Absent Minded

So the last picture post here was supposed to go to my photo blog. Apparently, my dumb-ass forgot I changed some passwords a while back so it stopped updating. To make matters worse, when I updated it, I forgot how I had setup the transfer and ended up creating a new IFTTT1 applet.

When I originally setup the photo blog there wasn’t a direct way to import my photos from IG to WordPress. I had to create a work-around that sent the pic from IG to Tumblr then to WordPress. It was a bit messy but it worked pretty well. Best of all, it was automated. Well, all of the API’s have been updated since then apparently. There are multiple applets in IFTTT that allow you to import directly. My IFTTT account has my blog settings not my photo blog so when I “reconnected”, I connected it to the wrong site. hehehe Not the end of the world mind you. I just thought it was funny.

It’s all fixed now. I still need to go back and manually import all the pics that got skipped but it’s all automated again. Yay!

In other tech fails, I installed Chromium on an old laptop and for some reason, the CD drive will not re-install windows. Granted it’s an old copy but it should work. The BIOS settings are all good and the drive is functioning so I’m leaning toward blaming the install disc.  It crashes after loading the software and drivers to install and I get the blue screen of death.  I’m not too upset as I hate Windows 10. It’s clunky, ugly, and just not user friendly. It tries and fails to be a universal OS between desktop and mobile. I’m thinking of just installing Linux. I don’t use the laptop that often, but Chromium is still just a wee bit too simple for my needs. If I could just port Android it would be fine.2  Since it wasn’t ‘designed’ to run Android or Chromium both versions are modified ports, courtesy of 3rd-party vendors. Said vendors aren’t really in a position to provide support. Anyway, first world problems.

 




  1. If This Then That []
  2. I used to run Android thru Bluestacks when I had windows installed and I loved it. []

Phone

sammy7
Samsung S7 Edge – Silver

In other not tragedy and sad news, I got a new phone. I know, I know, color you surprised! Me with a new gadget?

I loved my Moto X PE, but I was overworking the poor thing. It just couldn’t keep up with me. I even tried a hard reset to see if that would make a difference.1  For a ‘mid-range’ phone it sure was a good phone though. I don’t regret forking over the cash one bit. I’d still have it if the chip had been stronger. The funny thing was the phone didn’t have much bloat to it. It came almost stock Android, but I use a lot of apps. I was going thru it to see what I could get rid of to maybe help keep it and I really didn’t find much to trim. It did make me realize just how much I use my phone for. Over 100 apps and 2/3’s of those get used at least monthly. That’s crazy!

Anyway, I had been hearing some good rumors the Samsung S7 was a leap over the S6 in regards to battery life. (I’ve realized a crappy battery is an absolute deal-breaker for me now, no matter how awesome the phone)  Critics were raving over it so I thought I’d give Sammy another whirl. To my surprise, it was good. It still isn’t Xperia Z3 good, but a good 2nd place runner up. Tangent/ That damn Sony phone is still the go to phone comparison for battery life. /tangent  Anyway, the battery was pretty good but I’ve gotten so used to having a bigger screen I wasn’t a fan. I went back and swapped it out for the S7 Edge. Even bigger battery and much nicer color palate (silver). And to be fair, the bloatware seems to be very manageable. It still has way more than is needed, but many of the apps can be disabled, even if you can’t uninstall them. Samsung just needs to stick to making quality phones and ditch all the bloatware that virtually no one uses.

I was originally against the Edge as I am very hard on my toys and the curved screen is a recipe for disaster when it comes to my clumsy ass. But, I missed the larger screen so I’m chancing it. And as much as I hate phone cases (read bulky and ugly), I broke down and bought one. And not only that, I actually leave it on the phone! hehehe It’s faux leather and only mildly bulky. The damn phone is covered by my Jump plans insurance so I figure if I break it, I can always get it replaced. My favorite feature so far is the new fingerprint reader and the incorporation of fingerprint security into Android. What a hassle-free function. I absolutely love it!

On a related topic, while I was considering the Moto way back when, I signed up for a Kickstarter phone, the Nextbit Robin. Well, I completely forgot about it until a year later when it arrived at my door!  Ooops!  I took it for a spin and it was nice. Very similar to the shape, size, and texture of the Experia Z3 actually. The battery was decent but still not at a level I needed. I was disappointed as I really wanted to like this phone. The cameras were the biggest let down after the battery. Both the front and back cameras are ok for everyday well-lit shots, but they simply don’t measure up to most other phones, even in the same price range. For folks that don’t take a lot of pics it would be stellar. It just isn’t a good fit for me.

I’m considering selling it or giving it to charity since I don’t use it. I’m only looking for the money invested. That said, I might also keep it as a dev phone to tinker with. I’m been slowly exploring the idea of teaching myself how to build apps for it. I need a device to practice on. As always, finding the free time to explore a new hobby is a challenge. ha! My schedule is already busy enough.

Ok enough rambling about gadgets. I could go on all day. Don’t even get me started on the whole idea on upgrading game consoles only a year after the new one came out.




  1. I keep everything in various clouds so never fear of really losing anything []

Settings

I’m gonna geek out a bit today. If you’re an Android user like me and have upgraded to Marshmallow, you really should take some time to tweak your app permissions. With the 6.0 release, you now have the ability to turn on/off individual permissions by app. This has been one of my biggest frustrations with Android. Many apps are great and do wonderful things, but frankly they often do not need all the permissions they ask for at installation. Like, at all! And the down side of some apps having too many permissions is they eat away at your battery life. I’m definitely in the heavy user category and while I get good battery life on my Moto X, eliminating apps that waste the battery make it that much better. Of course, the developer might feel different but as an end user, I should have some say in that. Thanks to Google+, now I do.

In the past, it was all or nothing. If you really wanted an app, your only choice was to install it with all the permissions intact. If you were on a rooted device, you had options, but most people never root their phones for a variety of good reasons. Your left with deploying a task manager which basically acts on your behalf routinely killing annoyingly persistent apps in the background. An effective, albeit cumbersome fix. If you’re a power user like me and often need to really wring every ounce of juice out of single charge, being able to throttle juice hungry apps is a welcome change.

And if you’re already lost, any app you install needs permissions to access parts of the OS or hardware on your device. When you download the app, you get a list of the permissions it wants prior to installation. This is necessary in an open OS like Android. Obviously, a selfie app like Snapchat would need access to your camera to function properly. You would grant it permission at installation to access your camera. However, it also has access to my phone dialer, which it absolutely does not need. The unfortunate problem is many developers abuse this function or get over-zealous. You also have apps from 3rd party sites that use this to gain access to your device to perform nefarious things, like take pictures, send text messages, or make phone calls, etc w/o your permission.

With Marshmallow, you can now tweak the permissions once you’ve installed an app. For example, the Facebook app is notorious for being a battery hog. It constantly does pings, location checks, etc. Now you can change some of the settings to prevent it from being a hog. FB Messenger is another particularly annoying system abuser. It is by far my most hated app. I personally will never give FB my contacts or let it run my phone/texts so I disabled these. I also disabled access to location so it isn’t constantly pinging my location. All of this uses my cell connection eating up battery life. I’ve noticed a 15% jump just from tweaking this two very annoying apps.

To be clear, the apps are still requesting the data or access; however, the OS sends it null (generic or empty)) data to keep the app running properly. This negates any drain on the hardware and is a brilliant work around to a growing problem w/app developers. It effectively puts them on notice to keep it simple or face being checked by Google+.

You don’t need to be an expert but you do need a basic understanding of what you’re doing. Like I said, if you kill an app’s access to a function it needs, it won’t work or perform properly. The good news here is if you break it, you can fix it by re-enabling the permission in the app! Not every app will need tweaked. If your goal is better battery life, check out your usage stats to see which apps are the most egregious. Go into your apps manager in the settings, scroll to the offensive app, tap it, then tap permissions and disable the ones you don’t want it abusing. Done!

Instagram

​I’ve developed a sick fascination for the narcissism that is Instagram. Everyone is either a bodybuilder, nutrition expert, model, nail stylist, world traveler, or self-proclaimed selfie-deity.

One has to only tap over to the search tab and scroll thru the recommendation list to see the side-show of profiles. It is like reality tv in pictures (and 20 second vids). You get porn stars praising god, women trying to emulate skank Kardash-whatever-her-stupid-name-is, guys who think they are ‘gangstas,’ and sadly, even the stupid memes you see all over FB. It is all of that and a healthy mix of random folks who just like to take pictures and share. Of course, you can follow friends as well.

I tend to be against storing all my stuff on ‘other’ peoples sites but since I filter it back to my photoblog, even if I delete it, I still have all my pics.

Be warned though, FB has clearly integrated it on the back end. The moment you start adding friends or likes on IG, your FB suggestions updates with many of the same folks who happen to be on FB as well.

Beyond the sick fascination, I find using IG fills the void that used to be FB. I mean something has to fill the void right? hehehe

On a tangent, does anyone know why the hashtag is #instagay instead of just #gay? Is it because of abuse?

Home

131-picsayI’m home from the cruise. It was an absolute blast. There were a plethora of observations I made on a variety of subjects that will give birth for good blog fodder in the coming weeks. For now, I’m having a busy week at work and still playing catch up so very little time to sit down and put words to screen.

It was great to see two of my besties and hang with them. Our friendships just ‘are’, for lack of a better word. It was as if we’d just seen each other the day before.

By the 5th day into the 7-day trip I was ready to come home. Mostly, as you can guess, because I missed The Pup. I won’t be doing a trip like this again without him, that is for sure. I’m glad he didn’t let me cancel the trip but I was pretty ready to be home. He was ready for me to be home too. My poor guy was pretty lonesome for me as well it seems. He met me at the MUNI station with Cooper in tow and I almost burst into tears of happiness. And I think we’re stronger than ever, if that’s even possible. hehehe

I have to go but definitely more to say later.

Werd

Everyone has been chomping at the bit for some updates on The Pup and I. Things are going exceedingly well. Actually, they are going better than I ever could have expected! In fact, we’ve even shared the L-word. hehehe

Truthfully, I couldn’t be more in love if I tried. It’s been just over 5 months now and if you’d told me I would feel this way back then I would have shrugged it off. We both started out ‘knowing‘ it wasn’t going anywhere at the time because we lived apart. My roomie teases me a bit about it because I was emphatic that it ‘wasn’t going anywhere.‘  Well, I guess I was wrong, to my delight. (You should log in btw)

I can’t even begin to explain how our connection feels to me. And while I said previously I wasn’t gonna spit out a bunch of platitudes this time around, I can say there have been many firsts in our growing relationship. At 42 years old one might say I’m a little jaded and I’ve definitely been around the block, so to be able to say their have been ‘firsts’ should tell you what a big deal it is for me.

As eluded to previously, we just fit together so incredibly well. We mesh so easily and w/o any effort. Never in my life have I had that with anyone. Of course, I’ve had compatibilities before but this goes deeper than I’ve ever experienced. It just flows between us. I’m not doing it justice in words. It feels so different that it feels like my first time in many ways. I know that probably sounds a bit cheesy but it does. I feel like a kid discovering a love connection for the first time.

The biggest and most compelling thing for me is when I look into his eyes. In his eyes I see the love that I feel shining back out at me. Yes, I said shining because that’s how it feels. I’ve had partners that I believed loved me but deep in my soul I never felt they were truly IN love with me. Big difference. And to be fair, maybe they were and it was my own doubts that kept me from knowing/seeing it. I fully admit it could have been just as much my hangups. Anyway, even when The Pup and I are apart now, I feel it. I feel that he loves me as much as I love him and it is an incredible feeling. To see what I feel reflected back at me is such an incredible thing. Sometimes it is overwhelming and I get all emotional. I know surprise right? I’m not gonna say ‘he’s the one‘ because I’ve said that before. Honestly, having said it before I feel like it would diminish how I really feel. But this one is different. That’s all I can say.

He describes it to me as being best friends as well as partners. Ironically, I’ve never really felt like any of my previous exes were my best friend. lol Of course, I’ve been friends with my exes while we were together yet, I never felt like any of them were my best friends. Actually, I tend to be closer to several of them now that we apart. TFA and I are very close now, closer than we ever were when we were together.1  Apple guy and I are also closer in many ways now. I still care for him and want him happy. I am often his sounding board. Primarily I think because he knows I’m under no obligation to tell him what he wants to hear vs what I think the truth really is. But I digress, I tend to agree with The Pup in that we are besties as well as partners.

So, I’m totally 100% unequivocally in love. After Apple guy I’d kind of given up on the idea honestly. I enjoy being single so it wasn’t a bad thing. But, to have this thing with The Pup sneak in on me in the most unobtrusive way and be so incredibly new and different from anything before has been amazeballs! And yes, to answer the question on many lips, he is moving here. He was already leaning this way before we met but now it’s for sure.2

The funnies part of this is we’ve known each other online for years. I think we originally discovered each other twitter. Anyway, we interacted a bit but it was never anything really persistent. He totally shot me down on more than one occasion when I tried to flirt with him too! *sounds of plane diving and crashing* Ok, to be fair, we did discuss it and from his perspective, we lived apart and had zero chance of doing anything so why bother. But yeah, he totally just scraped me off a few times.

Hope springs eternal…




  1. Speaking of, you better call me Mr! :p []
  2. I always seem to import my boyfriends. I think that might be a post for another day. []

Vs

I’ve mentioned a few times I am a multi-OS household. My laptop is PC, my smartphone is Android, and my tablet is Apple.

My rant today is about the respective app stores. They are certainly NOT created equal and I am not overly happy with the iOS market. If like me, you use both OS’s you’ll understand what I mean about the ecosystems being very different. On the Apple side, you see less free apps and more paid apps. On the Android side, you have a variety of both but often have a choice of a free (ad-supported) version vs a paid (ad-free) version. Both have their pros and cons.

For me, I prefer the Android ecosystem hands down. Primarily because there are many more demo versions of software I like/use. If I like it, I can pay for the full version. Or at the very least, if I purchase a paid only app, at least I can get a no hassle refund.

On the Apple side, there are far fewer demo or free apps. That wouldn’t bother me so much if they offered a convenient refund option like Android. While Apple does have a refund option, it is overly cumbersome and not always guaranteed. I’ve been thru 5 refund requests now and only 2 were refunded. On Android, I have 15 mins to test a paid app, if I don’t like it or it doesn’t function properly I can uninstall for a full refund. It’s all automatic, no grief, no hassle.

I can also dispel the myth that paid apps on Apple are better quality than many of the same “free” apps on Android. While it may sometimes be true, it is certainly not a guarantee. Four of the five apps mentioned above were because of functionality problems. While Apple has the advantage on the consistency of hardware specifications being the same, all apps are not created equal. I’ve found plenty that don’t work as advertised or are just poorly designed. Add that into the refund policy above, and you begin to see some mounting frustration. At least on the Android side, I have an easier time trying apps until I find one that works and/or that I like.

It is no secret I am a bigger fan of Android as an OS but Apple is still the leader in hardware and design when it comes to tablets. The iPad is beautifully designed, fully functional, versatile, and has an exceptional battery life. I love mine and am very happy with it overall.1 That said, Android hardware developers are fast catching up and I’d bet money within a year, you’ll see Android based tablets that are on par with the iPad. Either way, I wish Apple would climb down off their high-horse just a bit and take some cues from Android on how to make their user experience more enjoyable.




  1. Considering it was free, I ain’t bitching that hard! lol []

Current

I’ve been using Google+ Currents a lot lately for my news addiction. I quite like it. It works much like a desktop application in that the formatting is much smoother. It is very easy on the eyes as it has a very simple clean interface. It works on Android or Apple1 and on phones or tablets.

The one down side is there is currently not way to sort or file your feeds into folders or groups. Everything gets it’s own little tab on the splash screen. While that is nice for a few sites, when you have well over 100 news/blog feeds like I do, that gets cluttered pretty quickly. It also makes getting from feed to feed cumbersome. You can add sites from their predefined list, any rss feed of choice, or you can sync with your existing Google+ RSS feed.

If you’re looking for a mobile RSS reader, I highly recommend it albeit the caveat above. Best of all, it’s free with no ads!




  1. being a mutli-OS househould has it’s challenges at times. []

Mobile II

I’ve been tinkering with converting my blog to an app on Android. No, I’m not taking up Android programming, you can find a few sites online that will convert and compile it for free, albeit ads included. So far, I’ve created three very basic but different versions. All three are just wrappers.1

The first one is via WP-Appmaker and I like it the least. It renders very well but has no push notifications so you have to manually update it anytime you want new data. IMHO this completely defeats the purpose. The only real option you have is to sort posts by category. Considering it forces ads on you (I understand why) it should include more options.

The second one is with JoeMobi and had the most potential. Creating the app on their site was very buggy and time-consuming. If you forgot to fill out a required field or it didn’t like what you were trying to upload, you’d  get an error. You think have to start all over from the very beginning. This one also renders w/ads but it includes push notifications. Push means the app would update itself anytime I post something new. It was also the only one that supported comments directly from the app vs having to link out to the web and then post a comment. Sadly, I couldn’t get the in-app new comment part to work. However, unlike the other two, you could see existing comments. It also works with a Blackberry if you have one of those.

The third one is thru Conduit. It’s not bad. Choosing or creating your own unique colors and layout were much easier to use for a novice. Unlike the others, it does not force ads on the reader. Conduit was the only free one to offer the option to include your twitter feed as a separate tab. This one would be perfect if they ever added comment support.

There were about 6-7 other sites that do the same thing but they were mostly geared toward businesses and charge some pretty hefty fees. I don’t have the money for such things right now. One worth mentioning was Mippin. It was unique in that you could tie in FB fan pages, twitter, picasa, flickr, etc. They charge a flat $99 fee for a two-device app. Sadly, it still doesn’t support comments.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining about the 3 above as they are free! But, you also get what you pay for. I wouldn’t have minded the in-app ads had they given me the option to make a portion of the revenue after a certain point. Yes, I realize that’s how they make their money but ads for such basic wrappers is kinda overkill IMHO.

I’ve included links to the apk files for all three versions I created. If you’re on an Android device, just select the links below. As mentioned, they are very basic but feel free to play with’em, if ya like. Also keep in mind, you’ll have to click the allow unknown installs on your Android device before it will let you install them. There is NO SUPPORT with the apps. If you don’t like, simply delete’em off your device. They are too basic to cause any problems but I can’t guarantee they’ll work with old versions of Android.

 

The WP-Appmaker version

 

The JoeMobi version

 

The Conduit version

 

If I ever decide to upgrade them, I’ll post a new update.




  1. meaning it’s just wrapped in a user interface []

Feedback

Ever want a say so in the design of a social app before it gets made? Well now’s your chance. Apple guy is working on a venture with a friend of his involving a new social app. They are soliciting feedback from potential users before the app goes into production.

If you’re feeling daring, hop over to the link below and check it out. It’s one page and you don’t have to fill out any personal info. And it’s only nine questions.

Survey