NK: The T advantage

China and KN knew Obama was utterly sane. NK would become a nuclear power.

Trump not only acts crazy, he is genuinely irrational and he is stupid.

Jong Un and Xi want to live long and rule.

Trump has an advantage here.

Posted in t

Curious silence on the death of the phone.

In my random sample only mothers answer unrecognized incoming calls. Because it might be about a child.

Everyone else lets them go to voice mail. Because every call is phone spam now.

I have not seen commentary on this — even though it happened fairly quickly.

That is odd.

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How I explore and find fun stuff

My work takes me across the Dakotas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Minnesota. Sometimes small to medium cities, sometimes small towns and byways. I usually have a night or two to look around.

I think I'm good at looking around. Wherever I am, I find something interesting. This is what I do.

If I have a long drive, which for me is more than 3 hours because I am a driving-wimp, I point Google Maps at a non-chain coffee shop in a town along the way. A town with a good coffee shop, especially with a bike path, is almost always interesting.

If I'm not flying I take my mountain bike (in winter I take skis). For much of the year I can get an hour or two of riding. In town I pick a spot in Google – usually a local attraction. Bike trails go by the good stuff. I put my phone with the volume turned high in the top compartment of my hydration pack; I can hear the voice pretty well. I orient myself by the sun, then I set out. I look for interesting streets and parks. With the mountain bike I can cross woods and grassy areas. I let the voice guide me but I don't follow it directly; I can usually find a more pleasant route than Google's default bicycle directions.

Lastly, during each trip I'll do at least one night as a drop-in at a local CrossFit gym. I email ahead to confirm the date is good. I meet local people with a shared interest — they often have good advice on places to go.

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Anker vs. Apple lightning cables

Apple lightning cables fray at the insertion end — where my kids pull on them.

Standard Anker cables don’t fray, but the contacts fail.

Anker PowerLine+ cables haven’t failed yet. Early days though.

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iPhones and the end of backup

Writing my Smarthones for All section on backup and suddenly realized it’s not all that important. The book’s target users just won’t have critical data that’s not in iCloud Photos or iCloud Calendar or streamed from an Apple source. Sure, games data will be lost, but that’s manageable. The big hit is to setup data; that can be pain to redo given all the work needed to make an iPhone special needs friendly. (Note to Apple – you should read the book.)

Weird moment. We old dudes are so used to backup being critical.

Turns out if you don’t own anything, you have nothing to backup. Just a password written on paper.

Duh. So obvious. Sucks to be old.

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Listening to ios podcasts without using cellular data

I had to create an iTunes playlist called “On Device” and drag from iTunes Library to Playlist, then set old school iTunes sync to include that playlist in podcasts. Then in Podcasts.app I could safely choose items that wouldn’t use data.

In several iOS apps there’s a (generally poorly implemented) way to restrict pick lists to on-device content, but I couldn’t figure that out for Podcasts.app.

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Apple DRM crisis coming — Apple ID for Store vs. iCloud

So does Apple want the Apple ID that owns all these purchases, or the Apple ID associated with my iCloud documents? [1]

I’ve been waiting for things like this to happen. For years Apple allowed us to have a separate Apple ID for purchases and iCloud service — but it’s clearly not their preference.

Meanwhile there is no way to merge Apple IDs (though it may be possible to do this with customer service).

This is going to go badly…

[1] In this case they wanted my iCloud Drive/Documents ID, not the Apple ID for DRMd content. I don’t have any DRMd eBooks fortunately — all purchased books are from Google Play store and any DRM is stripped.

Update: Via Twitter, @dfjdejulio suggested:

Partial workaround is to have iCloud account be head of family and store account be family member. Use iCloud account, access all content.

Clever! I may do this. Need to think it over a bit.

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Buying 2017 – the cost of too cheap

Amazon sells (direct listing) elegant slender simple "Casio" watches for $10 each. I bought a few.

After a few weeks one of them rattles.

So I lost out on that deal.

It might be counterfeit. Amazon is a shady place.

Or maybe it is just another race to the bottom. Maybe $10 is the only viable price, and that isn't enough to make a watch worth owning.

A "toaster problem" in other words.

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Canon Rebel SL2 dSLR quick impression.

Just got mine. Third Rebel I've bought, last was T2 I think.

Smallest and lightest Rebel, rivals EVIL. Battery door feels chintzy; overall feels less serious than prior models.

Video much better than T2 but doesn't seem truly more light sensitive. I prefer Nikon's choices there.

Has novice UI but can disable it.

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The iPhone Deluxe is a model for healthcare

Apple geeks believe Apple will create a “deluxe” phone with cutting edge tech priced to keep sales to 1/3 of a new iPhone

Because even that reduced volume will exhaust the supply of exotic components.

Exotic tech means the i8 will be unreliable and troublesome. The i8s can be cheaper and will work. 

I’ll buy a 7s and enjoy proven reliable trouble free tech. People who buy the i8 will be my beta testers. 

Which reminds me of good-enough healthcare.

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Mindnode, Mindscope, Bear, Drafts, Notability, Notes, Workflow, Simplenote …

Been a long time since I had so much software to evaluate. Simplenote I use all the time, but increasingly I need support for images and PDF. Notes is too tied to a single Apple ID — sharing is clumsy and inefficient. I need to be able to swap identities.

Mindnode is improving constantly, I’m quite fond of it.

Mindscope is something I thought of doing years ago. Can’t resist buying it.

Bear has some out of nowhere and is a geek favorite. Have to try it.

Notability and Notes do very well with PDF embedding. Bear just gives me a link.

Drafts and Workflow have power I need to understand.

Update: Notability does phrase search instead of “tokenized word starts with” search. How could they?! Anyway, it’s dead. 

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Updating macOS …

I do a Safe Boot then restart before major OS updates. Took a very long time prior to today’s Sierra install. A good practice. 

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iOS 10 really did make a mess of the Widget/Notifications and Control/Sound screens

It’s so bad that Apple’s own documentation of Notifications doesn’t mention that the Stroke Down screen contains Widgets as well as Notifications.

The four quadrants of Widget, Notification, Control, and Sound sort of make sense if one stares at them enough — but I can see why Apple is trying something different in iOS 11.

I notice these things while working on the “simplification” section of my Smartphones for All book. iOS is getting more and more complex, and less accessible to special needs users. Apple is catching up with Android’s unusability — in a race they don’t want to win.

Apple really needs to add a ‘Simplification’ section to the Accessibility Settings. For my part while working on this chapter I realized how little value I get out of the Notifications Center. I generally interact with it by force-pressing Clear to wipe out a useless backlog. I’ve updated my Notification Settings to disable “Show in Notification Center” for most of my apps.

PS. Anyone else remember when GEOS (GeoWorks) for DOS had two modes — basic and advanced? Heck, anyone remember when SImple Finder was a useful thing in MacOS Classic?

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Sierra is death knell of our 9″ 4GB MacBook Air

I’m not sure how old our 9″ Air is. Maybe 2009 or 2010 (update: mid 2011). It has been a terrific machine, The 2008 MacBook Air was the ultimate personal computer. Newer Macs are all regressions. 

Alas, Sierra did it in. I just updated from El Capitan and it is too darn slow. SPODs are ugly things. I’m glad I waited to the last minute. 

I’ll try a few things, maybe drop back to El Cap, but a new Mac is coming. Shame there is nothing I like. If I had to buy today I’d get another Air…

Posted in t

Microsoft June sec update breaks Outlook email search. Nobody cares.

The fix is scheduled July 11. Until then I’m SOL; I depend completely on search. I don’t file my emails, I dump them in an archive folder. Including emails I send. 

I must be alone. I don’t see hordes jumping off the rooftops.

Easy to see why MSFT products are slow to get patches. How could they miss this one?

PS. With Outlook 2013+ MSFT removed ability to search for Outlook items from Windows search in all versions of Windows. Regressions never get enough coverage. 

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Blogger vs. G+ 2017

Google publishes regularly to “googleblog.com” — using blogger.

It’s been months since I’ve heard mention of G+. I checked, it still exists. Some sort of social site I think.

Looks like old school blogs won this one.

Posted in t

Imaginary girlfriends. 

In the community of special needs teens and adults imaginary girlfriends are not rare. Imaginary children on occasion. Imaginary careers, colleagues, relationships. Often based on real people. Belief shaded with grief. 

This doesn’t get discussed in parenting books. 

I am not sure if this is delusion or something else. 

Posted in t

Pages white and yellow. 

The Yellow Pages were replaced by Google Maps. They became a feature, not an application. 

The White Pages went without replacement. 

There is some lesson here. 

Posted in t

iPad mine – faux laptop

With the iPad Air 2 inherited from my father, a $9 Acker stand, and an old iMac kb I have a modern faux laptop. 


I don’t quite get the appeal. This thing needs a trackpad; tapping on a keyboarded screen went out with light pens in the 70s. 

Otherwise I like the iPad for reading PDFs and technical books, but I think I prefer my 6s for casual eBooks. It’s a handy peripheral, but I could live without. My iPhone and MacBook are far more useful. 

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iOS swipe action configuration for Mail.app gmail account is nuts.

First, change Gmail advanced settings from archive to delete.

Then, in mail swipe settings, correctly interpret these baroque directions: “Accounts that include Archive as a default action for swiping left will offer Trash for swiping right.”

Then in Swipe Left settings chose Move Message.

Then in Mail.app when browsing swipe right archives and swipe left deletes.

There’s more broken stuff like this in iOS. Articles on “new features in iOS 11” irritate me. There’s a lot of unfinished work in iOS 10.3.

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Apple family sharing and device limit

I think apple’s 10 device limit for one account applies with family sharing. 

So the limit is 6 family members or 10 devices, whichever is less. Not 10 devices per family member!

I tried adding a family member and exceeded 10 device limit. Got purchase notice of invalid payment when I tried to download an item. I think that error message is a bug. Real issue was device limit. 

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There are no good digital picture frame (slideshow) apps for iPad

This is mind boggling. Water water everywhere — and not a drop to drink. With the demise of picmatic (now a squatter app) there’s no longer a digital picture frame app for iPad.

The original lock screen app from Apple is long gone. The Photos.app slideshow has very obscure settings and no randomizer. LiveFrame.app was flaky in my testing.

That’s it. There’s nothing left.

The iPad has the smell of week old fish these days.

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El Capitan Notes only seem to work with iCloud

Only relevant for holdouts like me, but El Cap Notes don’t reliably sync with iCloud. They seem too, but I think there are issues with rich text notes and shared notes (of course you can’t see which are shared or unshared in El Cap). There’s also something odd with sync of those that do work, I had to toggle Notes on/off in iCloud to force a sync update.

If you’re on El Cap you need to use iCloud Notes via a browser.

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Non-geek computing 2017: Apple uber alles.

Bend the knee. Apple has won for now. 

If you are not a geek, as of years ago, you have only one somewhat safe choice. It would be better if Apple hadn’t screwed backups, but your best choice is current iOS. On Apple hardware of course. 

In a year maybe Windows S on Microsoft hardware. Eventually Android “S” on Google hardware, but Google missed the boat. Arrogance I suppose. 

Chromebook – if Google backpedals on Chrome/Android integration. 

Dangerous is macOS run as non-admin on, of course, Apple hardware. One version behind is fine. 

Very dangerous Windows 10 with constant updates. 

Insane the rest.

Eventually devices will deactivate when their OS is unsupported.

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