Current Blips

Cache dump of very brief thoughts, ideas, and recommendations.

2019-12-04: To all Apple product users, whether happy or not, you need to check out a post on ZDNet titled Why I may dump Apple in 2020, by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes. An easy read excellently laying out all the valid reasons for such a move, which I totally agree with, but I just can’t see myself improving my digital life by jumping to the alternative platforms. Although the financial considerations are very enticing.

2019-12-04: It was indeed a glorious Thanksgiving holiday that lasted four days. I ate like a maniac, breaking as many doctor advisories as possible. The bourbon and Jameson flowed all too often, making for merry times. Paid the price recovering on the fifth day, as I will again, next year.

2019-11-04: There is a new gallery posted at RuCyrious.com featuring art by Josan Gonzalez. The theme is The Future is Now and presents a vision of the artist’s view of where technology is taking us.

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Apps I Use Daily (Updated)

These are some of the Apple IOS apps that help keep an old man organized, on time, and secured.  I basically run my life off my iPhone, and these three apps help.  I have other apps I use daily and will follow up with some of them in future posts, in case they may be of interest to you.

GoodReader PDF Editor & Viewer by Good.iWare Inc
GoodReader 5 was released earlier this year and has a more robust interface, more security options, and other new features which make it well worth the wait. Every computing platform has its “must have, does it all app”, and for IOS, it’s this one. It houses files of all types in a standard folder and file structure, and I can transfer or download any of them to and from my desktops and laptops. I set up a sync arrangement within the app I can run to keep a folder on my iMac identical to a folder in GoodReader. It is a powerful PDF annotator and updater. I use an in-app security option to have all content in the app encrypted at the hardware level (requiring a password, finger print, of facial recognition to get into the app), and selected folders protected by a different password as well. See the app in the App Store and at GoodReader.com for a full list of its capabilities. It’s well worth the $14 one time price.

GoodTask Task Manager by haha interactive
This app manages my ToDo list in a very workable layout. The free version has all the usual functionality of a basic todo app (date and time settings, alerts, repeats, priority, etc) with a maximum of 99 tasks with their settings displayed in a customizable format and sort order. It provides a helpful widget with useful features, and GoodTask can manage multiple lists of tasks. Syncing with other iOS devices and a MacOS version (free) is automatic using the cloud. An Android interface and a web interface is also available. The Pro version ($10 annual subscription) adds an unlimited number of tasks and the option to have calendar events displayed and edited in the tasks list. Keep me honest and check this app out in the App Store or the GoodTaskApp.com for all the details. Feature for feature, I think it’s among the best in class.

mSecure Password Manager by mSeven Software
mSecure was my first full feature password manager for years before I moved to a newer product I used for only 1 year after it deleted a feature I could not run without. This brought me back to mSecure, now an updated and even more feature rich application. Call me naive but the one feature I demand from apps of this ilk is keeping the password database off of the web. With this app I am able to keep the DB local on my network only, encrypted and secured. The app automatically updates shared devices when they start the app if that is needed. All the standard features are available in this app and the interface for adding and maintaining password data is superb. mSecure is supported on Apple iOS, iPadOS, MacOS, WatchOS, Windows 10, and Android, The app has a 30 day free trial to get acquainted, leading to a single $30 purchase price (no subscription). To avoid confusion be sure to use the same account to install the free version to make the move to the purchase version as painless as possible. I strongly advise visiting mSecure.com Features for more information.

Talking to Robots

Recent experiences at trying to get to a blood pumping, lung breathing, skin draped human when I’m trying to resolve an issue with a large corporation have been mind crushing.

I will sometimes succeed when the robot voice answering the call offers numerical choices I can respond to with my keypad, but when they want me to actually speak to them about what I want, this technology all too often leads me to blast profanity, at high volume, that could get me incarcerated.

Sorry. I could not understand you. Please try again.

This morning’s call into my service provider was the best example yet proving we are still in the infancy stages of this technology. The large corporations using it do so to decrease their head count, and look hip. Twice in the first call I was redirected back to the very top of the question and response chain after spending 3 to 4 minutes trying to provide the reason of my call. If the police or federal agents knock on my door sometime today I will not be surprised.

Sorry. I could not understand you. Let’s start over..

On my second call in, I responded to every request for information with a 5 second hold down of my zero (0) keypad button. This finally led to being dumped into a call center, and after a 5 to 10 minute wait (no problem with that, my headset is on and I’m doing other things), I actually got to an actual live person. It wasn’t the right person (my bad for the hold down the 0 ploy), but a nice person who sent my call to the right place in less than a minute, where my issue was resolved in less than 2 minutes by another pleasant person.

I really do try to play nice with the bots when they present themselves, but the technology just isn’t there yet. And when it starts listing the different issues you may be calling about, I find all too often mine is not offered as a selection. I do use online services so I almost always search the target corporation’s web site for an answer on my problem, or specifically where to call.

Suggestions to our Corporate Czars? Back off a little with the reductions in headcount in the customer service area, until the bot voice technology catches up as a quality replacement. And the folks in your company managing the bot technology may need to understand the human interface a little better.

Sorry. I am not working well for you. I will transfer you to Margie. She will help you.

Grumpy Old Men

When all else fails, regurgitate some one else’s work. Another post of memorable quotes, from miserable bastards, past and present. Taken from a book titled Are You a Miserable Old Bastard?, by Andrew John and Stephen Blake, from 2008. My response to their question is that I’m working hard at it every day, and thank them for providing me with training.

I make no judgement on those being quoted, or their noteable targets. You however, should enjoy doing so.


The reason that so many people showed up at his funeral was because
they wanted to make sure he was dead.SAMUEL GOLDWYN (on the death of Louis B. Mayer)


I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.GROUCHO MARX (on leaving a dinner party)


The Beatles are not merely awful, I would consider it sacrilegious to say
anything less than that they are god-awful. They are so unbelievably horrible,
so appallingly unmusical, so dogmatically insensitive to the magic of art, that
they qualify as crowned heads of anti-music.
WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY JR. , Author and Commentator


An outstandingly unpleasant man, one who cheated and stole from
his friends and peed on their carpets.
KINGSLEY AMIS, WRITER (on poet Dylan Thomas)


A conference is a gathering of people who singly can do
nothing, but together can decide that nothing can be done.
FRED ALLEN, Comedian


It seemed the world was divided into good and bad people. The good ones slept better. While the bad ones seemed to enjoy the waking hours much more.
WOODY ALLEN, Comedian


The G in AGA syndrome stands for Grumpiness, midway between the A for Anger that you feel when you are young, and the A for Acquiesense you feel when you realize it’s all gone to hell and there is nothing you can do about it.
STUART PEBBLE, Executive Producer and Writer for BBC Series Grumpy Old Men


Getting Older: An Observation

I’m not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, so it takes me a little longer than most to realize things like this.

I’ve been retired for about 6 years and will be 70 on my next birthday. It’s only recently that I woke up to the fact that the older I get, the more the frequency of people in my current circle of family and friends passing away will increase.

At this time in our culture, this is a fact of life that even modern medicine doesn’t have a significant impact on. You can only get so many miles out of your body.

No, I don’t sit around thinking and worrying about “who’s next”. All I’m trying to say is that it should not be a surprise to me, or you, that as a “senior citizen”, until it’s our end of time the number of memorials, funerals, wakes, and life celebrations attended in a given year will increase. And that some of these events will have more impact than others.

Acknowledging this as I get older, will help to lessen the blow a little. Comforting the family members and friends of the deceased, the ones I know well enough, will be helpful to them, and to me.