Facebook is a mess

I’m gonna start micro blogging on my site instead of having two places I post all the time.  Facebook is constantly changing and I hate the timeline view.  My site never changes formats, has no ads, and loads much quicker.  I have no visitors either, but that’s nothing new.  So if you’re actually here reading this, thanks for stopping by, and stop by more often.  From now on I’ll be posting here like I normally did daily on Facebook.  Now, if I can just get my Foursquare and Cardiotrainer posts to come here as well, it would be bliss…

Launchers, Phones, and Books, oh my!

Well, I’m back to using ADW as my tablet’s launcher.  Tons more room per screen and enough options to keep me happy.  I found that even the Android 4 stock launcher has a few issues that drive me nuts.  The biggest of which is when you go into the app drawer where all of your apps and widgets are.  Most of the time when I open it, it will be showing my widgets, but the tab for my Apps will be selected.  So I can’t just click on Apps to go to apps.  If I do, nothing happens.  I have to switch to widgets, then back to apps, then it starts working right again.  This happens often enough to be very irritating.  The only major problem I have besides that–again, is what I’ve always complained about with it–the wasted screen space.  So there, that’s done for awhile.  I’m very content with ADW, it just keeps getting better and better.

Which brings me to my next topic.  I got a new phone recently.  Of course, another Android.  A Motorola Electrify with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread).  I never realized the dramatic difference that happened between Android 2.2 (Froyo) and Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) for phones.  It sure makes a huge difference, especially with memory management.  And my main excuse to root my phone is now gone–screenshots.  Yes, 2.3 includes the ability (though hidden and apparently different on every carrier’s Android) to take screenshots!  On mine I was directed to a little app in the marked called “Screen Grabber” and was instructed to install it, then go to its settings and turn off the “require root” option.  After doing this, it takes screenshots with ease on my phone.  No more need to root!  My only other complaint (that I always had on my HTC Desire) is eliminated now as well–space for apps.  My new phone came with 16GB of internal memory, which is split with half for apps, half for media.  But since the “Apps2SD” lets you optionally move a good portion of most apps to your “SD Card”–which is what the “media” half of the 16GB is considered–I can install dozens of apps and use next to nothing from my app memory.  I now have every app I normally use installed and working, and still have a ton of space left.  The phone even uses the same Tegra 2 processor as my Motorola Xoom, so I can install and play any of my favorite “THD” games on it!  As a comparison, my HTC Desire had 348MB of memory for my apps (and a 32GB SDHC card for media), and after a full wipe of the phone, and the re-installation of all of the updates just for it’s pre-installed apps, I was left with about 135MB of memory, even when using Apps2SD to move everything possible to the SD card.  I could install most of the apps I normally use, but not all of them, before I started getting the “WARNING – memory is low” message.  At this point, I could still install a few more apps, but it’s very dangerous to go lower.  I usually ended up with crashing problems and the phone spontaneously rebooting once in awhile when it crashed.  Not good.  So space is no longer an issue, at least with this phone, and this should be a lesson for everyone out there who has had a bad experience with an Android device–if you bought cheap, it just might be that memory space issues are your main problem.

I also just started reading a new book.  Looking for something to grab my interest after finishing Ready Player One, I stumbled onto “One Second After” by William Forstchen.  It’s about EMP–Electromagnetic Pulse, which is apparently a very real and dangerous possibility.  It’s a novel, meant to explain the dangers of EMP and what could possibly happen if our country were attacked using a weapon like this.  It’s not my usual cup of tea, but just the publisher’s summary was enough to grab me and make me want to read it cover to cover.  Take a look:

In a small North Carolina town, one man struggles to save his family after America loses a war that will send it back to the Dark Ages.

Already cited on the floor of Congress and discussed in the corridors of the Pentagon as a book all Americans should read, One Second After is the story of a war scenario that could become all too terrifyingly real. Based upon a real weapon – the Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) – which may already be in the hands of our enemies, it is a truly realistic look at the awesome power of a weapon that can destroy the entire United States, literally within one second.

This book, set in a typical American town, is a dire warning of what might be our future and our end.

That was it.  It’s now on my phone and I’m reading it to and from work.  It’s very very scary, and as you read it you start to wonder how you and your family would fare in the same situation.  Food for thought.  A LOT of food for thought.  If you want to know more, here’s a link to the Audiobook, and here’s a link to the author’s website.

Cars 2

Fire KindlingKevin and I went to see Cars 2 today.  I was very curious about it, since Kenosha News shot it down, saying how horrible it was, how it’s the worst Pixar movie ever made, and how they trashed Kenosha-made vehicles in the movie.  Prior to reading that article, I wasn’t even going to see the movie in theaters.  I was content to wait for the DVD release.  But I knew, after reading such a horrible review, it just had to be skewed.  Pixar movies just aren’t that bad. Ever.  They pride themselves in taking years to work through every tiny detail, joke and frame in their movies.  So I just had to see for myself.

Just as expected, the movie was great, and the Kenosha News article was a load of crap.  The Kenosha News complained that the “bad guys” in the movie were Kenosha-built Pacers and Gremlins in horrible never-seen-on-the-road colors.  Some were, sure.  What–a “bad guy” never came from Kenosha before??  Kenosha has never had an actor that played a “bad guy” in a movie before?? Oh the horror.  And gee, did Pixar really “mess up” when one of these “bad guys” says he’s from Detroit in the movie?? Duh.  Check Wikipedia for “American Motors”.  It’s headquarters was in Southfield, Michigan–a suburb of Detroit.

Kenosha News’ writers really need to do a little research before they just bash a movie so harshly just based on a few viewers’ opinions.  I thought the movie was great, it had all of the Pixar touches and attention to detail I always love, and I was completely satisfied with it.  It’s a great animated movie about cars classic, new, and in all shapes and sizes (and reputations)–and even explains the value of dents!  There was also a great “Toy Story” short before the movie, which was a real treat for us.  And if it wasn’t for the little kid sitting directly behind me, constantly kicking the back of my seat until I turned around, gave her a mean look, and moved over a few seats, it would have been perfect.

Oh, and we’re going to have a nice fire this evening… Guess what we’re going to use for kindling!  Click on the photo.  If you zoom in close enough using the “View all sizes” option in the upper-right corner of the Flickr page you can even see how they even slammed it with a big headline on the front page, see who wrote the article and even read a bit of it… Uh-oh, now I’m going to get in trouble from the Kenosha News (again) because I re-published something from their paper.  Burn the evidence! Quick!

Book Quandary

I just got a new credit for an audiobook at Audible.com, and I’m stuck.  I currently have 17 books on my wishlist and I can’t decide which book to get next.  I always figure each month I’ll get one of them until my wishlist is empty, then I’ll have everything I want.  Nope, it doesn’t work that way.  Throughout the month I get regular e-mails about new releases, specials, etc., and it never fails that every month there’s at least one or two books that look really good that I want to read (listen to).  So here you go.  Below is my wishlist.  If you can suggest one, perhaps that you liked yourself, I’d really appreciate your input.  Or if you can suggest something that ISN’T on my wishlist, go for it.  I can always add it to the list if it sounds good to me (which would actually defeat the purpose of this post, but what the heck–I’d hate to miss a good book).  The top one–Physics of the Future–I just added recently.  It sounds fascinating, based on the preview listen.  But then again, so do many of the others.  Help!

Audible Wishlist 03-20-2011

 

Bird be gone

Is there such a thing?  Is there a bird repellent?  I sure needed some recently.  I had to improvise, but I got the job done I think.  If your not familiar with the problem I’ve had in the recent past with these birds, please click here and catch up before reading the rest of this post.

Today these birds are not quite as smart as they were back then.  Or are they…?   They poop on the driveway now.  But maybe out of anger and not out of stupidity.  You see, I think I made them a little mad recently.  A couple months ago, as Spring approached, we started noticing this weird gooey stringy stuff lying in our driveway once in a while.  It was usually wet and gooey because of the wet weather we’ve had, so we really couldn’t identify it.  But once things dried up and more of it appeared, we figured out what it was.  It was insulation, pulled out from under our roof, on the side of the house that the driveway is on.  It’s conveniently right where the cable and/or electrical lines go from the telephone pole to our house–a handy little “walkway” that the birds tend to use to get into our gutter.

It seems that the birds are either pulling out our insulation and using it to build their nests, or they’re actually digging an opening in the side of our house under our roofing and making their home right there.  In either case, they’re constantly going in and out of that same spot next to our new gutters, pooping on our cars and in our driveway, and really being a nuisance.  Now, I love birds, but only to a point.  They’re nice to observe, and maybe even nice as pets in cages.  But right now I’m seeing them more as flying rats, bent on the destruction of our home.

Well, last week when I took the lawn mower out for the first time of the season, I found several bee and wasp nests in our shed.  They were active, with bees and wasps currently residing in them.  This made getting anything out of the shed pretty hazardous, so Sandy picked up a couple cans of long-distance wasp killer.  You can spray up to a 20-foot stream of this stuff and nail the nest, killing the wasps and bees quickly to avoid getting stung.  It worked well, and by the end of one can of it I had two small bee hives and two wasp nests (the bee hives that that neat honeycomb pattern and the wasp nests looked kind of like packed mud with 1/4″ circular holes in it) bagged and sealed.

So with the second can, I decided that the stuff just might work ok as a bird repellent as well.  The can didn’t mention it, but it was worth a shot.  We don’t have a ladder long enough to get me up there to the gutter to see what’s actually going on, but the nice straight stream of this stuff could surely nail and cover the area quite well.  So I moved the cars out of the driveway and went for it.  Birds flew in a hurry, and a couple even stayed near, one in particular even stayed as close as on the wires right above our driveway.  In fact, this particlar bird had a worm in his mouth and was squawking repeatedly as if actually yelling or screaming at me, as he watched me squirt the area with the bug spray.  Maybe he was about to feed babies somewhere.  I felt a little bad that maybe those babies were up there, maybe dying from the poison I was drenching them with.  But that was only a momentary thought and I quickly realized that I’M the one paying the mortgage, not them, and they have no right living here.

Over the last several days since that spraying we haven’t had a single bird poop on our cars in our driveway.  This is a relief, so I think it was a good thing to do.  Want pictures?  I didn’t take any myself, but you can click on the thumbnail for closer look of the way I pictured it.

A hard lesson for an 8-year-old

Kevin had a short day at school Friday and no after-school program, so we decided to go to the museum and the park, two of his favorite places.  The museum was nice, but we went a bit soon since last time, so not much had changed.  They change the second-floor collections often, but those were still mostly the same things we saw last time.  This isn’t exactly a bad thing, it just means we get to spend more time looking at details, reading more about the things we see, and basically learning more.  We took in a lot of the civil war paintings this time–something we largely overlooked in the past””and also learned more about native Americans, their tools and weapons, and saw some huge (live!) giant millipedes from Africa.  Kevin even found some “hidden” cabinets that you can open to reveal lots of artifacts he had never seen before.

Before we left, we visited the gift shop as we always do.  Kevin still loves getting a plaster dinosaur egg now and then and spending hours excavating the egg with the small pick and brush included with it.  Each eggs holds a hand-painted ceramic dinosaur.  He has a collection of 5 of the dinosaurs now.  Since the first one, we have reminded him many times that they are fragile, but they look so much like just another dinosaur toy that he plays with them.  I’ve already had to repair 3 of them, supergluing legs and tails that have broken off.  Anyway, along with the dinosaur egg he also wanted one of those wooden animals with the spring-loaded thumb-button underneath them.  They’re assembled with strings attached to the spring, so when you push the button underneath up the string loosen and the animal appears to collapse, or “dance” with repeated pushing and releasing of the spring.

After the museum we went to the park for a short time and then went home.  On the ride home Kevin said “Dad, my toy broke!”.  I checked it when we got home and sure enough a string had broken and one whole leg had fallen off””4 pieces in all””leaving him with a 3-legged animal.  I couldn’t repair it myself after trying several times last night, so I left it for Sandy to try to fix.  This morning he played with his 3-legged animal some more and the head fell off.  He refuses to let me throw it away though, wanting to wait to see if Sandy can fix it for him.  And so it waits.

This morning he spent over 4 hours with his latest one and he was very excited to finish it.  We washed the remaining plaster powder from it and he was all grins.  Shortly after this he was dancing around in the dining room with it when he said “ooopsie!” and it hit the floor with a crunch.  The tail and one leg had broken off and flew across the floor.  He found the leg and it looks like another clean break, so I could probably repair it easily.  But he’s still searching for the tail.  Without the tail it’s pretty pointless to repair it at all.  He’s still searching the area, and neither of us can figure out where the heck it could have went that we can’t find.  He’s searching for it right now, refusing to give up.  So basically, all of his little treasures from this weekend were a total loss.  He’s pretty sad right now, but still searching.

Update:  It’s about 45 minutes after writing that last paragraph and Kevin has found the tail!  Using superglue I have performed emergency dinosaur surgery, reattaching his tail and leg.  He is resting well now, and we expect a full recovery.  Whew.  I guess it wasn’t a total loss after all.  We’ll see how he holds up after recovery.  Kevin is now relieved, glad to have one trinket intact, and I think he might even be willing to give up on the three-legged headless spring-loaded animal now and put him to rest.  We’ll see.

New camera!

Well, Today Shell and I got a new digital camera. Thanks to the expertise knowledge of Jim, we opted to buy the Sony DSC-P73. Wow, what a camera…many features which gives me a bunch of reading to do just to figure them all out! We messed around with it for a bit tonight and here are a few we took. Well, We will have many more comming! Take care all….

Toyz for Geeks

I’m sitting on my sisters couch at her new house on 75th street, typing this blog on my new toy. We’re just visiting, and Kevin is playing with his cousin Tyler outside in the pool. We haven’t gotten out much, so now we’re catching up while we have more free time.

I’m actually scrawling this message onto my, screen, believe it or not. Using a thin “stylus” (looks like a pencil) I just write directly onto the screen, in either cursive or regular print. Pause for a moment and viola–my drawn text disappears and magically appears in the e-mail message as typed text! It’s amazingly accurate at reading my handwriting too. Ain’t technology wonderful?

Read on for some photo highlights from our visit at Loretta’s…

Destiny1 (30k image)
This is Destiny, Erik’s daughter. Not lookin too happy in the swing…

Lorettas_Cat (11k image)
Loretta’s Cat… or is it Kari’s?

Cat_HeadStand (22k image)
Ever see a cat do a headstand? There ya go.

Lorettas_Peanut2 (30k image)
This is Peanut, Loretta’s Pomeranian.

Kev_and_Tyler1 (28k image)
In the little pool…

Kev_and_Tyler2 (33k image)
In the big pool…

Destiny3 (25k image)
Destiny waves.

Destiny2 (22k image)
Destiny stands!

Destiny4 (18k image)
And finally… Destiny pouts.

Replies

You have all the new toys don’t you? Did you forget how to type???? Kidding!!! I loved the picture of “Cat standing on it’s head”. Who does Destiny belong to? She’s so cute.

Rosemary said @ 07/14/2003 01:07 PM CST

Destiny is Erik’s daughter. Erik is Loretta’s son. (Loretta is my sister).