Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Not much of a view, but some musing instead

At least it hasn't snowed any more. In fact it's been warm all day. The streets were bare and wet, mostly. The entrance to side streets is going to be a mess tomorrow.

This morning it was still cold with no melting taking place yet. This is what I see backing out of my driveway. That won't last much longer.

I was still out doing some scraping on the sidewalk and driveway so it melts and dries. It's a bit of a futile gesture, but it's the Canadian thing to do.

Supper is sitting a bit heavy tonight, after a pummeling massage. I went in thinking my left side was tight. Nope. Right ham and around my hip was very tight. Then some odd muscles in my right mid back were tight. I should go stretch, but if I do it will be very gently.

I've been thinking about last weekends run, and Runmeter lied to me even more than I thought it had. Total run was 16.5 K in 2:10, not 17.7 K. That makes much more sense.

So that's another piece of technology that's pissing me off lately. It used to be that the Runmeter GPS produced a bad map only rarely. Now I'm surprised when I get a good one, and I'm trusting it less and less all the time. I looked for alternatives. Irunsmooth was suggested to me, but it needs iOS 7, and no way I'm putting that on my phone. I'm still thinking about getting the Garmin 910XT.

In many ways the iPhone 4 is still an amazing device. At least I'm still amazed. It's beginning to seem slow, but that's not the fault of the device. It's the app builders loading more and more stuff into the apps, which means they run slower on my phone. The same applies to any older device that runs software.

It's all the competition, of course. They want to sell and upgrade more apps, so they make them do more and more. The device makers want to sell new ones, so they keep releasing newer shinier versions. The problem I have is that I have trouble thinking of a device that cost several hundred dollars as being disposable. Which mine would be if I bought a new one, which I don't want to do.

Lately of all things I've been struggling with email. As in my system hoarding it and being pissy about showing it to me. I used to like email, but now I'm not so sure. So much junk. So many emails that I see from other sources. We are being forced to get our bills electronically, so it seems more like work than conversing with a friend.

When everything was in email it was almost easy to find that note. Now, for example, people have been kind enough to share their thoughts about marathon training plans. I was not organized about capturing them. The suggestions live in email, blog comments, twitter DM, text messages, and I think one on Facebook.

Which is another thing pissing me off these days. Facebook isn't anywhere near so much fun anymore. So much of it is just plain stupid now. I wish there was better control over what people share as opposed to their own posts. There are lots of people who's personal posts I like, but deplore their taste in sharing. I don't want to know about any game, ever, and I've pretty well got that glued down. But the shares of the "post this if you love xyz" or the link farming that we can't really control are driving me to visit Facebook less and less. Tomorrow might be the day I don't visit at all. Out of the several dozen Facebook friends, there is one, just one, who reliably reposts content I'm interested in. Thank you J.

Back to email. I'm sure Google would love it if I got all this through them, and they could aggregate it for me. That's just the least of it they would do. We can't even imagine what all they'll do with it, but I'm sure it involves selling advertising. A while ago I came to the realization that Google was actually evil now, and I've been getting it out of my life, as much as possible. Which is a bit of an ironic thing to say, given this platform.

Today I found out that Google bought Nest, the company that makes those high tech home thermostats. I'd been thinking about buying one, but won't now. Who knows what Google will wire into it, and what data they will capture about your home?

I'm trying to get in the habit of turning off the WiFi on my phone when we leave the house. It turns out that information can be harvested from it with you all unknowing. I find that more than just a bit scary.

Every now and then I think about the Matrix movies, and other's of their ilk. Even now we see people so absorbed in their phones they walk into water fountains. I can already get a soundtrack injected into my ears and nobody else would ever know. Once they figure out how to inject a visual signal directly into our eyes, or better yet, the optic nerve, how will we ever know what people are looking at? Why would you ever need to walk around if you're near an internet connection.

Some days I fear for our society.


  1. I agree, Keith - I wonder when the gigantic solar flare happens and wipes out our technology what the world will look like. Will everyone still walk around with her head down, thumbs pushing at unresponsive keys? As a non-cell phone owner (yep, you heard that correctly), I get mighty ticked when I see people not 'participating' in life (real life, not the life on the phone). And that is probably one of the reasons I am very rarely on FB anymore. Maybe once a week - maybe - too much of a time suck to find the posts that really matter.

    Ooh, a little rant first thing in the morning - and I haven't even had my second cup of coffee!!

  2. Wow. The article about stalker boxes was creepy as hell, Keith. Thanks for the heads up.

    Your pictures of snow make it hard to believe we live in the same country. The snow's all gone and it feels like spring here today. It's so nice in fact I think I may skip lunchtime yoga and go for a walk along the waterfront instead.

    And I agree with you about Facebook. The way some folks use it is annoying but it's mostly because they don't understand what they're doing, I suspect, so I try to practice patience and remind myself that lots of people likely don't appreciate everything I post either. Worst case, their posts get de-selected so they no longer appear in my newsfeed.

    Anyway, hope the weather improves out there soon. You've already had a tough winter and it's only mid-January, for goodness sake!


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