Reviewing the Google Pixel 4 XL smartphone

The phone arrived via FedEx delivery on Thursday, October 24, 2019. Ordering the phone from the Google store was pretty easy. I ordered it on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 during the Google hardware event. For those of you keeping track of my phone orders you are probably aware that I have had every major model of the Pixel phone. The 3a is not a major model version and I did not purchase one of those phones. Anyway, I have had the Google Pixel 4 XL smartphone in my possession for 48 hours of testing. 


  • Google Photos is having all sorts of problems updating/syncing. It is seriously confused by the 20,000 photos I have stored online. When you load the Google Photos application it just says, “Getting your photos…” obviously that is not ideal or acceptable. 
  • The camera does take really great photographs. I have been really impressed with it so far after a couple days of Halloween costume pictures. 
  • Day one from the start of using this new phone, I was a little worried about the battery life. Those worries were well founded. The battery life is really not very good at all. The Pixel 3 XL would make it to about dinner time without being worn out. This new phone is burning battery so fast I’m looking to charge around lunchtime. That is a massive step backward.

It’s really 20190917…

Last night my sleep score was probably terrible. My Fitbit will not sync right now so the exact score remains a mystery. In typical troubleshooting fashion, I rebooted the Fitbit and after that did not work the phone is getting a reboot. Naturally, after the sync occurred following a reboot of both devices an update was available, “Updating Your Fitbit Ionic,” is the only message I’m seeing right now. If you do not know about the speed of Fitbit updates, then let me share with you that they are like Windows 95 updates. You watch them go and wonder if things are going to be ok or not ok without any control outside of hope. It has been several minutes and it just says, “Installation in progress…” At this point, I just try to stay positive and hope that the good folks at Fitbit wrote an updater that will not nerf the device. Obviously, my time was not a key consideration during the design of this update process. Fitbit clocked my sleep score at 81 last night. Apparently, I just had a really hard time falling asleep, but things went well enough after that.

Revisiting my Corsair Air 740 computer case purchase

Right now, it seems like a good time to revisit my Corsair Carbide Series Air 740 high airflow ATX cube case purchase. Back on 1/30/2018 it seemed like a good idea to add a new computer case to my office. Over the years my Cooler Master Storm Stryker case has worked out well, but it was time to move to something new. That something new happened to be a Corsair computer case. The Air 740 is a pretty decent cube of a computer case. It features a glass door on one side that houses the motherboard and an enclosed side for the power supply and storage drives.  

During the build I elected to create my first Storage Space via a 3 hard drive storage pool. That effectively takes 6 terabytes of storage and pools it down to a 2 terabyte storage pool. In Windows 10 you can navigate to the Control Panel –> System and Security –> Storage Space and setup or manage a storage pool. It has worked out well enough. My primary system runs on an M.2 drive attached to the motherboard and I have a few solid-state drives plugged into the system, but my primary storage is the storage pool. You can imagine that over the last few months I have considered getting larger drives for my storage pool. Editing those pesky 4K videos just eats up storage space. 

That will end my meandering around the point for the day. Overall, I have been very happy with my purchase of a Corsair Carbide Series Air 740 high airflow ATX cube case. Keep in mind that it will need to sit under your desk and is wider than a regular ATX computer case footprint. It has worked great and was easy to cable. I thought that the lack of an external physical media drive (Blu-ray/DVD) would be a deal breaker, but I have not really missed it.   

Revisiting my Chromebook

It took a few weeks. I am finally used to writing on my ASUS Flip Chromebook. The application version of Microsoft Word from Google Play seems to be meeting my writing needs. Writing on a weblog is supposed to be about providing an ongoing narrative. Most of my intellectual efforts over the last few years have been focused on understanding the intersection of technology and modernity. A few other threads tend to weave the fabric of my intellectual curiosities together. For better or worse the only defining narrative relates to the things that interest me. The lens with which I view the world is my own. That lens for the most part is applied to the generation of prose on this Chromebook. For the most part I have been very happy with my ASUS Flip Chromebook. The engineers at ASUS need to refresh the hardware. First, the device needs a USB type C port that would replace the oddly proprietary power cable. Second, it would also be nice if ASUS sold an LTE version of the device. Those two changes would really take the ASUS Flip Chromebook to the next level.

Building custom computers

Writing a daily functional journal entry should be routine. I have been writing for years. Some of it has been interesting. Some of my writing efforts are not very personal. Other writing efforts have been. Making a transition to producing a more personal brand of prose will happen. It might be a slow process. It will be a process that starts one day at a time.

Starting the day off with an episode of This week in Computer Hardware (episode 347) featuring Patrick Norton seemed like a good idea. Over the years, I have watched a lot of Leo Laporte online programming. I have started saving up for a new computer build. My primary computer is several years old and cannot support the new generation of graphics cards. This year may be the year that a graphics card and monitor upgrade happens. Some of the new motherboards are looking pretty good these days.

I have been browsing 4K computer builds on YouTube. Some of them have looked pretty good. More than a couple build combinations have crossed my mind. At some point, one of them will probably occur. I keep telling myself that a new computer build will help inspire some deep analytic analysis.