Sunday, September 15, 2019

If you've ever wondered how effective a trident would be as a weapon, all you need to do is get a finger caught between a dish and a fork while loading the dishwasher. Enough to go owey and break a layer of two of skin is all it'll take to convince you.

No, you should not make like Roman gladiators while doing this.
Forbes: Is Google Chrome A CPU Hog? Chrome Vs FireFox, Safari, Microsoft Edge.

A number of years ago, before Chrome was really a thing I came to much the same conclusion: the web is a resource hog!

I had a 64-bit Linux machine that would be constantly swapping if I was using more than a few tabs. Tried changing between Opera and Firefox without any luck. It wasn't the browsers being pigs, it was webpages making like Hungry, Hungry Hippos with memory. Javascript, images, network calls, heavy styling, etc. 2 GB of RAM just was not enough anymore. In the end, I put more memory in the machine and it sucked a lot less.

Yes, modern browsers are hogs, but not as much as modern web applications!
I think the decision is largely made at this point. The fruit company is my tablet computing destination, whether I like it or not.

The dire lack of Android tablets with a stylus, the Q/A that matches Chrome OS's rapid release cycle, and the shrinking number of companies making a 'real' Android tablet that is worth my time, has had me considering jumping ship for a while. Google's pox upon multitasking making its way to my Tab S3, is pretty much the straw that broke the camel's back.

Most of the software that I run on my Tab S3 supports both iOS and Android. Alternatives exist for the more systemy stuff at the edges, like the corporate printer or dealing with my file server. Pretty much if I find an analog to FolderSync Pro, the only thing I'll really be losing software wise is free editing support for Microsoft Excel and Word. Before ending up with a Samsung that bundled MS Office, my long term solution was OfficeSuite Pro which has enough compatibility to handle documents at work. So for the most part I'm not worried much about software. It also helps that by living in Android land so long, iOS has been working its big boy shorts for while now instead of their update notes sounding like a baby's toy.

When the 1" crack in my Tab S3's screen becomes terminal, I'll have little option but to replace it one way or another, and I have had a very long time now to contemplate what that will be. For now I'm just happy the what the hell moments related to the crack are few and far in between versus my heavy tablet use.

In Android land: the only things that are viable replacements are the Tab S4 and S6, which are old and new successors, respectively. Negatives to both are they will also come with Google's pox and they're widescreens. DeX isn't going to fix what Pie did to multitasking and I greatly prefer 4:3 and 3:2 tablets.

No Chrome OS device exists yet that aligns with my requirements, and the only ones worth paying for are too big to replace my Tab S3. And that just leaves iPads. Which for as little love as I have for Apple, and my lack of caring for iOS, solve the problem Android has been most screwing me with the longest--there's a lot more freaking iPads to choose from that support a decent stylus than their are Android devices with a decent stylus.

It's always been hard to find an Android tablet with a nice stylus, and Samsung while expensive has filled that role pretty swell. But they're kind of becoming the only vendor to choose from, both in terms of an Android tablet that meets my requirement for stylus, and Android tablets in general.

I also find it kind of funny how this works out. In the old days when Android tablets were quite new, I found the iPad excessively overpriced and Android underappreciated; Apple has at least solved that with their expanded selection. Likewise, most new iPhone launches were followed by me scratching my head and wondering how people lived so long without essential features; iOS release notes stopped feeling like a slow as hell iteration several years ago.

And then there's the fact, that I've never actually owned an Apple product. I'm more at home with an xterm than a Mac. More than a few of my friends have soft spots for fruity products, and have since at least as far back as the iPod and PowerBook. Me, never have. But I suppose there is probably a first time for everything. PineTime is a $25 Linux Smartwatch, Coming Next Year.

While I'd say it sounds more like a hack your pen than a consumer product, I have to admit it solves my number one beef with smart watches: cost.

You see, unless I can leave my smart phone at home there's not much you can offer me that's worth several hundred bucks. I don't live an active enough life to need the cool fitness features and it's unlikely you're going to replace my instant messaging any better than Google's failed to do so. Thus in the end, I still need a phone.

Most of my life between ten and twenty, I typically wore a watch. I also grew up in an era where a calculator and stop watch function was about as smart as most watches got. Then I got a smart phone around age 22, and shortly there after I just stopped wearing a watch.

I kind of believe that form follows function, and a traditional watch doesn't have enough function to me that it'd be worth spending for a really nice one. My smart phone is more than I really want to carry but is far more functional than a dumb watch. It's also got more features than a watch cool enough to sync to an atomic clock. In short, I'm not the kinda person you can market smart watches to, I'm the one in the back rolling his eyes. For some use cases smart watches are really nifty. They just don't fit into my life. A smart phone is more practical for my life than what current smart watches offer.

On the flipside, I find the PineTime kind of interesting. Because it's cheap and it'll probably be the easiest to roll your own software for. But multiply the price by ten, and not even that would be attractive for a mook like me. Most really good watches, and most smart ones, cost more than that.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Passing thought: I've had hard drives smaller than Nvidia's driver download, nevermind flash drives smaller.
Willow is disappointed that I positioned the tuna where she can't get a sniff, and Corky tries to console her.

The response to their treat for the night is a rather different one.

That my friend's jumbo sized iPad Pro casually outruns my desktop, is a little perturbing from the perspective that my Core i5 is getting pretty damned old. But at least, it still does its real job pretty well and that job kind of demands a massive GTX card.

That old reviews of the Air 2 suggest similar browser performance to my Snapdragon 820 on the other hand, is both comforting and annoying.

Trying to make some comparative analysis from old data is also tricker. People's choices in benchmarks have changed over the years, and in the case of iPads usually moot as you traditionally had no real choices, hahaha; meanwhile those of us in Android land, long had a lot more products to choose from.
CNET: Nintendo Switch's new SNES feature is ruining everything.

After reading this, I'm not sure if I should grumble or snortle for a number of reasons. But when I remember the difficulty of video games from my era, I kinda picture children today in tears.

My theory still is time oriented.

Big dollar games come out all the time. You play them. You move on. That's what the industry wants. Games these days begging easier, some of that is good design and some of that reflects that we won't be playing it very long.

By contrast the games I had as a child, all had long shelf lives. When I got my SNES, I played Super Mario World and Super Mario All Stars pretty often. Those were new, cool things when I was a little kid. When my SNES finally was retired, closer to the PlayStation 2 era than the N64, I still played them.

I remember a card game that I played around middle school age, called Yu-Gi-Oh. My Game Boy cartridge is sitting in the closet somewhere next to Pokemon Blue and Gold. You see, I used to play that Yu-Gi-Oh cartridge a lot. One day I figured out how the really simple A.I. worked. No matter what the long game looked like, the A.I. would calculate the best response to your move. Knowing this, it didn't take much crunching to decide how to manipulate the A.I. and defeat it. Always.

Why did I stop playing that cartridge? Was it because I lost my interest in the card game? Nope. In fact, I still enjoyed the trading card game for a number of years after that. I stopped playing the video game version because it was too damned easy. It went from passing time with some fun to wasting time with no fun. Thanks to removing the challenge.

By contrast, the only thing that really changed about how I play Super Mario Bros is the words I shout at the screen ðŸĪĢ. When I revisited the game in my twenties, I wondered how I didn't smash it, and then remembered how hard it was to get new video games back then. Hehe.

Pie sucks at multitasking

Things that Pie has wrought: Google's curse.

Overview now has a more useful grid like view. Aside from the nauseating effect that happens when closing an app makes them all resort but at least it is really fast on the Tab S3's hardware. on the downside multitasking is now chunky and fundamentally broken.

In the previous version the overview screen was a chunky phone centric sliding flipper but apps had a button on the side of their card, so you could open them in the current side of the screen. Now each app has its icon on the top of the card, and you get a menu when you tap the icon. Containing app info (used to be long touch/hold), open in split view, open in pop up (floating window) view, or lock the app. Which is a lot slower but at least flexible.

So instead of very, very quick access to snapping an app to either side of the screen: you get very slow access to deciding if you want it split or floating. The ability to just turn the currently running application into a floating window has been removed. Which is both good and bad: the gesture was easy to trip when you didn't mean to but was also extremely convenient if you wanted something like a calculator floating over a web page. I'm not sure if the UI the device used on Oreo was a Sammy thing or a Google thing, but it was pretty nice.

Now here's why I say fundamentally broken in Pie.

Splitting the screen and hitting overview used to place the overview in the currently active side of the screen. So if you wanted to replace one of the applications, you just tapped it and hit overview. Vola, really fast and simple and obvious. And good if you decided both apps needed to change before you were done.

After updating to pie: the overview ALWAYS opens in the bottom or the right side of the screen, based on whether you're in portrait or landscape orientation. I have yet to find any way to invert the split apps--you used to tap the resize bar in between and have a UI to switch them. 'Cuz that is useful. Now you're stuck with the first app chosen being in the top/left side until you're done. You might think the first app would show up and you could just select it again? Nope, its card gets removed from the overview.

Likewise you can only stuff in apps from the overview grid that were running. I used to be able to hit a button and select apps from a launcher instead of requiring them to be already opened in the background.

But really, whose fault is it for destroying the multitasking functions? Google's. It's Google's fault. Why do I say this? Because my Google Fi phone running Android One and its pure Googely experience has virtually the same broken multitasking UI. The only real difference is my Samsung changes the string "Split view" to "Open in split view" and adds the popup and lock entries to the menu. Likewise on the phone sized screen it's a sliding view of the exact same cards rather than a grid view of them.

Suddenly I realize why DeX became so popular among users of newer model Tab S's that shipped with it. It's not because DeX mode is that more PC like: it's because Google fucked Android's multitasking experience. And I fear, if I was to dig up the CDD for Pie, it would say OEMs aren't allowed to fix it anymore, lol.

Of course my model being older, DeX is not a feature that was integrated into it. Much like how my model was the first to get USB-C charging but alt modes for driving a monitor didn't show up until the Tab S4, which does have DeX. Reasons to buy an iPad, += 1.

I find it a great shame. Samsung has done multitasking for so many years, I first used it on my Galaxy SIII phone a very long time ago.  In recent years it became a standard piece of Android, which was a really good thing until Google pissed down the feature's throat and crippled its utility for real multitasking.
As I watch my tablet upgrade to Android 9, I find my mind flashing to when my phone updated closer to Pie's release--and the distinct feeling that "All my icons are different for no good reason. Other than that: it's hard to tell anything changed."

But it's worth noting, I use my Galaxy Tab S3 excessively every day, but my Moto X4 is only lightly used. Because unless I'm literally walking around in public or answering a text message in the middle of the night: there's a 95% chance that I'll use my tablet instead.

Both devices were released in 2017 and had Android 7/Nougat as their original operating system image. The primarily difference is my Android One edition got Pie around Christmas time and my Sammy gets pie to the face shortly after Android 10 launches.

That's par for course for Samsung's tablets in the past, except seeing three major OS versions on one tablet is odd for them; I had the upgrade to Android 8/Oreo to be the Tab S3's final operating system based on previous experiences with their high end tablets. I've owned a lot of those.

If anything actually changes that makes me give a flying floop, it'll probably rely on Samsung's UI customizations. Because on the more "Pure" load my phone uses, "Damn it, my icons are all different", really was the most noticeable difference. The bit about text selection might be more in my face on a tablet but wasn't necessary on my phone, nor is it on my big screen; especially with pen in hand.

Friday, September 13, 2019

First world problems: when you're an Alien fan and you see Covenant on sale for such a low, low price that your Blu-ray collection must now become complete again.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

A few notes for my own reference, Octane 2.0 and Jetstream 2.

Scarlett: ~9,000 ; ~20
-- Snapdragon 820.

Stark: ~23,000 ; ~65
-- Core i5 3360M

Centauri: ~30,000 ; ~80
-- Core i5 3570K.

Which amounts to my Tab S3, Latitude E6430S, and custom desktop with their scores rounded to the nearest whole number.

I'd also run things on Cream's N3700 but it's VNC session and various services make it an unfair candidate for such a test. Likewise I left Celes and it's N3060 at work because my Chromebook has been gathering dust as of late in favour of making Stark work harder.
Never brothered read Intel's errata sheets in the past. After reading the documents for some of the hardware that I have to deal with, I think I could use a stiff drink and a few checks for BIOS updates.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Passing thought: it feels like just yesterday, all the things required their own separate chargy things.

Today, I pretty much have two special purpose chargers in my daily life. The classic barrel based laptop charger for my Latitude E series and the 3.5 mm -> USB-A cable that charges my I don't think I wanna look up how old headphones. Which is really one because my laptop is never fair from a charger, and those headphones get charged every so many months.

To be fair my Xbox controller, Bluetooth keyboard, and my other headphones could also be counted as special in my little terrarium. But that's because of they're the last things I have running off USB Micro B for their charging needs, and none require frequent rechargings. But I look at these like the Mini B of old, pretty darned universal: just dying out over time.
A few wild ass guestimates from the long term planning bin.

Remaining in beloved Android country: ~$650.

  • Galaxy Tab S6: $650.
  • I hate 16:10 tablets.
  • What comes next?

Turning to an iPad Pro: ~$780
  • 11" 2018 model: $650.
  • Pencil 2: $130.
  • CPU on par with my desktop.

Turning to any other iPad: $479 ~ $589
  • 7th gen: $330 ; Air 3: $450.
  • Pencil 1: $99.
  • Lightning cable all the things ~ $40.
  • I already routed USB-C all the things.

The best price to performance in my opinion is the Air but simply put, I pretty much reject anything that requires a Lightning connection to charge. To me the cost delta between a regular iPad and a Pro is a time based one; e.g. by the time an Pro goes to the old folks home, just as much will have been spent on regular models in the name of faster SoCs. If Lightning cables littered my home the way USB-C and USB-MicroB cables do, I'd probably go Air.

I've been extremely happy with my Tab S3, and before it a Tab S2, and before that a Note 8.0. Damned 1" crack in my screen and the occasional side effect of that becomes increasingly worriesome as time goes on. But other than that, it has been a perfect device for me.

Samsung's Tabs S4, S5e (barf), and S6 make me question their road forward. No one else makes a suitable device. And the level of bugginess my Chromebook offers, the odds of me taking a 2-in-1 or tablet based Chrome OS device as an upgrade path aren't very high. Unless Google changes in larger quality assuring ways, I can't really call a Chrometab any better than suffering i[Pad]OS versus a real Android device.

The real question, I suppose is when my Samsung finally heads towards failure versus when my budget converges with a replacement.

Every now and then my device acts a smidge funny. Like today, it decided to stop taking pen input for a while. As far as I can tell the crack in the screen has not been visibly expanding but events like this seem to now happen several times per month. When you consider that if neither Direct3D nor bash are involved, my tablet is my primary computer at home and my secondary computer at work, that gives worries, alright. Sigh.
Passing thought: I'm not sure what's worse, that you can still get a really pocket protectors or that I was tempted to buy tw^H^Hone.

Monday, September 9, 2019

The Mary Sue: 6 Parody Anime to Watch If You Like Making Fun of Anime.

Yes, you should watch all of these. Especially KonoSuba and Nozaki-kun. Try not to die laughing. But do watch 😁.
There are times when Willow needs a reminder that patience is rewarded.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Not sure that these photos capture the comfort and disturbed nature of these two dogs, or just goes to show how long my camera takes to adjust the colour balance in the dark of TV light.

My parsing of their expressions were that Willow is very comfy back there, and Misty is unamused by me shifting butt cheeks on the couch, in order to take a picture of them. We've all been calling the DualShock's X button the wrong name and PlayStation's had enough.

Calling it a cross would be the most logical in English, given we don't really have other words for two of the four symbols; and three are commonly known shapes. But in my mind, it'll always be the triangle, circle, ex, and square button because I'm strange ðŸĪŠ.
Digital Trends: Xbox One S All-Digital Edition review: No-Disc Dystopia.

Personally, I think the price point is the whole deal here.

In concept the game discs are a nice idea, if you can't handle downloading 60~80 GB in a single day beacause of your limited internet connectivity. In practice the disc is little more than a license key, for most games: you will still have to download enough data that it may as well be a small menary card with an activation code. For smaller titles the download might be a DVD or two worth; for big famous games it will still likey be Blu-Ray sized.

So really, all you are doing is making it so the disc must be in the drive to play, in exchange for being able to sell or trade the game in the second hand market. That's great if it is something you will play once and dispose of next week. For the rest of us, we will probably take whichever one costs less or won't require pants.

The reallity that the game will be complete and never in need of software updates is far more dead than releasing games on disc. Sadly IMHO, but at least we live in a world where publishers don't have to snail mail you a floppy diskettes in x weeks before you can get through that dungeon without a glitch making your sabatons fall off, and your character endlessly spin eastward for the rest of the game.

For me personally, the win of my original model Xbox One having a disc drive is the ability to watch movies on Blu-ray. All of my other devices are limited to streaming files from my server or external services like Netflix; most of my devices don't have an optical disc drive. And the one that does it's used for ripping discs for my private home streaming needs. I don't think you could walk into Walmart and expect to find a cheap ass Blu-ray player back when the Xbox One launched, so much as a free to good home VCR at the dump.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Kotaku: EA Received A Guinness World Record For Most Downvoted Comment In Reddit History.

That's kinda appropriate in so, so many ways. Also I may have snortled a lot while reading that page....
Willow: an expert in comfort.

Over the years, a number of things have attracted me to Android.

Around the time Android first showed up on the T-Mobile G1, it represented what I really wanted at that time. Which was something more like a computer and less like a PDA that could send e-mail or word files. Something that I could scratch my itches by writing software. Likewise at that time, I may as well have wanted a Porsche, lol.

What really made me enjoy the experience however was the moderness of the platform and the compatibility it offers.


It has long bothered me how PC software works. You run as a user, let's call you Bob. You go download some program written by someone else, and probably won't be compiling it from code. That program can do anything you can, Bob. Whether that's as simple as uploading your address book (if you actually, still have a local one), encrypting your files for ransom, infecting your files, or just being useful, like you know: doing that task you had downloaded it for. A frequent solution in PCs has been to require running software with elevated permissions. But usually in a nuclear form: where the program goes from being able to doing anything you can, to literally being able to do anything your operating system can.

Newer models like the one Android follows, I believe are the natural evolution. Rather than "Ahh, shucks, I'll just run it as root!", the solution is a service interface. Android applications don't shout "Hey Bob, I need you to hit the grant godlike powers button right now". Instead they shout, "Hey Bob, I'm gonna need permission to use location services before I can tell you the nearest shawarma place". That's how things should work.

Once upon a time, computers didn't really have permissions. Time sharing used to have more to do with computers being expensive rather than a commodity. Today, I wouldn't expect a non-nerd to know what I just said. To be fair when the IBM PC came into being, it didn't have a lot of horsepower and having fifty people using it at the same time was the least personal worry.

UNIX and Vista probably had the longest reaching impacts prior to Android. I say that for two real reasons. Firstly, Unix's concept of users and file permissions are not only pervasive but the baseline of what you can call a multi-user system today. Secondly, thanks to the CP/M heritage, it wasn't really until Vista that a lot of PC using mooks got smacked over the head with the permissions stick; despite how long NT supported ACLs. Yeah, I'm a asshole.

I really like the brokered model that systems like Android follows. You don't solve a problem by running as god almighty with power to touch all the pointy things. You solve the problem by a service that brokers access to that specific thing. Because why should a program have as much power as you do? Do you trust strangers on the side walk with your debt card's PIN? I hope not.

User Services

Over the years a lot of things have become broadly universal. Today, you would be hard pressed to find a network aware program that does not utilize network sockets. Likewise as GUIs rose, so did frameworks to ease the task of writing such software. No one makes a GUI program by drawing raw pixels into a byte buffer anymore, they use things like GTK and MFC. Often these interfaces become common (e.g. BSD sockets and winsock are very similar) or they become portable (e.g. Qt runs on just about anything).

But there are also a great many things that are not broadly universal, aside from the concept that we want those things to work.

There are no universal APIs to solve problems like syncing and managing your contacts, calendars, locations, and so on. We have tools not interfaces.

In Android, we have concepts like a Calendar. It doesn't matter if I'm using Samsung's calendar app or Google's calendar app, or someone else's. There's a concept called a damned calendar. Wanna create an event? Fill out a common intent and expect good things to follow. If you write a calendar app then you're expected to do some things deemed the right thing, to make this work for the user, and that is the right thing if you're writing a calendar app that supports events.

On my laptop, I have to run a program like Mozilla Thunderbird or KOrganizer if I want an event calendar. Can I write a program that opens a new event in them and pre-populates it with some user provided data? Probably. Is there a common interface for my program to say, "Hey, operating system: Bob would love me to add this appointment to his calendar called 'Medical'. Here's the info!". Nope, nope, and nope a doodle! That's just not how PCs have evolved.

On the flipside, I will confess that Windows 10 does one thing I actually like. My contacts, messages, calendars, etc are all synchronized in much the same way my Android device does; I do not have the gag reflex necessary to see if MS also added any decent interfaces for applications to trigger these data exchanges the way Android does. But using Microsoft's built in apps for that suck less than interfacing my Debian machine.


As a curious and opinionated nerd, I prefer easy access to knowledge and limited restrictions. I first used computers running MS-DOS but most of my time has been around Unix systems.

To me the best way to know how something works is to take it apart and study the pieces. Want to know how programs are loaded into memory? Read the kernel's code for loading and linking executable files. Want to know how files are stored? Read a file system driver; coincidentally one for FAT is usually pretty simple compared to modern, more robust ones.

While I am a fan of tight permissioning and siloing of software, I am not a fan of restricting the owner. You paid good money for the device and it shouldn't try to stop you from using it. Whether your taste is cat videos or bouncing boobies.

A lot of people have been uppity over the nature of app stores, and they probably should be. But I also see it as natural. Modern unix systems typically get their software from a repository, and any package manager worth its salt is going to do things like verify signatures on those packages.

Where we diverge with younger systems is control. Android has done pretty well at that--in that you should be warned about importing some random file that you might not even know is a program, but you're still free to do so. Most people should obtain their software from a repo that they trust. Whether that's something like Google Play and iTunes, or something like your local mirror of Red Hat and Debian packages. But you should always be allowed to decide what that repo is.

Android has managed to hang onto a lot of that openness, where Apple has preferred to maintain control. I mean, razor wire, triple layered concrete thick barn doors. Whatever.

Stable Runtimes

There is a pretty long history of being able to run a pre-compiled program and share it with others. We've been doing it longer than most people have owned a computer. I view a major key to the success of PCs, the ease at which you could write a program, compile it, and expect it to run on someone else's machine without having to ship a code monkey with each floppy diskette. And not have to have a warehouse full of every microcomputer known to man, usually. Since then, computer software and hardware have become more isolated from the other for a great many tasks.

Today software is very long lived. Further time goes on, the more likely the code you write is to outlive you and the machine it first ran on. How well that binary runs on future systems is a more variable story.

Android has generally maintained a pretty strong ABI for keeping developer's stuff running. Think of Dalvik and the Android APIs what you will, and please do feel compelled to make rude hand gestures, but an Android application tends to execute without shouting "Holy link error, batman!" and aborting back to the launcher. Unless you do something that you shouldn't, or someone upstream does something that should be considered violation between vendor and stability worth smacking with a Googlely test suite sized beating stick.

But nothing is perfect or forever. To evolve, platforms must both create and destroy.

When I install a program from eons ago and it just runs on my PC, this tends to be a testament to how stable Microsoft's ABI is, and how (insanely) much work they have put into backwards compatibility. I find it kind of amazing how often old ass programs just run.

When it doesn't run, this tends to be a testament to how well the program was written or how well its assumptions have aged. It could be anything from assuming every file on disk is writable, or that all of nVidia's graphics accelerators work the same as back in 1999.

Considering how many programmers that I've met had a source-only mindset, I find it amazing how stable Android's runtime is at running APKs. As a user, you probably need worry more about issues like the evolution of GPU or service brokering breaking the apps assumptions at runtime than the app will fail to run at all.

You see there's a really big distinction between API and ABI. In really simplistic terms, an API means the programmer's shit will probably compile and an ABI means the programmer's shit will probably execute.

The more complicated operating systems and frameworks become: the less likely this is to be the case. But it's kind of nice when you can install an old game or utility and enjoy it without having to fire up a virtual machine with an antique operating system.
During the time my journal rolled through G+ rather than a traditional blog platform, Android was one of the subjects that I most posted about and followed. Usually, close enough that up until Nougat: I typically parsed my way through the compatibility definition documents when they were published. Not just the user facing and developer facing release highlights because a lot of detail about what devices could and have to offer lives in the CDD. The stable release of Android 10 was earlier this week, and frankly I find it quite hard to care.

The difference between these two points kind of makes me said but in a way, perhaps it is natural given how much the platform has matured. Or just an indication of how much Google pisses me off these days.

For most of Androids history, new versions have brought new functionality that was both worth it for my user experience and of interest from a developer's perspective. In more recent years there's been a pretty thick lack of anything that impacts my experience as a user, aside from how to manage annoying as all fuck heads-up notifications that 5.0/Lollipop introduced. Much of what has interested me from the developer side has been incremental changes to the platform. Much of what the user experience has been has become change for changes sake, once the platform returned to the level of stability.

The way I use my devices has not changed much since Android 4.x. I still spend an excess of time on my tablet. I still tend to prefer Android apps on my big screen instead of desktop apps. What's really changed are methods and patterns.

From Android 2.2 - 4.3, I utilized my phone very heavily. At the highest point, charging my phone three times a day while my tablet was being repaired back in 2012. Today I just don't use my phone for a lot. Unless I am checking items off my list in the middle of the grocery store or something: my phone is not the device I reach for first. Usually it's the last device I'm going to use, because I usually can use two hands :P.

Tablets have been part of my flow since Honeycomb, and likewise became my main platform of choice. Be that as a tablet, a laptop, or a desktop like form factor. For many years I used a tablet docked to mouse/keyboard/monitor and been a lot happier than using desktop apps.

When I upgraded to a tablet that didn't support HDMI out, I eventually took the opportunity to upgrade my rarely used Chromebook to a model with Android apps; because that's what I really wanted. My fucks given for Chrome OS is pretty nill beyond as an Android platform that has a laptop sized keyboard attached and being less effort than loading Android-x86 on a regular laptop.

This year, I started using my Latitude as both my development system and my workstation. Because my Chromebook is just too slow for my workload and I'm tired of how buggy the experience is versus my Android tablets. Otherwise, I would have planned to buy a more powerful Chromebook. But I don't enjoy the experience as much as docking an actual tablet; unless I'm swiveling around in a chair in need of typing on a real keyboard at the same time, and I like to avoid doing that regardless of OS. I've done the keyboard / mouse / monitor thing with Android very heavily--so don't bullshit me that Android doesn't work well without a touchscreen :P.

In fact, the outlook towards 2-in-1 Chrome OS devices becoming more common is 1/3 of why I am contemplating making my next tablet an iPad. The other 2/3 is that Samsung is the only one really making tablets that interest me, and the only options when a pen is required. My opinion of Apple tends to run towards the negative but they at least are making it easier to pick your device and have a decent stylus experience.

The sad thing is as Android has evolved, my opinion of Samsung is considerably higher than my opinion of Google when it comes to a user facing device. Or as I like to remember it: when I bought Google's devices, all I got was a fast track to bugs being released or UI changes for the sake of changes.
We all agree that lazing out on the couch is a good plan, especially with a nap. Where the dogs and I disagree is on how cookies are people food, lol.

Much glares have been made in my direction over the course of eating to cookies. Enough that bribery with treats may have been a prerequisite for my continued survival....
The easiest way to tell I use my stylus a lot: the number of cringes between sitting down and getting up to go fetch my S-Pen from the next room.

Friday, September 6, 2019

After a good while, I've finally upgraded my main laptop from Debian Stretch to Buster. Unless your name is OpenBSD, I don't do zero day upgrades; and it's been a few months since Buster shipped. Enough for me to feel comfortable that any big, scaries about the new Debian stable would have made it to my ears by now.

It's long been my policy to upgrade a less important machine before pushing a major upgrade to one I don't want to wipe and restore from backups.

My guinea pig was a desktop that's been running Debian stable releases since Squeeze without a serious problem. The only issue I experienced with it on upgrade was that the antique nVidia card requires a very legacy driver version that doesn't really want to work with the current OS. But aside from that everything was peachy.

My laptop on the otherhand was a fairly painless experience. I only encountered two issues.

One is it looks like consolekit has been ejected in favour of systemd-logind. Frankly, I don't care. But I also am a weirdo who still likes to run XDM. Because beyond configuring PAM or my X session script, I don't give a flying floop about the modern login managers--my session still trucks through ~/.xsession and I don't need fancy stuff in my login screen. A small change to the xfce4 specific part seems to be enough to resolve that, or at least I can still reboot my laptop through the xfce4 menu instead of using sudo.

Second case was for whatever reason, apache2.service wanted to be enabled during the upgrade and was preventing lighttpd.service from starting and running my tweaked configuration. So when I saw my /var/www/html/index.html file about altering an NSA surveillance unit, I knew that was happening. That's actually why that file exists. If you're not using my configuration that makes content go to /srv/{hostname}, you get the cheaky file I left myself for being able to tell.  Because I know if I stick my shit in /srv/{hostname} rather than /var/www/html, probability of packages mucking with my webroot goes down :P. A simple disable + stop apache2.service and restart lighttpd.service, and bingo.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

I've been trying to eat less pasta and rice, and more vegetables of late. Tonight however was the I need a nap not a cooking spree solution.

Willow was so thrilled at the fried chicken that she licked the camera, trying to get to it.

Things that I find sad += 1.

If I get in the car ten minutes early, leave on time, or sleep in for five more minutes: I arrive at work at approximately the same time. The difference is the level of traffic \o/

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Rediscover this day

Three years ago and Willow was definitely still comfortable, along with the rest of our tribe.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Ahh, I'm reminded of what really makes me hate NT: hardware support.

Ever since my good cable got a tad bent at the connector, I've only had two cables that really like to drive my Xbox One controller. One that's like 3 meters, and one that's like 30 centimetres: neither of which is particularly fun with my desk. But at least they work, if you deal with the cable lengths.

So, I figure let's try the wireless adapter for Windows. Well, guess what? It's shit.

The "Slim" model 1790 now available doesn't work with Windows 10, 1903, up to date as of what Microsoft lets my desktop get. As far as the base operating system is concerned there is no driver for this device--none, nadda, zilcho!

If you browse the go fetchy it catalog referenced in places like this and this, and get a bit creative in pointing Windows at various entries and fine one that'll actually match the device: the most you'll get is an error code: "The software for this device has been blocked from starting because it is known to have problems with Windows. Contact the hardware vendor for a new driver. (Code 48)". If you give up more easily than I do when I'm tired and almost ready for sleep: you'll just get a message saying it didn't find squat that works with the driver you extracted.

Because why would you expect Microsoft's driver's to work with Microsoft's hardware? That's a lot to ask, I guess.

In my experience there are really only three kinds of drivers for Windows.

  1. Those that just work, and often those come with the Microsoft's install.
  2. Those that almost never work; and
  3. Those that are about as stable as drunk with ten shots of rum in'em.

On the flipside scenario 3 is why error codes like 48 exist. Not being able to use a piece of hardware is frequently better than it turning the rest of your experience to crap.

For the extra curious nerd, the device reports itself as usb vid 045e pid 02fe in the device manager's GUI. 0x45e being MS's USB vendor id. Dunno what their product ids in the wild are, and I'm not buying multiple adapters to find out.

The Microsoft Xbox One Wireless Adapter for Windows kit also comes with a really nice but rather short length USB extension cable. Which aside from being an overpriced cable when you consider the wireless adapter is actually a paperweight until MS fixes the driver, does in fact solve my real problem. I.e. if I was smart I would've just bought a decent cable in a length > 0.3 & < 3.0 meters long instead of MS's wireless adapter. Ha! ðŸĪĢ

Thus my real solution is to take the extension cable that came with the useless wireless adapter, plug in my too damned short cable I wanted to replace, hook up my controller and go play a damned game before my head droops and hits the desk.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Sitting down to watch an episode of The Good Place during an afternoon break, and ending up binge watching all of season three: reminds me that is kind of how the rest of the show went.

A couple years ago: I had heard about it from a friend and decided to try a couple episodes. Didn't think much of it at first but then fork, I found myself binge watching the crap out of the first season. #TheGoodPlace was definitely worth watching ^_^.

Simple solutions for simple problems: couldn't figure out what to make for dinner. Made pasta and ate whatever I didn't have space for storing.

Plus that kinda takes care of lunches for the week 😀.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

I find it a bit amusing how Special Folders have evolved, and less so how programs have perverted them. At this point, NT and X desktop environments mostly agree about the dumping grounds in your home directory or "User Profile". Programs not so much.

One of the things I do find amusing is this compat trick:

C:\Users\Terry>dir /A:H Documents
 Volume in drive C has no label.
 Volume Serial Number is 9278-0228

 Directory of C:\Users\Terry\Documents

2015-02-28  20:24                 0 Default.rdp
2019-08-14  21:31               402 desktop.ini
2019-07-02  23:22         My Music [C:\Users\Terry\Music]
2019-07-02  23:22         My Pictures [C:\Users\Terry\Pictures]
2019-07-02  23:22         My Videos [C:\Users\Terry\Videos]
               2 File(s)            402 bytes
               3 Dir(s)  295,411,253,248 bytes free


A long time ago the content was like "\My Documents\My Pictures\". And then eventually when the concept of multiple users took off, we ended up with "%UserProfile%\My Documents\My Pictures" and so on, until we finally ended up with the modern path. Kindly, some Microsoftie decided '\Users' was a lot nicer than '\Documents and Settings' as far as prefixes go for where you store user profiles.

So while %UserProfile%\Pictures is the legit place on my modern system: if for some reason you still wanted to access them through the documents folder: hidden junctions will redirect you. Thus keeping old software working. Once upon a time this was probably important for keeping software written for Windows 95 and early NT working.

Curiously there is a hidden junction of "\Documents and Settings [C\Users]" at the top of my %SystemDrive% but there are none for the really-damned-old "\My Documents" at the top of the drive. I wouldn't be surprised however if compatibility trunks for older software faked those.

Also, I kind of feel glad that I haven't really touched a live Windows 9x install since the Pentium 4 was still sexy ^_^. That might sound less fun if you consider that I know where to reach for install discs that makes XP look young enough to be playing with Fischer Price.... but I'm not interested in running a virtual machine to jog the ol' meatbag memory.

Behind the Scenes: Redesigning the Note Editor in Evernote.

Rather nice look at things. The fancier concept of a checklist and editing is a positive, since at best some of their clients have had the daisy chain of enter -> newline + checkbox; but mostly that was it. Sometimes related bugs as well--I used to use Evernote for my shopping list and groaned at that.

Table editing in Evernote has been both a sore and a sweet spot over the years, largely based on what client you were using. For me, mostly a sore one because my 90% interface is the mobile apps. Where the PC and Web editors tend to due the best. The current PC client has a simple but pretty complete way of doing tables, and the Android version just has rudimentary editing support.

The kind of drag/drop manipulation of table cells is a UX ballpark that over the years, I just stopped assuming anyone still cares that much about my workflows versus their five o'clock thanks to the effort it takes to pull that off. About the only time I tend to expect such drag and drop niceties to work in document editors is in Microsoft office. A coworker relies on Outlook and it's got many nifty things like that if you abuse its features, and let's just say if I was doing the same I'd have a host of other problems than dragging and dropping stuff in a rich text editor 😜.
Whenever I walk out and the direct sunlight hitting my chest feels really good, I blame my Floridian upbringing; where escaping from the sun was like closing your eyes while living on the surface of a star.

That my brain's internal monologue tends to sound like "Ahh, ãã‚‚ãĄ" is a more modern problem.
Fruits Basket - s01e22 - Because I Was Happy.

I kind of hoped that Hanajima's history would pop up sooner than later. Thus making an episode filled with more than a bit sad and some good humor as well.

The role of Tohru and Uotani in the story, strikes me as showing their essential natures without losing the episode's focus on Hanajima. If you want a good story: the characters are where it's at.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 still getting security patches four years after release

In recent years: Samsung has done well to resolve the one problem I actually had with their firmware updates: the lack of security patches.

Generally, I found upgrades to knew versions of Android were nearly a year behind their phones. Perhaps a small price to pay given they were largely stable releases and the tablet builds cut most of the bloat from their phones while keeping the useful features.

Android has also evolved into such a state that I don't really care about getting the latest version of the OS anymore. By the time Google does something user facing that worth while: it's almost time for a new device. Kind of like a certain other operating system: the previous version or two still runs most of the apps.

The part that's bothered me is the security updates. Most of my tablets didn't get squat for that, as security was bundled with the OS upgrades and the occasional patch.

Meanwhile the Tab S2 and Tab S3 have been a very different experience versus the other Samsung Tablets I've owned over the years. Pretty much every quarter the security patches rolls out. Seeing security patches every 3-4 months is a lot better than every 8-16 months or so. On the flip side my Motorola on Google Fi gets monthly patching.
Don't think I've ever had yellowfin tuna before, but the combination of sales and coupon clipping made me decide to experiment. It was definitely a success.

Along with the fish, a Knorr side of Mexican rice and sauteed peppers, onions, chickpeas, and mushrooms probably aren't a normal combination: so much as what I was in the mood for, lol.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Nebo 2.3.

Gotta admit: the new support for keyboard input is kind of nice. MyScript's handwriting recognition is pretty damned good, probably the best you can expect today. But I've generally found that the times it gets things a little off, thanks likely to the quality of my handwriting, it's usually an idiosyncrasy that's a pain to connect. If it's not in the apps correction list, odds are retyping the letters or word in question is faster than fixing it by pen.
My plans for the weekend are quite imaginative: eat, drink, and be merry.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

ZDNet: Android Google Play app with 100 million downloads starts to deliver malware.

Other than for the app's users, I fail to see how this isn't a win for the community as a whole.

The problem inherent with using someone else's software is that it is just that—someone else's software! You're trusting them with access to your stuff. Often all of your stuff.  When your getting the software through a third party repository: you're also trusting the distributor to not do anything nasty.

Rather than bitch and moan: we should celebrate that it was detected and dealt with, and decry those who violated that trust from their users.

People often underestimate the trust that running other people's stuff on your machine means. One of the great things about modern operating systems like Android and iOS is they tend to silo data from applications behind permission brokering. Traditionally the applications you run on a computer have the same access to it that you do. That made sense when computers were few and rarely networked beyond multiple serial terminals. Increasingly less so when you can just download a .exe file and it can do whatever you could.

Trust matters! Respect your users.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

A few small goofs nearly threw the world into nuclear war.

Personally, I think we're more likely to see misunderstandings snowball and jump start the apocalypse than we ever will be because some evil bastard decided on a first strike.

For the most part I like to believe that most people default to good, for lack of an inherent belligerents. We're more likely to nuke^H^H^H^H kill our neighbors because of misscommunication or cascading failures than because we'd like to see them all wiped out. Most people have dampers on the level of crazy, if nothing else because they want to keep living more than they hate folks.

I rather like the comparison the article makes to Damocles Sword. Because at best, the risk of going to thermonuclear war over a 49¢ part failing may depend on someone not wanting to end the entire world without being pretty darn sure it was with their last breath. And between the major powers we've got more than enough nuclear weapons to keep the fallout going.
One of the many problems with a night of long, hard questing: when real life says time for bed, and your brain is still in a far away land rather than drowsy.

On the flip side, FF14's Conjurer class is proving much better than I had expected. Before the week is out, I'll probably have hit the same level that I managed to get to via Gladiator in a Sunday of questing. Primary difference being the gap between available time.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Passing thought: values per year.

The Galaxy Tab S3 launched at about $600, and I got $100 off thanks to the trade in promotion that Samsung and Best Buy like to do around launch.

Come March the device will hit the three year mark since release. For me the only reason for upgrading from the previous model, which was awesome, was they added the stylus and kept the awesomeness.

That works out to about $166~year at this point, which isn't bad for the life of an Android tablet if it's any good. If it wasn't for the inch long crack in the screen from earlier this year, I'd probably aim to get another year (4) or two (5) out of the device for how well it's held up.

My main worry is that damned crack 😂
A few random reflections and personal biases:

Things that I like about Android as my getting it done OS:

  1. Appliance like: it stays out of my way.
  2. I can have my terminal, e-mail, browser, and notes client software all on the same machine.
  3. Aqua Mail beats the crap out of every GUI mail client I've used.

The main negatives of using Android over the years has been that terminal apps don't make copying text to the Android clipboard a decent experience and Chrome for Android sucks ass compared to a desktop. Would also be nice if the support for an external monitor was more like PCs than simply screen mirroring but hey, can't have it all. By in large a very nice experience but I'm weird and you can't stop people from sending hypertext ladden emails 8-).

Things that I like about Chrome OS as my getting it done OS:

  1. Appliance like: it stays out of my way.
  2. Good support for Android apps.
  3. Excellent web browsing experience.

The main negatives of using Chrome OS over the years has been the shift into speed over quality. Releases come pretty frequent to the stable channel but you'll find yourself living with minor grumbles for long periods of time. Be that bull like having to re-open the notification menu before being able to close other notifications, glitchy handling of application windows, or other things. It's cheap, simple, and disposable but you'll have plenty of papercuts if you move past the browser window. If it wasn't for how far NT has come, I'd probably buy a higher end Chromebook for the performance boost.

At this point most people are probably best off with a Chromebook unless they've got a real reason to do otherwise.

Things that I like about Debian as my getting it done OS:

  1. Easily loaded on beefcake hardware.
  2. Debian is largely stable and easily maintained.
  3. My work is off a Linux box anyway.
The main negatives of using Debian over the years has been the sore spots I hate about desktop centric PCs to begin with. Crappy notifications, shitty mail and calendaring clients outside of terminal land, donating most of my memory to a web browser, etc. Considering that most of the fucks I have to give about the PC as a platform revolve around an X-Terminal and unix command line environment, I find it a fair price to pay.

Things that I like about Windows 10 as my getting it done OS:

  1. Desktop experience sucks less than W7.
  2. Android style mail/calendar sync built in.
  3. Userspace ABI has been pretty stable for decades.
The main negatives of using Windows 10 over the years tend to cross paths with many of the grumbles I desktop centric PCs but a few unique to NT are traits that have always been there. W10 has made the experience of the desktop suck a lot less when it comes to window and notification management, a process that arguably began in Vista and has kept growing. But the fastest way to make me groan at NT remains talking to things. I can load programs on my NT machine that are several times older than the hardware and expect them to just run but once device drivers enter the picture my anger likely will as well, whether they were written for the current OS or not. Somethings just piss me off less in Linux.

Personally, W10 is the first iteration of NT to not piss me off as a standard. But much as Debian gives me that groans at the evolution from tube terminals to X, NT has loads of its own baggage. I'm just glad it feels less archaic and evolves more rapidly than once a lustrum or decade.

General disclaimer: I'm weird :P.

The Verge: Google and Dell team up to take on Microsoft with Chromebook Enterprise laptops.

As someone fond both of Android tablets and of Dell's Latitudes, I'd be a lot more tempted by this if it wasn't for two problems:

  1. My Chromebook is a lot more buggy than my Android, Linux, and NT devices.
  2. Chrome's "Stable" channel prefers rapidly pushing versions over Q/A.

Or as I like to think of it: there's really two reasons I've been using my Latitude running Debian ore than my Chromebook the past few reasons. A Core i5 smokes a Celeron, and I'm tired of OS upgrades that leaves me grumbling over quality, both at the Android support and native Chrome OS.

In practice these days I'll usually have Stark and Scarlett at my sides during the work day; with my Chromebook relegated to a spare machine. That's after using the Chromebook as my main workstation for a year and after a lot of years using an Android tablet as a workstation replacement.
Operation taco was a bit simple: given the lack of fresh lettuce or leftover sour cream.

Willow and myself, both agreed that they were still a good plan 😊.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Things that could only happen in an RPG game, I'm sure:

Quest x: get a nice leather armour.

Quest y: get a +1 defense rated "revealing" armour.

As if you started with the kind that would be just perfect for an adventure wondering the countryside. Then cut it down until it was basically a leather bra and suspenders.

Aptly by the time the sets were completed, my Miqo'te gladiator went from looking like a knight napping under a tree to a bandit slut in need a whirp.

That said, FF14 in the course of hasa hard day's questing and several suits of armor: the game has generally shown equipment that looks like something you would want to wear on a battlefield instead of going down the boobplate route; it's just that I find it amusing that the leather version of boobplate was a +1 to the more conventional armour.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Never given that much mind to such characters but after playing through Y'jhimei's Adventurer From Another World quest in FFXV, there's probably a fair chance someday I'll be making a character in some MMO and my mind will flash to the Miqo'te from FFIV.

And here I thought, my next character inspiration would probably be inspired by the likes of Naotsugu from Log Horizon.
Being irked by how many of the "Nicer" USB Micro-B cables I have left only only make my Xbox One controller vibrate, not connect to my desktop, is somehow weighted by the troublesome fact that it is 2019 and I still carry a null modem cable in my work bag.

On the flipside the plastic cap on my Bluetooh adapter breaking seems to make connectivity with my shit much more "Go fsck yourself" than trying to save 1 cm of cable distance for the short ass cable I use for my controller was worth. This is probably what I get for how many times I had to pull the damned thing out in order to get Microshaft's operating system to cooperate with something as new fandangled as Bluetooth in the first place 8-).
A mixture of comforta demands for treats; ahh the life of a dog!

It's probably sad how much I would like seemless integration between apps on my PC with the ones on my tablet.

Prime example of lazyness:

  1. PC is being used as a canvas to view videos.
  2. I am learning back in my chair.
  3. Using my tablet at the same time.
  4. "Damn, would be nice to just browse and fling to my monitor."

Often it tends to take this form more than openning files from the same file stores or dropping files between them. Probably because my desktop is more often my secondary or 'slave' device and my tablet is typically my main computer if no X Terminals are involved.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Android's iconic dessert names are going away, starting with Android 10

Part of me is a little sad and disappointed at this news. I had kinda hoped they would make it to Zebra Cake or something like that. But really I'm surprised they've made it this far.

Of course, this doesn't mean the build numbers and the version numbers will converts. Just that you'll be less likely to wonder if the folks behind Android are less likely to develop diabetes....

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The way a box full of crap in the closet works:

  1. Didn't I have Zeonic Front for the PlayStation 2?
  2. Gah, to much crap to check huge box without taking the shit off the lid.
  3. Take all the stuff out of closet.
  4. Drag box out to living room.
  5. Sneeze. A few times.
  6. Rummage through everything three times.
  7. Huh, not here!? Where else would I have kept it.
  8. You know what? Screw this.
  9. Find somewhere less troublesome to store this crap.
And if I had just went with the emulator approach I'd probably be done by now, versus trying to find the actual disc for my PlayStation 2.

On the flip side my overflow area for books has enough room to hold the remains of my PC floppy and 'D-ROM, PlayStation, and PlayStation 2 game collections.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin - Advent of the Red Comet

Settling in to watch this now that it's pretty much complete, and in a way it is both very nice and refreshing. On one hand it isn't the '70s no more but familiar faces and styles abound.

Watching the opening episode, it's especially curious to see that old man Zabi may have been a competent old bastard during his rise to power. Likewise, I'm reminded of how dangerous and insidious Kycilia was and what a gorilla Dozle was.

By far though, I think the most interesting thing is seeing Ramba Ral so young and full of piss and vinegar. It's quite the contrast from the old war horse of '79.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Willow was greatly displeased that I made something with fish but didn't share any.

When I made extra onigiri, I had planned to save some rather than eating them all. Instead it became a rather large lunch.

But Willow forgave me after being given dog treats, as compensation for the lack of getting to steal my lunch.
Every now and then my Google News feed shows me entries from local sources, including one that tends to have a "What's going on this weekend" with events in the county. Usually the things listed tend to lean in the direction of live music and cold beer or family friendly movie viewings. Seeing a blurb that "The Heiress" is supposed to be running at New Dawn Theater Company Duluth was a surprise.

Reminds me that I've always had a soft spot for that story. Over the years of watching TCM with my mother, I was introduced to quite a few good films. The '40s and '90s adaptations of Washington Square included.

In fact, if memory serves when I learned of Project Gutenberg, I think the first books I downloaded were probably The Count of Monte Cristo and Washington Square. Because I'm odd, and many of the other books I wanted to search for at that time probably originated in latin ðŸ˜ē.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Goodereader: E Ink Launches JustPrintIt for ePaper IDs, gift cards and loyalty cards.

Part of me is tempted to scratch my head in curious wonderment; part of me wonders if the world will be a little more sci-fi like than expected, by the time old age takes me to the bone yard.

Some moron at the big G might call this new layout tablet optimized if they're not allowed to question orders from their marketing overlords.

Me? I'd say why the !@#$ are you wasting nearly 2" of my screen real estate to highlight the sections for movies and books? I don't even want to look at my phone's layout after seeing this redesign on my tablet, for fear of what else might be found.

I was really on the wall when hamburger design took over the mobile world but quickly came to like it, when it was done well. Interfaces like this however are just wasteful(tm). But it gives you plenty of space to write out Games, Apps, Movies & TV, and Books in something like 120 languages.

Willow practically out like a light from the comfy; Misty more debating if that's food or a camera in my hand, before going back to sleep.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

It was difficult to have the heart to reclaim my reserved spot. Willow was so comfy and tired. Of course, nods of agreement from the peanut gallery....

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Why the F-117 Nighthawk Is Such a Badass Plane

These days the younger, less deranged but designs are more the rage. But I remember a time when the Nighthawk was still revolutionary and fascinating. Perhaps it still is when it comes to sneakiness.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Willow apparently forgives me for not being consistently smart.

Earning my duntz cap award for the year, I'm not sure what bothered me more. That most of my first aid kit is probably dated between 1980 and 1990 or that I was out of all purpose flour.

Couple minutes after reaching into a nearly entry can and thinking "Gee, I should know better", my one for the year was achieved. Always reach for a spoon or something instead. Fortunately dinner was not bloodied in the process and the wound settled down by the time I finished eating and changed the bandaid.

Also note to self: don't bother checking that first aid case unless you need a dressing big enough to wrap in duct tape. On the flip side, if more than Neosporin and a bandaid is required it'd probably be time for a medic.

In my case trying to stop the bleeding was making me wish for a stypic powder. Which I suppose in this day and age has been replaced by Neosporin and the like unless you've got fur or feathers.

Now if only knowing better didn't mean I sometimes so stupid things 😂.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

When I walk outside in the lovely 50% humidity and think about how nice a walk in the sun feels, sometimes I just blame home.

Georgia experiences it's worst summer weather around this time of year. By contrast where I grew up, I sometimes wonder if hell would have been a milder climate at any point on the calendar. It's been at least twenty years since my family left south Florida but the side effects related to near constant spirit crushing humidity and temperatures suitable for frying an egg on your forehead, probably last a lifetime.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

MSPoweruser: Dell may be working on a Surface Studio-like monitor.

While it will probably be well beyond what I'd be willing to pay, I kinda want to see this and more displays like it.

All-in-One PCs are an interesting concept but for my use cases they've traditionally been too limiting even when you pay the big buckaroos. Advancements in laptop hardware and a thing called Thunderbolt give me a little hope that might change someday.

But I'd much rather have a display that could function as both a typical monitor and suddenly become like a drawing board, that can be connected to whatever device can drive a touchscreen monitor. Because a really great display tends to last until it gives up the ghost. The same is not always true of computers.

Comfort loves company?
In Battlestar Galactica '04 there is a reoccurring greeting between Adama and Starbuck that goes something like this:

What do you hear?
Just the rain.
Then grab your gun and bring in the cat.

Watching s04e13 The Oath, when Galactica defends into mutiny there's a scene where Kara saves Apollo's ass, showing up with a pistol in each hand as he's being led away by a hit squad.

I may have recalled this greeting and pictured Lee with

More reason to want to be reincarnated as a dog, lol.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

I remember coming across various wallpaper worthy images from Is This A Zombie? and adding them to my collection.

Seeing my desktop select this one of Eu out of its random rotation of wallpapers, I was rather surprised how well this one works on a 1080p display.

These days most of the wallpapers I've collected over the past eon, I see on my tablet screen. Because that's the computer I use most often. At work, usually SFW stills are statically set. At home though, I still keep my PC's set to a random rotation.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Catching up on my backlog of Fruits Basket, I'm kind of glad to see episodes 16 and 17 tell some of Uotani's story.

Uotani is a very nice supporting character. Despite the gruff personality that comes with her rendition as a delinquent, there's also a kindness that balances the character out well. Long before this part, you can see how Uo and Tohru could end up great friends. As usual, Tohru's late mother is a source of wisdom.

Most often the strength of a story rests upon it's characters, and I'd say the characters make this series far more than the concept.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Here Are The Meals That Best Represent Each State In America, According To Locals

For the places I've called home and neighboring states, I'd say this sounds about right. For the rest it sounds like reasons to gain a few pounds 😂.

Friday, August 2, 2019 Marvel Comics: Who is Death's Head?

Surprising thing to come across, scrolling through my Google News feed. Don't recall Death's Head seeing a lot of exposure here in the United States, but when I was a kid I found the series quite entertaining and hard to come by. We never got to read many issues, and I'm a little surprised anyone remembers the character at this point. I at least enjoyed the character ^_^, although more so 'II and his sidekick Tuck I suppose.

In fact, somewhere in my closet is a small cache of DH/DHII comics from my childhood neatly tucked away for easy reach. Where most of my other comics from back there are stuffed in a box in a dusty corner, lol.
CNN: Libraries are fighting to preserve your right to borrow e-books.

Generally my habits with e-books lean towards purchases more so than lending: but even so, I find the option of checking out an electronic copy useful once in awhile. In my neck of the woods that usually takes the form of OverDrive.

I imagine that as time goes on the issue will only get worse.

E-books are not going away, and most of us don't want public libraries to go away either. Eventually, I expect the amount of books only available in digital form will go up over the decades not down. Authors and publishers still need to make coin but I don't think that being a dick about it will help anyone, least of all in the long run: the one being a dick.

Google’s new Android phone feature may help save your life

It's kind of sad this has taken so long. Features like these might not be popular on the mind of mostly healthy, mostly young engineers who probably won't see an ambulance ride for most of their lives if at all--but it's damned nice use of technology.

We all have location and voice synthesis services in our pocket. Why not make use of it?

That fact that in my country, the cost of an ambulance or a serious hospital stay would probably give you a heart attack, is a different problem 😜😂
Every now and then, I'll stuff a few frozen pancakes in the toaster to make a quick breakfast. Usually followed by coating them in peanut butter and creating a sandwich. Today, since I skipped the PB, I opted to give the peanut gallery a taste.

Which was welcomed by the peanut gallery but I was reproached for it being the last of the pancake, lol. I will skip sharing the stare I am now getting from Willow....

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Hands-On: Keyboard and S Pen.

I've never really been a big fan of Samsung's cases, be them the flappy cover or the same with a keyboard stuffed in. But I've gotta admit that keyboard/kickstand approach makes an interesting case.

This also gives me some hope, since my Tab S3's cracked screen ain't going to get any better and the alternatives are rather few without migrating to an iPad Pro.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Sadly doesn't look like SWAT 3 runs on modern systems, compatibility modes for XP and 9x don't help nore does dandy tricks emulating an old GPU in software ala dgVoodoo. Although I suppose, loading Win98SE into a virtual machine might work.

That's a great shame because the game was both pretty well done and ahead of its time nearly ~20 years ago. It remains the best tactical shooter I've ever played, and that's probably been a lot over the years.

On the flipside with a little lovin' the original R6 runs pretty well. The only technical issue I've had is a ghosting between the mouse cursor in and out of game which makes using the menus a hard on the eyes. Rather than taking my chances: I stuffed dgVoodoo's Direct3D libraries in to begin with. R6 is so old it still offered a software renderer, so might not be so necessary.

I remember first playing Rainbow Six and finding it both intently interesting and quite frustrating as a kid; mainly for the laser-eyed snapshot of death effect, which is not as big a problem decades later. What remains irksome though is that path finding was effectively infantile back then. Thus in a game that resolved to plan a strike with multiple fire teams -- you've got an A.I. that can barely avoid walking into walls just trying to follow you around. Aside from that, I'd say it remains a good game.
Scary advances in time and drive tech: when you plop in an old game CD and it feels like most of the install time is how fast you can read unpack the data off a CD-ROM.

Rummaging through the bin in my closet, I went looking for my old tactical game of the year edition of SWAT 3. Along side it of course the sequel, my original copy of R6 III: Raven Shield and the first Rainbow Six. Needless to say when these games originally shipped most people had IDE hard drives and Windows 9x still had a very large market share. SSDs didn't exist :P. Installing games off CD-ROM took quite a bit longer when SWAT 3 was a young game; I think I just spent a whopping five minutes counting disc changing.

Hmm, kind of wonder if there's still a copy of the patch file for R6 anywhere. I still remember downloading that 33~35 meg file once upon a dial up life and being glad that no one had called our phone number for nearly four consecutive hours ^_^.

Monday, July 29, 2019