My (sort of) brand-new iPhone 8!

He MAY text

apple iphone 8 blackFor the longest time, I wasn’t really all that fond of cellphones. Part of it was an aversion to being available all of the time. Is this a societally GOOD thing?

And now that almost everyone has a camera, they all feel the need to share the most mundane content. I will acknowledge that it is has been important in pointing out abuse and injustice. But it has so distorted what news is. Is a cat falling, but caught by people holding a flag, newsworthy? It is as if there’s an amateur video. Otherwise, it doesn’t exist, or so I’m told.

Still, the real issue apparently is that I have managed to acquire a series of duds for Android cellphones. They were unreliable. My most recent one would drain the battery by 5% from the time I turned it on until it was fully functional. And then it would continue to lose power so rapidly that it’d be pointless to leave it on. It was passive/aggressive behavior on my part towards the phone that I’d misplace it so often.

Then months ago, I bought an iPhone 8. It wasn’t the latest and greatest, but it had to be miles better, didn’t it? And it was reasonably priced, so if it didn’t work out, the investment wouldn’t have been too bad.

I started the process of setting it up, but I was interrupted and didn’t get back to it for a couple of weeks, by which time I couldn’t remember my two-step authorization number. Or something. Anyway, I just gave up on it for a few months.

Help!

Finally, I went to the Apple store in the mall – I hate the mall – and they reset it to the original mode. I was able to set up a better authorization process. And it was all good.

Well, except that I didn’t have a SIM card. My previous phone always said No SIM card, yet worked; not so on this phone. So I waited for the new card to arrive. I called my carrier to get my service switched to the new device.

I couldn’t get the card on this little tray, and my carrier’s customer service guy couldn’t talk me through it. So I went BACK to the Apple Store, and five minutes later, voila.

This means that now, probably, I’ll text! You can send photos to me by phone instead of emailing because that’s been so onerous for some people. I’ll add apps, which I was shedding on the old phone – and I didn’t have that many – because it didn’t have enough memory.

But I’ll still use my watch to tell time because pulling out my phone while riding my bicycle doesn’t seem like a good idea. 

My fear now, of course, is that I’ll become so enamored of my new phone – it’s at least like at first sight – it’ll be disappointing if I break/lose it. 

Mostly unrelated: Arthur is doing something, and I have no idea what he’s talking about.

Thoreau as a finder of things

Beck

ThoreauThis, or a variation of it, happens to me all of the time.

I bought a new phone. It’s an Apple 8 or whatnot, my first iPhone ever. I open it up and start trying to figure out whatever needs to be done. Invariably, I get interrupted. A couple days later, I’m back trying to set it up. But the iPhone apparently wants some settings on my old Android phone. And, of course, I can’t find it anymore.

Then my wife comes home. She’s been to the farmer’s market. She doesn’t have enough cash, and the vendor doesn’t take credit cards or checks, But he does take Venmo. She doesn’t have Venmo, but I do, on my old phone, naturally. After she tells me she needs to make this payment, I redouble my efforts. Not in the backpack or in any drawers or in some clothing in the hamper. After an hour, I give up.

The Albany Public Library had a book sale the previous weekend, which I worked at. I bought a few items, one of which was a CD called Best of Beck. This is by Jeff Beck, not the other guy. Unfortunately, I couldn’t open it, because the plastic encasement was locked. Alas, a dollar wasted.

Wait, I’m going to try to liberate the disc without destroying it. Using a couple of pairs of scissors, I succeed. I need to put the CD in a new case. Fortunately, I have a bunch of empties. I go to that drawer. Sitting right next to that dresser, in the bay window, is my damn Android phone.

It always happens

This happens a LOT to me. When I stop looking for something – total surrender – I often find it. There is a saying attributed to Henry David Thoreau that goes, “Happiness is like a butterfly, the more you chase it, the more it will evade you.” But why is it always inanimate objects for me? it’s most often keys because I have an irrational disdain for them.

But it is also true that “if you notice the other things around you, it will gently come and sit on your shoulder.” Though the woods are never the same. Or wherever.

Attestation and other curiosities

it’s a good thing I know our license plate number

attestationAttestation seems like a very fancy term, maybe a serious disease. It is actually “a legal acknowledgment of the authenticity of a document and a verification that proper processes were followed.” When I digitally enter my Census timesheet, I have to attest that I worked those hours. Before my wife goes to school, she has to promise that she’s taken her temperature and is well enough to come in.

We both need to wear masks to work. As noted, my head is bigger than hers, bigger in fact than most people’s. She apparently didn’t notice this at first and randomly assigned the first masks to us and our daughter randomly. But now she can tell, just by looking, which mask belongs to whom; I cannot.

It always reminds me of The Price is Right

We got A NEW CAR! Most of the summer, my wife admittedly obsessed with the price of used RAV4s. This editor’s letter in the August 28 issue of The Week actually mirrored her experience.

“Every dealer I spoke with had sold out of decent and affordable used autos…” This is a function of the pandemic, but also “some of the cash they might have splashed on vacations or restaurant meals is instead going to new wheels.”

That was certainly true of us. We had a vacation budget that went unspent. So the used vehicle is instead a current one. My wife bought it out of town for logistical reasons, so I never saw it until four days after she purchased it.

YouTube

I only recently discovered that my wife is also a fan of finding helpful hints on YouTube videos. I’ve been watching them for years – here’s one on changing the battery on a CVS bathroom scale, which is similar to one I used.

The recent requirement I had involved not just recording on Zoom, which I figured out. My question was to FIND my #ZOOM RECORDINGS, which I needed to retrieve so I could read to our Sunday school class.

Cellphones

On my cellphone recently, I received a text that read “[Tik Tok] **** is your verification code, valid for five minutes. To keep your account safe, never forward this code.” Since I’ve never been on Tik Tok, I will assuredly abide by this.

Speaking of cellphones, I got some bogus company calling my Census phone to say it was needing to update my system. Spammers are everywhere. I ignored it, correctly.

I’m rich!

Surprise money. I got a check from Wells Fargo for $159.13 for some fiscal malfeasance that they had undoubtedly committed. I’ve gotten these types of checks before, but usually, they are for $7.81, or at the most $24.59.

The good old days

I was looking to find a list of the current members of the Cabinet because, geez, who can keep track? On Google, page one, there’s a pulldown list that lists Barack Obama’s cabinet, fueled from this page. I have a… certain disdain for the current batch, especially Bill Barr. But you knew that, didn’t you?

Embracing the technology, right?

Why did I NEED Venmo?

every-virtual-meeting
Every Virtual Meeting: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 3.0 Unported License
When I was talking to a librarian friend of mine recently, it occurred to me that embracing the technology is often a cost/benefit analysis. So I’ve been pondering my adoption, re-adoption, or rejection of the same in the calendar year 2020.

Zoom/Skype/Google Hangouts: I had Skype over a decade ago. I didn’t use it much, didn’t like it. But since March 15, 2020, I must have used one of them at least four dozen times. BTW, EVERYTHING in the cartoon above I have witnessed.

Facebook: I have no idea how I receive the items I see first in my feed. Lately, I’ve found it necessary to delete people, almost always friends of friends. Actually, I like to keep people I know and disagree with so that I don’t get caught up with too much confirmation bias. I tend to retain the ones I know IRL. But stupid stuff, usually with misspelled graphics, not so much.

Twitter: I still don’t “get” Twitter. My blog posts go there daily, but that’s it.

Cellphone: I eschewed getting one at all for years. Then when I did, it was a dumb phone. I finally yielded and got a smartphone when I lost my flip phone a few years back. But because I often misplace it AND the battery drains too easily, it was often off. And I wasn’t going anywhere anyway.

Necessity is a real mother

That changed, not because of the COVID-19 but because of my father-in-law’s illness. My brothers-in-law and their wives were discussing issues via text. I wasn’t on the chain, because they didn’t have my number. I learned to have the phone on, and charged, regularly. My wife had a phone from the Pleistocene period, so she traded in her phone this calendar year. The kicker is that while I would receive the group texts, my wife would not. She could get individual texts, though. We don’t understand the issue.

Here’s a problem with being behind the curve. When getting instructions from the manual, or from other people, they operate on the assumption you’re just upgrading. The truth is more prosaic. I HAVE NO IDEA how to fix these things. Fortunately, I have a teenager. Still, I’m going to get ANOTHER phone for me, because the memory is so poor, and because I can seldom see images people text to me.

What’s App?: When I went to a conference in Indiana with kids from my church and others from the presbytery last summer, it was decided that we’d use What’s App. to communicate on the huge Purdue campus. On my phone, at least, it operated slowly, and occasionally not at all. So…

Why do I need this?

Venmo: When I needed to download the Venmo app, I had to dump What’s App and two others. And why did I NEED Venmo? Because the teachers at her school use it. They collected money back in March because they thought a couple of non-teaching staff were going to get laid off. As it turns out, they weren’t. Meanwhile, a couple of teachers are retiring at the end of the semester.

So we (I) had to get the money from Vera, who had collected the first $30 and then transfer it to Chuck, who was collecting for the retirement gift. This took about three hours, my phone is so wonky. Now why Vera couldn’t have sent the money to Chuck, keeping us out of it, I don’t know. Venmo is a sister company to PayPal, which I’ve had for years.

eBay: I’ve had it for years, but seldom use it. I wanted to get cards for our SORRY game. I could have bought a new game, but the rules in Fire and Ice are very different. i figured out my password and got new cards for $5 plus nearly as much for postage. But it’s good. We use them.

Instagram: Even my daughter couldn’t help me with this.

When your blog provider says upgrade

I got this message recently: “Debian and Ubuntu are operating systems that power a huge chunk of DreamHost. And, like any operating systems, they receive regular updates to fix bugs, improve stability, and add features. We will be upgrading your Virtual Private Server from version 14.04 (also known as trusty) to Debian 9.12 (aka Stretch!)”

OK! I have no idea what that means.

Date of upgrade: Tuesday, June 9th
Maintenance Window: 8:00pm-10:00pm Pacific Time
Expected downtime: 5 minutes
You may notice that your sites become unreachable for about 5 minutes while we perform the upgrade. Don’t worry – this is normal!

And I was working on the blog RIGHT AT THAT TIME, losing a bit of work. But it’s all good now.

Analog guy: watches, cellphones, WordPress 5

These instructions, if I understood them, might even be useful

analog guy
from techshirts.net

I am an analog guy. I was reminded of this yet again when I pulled out my watch from my mail drawer – don’t ask – and started wearing it. It’s SO much easier telling the time with a 90-degree flick of the wrist.

Sometimes, when I needed the time, and no one has a watch, it seemed laborious for people to pull their various devices from their pockets. Why is so important repairs watches? I have to tell you, I found the best! Times Ticking helped me to fix my timepiece.

Also:

* My blog briefly became much more difficult to create. As someone explained to Dustbury: “WordPress 5 changed to an entirely new editor where construction of a post that historically just involved typing now involves pasting together a series of blocks that have to be added, for example, just to have quoted text. Am I missing something?”

It was dreadful. Usually, I write in my test blog then cut and paste the whole thing, except for images, into my real blog. The new and “improved” system made me enter the text one paragraph at a time. I didn’t see a way to switch back to the familiar. Fortunately, Dustbury directed me to the Classic Editor plugin, which restores the previous editor.

Oh, the weird sizing in the text of this post – WP5. I could have rewritten it, but…

I’m also using FastCGI, and I don’t even know what that means.

* One of my buds has been experienced the blue screen of death repeatedly on his laptop and asked for assistance. He was sent these instructions, which, if I understood them, might even be useful. I experienced this irritant once myself, but the hard boot seemed to work so far, knock wood, or knock pixels, or whatever one raps upon.

* I pretty much hate my current smartphone.

1. It’s too small. It’s not just that I misplace it in the sofa or between the creases of my backpack. I was in a hotel in DC, sitting at the desk in my room, and it seemed to just disappear. It slipped under this odd, unnecessary ledge.

2. It doesn’t always work. When I fully charge it, then turn it on, it’s already down to 95%. I had it at that conference in DC and the only way to get the schedule was by downloading the app. Well, in this hotel, there were four floors BELOW the lobby, and the app did NOT work on the lower two floors.

So when I get a train ticket or tickets to Yankee Stadium, I order them online but get physical copies rather than getting them on my phone. An analog guy, I tell you.

Here’s another thing. They tell you to “protect your social network accounts with a strong, unique password and use two-step verification, when possible.” Every time I do that, I manage to lock myself out of my own devices because I’ve forgotten the password of the second step in the verification. I know there’s a password saver thing, but…

To quote Brian Wilson, “I guess I just wasn’t made for these times…”