Ideas, commentary & geekery

Author: Jay (page 1 of 16)

Blogger/Writer. Advocate of causes. Geek.

Home Network upgrade

Working from home has been the norm since the pandemic began so having a fast and reliable internet connection has become as important as electricity and running water. Part of improving the home office setup is upgrading the home network in three metrics: redundancy, stability, and improved performance.

For redundancy, I’ve signed up for Converge’s FiberX service as a backup for the primary connection from PLDT. For much of the latter half of 2020, PLDT’s uptime had been really problematic – the connection would go down at least once a month, and worse, it takes more than a week for it to be fixed. Mobile internet wasn’t just enough for our connectivity needs and using a prepaid data connection was too costly.

TP-Link TL-R605 Gigabit Router & load balancer

Having two separate internet connections meant it was time for a load balancer, so I bought a TP-Link TL-R605 SafeStream Gigabit Router. It would also save us from the trouble of manually switching networks whenever either one goes down. It allowed for a near-seamless switch from the 600Mbps PLDT connection to the 300Mbps connection from Converge.

Mercusys Halo H50G WiFi Mesh

Sometime around October last year, I replaced the TP-Link Archer A6 AC1200 with the Mercusys Halo H50G WiFi mesh kit to eliminate dead spots around the house and for better network stability. To complete the upgrade, the existing wired connections were replaced with CAT6 ethernet cables to take full advantage of the Gigabit ports on the load balancer and the WiFi mesh units.

What’s wrong with the existing CAT5 cables that usually come with commercial routers? These cables aren’t really designed to handle network speeds faster than 100Mbps. ISPs today provide modems or routers or a combo box that is future-proof – equipped with Gigabit ports so that they can offer subscription speeds faster than 100Mbps should a customer decides to get an upgrade or give it out sheer generosity.

Switching to CAT6 cables would fix that and allow you to maximize the bandwidth of your subscription especially if it’s above 100Mbps as in my case because the combined speeds of my two connections are above 100Mbps.

The upgrades have been worth the investment as our home network has been more stable and able to let us work, study and stream HD content on multiple devices without worries.

Building bandai’s 1/144 Millennium falcon

One of the ways I made good use of sheltering in place when COVID first hit the Philippines back in 2020 was to get serious with building model kits.

Bandai Millennium Falcon

It started when I decided it was the best time to build the 1/144 scale Millennium Falcon by Bandai which was a birthday gift from my wife back in 2021. This kit is based on Han Solo’s infamous ship as it appeared in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Along with the awesome kit was a set of Tamiya acrylic paints, brushes, and clip holders. After going through hours of tutorials on YouTube, I then bought the other tools and equipment needed: primers, thinners, an airbrush, and even DIY’ed my own spray booth.

More than the final output, the process of cleaning the parts, putting it together, mixing paints, and fine-tuning my newfound airbrush skills was meditative and helped me keep anxieties at bay.

It even helped me with my writing as building the Falcon really got my creative juices flowing. Too bad that most of the writing at the time wasn’t for this blog so this time around I’d kick off the new year with my journey into building model kits.
Funny side story: I spent at hours painting the inside of the Millennium Falcon’s cockpit, which was my first crack at detail painting with a fine paintbrush, paying great attention to the buttons and knobs on the console only to realize that most of it would not be seen from the outside once it’s fully assembled! Paints used were from Tamiya, Armored Komodo, and Vallejo.

Spent hours painting this only to realize much of it would be hidden from view lol

Still, it was another aspect of building model kits that I thoroughly enjoyed – shaking hands and eye strain notwithstanding. Weathering the kit was the part that I enjoyed the most as it allowed for greater creativity in terms of telling a ‘story’ of what the Falcon has been through and the places it’s been to. It also allowed me to get away with small mistakes here and there.
My pictures do not give the kit justice as Bandai did an excellent job with the details and quality, it’s the closest thing I could get to being one of the model builders at Industrial Light & Magic, making something that will be used for filming.

Naturally, the next kits I built after the Millennium Falcon were also from Bandai’s Star Wars line. So expect more posts about building model kits on this blog from here on out. Until next time, Happy New Year!

PLDT’s Shady Speed Boost Promo

Last Sept 2, I was one of the ‘chosen’ subscribers to get the Free 30-day trial of a speed boost that bumped my connection to up to 600 Mbps with an average speed of 480 Mbps, minimum of 180 Mbps with 80% reliability.

After the 30-day trial period, I would be charged an additional P100 every month to keep using the new subscription speed.

At first, it sounded like a fair deal except for two things:

  1. Don’t we have the right to be informed first and consent to have any changes to our subscription? Instead, PLDT unilaterally decided on its own to modify my subscription and then charge me an additional fee.
  2. My internet connection is still nowhere near the supposed average speed of 480 Mbps since I got notified.

I’m not 100% sure, but somehow something wrong has happened and government regulators should look into this scrupulous action taken by PLDT.

Other subscribers have also raised their concerns on social media. To date, there has been no response from PLDT or government regulators about this.

I’ve already raised these concerns to PLDT’s Customer Support team and let’s see how this will pan out.

WORKAROUND – Unable to Share Files in Google Drive

Recently, I had a problem with sharing files from Google Drive. It’s the dreaded “Sorry, sharing is unavailable at this time. Please try again later.

Unable to Share Files in Google Drive

The usual troubleshooting of clearing my browser cache & cookies, trying it on Incognito, and even disabling extensions didn’t work. Tried doing it using Firefox but to no avail.

So I contacted the Google Support Team to report the issue and during troubleshooting, we managed to find a workaround:

  1. From the main screen of Google Drive, search for or navigate to the file or folder you want to share.
  2. Right-click on the item, click on Share and the Share dialog box should appear.
Unable to Share Files in Google Drive
  1. Choose your preferred sharing settings then click Done.
Unable to Share Files in Google Drive

I was told by the Google Support Team representative that this is a known bug and that they are currently working on a fix. Hopefully, it gets rolled out soon as this bug is really annoying.

Have you seen the same issue? If you have a different workaround, please share it in the comments below.


Today, I turn 37. Surprising that some still get surprised to know what my real age is. Just a week ago, at a company event, a direct report in his late twenties was gob-smacked to find out I was much older than he thought. All this time, he was thinking that we were of the same age.

Most of my age and older would beam at this complement but each time I do, I still get mixed feelings – flattered that most would look at me and think that I’m still quite young and somehow a bit held back as there has been a considerable part of my life where I was dismissed as being too young and inexperienced to take on certain challenges.

Just this morning, as I was going through the birthday greetings, I got another one exactly like this, saying that it seems that I am ageless. This brings to mind an interesting thought that has had a profound impact on my way of thinking: that immortality if it were possible, had one painful downside, you remain ageless while the world change and the people close to you pass on, leaving you alone.

This is why the song Iris by the Goo goo dolls has become my all-time favorite song:

And I’d give up forever to touch you
‘Cause I know that you feel me somehow
You’re the closest to heaven that I’ll ever be
And I don’t want to go home right now

Going back to reality, I am both happy and dreadful to admit that time has indeed caught up to me. In the last couple of months, there have been many nights of worrying about my health and fearing the worse, not that I fear death itself but rather the thought of passing on without leaving something behind for my family, friends, and country.

On the other hand, that fear and worry have been somewhat positive as it has pushed me to make conscious choices about my lifestyle, and the things and causes I devote my time and energies to. Knowing that time is steadily running away from me has renewed the drive to do more and be more.

It may all sound a bit somber but I assure you that there’s a sense of purpose, happiness, and drive burning within me as I write this.

This is why I raise my glass to life, family, and friends and raise higher my fist to goals, dreams, and causes far larger than my own. Hopefully, starting today and until my last, I am able to make each one count.