Facebook Fights Dirty

As we enter the fifth week of the Facebook boycott, Facebook starts fighting really dirty. Low blow, bro. Right below the belt.

Last night I got an email telling me I had 102 notifications waiting for me. One Hundred and Two. It’s not the first you-have-notifications email they’ve sent, but the last one was after only a few days away. Those bastards saved them up and threw them at me all at once. Assholes!

Okay. Wednesday is the one month mark of this fun little romp of social media defiance. When I left I didn’t think about it, I just did it. I didn’t leave one of those stupid I’m-taking-a-break posts, I just went away (and bitched about it here, over and over and over and over again). Maybe on Wednesday I’ll log in, clear the notifications, make sure there isn’t anything important, and then leave one of those stupid I’m-taking-a-break posts. Then I’ll go away again. Maybe forever. Who knows.


I’m working a half day today. My mother needs a ride to a doctor’s appointment so I am leaving early to take her. I haven’t been over to see my parents in a couple of weeks so it’s time for a visit as well. I’ll be masking up and hittin’ the road around lunch time.


Our house has been a battle ground for a long time now. Two opposing forces fighting to dominate the terrain.

Alexa

Siri

Both are stationed in strategic places throughout the house. Both are able to control the lights and some other things. Both play tunes. It’s been clear for months now that the house cannot sustain both forces. One needs to eliminate the other. In the end, there can be only one.

We bought an amazon echo before Apple’s Home app was really a thing. After having everything in the house routed through the echo for a while, I got all hot and bothered over Apple HomePod Minis and when we got one for the bedroom Jen set up everything through Home as well.

I have slowly but surely found myself using the echo less and less. I can get to Siri through my watch so when I need something I just hold down the digital crown for a tick and ask for it. The only thing the echo is really doing these days is working as an alarm clock in the bedroom. Siri can do that too, but echo somehow handles it a little better. Also, the echo we have in the bedroom is one that shows the time. The HomePod doesn’t do that. It’s a small edge for the echo but a noteworthy one.

Over the last couple of days Jen has been making a conscious choice to start using Siri instead of Alexa. It is clear that finally the war for control of our house is coming to an end. Siri will be victorious. Long live the winner of the personal digital assistant wars.

Now if we could just get Google to let Apple run our Nest thermonstat.


Okay. Time to go to work. Happy Monday, everyone.


ADDENDUM: I got another Facebook email. It’s 106 notifications now. Ugh.

Portrait Cat

In honor of today’s Apple Event, I took two desk pics of Patches in portrait mode, using the 1x lens.

Happy M1 MacBook Pros day*!


*Based on rumors. The event might still be going on but I haven’t checked in. Hopefully there will be new MacBook Pros. Covid-Christmas II is coming, after all.

Face ID

I just figured out why my iPhone’s Face ID wasn’t working last night.

It’s my glasses.

I have two pairs of glasses. All through the work day today I was wearing my computer use glasses and Face ID worked every time. After work I switched to my regular use glasses and it failed. Huh. I took the glasses off and it worked. I put the glasses back on and it failed.

SONOFABITCH!!!!

ADDENDUM: I cleaned the lenses on my general use glasses and Face ID works again. Whatdayaknow.

Early Start

I was up early this morning and had some chores to do. Between taking the trash barrels to the street and going up and down the stairs to do laundry (the avalanche of Bellana clothes are finally folded and put away) I somehow managed to register 10 minutes of exercise without even having done any actual exercise. The activity app is off to a good start today.

I’m not sure what was going on, but the FaceID on my iPhone stopped working last night. It was working before I started cooking dinner but I noticed it wasn’t working just after we finished eating. Weird. It didn’t work once for the rest of the day. Right now? Working fine. I’m not sure what happened.

Today is my sister’s birthday. Being facebook free, I sent her a text instead of a post on facebook. I hope that is acceptable. I’m not sure what the protocol is anymore.

Speaking of facebook (giggles), that was kinda fun yesterday. Sure, it pulled the nazis over to Twitter for a while, but I managed to avoid all of that and just have fun reading the faux panic. Sounds like Zuckerberg lost about six billion dollars in stock value. I assume most of that was due to the 60 Minutes story Sunday night, but whatever. It’s all connected to his wallet one way or another. Granted it was just stock value, right? He’ll probably make it back today. It’s not like it’s real money or anything. It’s not like he’s going to need to take a second mortgage to pay his bills.

Okay, time to go to work. We need to get through the day so that we can focus all of our attention on the Red Sox beating the Yankees tonight. It’s a moral imperative. 8:00pm tonight, or thereabouts, we finally get payback for that friggin one game playoff back in ’78. Sure we beat them in 2004 and handed them the most humiliating playoff loss in major league baseball history (giggles), but still… I want one game playoff revenge. Suck it, Bucky Dent.

iPad Multitask

I just used the iPad’s multitask function for the first time. I was taking notes on songs I might want to re-record. Chrome was open on the left half of my screen, playing tracks from alonetone.com, while Trello was open on the right so I could add a comment to each song’s card.

It was so cool it literally changed my life.*


* #sarcasm

iOS 15 is Out?

I am just losing my Apple fanboy cred left and right. I haven’t watched the video of the event they had last week where they announced the latest iPhones. That’s bad. What’s worse? Apparently iOS 15 and the associated WatchOS and iPadOS versions all came out on September 20th… two days ago.

I haven’t installed any of them.

I’m sorry, Apple. I promise to do better in the future. I’m updating my iPhone right now.

Car Music

Car music today! Success even though I SUCK AT SINGING.

I finished five songs. I have three more that are ready to go and I am hoping to add two more to the list. That means there will likely be another car music tomorrow and maybe one more after that. 10 days left including today. Yikes!

When I got home I moved the MacBook and all that come with it from Harry’s room back into our room. I now have a Mac desk in one room and a Windows desk in another. Am I out of my mind? Yupper. Affirmative.

Now I have to go get my haircut before its mass reaches the point of hydrostatic equilibrium and it crushes my entire body into a spherical shape and small objects start orbiting me. Granted, my gut is already at this stage, I just mean that my hair will be at that stage too, right? I’ll be sort of like a binary planetary system or some shit.

Oh, and here’s the clock downtown!

Two Therapy Sessions

I was able to sneak into the cellar and play the guitar twice today.

I got a lot done for 50/90, which was nice, but I reached the point on the second go-round where my hands just wouldn’t do it anymore. That’s actually not a bad thing. I really need to build up more stamina, but I’ll get there.

On a gear note, I have my little recording nook in the master bedroom that has my current recording pedal board and my little 15 watt Fender amp. My big use-with-the-band pedal board and my Vox 15 watt amp (and my 30 watt Fender amp) are all in the cellar because Covid was slowing down and I thought they would be traveling to Mike the Bass Player’s house soon… and of course that hasn’t happened because the universe has intervened. The upside is I could set all of that stuff up in the cellar to keep working on 50/90 while I’m locked out of my bedroom. I bring my new Les Paul and my MacBook Pro up and down with me, as there is no way in hell those puppies are staying down there in the humidity. I set everything up far away from the flood zone, but you may note from the previous pictures that none of the electrical stuff is actually on the floor. The pedal board is, but the pedals themselves are not. That’s for flood damage prevention reasons.

So that is what I am doing to keep 50/90 going this week.

I also wanted to start with the exercising again. I started a couple of weeks ago and then fell off the wagon. I wanted to start up again today, what with it being a Monday and the iPhone Activity app starting its week on Monday. Jen wanted to do the same thing and she totally kicked ass all day today. Me? I was at two minutes of exercise as of 7:00pm tonight. Looked like I was going to fail for the day. Well, screw that folks. I’m up to 17 minutes now with 3.5 hours left in the day. I’ll get to 30 minutes, you betcha.

Okay. I need to go get a bottle of water and do another few minutes of exercise.

Looking for the bright side of self isolation. It’s tough to find, but it might be out there. Probably not, but maybe I might be able to pretend.

Lunch Break

I’m on my lunch break. What’s going on?

Podcasts… What’s the deal?

MacOS used to have its podcast functionality baked into iTunes. At some point recently (was it the current MacOS or the last one? I can’t remember) they spun it off into its own application. It sucked. Like… bad. It sucked bad. The interface is terrible and nearly impossible to use. Discovering new podcasts… can you even do that? I don’t know. It just sucked.

iOS and iPadOS had their own standalone podcast apps. The two are virtually identical. There’s a screen thing here and there that is a little different, but the two of them are basically the same. That app (I am going to refer to the two as if they are just one app on different platforms. Hey, it’s my post I can do whatever I want. FREEDOM!) was never good. In fact, it was always pretty crappy. It was, however, a work of absolute genius when compared to the MacOS app.

Something happened recently. I don’t know what. I heard the Grumpy Old Geeks podcast talking about it a few months (I think) ago, but I am still not sure what happened. Whatever it was, it took the two mobile platform podcast apps, stabbed them in the heart multiple times, cut their heads off, and flushed all the bits down the toilet. It is absolute garbage now. Nothing viewable has changed. The interface is exactly the same. It’s just the performance that has more or less overnight become unusable. The Apple mobile podcast applications are now as useless as useless can be. Crap-tastic. Crash-tastic. Terrible. Garbage.

They are so bad that I am currently listening to podcasts while I work via the MacOS podcast player. I have my MacBook Pro streaming through the HomePods in my bedroom. I’m using the awful Mac version… that’s how bad the mobile versions are.

There are new versions of all three OS’s on the way. I am hopeful, though not optimistic, that improvements are coming.

Come on, Apple. Let’s fix this. You are making my work day more annoying than it needs to be.

Welcome to August

Happy August 1st, everyone! August doesn’t have a national holiday so this year I am going to try and make it feel better by acting like every day is an extra big deal. No I’m not. I’m just so happy that July and its constant rain is over. Granted, August might get constant rain too, likely will thanks to climate change, but for this one, sweet, shining morning, August is dry and I am happy about it.

I wore a mask at my mother’s house yesterday. Not all the time, just when I knew she was near me. We are both vaccinated, but she ain’t catching jack shit from me. The MA department of public health is recommending vaccinated people wear masks when they are indoors with other people around because we can’t tell who the morons who aren’t vaccinated are and if they aren’t going to do anything to protect their own health, then we the vaccinated have to do it for them. Because they are stupid. Because they are morons.

Thanks to the never ending pandemic of the unvaccinated we are still using instacart for groceries and they screwed up big time today. We had to go back for a second round. All in all I am happy for the service, they are right a crazy high percentage of the time, but every once in a while… We asked for hamburger patties and got pumpernickel bread. Riiiiight.

What else is going on on this fine Sunday morning in August that hasn’t seen any rain yet? I broke the music mold a smidgen today. We slept kinda late. Not super late, I was up at about 8:15, but for me that’s pretty late. I wanted to do some car music but the aforementioned instacart delivery was on its way, and I had some things I wanted to do before I left so I didn’t get into the car until almost 10:00. I do my car music in a movie theater parking lot, and due to the idiotic decision to re-open the state despite the never ending pandemic mentioned in the previous paragraph, the movie theater was going to be open at 10:00. I rolled the dice. I park in the back parking lot so hopefully anyone going in early to catch the delta variant and a movie would probably park in the front. My risk paid off.

August 1st

I did park in a different area of the lot though. I recorded four songs. There were two technical problems but neither stopped me. First, I use Trello to track my progress. The songs I needed to work on are on a list called Complete Lyrics/Melody on a board called 2021 50/90. My normal workflow is to bring up the Trello app on my iPhone and use that to let me know which songs to work on. The last couple of times I’ve done this though, the iOS app wouldn’t refresh. It’s showing me the board from about two weeks ago. Nothing is up to date. I had to turn my iPhone hot spot on and bring it up on the Mac. That is annoying as all hell.

The second technical problem wasn’t a problem but I would have had I kept going. The temperature outside was in the mid-70’s but the sun was out and shining bright and damn if it didn’t get roasting hot in that car. I’d open the windows but then people would be able to hear me “singing” and ain’t no way that’s happening. About halfway through my little “session” the Mac’s fan kicked on and it never shut off. I don’t know how much longer I would have been able to go before it started to overheat but “fortunately” my voice ran out of gas after about an hour and I had to stop.

I did manage to finish four songs. That’s one more than I had planned. I had three songs with the guitars finished and I wanted to pick those off. I also had six songs with lyrics and melodies already written that don’t have guitars yet. A couple of those have MIDI guitar tracks acting as place holders. I did one of those.

So the plans for the rest of today include, but are not limited to, cutting some grass, recording some guitar parts, having a cookout for dinner (weather permitting, of course, though July is over so the weather will be glorious), and hanging out with my step son who only has a few weeks left before he moves to college.

Of course, as I type out that to do list I am sitting at my computer reading twitter, making fun of creationists, and thinking that it would be really nice to just sit and watch movies with Harry and Jen all day. That might be the better to do list.

Welcome to August, may it stay sunny and dry. Good luck, folks!