Saturday, July 04, 2020

Dreem2 Review at 6 weeks

I've been using the Dreem2 headband for five weeks now and here are my thoughts:

1.  The technology is very good.  It tracks my sleep well and the numbers seem accurate.
2. It's getting more comfortable.
3. I finished the easy "Intro to sleep" class.  It was helpful.  It's a little frustrating that you can't take all the sessions in one sitting, but upon reflection, it's probably good the way they have it now.
4. Making the bedroom dark was my biggest take-away from the intro class.
5. One helpful number from the night's data is "Sleep Onset", or how long did it take me to fall asleep after turning on the headset.
Usually it's under 30 minutes, but it's interesting to check with my food diary for those nights that it is longer.  So far, it looks like eating spicy foods, foods with lots of sugar, or lots of carbs hurts my sleep onset number.  Without the Dreem2 it would be hard to get the sleep onset number.

Things to improve in the Dreem2:
1. Charging feedback.  Although I set my headband in the charging cradle each night, yesterday it did not charge.   There's no easy way to know if the headband is charging without looking at the app.  The glowing ring changes colors and varies intensities, but I haven't a clue what it's trying to tell me.  Is it charging?  Is it trying to charge but doesn't connect to the contacts?  Is it having a bad dream?  I don't speak glowing ring LED language and C-3PO is nowhere to be found.

Dreem needs a small card lesson on what the led indicator signals are.  Also a text mid-day would be nice if it's not charging.

2. If I don't fall asleep as quickly as usual, the app asks me why.  This is great, but the answers listed do not include "I ate something spicy", or  "I drank three cups of 'decaf' coffee after dinner".

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Review of the Dreem 2 Headset and 10% Discount

The Problem:

I wake up at 4am sometimes and cannot get back to sleep.  It makes the following day hard.
I would love to go to bed at night and get a great night's sleep.

To that end, I've been keeping a record of all my food, exercise, and other activities in my life.  I try to correlate those things with my sleep.  I've learned many things through the diary.   I've learned certain foods will prevent me from falling asleep for hours.  Spicy foods will keep me awake during the night.  Stress will wake me up too early.

But to really tease out the relationships of activities and sleep, I want something more exact than my impression of how I slept, so I can more accurately discover the causes of a bad night's sleep.

I've been reviewing sleep trackers recently.  I tried a watch-type and found it not very accurate.
I was excited to hear about the Dreem 2 headband since it promised sleep-lab grade brain wave monitoring.  I was hoping it would give me exact measurements on my sleep.

Here's what I've discovered about the Dreem 2.

The Good:
Overall the Dreem 2 is amazing. I usually wake up a few times a night to go to the bathroom, and the headband picks up those times exactly.  Very impressive - something my wristband could not do.  I cannot vouch for the classification of my sleep into light, deep, and REM, but the awake times and sleep times are usually spot on. 
In the morning it will display how many total hours I slept, and how many hours in light, deep, and REM sleep.

It encourages me to go to bed at the same time each night by giving me a score on sticking to schedule.  Sort of like gamification - but strangely I don't want to disappoint it, so I'm going to bed at a regular time now.

I'm very excited about the possibilities of tracking my lifestyle in the day to my sleep at night.  Dreem 2 is the perfect tool for that.

The Bad:
The headband struggles to connect with my iPhone.  It will eventually connect, but it can be slow and tedious to keep pressing the headband.  I need more feedback about how it progressing with the connection.  Did I press the headband button long enough?  too long?

It's fairly comfortable to wear at night. My temples are very sensitive and the pressure is uncomfortable at times, but worth it to get the sleep data.  Hopefully in the Dreem 3 they can make the headband thinner as it passes the temples so it doesn't press as much from the pillow to my head.

Would Like to Have:
I'd like to have a summary number for the nights sleep based on length of sleep time and the amount of time in light, deep, and REM sleep.  This would help me optimize my activities to get the best night's rest.

Sleep Classes:
The app comes with three sleep programs.  I just started the two week sleep basics class.  The app also comes with a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy program that I will start after the basics class.

I will let you know in future posts how it goes.

Update:  To get a 10% discount when purchasing a Dreem headset, enter this code in the Voucher section at checkout:  518A5C3B.

Monday, June 01, 2020

In Visual Studio 2019, How to move Resharper menu back to the top menu

I love Jetbrain's Resharper extension for Visual Studio 2019, but by default Resharper no longer shows up on the main toolbar in VS, but as a submenu under "Extensions".  Very annoying.  Especially when using shortcut keys, because it means an extra "alt-x" just to access.

Fortunately Evgeny K has written an extension that moves it back up to the main toolbar.
You can find it at


Thank you Evgeny K!

Saturday, September 07, 2019

A Generic Funeral Brochure Template in Google Documents

I recently designed a funeral brochure in Google Documents and wanted to offer the template to anyone who could use it.
The template document is here.  (Thanks to wikipedia for the content text).
It consists of a two column table on each page with the correct dimensions to print well.
The pdf created from Google Docs is here.
If you set your printer for double-sided printing it will print it out like this:

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

In Windows 10 the Desktop Window Manager is using 100% of the GPU

Sometimes my Windows 10 machine would get incredibly slow.  Even the cursor would start lagging behind.
Looking at the performance monitor I could see that "Desktop Window Manager" was using 100% of my gpu. 

The solution for me was to do this:
On the desktop in empty space, right-click and select "display settings". Make sure all displays and their "scale and layout" are of a 100% size. My issue was out of my three displays, my laptop display had 125% scaling on it. When I switched it to 100% the GPA went back to normal.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Self referencing loop detected for property 'Object' with type 'Castle.Proxies.IServiceContextProxy

When writing unit tests using Moq objects I occasionally get this error:
 Message="Self referencing loop detected for property 'Object' with type 'Castle.Proxies.IServiceContextProxy..."

It happens when JSON is trying to serialize an object that it thinks has a pointer to itself and could create an infinite loop - although in your code it may not be infinite, but JSON doesn't know that.  It's just trying to protect you.

 One way to fix this is to replace the Mock object with real fake object.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

The Most Underrated Wonder of the Ancient World - Obelisks

My daughter and me under Cleopatra's Needle at the Met in New York

  1. Twenty Eight Egyptian obelisks remain standing today.
  2. They are built from a single piece of rock.
  3. The Egyptians did not have iron tools, so it is thought they pounded the granite with heavy dolerate rocks - one of the few things harder than granite.
  4. An army of workers would have had to labor "an infinity of hours" to create one. If a crack were found in the rock during work, the monolith would be abandoned and work started on another site.
  5. Obelisks could be 100 feet tall and weigh 400 tons.
  6. Moving them was tricky, because the granite would crack easily if not properly supported. Stone is great in compression, but weak in tension.
  7. In 37 AD Gaius Caligula ordered an Egyptian obelisk that was already 1800 years old to be moved to Rome. It was 25 meters tall with a base of 8 meters and weighed one million pounds and made of pink granite. It remained standing in Rome for 1500 years.
  8. The end of the Middle Ages.
    The pope ordered the obelisk moved to the center of St. Peter's square. On September 10, 1586 the obelisk was moved by 907 men, 75 horses and 40 cranes.

    No obelisk had been moved for over a thousand years, and the people of 1586 thought they had at last equalled their Roman ancestors . The fact that they had moved the obelisk only a few hundred meters, instead of from across the Mediterranean did not matter - a new age of technology and engineering was dawning. Some historians mark this engineering marvel as the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Renaissance.

    As it looks now: