It’s amazing how late you sleep without heavy equipment

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The construction going on in the wash near my home is taking a bit of a toll.

In addition to the dust, and that I can’t take the dogs for walks after 7am or before 6pm usually I just noticed that I really sleep late on Sundays.

Sunday is the only day when the steam-shovels and bulldozers aren’t rumbling and growling to life first thing in the morning. The noise of work crews arriving and heavy diesel engines firing up usually starts sometime around 6:30am

My morning coffee is then accompanied with shouts and the ground vibrating as the steam-shovels are wrangled into place for their days work.

It’s easy to forget how quiet and peaceful the mountain is with all the construction.

I will say the crew is doing their best to not be terribly obnoxious but when you have 2 large steam-shovels (an anachronistic term!) at least one bulldozer, a couple of backhoes, and several skip-loaders plus at least 3 large water tankers running up & down a little over 1.5 mile stretch of work area…

Well it’s going to be noisy.

Add to that the intermittent sounds of wood chippers and well you might as well be right in the middle of Manhattan.

It’s on Sunday when we all take a sigh of relief. This morning I woke up late, but it was to the sound of birds in the trees and leaves rustling in a gentle breeze.

Monday it starts all over again. I’m planning to be out of the house for the day and hopefully in the cacophony of a Starbucks before the steam-shovels start moving.

Yes, I still have cash on account at Starbucks. I was disappointed that Starbucks broke with their traditional stance of neutrality over the gun debate. My inclination is to use up the remainder of the money on account and not renew. Its’ not about guns per-se but about Starbucks moving away from their neutral stance on the matter. So I’ll make the decision about continuing to do business with them when the account runs dry.

Until then, they’ll be serving me my damn cafe mocha!

OK I’m Giving up all pretense of…

…Thinking Windows or Android is close to equal to Apple.

As is well known I’ve been using Apple products in my personal life for a long time.

The Mac OS is based on a BSD UNIX core, and it allows you to access it’s UNIX roots if you need or want to. I’ve used that UNIX heritage in my work life, and in my personal computing since 2001.

It’s amazingly convenient sometimes to be able to get the GUI out of your way. 

After jettisoning the Android last week and having all my devices work in one environment I can only say… Damn! Why the hell did I wait so long?

I did Blackberry, I did a couple of Android phones and now the new iPhone. The all Apple combination is really very very nice.

Yeah, Apple has restrictions about some things but if I want to get around those restrictions I can. My iPad, my iPhone, and my Macbook all share data seamlessly. They’re always in sync, and it’s just so damn nice to not have to think about what data is where.

I suppose you could say that I’m a confirmed Apple Zombie now.

I know that I’d probably be just as excited if I was all Microsoft.

A Windows computer, tablet, and phone are supposed to have the same interoperability as what I’m enjoying now with Apple. I’d doubt if Microsoft missed such an obvious connection of devices.

I think that the problem for me was simply forcing an adaptation when I had only one device that was “the odd man out”

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I’m also blown away with the battery life on my iPhone. I’m in a crappy cellular reception area and I’m still only having to recharge the phone about once every couple of days. My Android NEVER got that kind of battery life.

The only glitch has been my dry skin. The fingerprint scanner doesn’t like it if your skin is very dry or in my case dry and a little cut up from working in the yard. I’m using the keypad code about half the time right now. But I understand the problem.

Even Siri is working pretty well on my iPad and iPhone.

I’m excited about the prospect of the new MacOS based on what I’ve seen with IOS7 and that Mavericks looks like it’s got even tighter integration with IOS, I figure my computing will be like magic.

I know, my windows / linux friends are all tossing their cookies right about now.

Those of you that know me all know that computers haven’t been a religion with me for a very long time.

I look at computers, phones, tablets, more along the lines of a pen.

Some folks like BIC, others like Parker, or Cross, and still others prefer Mont Blanc.

I’ll keep my Mont Blanc thank you very much.

I promise I won’t take your BIC away.

Yet another example of poorly thought out projects.

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In an earlier article, the LA Times mentioned in passing that several of the schools that iPads were being distributed at, didn’t even have internet. 

I’m not talking about WiFi, the Times article led the reader to believe that internet wasn’t available at all.

This is a situation where the school district is wasting money right from the get go for Political reasons not for the benefit of the kids.

Now it’s clear that the software is far less complete than the first article led the reader to believe.

Yes, That first article listed a plethora of issues

No interenet at schools

No WiFi

Software that was being rolled out but was incomplete.

Teachers with little or no training on the software, or how to implement it in their curriculum.

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Now this morning there is a report of 71 iPads missing albeit apparently from a pilot program. Followed by this article describing that the students had “hacked” the iPads.

This is not hacking. This is nothing more than kids being handed something that frustrated them. Their natural response was to say “fine I’ll really screw it up!” Then they discovered the hole in the software that let them actually use the device as it was intended to be used, sans incomplete buggy software.

Second, the sites that the children were accessing should have been blocked at the school district infrastructure level.

This is done in corporate America all the time, it’s no mystery and not magic. Sure the iPad would work normally at a Starbucks but who cares? The kids aren’t at Starbucks if they’re in class are they?

Another article in the Times said that the iPads weren’t allowed to be taken off school grounds when did that change?

And then lets not forget that LAUSD figured out that they’re probably going to need keyboards. D’OH!

I’m all for education.

But I’m more for having a plan. Technology can’t and shouldn’t be expected to fix all ills. Poorly implemented technology is worse than no technology.

There’s nothing wrong with a book, or a school library. Or for that matter computers in controlled educational settings.

This debacle is going to cost not only the tax payers in dollars, it’s going to cost the kids in time lost in the classroom fiddling with technology when they should be fiddling with learning.

The software company who’s developing the programs for LAUSD and their contract should be reviewed by an independent group to figure out what was agreed to, what was delivered, and how deadlines were arrived at.

If LAUSD rolled out the software and iPads prior to the originally agreed upon time, then the folks at LAUSD should be replaced.

Sorry, but rampant stupidity just spins me right up…

Government shutdown?

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I’m not sure a government shutdown a bad thing.

I’m guessing that it will have ramifications that are far more wide reaching than any of us know.

If it was just dysfunctional Washington DC that was turning out the lights I’d probably be out in the streets dancing. And not just because I’m a registered Republican. I honestly think i’d be the same if I was a registered Democrat. 

That joy wouldn’t be over the services shutting down, and certainly not that our troops aren’t going to get paid.

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Honestly, how the hell can you expect to retain your military if you’re imposing hardships on their families by not paying those guys salaries? Their families live barely above the poverty line anyway.

Does this mean that the troops are allowed to come home? I didn’t think so.

My happiness would be that the politicians wouldn’t be paid.

I’d be happy that they might experience financial hardships, (like the common folks) and I believe that Republicans and Democrats alike bear the responsibility for this mess.

I think that the Government should shut down from the TOP down, not the bottom up.

Let a congressman miss his house payment or car payment. Let a representative suddenly not be able to pay for his or her child’s ivy league education.

Then we’d see how fast the Republicans and Democrats come together to make the government work.

Sadly, like most management fucks…

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They’ll core out the services before touching their fat assed paychecks, pensions, golden parachutes, and what have you.

I wish that the shutdown would work like a computer.

Reboot,

Drop to basic functions starting with The Constitution

Then have to elect all the politicians again.

Hopefully the people would toss out the idiots that led to the impasse and hire a better group of politicians.

I know that’s not how it’s going to work.

But a guys gotta have dreams…

As if anyone was wondering.

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We made it official on Tuesday.

We adopted the R dog. He seems to like the place and the toys.

On thing that is very nice is that while the S dog tends to leave toys all over the place, the R dog tends to collect them into one place.

Does anyone notice an agreeable symmetry?

Training continues. Walks are less of an ordeal for all of us. The R dog is stronger, his paw pads are toughening up and he’s less mindful of some of the new scents.

He’s trying very hard to please. He still doesn’t like to go out in the back yard without the whole pack being in attendance. This will present a challenge in the wintertime when I’m not going to feel like hiking in the backyard at -20F

In general he seems happy. His elbows are healing too. He had rough skin patches that dogs get from spending too much time on concrete and not enough time on grass, dirt, or other softer more natural surfaces.

As part of the adoption we found out a lot of other stuff we didn’t know about him and that knowledge is playing into who he is and how we train him.

The other half is happy again and enjoys being greeted with a happy woof.

While I’ve been essentially the soccer mom, handling the day to day issues of walks, feeding, poo patrol, and training. The other half is getting to be “The Fun One”.

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Which isn’t to say that the R dog and I don’t have a connection it’s just that I’m not always FUN!

It is nice to come out of the shower and have both dogs guarding me. Even if that means that I have to step over them to get out of the bathroom.

10 Seconds of preaching.

I know that puppies & kittens are cute and cuddly and that you don’t have to undo someone else’s mistakes. But please, before you decide on buying that puppy or kitten in the window, check out your local animal shelter. Contact a rescue organization for the breed of dog or cat that you’re interested in.

There are a lot of sweet, well behaved, and honestly deserving dogs & cats who need good homes.

End of preaching

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The last 2 dogs came from the animal shelter. The R dog came from a retriever rescue. We’re members of that rescue and as soon as the R dog is fully integrated and settled in our household,  we’ll be opening our doors to another homeless dog.

That one we will be fostering, training, and loving, and then we’ll pass him or her on to another loving home.

At least that’s the plan…

But I’m a big ‘ol softie when it comes to animals.

Trying this again….

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Yeah I’m a glutton for punishment. Android malfunctioning chronically, I can’t really wait any longer.

So here I am in line again they claim they still have what I want.

It will be a close thing…

Fingers crossed.

I’ve been trying to think of any way to avoid this but I need a phone. I’m not really looking forward to the expense. <sigh>

Moreover, I’m not terribly thrilled at standing in line yet again.

The hell of it is I know what I want. I’m on a good no contract plan with my carrier and it’s a slam dunk transaction.

Been listening to the rumors and comments being made by the Apple employees. Apparently, part of this long wait is being caused by people that want a new phone, but that haven’t paid their bill.

Before the phone transaction can occur the Apple employee is having to sort out the customers billing and contractual issues.

To that all I can say is really

You’re so hot to trot to get a new phone that you’ve not paid the bill? Which begs the question… 

Can you afford a new bright shiny phone in the first place? How about going to the phone store and buying something that’s cheaper and more in line with your obvious budget constraints?

Then there are the folks from Hong Kong, or mainland China…

You oh ah got unlocked phone? I want unlocked phone. ohh no unlocked phone? Ohhhh.

Basically these folks are here to buy as many unlocked iPhone 5s units as they can in hopes that that will make big profits when they go home with their American booty.

While I was standing there in line from 4:20 to 6:00 before I got in the store, yes in the line pictured above, I saw at least 10 Chinese tourists trying to get into the store to buy unlocked phones which technically Apple isn’t selling yet.

Good for me, that the all the tourists weren’t doing their homework. Technically there are “unlocked” phones available. I bought one. It’s sitting happily on my desk beside my computer as I type this.

I started this blog entry while I was in line. I had my iPad and was hitting the Apple WiFi pretty easily once I rounded the corner of the building.

By the time I got to the door I was going crazy. They had limited quantities of what I needed and there were a lot of folks in the store who were doing “in store” pickups. I just knew with my luck that I’d get inside the store only to have a helpful Apple representative tell me “Sorry, we just sold the last one”

It’s my luck.

But, no. The helpful guy introduced himself and took me into the store. As we walked, I was rattling off the unit, options, and case preferences. That’s when he stopped and I thought “uh oh, here it comes”.

“Man, sorry we don’t have…” 

I was crushed and momentarily started to turn around to leave.

“…That color case.”

My brain reprocessed the information a couple of times.

Crosscheck…

Analyze. Global linguistic analysis routines running.

Confirmed.

Accessing sarcasm database… No sarcasm detected.

————————————————–

Implication… Device in question is still available. 

Conclusion – Case color choice irrelevant, priority is hardware …

Yeah, my internal systems are weird…

“It’s just the case you’re out of?” I ask incredulously.

“Yep, sorry we don’t have black in stock.” He replied with a genuinely apologetic look on his face.

“Screw the case!” I said

He just smiled… ” Come this way, here are the cases we do have in stock.

Remember that if the case says it will fit an iPhone 5 it will also work for the 5s.

I’m going in the back to get the phone for you. I’ll be right back.”

Then he was gone and I was looking at a bewildering array of cases, some of which I was too short to reach.

A few moments later he was back. A shiny white box in hand that said iPhone 5s written in black on the side. I pointed to the case I couldn’t reach and asked for help. He grabbed the case and suggested that we go to a quieter location he’d scoped out.

A few questions, scans, & card swipes later and we’re unboxing my new phone. 

He leads me through the power-up sequence and I’m answering the questions the phone is asking. 

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Then he realizes I’m coming from an Android and grimaces.

“Do you know the login and password for your gmail account?”

“Yes, but there will be no need for that. I spent last Thursday transferring my contacts and calendar to iCloud and verified the transfer here on my iPad.”

He grinned a big grin.

“Great! That will make this easy.”

“I know, I had a plan. The intention was to have a phone on Friday but after standing in line twice I was left in the cold.”

He smiled, “That was a madhouse wasn’t it?”

“Yep. Ahh there are my contacts. Glad I remembered to turn on the WiFi.”

We stood there waiting for the remaining information to come in via the cloud and my new phone churned away happily digesting the information.

At 6:17pm I made a call to make sure that the phone was capable of it’s primary function.

By 6:22pm I was walking to the door with my happy, helpful Apple representative and my bag / badge of honor.

So today it’s about the phone, getting all the fiddly bits of software loaded that I’ll use. Some software I’ll want on the iPad exclusively and others I’ll want only on the phone, still others will be on  both devices.

But… and this is probably most important. I’ll be able to talk on the phone and even answer incoming calls. Wow! what a concept!

The case?

I chose a baby blue Apple case.