Friday, November 24, 2017

My first week with the iPhone X

So, I knew going in that switching to an iPhone X was going to require a few adjustments, thanks to the now missing home button. Swipe up to go home. Yeah, I got that. You want to talk to Siri? We're not really on speaking terms. But seriously, now you press and hold the power button. OK, so if you press and hold the power button to talk to Siri, how do you shut your phone down? We'll get to that later.

So now I want to see what apps are running and maybe switch to another one. There are 2 ways to do this. I can swipe from one bottom corner to the other to cycle through my running apps like a Rolodex (showing my age now), or I could swipe up and hold to see the open apps like a poker hand. OK fine, but how do you close an app? Well, you have to press and hold any one of the displayed apps in the switcher view until little minus signs in circles appear. Then you use those buttons to close the appropriate app.

Alright, but how do I get to the control centre or the notifications? The home button is gone and swiping up takes me home. Well, for control centre, you swipe down from the top right corner, and for notifications, you swipe down from the top left corner.

Speaking of which, how do you turn the phone completely off? 2 ways. Press the power and any volume button at the same time. Or you can go to settings, general, and scroll all the way down to shut down.

I used to use the triple click of the home button to access the magnifier feature, so that my not-so-great eyes could read menus and vitamin labels. Now, the magnifier is accessible through 3 clicks of the power button.

It seems like there are a lot of changes to how you do things, but like any other regularly performed task, the process burns into your memory after a few exposures. What's going to suck is when people live in households where they're helping out others with older phones.

So, aside from the task change adjustments resulting from the absence of a home button, I like this phone. The screen looks superb. I love that I get similar screen real estate as my original iPhone 6 Plus in a much smaller phone. The setup process was like something out of a dream, thanks to having the aforementioned, already functional iPhone on hand. As soon as I got to the beginning of the setup process, my original phone asked me if I wanted to give all my wifi and Apple ID data over to the new phone. Which of course, I said yes. Then the new phone displays what can only be described as an artificial intelligence blue and white swirly pattern, which I'm supposed to capture in my original phone's camera frame. Then, like magic, the old phone shares everything about Apple ID and wifi settings with the new phone. Then the new phone starts restoring from the iCloud and then it finishes by installing all the apps that were on the original phone. The entire process took less than an hour from start to finish.

Disclaimer: To make the final iCloud backup much smaller, I deleted all on-board music from my iOS Spotify account so it would remove several GB to the backup space. I downloaded all my Spotify music after the new phone was done being set up. I also made sure all my photos and videos were backed up (to Google Drive of all places) and weeded out pics I didn't really need to keep on my phone (because they're in the cloud).

Because I decided to use Face ID (which works great so far), whenever I turn my phone on, I got into a habit of waiting to see that Face ID recognized me (you watch for a locked icon to change to an unlocked icon) before swiping up to get to my home screen. It turns out that there's no need to wait. You just swipe up while you're looking. By the time Face ID has done its thing, you'll be at the screen, ready to use your phone.

I assumed that migrating from the old iPhone to the new one would have brought all of my settings along. It did not. I was reminded by some online articles to look into the automatic updates setting 'use cellular data' and turn that off (I only want updates using wi-fi thank you). I also noticed that background app refresh had been turned off. I prefer it to be on. I like my apps getting updated as soon as they're available. Over wi-fi only please. There were other settings as well.

One setting I decided to leverage for the first time is a scheduled do not disturb. Between 10pm and 6am my phone is switched to do not disturb mode, which means no annoying notifications in the middle of the night when Gord updates Facebook or whatever.

I've had a chance to use the camera a bit and have noticed something unexpected. The iPhone's camera no longer saves pictures in JPG file format. It saves them as HEIC, which, I've heard, is a better picture and video compression scheme developed by the same folks who brought you MPEG.

The problem right now, is that we don't know of any picture viewer or editor programs for Windows that will recognize HEIC. Luckily, there are apps you can get, and I tried out an online converter web site, Hopefully image editors update themselves soon to take advantage of this new picture file format, as it does use a lot less space.

Incidentally, you can change the iPhone X back to storing jpg in the camera settings. It's called Camera capture and the default (HEIC) setting is High Efficiency. Most Compatible will save as JPG.

Karl's Fake News 24 Nov

  • Disney hinting that Mickey Mouse may make appearance in next Star Wars movie.
  • Habs admit they let the Leafs win that time.
  • Archaeologists find evidence oil sands just leftover massive oil spill from previous civilization.
  • Blackberry ponders move from software to cell phones.
  • Health Canada issues warning not to use pepper spray in food.
  • Lego wins bid to build massive hydro project in northern Quebec. Plastic stocks way up.
  • US Homeland Security tries to stop people from visiting Mark Cuban.
  • Pope issues declaration that Mars safe for humans to visit - Devil doesn't live on red planet.
  • EA Sports updates its Madden NFL video game to include players taking a knee during anthem.
  • ISIS renames caliphate to outpost.

These guys....

Things I learned lately 24 Nov

  • Macy's credit card system reportedly crashes on Black Friday.
  • Lowes' web site crashed on Black Friday.
  • McDonald's No.1 store in Des Plaines, Illinois will be demolished soon. It's not a functioning restaurant, just a display.
  • All 10 major water companies in England and Wales, plus the 2 government-run agencies in Scotland and Northern Ireland were asked whether their technicians ever use divination or dowsing rods. Of the 12, 10 said yes.
  • Any study that claims that sugar isn't really that bad for you is almost certainly fully funded by the sugar industry. No medical institution is making this claim. The Sugar Research Foundation also suppresses any study that doesn't come to a conclusion they would prefer about sugar.
  • Scientists admit they were probably wrong about there being fresh water on Mars in liquid form. Noteworthy that they are capable of admitting when they are wrong.
  • In France, you can refuse to check your work emails outside office hours.
  • The Working Time Directive gives workers in the EU the right to work no more than 48 hours a week. In Germany, France, and Sweden, for example, the average is closer to 35 hours a week.
  • Sauna-based business negotiations are the norm in Finland, where an affinity for saunas is deeply rooted in the culture. The practice is so common that many large companies have saunas in the office. Finns swear by the sauna, insisting that the sweltering sessions enhance creativity and encourage more open dialogue.
  • The Emirates airline owns 100 Airbus A380 jumbo jets.

Dear President Trump - re: the wall

Dear President Trump.

Let me explain something to you, and your supporters. You could build the most impenetrable border wall. On both borders. You could ban every foreigner from entering the US. You could close every mosque. You could kick out every immigrant. The people that want to harm you would still find a way.

They would recruit people from inside your country. People who are disenfranchised, disillusioned, mad or feeling abused by the system. Oh, and armed to the teeth. Trust me, they would have no difficulty finding people like that. Then they would use those people.

So what are you gonna do? Shut down the internet? Cut all the phone lines? Close all the ports? You're wasting your time and money and sooner or later, people are going to wise up to such ineffectual ideas.

Just sayin'.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Small things 17 Nov

  • Elevators drive me up a wall.
  • There's a 10,000 sq ft bouncy house that you can rent in the US. The rent's not cheap, but that's due to inflation.
  • I, for one, like Roman Numerals.....
  • If our census included Americans pretending to be Canadians while overseas, we'd probably double our population.
  • How to tell if you've made it: You use 'real' maple syrup on your pancakes. (Unless you live in Quebec, where it's bad form to use anything else)
  • Never take a 'how badass are you?' quiz online. You fail by virtue of the fact that you're taking a 'how badass are you?' quiz. 
  • If I were the Principal, sometimes I'd cancel classes due to great weather.
  • Don't believe all the 'Come to the dark side, we have cookies' promises. It's a trap!
  • If I was a server at a restaurant, and I saw teens on a date, I might ask them if they wanted a kid's menu......
  • A proctologist can examine the back nine holes and then go to the golf course and play the front nine. [Yeah I know, crappy joke]
  • The only race I hate is the one I have to run in....


Funny take on existing ads. What's your life burger?

Karl's Fake News 18 Nov

  • Uber plans drive up escort service in European cities.
  • North Korea accidentally fires test missile onto controversial island in South China Sea. Chinese Ninjas spotted massing on border with North Korea.
  • Dozens of abandoned Nigerian houses containing millions of dollars owners were unable to get out of country.
  • Santa IS real, says non-believers won't be getting new iPhone X this year.
  • Aeroplan and Air Miles to merge. Will require 500,000 points to fly anywhere, except US destinations, void in Quebec.
  • Paradise Papers reveal Bubbles character from Trailer Park Boys socked away millions in Caymans.
  • Kevin Spacey to be retroactively removed from all previous movie roles. His 'The Usual Suspects' character to be re-shot starring Nathan Fillion.
  • Medical experts say talking about cancer causes cancer.
  • Trump says he will rebuild Raqqa and ISIS will pay for it.
  • Climate change forces Santa to install pontoons on sleigh.


Things I learned lately 17 Nov

  • There is a 24 hour donair cam operating out of Nova Scotia. For my non-Canadian friends, a donair (pictured) is very similar to a gyro, but with a sweet sauce.
  • In Thailand, it's illegal to order (or sell) any alcoholic drinks throughout the country outside of the hours of 11am to 2pm or 5pm to midnight.
  • Dancing after midnight is illegal in Japan due to a 1948 law put into place to regulate the sex industry. The law was changed in 2015 after a campaign. Now, dancing after midnight is allowed, but only if the lighting is at least 10 lux.
  • The German owner of an Alexa-enabled Amazon Echo started playing music at full volume at 2am, while the owner was out. Neighbours tried knocking on the door, not realizing the owner wasn't home and ended up calling police, who broke the door down and unplaugged the device. They also changed the lock, forcing the owner to come to the station to get new keys and pay a fine as well as locksmith fees.
  • US military sows fake news on its internal sites to test cyber-security.
  • You can learn to become a gelato master in 4 weeks at Carpigiani Gelato University in Anzola dell'Emilia, in Bologna, Italy.
  • What Elon Musk wants Tesla to accomplish by 2020. Finish building the Gigafactory 1. Ramp up Model 3 production. Launch the Model Y compact SUV. Begin building cars in China. Reveal an electric big rig. Launch an electric pickup. Make Tesla vehicles autonomous. Reveal the Tesla mobility network service. Automate more of its factory processes. Expand the Supercharger network. Build mega-supercharger stops. Scale up the energy business.
  • Artist Sia thwarted someone's attempt to make money selling nude photos of her to her fans by putting them in a tweet for free.
  • Sean 'P. Diddy' Combs now wants to be called Brother Love. Meanwhile, Snoop Dog wants to be called Higher Love. OK, I'm kidding about that last part.
  • The Koenigsegg Agera RS reached 457 km/h on a closed stretch of highway in Nevada.

"You think you kin jus' roam in here like nobody's bidniz?"

Something that happened to me lately, embellished below for drama and (hopefully) humour.

The story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this production are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred.

3rd party cell phone provider in US (which I will dub the anonymous nickname ROAMR): Hello. 
Me: Hi. Hey, so I checked your coverage map before purchasing a plan while I'm down here in Whitefish Montana. It looked good, so I can't figure out why I don't seem to be able to access the system. I get a 'no service' message on my phone.
ROAMR: Well, ain't that a kick in the head. You purchased a plan?
Me: Yes.
ROAMR: What kinda phone you be usin'?
Me: I be usin' an Apple iPhone 6 Plus.
ROAMR: Well, there's yer problem right there.
Me: Scuze me?
ROAMR: Yer city slicker fancy schmancy fruit phone don't work in these parts.
Me: My city sli...
ROAMR: Y'all think you can just come on down here with yer shiny new Yankee phone....
Me: Ummmm, I'm from Canada.
ROAMR: Y'all think you can just come on down here with yer shiny new red socialist phone....
Me: Ummm, it's not new, and it's gun metal grey.
ROAMR: Gun metal grey you say? Just a moment please.
[Muzak starts playing, featuring Ted Nugent]
ROAMR: So, ummm, the problem young feller is that your perticular model of fruit phone don't have the ability to connect at 700MHz, which is the only frequency we got here with our partner provider. By the way, this is a common cell band used in rural areas.
Me: Would an iPhone X work?
ROAMR: Just a god-darned second. Let's see. Yep. Yeah, the iPhone X would work. You got one of those?
Me: Not yet.
ROAMR: Then I suggest you either hightail it back to Cannabis, or wherever you came from, or maybe get a roamin' package from yer home provider.
Me: Fido.
ROAMR: I ain't no dog, son.
Me: No, my provider is named Fido.
ROAMR: Well, that dog just ain't gonna hunt, son.
Me: Tell me about it. $40 extra just for 50 minutes and 200MB of data in the US.
ROAMR: Well, that's what you git for bein' a socialist.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Songs that are 50 years old this year (2017)

Lulu - To sir with love
The Beatles - All you need is love
The Doors - Light my fire / Love me two times
The Rolling Stones - Ruby Tuesday
The Association - Never my love
Bobbie Gentry - Ode to Billy Joe
Frankie Valli - Can't take my eyes off you
Herman's Hermits - There's a kind of hush
Aretha Franklin - Respect / Chain of fools / I never loved a man
Procol Harum - Whiter shade of pale
The Mamas and Papas - Dedicated to the one I love
Sam & Dave - Soul man
Jefferson Airplane - Somebody to love / White rabbit
Stevie Wonder - I was made to love you
The Spencer Davis Group - Gimme some lovin' / I'm a man
The 5th Dimension - Up up and away
Sonnie & Cher - The beat goes on
Jimi Hendrix - Purple haze / Foxey lady
Moody Blues - Nights in white satin
Chamber Brothers - Time has come today
Van Morrison - Brown eyed girl
The Bee Gees - To love somebody
Glen Campbell - Gentle on my mind
Love - Alone again or
Troggs - Love is all around
The Supremes - Love is here and now you're gone
Bobby Vinton - Please love me forever
Jackie Wilson - Your love keeps lifting me higher and higher
Johnny Rivers - Baby I need your lovin'

(anyone notice a theme?)

People are fighting over burger emojis

Like Google is being challenged on putting the cheese under the patty. Too much time on our hands perhaps?

Karl's Fake News Debut 11 Nov

I've decided to start a new thing. Everyone else is doing it, either for fun (The Beaverton), or being accused of it when people don't like what they're reading.

  • Car thieves linked to remote car starter companies.
  • Facebooker's Anonymous organization created to provide support to dopamine addicts who can't get enough 'likes'.
  • Atheist Pope to the religious: "We're sorry for mocking you, but you make it so damned easy."
  • Homeowners try to deter bottle pickers with 'ammonia bombs' in their blue bins.
  • In major escalation of storied feud between Jimmy Kimmel and Matt Damon, Kimmel threatens to out Damon for past sexual harassment.
  • George Lucas admits idea for Star Wars came from intercepting alien civilization broadcast transmissions from long time ago in galaxy far, far away.

Too soon?

Things I learned lately 10 Nov

  • In France, local birth certificate registrars must inform their local court if they feel a baby name goes against the child's best interests. The court can then ban the name if it agrees, and will if it feels the name could lead to a lifetime of mockery.
  • The Swiss civil registrar must approve all baby names. In general, if the name is deemed to harm the child's well-being or be offensive to a third party, it will not be approved. Other rules include no giving a boy a girl's name or a girl a boy's name, no biblical villains, no brand names, place names, and no last names as first names.
  • In Iceland, baby names must align with the linguistic structure and conventional spelling system of Iceland.
  • Denmark has a list of about 7,000 approved baby names. If your choice isn't one of them, you have to seek permission and have your name choice reviewed at Copenhagen University's Names Investigation Department and at the Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs.
  • Las Vegas deployed an autonomous electric bus on the strip. It got in an accident the first hour when a delivery truck backed into it while it was stopped.
  • The world's largest legal marijuana producer, Canopy Growth, operates out of a once-abandoned Hershey's factory in Smith's Falls, Ontario, Canada.
  • Starbucks is going to introduce places that mainly feature food soon.

Friday, November 03, 2017

The downside of home schooling

  • It's no fun if the lunch lady is Mom.
  • Band class is ultra boring.
  • You're not likely to get a yearbook.
  • If you're sick, you still might have to attend class.
  • No wall of alumni pictures to inspire you.
  • No boy's or girl's bathroom to smoke in.
  • It's no fun if the janitor is Mom.
  • Every class has the same damned teacher....
  • No library.
  • It's no fun to throw the dodge ball at Mom.
  • Nobody to pass secret notes to.
  • Prom will probably be in the garage.
  • The bus never shows up, but you still have to go to school.
  • If you play hookey, Mom goes looking for you.
  • No funny jokes written in text books from past year students.

How low can you go?

Things I learned lately 3 Nov

  • New York City is building massive gates to seal entrances to vehicle tunnels, subway tunnels and subway entrances to protect against the next flood.
  • Celebrities who started out in Australian soap operas: Russell Crowe  Chris Hemsworth  Kylie Minogue  Isla Fisher  Naomi Watts  Margot Robbie  Heath Ledger  Liam Hemsworth  Simon Baker  Natalie Imbruglia  Jesse Spencer  Guy Pearce  Ben Mendelsohn
  • The iPhone X wasn't slated to be released until 2018.
  • According to a Gallup poll, 64% of Americans want to see cannabis legalized nationally.