a short diary of some part of my life.

Peace – a must have ad-blocker for iPhone & iPad

Untitled w/ & w/o ads

The title says it all. Peace allows fine control over what you want to see on your iDevices. You can block ads, trackers, any kind of social media extensions and commenting system.

I’m all for supporting a website but when it gets really annoying to read their contents and they are valuable information, I would install an ad-blocker. Sorry but some websites’ ads are just unforgivingly bad. Peace allows you to download only the necessary files, you don’t need to download a huge amount of data just to view a website. This is a very useful feature for mobile users, users who use cellular data.

For those who value online privacy, this is your way to safe haven. One of the main reasons why a website can be very slow is due to trackers embedded to the website. You have to load all those trackers when opening the website. Once I installed Peace, I cannot believe how fast my browser experience is now and how bad it was.

Peace is not a free app. I’m not fond of buying free apps, we need to support apps developers more than ever, especially Indie developers who are now slowly withering.

Update: The developer – Marco Arment has since pulled the app off the App Store. There is a good alternative – Purify


After reading this article, I quickly noticed, this is exactly how Silicon Valley startups are run. They go viral really quick and they do it by the backing of a couple prominent venture capital firms. And they are mostly giving the service for free. The trick to use the service for free is simple, get your friends join Go-Jek by using your referral codes. You probably can get enough credit for hundreds of usage by giving out your referral codes.

I see Go-Jek practically everywhere. I mean it. There are a lot of people wearing Go-Jek’s helmets and jackets. It’s not a rare sighting. In Jakarta where the majority of the road users are motor-bikes, this is a huge deal. This is one startup that disrupts the industry that no other foreign startups can, not even Uber. Go-Jek must be bigger than Uber by now in Indonesia.

Go-Jek is actually solving problems that really needs solving that have been around for a while.

  • Ojek as we call it in Indonesia, is a motor-bike driver who earns money thru transporting people from one place to another. In order to get their service, we need to get to the nearest Ojek ‘station’, basically where the drivers spend their days waiting for customers. It’s not feasible for a lot of people as they are getting more and more rare. Now, with Go-Jek, I can simply call them to pick me up or send something to somewhere. Oh and, the company insure the driver, the customer, and the item(s) – if lost or broken. There is no way an ordinary Ojek would give such comprehensive insurance coverage.
  • The ordering method, the driver rating method, and the app experience. The app is simply one of the most polished app I’ve seen. It does not need to look fancy. It’s great I must say and at the same time, it’s super simple that a lot of people do not need explanation on how to use it. You simply click the order button, you’ll find several options. I heard they might be addding a few more in the near future. They want to expand beyond transporting customers and items. You can set the address on the map, based on Google Maps or you can simply type the address. You’ll be given the cost (Currently, It cost about US$0.80 for 25KM trip). That’s it. Once you are done, you’ll be given the driver’s phone number, current position in real time on Google Maps, and ETA. The driver usually call you to confirm your order. Once the order is completed, you’ll be served with a page to rate the driver, and write comments if needed.

Traditional Ojek has no order. Go-Jek has. I’m confident enough that I think they could make a dent greater than what Uber has done in many countries. The name is very catchy. There is a competitor but I hardly ever see GrabBike on the road. They made a big splash to compete with Go-Jek but their numbers are dwindling down rapidly. I believe Go-Jek won the battle relatively quickly and won it without a real fight.

Would Go-Jek be they are today without huge backers? I’d say no. They are now subsidizing the real cost. In my opinion, the usage of Go-Jek will slowly goes down as they reduce subsidies, they will not give subsidies forever, that’s for sure. In the long run, Go-Jek will thrive thru popularity, order, and ease of use.

There is no optical audio output at the back of the new Apple TV. It’s a big bummer for an audio enthusiast like me. I’m aware that there is a way around this but I need to have an AirPort Express, next to the Apple TV, connected to my DAC via its’ optical input or a powered speakers via its’ analog input. By having an AirPort Express in the audio chain, it’s going to add another complexity to my audio setup. What if the AirPort Expess goes bananas and I would have to fiddle with resetting or re-routing the audio output setting on the Apple TV to HDMI. I prefer not to use my TV’s HDMI to optical output. The sound quality is going to suffer.

I consider myself to be a minority user who likes to have the least hassle but also to have the best sound quality out of an Apple TV. But regular users will still face a major issue; with the older Apple TV, they can easily connect a separate analog audio line  to a powered speaker. Now, they cannot do it anymore with the new Apple TV. They need to have a TV with audio output jack(s). Usually, if the TV is not turned on, you won’t be able to pass an audio signal thru it. I have seen a lot of TVs without any kind of audio output.

you won’t be able to AirPlay audio directly to your speakers

I’m going to buy the new Apple TV but if I don’t like it, I’m going to return it. I don’t care about tvOS App Store. The UI looks awful. Now, there is a compelling reason to get myself a PlayStation 4. My Android-TV-equipped-Sony-TV might become my permanent Plex client.

I might buy the 3rd gen Apple TV just to keep it around for AirPlay.

Here are the scenarios that I’m considering:

  • new Apple TV -HDMI- Sony TV -optical- DAC -analog- powered speakers
  • new Apple TV -AirPlay- AirPort Express -optical- DAC -analog- powered speakers
  • 3rd gen Apple TV -optical- DAC -analog- powered speakers
  • PlayStation 4 -optical- DAC -analog- powered speakers
  • Sony TV -optical- DAC -analog- powered speakers

I’m seriously leaning towards the last setup. Perhaps, I should add, I will be installing a Wyred 4 Sound Reclocker before the DAC to whatever setup I end up with to improve sound quality.

I thought I’d share my home network map. I have a lot of devices connected to the network and I figured I needed a top of the line WiFi Router, I came across Netgear Nighthawk X6 R8000.

The router packs a punch. I never had a situation where i had to reset the router in order to get it working again. It works flawlessly since day one. I realized the day I replaced my old Apple AirPort Extreme, the transfer rate between devices were bogged down by the AirPort Extreme. I could have multiple devices streaming at the same time:

  • My Dropcam constantly uploading to Nest servers.
    I’m working on replacing this with Blink cameras, I also do not like having a monitoring device constantly uploading videos to a remote server.
  • I am torrenting 24/7 all year round.
  • The wife is an avid YouTube user.
  • Apple Music is frequently streaming music to Apple TV or AirPort Express as AirPlay devices.
    My wife and I like having music on.
  • I have a Plex server running and when I want to watch a movie or a TV show, I stream it from one of my iOS devices to one of my Apple TVs.
  • A Synology DS415+ (NAS) is running 24/7 as a remote office data backup.
  • Backblaze is running on both Synology DS415+ and my MacBook Pro.
  • There are a couple of smart home devices connected to the WiFi but they can also work offline, without an internet connection.

A superb network setup gives me this freedom to have uninterrupted use of the network and internet. I don’t have to worry about adding more devices or reduced internet speed due to a slow processing speed in the old AirPort Extreme.

The red stripe lines on the picture above represent Cat6 wired connections. I think wiring a house with Cat6 is a no brainer. You should definately do it if you can. Do it once and you’ll get the benefits for years to come.

My audio setup is even more interesting, built on top of this superb network. I’ll share about it later.

Now that reviews of the Watch are out and settled, there seems to be very few people covering how durable an Apple Watch is. Here are my findings:

The Band

Let’s start with the band. Mine is the 42mm stainless steel with black sport band. It is noticeably more supple than other brands rubber bands. It’s super comfy and it does not attract attention. I barely get other people noticing that I’m wearing an Apple Watch.

I got the Apple Watch on launch day so it’s been a few months now. It does not show noticeable wear and tear. Scratches are minimal. The only thing that I notice is when I take off the watch. There are wear marks under the bands and I consider them as normal wear and tear since the bands are pretty much squeezed to make perfect fit on my wrist.

The Case

The stainless steel case takes a lot of beating. It’s a wrist watch and it will take a lot more beating. If you own(ed) a classic iPod with stainless steel case back, you’ll know the case will get scratch easily. This is exactly the case with Apple Watch SS. I don’t worry about it getting minor hairline scratches or swirl marks. I also consider them as normal wear and tear. If I’m bothered with having too many scratches already, I can easily buff them off with Mother’s Metal Polish. This is the product that I also use to buff out scratches on my polished car wheels lips.

The Glass

The glass as expected, is still pristine condition. No scratch or whatsoever. I bumped it to wall, corners and so on. It does take beatings very well. I don’t baby my watches. They go with me whatever I’m doing. And I don’t always work in a clean office environment.

The Crown

It gets sticky when it accumulates enough of my sweat. In this case, follow Apple’s official instructions: Get help with the Digital Crown on your Apple Watch

I always try to clean the crown with the exact same method after taking a swim in the pool or beach. More on this later.

In any case, the crown on my Apple Watch does get sticky from time to time. And after a good rinse, it’s just as good as new.

Taking a bath with the Apple Watch

Some might wonder why I would take my Apple Watch to the shower??

  • I don’t want the hassle of taking it off and putting it back. I might forget putting it back. This has happened multiple times.
  • I like getting important notifications. In my line of work, I need to get information as quickly as possible.
  • My morning chores are quite hectic so one less thing to worry about is crucial. I start wearing my Apple Watch the moment I wake up and I take it off right before I go to sleep.

The Watch seems to have zero issues with tap water. You don’t need to worry about wearing it in the shower.

Wearing it to the beach

The only two things that I worry about are salt water deposit and sand stuck in the digital crown. Unless I play with the sand, I don’t take it off. The moment I take a bath after spending some time on the beach, I rinse my watch and leave it under fresh water to avoid having salt water deposit.

On a recent to the beach, I spent basically everyday playing and swimming on the beach. My hotel room was also in front of the beach. So the Watch is exposed to the beach 24/7 for a few days. The Watch is fine. I’m sitting in front of my MacBook two weeks after the beach vacation, the Watch looks like new.

Drowned on the beach