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Perry Reid Properties, How My Wife Got Screwed!

Right now, I am furious, my wife has been fired by Perry Reid Properties for absolutely no reason other than the regional manager not liking her it would seem. The regional manager would not give a reason other than “it’s not going to work out”. Which is my view is a steaming pile of bullshit, clearly there were no complaints about her work, it simply came down to a personality clash with the regional manager.

Erin was asked to apply for the position of manager at the property, which incidentally is called Chapel Ridge in Haysville by the maintenance technician. So she left her position as assistant manager, which paid a comparable salary to become manager of Chapel Ridge and two weeks later, suddenly she is without a job for no legitimate reason, which in Kansas is fine, no reason required to fire someone!

I personally believe the regional manager got rid of Erin because she showed up her lack of knowledge about Sec. 42 property management. Erin asked a simple question “do corporate generate this form or do we generate it at the property?” and the regional dodged the question multiple times before telling Erin to call corporate. I ask you this, Perry Reid, how can a regional manager have less knowledge than a new manager? Also have a read of the reviews of the former manager on the Perry Reid Google+ page.

Before Erin even took the job, I had a bad feeling about Perry Reid Properties and I will tell you why. Erin was asked to come to an interview; but instead of calling her like a professional company, they asked the aforementioned maintenance technician to tell Erin that the interview will be taking place at the local corporate office and not the property. And guess what, that message was never delivered. So Erin drove all the way down to Haysville only to have to drive back to downtown Wichita to attend the interview.

Then on week 1, after a discussion with the regional manager on a plan moving forward, in which the regional made it clear that it was “Erin’s property” and agreeing that Chapel Ridge needed some new photography as existing photography is terrible. Erin asked me to look at the property and give a quote for photography of the community, as I am the best property photographer/marketer in this city from what I can see based on the evidence I have seen in the local market, standards are unbelievably low!

After the regional manager threw insult after insult at Erin the a couple days later, I had no intention of doing business with Chapel Ridge Apartments or any other Perry Reid property. It’s not like Erin signed a contract with me without getting the go ahead from the regional manager, she was just being pro-active.

Not only that, the regional manager intimated that Erin stole money from the company. Erin was attending a trade show and needed cards for the show. So she went ahead and ordered cards and handed them all out, only for the regional to accuse Erin of taking the money instead of buying the cards.

The regional manager also made reference to not liking friends working together, so why in the hell did she hire Erin as it was no secret that all three had been friends prior to working at the property?

I actually advised Erin to walk out at the end of the previous week and go back to her previous position, but Erin wanted to stick it out even though it was clear her days were numbered at Chapel Ridge.

When Erin was informed about her termination she was training the leasing agent who had been there for months under the previous manager, yet had not been given any training at all in Sec. 42 housing/paperwork. The leasing agent, a friend of ours was calling Erin for advice almost daily before Erin started work at Chapel Ridge when the previous manager would just up and leave in the middle of the day leaving the rookie leasing agent to cope on her own without any knowledge of how Sec. 42 works.

I am biased being Erin’s husband, but it seems to me that the wrong person was fired, the regional clearly needs to go; the previous manager quit and she was not liked by residents and abused her salary based pay by leaving the property almost daily leaving an inexperienced leasing agent in charge.

You know my biggest annoyance, the person that asked Erin to apply for the position, the maintenance tech was constantly on the phone to the regional talking about Erin behind her back, I don’t know who called who; but this is not acceptable behavior for a so called professional company employee.

Moral of the story, if you have niggling doubts about an employer, don’t take the damn job.

Update [Apr, 25 2015, 13:38]: Now, because of this crap, my wife has spiraled into a circle of depression, she is blaming herself for something beyond her control. All she wants to do is sleep and wallow in her own self pity and worst of all she is talking about quitting property management throwing away 10 years of experience, qualifications and certifications, which is just increasing my anger level.

Update [Apr, 25 2015, 22:29]: I now find out that the regional manager couldn’t wait to call the maintenance tech, who was on vacation to report Erin’s departure, this whole situation stinks of being a personal issue, completely unrelated to Erin’s work performance. It’s just sad that the US allows for companies to treat workers like this. In Europe workers have more protection against this sort of action.


Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix 2015

The Bahrain Grand Prix served up another Lewis Hamilton victory, his third victory in four races in 2015. But it could have been a different story if the race was one lap longer with both Mercedes having brake issues during the final 1 ½ laps. Nico Rosberg succumbed to the hard charging Kimi Raikkonen on the penultimate lap by going wide at turn one with race leader Hamilton just four seconds up the road.

It was bad news for Jenson Button who failed to take the start, his McLaren suffered an ERS failure for added disappointment after the disappointment of grinding to a halt in qualifying meaning he would have started in 20th and last place. Williams’ Felipe Massa also suffered issues, failing to get away on the formation lap, meaning the Brazilian had to start from the pit lane instead of his grid slot of sixth.

Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel got off the line well from the front row although the Ferrari driver had to move across to cover Rosberg which allowed Vettel’s team mate Raikkonen to get ahead of the Mercedes through turn one. But by the time the race reached lap four, Rosberg retook third place from Raikkonen, after which, the Finn appeared to lose pace and fell backwards towards fellow Finn, Valteri Bottas, meanwhile by lap six, Bottas’ Williams team mate and pit lane starter Massa was upto 13th from 19th.

On lap nine, Vettel outbraked himself going into turn one gifting Rosberg second place. But the four time champion retook second place after pitting before Rosberg and successfully undercut the Mercedes driver through pit strategy. But three laps later, Rosberg was once again in front of Vettel with his second overtake of the German on track at the first corner, showing a clear Mercedes speed advantage.

The midfield runners gave us a good show again with Felipe (or “Fred” as Martin Brundle called him) Nasr overtaking Massa for 10th place before the Felipe’s dived into the pits along with Pastor Maldonado and despite the Venezuelan being last in the pit lane queue, he managed to jump both Nasr and Massa by the pit lane exit with rookie Nasr losing two places, entering the pits in 10th and leaving in 12th.

Vettel successfully undercut Rosberg again during the second round of pit-stops, but the end result was the same, this time Vettel went wide at the final turn, damaging his front wing in the process allowing Rosberg to move back into second place down the main straight. Vettel’s damaged front wing required an additional stop which cost him 35 seconds, dropping him back to fifth place behind Bottas’ Williams.

As hard as Vettel tried, Bottas was too fast for him to make a serious overtaking move, even with DRS, so it ended in a stalemate. Bottas’ Williams’ team mate Massa finished the race in 10th place, falling from eighth place on degraded tyres, losing out to Sergio Perez, 8th and Daniil Kvyat, 9th in the closing stages.

Both Daniel Ricciardo and Romain Grosjean had anonymous races, from the race coverage. I hardly saw either of them holding onto sixth and seventh places, which has to be considered a good result for both drivers given their relative performance compared to Mercedes, Ferrari and Williams. But Ricciardo took the chequered flag in spectacular style with a massive engine blowup as he entered the final straight!

So overall, the race was much more exciting than China, last week, lots of movement throughout the field except for the lead, which Hamilton had control over at all times. I, personally would never have predicted (and I didn’t on the Forumula1 Forum Pool) that Raikkonen would have been up there within 3 ½ seconds of Hamilton at the end of the race. Which does beg the question, did Ferrari leave Raikkonen out too long in his second stint? he was definitely losing time to rivals at that point. Did he lose more than four seconds? could have been the difference between second and victory with Hamilton’s brake woes.

2015 Bahrain Grand Prix Results

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:35:05.809
2. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +3.3
3. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) +6
4. Valteri Bottas (Williams) +42.9
5. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +43.9
6. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) +61.7
7. Romain Grosjean (Lotus) +84.7
8. Sergio Perez (Force India) +1 LAP
9. Daniil Kvyat (Red Bull) +1 LAP
10. Felipe Massa (Williams) +1 LAP

Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix 2015

Normal service has been resumed in China after Ferrari’s unexpected Malaysia victory with Lewis Hamilton leading Nico Rosberg home for a Mercedes 1 – 2. At least the midfield teams, Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Sauber, even McLaren livened things up with some good battles away from the sharp end.

After the first two laps, there was nothing of note that happened in the top six, Hamilton, Rosberg and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel got away cleanly, while team mate Kimi Raikkonen passed fellow Finn, Valteri Bottas into turn 6 for fourth which wrong-footed Bottas allowing Williams team mate Felipe Massa to get ahead and claim fifth place coming out of turn six and that’s the way it stayed to the chequered flag!

Daniel Ricciardo had an absolutely terrible start falling back to 17th place from his starting position of seventh, but did well to fight back to ninth place with entertaining results in a less than stellar car, while Red Bull team mate Daniil Kyvat failed to finish suffering a spectacular power unit blowup on lap 16.

Romain Grosjean claimed the first points of the season for Lotus finishing as best of the rest after Mercedes, Ferrari and Williams in seventh. A very solid drive from the Frenchman while team mate Pastor Maldonado had a hero/zero kind of race. He started off well making some solid overtakes before failing to make the pit-lane entrance, having to be pushed back. Then had a spin a few laps afterwards, tangled with Jenson Button, which was 100% Button’s fault before pulling out of the race with rear brake failure.

Sauber had a better weekend in Shanghai, finishing in eighth and tenth places, Felipe Nasr had a solid race to earn his 8th place, although Marcus Ericsson was fortunate to claim 10th place through Max Verstappen’s retirement. Toro Rosso ended up claiming zero points after Verstappen ground to a halt on the pit straight with engine failure, which brought out the safety car and comical chaos ensued as marshals bashed his Toro Rosso into the wall attempting to recover the car through a gap in the pit wall.

So the race ended under safety car conditions although the battle for the top six positions was over way before the safety car came out. I really, really hope that Ferrari, Williams or Red Bull can out-develop Mercedes to make this season a fight, I so do not want to see another one horse (team) race in 2015.

2015 Chinese Grand Prix Results

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:39:42.008
2. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) +0.700
3. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +2.900
4. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +3.800
5. Felipe Massa (Williams) +8.500
6. Valteri Bottas (Williams) +9.800
7. Romain Grosjean (Lotus) +19.000
8. Felipe Nasr (Sauber) +22.600
9. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) +32.000
10. Marcus Ericsson (Sauber) +1 LAP

Birthday Trip To Dallas, TX

This weekend just past, my wife, Erin, kids and I went to the Dallas/Fort Worth area for the weekend to celebrate my wife’s birthday and for her to attend her best friends engagement party.

But we faced some challenges even leaving Wichita. First of all, while we were packing on Thursday night, we had a huge storm pass over the city which knocked out the power, uprooted trees and blew roofs off buildings. The net result is that we had to stop packing as we couldn’t see anything being after-dark.

We continued the packing in the morning, then my wife had to check on her mothers house as she is out of town as well, we eventually were ready to go about 12:30pm, when we planned to leave at 10am. Then we realized that we had an additional issue, because we pulled the release on the electric garage opener, again because we had no power, we couldn’t secure the door. Thankfully, Jordan, maintenance at our community secured the door for us and we were finally on the road 3 hours later than planned.

The drive itself is a bore-fest, highway driving is incredibly dull, especially in the Midwest were scenery is limited. But after numerous bathroom breaks and a stop at McDonalds in Oklahoma and a stop for fuel just across the Texas border in Gainesville, we finally made it. Erin immediately left to attend her friends engagement party as we were obviously running late while I stayed in the hotel with the kids.

On Erin’s birthday, Saturday, we ate at Ali Baba Mediterranean Grill in Richadson, TX, which was very good before attending an Arts Festival in Dallas which was OK, art is not my thing, but it was Erin’s birthday so we went with what she wanted to do. To get to the Deep Ellum area of Dallas we used the Dart Rail system, which was a new experience for the kids as neither had been on a train. We arrived back at the Homewood Suites hotel at at 10:30pm and it was time for bed, I needed a good nights rest for the seven hour return trip as Erin was having vision issues and I had to drive all the way to Wichita!

Thankfully, when we arrived back in Wichita, the power had been restored after being out for days, and our frozen food had not been ruined, thankfully while away, the temperature in Wichita didn’t get high.


Gov. Brownback Signs Bill That Allows Unlicensed Conceal & Carry

I got home from picking up my daughter from school, fire up my browser, navigate to Facebook and the first thing I see is an article reporting that Kansas’ Gov. Brownback has signed a bill that will allow any Kansan to buy and conceal a firearm without having to submit to background checks, mandatory firearms training or even paying a license fee. Clearly Gov. Brownback is not concerned with public safety!

Obviously, this new bill was pushed for and lobbied for by the Kansas State Rifle Association and the National Rifle Association. While other large groups opposed to the new conceal and carry law were completely ignored, Brownback just looked the other way at the nodding rifle association lobbyists.

The usual rhetoric of owning guns is a “constitutional right” was wheeled out for the press. Frankly the constitution for the most part is no longer relevant in today’s world. When the right to bear arms was enacted in the second amendment, America was a very different place, we no longer live in 1791, we live in 2015 and the constitution and bill of rights need to be updated to reflect the world we live in now.

I am very much anti-firearm and have been very vocal about making it tougher to buy guns with stringent background checks, psychological assessments, strict licensing, training and inspections of gun holders premises, but unfortunately the NRA are very powerful and has a lot of influence in Washington DC.

What is is going to take to make gun reform actually happen? clearly the multiple school shootings in this generation alone is not enough. Maybe someone getting into the house or senate and killing dozens of politicians? It’s truly disgusting that the people we elect to represent us blatantly turn a blind eye to thousands of gun related crimes daily to keep organizations like the National Rifle Association appeased.

Brownback’s decision to allow any “law abiding” Kansan to buy and conceal a firearm without any background checks or training is truly unbelievably irresponsible. The Governor is putting firearms in the hands of someone that might not be physically or mentally competent to use a firearm safely. This is a massive public safety concern, but the Governor is more concerned with appeasing his gun toting friends.


RFRA, Enabling Discrimination Under The Name Of Religious Freedoms

Indiana is the 20th state to enact the Religious Freedom Restoration Act which has enraged many in and outside of the state, whether LGBT or otherwise. Mike Pence, governor for Indiana signed his version of the RFRA into law at the end of last week is already backtracking saying he will amend to new bill to make it clear the law does not allow businesses the right to deny services to anyone, but wont go as far as making sexual orientation a protected class, which in 2015 should really be a federal protected class.

Governor Pence claims that the law was never intended to be discriminatory despite being sponsored by a number of anti-LGBT senators. Like all politicians either side of the party line, they lie and twist the facts to suit their own agendas and to hell with the people they are charged with representing. Despite the supposed separation of church and state, conservative Christians still push their religious agendas.

Of course the event that has sparked massive controversy on a national scale is the owners of family owned Memories Pizza openly showing support for Pence’s RFRA saying they would not cater a gay wedding. Why someone, gay or otherwise would want pizza catered for their wedding I will never know. The local ABC station wrongly reported that the Pizzeria would refuse service to all LGBT, which caused the backlash. I do believe that the owners are bigots, but the threats of violence are not acceptable.

The things that got me is Kevin O’Connor saying “That’s a lifestyle that you choose, I choose to be heterosexual. They choose to be homosexual. Why should I be beat over the head because they choose that lifestyle?”. Frankly that statement defies belief, do Christians honestly believe that being LGBT is a choice? A person is born that way, they don’t wake up one day and think “I’m going to be gay today”. I’m damn sure that most people would not choose to be gay given the bigotry against their sexual orientation.

Regardless of what was said, whether it be refuse service to all LGBT, or just LGBT weddings, either way you cut it, it’s a discriminatory and bigoted statement which has no place in modern society. Gay marriage is becoming more and more accepted by society, over 80% accept and support gay marriage in the under 30 age group. This country should reflect the will of it’s people and not the conservative Christians, who in my personal opinion use religion to hate on and discriminate against others different from themselves.

As I said in my Hobby Lobby withholding medical benefits blog, religious freedoms should not be extended to a business. Religion is a personal choice, a business can not and should not be allowed to be a religious entity and be given the same freedoms as individuals to express their religious beliefs.

These RFRA laws are leading us down a dangerous path, for example, a Muslim owned pharmacy decides to not sell life saving drugs because the capsule containing the drug is made from pork products! But I am willing to bet that because it’s a non Christian religion, the shoe would be on the other foot and all the Christians would be outraged. But there can not be religious freedoms for one religion and not others.

I just hope that within the next 20 to 30 years, a younger, more progressive group of politicians will be in power, the 80%+ that support equality and LGBT rights now will change the way this country works and truly separate church and state, unlike the token separation of church and state we have currently.

Update [Apr, 6 2015, 13:34]: It really does pay to be a bigot it seems. The O’Connor family will receive nearly $850,000 for their beliefs from the Dana Loesch created gofundme.com account. Which I would guess is many times what they would have made from the Pizzeria in a year. Dana Loesch claims this gofundme account is to combat the leftist hatred and financial hardship caused by it. What about the religious intolerance for their fellow man, including the LGBT community, God does not teach to exclude anyone. How can these people call themselves good Christians when they discriminate against the LGBT community while still catering for a second marriage which also supposedly goes against Christian beliefs.

Religious freedom and personal freedoms clearly can not live in peace, they are at clear odds with each other, sexual orientation should be a protected class at a federal level to stop this sort of discrimination.

The federal RFRA signed into law by Bill Clinton was meant to protect an individuals right to religious freedom, not to be extended to businesses, somehow the religious right has turned that on it’s head to protect companies that discriminate against whoever they hell they want based on their religious beliefs.


Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix 2015

To say that the Malaysian Grand Prix result was unexpected is an understatement. Most people, myself included had expected a Mercedes to take the victory but Ferrari driver, Sebastian Vettel had other ideas as the German took victory on merit at the Sepang International Circuit courtesy of the F15T being gentler on its tyres. The Ferrari only required two pit-stops while rivals had to stop for fresh rubber three times.

The Mercedes duo finished 8.5 and 12.3 seconds adrift of Vettel’s Ferrari with Lewis Hamilton winning the intra-team battle, finishing 3.8 seconds ahead of Nico Rosberg with the recovering Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari taking the chequered flag in fourth place almost 54 seconds behind the lead Ferrari.

Vettel, along with Carlos Sainz Jnr, Romain Grosjean, Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg elected to stay out while the rest of the field chose to change rubber during the safety car period caused by Marcus Ericsson’s spin into the gravel trap on lap 4. Vettel went to lap 17 before pitting for a second set of medium tyres while Hamilton and Rosberg were on a third set of tyres just a handful of laps later.

From what we heard over the team radio, Hamilton was not a happy camper, showing clear frustration especially in the last stint complaining about having the wrong tyres. Because Mercedes were harder on their tyres and needed to make the extra pit-stop, the only option was the harder tyre as there were no new medium compound tyres available. I do believe that if Hamilton had the medium tyre, he would have caught Vettel who was on the same hard tyre as Hamilton after the final round of pit-stops.

Kimi Raikkonen had a battling race, having to start from 11th because of being baulked in qualifying, then getting tagged by Sauber’s Felipe Nasr causing a left rear puncture on lap one with the Finn having to limp around to the pits dropping to the back. Fourth place is a good result for the Finnish driver given the challenges he faced. I do wonder if Raikkonen had better luck, could he have challenged Mercedes too?

In the Williams camp, they have to be disappointed finishing 70 seconds off the lead Ferrari although Valteri Bottas did finish three places ahead of where he started in fifth with Felipe Massa finishing up one place in sixth after being overtaken by Bottas in the closing stages of the race with slightly fresher rubber.

Both Red Bulls were beaten by junior team Toro Rosso despite starting in front on the grid. Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jnr who started in 15th place claimed eighth place while 17 year old team mate Max Verstappen claimed seventh place for the ‘B’ team. Which frankly embarrassed Red Bull who could only manage ninth and 10th with 2014’s wonder-boy Daniel Ricciardo finishing behind new boy Daniil Kvyat.

It was a major comedown for Sauber after their fifth and eighth place finishes in Australia, who had one car spin out and the other finish in 12th place at Sepang. While a special mention goes out to Roberto Merhi who brought his Manor Marussia home, albeit in last place, three laps down, but for the struggling Manor Marussia team, finishing the race is like a win after neither car made it out on track in Australia.

McLaren had a more encouraging weekend with both cars taking the start and at one point had both cars running in the points before the inevitable retirements of both drivers. It’s hardly been the return of the McLaren Honda partnership that Ron Dennis has been selling to the media. That said, there are encouraging signs from Woking, let’s hope that Button is correct in predicting points by the Spanish GP.

I’m really hoping that this race is indicative of the season to come, a battle between two or more teams rather than a Mercedes white-wash like last season with other teams winning only when Mercedes had reliability issues. So c’mon Williams and Red Bull, time to step up and take the competition to Mercedes.

2015 Malaysian Grand Prix Results

1. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 1:41:05.793
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +8.500
3. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) +12.300
4. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +53.800
5. Valteri Bottas (Williams) +70.400
6. Felipe Massa (Williams) +73.500
7. Max Verstappen (Toro Rosso) +97.700
8. Carlos Sainz Jnr (Toro Ross) +1 LAP
9. Daniil Kvyat (Red Bull) +1 LAP
10. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) +1 LAP

Review: Asus RT-N66R Wireless Router

I recently bought an Asus RT-N66R wireless router to replace the increasingly buggy Western Digital myNET N900 router which has been randomly disconnecting everyone from the Internet at least twice daily, requiring a hard reset. And there isn’t going to be a fix as WD has discontinued support, e.g. no firmware updates. But after 48 hours, I’m happy to report the RT-N66R has not disconnected me once.

Asus RT-N66R RouterStarting from the outside, the RT-N66R is a very good looking router with it’s textured crosshatch patterned top and blue LED activity lights to it’s three removable antennas to the silver embossed ASUS logo. Plus it comes with a detachable stand which allows for it to be mounted vertically. Around the back there are four gigabit LAN ports, a single gigabit WAN port, two USB inputs for printers and/or external hard disks, WPS button, reset switch, power input and finally a power switch.

Setup was easy, after connecting the WAN Ethernet cable, LAN Ethernet cables and power cord I just opened a browser and immediately got redirected to the RT-N66R’s configuration page. First it asked me for a username and password for the router admin, then it tries to connect to the Internet, which in my case, I had to power cycle my modem to get the router to detect the Internet connection, finally it asks for you to set a SSID and password for 2.4 an 5GHz wireless bands to secure your network and that’s it!

Feature wise, this router has nearly everything anyone could need, from the ability to create dedicated guest Internet access isolated from the network to the ability to monitor traffic in real time, last 24 hours and daily. Parental controls which can limit access to time frames for specific mac addresses, to stop your kids from using their connected devices after bedtime is one example of parental control usage.

The USB ports can be put to good use with five different onboard applications. AIDisk which allows a USB drive to be shared over the Internet, Media Services and Servers which allows you to set up iTunes, FTP or DLNA servers and SAMBA (network drive) shares. Network Printer Server acts as a print server, you connect your USB printer to one of the USB ports and it becomes a network printer. 3G/4G allows for the connection of a 3G/4G wireless dongle or connect your smartphone for backup Internet access. Finally, there is Download Master, which allows downloads directly to an attached hard disk without a PC.

There’s more, under the AiCloud 2.0 tab, there are more external access options, Cloud Disk shares and streams data from a USB hard disk or USB stick, Smart Access enables access to SAMBA computer shares on your local network through Asus’ AiCloud Apple and Android apps or personalized web link. Smart Sync allows for syncing of data on a USB connected hard disk to the cloud, such as Asus’ Webstorage.

The RT-N66R has the usual LAN, WAN and wireless configuration options, which are pretty standard fair, nothing of note here. But what is of interest is the ability of setup a VPN server, which allows connection directly to your home network when away from home. All you need is an Internet connection to access all your home network resources like you are at home. Additionally, when you are at home, the router allows for the setup of VPN’s directly on the device itself protecting the whole network from government spying.

The firewall section is one of the most advanced I have seen on a consumer grade router, as well as the usual NAT firewall, it has URL filtering, keyword filtering, network service filtering and an IPv6 Firewall. I’d advise most buyers to leave this well enough alone, the standard settings are more than adequate.

The Asus RT-N66R is even compatible with DD-WRT should you want even more control over your router, but the standard Asus firmware is more than up to the job unless you are the ultimate power user.

Overall, I can not recommend this router enough, it has decent range, speeds of 300Mbps are easily obtainable with standard wireless hardware. I did look at the AC1900 version of this router, the RT-AC68R, but I didn’t see the point of spending the extra $70, a total throughput of 900Mbps is more than enough for my needs. The feature set is amazing given the price point of $130 high street retail, some online retailers have it for as little as $100. I just hope that it remains reliable, if it doesn’t, I will update this review/blog accordingly and give Asus a verbal bashing! But for now, I absolutely love the Asus RT-N66R.


Surface Pro 3, Core i5 128GB Model

I really wanted to buy a Surface 2 (non Pro version), but when I had the opportunity to actually buy one, I find out the device has been discontinued and I don’t want to go down the refurbished route to get one.

So I went down to Best Buy and had a 10 minute play with the Pro 3, I tested the core i5 128GB version and it seemed pretty snappy and worked well in desktop and modern UI interfaces. So I took the decision to stump up the $1000 for it but skipped the optional $130 Surface 3 Type Cover. I was offered a Best Buy credit card at checkout, so I put the cost of the Surface on the card with 12 months interest free credit.

Let’s start with the positives, the Surface Pro 3 is relatively light and a good size to hold comfortably. The 12in 1440p display is very bright and crisp although a little reflective, viewing angles are excellent. The touchscreen is very responsive and the included N-trig stylus pen works well, although in my testing missed the odd “click” here and there. The Intel Core i5 CPU, 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD combination is fast, using the tablet feels zippy and I’ve not noticed any slowdown plus it’s completely silent most of the time. Battery life is good, I managed about 6.5 hours of mixed use, streaming, web browsing, Photoshop, Word etc. The Surface Pro 3 includes a full version of Windows 8.1 Pro, although it doesn’t come with a copy of Office, just a link to buy/download Office unlike it’s now discontinued stablemate, the Surface 2.

After getting the Surface 3 Pro home, I powered it on and the first thing I did after setup was check for updates, it’s a Windows machine after all and yes, there was nearly 70 updates plus a firmware update. After the updates were done, I installed Microsoft Office 2007, I really can’t be bothered with subscription based products like Office 365. Plus Photoshop CS 6, AVG Free, Chrome, Firefox and OpenVPN software.

The Surface is a good product in general, every bit as powerful as the equivalent Core i5 based ultrabook, but there are a number of issues for me that make the Surface 3 not a replacement for my i5 laptop. The first thing is a stupidly high resolution 1440p screen (2160 x 1440), there really is no need for such a high resolution display on a 12in tablet. elements are too small for touch use, even with scaling enabled.

However there is a solution if you like to delve under the hood of Windows, which I do, I definitely like to tinker. In simple terms you need to download the full driver set for the Intel graphic chip, create a custom resolution (height x 1.5) to get 3:2 ratio. See the following link for info on how to change resolution. You can use the existing presets to change resolution, but none of them are 3:2 aspect ratio and you will end up with black bars either top/bottom or left/right and in some cases both, something I can’t live with.

Second, when using the desktop, with the exception of Google Chrome, the onscreen keyboard is not automatically invoked when touching inside input elements such as URL boxes and form input boxes. I have to touch on the keyboard icon in the system tray each time I want to input something. Apparently this is by design according to some, to force us to use the new touch optimized modern UI, but even in the modern UI, there are problems, for example, when trying to search YouTube in Internet Explorer’s modern UI, the on screen keyboard disappears after 1/2 a second, not allowing time for any input.

If this is by design, it truly baffles me, why would anyone pay $1000 for a tablet when functionality is limited on the desktop side, although it would explain why Microsoft elected to discontinue the $450 Surface 2 which has zero desktop usage being limited to modern UI applications through the store.

The third thing is not so much a problem, but it’s kinda annoying, in some graphics application the Surface 3 pen does not work fully, no pressure sensitivity in many cases. But there is a fix, the pen manufacturer N-trig have created a WinTab driver for Windows 8.1 which restores that functionality. Download the driver and install it on your Surface like any other application, reboot and you’re done.

So overall, I like the Surface Pro 3, but I think it’s a little expensive, if we are shelling out $800 to almost $2000 for this device, I think the keyboard should be included as Microsoft like to claim this as a laptop replacement, which it is not, I have tried to use it like my laptop and I don’t feel as productive as I do using my laptop. Unless you specifically want the surface keyboard, I would recommend buying a small wireless keyboard and using that instead using the Surface’s USB3 port. Alternatively you can buy a small Bluetooth keyboard, such as the HP K4000 for $30 from Best Buy, which frees up the single USB3 port.

But, if you just want a tablet that allows you to play games, use social media, streaming media, Email and browsing, save your money and buy a cheaper Windows RT tablet, for example the Asus Transformer Book T100TA, which is less than half the cost and comes with a detachable keyboard. I opted for the Surface Pro 3 so I can take all my work applications with me without taking a 17.3in laptop, for most this is overkill, don’t waste your money unless you need the extra horsepower and desktop application access.

Update [Apr, 7 2015, 21:51]: Since purchasing the Surface Pro 3, Microsoft has announced that it will be releasing a Surface 3 tablet for half the price at $499 with most of the same functionality. Which leaves me feeling a little angry as I wanted a Surface but didn’t need the core i(x) Pro 3, I feel like Microsoft has cheated me after discontinuing the Surface 2 months before the Surface 3 was announced.


Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix 2015

You may not have noticed due to all the legal wranglings involving Guido van der Garde and the Sauber F1 team, but there was a race that happened this weekend in Melbourne. And rather predictably Mercedes dominated the weekend with Lewis Hamilton edging out Nico Rosberg by 1.3 seconds.

I think the bigger story is the amount of retirees with five drivers not making it to the grid, the two Manor Marussia drivers never got out on track all weekend, Williams’ Valteri Bottas suffered a back injury in qualifying, McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen suffered an engine blowup and Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat stopped with gearbox issues on the way around to the grid, which left us with just 15 cars taking the start.

We lost another driver before turn 2, Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado ended up in the wall after being nudged by Felipe Nasr, who was nudged by Kimi Raikkonen, which was caused by Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz shunting Raikkonen from behind. It gets worse, Romain Grosjean pulled into the garage at the end of lap 1 to retire the second Lotus with a loss of power, which left 13 cars remaining at the end of lap 1.

Inevitably, the Maldonado crash brought out the safety car, which in itself caused drama. Force India’s Sergio Perez overtook Marcus Ericsson under safety car conditions, but because Ericsson pitted for tyres, Perez had to lose two places to drop to 13th and last position behind not only Ericsson but Button as well.

But the bright side of this is that it created a battle between Button and Perez for what was 12th place. Button robustly defended his position and in my opinion chopped across Perez causing a collision, but escaped any punishment, probably because they were squabbling over 12th position and Perez ending up in front a few laps later. It was a silly incident in my opinion as the Honda engine was being run at 10 – 15% less than maximum power due to huge issues with the brand new for 2015 Japanese power unit.

Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen’s race ended on lap 34 after reporting smoke in the car over the radio as the Dutchman pulled to the side of the track with a clear engine failure. The four power unit limit for the whole season is looking rather dodgy at this point with three drivers losing an engine already.

Another issue was the amount of issues in pit stops; mainly relating to attachment of wheels, several drivers had extended stops which caused them to lose positions. While Ferrari sent out Kimi Raikkonen with his left rear wheel not securely attached which ultimately resulted in his retirement, which brought the number of runners down to eleven but Ferrari escaped punishment for an unsafe release.

I would say that the 2015 Australian Grand Prix was far from a classic, highlight of the race was actor Arnold Schwarzenegger performing the post race podium interviews. In my opinion, the race was incredibly dull, very few actual overtakes, the change of position between Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Williams’ Felipe Massa was done through strategy and not on track. The only driver to not score a point was Jenson Button, who had no chance of winning any points on merit with Honda’s engine woes.

I would say that the young rookie drivers did very well, although it’s easier to score points with only 11 cars running. that’s not taking anything away from the likes of Verstappen, Sainz and Nasr. Clearly the battle for the title is between the Mercedes drivers, but first blood goes to Hamilton, and I suspect that this season there will be far less mechanical issues for Hamilton, so I believe it’s Hamilton’s title to lose.

2015 Australian Grand Prix Results

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:31:54.067
2. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) +1.300
3. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +34.500
4. Felipe Massa (Williams) +38.100
5. Felipe Nasr (Sauber) +95.100
6. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) +1 LAP
7. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) +1 LAP
8. Marcus Ericcson (Sauber) +1 LAP
9. Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosoo) +1 LAP
10. Sergio Perez (Force India) +1 LAP