Saturday, June 29, 2013

DOMA is Dead, But "They Still Persist"...

After DOMA was dashed to the ground like a bad bear bottle, California started issuing marriage licenses to those who wanted one.

Yay, freedom of choice!

Oh wait, some folks are still hoping to ruin total strangers hopes and dreams..

Attorneys with the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom (freedom of what?) stepped up asking the Supreme Court to stop the weddings because they say that the "three-judge 9th Circuit panel acted prematurely and unfairly when it lifted a hold on same-sex marriages."

Guys...  the game is up and over.  Let it go.  Your fight to squelch the freedom of other people's dreams is done.

These folks DO NOT represent "live and let live," but rather, "do as I tell you to do."

You can read the inspiring article at NBC Los Angeles.

Thanks to my buddy Trish for pointing me to this funny vid:



{youtube link}

-Bruce 

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Get Flat Abs With A Patient Work Ethic and Lifestyle Choice

We all have this issue... or goal is the better way to put it... getting those flat or washboard abs.  Aside from eating better and sit ups, I was curious about what some sources had to say about developing better abs.

First things first... it's a lifestyle.  You aren't going to get yourself those much coveted washboard abs or six-pack while you're hitting up the apple fritter sources, Baskin Robbins or McDonald's.  You need to eat smarter to help your workouts achieve the goal.

And we don't have the time that some actors have to work at it and get paid to do it!

Secondly, back in the day, I used to ride my bike a lot and was always popping wheelies.  Not much more than that, and I ended up with a bit of a washboard for that motion of pulling up and back on the handle bars.

So that's my first clue about something that might work.

But as I searched the web there were a lot of results for getting that six-pack tummy.  I decided to filter through the obvious results, those being sources with something to sell.

And then I saw an article on WebMD.  Hmm, not a gym, not one of those stupid a** answer boards where everyone chimes in with sales pitches or misinformed ideas or over-detailed time wasters.  But a site that is more focused on the overall package than just the one aspect of exercising.

There were three pages of words but I'll try to be succinct in my findings.

Getting The Flat Abs


Better posture.  Standing up straight pulls the belly in a bit.  Slouching tends to protrude the guy a bit. You do the math!  (Ears over shoulders, shoulders over hips, hips over knees.  Knees over ankles.)

Whole body exercises that work the core.  Pilates was suggested, crunches were deemed acceptable but not the end-all to the result.  (Pilates works obliques while crunches just work the top muscles.)

Planks is a 3-D approach to the core of abs.

Leg Lowers and seated rotations.

Review and watch your diet.

They say props aren't necessary in getting to this goal.

They remind us that there is no fast fix and this will take time.  (You know the saying, "God, grant me patience, and hurry!")

So be realistic on your time frame.

I've been working at my goals now for about three weeks and something is slowly starting to define itself, but it's not quite Channing Tatum tight yet.  LOL.

-

The end of the article talked about standing ab routines.  I LOVE standing workouts better than laying on the ground.

For those inclined to add these to the routine, they say try

Canoe Twist (It's an interesting exercise.)

Cat Kick (No, not actually kicking your cat.)

Pilates Zip UP. (Like an upright row...)


I've left a lot of details out so you can go hit up the site and see the details for yourself.  I wanted to share my findings from what could be a reasonable source.

WebMD.

-Bruce 
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Friday, June 28, 2013

How To Disable Lightroom Auto Import

The other day I took the dive and bought Adobe Lightroom 4 (upgraded to 4.4).  I was taking the dive because of Adobe's new hope of putting all their apps online then charging stupidly high monthly rates!

I installed Lightroom and this learning curve is driving me crazy!  But I'm adamant.  I was recently on a photojournalist job and while in the press room, I think EVERYONE in the room had an Adobe product of some sort working on their images.

But I recently noticed that when I plug in any media device, Lightroom boots up, wanting to import my images.

I'm not quite ready for being at that stage of Adobe user yet.

But I could not find, where in Lightroom, to turn it off.

I was looking in the wrong place.  You need to hit up the Windows control panel! (duh on me!)

Here's what to do to turn off auto import for Lightroom:

(This is a Windows machine I'm on...)

  • Start,
  • Control Panel,
  • (Hardware and Sound) {if you need this step}
  • Autoplay

-

In there, you'll probably see the options you need to modify.

-Bruce 
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DOMA is Dead, Yet Freedom of Choice is Still An Uphill Battle

DOMA is dead.  Long live freedom of choice!

Here's my underlying premise:  It's OK that you like something I don't.  Or the other way around.  It's also OK that neither one of us try to badger the other into our way of thinking.  That's not how life would seem to work.

Let bygones be bygones, right? (Isn't that some sort of proverb?)

Or at least I thought so.  But the moment you trash on me about how I feel differently about something that truly does not impact you in any way, crosses the line of my personal freedom of choice.

Why would you trash on me for liking chocolate ice cream when you think vanilla should be the only flavor available?  Just because of a book you believe in says it?

Nah, if you focused more on helping the hungry people in our country, you might be doing everyone a bigger service than wasting time and money on belittling me for my preference for liking chocolate ice cream.

But wait... oh crap.  I just belittled haters, didn't I?  Sorry, feel free to stay continue hating that which is different from you.  Sorry.

My apologies.

-

In other bits around the hateful globe, Chick-Fil-A Is still at it, but back pedals after COO tweet

After DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) got stuffed, the Chick-Fil-A COO tweeted how this was a sad day for our nation.  Then deleted the tweet, with the company saying,

"He realized his views didn’t necessarily represent the views of all customers, restaurant owners and employees and didn’t want to distract them from providing a great restaurant experience."

I'm OK with that.  But I never forget the underlying core of what a company believes in, because in the end, it's all an image dance to look good, because way too many people forget and/or forgive.

-

Then there's the State Representative who tried to speak about DOMA getting struck down, but he was silenced because he was in violation of God's Law.  Really?  Religion runs our political offices now?

Sure, in all our official deeds of life, we swear on a bible, but is that a valid proof-of-truth when any kind of atheist is forced to "swear" on the bible?

Maybe it should be a law book rather than "the book."

At least it would be more relevant for all who swear on it.

-

That's my two cents about this freedom of choice, for now.  -Bruce 
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Friday, June 21, 2013

Wait, Exercising Three Times a Week is Old News?

Every few years a new piece of "advice" or insight comes along about one thing or another.  Over the years, the amount of exercise one does has varied, depending on who you listen to, or who you anchored to and what not.

What has always stuck in my head has been that three times a week, for at least ten minutes advice.  No, I don't do it. I run at least three times a week, for multiple miles, so I have the ten minutes thing down.

But now, a new study suggests something all together different... but the same.

Folks from Queen's University in Ontario, Canada, found out via their own studies that if you work out moderately to vigorously, at least 150 minutes a week, is the beneficial minimum.

What's interesting is that they say it doesn't matter if you do it a few times a week or in multiple bursts of exercise sessions per week. As long as you hit that 150 minute mark, you should see benefits from the effort.

(I wonder if that means, if I run like hell to the bathroom every time, run back to the couch....  run to the refrigerator... run back...  run to the car (to go to McDonald's) I think I can add that up over the week!)

What I like about the study they did is that it included over 2,000 test subjects over a four-year period.

I like when studies use a decent number of participants over a decent study period!

For those of you interested,

Here's a quick outline recap,

And the real, detail oriented folks, the actual study report!

--
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Bruce E. Simmons
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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

An Open Letter to PRIORITY PARKING About Their Outrageously Rude Staff

This is an open letter addressing the discrimination against Pickup Truck owners and the outrageously rude temperament of Priority Parking staff to customers. (There's a few foul words in the following piece.)

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On Sunday, Jun 16, I was in San Francisco for the Wipro Marathon.  When I head to that town, I know I'm going to get ripped off with outrageous parking fees.  Somehow, there's a monopoly on parking in that town.  Aside from that, I had no idea I was going to be blatantly discriminated against because I drive a pick-up truck.  Or treated like shit by the parking attendants on duty.

It was a few hours before the Wipro San Francisco Marathon was coming to a close, and I had arrived near the finish line.  I've known from previous years that parking is expensive and in many folks eyes, as one peer puts it, they have you over a barrel.  Last year you could see they slapped up higher prices over the regular prices for the weekend of the event.

But this year I was emotionally prepared... I thought.

When I arrived I read the notes at the entrance regarding the price of parking.

Cars, Weekend, all day long: $20.
Full Size Pick-up: $40
etc., etc..

I drive a standard cab, short-bed Ford F-150.  It is not a full-sized pick up.  In fact the wheel base diameter of my truck is smaller than some cars.  But that's neither here nor there at the moment.  So I deduced that since I was not a "full-sized" pick up, that I pay for the rate of a car.

Cha-ching!  That was a quick $20.

I parked and while I was prepping my pack to go down to the finish line, an attendant walks up, points to my ticket and says I need a full-sized pick-up ticket.

I said "This isn't a full-sized pick-up truck.  It's a short bed."

He repeated that I needed a full-sized pick-up ticket.

I repeated that it's a short bed.

Now don't laugh, stop drinking anything you might be ingesting.  You need to prepare yourself for this next incredible wave of completely illogical stupidity:

He points to the "F" of my F-150 logo on the side of my truck and says, "Full sized."


My jaw dropped and I realized that no amount of logical conversation was going to get me anywhere.  And since I paid $20 already, leaving this place to find another spot somewhere else would be costly.

I instantly decided I needed to work with the system, but I wasn't sure if I needed to actually fork over an additional $40 for a "full-sized" pick-up ticket, or if I could just pay an addition $20 to have it all add up to $40.  (No, I would not have paid an additional $40.)

The parking attendant had started walking away, but in the spirit of working with the system, I wanted to ask how I can remedy this.

"Excuse me, I have a quick question."

He continued to walk away, blatantly ignoring me.

"Excuse me!"  At twice the volume.  He continued to ignore me.

"HEY, WAIT A MINUTE, EXCUSE ME!!!"  This was LOUD and echoed off the buildings around us.  And yes, he continued to ignore me, if you could believe that.

He gets into his truck, and I ask him, "How do I fix this?"

"But a ticket." And he starts to drive off.

"Wait!" I yell, and he stops.

"Do I get a refund for this one and buy a truck ticket?"  He starts to drive off, saying buy a ticket.

It seems he was trying to get me to pay for a brand new $40 ticket, while being a complete asshole to me.

I yell, "Wait!" again.  He stops again.

I say, "I'm trying to sort this out, don't leave."

This goes back and forth, where I ask something, he answers and starts to pull away.

I finally get it out of him that I can buy a second $20 ticket and I would be fine.

But it took an incredible amount of abusive behavior from the parking attendant to get that information out of him.

And that, was not necessary.

-

It must be nice to be able to monopolize the parking situation in downtown San Francisco.  It's amazing how much they get away with, charging for a piece of concrete to sit your vehicle on.  Any other business run this way would get blasted by the BBB!

And it's bad enough how they put you over a barrel with these fees, but then to treat the customers like shit, seems rather abusive of their monopoly.

-

So that was my Sunday experience with Priority Parking!  How was yours?

-Bruce
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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

HUGE Pet Food Recall for ALL Brands of NATURA Pet Foods

This is a recall piece involving a NATURA Pet Food Recall for Innova, EVO, California Natural, HealthWise, Karma, and Mother Nature brands.

-

Natura has issued a new Dog and Cat pet food recell that impacts mulitple brands of their dry pet foods and pet treats.

The pet food recall involves the following:

Innova
  • Dry dog and cat food,
  • biscuits,
  • bars,
  • treats.

-

Evo

  • dry pets foods and
  • treats,

-

California Natural

  • dry pet foods and
  • treats,

-

  • Healthwise,
  • Karma and
  • Mother Nature brands —

all lot codes and all package sizes for all of the above items noted.

-

The products generally have expiration dates prior to June 10, 2014.  Salmonella can affect the animals that eat the contaminated food and the humans that handle it. 

The FDA reports that pets with Salmonella infections could appear

  • lethargic,
  • have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea,
  • fever,
  • vomiting.

Other symptoms could include

  • decreased appetite,
  • fever,
  • abdominal pain.

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For more details and instructions for identifying the impacted products, SEE THE BELOW LINK....

Los Angeles Considering Plastic Bag Ban

Heads up L.A., you're about to be hit with a plastic bag ban.  First and foremost, don't forget to thank your fellow citizens for being so (edited) lazy that this has to happen.  It's not just your neighbors, it's people in general.

But you should prepare yourself, because once it hits, it's a pain in the back bumper.

Now unlike where I live, this ban will impact those who sell perishable goods.  But regardless, here are some thoughts to consider...

First up,

Marathoners

Bring your own bags to the expo.  Sure, you get a bib bag, but it may not be big enough if you buy anything other than a small item or two.  And if you're hesitant to buy more stuff because it's a b* to carry, then the seller is the one that gets hurt.

I took note of this at the Wipro San Francisco Marathon.

Happenstance Shoppers

If you happen to be driving by a store and remembered that you need to buy a few things, well, how many people will keep going by the store because they remembered that they can't carry everything in their arms?

Keep a bag or three in your trunk.

But if you don't the store will be the one that loses out.

-

Yep, it's a pain in the butt, but it's becoming necessary.

A local town in my neck of the woods considered not adopting the plastic bag ban, but the state then threatened to hit them up with a "required" environmental study that would have cost the city $100k if they didn't abide.

And that ten cent paper bag price... is not the store's call.  It's part of the law behind the plastic bag ban.

-

So it's cloth or paper bags, all of which seem more costly to create, though the cloth ones will last longer.

Also, I'm not sure how much merit this has, but I saw a piece on needing to wash your cloth shopping bags because of the potential of collective germs over time.

So make sure you buy a good quality bag.  (I had received a freebie cloth bag from someone about a year or more ago.  I went to finally use it and it was coming apart at the seems.  All without my touching it!  LOL.  Hey, you get what you pay for I guess.)

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Twitter Has Selective Email Notification Settings

Would you look at that?  Even though I've actively turned off every notification option within my Twitter accounts, I am a still getting sales pitches from Twitter itself.

For some reason, silly me, I thought turning off all notifications would stymy these sales pitches from Twitter, but I was guessing wrong.

dOh!

-

@Consumer_Bits, get your Tweets in front of more of the right people.
Start advertising

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The sales pitch would have been irresistible, if I wasn't already immune to such wastes of time and money.  It's great to drop a dime on this plans.  They do seem promising, much like when real estate agents by magnetic signs for the side of the cars.  But the turnover rate, versus the actual cost of hoping never seems to pan out.

If you are an established commodity, these things work better for you than if you're the small-fry in the skillet.  That's because the known name or large commodity entity is already known in some fashion, so when their name pops up in advertising, it's more of a reinforcement, or an acknowledgement that it's OK to follow the ad.

But an unknown...  not so much.

I spent a few years in the real estate industry, and yes, I was dropping precious money on advertising schemes and scams that looked exciting.  Or, desperately answered my hopes.

Either way, there is no opt-out for these Twitter ad emails, at least under my account settings.

OOPS, wait, there it is... in extremely tiny print at the bottom of the email, the famous "unsubscribe" link that's required by the man (the law).  Sweet.  So if you're getting these ads and don't want them, check out the very bottom of the text... you'll see your out.

-Bruce

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Monday, June 17, 2013

Curiosity: Is Google Pulling The Wool Over Our Eyes with Google Plus?

Today I'm wondering why it is that all my blogs have started to fail quietly together.  Even after taking the bait about Google's Authorship, they're not only fading, but when I started to actively participate with this "plan," my traffic took even steeper traffic declines.  LOL.

Here's a quick recap of my experience and observations:

Google starts up Google Plus to contend against Facebook.  It didn't seem to catch on with the general web-surfing public.

While this was happening, Google was in the process of changing up the search engine game with their Panda and Penguin updates.  These updates changed the game by making it much harder for the little guy or new start-up to get any search engine traffic.  (Unless you bring your own followers.)

In the process of changing things up, Google comes up with what they call Authorship.  This new functionality is, wait for it, connected to Google Plus.  In other words, you have to log in and participate with Google's new Facebook.

It's not an official process yet, but this is all in anticipation of upcoming hopes and such.  Supposedly Authorship will give more umph in search results. So if you run multiple websites, they'll all either benefit or burn all at once.

This is what I gathered via all the larger, social media expert websites out there.  Who are on G+, and brought their thousands of hopeful webmaster fans with them to the newest social channel.

So Google Plus got a great boost from a subset of power bloggers that say it works.  (For they, who already have traffic.), the small guy is still quietly, tumbling out of the search engine results.

-

As the internet grows, the death of the small, upstart website/blog seems imminent.  Or, as I call many of them, the rehashers.  At some point a few years ago Google said they wanted to devalue the rehasher's content to that the originating sources get credit for their content.  And that makes sense.

What I don't get is how participating with Google Plus will help content rank.  (At least today.)

I did a test and nothing on Google Plus shows up in search results from the basic web search from Google.  Is that weird or contradictory? 

Here's the interesting aspect.  It's being said that "Google+ is an excellent content sharing platform."  I guess that would be accurate, except that you can't search G+ in the basic Google web search platform.  If you're in the G+ search window, then you can find stuff, but not if you're outside in the regular world of search.

So at the moment there doesn't seem to be any advantage to search results on Google, for anything on G+.  (For now).

Of course, the standard social network recommendations are being applied to this platform...  Participate, share great content, etc., etc..  It works great if you have the following and or you have just the right folks following you when you spark something unique and interesting that they want to follow.

But for the little guy, I'm not holding my breath.

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

An UPDATE On Government Monitoring Processes

Here's a great piece of additional info that's out in the public realm, talking about the "top-5 things the government knows about you."

First up, like I pointed out in an earlier post about the NSA tracking people, unless you've triggered filtering software, they're not tracking "you" specifically.  So get over yourselves.  ...  It's me they want!!!

And like I pointed out in that previous piece (at least I think I did), this is nothing new.  In 2007 the U.S. fell to an all time low of 41st out of 50 countries on the "Privacy International" ranking chart of surveillance societies.  Being ranked low is not a good thing.

I'm going to use the term "they" with referencing "the government," NSA, or outer space aliens.

-

"They" track social media, but that's not hard.  It's public domain and we give away a lot of permissions when we sign up to the "free" resources to yak at each other on the web.

-

"They" have self-admitted to having been tracking Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other traffic sources since late 2010.  If you think or believe you have the right to any privacy on any of these platforms, you haven't read your agreement pages that you probably just merrily clicked to get on the system.

-

"They" can keep/accrue records on specific individuals if their filtering software marks "interesting" or suspicious traffic.  They can keep those records for longer if your activity might hint at terrorist activity or behavior.

And don't worry. The NSA will have a huge facility up and running this year out in the Utah desert to house all their information on us.

-

"They" have been allowed to tap our phones and emails since 2008, when "Warrentless wiretapping" was allowed.  (Or more to the point, became a public issue we knew about.  Who knows how long it's really been going on for.)

The wiretaps look for target addresses, locations, phone numbers, names, keywords, and phrases to trigger filters to focus on folks.  If your communications have matched any or some of these filters, then you're on the watch list for quite some time.

Oh, and even though the big hoora was about Verizon Wireless, they weren't the only ones participating willingly with "them."

-

Warrants are not required for "them" to lock into your GPS location of your phone.  Laws make it tough for the use of special GPS tracking devices used on folks cars and such, but since our phones have satellite connections, and we willingly give up our privacy when we agree to so many aspects of our phones, that if you carry a phone, there's a huge digital red light over your head marking where you are and what you're doing.

Don't worry, this has been happening for quite some time when all cell phones started using GPS services.  They've been required for quite a few years now.  Even if you have a cheapie phone, it's in there.  You just can't see or access that service.

-

"They" are free to use aerial photography at any time, at any location.

Eh... no surprise.  If you're not down in your private cellar or tunnel, you're out in the public domain, and there, you have no privacy rights.  You go there willingly.

The 4th Amendment addresses "reasonable expectations of privacy."  This has been defined as something to the point of how if we know there are more and more aircraft or drones run by "them," then we know our privacy filters are dropping.

If an aircraft hovers over you... your reasonable expectation of privacy goes out the window.

In other words, implied privacy or lack thereof.

For me, since I am aware of satellites in orbit that can take measurably much higher res images than what you see on Google Earth, well, you do the math.

-

Of course "they" are working on new imaging technology all the time.  If there's something in the public eye that has incredible resolution, imagine what we, the public, don't know about?

And that goes for everything in this piece.

This is what is in the public eye, what we know about.  What we're either allowed to know about or what has gone public because it's not the latest, top-of-the-line tech.

So for the most part, if you expect any kind of privacy in this new world, it's a bit misguided.  Everything you do on the web is out there.  (And stays there too!)  Everything you do once you're outside your home is potential public information.  Everything you sign up for, services you use, public utilities you pay for, are all public.

The only thing we haven't seen or found, is an actual fossil of the thing called privacy yet.  But unlike the dinosaurs, I don't think we ever will find that bit of calcified evidence that we had any privacy.

But like I said in my other post, if it means I don't get blown up while "they" are preventing a terrorist attack, I think I'm OK with it.

{Huffington Post}

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Contradictions of Facebook And How TO See All Entries from Any Feed

So if you didn't know, if you follow a page or person and their updates start to slow down or disappear, more than likely, that's because Facebook has deemed it something that doesn't need to show up in your feed if you're not interacting with it.

I guess they never heard of absentee observations.

What you have to do to make sure you see updates from particular pages or friends feed entries is to go to that page and choose "Get Notifications."

For Friends:  Click on the Friends tab/button near the UR corner, and you'll see the option to "Get Notifications."

Clicking on it will make sure that this person's updates will always appear in your feed.

For pages, over your mouse over the "Liked" button, and slide down to, and click on "Get Notifications."

Personally, I thought this was a pile of BS that you have to choose to make sure you're getting updates from pages and friends.  To be honest, I thought the reason you clicked on the "like" buttons were so you can get their updates.  Not be shut out.

But wait, it gets better.

The other day, I noticed that a page I don't care about showed up on my feed.

The reason being that they wrote something about a page I follow, despite the fact that Facebook stopped showing me that page's updates because they fell out of Facebook favor as far as my interacting with them.

On the other side of the coin, if there's someone you friended or liked on Facebook, and they're filling up feed with noise you don't need, you can always go to their page, hover over the "liked" button and uncheck "Show in News Feed."

This won't unfriend them, it will just turn off their noise in your own feed.

- To Recap:

Facebook makes it so you will stop seeing updates for any friend or page that you don't "interact" with.  Whatever that means. (But what it does mean is you might want to go through your stuff to make sure you're not missing anything.)

You have to choose to get updates from specific entities if you want to see them at all.

But if there's a page you are following, but has been cut by Facebook from your feed, you'll still get updates from stupid pages you don't care about because they've interacted in some way, with your 'liked' page.

Did you get all that?  Good, because I won't be able to repeat it!

Do You Train Your Dog with Kindness or Fear and Pain?


A well trained dog IS a well trained human's best friend
There seem to be two schools of though on how to train dogs.  Keep that in mind, because I am definitely of one mind, while there are others who think that terrorizing your dog is the way to go.

And hence, there are good dog trainers and bad trainers who have no clue how to truly communicate and work with an animal, because all it takes is patience to understand how your dog needs to be communicated with.  It's a two-way street.

-

We were taught by an amazing Bay Area dog trainer that communicating with your dog and getting them to see, with words and tone, what's good and bad, is what really works best.  That way, the dog is actually willing to work with you and isn't doing it out of fear.

When we first met Trainer Trish, we had a new dog whose ADD energy levels was almost too much to handle.  Yet it took Trish about 5 minutes to teach us our first new skill and fix one issue that had been plaguing us, and she did it with behavioral rewards.  Not trauma.  And in her classes, it takes but moments to learn new ways to interact with your dog.  And with that patience and practice, all good things come to be.

Today, we have an incredible relationship with our dog because of Trish Wamsat.  And we're grateful.

On the other hand, I know one family whose dog may or may not be having the best quality of life.

-

The other day my wife and I were at a park here in Menlo Park, (The Bay Area), practicing dog-disc skills with Vader (He came with the name.).  On the other side of the park, a family of four were being "taught" how to train their dog.

The man's methods of training included a pain inducing collar that he used to inflict pain, to "help" the animal learn what it was suppose to learn.  (Didn't prison guards used to use pain and suffering in the old days as ways to command inmates?)

The collar being used to control this wild beast was attached to a Golden Retriever, of all dogs.

Through most of my time at the park, I kept my back turned to the training session because I was worried how I would react if I watched this yahoo.  (That and I don't have enough for bail money.)

Just to get the dog's attention, he'd step up, grab the leash and yank hard on the leash announcing to the owners that now the dog knows you want to do something.  (Yep, I wanted to do something.)  And that's how the whole thing went.

After about an hour, there was a test, where all the dog had to do was be called over by one of its owners, who was about five feet away.  She called Riggins' name, the trainer let go of the leash-of-pain, and Riggins turned left and ran across the park to come meet us, or actually, meet Vader.

It was a huge Golden, but pretty sweet.  So much for all the "pain" training that went on.  I guess that the dog needed a break from it all.

So I said hi to the dog, pet him a bit, then quietly walked him part way across the park, (without any leash yanking) where I met the trainer and he took control back.  He said something, but sadly, I had tuned out on the guy.  I didn't want anything to do with his stupidity.

I turned my back and headed back to my dog, (who doesn't need any leash yanking) when I heard "it."  It, the one thing that almost set me off.  But it wasn't any of my business.

The trainer took Riggins, and while heading back to the family, every few steps, yanked hard on his leash, yelling at him BAD!, BAD!, BAD!, BAD!, for the entire walk back.  It's not a small park. 

First up, you need to catch the bad behavior immediately.  At that moment, the trainer seemed to be teaching (correlating to) the dog it was bad to walk with him back to his family.  Because honestly, what, right at that moment, was he doing wrong?

Seriously, were these dog owners that willing to let this guy treat their animal this way?  I was biding my time and waiting for the trainer to leave, but sadly, they all left the park together.  UG. 

-

Dogs seem pretty willing to be part of our lives.  And from some of the ugly shit ways people handle their animals, dogs still want to be part of their lives.  Dogs are just that way.  Faithful... to a fault.

But these dogs become members of our family and I find it horrible in how some folks treat them. 

To me, it seems that when you train with kindness, the reward and attention is appreciated.

But when you punish with pain, it's a fine line because most punishment happens after the fact. And if any correlation is to be had, it needs to be that second, when it's happening, or the scolding is going to get associated with something other than the actual bad behavior.
 

Animals are here-and-now kind of creatures.  So when Riggins ran across the park, he got no chastising from anyone.  But when he was walking back, returning to his family, he was scolded hard during the entire walk back.

See the correlation?

-

Sure, we all get mad at our dogs at times, but seriously, take a step back and notice that our dogs are just kids.  Kids that need guidance in what is right.  Not slammed upside the head.  It sends mixed signals, especially if not done at that very second.

My dog, if I say "Shame on You!!!" in my upset tone, he knows exactly what's going on, and it never takes more than twice (Maybe three times.) to inform him of an unacceptable behavior or deed.

This voice-tone trick or ours was taught to us by Trish.  And it's amazing how voice tone works.  I say "ours," because training is a set of tools for both humans and dogs, as a team.

If you live in or around the Bay Area region, you might want to contact Trish.  She is an awesome trainer and totally saved our asses when it came to our new dog that came into our family back in December!  And from some of her other deeds I see her do or care about, she's an awesome individual to boot.  (Don't tell her I said that.  She'll just get embarrassed about it.)

Her testimonials page:, contact page.

= -Bruce

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Pet Owners: Keep Your Chip Information Up To Date, Especially After Moving!


Lost dogs and cats
Chipping pets is a pretty cool process that backs up the information on a collar.  But collars can be easily torn off by accident, or worse, removed for ill-intent.

So a chip is an awesome alternative.

And when you chip your pet, if they're ever brought into a Vet's office, they can scan and ID your buddy and if you've been disconnected from your loved one, good tidings would be in your future because they'll have all that up-to-date information online from the chip administrator.  Right?


But if you have chipped your pet, you need to keep that thought in the forefront of your thoughts, much like your credit cards, drivers license and other such venues that you find you have to update if and or when you ever move.

Yes, moving is a pain in the (WOOP!).  And it's not just the packing that's a bugger, but aligning all the forces of logic and changing your address with all your creditors, official entities from the local and federal government agencies, and yes, amongst that checklist, should be updating your pet's chip data online when you move.  (I'd suggest during or before the move!)

Now I know that you can't imagine your pet getting lost on you.  Most folks don't.  But the ASPCA says that upwards of 7 million companion animals find themselves in shelters every year.  Roughly 65% of them end up being euthanized.

What's even scarier or sadder is that roughly 2% of the lost cats or upwards to 20% of the lost dogs are ever returned to their homes and families.

I know it seems improbable that your animal would ever get out, away and/or lost.  Many people (millions) actually believe that.  But what you don't take into account is what happens when your furry friend gets frightened by something.

Unlike humans who can use logic or desensitization about things that go on around them, animals are always keenly aware of their surroundings.

And as I've learned from my (dog's) trainer, Trainer Trish, (a local, Bay Area trainer) even familiar things can spook your dog from time to time, just because.

I've seen it first-hand, back during the Northridge earthquake, terrified animals running helter-skelter, straight into traffic. (This was hours after the event took place.)  That's because they don't have our logic.  They have their instincts that take over.  And they're not always good instincts, as the urge to run kicks in and won't turn off until they're exhausted and or lost.

Which segues into my next set of thoughts, and that's when you do have the opportunity to have control over your animal.

So when you're one of those folks that might walk your dog with an "invisible" leash because they "won't go anywhere," or think you can catch your dog or cat if you need to, you are sadly mistaken, and you will become one of those mourning ex-pet owners if you don't take enough (non-lazy) precautions to prevent this from happening.  


And while you're sad about events like losing your pet, keep in mind that during that time your pet is scared, cold, starving and is probably suffering until it gets picked up to be tossed in a shelter or dies on the street.

-

Of that earlier quoted number of 20% of the lost pets get returned home, that was because of identifying processes in place, whether it be tattoos, chips or collars.

So even though it would never happen to you, I don't think it would hurt to look at what precautions you could take... just in case.

Here in the Bay Area, the local Human Society has a piece on what to do if your pet does get lost.

Do a Google search on "pet microchip" if you are interested, or ask your local vet.

Other resources:

Very insightful animal trainer in the Bay Area: Trainer Trish (Wamsat)

One of the best (and most popular) Animal Hospitals in the Bay Area, on the Peninsula:  Adobe Pet Hospital

Pet Owners Alert to (Summertime) Poisons

On occasion, I come across articles on items that are poisonous to pets.  It can be rather surprising sometimes to see what can or cannot be bad for your dog. (Or pets in general sometimes.)

For instance, the premise of feeding your dog something you enjoy, could be a bad idea.  That's because of some compounds in certain foods can act like toxins in an animal or cause serious conditions.


Today I've compiled a quick list and farther down, a link to the ASPCA's top-10 things poisonous to your pets:

Avocados,
Broccoli,
Caffeine (coffee grounds, beans or tea)
Chemicals for pools, (duh?)
Chocolate, (that means more for me!)
Fats from ham, chop or steak,
Garlic,
Grapes/raisins, (this surprised me)
Macadamia nuts,
Onions,
Pain killers for humans (don't self-diagnose),
Salt water (if they start drinking it, stop them),
Sunscreen, (for some reason, my dog likes it)
Xylitol (sweeteners and chewing gum),

-

There was one surprise item that came out recently, and that was chocolate-based gardening cover


But don't take my word for it.  Check with your own local vet or scour the web for more information.  This is an abbreviated list of things to be worried about.  Some are obvious, while others are not.

Other resources:

ASPCA Top-10 List of Toxins,
PetInsurance.com,

PetPoisonHelpLine (a HUGE list)

Monday, June 10, 2013

How To Fix The 'Firefox Is Already Running' Issue

I don't know about you, about more often than not, when I go to start Firefox, it tells me that Firefox is already running and I can't start it.  It's pretty annoying.  The same kind of annoying when ALL my Logitech Marble Mouse(s) seem to have a click and hold issue.  (But that's something for another day)

I found out how to fix this "Firefox already running issue:"

For me, I open up the Task Manager (R-click a blank spot on the running apps bar, and choose 'Task Manager' from the options.) Or press ctrl+shift+esc all at once.

Go to the "Processes" tab.

Click on "Image Name" in the left column.  This is alphabetizing the process names running.  (It might be called Processes or some other name than Image, like I have on my system.  But it's usually the left-most column.)

Find Firefox in the list of apps running,

Highlight it,

Click "End Process" button in the lower right.

I usually only have one instance of the application running, but if you have more than one, then kill them all.

-

That clears the application out of the way.

No, we are not done, because the fact that the application is still running (Which is something I've seen on all my systems), means that the app is having an issue with a locked profile file.

While Firefox is not running,

Go to the "Run" command and type in

%APPDATA%\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\

And hit "OK" or what ever button there is there for you, depending on your OS.

This should take you to your browser app folder.

There should be a folder in this location with the word "*.default-*" in it.  (I had two, but one was empty, so I smite the empty one altogether.)

Go into the folder that has lots of stuff in it, find your parent.lock file and delete it.

THIS, is what Mozilla says will fix your issue.

We'll see about that!!!

-

source: support.mozilla.org

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Pricey Cloud Subscriptions And Adobe Software Alternatives

I just recently took note that Adobe is starting to offer what they call their new Creative Cloud experience, or "subscription-only" with any new software of theirs.

But the pricing seems a bit crazy to me.

They're offering $50 per month for online access to "Full versions of our most popular desktop applications — Adobe® Photoshop®, Illustrator®, Acrobat®, and more." They're offing $30/month for CS customers and single app access is $20/month.

To me that seems crazy and even more costly than dropping the cash for any one image application.

Right now they're selling things like Lightroom 4 ($99) and Elements 11 ($70) while the getting is good.  But if you sign up for their cloud subscriptions, that kind of money would be spent in just over 6 months.  Me, I buy an app and use it for quite a few years if it gets the job done.  In one year's time, I'd be paying three times what I could for the boxed or downloadable app.

I'm not fond of dropping excess cash on a product in what appears to be a scheme to make more money off it.

This new scheme will eliminate all of the amateurs, making Adobe products only affordable for the professionals.  We rank amateurs are being left out in the cold.

And why is Adobe doing this now?  Because apparently their corporate clientele are eating up the online programs.

Boo.

What I don't get is why the little guy might not get the opportunity to pay less, or to pay as you go, like some services these days do?

My reasoning is that professionals will be using the tools all day, every day.  So sure, they can afford the rates.  But the little guy that edits an image every now and then, and isn't doing their work for pay or sales, should be getting a break.

So what is the regular guys different options if you can't afford Adobe?

Adobe Software Alternatives

Well, there's plenty of alternative options.  Sadly, they're not Adobe, but hey, those of us budget minded folks have been getting by with them for years.

There's always GIMP or even Paint.net.  It's been referred to as the best replacement for Photoshop.  If you've ever used After Effects, there's apps called Blender and Wax.  For Acrobat, there's Preview or PDF-XChange Viewer.

I found a great and comprehensive list of alternatives, both free and not a cgsociety forum.  Here's a part of that list:

For photo editing, manipulation, and composition (instead of Photoshop):

  • Artweaver Plus 3
  • camerabag
  • Corel Painter
  • Corel PaintShop Pro X5
  • CorelDRAW Graphics Suite
  • FaceFilter3
  • Gimp
  • GraphicConverter 8 * by lemkesoft
  • Graphics Converter Pro 2013 * by*iconcool.com
  • InstantMask Pro
  • Oloneo PhotoEngine
  • OnOne standalone plug-ins
  • PhotoLine
  • PhotoPlus X6
  • Pixelmater
  • Portrait Professional (by Anthropics Technology Ltd)
  • Snapheal
  • Topaz standalone plug-ins
  • Xara Designer Pro X
  • Xara Photo & Graphic Designer*

=

Instead of Lightroom:

  • Aperture
  • Capture One Pro
  • Corel AfterShot Pro
  • DarkTable (free)

=

I'm adding ACDSee apps to both lists.  I've been using their software for many years.

-

So there are plenty of alternatives, for now.  And these companies, seeing what's going on, will be ready, I'm sure, to step up and take over the void in our part of the market that Adobe is abandoning.

Other sources and references that you should look over:

Lifehacker: Build your own Adobe suite for free


Hongkiat: 11 Free Adobe Alternatives

Reports on the subscription change:

Techcrunch, Cnet.

And

adobe.com creative cloud buying guide

 

Friday, June 7, 2013

So What is NSA Really Doing With All Our Communications?


Our online privacy, padlock image via Naomi Ibuki on flickr


As you've seen in the headlines lately, it's been reported that the NSA was tapping into Verizon Wireless networks, all in the name of justice and looking to prevent the next big terrorist attack.

Folks are in an uproar.  Me, not so much.

-

Now the news is out!  The NSA (and probably a myriad of other agencies, just not mentioned) has been tapping into our Verizon Wireless conversations.  But to be honest, they've been tapping into everything internet-y.  (Yep, just made that word up.)  But they've also been doing this to bigger names such as Google, Facebook and to be honest, I suspect every other entity connected to the internet.

People are freaking out over the government's "intervention with our private lives" and their freedom to do such without being monitored.  There's even news on how the U.S. Justice Department seized phone records from calls in and out of the Associated Press while they tried to fervently try to identify an anonymous source for an article.

That might be going a bit too far.

-

To be honest, the feds don't necessarily need the permissions they've been getting to peruse such aspects of our lives such as our search history, our emails, file transfers and live chats.

It's all out there anyway.  When you send a simple email to someone, that email goes from where you are sitting, through internet connections (servers) to your email host's servers, who then send your email to the end destination.  And that transit can cover multiple server routes before getting where it's going.

For example, when I bring up a 'cmd' window on my machine and run the process called tracert, it reports all the IP addresses the test goes through to get from me to say, Amazon.com.

I counted 16 different IP's for that internet path.

I am working a mile or two from Facebook.  Running tracert still managed to show my inquiry pass through 23 different IP addresses.

And pretty much every server has the potential to record and log all activity it does.  That's a lot of records for some who just did a web search for 'debbie does...', well, you get the joke.


.

When you think you're hunkered down in your home office doing things, what you're doing is not as private as you can imagine.

I know folks who adamentaly avoid social networks like Facebook and Google+, but what they aren't really taking into account is that they're already part of the process when they use email.  The original social networking process!

-

I know folks are a bit freaked out about the feds looking over their shoulders, all in the name if justice and criminal prevention.

But they're also using farming techniques/software to review all the data.  It's complicated, but they try to filter through the hundreds of millions of bits of bytes every minute, looking for clues or key words, phrases or patterns that might alert them to something nefarious that's developing.

I know that some folks say, hey, then how come they didn't prevent this, that or the other thing.  But what they don't know is that in the background, unbeknownst to most, they are stopping folks from carrying out various deeds or actions.

Should I even go into how the web, aka, Google, Facebook and every single entity on the web puts, leaves, reads and tracks files called cookies on your computers/phones to see what you do?  How do you think those pesky ads seem to pimp out things you might actually consider looking at?  But that's for another post.


-

I feel creeped out about someone being able to point to 9-11 as an excuse to peruse my entire digital life.  But logistically speaking, I can't imagine some single clerk stuffed away in a digital closet and going over my every move on the internet.  Cripes... good luck with that one!

There are (estimated) over a billion folks connected to the internet, and over 30% of them hit the internet every day.  (Wild estimates, because most public companies have a tough time nailing down various facets of these details, but it's a good starting point for this exercise.)

And to be honest, if some government intervention keeps me from becoming a statistic and getting blown up for some aholes "cause," I just might be in favor of it.

I lost several friends on 9-11.  It'd be nice if the families of some 3,000 victims from that day had their spouses, kids, loved ones still around because there was some nefarious little process going on, tracking us all, while trying to prevent things.

At least, I suspect, there are at least several thousand folks thinking that.

But then, on the other hand, while chatting with a buddy of mine, he thinks there's a level of acceptable losses he'd be willing to suffer, to have his sense of freedom.

Hey, we all have our take on the issue.  It's a tricky line to tamper with.  My take is a bit confused, but I lean towards the big brother aspect and not getting blown up.  My family would appreciate me not getting blown up...  I think.



[Media Life]

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Consumer Awareness: Beware of Photo-Sharing Scams

The FBI is reporting that there has been an increase in events where cyber criminals use online photo sharing venues to distribute viruses or other programs.

What happens is that the victim will see something for sale at an online bulletin board website (like Craigslist), but in the advertisement, there's no images.  In the ad it's suggested you contact the seller for the images.

The victim then receives a single "attachment" or a link to a gallery of images.

But what's really happening is that the images the victim looks at, contain what the FBI calls malicious software.  This software then infects the victim's computer, and the victim is then redicted to websites that look identical to the real ones, where they even include tech or live chat support options.

But once the victim pays for the product, poof, the a-holes are gone with your money.

Below are some recommendations from the FBI:

  • Be cautious if you lose an auction on an auction site, but the seller contacts you later saying the original bidder fell through.
  • Make sure websites are secure and authenticated before you purchase an item online.
  • Use only well-known escrow services.
  • Research to determine if an involved car dealership is real and how long it has been in business.
  • Be wary of severely under-priced items; if severely under priced, the item is likely fraudulent.
  • Scan files before downloading them to your computer.
  • Keep your computer software, including the operating system, updated with the latest patches.
  • Ensure your anti-virus software and firewalls are current—they can help prevent malware infections.

If you have fallen victim to this type of scam, file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov

Monday, June 3, 2013

Angry Birds: Star Wars Makes Me Angry

Angry Birds was all the rage and still is I presume.  And Star Wars is all the rage, and definitely still is.  Especially since ABC/Disney bought the franchise.

So I must declare that it's a cute combination of franchises when you have Angry Birds: Star Wars.

I love the little digital Millennium Falcons, AT-AT Walkers, and various other elements from the franchise.

But...

I must say, I've never had a video game that pummeled me with so many ads, ranging from videos for games and movie trailers.  If this little app that could, definitely makes the most of, and does.

But I must say, they might take the hint, and quit drilling home their After Earth movie trailer.  It's official, it's a bomb and no amount of annoying movie trailers in my battery-sucking video game is going to make me go see it.

It's as simple as that!  And to be honest, I'm not sure that mobile game app players are the target demo for movies.  Are they?  I could be wrong!  But I have to say, at times I forget about the trailers, then there are times that after every round, I have to get out of the game or movie trailer.

I'm not sure what they consider to be excessive, but for me, this is.  That's why I don't play it that much.  It all depends on the tolerance levels I have for this marketing crap.

--

Is There A Best Post-Processing Image Editor Out There?

What's the best post-processing photo software out there?


First and foremost, I think the bottom line is no.  It depends on the person and what they're willing for comfortable with.  Or, to each, his own.  As the saying goes.  But ignoring that...

Today I'm curious about what might be the best image post-processing software out there?  I'm a wee bit driven by the fact that Adobe is moving their products to a cloud, where there will be monthly fees.  And if you do the math, it seems like you might be paying WAY TOO much for something over time, versus a one-time fee upfront.  Maybe.  So I'm scurrying along trying to dodge yet one more, "hose the end-user" scenario.

So I looked around.  


I've got Elements 8 at home.  The latest version is 11.  Some folks talk about NIK, but Google bought them.  The last time I used a Google image app, it tried to categorize my entire hard drive against my will (Picasa) and I wasn't fond of that.  GIMP is out there, but is it crazy complicated?  And there's some other stuff that sort of does good basic mods, but does it, do they compete?

The Yahoo Answers page, which anyone sober enough to type can update, suggests the following answer was best:

GIMP,
Helicon Filter Free
Photofire,
MyPaint.

Or

"If not Photoshop, then I'd suggest buying PS Elements."

-

Lightstalking.com suggests PS (Adobe Photoshop), but also recognizes it's complexity for most.  They also touch on Adobe's Lightroom, and it's ability to work with RAW images.

Commentors seem to lean towards Lightroom.

-

Under a thread on the Canon Digital Photography Forums, one asked the question, and the replies came as follows:

"If you can get Lightroom for next to free, do it."

Lightroom was noted for entire image canvas mods, as in, if you don't want to do spots or layers.

There was a vote for Apple Aperture.

Photoshop vote, but notes the complexity, unless you can get used to it.

-

On a budget, some suggested Elements.

If not, aka, Lightroom or Aperture.

Lots of money to spend?  Photoshop itself.

-

DP Review (A site I use often) had a forum inquiry. {http://www.dpreview.com/}

Replies came back favoring Lightroom.

-

A FLICKR Canon DSLR User Group addressed the issue,

CS3, 


DPP. (Digital Photo Professional (DPP) is the software that Canon ships with its digital SLR)

PSE (photoshop elements)

ACR, (Adobe Camera Raw for Mac )
 

Lightroom here also seemed to outweigh the competition.

-

I was chatting with a buddy who delivered a warning about Lightroom:

"If you get lightroom, immediately go in and tweak the user settings. I remember that if you leave the "undo" at "unlimited" it will eat up CPUs in a hurry."

Thanks Dave!

-

And right now, I'm guessing with Adobe looking to move things into their prohibitively (or so my own wallet says) priced cloud subscriptions, there's a sale or two going on.

This are links to Amazon:

Adobe Photoshop Elements 11

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4

One, as of 6-3, is priced at $65, the other, LR, at $98.

None of these apps are super, super simple to use.  But once you take a few minutes to get up to speed on how the basics of what you're looking for will work, I think if you're leaning either way or some other direction, you'll be fine in the long run.


Product Recalls of Note for Falls, Burns, Lacerations and Choking Problems

Over the last month or two I've been slacking on printing every single product recall that comes up from the CPSC, but since I have a collective of recalls in my inbox, I thought I'd pass along some of the more interesting or important looking ones...

I've sorted them by the what I think might be the more critical threats first, though to be honest, they're all as critical as the next one.


Choking/Entanglement Issues:

Pottery Barn Kids recalled their "Sweet Lambie Crib Bumper" due to entanglement issues.

Mini Boden Chunky Cord Dungarees are posing a choking hazard.

Infant Froggy Socks have detaching parts that can cause choking.

Girl's Three-Piece Clothing Sets from Children's Apparel Network are being recalled due to loose belts that can get snagged and cause an entanglement issue!

-

Overheating, Burn, Fire Issues:

A food dehydrator from LEM, called the 5-Tray Dehydrator with Digital Timer, has a fire hazard associated with it.

Portable heaters (Optimus Tower Quartz Heaters) sold by Family Dollar Stores have an overheating issue, and hence, a fire issue.

Another overheating issue comes from a Meijer sold Touch Point Portable Baseboard Convection Heater.

Speaking of heaters with heat issues, here's a big one:  Optimus Recalls "Portable Infrared Radiant Quartz Electric Space Heaters" Due to Fire Hazard

Avon recalled...  wait... Avon?  Yes, Avon sold a Microwave Popcorn Maker that if you leave your popcorn cooking too long, well, it's called a burn and fire hazard.

-

Laceration, breakage and/or FALLING Concerns

Teavana recalled their "Glass Tea Tumblers" because of laceration and burn concerns.  The lacerations or burns could result from the glasses shattering unexpectedly.

Giada De Laurentiis Ceramic 9x13 Inch Lasagna Pans from Target were recalled, due to the pan possibly breaking and the resulting sharp edges could be dangerous.

While breakage is the cause for another recall on Louisville Slugger OneX Fastpitch softball bats.

Lea Industries recalled their "Lea Panel, Loft and Bunk Beds" because the mattress support rails could break, posing a fall hazard.


=

I spotted a throttle cable problem and recall, from KTM Motorcycles.  Yes, they note the entire motorcycle is being recalled.  "KTM North America Recalls KTM and Husaberg Motorcycles Due to Crash Hazard" or "Competition/Closed Course and Enduro Motorcycles."

=

If you think you have or know someone who does have these products, I suggest headed over to the CPSC site (Consumer Product Safety Commission) and if you don't see one of these recalls right there on the front page, use their search function, looking for the product name.

I've included more grievous issues or more prevalently sold/distributed issues.  I want my readers coming back in one piece and healthy!  Yes, all 20 of you!  Alright, there might be 25 of you!

Is Your Droid RAZR M Rebooting Itself? Mine Is


Help!  My Droid RAZR M is Rebooting itself!


The other day I had taken note that my Motorola Droid RAZR M, (on Verizon Wireless), seemed to be rebooting itself.  The first few times I thought maybe I had hit some button somewhere, some how.

Then this last weekend, while I was preparing to go running, while trying to set my apps in motion for the run, the damn RAZR M rebooted itself again.  I was wondering to myself,

"Why the {insert favorite expletive here} would my Droid RAZR M reboot itself right in the middle of me using it?"

It was starting to feel like a windows machine, or my GMAIL account that kicks me out, right in the middle of editing an email, to ask me for my password.

I wasn't thinking too much of it until today (6-3-13) when I was working on my desktop system.  My phone had been sitting on the table for at least 30 minutes, untouched.  No incoming calls, no app checks by myself, no nuthin, then blammo!

All by itself it went into a mystery reboot.

I tossed out an inquiry to Twitter and Google+, hoping to get a reply from a Motorola rep.  (Many companies have reps hovering over these venues of communication and I've had several issues from other orgs resolved this way.)  But nada.

I did a quick web search, and sure enough, it seems quite a few folks are experiencing this issue.

The statement from one Verizon Droid RAZR community go as follows:

"my Droid Razr M has been randomly restarting"  {Check!}

Statement dated May 13, 2013:  


"has been for a couple of weeks now"

{Check!  Ever since a hardware update came out, if I were to relegate this to some change on my phone.}

It's been suggested that an app is causing these issues.  And that running in SAFE mode on the phone would be a good test.

But one user on the bulletin board said,

"Did a factory reset, then phone rebooted while I was in the middle of a call about an hour later. Only apps left on the phone are the pre-installed ones."

Here's my favorite:

"Then on April 23 Verizon pushed a firmware update. It's been unstable ever since , mostly random reboots."

-

This was exactly what I was suspecting, since my phone was working wonderfully since I bought it.  Then the firmware update came along and the mystery reboots started happening, along with some degraded performance issues with my camera, and the screen seems darker outside too.  (Though the screen thing could be my imagination.)

So for now, we have rather hyperactive phones.

Side note: My wife has a RAZR, and after her update, she's experienced a lock up on her device.  We figured out how to fix the frozen power/lock button, but still, it's rather exciting when you're expecting an important phone call, and you find you can't access your phone!

Dang, these updates are getting crazy.  Lemme know if you've had issues with reboots or lockups also.  It would be good to collect some commentary in one place.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

When You Adopt A Pet, Do You Plan On Keeping It?




I am getting to a point where I just don't know what to say.  When I keep reading about people who dump their pets off at shelters because

  • They're too old,
  • Moving,

And other bull*! excuses, I have to wonder what it is about a pet that appeals to people to get one?

If you're getting a dog or cat because it's cute, do you think about how you will deal with this "new family member" through the years or do you just think about the "now?"

It's such a sad thing to see dogs & cats abandoned because they're too old.  Or inconvenient.

How would you feel when you started feeling achy in your joints, started having trouble moving around and your family decides to dump you off in some prison for decrepit people that families no longer want?

Imagine spending ten years of your life with someone, then getting shoved off on some other environment, just because.  And you won't even know why.

These folks, these "persons," these animals come to trust and love you and your care, your protection.

And suddenly, to find themselves in a strange, cold cage when they need you most...  makes you a very selfish, senseless kind of person.

I know I can't change how you live, or how you treat your family members.  But I just had to vent because I think this kind of behavior is so very shallow.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Cheerios Forced To Close Comments On YouTube Ad with Interracial Couple

Cheerios was forced to shut down the comments on their YouTube channel to one of their ads because the interracial couple portrayed pulled in a horrendous amount of hate speech on their channel's video.

The anonymity of the web helped pull some closed-minded folks out of their own closets!

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I choose to not believe that in this day and age, we still have people that hate people because they are different from them and their own lifestyles.  I don't get hating different religions, races or lifestyle choices.  And yet, despite my wanting to believe the best in people, I still get reminders day in and day out.

What ever happened to "live and let live?"  "Let bygones be bygones?"

In one recent example the Boyscouts might be pretending to be tolerant, but they still won't allow gay scout leaders.  And then when they changed their policies on members and their beliefs or lifestyles, parents started pulling their kids out of the organization.

And we're still fighting same-sex marriages.

Seriously, why would someone folks have nothing to do with, actually bother folks into getting riled about them?  Why does it matter that two women or men want to be married?  It's a choice THAT DOES NOT IMPACT ME.  It's a desire and folks should be more understanding. OR AT WORSE, just ignore it and move on.  Why would folks get so vocal about something that goes against their own beliefs, that they have to spend time, money and energy to verbally rally against it?  Let it be and move on.

And now there's this most recent event.

Cheerios has an ad with an interracial couple, and when it they put it on their Youtube channel, they were forced to shut down the comments on the video because of all the closed-minded, racist commentary.

Reactions from parts of our society ranged from the standard, "I want to vomit," "I will boycott," to name calling the company Nazis, troglodytes and referenced "racial genocide" and so forth.

Apparently it continued until the abuse of the comments section forced the company to shut the comments off, but Cheerios left the ad up.

Cheerios later made a statement that, "Consumers have responded positively to our new Cheerios ad. At Cheerios, we know there are many kinds of families and we celebrate them all."

You Go Cheerios!

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Did you know that in 2012, Cheerios had another ad with two black siblings in it that also sparked a similar reaction?

UM... I don't know about you, but I'm guessing some folks walk down the street with rose-colored glasses on and look down at the sidewalk and never notice what's going on around them.

Which is freedom of choice and lifestyle.

I'm guessing they also haven't noticed President Obama yet.

At the moment census reports indicate that around 7% of married couples are interracial, and that number doubles in the co-habitation category.  Those numbers skewing more towards the west coast.

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We all have our own believes.  You have yours, I have mine.  But it's rare that you know what mine are or that it impacts how I treat others.  I know what makes me tick.  I see what makes others tick, and how life evolves, how it works.

In fact I'm always curious when someone believes something radically different, how they think about it.  It's an awesome learning experience for me, to understand the mindset.  Sometimes it enlightens a short-sighted aspect of my own.

So the next time I see a picture of a dog nursing kittens, or ducklings following around a pig, I guess I should scream genocide and the end of all decency as I know it?

No... I call it cute.  I call it life happening.  But that's just me.  I'm weird that way.

But every now and then, events like this Cheerios ad reminds me that I'm not surrounded by that many open-minded folks.  I'm saddened that folks still would rather take the easy route of hate, than the more challenging route of questioning old beliefs.

Oh, and I'm going to buy even more Cheerios products for them being supportive and for not backing down!

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYofm5d5Xdw&feature=player_embedded
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sources: NBC Charlotte FB, which got me digging around and I also found Daily Mail, & NY Post.