Tech Friday: Growing pains with “person detection” AI at Wyze

| November 29, 2019

With the advent of decent quality inexpensive home security products and cameras, it has never be easier to keep an eye on “motion” that happens around a business or home. The key for most of us is to find the least expensive quality “small” product … in our case the Wyze cams have beat out […]

Tesla unveiled the highly anticipated Cybertruck #video

| November 23, 2019

Tesla’s version of a “pickup truck” is being offered as a “green” alternative to America’s appetite for a consumer truck. Ford continues to dominate with it’s F-150 with Chevy and Dodge nipping at their heels. For some reason, we Americans want a pickup truck even though few use their dressed up beasts to haul anything. […]

Tech Friday: How is your Cyber Awareness?

| November 22, 2019

So … you’ve survived pretty much unscathed after a couple decades of identity theft, credit card fraud and everything moving online … but at some point, you realize that you’ve been lucky. Most of us are pretty lax when it comes to locking down our data, securing our digital access points and devices. So perhaps […]

A little Computer Mouse history … and then some #TBT

| November 21, 2019

Hello World! It is frightening to think that I’ve been using computers for FORTY years and have used and have seen the slow evolution in input devices clustered around a device called the Computer Mouse. So for ThrowBack Thursday #TBT this week, the above is a photo of the original “mouse” in 1964 by Douglas […]

TechFriday: When shopping online isn’t quite right #humor

| November 15, 2019

  While looking to purchase a can of the highly regarded CRC Heavy Duty Corrosion Inhibitor, the shipping can sometimes become an eye opener. Perhaps Amazon Prime shipping is a good thing? (let’s hope this is an Ace Hardware – Google Shopping glitch?)

Are you a Luddite or are you prepared for automation and AI?

| November 8, 2019

We often use the term “Luddite” whenever we refer to people resisting new technology or mechanization. Recently a Wall Street Journal article detailed a timeline of changes as much of the world is faced with yet another wave of robotic automation and artificial intelligence (AI) changing career and taking over many of the jobs we […]

Do improvements in technology change views on abortion?

| October 29, 2019

It has been 26 years since the U.S. Supreme Court decided on Roe v. Wade. In 1973, our nine justices decided that pregnant women should have the right to legally choose an abortion (would it be different today?). Our national debate has continued non-stop for decades, but the call is getting louder to re-address the issue […]

Learning about automotive manufacturing and Digital Buck

| October 22, 2019

One thing about waiting for a start-up car company to build a car is that I’m learning a lot more about the automotive manufacturing process. Nowadays, many of the parts are manufactured by suppliers to the automotive industry and then assembled. The same will be true for the unique Elio Motors three wheel tandem seating […]

Simple mount in BMW X5 35d for Amazon Echo Auto

| October 12, 2019

It isn’t easy to see this little magnetic bracket I made to hold my new Amazon Echo Auto low on the dash of the BMW X5 35d. I opted to make a little aluminum bracket that straddles the pushbutton switch blanks to the right of a few other buttons. It is fastened with automotive trim […]

Tech Friday: Apple iOS 13.1.2 was a challenging update

| October 11, 2019

My conclusion is that some of my most recent Apple iPhone and iPad iOS update problems stem from having older mobile devices and having loads older apps? That said, the upgrade to the mobile operating system known as iOS 13.1.2 (current) did not go smoothly for me. My iPhone 7plus is a few years old […]

Evaluating the Fitbit Versa – three month in and a little #TBT

| October 10, 2019

Previously I mentioned that Katelyn and Drew brought me kicking and screaming (not really) into the Fitbit “wrist device” wearing age and world. I had given up wearing a watch decades ago when I started carrying a pager. Eventually I adopted the Nextel belt holstered cellphone, then pocket folding Samsung i500 PDA phone. The new […]

Tech Friday: Loving the new Amazon Echo Auto in my car

| October 4, 2019

Last week, Amazon authorized my invitation and gave me a promo code for the Echo Auto Alexa device for the car (it was a long wait, but they did discount to $24.99 for invitation holders). For the passed several months I’ve been using an Echo Input (no speaker) in my BMW X5 35d in an […]

Tech Friday: Girl brain vs boy brain and video games

| September 27, 2019

An interesting article this past week’s Wall Street Journal detailed the "distraction" and "attraction" boys seem to have with video games in comparison to girls. Vice versa, girls are far more attracted to social networking (big surprise) on their devices, but are better at juggling their time.  I suspect this is just a new twist […]

Tech Friday: Lenovo, Eye Care and Snipping Tool backgrounds

| September 20, 2019

Today’s Tech Friday tip is something that has changed in recent weeks likely due to an update that is suppose to make reading on devices easier on the eyes. Based on lighting conditions, automatic settings will filter out blue light — a lot more when the room is dark. The problem is that this can […]

Tech Friday: Insect repellents and my AfterShokz headset

| September 13, 2019

Just a heads-up for others using AfterShokz bone conduction headphones while doing outdoorsy kinds of things where bug spray is used – DON’T. I love my Aftershokz Bluetooth headphones, most likely because it enables me to hear things around me while still enabling me to clearly hear talk and music. For me, being deaf in […]

Politics and Google – Dr Robert Epstein and Mark Levin #video

| September 12, 2019

No matter your political ideology, everyone who values integrity in our elections and in political campaigns, should be concerned with how information is disseminated and prioritized. Nowadays we depend no a very few sources that we hope are unbiasedly sifting through and helping us search information and news. For the past decade or so we […]

Tech Friday: The overused Hamburger Menu for desktop apps

| September 6, 2019

Perhaps it is just me, but I’m growing tired of the software development trend to make every piece of software resemble a smartphone app. I spend a significant amount of time using a desktop computer with plenty of display real estate, yet apps and webpages are all trying to make their mobile apps, notebook computer […]

Tech Friday: Screen Time and Classical Conditioning

| August 30, 2019

When my granddaughter was here for a week earlier this month, I purposely turn off the phone after noticing that she hears the smallest beep or phone vibration in my pocket then stops what we are doing expecting me to check it. Yikes, are we are teaching 2 year old toddlers that our devices are […]

Tech Friday: Advice on passwords and security breaches

| August 23, 2019

Some excellent and “do-able” ways to maintain reasonable password security in this Lifehacker article: One of the best things about having a solid password is that you don’t have to change it. If it’s strong, unique, and hasn’t been compromised by an attacker, you gain no security benefits by modifying it according to some arbitrary timetable. […]

Our new home Internet Mesh network is up and running

| August 14, 2019

Our current NetGear Nighthawk R7000 router has been exceptionally stable considering the issues I’ve had with cheaper routers and networked devices in the past. I’m pretty happy with it, but in order to get solid coverage, had to add a WiFi Range Extender to cover the detached garage and poolhouse (and yet still have weak […]

Is a little consistency in Amazon delivery too much to ask?

| August 10, 2019

I’m becoming increasingly grouchy over paying for Amazon Prime (now $119/yr) and dealing with various shipping problems that have been popping up. This past year, I have have several shipping issues with Amazon reporting one thing and then delivering another. Usually a delay, in for the most part very impressive delivery speeds, isn’t a life-changer, […]

Tech Friday: Overcoming Paywalls with the help of Pocket

| August 9, 2019

Currently, I pay for a few subscriptions. Some pricey (Wall Street Journal, Barrons, etc) because I avidly read them. Others, like monthly magazines, I continue to pay for and rarely get around to reading, especially online only subscriptions. Several others, I occasionally receive a link or click on one from those annoying “reader apps” that […]

Tech Friday: How safe is data with cloud storage services?

| August 2, 2019

Even if you don’t regularly using cloud storage services (likely your smartphone is), most of us are at some point backing up data from our computers or using services online that store our data on major cloud storage companies.  I’ve personally had a growing concern over the race for quantum computing which eventually will make […]

Tech Friday: Quantum computing and cryptography

| July 26, 2019

The race for quantum computing superiority has been on my mind and in my discussions lately. State actors like China, North Korea and Russia are all running projects sponsored by their governments to be the first to harness such computing power that will make today’s encryption nearly worthless. Here in the US, our biggest tech […]

Tech Friday: Photo manipulation is disturbing and creepy #faceapp

| July 19, 2019

Disturbing and “creepy” (as Katelyn messaged) … although I don’t mind looking a bit younger. 😉   Photoshop in the old days was fun to play around with, but nowadays, video and photo manipulation is beginning to frighten me. Taylor sent me this age-changing photo from our weekend at Put-In-Bay using FaceApp. Although there is […]

Tech Friday: The challenges of policing speech on social media

| July 12, 2019

There are challenges from users and governments facing several of the companies who make money advertising to the millions of eyeballs and the marketing of users personal data. We all want “free services,” but most people dislike the collection and selling of their personal data or having to sift through advertising … especially when it […]

Twitter is a dead bird at the moment …

| July 11, 2019

I tend to use Twitter $TWTR as my daily newsfeed and choice of social media comment platform, but on Thursday afternoon this week, it is not working. For me, it is no big deal, but for reporters and politicians, it is the way they communicate nowadays. It will be interesting to hear what caused the […]

Children are online A LOT, so how do we protect them?

| July 10, 2019

Oh for the good ol’ days when we read cereal boxes in the morning and just wanted the trinket inside or collected box tops while learning “delayed gratification.”   Kids online: ”81% of the world’s children and 92% of US children now have an online presence before they turn 2. In the US, 95% of […]

Technology, communication, parenting and The Lord’s Prayer

| July 7, 2019

As a grandparent, I so enjoyed how technology has been able to keep our family connected. Perhaps it is not unlike remembering my mother talking with her parents daily on the “wired” telephone after we moved “so far away” for back in the day when families often remained in the same neighborhoods and cities where […]

Tech Friday: My Fitbit encourages exercise, including swimming

| July 5, 2019

So far the Fitbit Versa “watch” that I received for my birthday has been great … and I’m using it far more than expected. It has already encouraged me to be a little more active as I work hard to hit the 10,000 step goal each day. Thank you Katelyn and Drew! This past weekend […]

Amazon delivery may be taking a page from Santa Claus?

| July 3, 2019

Our front door security camera picks up the strangest visitors #deer.

Tech Friday: Limiting how much data Amazon Echoes collect

| June 28, 2019

Unfortunately I’ve bought into – or was “gifted” into 🙂 – BUT really enjoy the Amazon Echo smart speaker virtual assistant devices. I know Alexa is “always listening” (as is my cellphone, iPad, computers, etc) and that they are doing “who knows what”with my data, but probably not always what I want. Obviously, they dissect […]

Finally joining the smartwatch and Fitbit wearer club

| June 26, 2019

The plan was to post an update on the terrific 30th (Taylor) 60th (Rich) birthday weekend celebration with the whole family planned by Katelyn on Put-In-Bay last weekend … but I’ve been too busy to get my photos and thoughts together. So this will just be a smallish update highlighting the Fitbit Versa that Katelyn, […]

Call me paranoid, but it feels impossible to secure computers

| June 16, 2019

My good friend Jeff Pitts, a network and IT expert, and most recently IT cybersecurity expert, constantly update me with the latest threats to computer servers. He manages the computers and networks for a Cincinnati-based international company that is constantly under bombardment from hackers. Most of the attacks are directly from China and according to […]

Tech Friday: There is a problem with live GPS rerouting

| June 7, 2019

A pitfall in real-time GPS mapping services is that, although they “can” highlight road construction and closures, they are not always accurate or give appropriate advice for detours or “route arounds.” This was apparent on a 16 hour drive back from Florida (see comment) and more recently for a road closing leading to our development […]

Tech Friday: Your photo apps are making a lot of “facetile” images

| May 31, 2019

If you are using Apple’s Photos app, you’ve probably noticed the software attempts to identify faces of people (not just Apple either). This can be helpful for “you” to sift through photos, but also seems a bit nosy when the app also builds a pile of “facetile” photos on its own. Most people likely will […]

How do you hold your iPhone for video conference calls?

| May 28, 2019

Just a little bit of wasted time this weekend after realizing I need a better way to hold my iPhone when using it for video conferencing and FaceTime calls. In the past I’ve used a little rubberized tape on the edge of ceramic plate that sits under my iMac … … but it was never […]

Server updates, out-of-date WordPress plug-ins and a test video

| May 23, 2019

It is time to work on a few long in the tooth server updates and one of them isn’t compatible with my “old” WordPress video plug-in – it is no longer supported. There are several options that I’m testing both for my site as well as customer installs so am testing one of them with […]

Tech Friday: ZombieLoad Flaw in Intel Chips $INTC

| May 17, 2019

Intel chips are presenting a huge problem for nearly every computer user with chips since 2011. These Intel chips have vulnerabilities that if exploited can be used to steal sensitive information directly from the processor. According to published articles from security experts, "the bugs are reminiscent of Meltdown and Spectre, which exploited a weakness in […]

Internet connectivity issues are challenging to diagnose

| May 16, 2019

After struggling to keep our network and Internet connection alive earlier this month, I started to question my relatively expensive Netgear Nighthawk R7000 router and “way too many” devices were the problem? After resetting everything several times, calling Cincinnati Bell Fioptics (our ISP) and shrugging my shoulders, I left town and instructed Brenda on how […]

Archiving a list to have some fun with our Amazon Echo

| May 4, 2019

We added yet another Echo Dot and so it only makes sense to ask Alexa a few more questions. Here’s list that has been floating around the Internet and so just wanted to archive it on My Desultory Blog.   100 Funny Alexa Tricks for the Entire Family For music lovers: “Rap for me!” “Sing […]

Tech Friday: The Social Media that has become part of my life

| April 26, 2019

Likely I am not alone in constantly reevaluating the pros and cons of participating in social media. I’ve purposely limited my exposure to only a couple of platforms even though I enjoy staying in touch with friends and acquaintances … and generally don’t have a problem with people respectfully debating news and politics. Facebook as […]

All good again as Apple sent a replacement iPhone 7-plus

| April 24, 2019

It may not be the latest and greatest iPhone from Apple, but having one that works sure beats struggling with a microphone that does not. Thankfully staying persistent that the replacement battery service is likely what caused my microphone problem paid off. The local Apple Store may have failed me, but a return call from […]

Tech Friday: VirginMobile and iPhone 7-plus microphone issues

| April 19, 2019

All who have been through computer and cellphone issues know what a headache little glitches can become. For me, ever since having my battery replaced on my iPhone 7-plus back in January, the front facing microphone has not worked. After a couple back and forth evening phone calls with Apple Support, we set up an […]

Small things have turned me away from Ebay and Paypal

| April 12, 2019

The “customer experience” (a marketing buzz-term nowadays) can make or break companies. Some do it right, others fall on their face early in their start-up cycle … and others like Ebay ($EBAY) and Paypal ($PYPL) have employees, customer service departments and management issues dragging their company down … yes, this is going to be a […]

An of branded Smart Home plug fail … so what’ inside?

| April 11, 2019

A Smartthings- like plug that I used with the Amazon Echo virtual assistant failed this past week, so I took it to the workbench in order to diagnose. I suspected that I was not really going to be able to fix it, but was curious as to what what inside anyway (sort of hoping, but […]

Tech Friday: The business practices of telecommunication, cable and Internet providers are ripe for disruptive innovation

| March 29, 2019

It has been a year since I’ve checked my Internet speed since we have not had any problems, but I doubted we were getting the advertised 500Mbps speeds , but then that my internal network problem. Speed aside, there hasn’t been any reason to question Cincinnati Bell’s service (our TV and internet service provider). They […]

The new 2019 iPad Air or the 11 inch iPad Pro?

| March 22, 2019

This is project for work as I wanted to demonstrate to a customer what I was referring to when I encouraged them to add a simple “read a script” podcast channel or simple YouTube video component to their marketing. It is a way to capture audiences who have moved away from reading articles and blogs […]

Tech Friday: Planning on an iPad Pro upgrade in 2019, but …

| March 22, 2019

There is isn’t anything wrong with my current 2014 Apple iPad, it is just getting older as far as technology goes, and is a little sluggish (or so it seems). It is still the single most used tech device that I have … and the reason I’ll likely replace it with another when the time […]

WordPress update to 5.1.1 – testing the Editor Performance

| March 15, 2019

Just upgrading blog to WordPress 5.1.1 and needed a little text copy to try out the new editor (below). It does seem a bit snappier? BTW, did you know WordPress now powers over 1/3rd of the top 10 million sites on the web? Site Health With security and speed in mind, this release introduces WordPress’s […]

Tech Friday and some etymology history of the word Emoji

| March 15, 2019

I enjoy receiving the occasional email on words from Science Diction (Science Friday folks) and this one from the word emoji was a good one. READ the full history here  … or on the archived WaybackMachine LINK

Have a “leaping” great weekend! (testing a new blog tweak)

| March 8, 2019

Animated GIF of Dolphin pod jumping and leaping

Tech Friday: An update on the Samsung Chromebook Pro

| March 8, 2019

Chromebooks are not my preferred devices, but they are excellent for those with more limited computing needs. For the most part, they are relatively inexpensive, easy to update, very reliable and frustration free. They boot/start quicker than most devices and data, apps and setting are easily backed up on Google’s cloud … so as long […]

Tech Friday: The Wayback Machine and Cincinnati Style Chili

| March 1, 2019

This is an unusual Tech Friday post, but after being frustrated this week in clicking a dead link to an article that disappeared after a website was updated, I decided there must be a better way to ensure information, links and websites remained useful … WITHOUT having to archive them entirely on my computers, servers […]

Tech Friday: Simple advice IF you must use a virtual assistant

| February 22, 2019

TechFriday advice for those of us who enjoy using virtual assistants like those from Google, Apple or Amazon: 1. Change the Default Password on Your Wi-Fi Router 2. Set the Voice Lock 3. Decide Whether You Want to Shop By Voice 4. Understand that Privacy Rights in the US Are on the Way – but […]

Such a DEAL – SiriusXM and Amazon Echo Dot 3rd gen

| February 17, 2019

Like clockwork, it was time to either renew or cancel SiriusXM (again). I refuse to pay the month to month rate with them or the very few newspaper/magazine subscriptions I still use that does the same thing. Thankfully I marked my calendar with a notification as to the last day to cancel service … otherwise the […]

Happy Amazon Alexa Echo iHome iAV2B Valentine’s Day

| February 14, 2019

It may be a quirky Valentine’s Day gift, but Brenda tossed our alarm clock of 36+ years into the trash a couple months ago saying, “I don’t trust it anymore.” I was relatively happy to see it go since the “honk, honk, honk” of the alarm was the most annoying alarm ever. Besides, I’ve been […]

It has been interesting reviewing my Ancestry.com DNA results

| February 12, 2019

Having worked on my family tree with Ancestry.com back in 2010 and then ignored returning 9 years later, it has been interesting to look into it again now that DNA testing has grown in popularity. My results came back a few days ago and they were “as expected” (although the map a bit deceiving). From […]

Tech Friday: Do you have a Flickr account with 1000 photos?

| February 8, 2019

Yup … I have over 1000 photos. Once again, the lesson to take to heart is to "control your own data" whenever you can or be blackmailed into new subscription rules or lose everything.  Even more challenging if a company goes out of business or deciding you have infringed on their user policy without warning […]

Perhaps you should get a wireless phone plan in Oregon?

| February 7, 2019

The 2018 wireless phone Tax Foundation report came out in December 2018 and although we may have seen income tax rates drop, wireless phone plans continue to be ripe for the taxman’s pickings. It is shocking to see such a wide rate structure from all the different states (map above) but that doesn’t tell the […]

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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