMD. As AMD’s Ryzen has just been released, I’ll wait till we get a few more reviews before adding them to this list. Here’s what you should keep in mind:
How to read Intel Chip numbers:
Sample processor: Intel i3-7500U What it means:
i3 Brand name. From low to high, the current models are: i3, i5, and i7.
7500 The 7 indicates this is the 7th generation of the processor. Latest version (at point of writing).
U… Or other letters describe what special features the chip has. “U” denotes low-power in this case, meaning it should last longer. Here’s the full list.
The i3 laptops are great if you run only one program at a time, like Path of Exile or any other game. The i5s are good if you run many programmes simultaneously (think Chrome, Word, etc). The i7s are beasts and are generally meant for intensive applications, like game streaming, faster video rendering and the like.
Note that I tend to skip anything that isn’t the i-series. This is simply because my work processes tend to be browser- and Office suite-heavy, so I am targeting at least a i5 in a laptop for myself.
At the time of writing, the latest gen is 7.
Again, because I expect my laptops to allow a touch of gaming, I generally avoid Intel HD Integrated Graphics-only laptops. However, in recent years, Intel has improved the tech to the point it’s actually viable for lower-specc’ed games. So if you know you’re going to be playing mainly older games or not doing a lot of visual work, then yes, you can skip this part and go straight to RAM.
Otherwise, read on a little more.
nVidia VS AMD There are two behemoths in the marketplace – nVidia and AMD. A long time ago, when I was fresh out of college and building my own PC (a friend helped me assemble it, I bought the parts), I was warned away from AMD because it didn’t take overclocking too well and had a tendency to overheat.
So, I’m unfamiliar with AMD’s naming and will skip it for now. As for nVidia, this is all you need to know:
Cards that are numbered GeForce 1050 etc (aka 10-etc) are the latest gen at time of writing. It’s also generally the most expensive range at this point in time.
In most cases, you can get away with a 980 card (9-etc).
VR-ready cards are nice but unless you intend to game extensively, they’re not necessary.
I’m gonna keep this simple. For me, I just keep an eye out for DDR4 mentions. That’s the latest gen as far as I know. Anything before, I recommend skipping.
In terms of how much, well it really depends on your needs. The current baseline is 4GB. Again, if you are like me and you live in Chrome, then aim for a machine with at least 8GB of RAM. It’s for future-proofing.
Storage, aka harddisk
This is one of those things that can be rather polarising depending on who you speak to. See, there are two competing standards in the market now.
HDD-anything Need a lot of storage? Look out for specs with upwards of 1TB (that’s one terrabyte!) on the laptop of your choice. If you think you’re not going to need that much, then anything above 500GB will do. HDD tech is older but far cheaper compared to SSDs.
SSD These babies are generally far smaller than what you’d find on a laptop HDD. SSDs stand for Solid State Drives, and are generally quicker at booting up programs (think Windows 10 loading in 3 seconds and Adobe Photoshop in 10, if I remember correctly).
Hybrid drives Some laptops come with both SSD and regular HDD drives. In this case, I say put your program files (like your Windows OS, your program installation files and the like) on the SSD. For everything else, like your Word docs, your porno videos and random smartphone images, throw them onto the HDD. This lets you reap the best of both worlds – quick start ups for programs and having all your media in the same machine.
Generally I would recommend getting a SSD-only machine ONLY if you don’t keep a lot of data on your laptop. Base space start at about 256GB (which is about half of what you would find in a regular laptop HDD offering).
I/O Ports and Peripherals
Ok this is kinda getting too long so I’ll try to keep it short. I/O basically refers to input and output ports. These are your USB sockets, headphone jacks, power supply etc. The thinner it is, the less you’ll get. This you can’t look at the numbers. Just look at the side of the laptop.
Look out for USB 3.0 and above, as this means it’ll support a faster transfer rate (great for moving files from PC > phone/external HDD and vice versa). Having a few USB type-C and Thunderbolt connectors wouldn’t hurt (but not really necessary for now). A HDMI port is necessary for presentations, though depending on your circumstances, a VGA port might suffice.
My own personal preference is at least three USB ports; one each for a keyboard and mouse, and a third for any extra peripherals. An ethernet cable too, for those times wifi sucks.
And that’s a quick guide to laptop specs. Let me know if I missed anything and I’ll add it to the list!