Last week I made it known how impressed I was with the windows phone I picked up on the cheap. Last month the company I work for decided they weren't going to manage the phones of users anymore and it was now up to us to get the best deal we could and we would now see a monthly stipend instead of submitting expense reports. This makes total sense and should have happened long ago. This gave me the chance to lock into a deal with a budget carrier and get a Windows Phone, namely a Nokia branded Lumia. I was going to find a 1020 on Craigslist or eBay because of the camera but this phone is 4 years old now and maybe not the best PHONE. What to get in its place wasn't really clear though. The 1520 is still a bit pricy for an unlocked one and there is a rumored new flagship phone coming but I had to make a decision just to get my number into my hands even if I have to find a transition phone. With a little research I came upon the Nokia Lumia 635 with the help of Paul Thurrott's article from August 2014. What a find and thanks to Christmas I picked up one from Amazon for $58.00 plus $35.00 for a 64GB SD Card. For less than $100 I got what I felt to be a great phone for the value. I was right, it is a great value and after a week however I have come to the conclusion that this or any other Windows Phone could never be my main phone. As gorgeous as the UI is, it is the ultimate spy device and there is nothing available in the app store that will allow me to secure it from those who have no business looking into my device. Yes, I knowingly encumbered the phone with a windows account just to experience the integrated services. It's a very seamless and convenient way to connect everything. The things that are missing turned out to be the ultimate deal breaker. I was unable to find (they may exist but not easily found) a way to encrypt the hardware, application equivalents of K-9 Mail (the best Android mail client out there), APG (private/public key manager) and PrivateInternetAccess (personal VPN). I did find Threema for secure messaging but it's quite stripped down so far compared to the Android and iOS versions. I'm OK with starting out in a new environment and finding the cool niche apps within but when the basic security apps aren't there in any way, I have to pass. Not really knowing the truths about Microsoft's supposed enabling of back doors in their desktop software, the mobile platform is far more vulnerable and susceptible of being compromised without the users knowledge. At least on the desktop I can install a fairly secure layer. I'm finally out of the grips of Verizon but for the time being I'll be running with something Android on GSM carrier.
Once in a while I'll drink some of the Kool-Aid and try out one of the advertisers from one of Leo LaPorte's shows on the TWiT network. Most recently I tried products from "Harry's". They sell shaving supplies marketing them as giving the "Smoothest Shave Ever". The other selling point was how inexpensive and high quality the blades were. Wow, that's quite a claim and who could resist, right? Steve Gibson went on and on about them even in unpaid spots (Leo wasn't happy) so I said what the heck and ordered a basic set for my brothers and brothers-in-law around Fathers Day. I got one for myself too and tried it out right away. When I opened it I found a very nice presentation in their packaging. This was definitely packaged as the razor for iPhone/iMac users if the packaging presentation can be ranked. The basic set comes with a razor handle, 3 razor blades, and a tube of very nice shave cream. I opted to get the Truman set with the plastic handle ($15.00/set) because of the supposed slippery feel of the Churchill's smooth metal handle ($25.00/set). I found the grip on the handle to be really good and I found the shave cream to be great. The shave was exceptional. True to their claims it was a great shave but was this the closest I had ever had?? It was AS close but there is still a spot on my left neck that is the failure point for all razors. I have to say that Harry's performed just as well as my Dorco blades/handle using Dr. Bronners Pure Liquid Castille Soap derived from Hemp. The Dorco handle/blade does offer one performance advantage however. I can bash the Dorco razor on the sink as hard as I need to in order the clear the blades from stubble/cream. When I try that with the Harry's razor the blade flies off into the sink. To be fair to Harry's, I have not reported this to them but I'm sure they'll give me another handle to try if I ask. So, which set wins? Well, they both win but I think the Harry's set will go into my travel bag and I'll keep the Dorco set as my every day set. Why? My Dorco razor has a better grip in my opinion, the blades are less expensive (8% in quantity of 16), and we always have Dr. Bronner's in the house. Tea Tree Oil is best for shaving.
And afterwards, a trip to Cook's Dairy for ice cream which always involves the animals.
Nothing like a little bit of target practice to beat the heat. These bull's-eyes are for real. Need to fetch 2 arrows from the woods however.
Got my first QSO in quite a while this evening; a DX contact from Finland
Yesterday I reassembled Katie's old Pitch Back whose pieces had been duct taped together for the last 7 or 8 years. Not much was left of the tape however. The net and frame are both in fairly good shape but the rubber bands that attach the net to the frame had rotted long before I finally stowed the rest. Since the boys are starting to play baseball it seemed like a good idea to see if I could put it back together. I have a handful of bungee ties, you know, the plastic ball that has an elastic loop attached to them, that I used to get the net stretched fairly taut. I need to get another half dozen or so to do the job right. They will give the net that needed extra elasticity that should cause the ball to bounce back farther than it does.
After I got things together yesterday I threw for a few minutes and it was fun except for the slanted ground which made me fall hard to the left after I released each pitch. Today I moved the contraption to the side lot which is quite flat and threw for nearly a half hour - left handed which was even more fun. Katie still has a glove here at the house and luckily it is an over sized softball mitt that fit a bit snugly but as long as I didn't take it off and put it on it worked out well. Now if I can just get the kids' minds off Minecraft long enough to use it.
I spotted this little guy on the kitchen floor last night. At first glance I thought it was the creepy plastic spider ring that floats around the house but as I looked longer at it I could see it was brown and not black.
Sam's first baseball practice was this evening but we're lucky it even came off. It was raining when we arrived but after a short while it let up enough to practice. As expected, 8 and under coach-pitch yielded a diverse selection of players which were further defined by their talents. It was easy to spot the ones who had the natural ability. One stand-out was a young girl who may have been 7. She was one of the smaller kids on the field but she may have been the best. Her hitting stance and follow through was fierce. She had a wicked throw and could catch very well.
Sam did well and we already know some things we'll need to practice. Running won't be one of them however. He streaked around the bases at the end of the practice. He has a super arm and just needs to work on his control a bit. Shortly after we arrived home the light rain shower returned as a pretty intense storm causing me to reset the clocks in the house twice. Just waiting for the sunny warm weather now.
Both kids had soccer games this morning but Sam's was cancelled on account of the field being in bad condition due to the amount of rain we have had in the past few weeks. Griff's team won their game 5-1.
My wife and I went to Ann Arbor tonight to see Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks at the Ark. We were running late because of the kid's soccer games but we managed to arrive at 8:40 for an 8:00 show. I hate arriving late for a concert but that's the way it goes. When we entered we were asked ask which show we were there to see. When I showed the cashier our tickets she told us, "that show was cancelled some time ago". Well you don't say. She told us she couldn't refund the ticket price since they were not bought at their box office but the Michigan Union (where they were purchased) would surely give us a full refund. It's a bit of a shame since I was really looking forward to the concert but we were able to have dinner out and at Sabor Latino which is one of our favorite restaurants in the area.
I called him on the way home but no answer. I sang Happy Birthday for a message.
I took one of my FreeNAS servers from 8.3 up to 9.1 last night using the GUI update. It was as easy as it gets. All you have to do is d/l the binary to your local machine and copy the checksum for that binary to the clipboard. From the FreeNAS web interface navigate to the binary location and paste the checksum into the input box on the screen and click apply The server updates and reboots in about 3 minutes. After all of that I'm probably going to roll the server back to 7.2 however. The jump from 7.x to 8.x involved a major re-write of the server ( I think it also is being run by someone other than the original developer) which added some cool stuff but also takes away features plus makes the distro a resource pig. The new version ships with ZFS support but requires more CPU and RAM resources than my server can supply. It's only an ATOM 1.6 Ghz processor with 2GB RAM. A full blown ZFS installation calls for 8GB RAM to be efficient. Also in 8.x they took away some of the cool extras such s media servers and other add ons. The current 9.1 distro has many of the features available again but they require ZFS to run. Maybe if I build a new NAS I'll plan for the latest but for now, the 7.2 OS runs just fine and is more than adequate.
This is my second attempt to place an enclosure into the feed. I posted a note last night on the list and it got me thinking about the file link from Dropbox that it might be wrong. I was not supplying the public link to the file. So I moved my content folder hierarchy to the PUBLIC Dropbox folder and now the enclosure is being recognized as such. I now have to figure out how to play it in the webpage.
We learned today that we have had the police come to the office six times in the past two weeks because someone/something is dialing 911 and the default number that the Police are getting is our main number. (No it is not our new neighbors. We eliminated that possibility.)
Please be aware of how you are dialing both at the fax machine and on your phone.
We learned today that the phone number they used this time is one of our fax numbers, (949) ###-####.
So, if you are using a fax and dialing internationally, you may be accidentally dialing 911 instead of 011. (On our fax machines do not dial 9 to get an outside line. It won’t work. You only dial the number you are trying to call.)
Or, You may have programmed your phone to dial an international number automatically and done it incorrectly. Delete any programmed numbers on your phone that you may have recently programmed on auto dial.
Finally, if you do accidentally dial 911, PLEASE answer if they call you back and tell them it was an accident. There is a cost to them coming out to us in tying up emergency resources and a dollar cost.
These calls are coming in during the work day, on the evening, and on the weekends. It happened TWICE today.