Thursday, September 13, 2012

How to fix a Magic Trackpad SCRATCH!!!!

So I purchased an Apple Magic Trackpad from Barnes and Noble. It was only purchased via the B&N marketplace because I had a gift card - I ended up being extremely unhappy with the entire process. If you are thinking about doing so, don't ever use the B&N marketplace as it's a regression to the way things used to be when purchasing on the web. Anyway I digress....

So back to topic.
I was pretty happy with my trackpad, but noticed a slight scratch in it after about a week. WTF? It doesn't seem like a big deal but when you run your finger over a trackpad with any imperfection it becomes truly annoying very quickly.

So after some googling and I did find one video of a guy fixing his trackpad using a product called "polywatch" which is typically used to fix scratches on watch faces. I can't find his video anymore. It's a pretty cheap product and some folks online say it's similar to toothpaste with baking soda - so in desperation, I actually did try toothpaste which didn't work. Rather than trying polywatch, I decided to try some headlight "restoration" compound I had in the garage.

Anyway here are the pics and steps I took. Click on images for larger pic.

Picture of the trackpad from above.
In this lighting it looks fine.

Need to tilt the trackpad to see the scratch.

The scratch basically runs across the trackpad. VERY annoying.

Headlight restoration kit I had used to clear up the headlights on the car.

Added a smear of the cleaner/polishing compound across the scratch.

Tried just using microfiber towel to run the compound first.

Polishing compound rubbed in

Another angle

Wiped off polishing compound with wet cloth.

Looks pretty good, scratch wasn't as obvious.

Another angle you could slightly see the scratch.
However I could feel it, so decided to use the sandpaper (1000 and 3000 grit)

Fingers crossed - a litte scared but kept going anyway. 

Wiped off with wet cloth and it looks great.

Can barely see anything now

3000 Grit sandpaper

Used this directly on the surface without polishing compound

Next add smear of protectant compound

Polishing disc attached to drill.

Final results look and feel great!

Another angle

Third angle

Fourth angle

Fifth angle

Final. Can still see it very faintly in certain lights -
but more importantly, can't feel the scratch anymore!
 In short it worked out really well, IMHO. I can still see a faint scratch in certain lights, but I can't feel it - which is more important. I immediately purchased a film from Amazon and will be applying that shortly to prevent future scratches :-)


HP desktop virtualization BIOS Setting

I decided to stop my pre-requisite courses and go back into my old career (save that story for another blog post). Anyway while looking for work (IT) - I've been planning to get my certifications out of the way - and my first one I'm going to take is the  the RedHat Certified Systems Administrator  RHCSA exam (EX200). It's a pretty interesting way to test and similar to "clinical" tests in the medical field where you have to demonstrate that you know how to perform "hands on".

After some frustration with trying to get things running on my macbook air, I decided to purchase a cheap desktop. Long story short I bought the display model (HP p2-1106b) from BJs Warehouse for ~$350 - which included an Intel i3 CPU and 4GB of memory, plus a 20" display! It really is amazing how computing power is so cheap.

So here's what I found out- if you purchased an HP desktop with an Nehalem chip (i3, i5, i7) and need to run KVM within Linux you will need  to dig through the BIOS menu.  For the particular model I purchased, it wasn't under the advanced settings where Virtual Hyperthreading would be - because that would make too much sense - but rather under system security!

Here's where I found it in the BIOS.
---> computer setup
---> security
       ---> system security
              ---> Virtualization Technology (VTx/VTd) disabled

I found some other people finding it under a different sub-menu so if your Linux or VMWare Host is reporting that it is not capable of running VMs then try digging through _all_ of your BIOS settings!

Anyway hope that helps others save some time trying to enable VT with an HP desktop.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Medial Epicondylitis...Pushup-Pullup pain

Medial Epicondylitis - or golfer's elbow is inflammation near the "inside" of your elbow joint. It took me awhile to figure out what I was experiencing as the pain would only occur during certain pulling movements with my ring and pinky finger, as with pull ups, and only in my right arm. There's a bunch of other links out there describing what it is, how to prevent, and how to fix. As with most inflammations of joints and muscles, there's typically no one cause and many say complete rest is needed...

Some background: I started doing a modified version of the Armstrong Marine PullupUp workout.  One of the grueling things about this workout is you do pullups and pushups five days a week! Going from exercising zero to five days a week ended up being my undoing....However I'm proud to say that I can do 10 pullups pretty easily now.  My eventual goal is getting to 25, then eventually 50.

Anyway, I traced the pain to be from pushups - as it would come back with a vengeance after doing a hard pushup day. I could feel it several hours after, but using ice and trigger point massage on my triceps post-workout, I was able to get some of the inflammation down. Resting for a week or two (no exercise) did help but as soon as I started back up, the pain/inflammation would come back. It was pretty frustrating because it was interfering with my workout goals.
I searched and tried different things but none of them worked.  It took awhile but I finally found an article on livestrong (here)  that mentioned poor pushup technique as the culprit. The theory is that you are doing your pushups to wide, or narrow, etc - with bad form, which would cause overuse/inflammation on a particular tendon or muscle. I tried switching styles of pushups - but for me this did not help, so I tried spreading my fingers in my right hand as far apart as possible.  Try spreading your hand so that your thumb and pinky finger were as far apart as you could make it, while doing a pushup. I found this to change the pressure focus on my hand and arm.

After that change, I was able to do multiple sets without the same kind of pain and been relatively pain free since.  It does still get tender from time to time, but nowhere near what it was like previously

Anyway, hope this helps others with "pushup pain".  :-)

ps. I can do 50 pushups really easy now. Can do 100 in two minutes.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Journey towards Physicians Assisant (PA) School - Part1

So as I've mentioned to many of my friends and family, I decided to quit my career in Information Technology and go back to school to become a Physicians Assistant. I'll be sharing my thoughts and insights on the road to becoming a PA and hope to help others either on the fence or those on the same journey :-)

There's plenty of other blogs out there about becoming a PA and why, etc. My blog won't tell you why you should do it, as it's definitely a personal decision to change careers. Maybe you're burned out, hate your job, or just want change. For me it was a medical issue that made me re-evaluate a job, company, and career that I liked. Anyway, I decided that I wanted to help others going through the same condition and decided that it was "now or never." I had thought about the medical field previously a few years back, but could never make the financials work, (IT can be a lucrative and rewarding career), but decided that money isn't everything so took the plunge. This post will focus on what mattered to me about schooling - the financials.

I sometimes joke that it is good that  I didn't perform detailed research on PA cost till AFTER I quit my job (you'll see why shortly). Most PA programs are now masters programs. For those that don't have undergraduate degrees, it can be daunting since that means four years of schooling before the 2-2.5 years of a typical PA program. Assuming you have your bachelors and just focusing on the PA masters programs, there is a didactic year (studying) and then a clinical year (hands-on). From what I understand it's four medical school crammed into two and pretty intense and can be costly. Anyway, what I found interesting is that in North Carolina there is only one public school that has a PA program - East Carolina University. The other schools are all private and cost at least double if not quadruple the cost. I've listed the schools that I had looked at and factors that I thought were important when looking at PA schools.

PA School Cost
What's crazy to me is the cost differential. Duke and Wake Forest are over 100K just for tuition and fees??!! WTF?!!! I know they practically started the PA profession, but come on. At that point you may as well go to full blown medical school, IMHO. Needless to say, ECU is the cheapest and my top choice. I've spoken to several physicians and PAs and they all say, it doesn't matter where you get your degree - so long as you are good to work with and can follow directions they don't care. I guess it's not like PAs will be doing research papers and your pedigree of your Masters matters.....
I am leaning towards ECU not only because of cost but because their PANCE pass rates of the past several years have been 100%.

So on to courses. For those with bachelors degrees one of the hardest things that I found is that if you did not get an undergraduate degree in biology or chemistry - it's a harder hill to climb. Basically all the stuff I gladly skipped in college doing computer information systems, I now have to take :-) Below is a list of the course breakdown for each of the colleges above that I used to help me figure out what I needed to take for each school. What's crazy to me is how many more pre-reqs Wake Forest required versus Duke.

Pre-Requisite Courses for PA Schools
The ECU PA website actually has a good breakdown of what courses map to the community college courses in North Carolina for their program, so makes it extremely easy to figure out what you need to take. It's definitely more cost effective to go to community college so that's what I'm currently doing, taking classes at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College (RCCC). The green are courses I'll have completed shortly after my first semester, dark blue are courses for summer, and light blue scheduled for fall. Brown (organic chemistry) is not required but something I'm thinking about taking anyways.

RCCC Courses
For those that want to see total schooling cost, I created a matrix of what it would cost me to go to different community colleges, then to various schools based on the total credit hours required for pre-requisites for various colleges and the various PA schools. As you can see RCCC+ ECU wins from a cost perspective.

Total Schooling Cost
Lastly and most scary (this is the one I worried about the most) is the total 5 year cost of not working while to school including pre-requisites and entrance delay based on schooling at ECU+RCC and it's scary. This is the one calculation that I'm glad I didn't do before quitting my job :-)

Total 5 year PA School Plunge

Crazy right?

Well the good thing is that I just finished my first semester. I'll blog about that separately in the next post.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Resperate - Final Review, and Sugars

So, I used Resperate for about three months and now stopped for about three weeks. What's surprising to me is that my BP hasn't really changed significantly, but has actually gone down over the past week. I had tried to see if there was any real correlation between the Resperate but could not come up with one - sometimes my BP would go up even with Resperate usage - so I decided to try a few different things without Resperate after noticing a few trends with my BP.

  • A high sodium diet did not consistently cause my bp to be higher. Sometimes it would be high the next day, sometimes not. The same went for eating a low sodium diet.
  • After exercising for 45+ minutes (running) my bp measurements would be lower for one or two days.
  • Taking my BP meds did keep my measurements at the pre-hypertensive level (below 140/80) but nothing below 130 systolic. 
  • Alcoholic beverages did increase my BP the next morning when consumed in excess (more than two beers) but did not cause a long term increase past that following morning. Abstinence from alcoholic consumption did not seem to have an impact on lowering my BP.
  • Weight seems have a correlation - at about 155 (my ideal body weight) my BP was at normal levels. I'm currently trying to hit this target through diet and exercise.

After reading a few articles about sugars and having a few people mentioning to remove sugars from my diet - I proceeded to get rid of all the candies I stashed around the house. I <3 haribo gummy bears and many of my friends know that was very hard for me :-) I had recently gotten into a Reeses Pieces kick too and stopped buying them. I figured removing sugars would help me get to the lower, ideal body weight faster.

What's interesting is my BP dropped almost immediately without adjusting for things like sodium or alcohol consumption. The average for the past week, my BP is at 129/75. Woah. So it seems like sugar may be one of the major culprits of my BP. Pretty cool.

Anyway, back to topic - I've come to the conclusion that Resperate is a great stress reliever (meditative breathing) but not worth the money to reduce my BP. I change my recommendation and do not recommend this product unless you have extra money to burn. There's cheaper ways to reduce your BP, such as diet and exercise changes. I'll update with more on the sugar reduction and BP.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Wasabi Cafe, Concord, North Carolina - 2012 April 10

I was driving home after night class and had a craving for some Thai food. Our local favorite Thai place changed ownership recently and the food was nowhere near as good. After talking it over with my girlfriend, I decided to pick up some food from Wasabi Cafe. The restaurant bills itself as an Asian Fusion joint and serves a variety of Thai and Japanese food including sushi. 
The restaurant is in a small strip mall and at first glance looks to be pretty small. Once you enter you realize it's a smallish size causual restaurant that has tables that are lined down a large hallway. I noticed there were other asians eating in the restaurant so that was a good sign. I ordered the Pad Woon Sen with Chiken, Panang Curry with Tofu, Pad Khee Mao with Tofu, and two orders of sticky rice. The dishes come with either a salad or soup, so opted for two miso soups and one salad. The food took almost a half hour for take out and was surprised at the time it took since most of the patrons were already eating. Anyway, the staff there were very friendly and took the food home - it smelled great and I was hungry.
I ordered the Pad Woon Sen "thai hot" for myself. The Pad Woon Sen was good, but not great. It wasn't even really that hot (to me). The Panang Curry was passable and better than other places I've had around this area. The Pad Khee Mao okay and my girlfriend and I agreed we probably would not get that dish from Wasabi Cafe again. Salad with the ginger dressing was mediocre and you can't really screw up miso soup :-)

Anyway overall impressions were that the food was passable to good, but nothing to write home about. I'll probably make this my default place to pick up Thai food until I find another better place, since it's on the way home from class.

Rating out of four stars:
Food 3
Atmosphere 3
Service 3
Overall Rating 3


Friday, April 6, 2012

Resperate review - update 2

I had been hopeful that RESPeRATe was the key to my blood pressure woes - but since April 01, my BP has been slowly climbing even with consistent usage. My exercise habits have not changed drastically either. I am suspecting that it's my diet since I had been eating out more and made some especially tasty BBQ ribs right before my BP spiked (which were coated with a salty homemade rub). However, I'm not 100% sure what the cause is since I've eaten like this before, but my BP was getting back to the hypertensive level (140/80) when measured for almost a week, when I woke up in the morning! That scared me a bit so I decided to go back on the HCTZ since it's just a diuretic. Sure I may have to pee more, but it's worth it if the HCTZ + Resperate drops my BP to pre-hypertensive levels short term,  especially since it's "high."

I'll measure over the next week and update again, but as others have mentioned, RESPeRATe is looking more like an additive than the cure-all I had hoped. When I do use RESPeRATe and my BP is high, I do notice a drop of at least 10 points systolic. Strangely enough, I can now tell when I need to use it based on my breathing when waking in the morning (too shallow and fast).

On a related note, I know I'm grasping at straws, but it makes me wonder if my high BP is somehow connected to my deviated septum (inside of my nose is broken) as I sometimes have problems breathing through my nose at night. I've noticed that when I can't breathe well (due to allergies, etc) my BP has been higher. I've been thinking about getting this corrected for quite some time, but been on the fence for awhile since it doesn't bother me much but if true may change my mind. Anyone else have an experience like this? I'm curious to hear about BP from those that have gotten deviated septum fixed....

Anyway will update in a week or two.


---Updated 2012 April 09 -- must of been really tired when originally writing this as it made NO sense :-)