Another DAS Keyboard Professional 4!

I’ve put it off long enough. I decided to enhance my typing on the Mac to a new level and went from the Apple Keyboard to the DAS Keyboard mentioned before. I decided to spend another $150 on this new keyboard because my old one is awesome. It’s dedicated to my work laptop while at home. But why did I not try someone else? Because I think the service I got when my cat chewed through the cable was excellent! Not only was the technician helpful and understanding as I explained my situation, but found a “cable lying around” and sent it to me at no charge – not even postage!

I didn’t get the “Mac” version of the keyboard though, just the normal windows one. It works fine on the Mac, although the keys are swapped (the Generic Windows/Command) could be moved with the Alt key, but I don’t think it’s that important. I do have some keystrokes that are different on Windows versus Mac and that will take some getting used to, though I also had this problem on the Mac keyboard as well. I want to use the CTRL-Left or Right to move between words and it doesn’t quite work that way.

I still prefer to use the track pad with the Mac over the mouse. I have a magic mouse that I rarely use. In fact I only use it to see if I can use it and then put it back into the drawer.

Outlook Rollout at work commencing / New SSD is now up and running / DAS Keyboard cable replaced

Implementing MS Outlook at Work

I’m not actually doing any of the conversion or migration work, but I’m doing my best to support the one who is. I try to grab what tickets I can do and of course answer the questions that come in. No matter how many emails and posts we provide there are those who don’t know what’s going on and need help. There are types of people who don’t care how things are supposed to work only that they do. These are the types of people who will pretty much receive and send email, accept invitations and maybe bother with filing emails into folders. Then there are types of people who want to do it all. They assign new quick steps, try to create new shortcut keys for repeating task, the whole works. Then there are those in the middle who want to do a bit more but still only use about 30% of the functionality. It’s touch to come up with solutions that help all these people. In general, the younger the employees, the more they’ll do with the tools. The older ones tend to do it only because they have no choice.

In the US, we have a few more weeks of migration, then we start migrating the rest of the Americas (North and South). The rest of the world has either started or will be starting in February for the full roll out. It’s challenging but it’s also a bit rewarding too.

New SSD is finally working in my Mac Pro

In my last post I talked about the issues with the replacement SSD I got from OWC ( This was to replace another SSD card that I had used to upgrade my Mac Pro 2013 last year. When I attempted to work on the before I couldn’t get it to be seen no matter what I did. After filing a support request and waiting a couple of extra days, I finally got a response. I decided to give it the old college try once again and sure enough by the time I was finished and actually issuing the right start up command keyboard sequence the drive was found and I’m currently running on that. I creating this post on my laptop though because I’m having to move my home folder from an external spinner to the SSD I just installed. I will keep everything just in case I need to revert back to it, but I think I’ll be good for a while.

The main mistake I was making was to hold the Command+Option+R key down for recovery. I was holding the Command+R down and since there was no drive in the machine it was reaching out to the internet to download and run a disk image from there. However, it wasn’t pulling down the right recovery console as expected, but the one for the OS of the machine when I got it. By holding down the Command+Option+R, I was able to get the right recovery tools and was able to see the drive in the provided disk utility in that version. Once I saw it, I was able to then use the restore from Time Machine backup to the new SSD and I have my full system back. Now it’s just moving my home folder back to the SSD so I can get the best performance from it.

DAS Keyboard replacement cable

The USB cable needed to repair my DAS Keyboard came a couple of days ago in the mail. Looking at the cable, it appeared to be a standard USB 3 Micro-B with some extra stuff to secure it in place on the keyboard. I would have discovered this before had I only completely pull the cable the first time I took the keyboard apart. It had a blob of plastic holding it in place (like hot glue) so I didn’t since the keyboard was actually still working (at times). In any case, I was able to take the cable the support team provided (at no costs to me by the way!) and fix the keyboard. Before installing, I put a pretty heavy coat of dishwashing liquid soap on it to deter the cat from biting and chewing it. Tech wise, things are looking up for a bit!

Lots of New stuff at Work this past week.

Yeah, as I said in the title of the post. Lots of changes for work this past week. New phone, new email system, new mobile email system, new security access to corporate data.

I’ve been upgraded on my iPhone from an iPhone 6 to an iPhone 8 Plus (64GB). I only had 64 GB on my 6 so it’s not a huge deal. We could either go with a regular 8 with more memory or a larger device with better camera for only 64GB memory. I chose the Plus because of reasons. (Images shown here are from Apple’s online store.)

The new phone is taking some getting used to because of it’s size and I had to get a case within a couple of days because it is very slick. I went with a case from Apple’s store but it’s made by Otterbox. Not a bad looking case, but about twice the costs of something I could have found (and may still look into) on Amazon. I’m still debating on whether I should try a folio or wallet case or simply something good and protective.

Also this past week, I’ve moved from IBM “Lotus” Notes email to Outlook and Exchange. I and a coworker were the first in R&S Americas to do this. With that change we also had to go away from the Blackberry secure contain “Good For Enterprise” and move to their “Blackberry UEM” and Blackberry Dynamics apps (BB Work is the primary one for email/calendar/contacts). So that’s another new thing to get used to. Not bad, and much better than Good FE, but still somewhat of a pain for the sake of security.

We’re moving to a new authentication as well for accessing things. Soft Tokens are used in combination of a personal PIN along with a generated PIN to access things like corporate email and other internal resources. We were using a smart card which required hardware devices to read. The soft-token is an app available from the online App stores (iTunes, Android Market, etc.). It’s more convenient because one may very rarely forget the phone, but much more often forget the smart card (and external readers when necessary). That also opens up the hardware options for laptops. No longer limited to have devices that have the card readers built in.

The farm house has pretty much been finished for a Month

Although there are a few bits here and there that need to be patched, adjusted or painted, the house is pretty much finished. I need to get back down there to take some more final photos but here is a quick before and after shot.

Farm house in August 2014 when we were looking to buy it.
The house in July 2017 after a lot of work had gone into it. As seen from the front.

I need to get some more of the same angles for best before and after, but these two will provide a bit of the changes. The first image above is from August 2014.  The second image is where we left it about a month ago, with the new “front” look. The black shutters help to break the white up quite well, I think.

After all was said and done, I think we put about $125,000 of repair and improvements. The insurance paid to have 1/3 of the house replaced (from the ground up) and I added another $30,000 to make it better. Time for a re-appraisel as I’m sure the house has increased in value (hoping for another 50%). We bought the place at an appraised value of $110,000. With our improvements and 1/3 rebuild, it’s got to be worth $150,000 or more.

The Farm House Update (quick)

This past weekend I spent some time down “on the farm” reviewing the status of the farm house repair/improvements. The first image below is the sample image from the tiles we’ve elected to use in our new bathroom – the image is from the tile people and is nothing like our bathroom, but at least it does provide a “feel” for how the tile is going to look.

This next image is of the front of the house with the old (older but newer than original) siding removed. It exposed some bad wood spots that needed repair with replacement wood, but overall in good condition. We elected to put new windows in place as well. When we saw the wood shingles in the gable we decided to try and keep them. There are some that need to be replaced around the window, but otherwise they just need to be cleaned and painted. We need to add some color to the house anyway and we really like the “old style” look this brings back to the house.

This next image is of the house from an arial view showing the state at the time. The roof is a silvery gray but in most cases it appears white when the sun is bright.

We’ve selected (and purchased) lights and a ceiling fan (to replace the one in the main entry/porch area). We’ve gone with some “flush mount” LED lights for the kitchen, back door entry area (mud room), laundry and hall way. Also some smaller utility LED lights for the walk in closets. We found some really nice motion activated security lights as well (also LED). For the external front door and back door lights we’ve found a really nice style we like that is “old” and uses vintage element light bulbs. I’m not quite sure if they’re LED, but I think that is an option. The bulbs are about $5 to purchase but the look is really neat.

A good bit of work has to be done, including the flooring, tile work and painting – but we seem to be over the biggest portion of the rebuild. It’s going to be another few weeks before we can move back in.

Finally purchased MS Office 2016 (Office 365 actually)

Work is moving away from IBM (Lotus) Notes for email, calendaring and contacts. But we’re keeping it for all the other aspects as we have many applications running on that platform. We have about 40 or so left that need to be migrated to other platforms but our corporate office has over 4,000 – so I’ll have plenty of work in that respect.

I’ve been given the task of “Change Management” and some Training for the Outlook/Exchange project. Mostly that is sending out communications regarding the move and how people can prepare for it. I’ve already sent out a few emails to the North America audience. But, as of writing this, I still do not have access to the Outlook client or email for testing and my own edification of the products. So, I’ve decided to update my MS Office 2011 (Mac) and 2010 (Windows) to MS Office 365 (5 licenses for a year). That allows me to install on my MacBook, My Mac Pro and my Surface Pro 3. And still have two left over so I can install it on my Laptop and maybe my iMac in the office (if I need to).

I’ve switched from using the web interface for my Hotmail account to using Outlook 2016.  It’s not quite the same on the macOS  computers as it is on Windows but it’s close enough. It is also not quite the same as using Hotmail as it would be with our corporate Exchange server, but it should be close enough. However one gets emails, all the stuff I want to explore is the same regardless of what email is coming in and how it’s delivered.

Hello Martha! It was great to see you!

Sounds like something I’d put on Facebook instead of my blog, but I’d like to take this time to say hello to Martha, whom I’ve not seen in about 5 years or so. This week in Germany has been very busy and since we’ve been meeting mostly off campus, it’s been hard to find any time to meet up with people like Martha! It was great seeing her tonight even though we only had a few minutes to chat due to the seating arrangements. It was still good to see her even though I was an old crabby man and wouldn’t stay for another drink! Hope to see her again before we head back home.

After doing some testing, updating my Cable Internet Speed

I don’t think I really need it, but I’m boosting my speed up to Comcast’s Blast (200 Mbps). Why am I writing this here? I tried to remember the last time I updated my package and I had to dig around a lot more (reviewing CC bills to see when the price bumped up). I found it – it was December of 2016, but now I have this entry, I’ll search again and know it was done on April 30, 2017. Memory!