Busted!

OHMERGERD! It’s busted!

image
Busted Moto

As you can see I had an unfortunate mishap with my phone. Arrrgh. Ironically, I had yet to get a single scratch, ding, or dent on it up until the fateful drop yesterday. I knocked it off the top of the Zipcar while unloading Costco. More astutely, I did a mad grab finger flip 3 or 4 times before it flipped, flew, and fell on the concrete cracking the screen and busting the camera as well.

Motorola appears to offer a warranty repair, which means I pay to have it fixed. They are shipping me a temporary replacement in the meantime. I finally find a phone I am happy with and I go and break it. *grumble grumble*

I guess it is good I didn’t sell the G4. I was gonna tough it out but the screen was barely usable. I had to connect it to Bluetooth keyboard just so I could clean off a few things. Points to Tmo for making the process to activate my old SIM super easy and quick It took literally just a few minutes.

Sadly, I find myself still hating the G4.1 I had such a negative reaction when it came on I was a bit surprised. I don’t think I’ve ever been so annoyed by an Android variant before. The OEM version is just annoying. The only nice thing about the whole thing is the sense tap. Going back to it is such a contrast to the Moto X PE. The pure Android experience has spoiled me once again it seems.

Pray for my baby to be returned fast.

  1. Please remind me to never ever buy a LG phone again. []

Error

Has anyone else noticed a decline in the overall quality of news as of late? I seem to be noticing more and more that traditional publications (online and off) are just getting sloppy.

I keep up with a variety of news and tech sites. Almost every day I read or see gross incompetence glaring errors in published articles. Be it, the title is inappropriately devoid of punctuation, random typos, or flat out bad reporting, it is more and more common. Part of me wonders if the encroachment of blo​gging and other non-traditional platforms are the reason. Maybe the traditional media outlets feel pressured to get news out quickly and catching errors is an afterthought. That would at least explain the punctuation and typos. However, it does not explain the bad reporting.

A couple of my favorite news sites for all things Android are just going from bad to worse lately. One site posted a review between the S6 and the M9 based solely on the specs. No actual hands on review, just the specs. And the author admitted as much it the article. Sadly, his review was just flat out wrong. Specs can be impressive but anyone who has owned multiple smartphones can tell you higher specs doesn’t always mean better. Said site seems to be getting worse in this area. I’m to the point of just removing it from my news feed.

The other site posted a link, retracted it, changed a few facts and the title, and then pushed it out again.1 I guess they forgot that their RSS feed pushes out notifications. I opt for the ‘full text’ option on RSS updates so I had a birds-eye view of the corrections. At least the updated article had corrected several errors and inaccuracies. I emailed the author politely to let him know and he acted like I was being a dick! I mean, how dare I point out his stupid mistake so he can avoid it in the future?

I’ll be the first to admit my writing style is not perfect. I use a lot of deliberate slang and colloquialisms in my writing style. I am not trying to be overly critical as much as point out the declining accuracy in the written text. I tend to overlook the casual error but if I am being completely honest, I tend to not trust articles that are so poorly written. If you can’t be bothered to proof-read your work, how am I supposed to trust the content?

  1. I do this one a lot in error so can relate []

Doofus

Get up early

Get Cooper fed/watered/walked

Go to gym to do cardio

Come home with enough to get ready for work

Arrive at work minus your badge/access card

Rush home on lunch break to get said card

Realize what a doofus you are because the the access card was tucked into your jacket pocket. Said jacket, you’ve had with you every step of the way.

Blank

Turning-Broken-Links-to-Your-Site-into-Powerful-LinksApparently, I broke something while adding all my security protections. When I update my blog by email now, the title comes across but the post is blank. I’m tinkering with it to see what it is. If you are subscriber the posts are there, just the summary in the email is blank. The RSS feed is usually unaffected.

*
On a tangent, someone asked me the other day what ISP I used. I use Lunarpages.com They are a small host and I use one their shared hosting packages. They give you a lot of control over your account; however, you’re kinda on your own for support. Don’t get me wrong, they do offer tech support but on shared hosting accounts it is limited. If it is something critical, like an outage, they are available 24/7, but for day to day stuff it is 8-5 hours or email only. They offer more robust packages but they obviously cost more.

Having been at this for 11 years now, I’m all about keeping my costs down. I dont advertise on le blog and all the cotst to maintain it comes out of my own pocket. You can see where a bitch likes things on the cheap! heehee

*
On yet another tangent, I discovered a plugin that allows you to directly grab pictures from your Google Drive account. I use Google to backup all my photos on my phone. Everything gets sent to a private folder. That part is awesome. The process of trying to convert said image to a link or import it into my blog is often very tedious. Now I have a plugin that connects directly to my drive and I can import pics directly. It removes about 2 steps in the process.  Who knew?

PSA: Retailers

​Here is a PSA to retailers. I get it that you want to maintain contact w/your new and existing clients who shop your websites. It is awesome that you wish to maintain a connection to your shoppers.

What is not awesome is when you bombard your perspective new clients with daily and weekly emails trying to sell your wares. Even worse, when I unsubscribe from your emails, you continue to send them with a message, “oh it might take days or weeks to unsubscribe.” You ain’t fooling no one.

And when you tell me, “we do not sell or give away your email”, you are a liar! I know because I routinely use fake email accounts with your business name @ my domain. Since I have a catch-all account for emails randomly sent to anything @ mydomain I can see how many times you sell my data.

/rant

Shop

I am not a big fan of clothes shopping. So much so that I often go for months (sometimes years) without shopping for myself. I’ll go at the drop of hat for someone else, aka Shawn, but not for myself. I don’t think I got that part of the gay gene. hehehe Growing up poor made the idea of shopping a bit of a struggle. In my early days, having never had much, any time I got money I’d spent it all right away. The need for survival back then taught me the error of my ways, so to speak.1

I went thru a phase after moving to SF where I had the money but I didn’t spend it out of fear of the unknown. I was always worried about the what if scenarios. It was then that I started forcing myself to go shopping on a regular basis. And it worked for awhile. It helped that my ex went into the t-shirt business while we were together. I had a plethora of shirts at my disposal. And to show you what I mean, that ended 3-4 years ago and I am still wearing some of the shirts he made me.

Fast forward to now and I’m back to my old habits. I had to force myself to go out jean shopping this past weekend. And it was only because I realized I was down to 2 pair. I hated it. I got some of the gay gene as I care enough to spend time looking for a pair that I think looks good on me. Said care drags the process out. Yet, I’m not one of those that has to spend the whole day looking for the perfect pair. If I don’t find a good fit after a few stores, I’ll just give up. I’d love to just walk in, grab a pair and leave. Sadly, I got burned on that several times. Clothing vendors never seem to stick to sizing standards so even the same brand sometimes fits me in different sizes.

Anyway, I got a couple new pair. They should last me another few years.

  1. If you ask Shawn, he’ll tell you I still spend too much. LOL []

Attack

My blog has been under a brute force attack for over a week now. Several foreign bots have been hard at work trying to break into my WordPress software. Sadly, for them, that is all but impossible. I use several layers of security to protect WP. One of those layers locks any user account, including myself, after more than 5 failed log in attempts.1  The user must then go thru the password recovery process.  However, the brute force can bring down the server itself. Even with site-caching, the server has to respond to every request.

Most bots make a concentrated effort for minutes and/or hours and then usually move on when they complete (or fail at) their task. This was much more focused and indicates a deliberate attempt. My blog is not overly popular so I’m a little surprised. Dedicated attacks usually target big sites or at the ISP level. The rest of us fall into the “search and conquer” category described above.

I’ve had to take more direct action now and start blocking bots at the server level. It is often a cat-and-mouse game because said baddies often use already compromised or spoofed IP addresses. They rotate them quickly so blocking doesn’t last long. However, for bots it’s a wee bit easier as they usually carry distinctive names that can be blocked using the .htaccess file.

For my readers, hopefully you won’t see any error pages. On the odd chance you do, please email me and I’ll get you restored. An easy way to tell is by accessing my site from different connections. The chances of both being blocked are extremely rare.

The attack already seems to be waning. The CPU drain from my account on the server is down within acceptable levels for my ISP. It is still higher than normal but going down. Wish me luck. hehehe

  1. I also deleted my default admin account ages ago []

Less

I find that I spend less time on social-media sites these days. One, I’ve been super busy so less time and two, it just seems to be more and more tedious and boring. There is so much crap and filler meant to generate ad-clicks, it just gets to a point where the purpose is lost. It is no secret I loathe FB but it does allow a connection of sorts to friends. I’ve threatened to dump FB in the past and still might but it is more likely I’ll just end up posting less and less until it becomes a place-holder.

Part of my frustration is witnessing the dumbing down of America. And it is getting worse. Our indifference to anything outside our immediate environment is contributing to the decay of our society. Integrity, honor, respect, honesty, truth, it’s all becoming buzz-words. Social media was meant to unite and bring us together and it seems to be doing just the opposite. I can’t say I wanna be a part of that. Don’t even get me started on the whole anti-intellectualism movement again. OMFG! 

Then you have the “stories” that often catch on like wild-fire that turn out to be hoaxes or flat out lies. Almost every day now I encounter stories that are fake or have just enough of the truth to seem plausible. And of course, no one can be bothered to check around or fact find, they just read a story and assume it is true and then continue to spread the ignorance. Even credible news outlets have been falling prey to this.1  As my maw-maw always used to say, “…believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see.”

Unlike previous moods, I’m not saying I’m leaving vs just expressing a growing dislike for said sites. They have some use but I’m finding the cons are out-weighing the pros more and more.

  1. One has to look at the recent Turing Test story going around about a supercomputer finally crossing a threshold of believability as a human. Total fabricated story but it spread to even many of the tech sites []

Beautiful

The outrage over the recent Coke commercial during the Super Bowl is quite the laugh. Didn’t hear it? It was a multi-language mash up America the Beautiful. It also featured a quick view of a gay-couple. While you might have issues with said company right now over it’s support of Sochi,1  you cannot deny they have been a long time staunch supporter of gay rights. Anyway, the song sparked outrage from the far right and many of our less ‘edumucated’ folks spawning their nastiness on the web via social media.

The outrage was specifically over the song being in different languages, which had my laughing in fits. Seriously, the irony is overwhelming. For those of you who don’t know, the song was originally a poem written by a Lesbian. But wait, it gets better. It was set to music from a foreign song. Many have been pointing it out but the best quote so far has been,

Katharine Lee Bates, author of the poem “America the Beautiful” studied Greek in college and spent four years in foreign travel and study. Her life partner was Katharine Coman, a social activist and strong advocate for European-influenced Social Insurance and policies.

Her poem “America the Beautiful” was put to the tune of “Materna” by Samuel Ward, which was originally intended to be the accompaniment for “O Mother, Dear Jerusalem” written by David Dickson.

In short, a homosexual woman who studied Greek (and whose life partner advocated European Socialism) wrote a poem which was put to the tune of a song with a Spanish title, composed to accompany text written by a Scottish Minister about a Middle Eastern country

Folks, it doesn’t get much funnier than that.

Our country was founded by immigrants and the ideal of welcoming people from all walks of life to this land.2  Blind ignorance and patriotism makes you a puppet. The Repugs are depending on the ‘dumbing down’ of America so they can use petty squabbles and base emotions to control the masses. Meanwhile, they keep screwing us over and over and over again.

/rant

  1. Greed will do that []
  2. Not forgetting that we stole this land from it’s rightful owners, mind you. []

Ad

I have a dirty confession to make. I’m sure I’m not the only one out there but seeing so much of it these days, I just felt the need to fess up.

I’m not an ad-clicker. There I said it. I never click on in-app advertisements. I find them a waste of time, rarely if ever, related to my tastes. We hear constantly how ad placement is driven by user meta data and seems to be the ‘golden chalice’ of all the big players out there. I’ve never once clicked on an online ad to buy a product. 

Don’t get me wrong, I see the point but until it gets to a level where the ads are truly relevant to me then I’ll most likely never be an ad-clicker. Using my search results is rarely helpful. Google often gets the closest out of them all. I wouldn’t click on a Facebook ad if you paid me. The problem, for me anyway, is the few items I actually search out on the Web are lost in random queries I do all the time. While this might help target ads to me a tiny bit better, it’s like pouring a barrel of food on my plate and then me finding one item out of all of it that I will eat.

IMO companies are too greedy in trying to put ads in front of my eyes. The email lists, the hard sells, the device cookies, are all an attempt to get ads in front of your face. It is pointless to me because it’s just a brute force attack. The moment you click on an ad or go to a referral link, then the real bombardment begins. If you aren’t using a disposable email, you’re in for a real treat. hehehe

Some developers make their living off the ads they push into apps to keep them free. I get it. And for some apps, it’s the only way to go. But for more popular or heavily integrated apps, not having a paid, ad-free version is a deterrent, at least for me.

I don’t mind having sites or companies track my habits, likes, dislikes, etc. Tracking my habits w/o trying to tie it specifically to me as a person is the way to go if you want me to click. IMO this is why Google will continue to dominate the ad market. They are pushing heavy into this and less on specifically targeting you vs your online presence. If companies really want to find the ‘sweet spot’, they need to continue tweaking their ability to be very specific without constantly trying to bombard me with any and every ad possible. Then, and only then, will I ever consider clicking on ads.