Friday, October 26, 2018

Friday 5 for October 26: Not Shaken

Getting Ready for Veteran's Day

1. When are you the straw that stirs the drink?

I can't picture this. I don't stir drinks. I only drink water.

2. Who has delivered the most stirring rendition of your country’s national anthem?

I like this version of "The Star Spangled Banner" by the group Madison Rising:

Stand for the flag. Honor our country. God Bless America.

3. Who or what is stirring in your vicinity?

Rail. Development in my neighborhood. Higher Taxes. Do I need to say more??? I hate the rail.

4. What do you like and dislike in a stir-fry?

Like: Chicken, beef, salmon, a wide variety of veggies, lots of onions, seasoning, pepper, side of rice and maybe a scoop of mac salad.

Dislike: Grease, salt (not supposed to consume too much of it).

Steamed Stir Fry Salmom
My salmon stir fry. Yum.

5. How do you deal with feeling stir-crazy?

I have the ability to put things in their boxes, so whatever is driving me nuts, I try to put away and not deal with it. Find a distraction like movies, video, book or podcast to divert attention.... go for a walk... go outside.

Questions are from Scrivener's Friday 5 blog.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Friday 5 for October 18: Social Capital

We're having a Christmas preview sale. 

1. Who or what keeps hanging around? 

Taxes, cockroaches and rail. All similar irritants to my life.

2. When was something most recently injected into you? 

I got a flu vaccine shot on October 15. I am "protected" for another season.

3. What were you most memorably the chair person of? 

Currently marketing director, "webmaster" and newsletter editor for Assistance League of Hawaii. It is an all volunteer task. I need a similar job that pays. Anyone want to help out with our blog?

4. When did you last gamble on a decision, and what was at stake? 

I had to decide whether or not I would be cut open for heart bypass surgery in December 2015. Life was at stake. They make you sign forms before that happens.

5. Where will you be heading this weekend? 

Home after I do whatever it is I do this weekend. Not going anywhere special. Mostly I stay home.

Questions from Scrivener's weekly Friday 5 blog.

On cell phones from last week: I have been contemplating about whether or not I should get rid of my landline. Hmmmm.....

Friday, October 12, 2018

Friday 5 for October 12: Again or Not Again

The following questions come from Scrivener's weekly Friday 5 blog.

3 Device Comparison

Left to Right: Apple iPod Touch, Alcatel Smartphone, Samsung Galaxy J7 phone. I like the Androids because they have removable batteries.


1. What is the story behind one of your scars?

I had a heart attack. I had major bypass surgery. There is a gigantic scar going down the middle of my chest. You don't want one of these. Believe me. You can read more about it at my Bypass Avenue blog.

2. What’s an example of your being pretty much like everyone else?

Top 5 reasons I am similar to most everyone else.

1. Part of the species "Homo Sapien".
2. Breathes oxygen every minute and second of my life.
3. Drinks water of which make up 70+% of our bodies.
4. I have a head, 2 eyes, 2 ears, 1 nose, 1 mouth, 2 arms, 2 hands, 2 legs and 2 feet.
5. I walk on 2 legs in an upright position.

3. What’s an example of your being pretty much unlike everyone else?

I am the only one in the world that is uniquely me. I am one of three surviving siblings of my Mother and Father. No one else can claim this.

4. Of websites you look at daily (or almost daily), which have you been paying attention to longest?

In order of the years I joined or made part of my daily online routine:

1995: Yahoo / Yahoo Mail - Way back then they were the big default search engine and first free email address service. While I rarely use Yahoo itself, I still regularly access my Yahoo email.

1996: Honolulu Star Advertiser (previously Honolulu Star Bulletin until 2010) - Daily local newspaper. Liked it better when it was all free, but now they have a paywall, way too many ads, auto-playing videos. Boooo! Still enough free content for at least a daily skim.

1998: Google - Yep, started using this search engine that early. Use it daily, despite Google's creepy tracking (see Gmail below).

2004: Gmail - When someone told me about Gmail I got onboard pretty fast. It is my daily driver for checking personal email as well as alternative accounts that I have created over the years. Plus a ton of other services connected to my Gmail account are used very regularly: Google Photos, Google Play, Google Music, YouTube, Google Docs, Google Chromebook OS, Android, etc.

Surely Google gets a lot of our personal information in return for the "free" services they provide... but since they have been doing it since the start of time... well I guess I must not have a problem with it, even though some of their things are kind of creepy in so far as they track practically your every move.

2004: - Was once a popular online, web based BBS community with a Hawaii focus. It is still maintained today despite user participation lagging for many years now, thanks mainly to Facebook. In its early years HawaiiThreads was often a toxic community where heated arguments on many subjects often exploded with people being banned and features taken away.

Today thanks to Facebook and other user curated social media services, we can be more selective in what we want to see and do as far as online communities go.

I still check into the place since I am one of the co-moderators with not much moderating to do today.

2006: Twitter - I still check in daily and post occasionally. Not much to say here except it has devolved into extreme partisan rants from both sides or mostly a lot of self promotion by various organizations.

2008: Facebook - Joined this thing to keep in touch with relatives and distant friends. I think I spend way too much time on it reading and posting to my own newsfeed as well as many other individuals and groups that I belong to. It is mostly a good place to be if you want to associate with like minded people on a variety of subjects... re: vinyl record collectors, LowEnd Mac users, Babylon 5 fans, 1970s music fans, Old Hawaii memories, Trump supporters, etc., etc.

Surely Facebook is just as creepy as Google in so far that they collect even more information on what you do in return to providing a "free service". Facebook is the "shopping mall" of all websites since more than 2.8 billion people are there and its reach seems infinite. It is a great platform in which to launch and maintain campaigns whether it be politics, a non-profit or a business.

Facebook and Google are two of the web's largest central points where the masses gather. Your blog, your business website are just on the outer fringes of the internet universe. You have to use Facbeook to connect to your audience and let them be aware of your blog and site because in the far reaches beyond Pluto on the internet, you are next to impossible to find.

2011: YouTube - I cut my cable TV cord in 2011 and have for the most part made YouTube the central service to most of my "TV" news, information and entertainment needs. And most of it is all free to use. It is good if your tastes are not for mainstream network programming and you don't want to pay for TV channels or services with crappy shows.

5. What’s something you wish a smartphone was capable of?

For many years I resisted getting a cell phone. I hated the plans that early cell phone users had to endure and I hated the thought of people bothering me when I am away from home. Generally I am not a phone talking kind of person. I find most phone calls annoying.

That said, I reluctantly became a cell phone user in mid 2014 after my Mom fell ill and was hospitalized. In 2015 the Alcatel smart phone that I had saved my life as it allowed me to call 911 when I was having my heart attack (see question #1 above). I probably would have been dead if I could not call the ambulance that early December morning.

Since that time I was forced to upgrade to a newer cell phone model as the service I was with (MOBI PCS) completely changed their network which rendered all of their gear obsolete in one fell swoop on a single day (we had several months notice of this).

I was angry because till today, that Alcatel phone still works fine. Trouble is it cannot connect to anything except for 911 service since it has vendor lock on the old MOBI PCS service.

So I rebelled and dumped MOBI and went to T-Mobile. So in 2016 I bought a Samsung Galaxy J7 smartphone. It's Android and it is not top of the line. At $239 (new cost), it was good enough. I still do not like phone calls, but as an internet device, it is mostly stable, and in reality a decent portable computer and camera for what it really is.

That said, the things I mention below are available on some but not all smartphones.

1. Vendor unlocked: Next time if I have to get another smartphone I will make sure I will get an unlocked model. I have learned a lot about smartphones since I started using them. I hate being tied to a single vendor which doesn't let me move to another one if I got dissatisfied with that vendor.

But then there is also that GSM vs. CDMA thing... and the goofy thing is that the top four major carriers are split between the two phone protocol technologies... AT&T + T-Mobile are GSM. Verizon + Sprint are CDMA. Can you say Beta and VHS all over again? Errrrr!

All phone despite the GSM vs. CDMA thing should be sold unlocked only. Someday hopefully, only GSM will prevail.

2. Removable Batteries: The main reason why I went with Android (besides having a wider variety of hardware to choose from at much lower price points) are REMOVABLE BATTERIES. I like the fact that I can easily buy a $20 battery from somewhere, pop the back of the phone out and easily install the replacement battery much like I do with a flashlight or portable radio.

All phones should have batteries that users can easily replace.

Sadly the trend is moving away from removable battery thanks mainly to Apple and their iPhones. Many of the Android makers copy Apple and they too have created devices with sealed in batteries.

Over the years I have grown to absolutely hate sealed in batteries where it is either totally non-replaceable or you have to spend stupid amounts of money to get someone else to replace them.

I know one of the main reasons manufacturers lie sealed in batteries is because they want to force obsolescence on you and hope that you buy the same type of phone again... and again... and again... I'm looking at you Apple!

I soured on Apple mainly because I had six perfectly fine iPods out of which four still work. However because I cannot run three of the four on battery power because the sealed in battery doesn't hold a charge, and I can't easily replace them. In fact my iPod Touch 4 battery is next to impossible to replace according to iFixIt. It totally defeats the purpose of having a portable device if you cannot easily replace the battery when it dies... because for all other functions, the device works well...

Sadly the iPod Touch completely gave up the ghost because I think the battery is like totally dead and won't even run when connected to the powered dock. Another iPod that I have, the battery swelled up and now I cannot get it out of the iPod. Ugh!!!!

You know I have three Android phones and all three have removable batteries. My 2016 Samsung J7 already went through one easy battery replacement and my original Alcatel phone battery was replaced two years ago. I can use the two older devices on my wifi network to play music, check email and other things that you can do with a smartphone that has full service (except tap into the carrier's data network or make phone calls)....

We pay hundreds of dollars for our portable devices and frankly I expect them to last a long time. Built in obsolescence and non-removable batteries are a disgusting turn-off for me.

If the trend continues and no more phones have removable batteries, I'll either just end using them or go to a cheap "dumb-phone".

3. FM Radio: Several Android devices have FM radios. There is a chip in most of them that allows this. Sadly the carriers in conspiracy with the streaming services don't want to activate the FM chip on many cell phones because they rather have you pay for streaming audio services vs. having to just listen to free FM radio.

I think all smartphones should have an FM radio. The radio industry has been asking the FCC to mandate this because it may be something needed in an emergency situation. Sure, we have text messages, but if the power goes out and the cell system goes down, you need another alternative to get that information. Free radio is one of them.

Sure, I have a couple of portable radios, but today many people don't. That is sad.

Two of my three Android devices have FM radio that I can listen to with headphones or hook into my stereo system or bluetooth speakers.

Apple never had this except on one iPod Nano model which has been discontinued.

I'm sure there are other features that one could ask to be included with a smartphone, but those three are the most concerning to me.

I commend you if you read this entire post. Aloha!

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Friday 5 for October 5: A Garbage Heap of Questions

Garbage Truck

The following is from Scrivener's weekly Friday 5 site.

1. What should be the collective name for accountants?

Bean Counters

2. What should be the collective name for cafe baristas?

Hard workers

3. What should be the collective name for tattoo artists?


4. What should be the collective name for people who vape?


5. What should be the collective name for people in your profession or hobby?


By the way... I don't get the joke. Sorry.