More Posts!

Ok, now I feel like I’m just cheating… I added some connections to my site for RunKeeper, the program I use when I walk.  Each walk I post on RunKeeper will now add a blog entry with my walk details to my site.  I’ll probably stop posting them to Facebook soon, and just keep them here, where they’re easier for me to see.  Yes, they’re all also available in the RunKeeper app, which is easy as well, but my site needed more activity, and Facebook sure doesn’t.  I figure I’m “cheating” a little, with “fake posts”, but it’s something.  The part I like the most though, is the “RunKeeper Records” box I added to the right sidebar.  It shows all my stats for the current week and month in a nutshell.  Now I just have to make sure I add REAL posts, like this one, regularly, so my site’s front page doesn’t just end up being dozens of RunKeeper entries and nothing else.  Yeah, good luck with that, Jim.

Lorex – A Rant

Something’s been bugging me lately.  It’s nothing big, just a geeky thing, but it’s bugging me nonetheless.  Lorex.  Lorex is apparently a security camera company, and it seems they may have a financial problem, because they are apparently using their existing customers to provide free advertising on Facebook instead of advertising the proper way everyone else does it – by PAYING for it.  Maybe they do advertise, I’m sure they do if they want to stay in business, I just don’t feel this is the way to do it.

In my case, I only recently heard of them…when my cousin first started posting photos of his cameras on Facebook.  After he had done this several times, over that many days, I finally asked him “why all the security camera spam?”  All of his posts included no text, only a simple hashtag with the company’s name in it and a closeup photo of a security camera or the recording box they’re apparently attached to.  I asked him if he’s trying to tell would-be burglars that he has security, trying to advertise for the security camera company, or what?  He responded explaining that it’s a sweepstakes entry.  Each time he posts one of those with that hashtag, he is apparently entered into a sweepstakes for something. ” Wow, this is quite the advertising scam”, I thought at first, but does it work right?  After I thought about it a bit, I think not.  After seeing these same photos appear over and over, day after day, in my Facebook feed–often making me think there’s a lot of activity going on with my friends at first–then finding out 80% of the post messages in my feed are just more of these camera photos, it only makes me dislike this company and, as a result, I would never even consider them as a source of security cameras.

I certainly have nothing at all against my cousin, but it irritated me so much over many weeks of these posts that I have ended up unfriending him on Facebook.  This is really sad, and makes me dislike this camera company much more.  That might seem like a pretty drastic move on my part, but the way I see it, Sandy (my wife) still has my cousin on her Facebook, and she’ll certainly let me know if he posts anything important (and if the security camera posts stop), so I don’t feel I’m really missing anything.  I just hope my cousin understands my reasoning.  I do consider Facebook a tool for keeping in touch with family and friends, and that’s about it.  There’s enough paid advertising on Facebook already, without tons of these “sweepstakes” posts.   I can certainly understand someone posting a genuine message saying how much they like their security camera system, and even including the hashtag that would get them entered into a sweepstakes contest, maybe even multiple times over a period of time, but this is just over-the-top, in my opinion.  And maybe this posting even gives them more advertising, I don’t know.  Yes I do, I shouldn’t flatter myself–I have about 6 readers total. That’s it.  I check my hits.  Heck, I won’t even post a link to THIS posting on Facebook, just to keep it low profile… I just felt like bitching about it his morning.

Ramblings

Socks, our Chihuahua, recently had his 14th birthday.  I wrote up a paragraph, but never posted it anywhere after I got busy and never completed a little photo album I planned to put together with photos from him over the years.  Here’s what the little posting said though:

Happy Birthday, Socks!! I know you don’t have a Facebook page, and can’t even read for that matter, but you still have birthdays and we’re celebrating! You’re officially 14 years old today, which makes you 98 dog-years old! Dayum! You still get out there like a trooper and walk with me, now more than ever, and you seem to love it–right up until you decide “Ok, that’s enough!” and plot down under a tree while we’re still out walking and refuse to go any further. I usually end up carrying you the rest of the way home or back to the car, but that’s ok, you’re light, so it gives me a little weight-lifting exercise!  You’re a bit slower today than you were back in the “Peanut Days”, but you’re hangin’ in there.

There was one more sentence about the photo album, which I removed because I never got around to finishing the album.  Oh well.  So many things drop to the wayside like that, I’m noticing.  It seems to happen more and more as I get older.  I must be slowing down.  There’s actually about 8 different articles in my “Things to post on my website” that I never finished, including this year’s 9/11 posting.  Bad, Jim, bad.  And so it goes.

So, if you don’t mind, I’m just going to start posting little things here, complete or not, just to to get them out.  I miss writing, actually, so maybe this will help.  If I could write while walking on the treadmill, now THEN you’d see some postings!  Maybe I’ll try using voice-to-text and just talk while i walk on the treadmill next time and see how it works out.

9/11: I watched a lot of History channel’s specials, this this year marked the 15th anniversary of 9/11.  Not all at once though, that would have been way too depressing.  I recorded most of them and watched them throughout that week.  I still have 1 or 2 more I’m still watching, a little at a time.  For some reason I still find much of it very interesting.  Very sad, but interesting.  New information is always being brought up, new stories from new survivors I hadn’t heard of, or stories of more victims I hadn’t heard before, how they tried to completely evacuate New York and other major landmarks, bring down every single aircraft in the country that day… just mind-boggling.

My Health: According to my doctor, I’m doing much better.  This week I had an ear issue–woke up the other day with my left ear plugged and had ringing in my ears very loud and annoying.  Couldn’t think straight for a couple days.  Struggled at work that day, then took the next day off to see the doctor.  The first evening Sandy helped me try to flush out the ear with a kit from the pharmacy.  It seemed to help a little, but the ear was still half plugged and the constant ringing continued.  My doctor’s nurses used whatever magical pump thing they had for this and that managed to clear up the rest.  I guess it was just wax buildup. ick.  But all clear now, and the ringing was completely gone when I woke up this morning.  So nice to be able to hear again!

I also found out that I lost another 5 lbs at the Dr. office…no, that wasn’t all the wax they removed from my ear!  They weigh me every time I come in, and my last visit was a month ago.  I’m down 5 pounds since then, which is great.  I try not to weigh myself too often because this gets quite frustrating due to fluctuations.  So hopefully this downward trend will continue.  I’m maintaining my walking at 2 miles or more per day, which is working out great.  I have already had to add new holes to my belts several times just to keep my pants from falling down!

Family: Kevin’s learning to drive now, and has also started college.  He’s also still working at the Naval base, so he’s got his plate pretty full, and we’re very proud of him.  Sandy continues to work hard for Society’s Assets doing home care, and is in pain a lot due to her own medical issues, but she’s hanging in there.

 

Happy Birthday, Dad!

haroldcake

Today is my dad’s birthday. If he had a Facebook page, I’d be uploading this photo to it. He was born 3/19/1931. I miss the old fart. He would have been 84. He died 6/7/2008. These numbers just came to me out of the blue, I have no idea how or why I have them memorized, but there they are.

His nickname was “Bozzo”, misspelled just that way. Because of the way his hair stuck out on both sides when he woke up in the morning. Such a clown.

I just finished an audiobook called “AsapScience: Answers to the world’s weirdest questions, most persistent rumors, and unexplained phenomena”. Wow, that title got me right away. It was a fairly short book though – only a couple hours long. One of the things explained in it is why time seems to go faster the older we get. The days and the summers of our childhood seemed to last forever, and now, being over 50, everything just zips by so fast it’s crazy. I think, as a result of this, most of the memories I have of my father are from my childhood.

The Hong Kong Flu nearly killed him when I was a kid.

He used to by me electronic toys, or buy one for him and one for myself so I could learn how to use it and show him how to. Plenty of visits to Chester’s Electronics and Radio Shack were made, and I once bought a “build-it-yourself computer”. The rest, as they say, is history. He put the bugs in my head and they shaped my life.

He was a hoarder. Rummage sales and flea markets were his favorite excursions, and he just HAD to come back with something every time. He was a CB’er and a scanner enthusiast, always listening to both, and he really enjoyed the early days of cell phones, when nothing was digital and with the right type of scanner you could constantly eavesdrop of dozens of personal phone conversations at any given time. Ah, those were the days.

He lived the American Dream: He built a large family (7 children), worked 40 years to retirement, and had a long happy marriage. I think ALL of those things are amazing accomplishments. These days, any one of those seems next to impossible.

Anyway, nice job dad. You did great. I wish I had told you sooner.  Here’s some photos.

Facebook, G+, Twitter, Blog… Where should I post?

I’m torn.  All these different places to post things in, with different people preferring different sites for posting… I would really love to stop using all but one.  But which one?  If I only post to my own website, I enjoy it, and it lives forever here, but very few people read it.  If I post on Facebook or Google+, a ton more people see it and respond to it.  I guess it all comes down to: Why do I post something?  For me, or for others?  Maybe I’ll just put my daily ramblings here (like this) and post the “good stuff” on Facebook and/or Google+, and/or Twitter.  Nah, that doesn’t work.  Either way, I end up with a partial record of history.  And I hate the “post in one place and then link to that post on all the other sites” technique.  But maybe if that could be somehow fully automated… I’ll have to look into a WordPress plugin or two or three that might just be able to do that…

All things geek

No apologies this time. If it seems like I haven’t been posting much, it’s only because I’ve been posting elsewhere. There are also many things that I post, that I simply CAN’T post here, because it’s too public. I frequently play Ingress with a group of Resistance members in this area, and a lot of what we discuss is considered “intel”, which helps us in our battle against the area “Enlightened”, which is our opposing team. The game is currently played on Android devices and uses Google Maps and your GPS. It is played worldwide, and is becoming quite popular. Next month its coming out of “beta” status, and will be open to everyone, no longer requiring an invitation from other players. Anyone can download the app and become an agent for The Resistance (blue–aka “smurfs”) or The Resistance (green–aka frogs or toads) and join in the fight to control the world. If you should get the urge, I strongly suggest you join the Resistance. We could really use your help. If you do “go blue”, I can help. Seek me out. Training, gear, advice, whatever you need–even the occasional “ride-along” if you’re local to the Kenosha area, we can group-attack the slimy toads and keep the Kenosha-area’s skies shining bright and blue, instead of smog-filled green.

Sorry, I tend to get carried away once I start talking Ingress. Back to my posts: Most of the time, I post on G+. I’m not a big Facebook fan these days, so I use G+ instead, whenever I want to post something public. I know it doesn’t reach as many people, but it’s still public nonetheless. I’m not actively seeking to extend my readership at this time, so I figure what the heck. There are some valid reasons I like G+ over Facebook, and some day soon the tides are going to change in G+’s favor, so I’m just getting a jump on it.

Christmas is rapidly approaching, as well as Thanksgiving! At least we managed to get Kevin off wanting a X-Box One or PS4 for this year… Wow, those new consoles are a bit pricey, but that’s normal for something brand new I guess. I think we’ll wait and see how things shake out, the prices drop once or twice, and see who’s system turns out becoming the most popular and has the best titles and innovation. It’s going to be a cool battle to watch. They certainly aren’t going to get my $60-per-game any time soon unless they start offering “combo” games that run on their new system as well as their old system! This is probably a good idea too… If old-console users then start accumulating titles that contain both versions of their games, they’re probably going to think harder about the need to buy the new version.

Kevin and I went to Sam’s Club yesterday to pick up a few things, and we found that they had a couple very cool “retro” gaming consoles! For about $50 you can get an Atari Flashback 4, which is a slimmed down, tiny version of the Atari 2600, with 75 of it’s best games built in. Or for about the same price you can get a Sega Genesis Classic Console which has 80 games built-in. Or even a “Genesis Portable” for a little more, which gives you the same games, but in a hand-held portable format. Today’s kids probably wouldn’t stick to either of these things for more than a few minutes per game, I’m guessing, before getting bored. These are probably geared more toward “old schoolers” or “old farts” who grew up with them, and want to relive their youth in their second childhood. Which is probably why I got so excited when I saw them. Think it through, Jim, think it through: I would probably play my favorites first, maybe burn a few hours working into them, come back a few more times, then get bored myself and there it sits. I’d occasionally come back when I longed for some flashbacks to “the good old days”, but mostly it’d sit, probably in the living room attached to the TV, collecting dust, just like I do most of the time, when I’m not working or playing Ingress. Geez, just saying the word “Ingress” is like the dog in the movie “Up” when he sees a “SQUIRREL!” Nothing else matters at that moment, and focus is instantly switched. I almost did it again.

The cesspool that is Facebook…”coming soon to Google+!?”

Yikes!  I just heard that Google is now going to start putting up ads using users’ names and photos to advertise products.  This is what Facebook has been doing, and it’s one of the frustrating problems Kevin has.  He once “liked” that “truthsaboutu” page on Facebook, and ever since then–and even though he UNliked that page long ago–I still see photos that say “Kevin Trottier likes this”, though he doesn’t.  Facebook is so riddled with ads and fake “apps” that get permission to post on your behalf, that I have no idea what’s a real post and what’s an ad any more!  And I’m guessing that’s exactly what they want.  It gives them more views.  So now it sounds like that’s coming to G+.  Nice.  Call me old-fashioned, or just a curmudgeon, but I’d rather be as little a part of it as I can.  I’m staying here.  I go over to Facebook to read my family’s and friends’ posts–and try to decipher what they actually posted, as opposed to what Facebook SAYS they posted–but for posting myself, I’ll be over here.  Just so ya know.   And once G+ starts getting bogged down with ads like that, the same goes there.  There are no ads here, and there never will be.

Unfortunately, sites like this are becoming quite rare on the Internet.  Ad-free sites still exist only because they are paid for only by the site’s author(s) and whatever donations the site might get.  It’s probably very tempting these days to add advertisements to a site, since it’s really very simple to do.  These days there’s no programming required–you just drop a block of code onto your page and it handles everything for you.  Soon the pennies start trickling in and adding up, if your site gets any traffic at all.  I’m out though, as much as I can be.  Let the rest of the web be riddled with banners, popups, and ads ads ads, constantly rotating and flashing, fighting for your attention.

Besides, my site’s not worthy.  I have maybe 5-10 visitors who stop by once in awhile to check up, and a little more whenever I posted a link on Facebook to a new article I posted on my website.  I’m going to stop doing that now too.  I think it makes me look like I endorse Facebook and approve of their practices if I regularly post there.  So here I am, this site’s not going to change much moving forward (unless I change the theme to play around with the look of it), it’ll just have my regular (or irregular, if I get busy) posts, rants, and whatnot from our daily doings, vacations, photos, etc..

And if you want to read another similar site (with no ads and whatever-comes-to-mind posts) — one in particular that I thoroughly enjoy is WilWheaton.net.  Wil Wheaton is a great actor (“that kid from Star Trek The Next Generation”), an excellent writer, and even does an amazing job reading Audible books!  Check out his site and you’ll probably forget you ever read mine.  Dude’s got some skillz!