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Showing posts from September 29, 2019

Why I Stopped Using My Xiaomi Mi Band 4

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I bought a Xiaomi Mi Band 4 from Amazon and returned it the day after it arrived. Why? Because of some usability issues tech reviews don’t tell about.


Why I wanted the Mi Band 4 I actually didn’t want a fitness tracker.

My Moto 360 2015 smartwatch is apparently dying. So I wanted a replacement for the Moto 360’s most useful feature to me, the ability to show the notifications from the phone when it’s more convenient to twist the wrist than to reach and grab the phone. I thought the Mi Band 4, a popular and affordable device, could do an acceptable job at that.

Usability issues The Mi Band 4 seems like a good and useful fitness tracker with a clean user interface.

But, when I tried it, I realized it has some usability issues that make it less suited for what I needed. The first is the font of text longer than a few words such as in notifications is so tiny, with prescription glasses I have to strain to read most of the text — barely — if I keep the device close to the eyes. A related i…

In Praise of Cheap Keyboards

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I’m typing this with a keyboard that is cheap and looks cheap, and I’m loving it.

It all started with my first Chromebook, an Acer C720 I got to learn about and explore Chrome OS. I loved it so much I switched to using Chrome OS as my only desktop operating system. Back then my daily driver was an i3 ASUS Chromebox 2 hooked to the Logitech K120 full travel keyboard I had kept around from my last PC.

Having a main desktop machine, I put aside the Chromebook for a while. But later something motivated me to play with the Chromebook more: its keyboard.

The screen of the Acer C720 has notoriously poor viewing angles. But I realized I could view it more comfortably by setting the Chromebook on a slightly taller desk, which made the angle optimal. This led me to use the device more and appreciate its chiclet keyboard with its good feedback.


To have a similar experience on the Chromebox I bought the only low profile chiclet unit I found that had the extended Italian layout with accented lette…