Monday, 27 April 2015

Google AdSense Alternative - Chitika

I had started putting Chitika ads in my blogs since Nov 2014. Initially, I had about $0.01 to $0.03 revenue per month from Nov 2014 to Feb 2015. After Feb 2015, I did not receive any revenue even though I had similar impressions (average 850 impressions per month). I did not get any valid clicks since Mar 2015. Below is the Advanced Report from Nov 2014 to Apr 2015. I had given Chitika a go for at least half a year already and the results were disappointing. My revenue is $0.08 for half a year. Even if I continue with Chitika on my blogs, I don't think I will be able to reach $1 for 10 years. This is one of the worst ads networks that I have used. I wouldn't recommend this unless you have a lot of valid clicks from the US traffic. The Asian or European traffics that I have generated did not give me enough impressions and valid clicks that materialized into revenue.

Chitika ads almost took half of the ads that I have in all my blogs. I will gradually reduce the ads and put more from revenue generating ads networks.

Chitika Report - SG My Life Is Good
Chitika Report - Nov 2014 to Apr 2015
The default channel gave the most revenue or rather all the revenues came from the default channel! No revenue from mobile ad, highlight and hover app.
Chitika report - Channel
Chitika Report - Channel
I'm not complaining on the revenue because I know that my traffic is mostly from Asia. However, recently, my blogs are gaining traction with traffic from US. I should be looking at some revenues from the US because in my other ads networks, there are already revenues from the US traffic. I'm wondering why Chitika does not reflect this. Should I email Chitika to check with them?

I have not checked my "" for quite some times. Today, I click on the settings and see My Domains. I have two domains which under the DTL column are showing gold-pending level domain. Most of my domains are silver levels and only one is bronze. I have no idea when they have been gold-pending as I have not clicked on the My Domains for at least 2 months. Let's say it is in gold-pending level today (7 May), I want to see how long does this take to reach gold level domain. Even if it is gold level domain, I wonder when it will drop to silver level.

gold-pending level domain
Gold-pending level domain

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Ordered my Raspberry Pi 2 and accessories

Finally, there are stocks for the new Raspberry Pi 2 Model B at RS Components. I ordered one this morning together with one Edimax Wireless Nano USB Adapter and one Raspberry Pi B+ White Case.

The Edimax Wireless Nano USB Adapter and White Case are available for same day despatch, so I got them in the afternoon just now. Pretty fast I must say, however the Raspberry Pi 2 will probably take a couple of days to be delivered. I hope the Pi can be delivered by this Friday so that I can play with this toy during the weekends. I still need to get the MicroSD card as I only have SD cards. I decided to upgrade as the Pi Model B is already 3 years old and is a bit slow to run the programs. The new Pi 2 has 1gb ram and faster 900MHz quad core processor. It has 4 USB slots which are very useful to run many dongles and memory stick. I will need one for wifi, bluetooth, keyboard and USB thumb drive. So, I will be using all the 4 USB slots and I wonder whether the power supply can support this.

I have the bluetooth dongle that I bought from eBay last year. This one is working with Raspbian I think but it is not detected in Openelec XBMC. I remembered there was one version of the older XBMC that detected the adapter but after I had updated to the latest, the adapter was not supported or rather bluetooth support is not well developed for XBMC. In the Kodi version, it is not detected. I will try with the Raspberry Pi 2 setup and update in this blog whether it is supported.

I plan to buy a Pi Camera but it is out of stock till 6 June. I intend to use it as an IP camera but I'm not sure whether it can stream realtime video.

Raspberry Pi 2 White Casing
Raspberry Pi 2 White Casing.
The inside of the casing as shown below. There is a slot of the Pi Camera module. It will stick out of the box and you will not be able to cover it. Not really what I have expected if I want to add a camera to it. I will prefer an external holder or cover for the camera which can be positioned in the direction that is required.
Inside of the White Casing
Inside of the White Casing
Parts of the Raspberry Pi 2 White Casing
Parts of the Raspberry Pi 2 White Casing
Parts of the Raspberry Pi 2 White Casing
Parts of the Raspberry Pi 2 White Casing
I had this Edimax nano wireless USB adapter in my Raspberry Pi Model B and is still working fine. I chose this because I know that this is one of the working dongles and I'm not willing to fork out some bucks to test other brand. I tested the new Edimax adapter yesterday night and it is working fine. You will need to go to the menu to de-select the wireless connection and reconnect again. When you just removed the existing dongle and replaced the new dongle, it will not detect. So, you have to manually deselect and select the wireless connection again. Just in case, you have similar problem, this will help you solve it.
Edimax Nano Wireless USB Adapter
Edimax Nano Wireless USB Adapter
Still waiting for my Pi 2 to arrive.

The Pi 2 did not arrive yesterday as stated in the RS delivery schedule. It mentioned delivery within 3 days upon ordering. I called up the Customer Service hotline and a lady checked and told me that the stocks did not reach their warehouse as expected. The stocks will only arrive this coming Monday and the earliest delivery date will be Tuesday. I think RS is competing with other authorized dealers and claimed that the order can be fulfilled within 3 days and many people would be ordering from them thinking into account the short delivery time. I hope the stocks will arrive on Monday but I'm not very convinced that I will receive the Pi 2 on Tuesday as there will be couple of hundreds or even thousands of orders and deliveries needed to fulfill. Just hope for the best.

While waiting for the Pi 2 to arrive, I went to buy a MicroSD card with adapter. I was at Westgate and Jem yesterday to catch the Avengers: Age of Ultron. I would normally get my cards from Sim Lim Square as it would be at least $3 cheaper. I do not have the time to go SLS, so I went to the Challenger shop to buy one.  Saw this Kingston 16GB MicroSD card with Adapter @ $18.90. It has a 90MB/s read and a 45MB/s write speed. Not sure how true but settle with this.

Kingston MicroSD card with Adapter
Kingston MicroSD card with Adapter
I was expecting the delivery to be on Tuesday. I received an "Enhanced Notification - Despatch" email from RS Components that the order had been despatched on Monday. The courier arrived at around lunch time. The Pi 2 is pretty small as compared to my earlier Model B+. My colleagues were quite fascinated with this device. I told them that the price is about S$47 and they think that there might be copies of this in the TaoBao. I would think that even if there are copied versions, I don't think the software supports are available and extensive as the original. It is already very cheap and I don't think getting two of these. But I think I will reserve the next purchase for the Pi camera or an upgraded version.
Raspberry Pi 2
Pi 2 delivered to my office
Even though I have played with the Pi before, it is still liked having the Pi for the first time. I placed the Pi 2 into the white casing but it did not fit well. I think something was wrong and quickly figured out that I needed to place the Pi 2 into the baseplate first. This was because there were two latches that the Pi 2 needed to go under. I had placed the Pi 2 onto the cover instead of the baseplate. If you had placed it correctly in the baseplate, you could snap fit the cover over the baseplate. I think after you had snapped the cover/baseplate, the interlock would be tight and you might not remove the cover easily.

After the assembly, I inserted the wifi and keyboard dongles. I plugged in the LAN cable and then the USB keyboard. I inserted the MicroSD card (that I had preloaded with the Openelec XBMC Kodi image). The fitting is just nice and the MicroSD card can be removed easily. My friend had an issue with the MicroSD slot on the same white casing and he had to cut a portion away with a penknife. I plugged in the MicroUSB cable and used my iPad 2 power plug. Switched on the power and Kodi XBMC was up and running in less than 5 minutes. Installed the Add-ons that I needed and I'm now thinking what to do with the old Pi...

Bluetooth dongle (not working with Kodi)
Bluetooth dongle (not working with Kodi)
USB ports
USB ports - taken up by Edimax, Keyboard, Thumb Drive
Power port, HDMI and audio jack
Power port, HDMI and audio jack
Inside of the casing
Inside of the casing
MicroSD card slot
MicroSD card slot

Microsoft just released a Windows 10 IoT core insider preview image for Raspberry Pi 2. You can go to for more information.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Apple iOS 8.3 software update

To update or not to update to Apple iOS 8.3 is the question now. There are people who said that after updated to iOS8.3, the battery life became weaker and shorter. I'm quite reluctant to update now if there is no major problem to my iOS system. Will there be an iOS 8.3.1? Maybe by June, there will be iOS 9.0? Any comments from people who have updated to iOS 8.3? Thanks.

African Avocado

I saw the local supermarket selling these little small avocados from Africa. I had planted avocados from New Zealand but not from Africa. These avocados are smaller than the New Zealand or Australia. I left them for one day and the inside was already blackened. I think the avocados were damaged during transportation. They were selling at $3.95 for 3 avocados. The ones from Australia Avanza were bigger and at the same price. I took one from Australia and two from Africa. The idea is to grow a variety of avocados from different regions. Currently, I have 4 avocado plants from Avanza New Zealand and one Sunfresh Australia still in the water. The two African avocado pits are in the water now and next will be the Avanza Australia pit.

So, now, assuming all pits can grow into seedlings, I will have 8 avocado plants.

African Avocado Pit
After the toothpicks are inserted into the pit (but not too deep, I say, maybe 2 to 3mm into the pit), you need to make sure that the small bump area at the bottom is in the water and not the other way round. The top part should be round and without any bump. You can see a parting line around the pit dividing the avocado pit into half. When inserting the toothpicks, try to avoid this line. After two weeks or so, the pit will split along this line and root will emerge at the bump area in the water. When the root is about 1 inch long, a shoot may grow from the top. Change the water every 3 days or so. Sometimes, I change the water after one week. Place it near a place where it can get some indirect sunlight. 
Avocado pit in water

Friday, 10 April 2015

New avocado branch bending towards the light

New bud emerged and soon grew into a new branch. This is on my third avocado plant and from the second pruning. The shoot is red in colour and bends towards the window. I rotate the pot to face the shoot at the opposite direction. The shoot will straighten up and continue to grow upwards.

Branch bent towards light
I will let the new branch to have four leaves before I do the third pruning. The browning on the leaves seemed to be in control. I think it is due to insufficient watering that caused the browning. Another reason may be due to the water that I used. I didn't let the chlorine to escape from the tap water before watering. Now I will fill one 1.5L of tap water and rest it overnight before watering the avocado plants. Also, you need to make sure that water drains from the bottom of the pot when watering. Do at least one draining of the water per month. This will keep the browning of the leaves at bay. Another thing that I observed is that the second and third avocado plants have leaves that are drooping instead of leaves spreading out horizontally.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Pruning my fourth avocado plant

The last time I pruned my 4th avocado plant is 14 March 2015. It has a new branch growing from the cut area. It is not branching out horizontally but instead it grows upwards. It has grown 6 leaves already and I think it is time for its 2nd pruning.

4th Avocado Plant
I'm not sure what will happen after I nip off the top two leaves and leave the remaining 4 leaves on the branch. I hope there will be new buds growing out from the other areas. I'm thinking of achieving a bonsai effect with regular pruning. I'm not sure how this will affect its growth and maybe its ability to bear fruits after 7 years. I have the patience to wait that long just to prove whether my avocado plants will bear fruits.

Thick branch from cut area
A thick branch growing from the cut area. It is thicker than the main stem. I hope the main stem can support the new branches' weights.

Pruned on 7 Apr 2015 - 2nd pruning
Pruned the top leaves, leaving 4 leaves on the branch. This is the second pruning for this 4th avocado plant. This plant does not have any browning of leaves and I think the browning of leaves is caused by either lack of water or accumulation of salts. Draining of the soil will be done once a month to remove excessive salts and watering is done every two to three days.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

My Sixth Avocado

I was at the Bukit Timah Market and Food Centre for my brunch on 28 Mar 2015. I passed by a stall selling fruit juice and I noticed that it had avocado juice. I ordered one cup and asked the stallholder to give me the avocado seed. He told me that it is impossible to grow avocado in Singapore but I told him that it is possible as I have done it already. He reluctantly gave me the seed in a plastic bag. The avocado is from Sunfresh Australia. The colour of the skin is lighter and brighter green as compared to Avenza New Zealand. The seed was quite big and I removed the outer skin of the avocado and put 3 toothpicks into the pit. The seed was a bit old but I think it should be ok.

Sixth Avocado Seed
The base of the seed that is in the water started to crack open and I noticed that the root is going to break through the crack. It is now one week already and I think in another week, new shoot will appear.

Sixth Avocado seed

You can see that the pit is splitting in the above and below photos. At this stage you have to be careful not to drop it because the pit will split open. In the below photo, you can see a new root emerging.

Pit split open

Root growing out of the pit on 8 Apr

New root appears today. I change the water. In the next few days, the root will grow longer and new shoot will appear on top of the pit.

The pit split open and a new shoot appeared. It is almost 3 weeks since it was in the water. The root has grown longer. At this stage, you have to be very careful not to drop the pit or damage it. The pit is very fragile and you don't want to cause the pit to separate into two. The pit will die if it breaks into two halves.