Friday, January 30, 2015

Yosemite 10.10.2

Update (2/3/15).-- Just a note to say the "Show in collections" option in the search results in Safari bookmarks doesn't work. It did in 10.10.1 and Safari 8.0.2.

Original post.-- Well, I updated to OS-X Yosemite 10.10.2 earlier this week and to say it was a whole day adventure resolving some of the issues and discover the small changes Apple doesn't seem to care to tell users, expecting we're discover them.

Well for one the Console window didn't work in real-time from the start. This was a problem earlier this month and reinstalling OS-X 10.10.1 solved it but I discovered a simplier solution. This after reinstalling 10.10.2 and the second time it's hung near the end, leaving the Mac sitting there with a stuck progress bar.

The solution turned out to be shut it down and restart with the command+R option, which is recovery mode where it resolves its own problem. The Console window worked from the start. The problem with it now is that "All Messages" isn't all messages, and you have to check other two links to logs.

So what's different that I noticed, or what wasn't fixed? A word of note that many of these are pet peeves, stuff they had but removed or broke.

When you update to 10.10.2, make sure you do a clean reboot after the installation to reset everything. The installation and boot eats cpu memory and rebooting resets it, but then after rebooting anytime I've learned to always run the purge command to reset the file cache.

Rebooting uses a few gigabytes of file cache, and while it's not necessary to clear it, it doesn't hurt to reset the file cache to a clean start. Also, I check it and often reset it using the purge command after major application installation or updates or anything consuming memory.

As for the issues, for one they didn't fix bluetooth to iPhone series 5/5s and the bluetooth to iPad connects faster. So it's an iPhone software issue since it worked under IOS 7.x on both devices. Somehow I think Apple is ignoring a problem with 5/5s series iPhone to focus on 6 series iPhones, because it started with IOS 8.

Well, iTunes 12.1 is worse for album artwork. It still won't load the album artwork when you open iTunes and now it won't even keep the artwork for more than a few minutes. It moves all but the portion being displayed to file cache and you have to scroll slowly to reload it.

This sucks even worse! Why can't Apple make this a user option to load and keep the album artwork in active memory and keep shuffling it back and forth between active memory and file cache. This is dumb and stupid.

Well, Safari 8.0.3 is better but still can't handle some Tumblr styles when loading and scrolling. It either halts with unloaded windows, or it stalls or stutters when scrolling. This wasn't a problem with Safari 7.  Also, Safari still doesn't autofill some Websites it used to fill in under Safari 7.

So why is Apple progressing backwards? Or is that they simply don't test their applications and leave it to user to report problems or bugs and then only think about fixing them or not? I'm getting more disappointed with Apple with every release.

They chasing bells and whistles and forgetting basics users functions, features and tools. This seems to be the direction their going since OS-X 9 Maverick, like a top of the line Cadillac which looks real good but not everything works.

In addition the spinning rainbow wheel seems a common response to many things using the Mac, along with the fact their apps sometimes just stall for a few seconds before doing anything. This is getting worse with each version of Yosemite.

That leaves the issue now that some of the applications will likely have to be updated for the changes to OS-X (yes, some apps broke or don't work right), so be sure to check the App store, application company's Website, or the application ("Check for updates") option.

Anyway, that's the story so far. 

Barnes and Noble

Update.-- This morning (1/30/2015) I was able to download the 3 books on the Mac. It took a day to fix their problems. Still not good customer service.

Original Post.-- Years ago I was a fan of Borders books in part because the Tacoma, Washington, store was the largest in the Puget Sound and the local Gig Harbor store opened just 3 miles (walking distance) from home. The store has a second level cafe where you could just sit and read or work, and the staff were great.

That store closed, now a Marshalls, and then the Tacoma store closed, now a furniture store, and the Borders and Barnes and Noble (B&N) merged where the only store now exists, although smaller, in Lakewood south of Tacoma, about 20 miles away.

After some reluctance I created an account on B&N, because I don't like Amazon, not everyone in the Seattle area likes them, and I don't like DRM e-books because you can't read them on other readers without their app, unless of course you spend $30 to buy a DRM-removal app, the price of two e-books.

But having just over a dozen books, normally 50-60% of the hardcover or paperback version, I have grown to dislike NOOK and B&N with every purchase. And the one this week was a good example of why they're losing business and shouldn't even exist except they're the last of the big box bookstores.

So I usually go to Seattle, as there are no other large bookstores in the greater Tacoma area outside the specialty and used bookstores except Half-Priced Books which isn't just a volume reseller of common books, which is good if your a voracious reader and want them cheap, but not if you buy other books.

The most often the place I go in Seattle is the University of Washington (UW) bookstore at 45th and University. The Tacoma campus of UW is a good bookstore serving fewer students and the public but isn't very large and doesn't have a large selection of books.

The bookstore is in the same place it has always been which has far less books now, but at least has a wide selection. The next place is Elliot Bay, now in the Capitol Hill neighborhood near Seattle Central College and Pacific University. After that there's a lot of smaller bookstores scattered around the area, but not easy to get to because of the geography and traffic of the Seattle area.

Anyway, back to the point. Thursday I wanted to buy a book on B&N's Website and here's the sequence over the afternoon and evening and into this morning.

First the search engine didn't work. Then the login didn't work. Then the buy option didn't work. Then it did and gave me an order number but the book didn't show up in my library to download. And the NOOK app on the iPad(s) (the original one and an iPad Air) wouldn't sync.

So after those hours I gave up. This morning there was the receipt in my e-mail and the book in my library, but it won't download. It did download on both iPads, but not on the Mac. I have three books now I can't download to the Mac, the "We're experiencing technical difficulties, please try again later."

Like when? After a day I still can't download and read the book I bought. I keep saying I won't buy another book. I'm a fan of real books you can hold, but I also know that's not environment good with the use of paper and all.

But there is a reason for a real book. Studies have found people who read hardcover or paperback books remember and learn more than people who read the digital version of books. My bookcase is full of books, most for research over the years and some I bought out of curiosity and didn't finish.

So digital books are good for casual reading, and with all the e-books in NOOK I can read any in the library whenever I want without finding the real book. But B&N is testing my patience and tolerance to be a customer, and the few times now I buy one, there's always problems with their Website.

So, in short, I wouldn't recommend them unless they're the only ones with the book you want. And while I'll never recommend Amazon, that's your choice for them as they are the biggest in the market. And yes you buy knowing their business model and practices.

Somehow I think there are a lot of readers who miss the days of real bookstores and real books. Despite the politics of the publishing industry and market then, at least you can find and buy almost any book published.

And doing research for another project over the last 7-plus years I found the Internet to be a great resource for old books which you can find anywhere in the world. I've been amazed how many used bookstores have a wealth of old books in almost any subject.

This is important since many small publishers don't make e-pub versions of their books and some less popular long out of print haven't been reproduced in digital format. That's where the used bookstores and the Internet have flourished.

So while I buy new books in digital format, I still search and buy real, original print (not scanned and reprinted) books going back to the 1800's. That's better than any digital book. But yes, I have scanned many of them (public domain or expired copyright) into PDF's and put them on the iPads.

Anyway, "That's my story and I'll stick with it." - Jimmy Buffett

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Flu Shot

If you haven't had this year's flu shot, consider yourself lucky, whether you've already had the flu or not. I had the flu for 2+ weeks last November followed by the intestinal flu which they said is common with a suppressed immune system.

But then I've been plagued with an intestinal infection and flu-like symptoms since then with just brief periods of relief, until this week when my body finally was winning the war waging in my digestive tract.

So I decided, being 65, to get a flu shot anyway to help if any of the variations of the flu finds me. Big mistake. I had the 4-flu types shot and overnight had exactly what the CDC warned people about with the side effects and adverse reactions:

The bold and underlined lines are what I have.

Mild Problems
Several mild problems have been reported within 2 weeks of getting the vaccine:
  • headaches, upper respiratory tract infection (about 1 person in 3) 
  • stuffy nose, sore throat, joint pain (about 1 person in 6) 
  • abdominal pain, cough, nausea (about 1 person in 7)
  • diarrhea (about 1 person in 10) 
  • fever (about 1 person in 100)
Severe Problems
More serious problems have been reported by about 1 person in 100, within 6 months of vaccination. These problems included:
  • blood in the urine or stool 
  • pneumonia 
  • inflammation of the stomach or intestines
I woke up with severe abdominal and back pain, sort joints and a very inflammed digestive tract which has left me with severe constipation. This sucks, and had I researched the shot further I opted this year. My body hurts more now than when I had the flu.

In short, think twice if you want the flu shot. I won't advise against it, but beware your body will likely not like this year's vaccine.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Campaign Spending

Every American, all 330+ million, in this country would have to donate $2.70  or every registered voter would have to donate $5 to any political campaign to equal what two people, the Koch brothers, have set aside, $889 million, for Republican candidates for local, state and Congressional campaigns and for the Republican presidential candidate.

That's what Chief Justice John Roberts and the conservative majority decided is the free and equal right of speech in political campaigns with the Citizens United case. Yeah, two of the wealthiest people in this country can spend nearly a billion dollars, and it may equal or exceed that if necessary, as their voice, their right, and their free speech.

Welcome to the new democracy as envisioned by John Roberts and his brethren justices at the Supreme Court. It's not about an equal voice, it's about how much you want to speed expressing it, meaning money is free speech and corporations are people. 

And we wonder why we shouldn't call the Supreme Court equally corrupt for this decision. They don't see a difference between money and people, equate people and corporations, and political candidates and incumbents for sale to the highest bidders.

They missed the law on this decision and they lack the common sense to realize it and the damage they've done for future elections where voters don't decide, power and money does, and everything is bought and owned by the wealthy and corporations.

The got what they wanted, a permanent class ruling the elections, Congress and the government. We're no better than the governments we criticize for their political corruption. We only make the election and campaign process obvious.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


The choices for the US about Syria boil down to four. 

We can let Iran and Russia, who support Syria, rebuild Syria's military to defeat ISIS, and all the other rebel and militant groups there, and return to the oppressive rule before this started.

We can let ISIS continue it's assault and slow defeat of the Syrian government of President Assad leaving them to decide and maybe control its future. 

We, or the coalition, could somehow defeat ISIS in Syria and return the country to a state of war between the government and all the other militant groups, meaning back to where the civil war started years ago. 

Or we could contine as we and everyone else are doing, and keep our focus on Iraq, including the Kurds in northern Iraq with weapons, training and humanitarian aid but not promising independence, knowing the government and military of Iraq will never be strong enough to defeat ISIS without our money, military equipment and troops.

That's the choices. None good, and all more or less achieving little, if anything, for the people of Syria, but then much of Syria is already destroyed and millions have fled to Turkey and Lebanon, and with little hope or reason to return until it's safe.

And so it really doesn't matter what we do and what all the conservative politicians say we should do, and know won't work or make it worse because there is no good end there, and so maybe it's time to choose the lesser of evils, stability has merit even if it's a brutal government.


If Russia hasn't been and still is supplying the pro-russian separatists in eastern Ukraine with supplies, weapons and arms and moving experienced army commanders and troops into the area in support, the separatists would have long run out of everything and the war would have long been over.

For Russia to argue they're not involved defies the facts and reality on the ground. The Ukrainian military would have long squelched the rebellion, killed or captured all the separatists, and secured the eastern border with Russia had the Russian government not initiated and supported the separatists' war against their own government.

And now we know Russia will continue to aid and add to the separatists to keep things volatile and deplete the Ukrainian military resouces, and we know Russia wants a land route to Crimea through Ukraine. They have deep pockets and the Ukrainian military doesn't unless NATO and neighboring countries contribute to restore Ukrainian soverignity and borders from Russia.

Because that's the real question Putin is showing, how far can he push the European Union and NATO and the U.S. in support of Ukraine, because you can bet he will annex the eastern provinces of Ukraine as he has Crimea unless he is stopped by the Ukrainian government and miitary.

This is about Putin's ego, arrogance and view of Russia. That's what we must fight and we know he will run the Russian economy into the ground to keep going, until something collapses, either the rebellion or the Russian economy. 

The former is achievable with economic and military aid to Ukraine and the latter will happen on its own if Putin doesn't change. Both are achievable to save Ukraine and put Putin in trouble with his own government and people. It's time the EU, NATO and the US step up toward those goals.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


I watched the State of the Union Speech. Lots of great words and ideas, but to the Republicans it was the Seinfeld episode, “Yadda, yadda, yadda….” ad naseum to them. They still are the party of no and now the president is the office of no, both no as in nothing will be done outside of a lot of political noise for the 2016 presidential election. And the American people will continue to suffer an inept, incompetent Congress and a lame duck President. 

And those in Congress wonder why their approval rating is worse than a used car saleman. We can sell or trade-in a bad car, but we can't do the same with Congress until 2016, and like that's going to help? The entire political and election system is corrupt with money, lying news media and campaign ads. We elect them but they're owned by the corporations and wealthy to protect those interests, not ours. And it's both parties and the White House, so we can't expect the Democrats are that much better.

Oh wait, they don't see they're that bad. They actually think the 2014 election was a vote of the people when less than half of the registered voters voted and most the democratic voters stayed home. That election was like those in many of the corrupt governments around the world, bought and stolen. Bought by the wealthy and stolen because the voters decided not to vote, couldn't vote or whose vote was denied.

Welcome to democracy in America today. And the 2014 election was on the precurser to the 2016 election which has already started. Maybe it's time we completely reformed the election system to shorten it, exclude the money, and mandate honesty with incumbent and candidates. Yeah, wishful thinking, but I would ask why not. The system is now completely corrupted and broken. What else can go wrong and what can we do now? 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Google Play Books

Update II (1/13/14).-- The Google app worked as expected intermittently, so I finally decided enough of them. I exported the books I have on Google to PDF's, removed Google Play Books app and imported the PDF's into one of the three best PDF/e-pub apps for iPads, and they open and work faster than Google's app.

Moral of the story, if you can export or convert your Google books to PDF's or other e-pub formats, do so and get them out of Google's control of your books. I'm not sure this is possible since some are DRM-protected, but you can buy DRM removal or other reader apps.

Oh, the better reader apps? Well for one, Adobe Reader is the best. I have 1.5 Gigabytes of files in it on my iPad. After that I highly recommend GoodReader for two reasons but one in particular. Like Adobe, it handles a boatload of files (over 1 GB's to date), but better than Adobe it handles very large files, like maps and images.

GoodReader will handles files greater than 200 Megabytes where many readers will choke or crash. I have several large maps as jpegs it open and displays. The only issues is that you have to move around the map slower than reading to load since it doesn't load the entire map into cache.

The third app is PDFReader Pro. It too will swallow big files (50-100 MB's I have in it). Any of the three are worth getting, free or paid. I split the type of files by catagory with each one since I have over 3 GB's of files, maps and books for research.

Anyway, Google's Play Books is history for me since I don't buy their books and only use them for the historic, public domain books they have on their servers.

Update (1/6/14).-- Google released an update this week for this application, and in short, nothing changed. It still does what it did before, meaning it doesn't work right and you have to remove the app and reinstall it to make it work, and then redownload all the books again. It still sucks, and all I have to say is, "WTF Google?"

Orignal Post (12/26/14).-- Google Play Books has to be the sorriest excuse for an e-pub, er. Google's proprietary book, format for an IOS app ever developed, and worse released on unsuspecting users. Google went out years ago and effectively confisated a lot of old books and documents in the public domain, scanned them and put them on-line for free.

Or so they said, but they didn't tell people, it's their exclusive format, only their apps read it, it's only available by having an account on Google, and using their Website and IOS app. Yeah, a captive audience for books which are historical significant for many people.

They had a good IOS app, but after IOS 8 and their new 2.0 version, the app sucks where it literally doesn't work, forgets all your user settings and preferences - oh wait, it doesn't have them to remember and then forget, and then loses the copy of your books.

The way it works, when it works, is that you have to remove the app, download it again, and reinstall it - remember it's the newest version, and then download all your books again. Otherwise, you open it and only the image is there but the book isn't and it won't redownload until your do what I just said.

And this is Google! I only have 4 historical (early 1900's books), well 5 but one won't download anymore, and it's a pain to use the app. Doesn't Google test their app on real iPad? Like it would be obvious to anyone it doesn't work.

Google has a number of good IOS apps, so what's up with this one? This isn't even something an inexperienced app developer would release. So, Google, when can we expect an upgrade, at least one that works like version 1.x and not this one?

The Media

"You know I watch the interviews with politicians and I can't tell if they're telling the truth or they're just saying something but doesn't mean anything."

"It's not that hard to tell."


"Yeah, everything they say is fiction or lies, the difference depends on the politician."

"So why does the media keep asking questions and keep reporting what they say?"

"Because they're paid to market the politicians to the public, and voters in an election year."

"So why do they do that?"

"Because it sells to the public, and they get paid by advertisers to market politicians for the higher ratings to charge the most for ads."

"So it's about money?"

"Yeah, politicians are owned by the corporatioins and the wealthy who also advertise on the TV stations. The politicians are just the public face of the corporations."

"I can't beleive it that's bad."

"It is when almost all the laws the Republicans introduce in Congress are written by corporate attorneys and lobbyists."

"I thought lawmakers wrote the bills."

"No, they're just the people who introduce and pass them on behalf of corporations and the wealthy.
"So all politicians lie?"

"Not all, there are some exceptions, but they're very few."

"So why do we listen to them?"

"Comic relief."


"Yeah. Everyone knows Congress is broken and they like to see the politicians lie about it, trying to tell the American people they're actually working, and for the people too."

"What a freakin' lie."

"Yeah, but funny too because the politicians actually believe we believe what they're saying. It's all a joke to us and they're oblivious to it.

"So much for our democracy."

"Yeah, but it's hard to tell if it's a tragic comedy or a comic tragedy."

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


I got to thinking (yeah, dangerous thing for my brain) why you can find a contact link on Tumblr. Really, I went through the help and support pages and the other links about the company and such, and there is no easy-to-find link to send e-mail to the company.

My complaint is those stupid pop-ups windows they added, their version of Mr. Clippy, and there is no setting, preference or cookie to set to stop them. They something the company thought is helpful, but is really annoying after the first time, like, "Yeah, I know already, so shut the f..k up."

Well, here's the thought.

When startups get their social media-network Website running they have to rely on users to troubleshoot, debug and improve the experience on their Website. Without them listening to users, they most likely have a very geeky, dump social media-network Website.

Ok, they listen and then fix and add features, and the Website and company grows, as users begin to use it, advertise it and help the company. The people at the company know their product is the result of the users and them.

But at some point the Website becomes so popular the people at the company do two things. First they begin to believe they invented all of it, including all the ideas and suggestions user sent them and the problems the users found with it.

This is where they start to stop listening to users and begin to think they don't need users that the users will just accept what they do. They believe their own view of the popularity of the Website, that it was built by them than the users.

This is where they will begin to annoy and even offend the users by making arbitrary changes thinking they know what users want and will accept because they're smarter and better than the users. At this point they can either crash and burn because they failed and users went elsewhere.

Or they can muddle their way through it with half-hearted fixes and improvements, and slowly but surely change the Website in increments where users will complain but not leave. Sometimes they'll offend the users they'll have to backtrack and change, but not back down from their goal of the change they want.

If they don't crash and burn and users are still there, Then the company and Website will evolve into the next phase when and where users are the product than the source of the company and the Website. This is where the company focuses on the value of the company and the potential for investors or an IPO.

Yeah, it's about money. This is why they started the company and Website, and if they're good and lucky, remembering timing is sometimes everything, eg. Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc., they'll be worth billions to the market, but it's all money based on the value of the users as the product.

This is where the company and the Websites become focused on what they have and know about users, meaning the content of the Website, the users themselves, not for the users but for what they are for the value of the company.

This is why users can build and destroy a company and Website if they want, but won't because they become addicted to the Website, and only if a newer and better one comes along with they leave, eg. MySpace and Yahoo.

Which is my point too besides how users are used initially as the source for the company but becomes the product of the company. Users should remember the value of the social media-nework Websites and the company is you and what you put there.

Users build social media network companies and Websites just like customers build other companies, but the difference is that the real companies sell your products while the companies with social media-network Websites sell you as the product.

Monday, January 5, 2015

A Rule

From the news of the recent suicide of Leelah Alcorn in Ohio (long story, look it up), there has been a lot of opinion said and written about her and suicide, and many people resurrecting the advice to other how to know and then engage them if you think someone is contemplating and even planning suicide.

Well, here's a rule you should always remember! If you are not a professional therapist who has experience with suicide or a suicide counselor:

Do not think you know someone is suicidial and do not engage them in talking about suicide.

You don't know squat when it comes to suicide so don't make matters worse, and you can and often will, if you engage them to talk about suicide, and force them deeper into their own world. You can and likely will push them the wrong way.

The solution is to find someone who does know and talk to them, and then let them decide what to do, and if necessary, engage the person. And don't suddenly start acting and talking differently around them or to them. They're not stupid, and they're likley to react to you the wrong way.

And do not report them to anyone with legal authority. The last thing they want or need is legal intervention where they lose their rights and face legal hurdles. You could be wrong, and they last thing you want is to make a lifelong enemy.

In short, help them by not helping them, but just be a friend, no different than before, just be there whenever they want to be with you. No more. Just be there.

Right Turns

Have you noticed this last year that the minority (by population and popularity) political leaders of the three most powerful countries in the world have taken hard right political turns, China with the rise of the Mao idealogues, Russia with Putin's communist oligarchy and the U.S. with the Christian, conservative, corporate Republican Party. But only the political leardership in the U.S. can change away from the conservative right if the people so choose.