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Server updates, out-of-date WordPress plug-ins and a test video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

Tech Friday: A virtual assistant showing a little humor

| January 25, 2019

It won’t be long before virtual assistants end up in our car … question is, which one will it be? (from what I’m seeing as of 2019, it would be Amazon’s Alexa). Currently Amazon has definitely taken the lead in our home as the affordable Echo Dots are now throughout our house. I … well […]

Server problem test post–Blood Moon for January 2019

| January 21, 2019

It has been a morning of computer server problems after updating Certbot on one of my Linux servers in order to keep the Let’s Encrypt certificates updating properly (the email warning below). For customers on Consolidated Printing and Publishing servers, there will not be a problem as the certs are commercial … but for my […]

Tech Friday: Options to subscriptions services raising prices

| January 18, 2019

The recent price increases rumbling through the economy are starting to be felt in the products we all use and have learned to appreciate. One of the services I’ll likely eliminate before the monthly price increase is the streaming service Netflix. We did this once before, but with all the new added content and lack […]

Tech Friday: The best TECH life-changers in the last couple years

| January 11, 2019

The Amazon Echo in Kitchen/Great Room and the new Echo Dot 3rd Gen in my workshop Not a day goes by without Amazon’s Echo devices doing something for us in our home … and it is only a matter of time before “she” (Alexa) will be assisting me in the car too. It is almost […]

How hot is too hot for a Late 2012 Apple iMac 3.4GHz Core i7?

| January 8, 2019

No matter who you talk to, running the processor at water’s boiling point is too hot and not healthy for a computer chips. After replacing my iMac’s power supply board … and hard drive … I thought my problems were over, but probably not. It looks like I’m going to have to clean the old […]

Music Monday: Starting with a change for 2019 – Kenny Chesney

| January 7, 2019

After years of posting what I suspect are now considered “oldies” for Music Monday posts, I’ll at least start 2019 with a change. The Christmas season was a chance to listen to holiday music performed by a variety of different artists, and as I have in the past, enjoyed songs by almost all contemporary country […]

Tech Friday: Are Windows registry cleaners hokum?

| December 28, 2018

Those of us who manage our own computers likely do our share of “desktop” cleaning and are regularly warned by our anti-virus software that we need to do more than prevent viruses and hackers from accessing our computers. The current “free” anti-virus companies all push to sell their paid software … and regularly highlight registry […]

Christmas Morning 2018 Time-lapse

| December 25, 2018

Every tech-loving guy needs a subject for a new gizmo … my son-in-law Drew is no exception. He set up his new GoPro-like camera (gift from Katelyn) to time-lapse our Christmas morning. His effort was a little bit too fast for me to watch … so I stretched out the MP4 clip to last almost […]

Added TimeMachineEditor to iMac after Mojave update & issues

| December 23, 2018

After my recent issues with my overheating iMac, I’ve become a lot more fastidious about what software I keep running and tax the quad core 3.4 GHz i7 chip. Frankly I still don’t think the relatively light computing demands asked of this aging Mac are all that much, but Apple has sardined in a lot […]

Tech Friday: What is all the 5G buzz about?

| December 14, 2018

"Hey Rich, should I wait for a 5G phone … and by the way, what is 5G?" One of these days I’m just going to say, "I don’t know," but until then, I bump along pretending I know more than I do … that is until I get in too deep to walk away. This […]

Tech Friday – Finally fixed the slideshow plugin for WordPress

| December 7, 2018

A couple years ago I added Simple Slideshow Manager to MyDesultoryBlog as a way to include a series of photos in a single post. Having "attempted" different approaches that fail in one OS, Browser or device before the above plugin seemed to work … that is, until it didn’t. Having posted to the forums, trying […]

Fees increases ends my Freedompop LTE MiFi endorsement

| November 27, 2018

This may be the end for Freedompop, the low cost wireless "backup" hotspot service I’ve been using for years — at least it probably is for me (started with the Photon back in 2010). For the most part their hotspot service has been a decent value for me while traveling and giving me LTE connectivity […]

Simple iPhone cursor features unknown for years by many users

| November 24, 2018

This really should have been yesterday’s Tech Friday post, but between the holiday with turkey, family and football watching on Thursday and another market drop and oil plunge of another 7.7% to $50.42 on Friday my focus was elsewhere. As for a tech tip, a viral tweet last week caught hold when it really shouldn’t […]

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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