Fixing a Blank Default Web Browser Setting in OS X El Capitan

I don’t know what causes this problem but recently I discovered that the “Default web browser” setting in the General preferences tab was blank. Clicking on the drop-down showed no browser names so I could not change the use of Safari as the default browser.

The fix was relatively simple. I opened Chrome and via settings within Chrome I set it to be the default web browser. After completing this action I then had the names of the installed browsers in the “Default web browser” drop-down.

This fix may work using any browser that allows you to set it as the default from within the browser settings itself.

Back to the Pebble (Time)

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A couple of years ago I jumped onto the smartwatch bandwagon with the Pebble Smartwatch, which I enjoyed. Last summer I had the opportunity to use an Apple Watch instead.

I enjoyed the Apple Watch but after several months I switched to Pebble Time.

Why?

I’m drawn to technology that is not overly complicated and I found that the Apple Watch offers more features than I needed. In addition, it’s not a watch.

The Apple Watch is an extension of the iPhone. It’s a watch as much as an iPhone is a phone. Sure, the Apple Watch can display the time but it does much more.

I certainly didn’t hate the device. I simply wanted a smart watch that did little more than provide some notifications on my wrist. Even while I had the Apple Watch I rarely used most of its capabilities. I used it the way that I used the Pebble, except it is not really well designed to be used in this manner.

The Pebble devices can last for several days without a charge whereas I usually had to charge the Apple Watch each night (simply a result of the hardware used by the different devices). The Pebble watches are waterproof while the Apple Watch is technically considered water resistant.

I didn’t need to view photos on my wrist, send canned text replies or talk to someone through the watch. I just wanted a device that would display minor details and vibrate when I receive a phone call, text message or important e-mail message. And behave like a watch when it wasn’t doing those things.

For myself the Apple Watch is overkill.

I’m not stating that it’s a bad device or that others would not love it. But if you just want a smart watch then a Pebble is a good way to go and it is also much less expensive. It bends to suit my life rather than working the other way.

DEWALT DCST920P1 20V MAX 5.0 Ah Lithium Ion XR Brushless String Trimmer

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The trimmer finally died… I suppose it was at least partially my fault as I did very little to care for it properly though on the other hand I’m not sure it ever functioned well. In any case, when I retrieved the trimmer from the shed and tried to crank it after several attempts I determined that it finally had given up. Gas was leaking out of the engine case.

I detached the trimmer attachment from the motor and tossed the motor. Perhaps some future yard sale shopper will benefit from the purchase of an inexpensive trimmer head along with a tiller and edger.

I wasn’t interested in spending a lot of money to replace it but I couldn’t find many good alternatives based on the various reviews I read. Initially, I looked for something that could use the old attachments but after a while it became less of a concern, especially since it may not be a major concern in the near future (a long story that is still in-progress).

While a gas-powered trimmer certainly has… power I decided to go a different route and instead purchase a DEWALT DCST920P1 20V Max 5.0 Ah Lithium Ion XR Brushless String Trimmer. I simply didn’t want to mess with an engine with moving parts that needs a good bit of maintenance and I’ve seen Dewalt tools in use and knew that the battery-powered tools usually have a surprising amount of power.

I wasn’t disappointed. The first time I used the trimmer (twice now) I quickly learned that it was much quieter and lighter and in terms of power it did not disappoint.

One fully-charged battery had just enough to charge to finish every spot in our yard that I usually hit (and it’s a good sized yard on a parcel of land about one acre in size). It actually died right after I finished the last spot. If you have a larger yard or simply like to trim everything in sight then you might want to purchase an extra battery.

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That’s where the cost really gets you. At the time of purchase this trimmer cost about $199 but the trimmer itself can be purchased without a battery and charger for $99. Dewalt is proud of its batteries though that may be well deserved from what I have seen.

The only real problem I’ve discovered is that I have yet to determine whether or not I can adjust the guard (and I’ll admit that I haven’t checked the manual yet) as its default (and perhaps fixed) position kicks up a lot of debris directly onto myself.

I am very happy with this purchase. It’s effective and easy to use.

 

 

Bose SoundLink On-Ear Bluetooth Wireless Headphones

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I’ve never been very interested in Bose audio equipment. I certainly don’t think the gear isn’t good; I just don’t think the cost is justified. Regardless, last year I actually purchased an expensive pair of Bose headphones.

Why?

At the time I was originally looking for something that could work with my (then new) Xbox One. My preference was for something wireless, rechargeable and that would work with other devices in the home.

I never did find anything that hit all of these marks well and migrated away from looking for something to use with the console and instead for something that I could use with my phone, laptops and TV.

The Bose SoundLink On-Ear Bluetooth Wireless Headphones is not a typical purchase that I would make. I’ve certainly purchased expensive gadgets before but investing this much into a single piece of gear that, let’s face it, doesn’t really do very much is not what I would typically do (yeah, I’m sure some would disagree). I purchased them from Best Buy but they are available from Amazon.com.

I do enjoy listening to music, and good quality does make a difference, though I wouldn’t have spent this much on a pair of headphones, no matter how good they sound, without the wireless Bluetooth support and built-in rechargeable battery. In addition, when the internal battery dies one can still use these with a regular audio cable.

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From time to time I do use them with my phone, laptops and to watch TV at night (without disturbing my wife). I did all of these activities more frequently, before the arrival of our son, but late-night TV watching is a rare habit these days.

The headphones are recharged via a standard micro-USB connector. A carrying case is included, which the headphones fold into very easily. A regular audio connector is also included though I’ve only used it once or twice as the battery does a good job of maintaining a charge while not in use.

The quality sounds great to me but I’m not an audiophile so if you’re picky about your headphones then don’t use this post to make a decision.

The headphones also have a built-in microphone so they can be used to answer phone calls. It’s a nice feature as it doesn’t require removing the headphones to speak on the phone but most of the time I’d prefer to simply use my stock Apple earbuds for managing phone calls.

What’s the verdict? Do I think they’re worth the cost?

I suppose it’s fair to declare that I think they are overpriced but at the same time I also don’t feel like I was cheated. If you have some extra cash (which I did then but usually don’t any more) they’re not a bad pair of headphones but if you’re on a budget you might be able to find something suitable for far less.

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