BLU Advance 5.0 – Alternate Android Smartphone


Last week my Samsung Galaxy Note 4 started mysteriously rebooting itself throughout the day and evening. Eventually it booted up to what appeared to be the Android bootloader with the message, “Could not do normal boot ddi : mmc_read failed”. I reached out to T-Mobile and Samsung support and was advised to perform a factory reset. Unfortunately the factory reset didn’t help the problem much, the phone would still reboot a couple of times a day without warning. I suspected the eMMC flash on the phones motherboard was starting to fail. Apparently it’s a known issue with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. Thankfully the phone was just under a year old so I arranged with Samsung support to return the smartphone for warranty/repair service. With the shipping and warranty service it would probably take between 7-10 business days after I shipped the smartphone before it would return. So what was I going to use in the interim. At a minimum I needed voice, texting, and email service from the device. I was just looking for something to hold me over until my Samsung Galaxy Note 4 was returned. I quickly found the BLU Advance 5.0 which was retailing for $59.99 on Amazon. I removed the SIM from my Galaxy Note 4, installed it into the BLU Advance 5.0 and I was up and running without issue. Almost one week later I must say that I’m genuinely impressed with the relatively inexpensive Android smartphone. The smartphone only has 4GB of space so you’ll need to be selective regarding the apps that you install. I’m primarily using the handset for voice, texting, email (Microsoft Outlook) and occasionally Audible and Google Maps for those long commutes. This is a great alternate Android smartphone if you are traveling or even for a teenager. It’s much easier on the pocket to lose a $60 smartphone than a $500 smartphone.



Mechanical Keyboards – IBM PS/2 keyboard


I'm a long time IBM PS/2 keyboard fan, I fell in love with the IBM PS/2 mechanical keyboard back in the 1990s and still use it today as a measure of what a good keyboard should feel like and how it should respond to my large (clumsy) hands. Overtime all mice and keyboards start to break down, so this last week I ordered a Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro S mechanical keyboard. I was looking for a minimalist keyboard without the number pad that utilized Cherry MX Brown Switches in the design and this model fit the bill. I chose the […] Read More


Retail Holiday Peak 2016


It's that time of year again... the holidays are just around the corner and every retailer is gearing up for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. My employer kicked off the holiday shopping season last night with one brand having their yearly 4-hour sale. Thankfully there were no surprises and our infrastructure and application stack was able to handle the additional load without issue. I did stumble upon an instrumentation issue between PRTG and a Cisco FirePOWER 4110 firewall - perhaps I'll share more about that problem in another post. It's a challenge every year to try and forecast the potential load […] Read More


Who tested the test plan before the change?


I learned a long long time ago that you need to test the test plan. All too often I've found that items listed in the test plan never worked, even before the change and many hours were wasted trying to fix something that never worked and had nothing to-do with the change that was in progress.


Sonus SBC 2000 – Session Border Controller


I'm currently leveraging a Sonus Session Border Controller with AT&T to provide SIP trunking to a legacy Avaya Communication Manager for a large customer contact center. The Sonus SBC supports a fix number of concurrent calls because of the T1 CAS signaling to the legacy Avaya platform. So I'd like to know when and if we max out that capacity and measure the daily call volume. We can get the data from the legacy Avaya Communication Manager and from Avaya Contact Center but it's much easier to collect that data from the SBC via SNMP. I've done work in the past […] Read More