...RTFM. (Translation: Read the *%$*ing manual!) I hate manuals – but I refuse to take the rap on this. I had actually looked for a manual and found only a warranty booklet. When did they start making electronic gadgets and not even bothering to write instructions, I wondered?
What is it with manuals?
Why do people hate manuals, anyway? Simple. Most are as incomprehensible as the devices they’re supposed to explain. Why is this? The answer is also simple. They’re not written by me, or by someone like me who knows what people like me – or like you – need to know. They’re written by the product designers, who are so removed from the buying public that they have no idea how to explain their products. Because they’re under 30, the designers can also read the tiny print their manuals come in.
Some people read manuals selectively, usually based on age. My carpenter/handyman who is pushing 60 has no problem reading a manual when he’s assembling a desk or installing a gas stove, but he relies on his kids to explain his cell phone. My friend Denise Terry, who is around my age, says, “I feel like my brain is completely unable to take in what the manuals offer. I do read directions for assembling toys and furniture – but nothing about electronics.”
It’s not that I don’t want to read the manual – I always mean to get around to it – but somehow it never happens. I “play with” the device until I figure it out. Or not.
The "Aging with Attitude" hits me where I live, although I'm not sure how much my attitude has changed over the past 50 or 60 years. My attitude toward computers, since 1959, has been: If you want me to use your damned machine, don't make me become a computer geek.
At that point in my blog post writing, I got far out into the weeds with my history with computers. Let's hold that off for another day, shall we?
For now, I present a list of articles currently available on the website. Perhaps one of them will pique your interest - perhaps not.
Addition of 8/10/2014:
A hat tip to Hattie, of Hattie's Web, for pointing out that I failed to make clear the source of the above comic photo. The photo is from an article, the link for which is immediately above the photo: On the Road: Apps, Sites, Gadgets & Tips.
BTW: I'm impressed that Hattie took the opportunity to drop by, what with the weather that her state (Hawaii) has been enduring. In preparation, the Red Cross had sent a small team of disaster response specialists from the Continental Southwestern states to assist the local leadership team - in case the hurricanes did not downgrade in status before hitting the islands. They flew over before the weather could close the airports. I know this because, Hunky Husband's team (HH leads a team of five from the Continental North Central states) is on alert for the month of August and were notified that they would also be covering the Continental Southwest states while "their" team was in Hawaii. A lot of folks ended up in shelters, and there was a lot of damage; but, the damage was light compared to what was thought to be possible.
BTW: the original of the Google Doodle is, as usual, interactive. One may choose a category of thing and a characteristic. The Venn diagram is then formed to show the intersection thing category ∩ characteristic.
P.S. have a quibble with the illustration of transport ∩ has wings. The Doodle shows only an airplane. Why not a rotor craft? Just because its wings rotate doesn't make them ineligible.
A couple of months ago I posted Privacy at home. In it I told of eschewing the most tech-enriched controller for our new furnace and air conditioning units: Hunky Husband and I chose not to be able to access the controller via internet. Now let's talk about modern cars.
Over the past 20-30 years, cars (and other vehicles) have become more tech-enriched. Since HH drives a 2013 Lincoln MKS and I drive a 2014 Lincoln MKZ, we are up to our ears in tech. (I was told by the car dealer's service manager that my new car contained/used about 20 computers.) One really must take lessons to operate new vehicles; so, I was not surprised to read in a special section of today's newspaper that Wichita State University was offering a non-credit course in "MAXIMIZING THE FEATURES OF YOUR CAR". (You are well ahead of me if you guessed that the offering was actually titled "PHOTOGRAPHY: MAXIMIZING THE FEATURES OF YOUR SLR".)
Our cars will not only parallel park without our controlling the steering wheel, but when using the cruise control, unless I use 11 button pushes to disable the feature, the car calculates the closing rate between me and the vehicle ahead of me. If it doesn't like the answer, it slams on the brakes! (Unfortunately, the car isn't smart enough to realize that a car that is making a turn in front of me will clear the lane in time for me to have sole occupancy, nor does it take into account that the lane to my left is open so that I can make a last-minute lane change if called for. You can understand why I go through the 11 button pushes before engaging the cruise control, for most of my driving.) Our cars also have a stick shaker (well...in a car it shakes the steering wheel) to alert him or me that we are encroaching on the line at either side of our lane.
Of course there is GPS and the entertainment systems that take computer implementation, and the blue tooth synchronization to a cell phone and its contacts listing. (BTW: I turned off the blue tooth in my cell phone to prevent synchronization. The car, crazily, tries and tries and tries to synchronize but can't find my phone.)
Back to my point: I not only do not wish to have our HVAC system available via internet, I don't really want anyone hacking my car.
Slashdot.org led me to an article on Information Week: Dark Reading: Connecting the Information Security Community titled The World's Most Hackable Cars. You've probably seen news items concerning the report. This, excerpted from the article, is unfathomable to me:
The researchers studied in-depth the automated and networked functionality in modern vehicle models, analyzing how an attacker could potentially access a car's Bluetooth, telematics, or on-board phone app, for example, and using that access to then control the car's physical features, such as automated parking, steering, and braking. Some attacks would require the attacker to be within a few meters of the targeted car, but telematics-borne attacks could occur from much farther away, the researchers say.
Not surprisingly, the vehicles with fewer computerized and networked functions were less likely to get attacked by a hacker. "The most hackable cars had the most [computerized] features and were all on the same network and could all talk to each other," says Miller, who is a security engineer at Twitter. "The least hackable ones had [fewer] features, and [the features] were segmented, so the radio couldn't talk to the brakes," for example.
The 2014 Infiniti Q50 would be the easiest of all to hack because its telematics, Bluetooth, and radio functions all run on the same network as the car's engine and braking systems, for instance, making it easier for an attacker to gain control of the car's computerized physical operations.
As many earthquakes as I have experienced in various parts of California, including Loma Prieta and its multitude of aftershockes, it is always a shock when I feel one here in south central Kansas. I reported what I felt to USGS. A few minutes later, USGS posted about the earthquake, as below, with nearly 800 reports having been received concerning this latest earthquake.
I can't seem to get the lower map to display the appropriate heading. The map header should read "Geocoded Map". It shows the positions of the reports received. Note the large number of reports from Wichita (and Derby).
On its website, USGS explains the process they use in evaluating each earthquake. The explanation starts with this introduction:
This web site is intended to tap the abundant information available about earthquakes from the people who actually experience them. By taking advantage of the vast numbers of Internet users, we can get a more complete description of what people experienced, the effects of the earthquake, and the extent of damage, than traditional ways of gathering felt information. And best of all, with your help we can do so almost instantly.
By contributing your experience of the earthquake, either immediately afterward, or whenever it is possible for you to do so, you will have made a contribution to the scientific body of information about this earthquake. You will also ensure that your area has been represented in the compilation of the shaking map. This is a two-way street. Not only will you add valuable information on the extent of ground shaking and damage, but in the process we hope you will learn more about how other communities fared and gain a greater understanding of the effects of earthquakes.
Addendum of 7/24/2014:
From Slashdot.net, with emphasis added to one quote.
I find it harassing enough that so many of the games make sex objects of young women (it's been a while since yours truly has actually worried about this for herself!) Are there games out there that feature female protagonists going after beefcakes? As a non-gamer (heck - I don't usually enjoy playing "games" of any type - electronic or non-electronic), I only know that to which I am incidentally exposed (2nd or 3rd hand).
Posted on 7/16/2014
I'm too beat to put words on paper, but wish to share a couple of Slashdot.org postings.
Stu (of Eunoia) has already seen this video; but, I'm posting it anyway.
The first riders went down Verruckt on Wednesday July 9, 2014 at Schlitterbahn Water Park in Kansas City, Kansas. Video by John Sleezer.
The Mamba- Kansas City,Mo- Worlds of Fun
Last February 1, Stu included a comment in an email to me. He wrote, “BTW, a Kansas City amusement park now has the tallest water ride in the world! Looking forward to reading the ride-report by you and HH this summer :-)”
If you can get Worlds of Fun/Oceans of Fun to shut out the other visitors for a few hours, I’ll arrange to go try out the Mamba ride for you – assuming that’s the ride to which you refer. The first hill takes one 200 feet above ground – which shouldn’t be thrilling to a crop duster! [Note: Although I have hours of flying crop duster planes, Stu has many more hours actually dusting crops! CC]
When our daughters were young, I would take them on the “thrill” rides at the local (now closed) amusement park – to spare their acrophobic father. However, I let their grandparents (in Kansas City) take them to the more crowded venue. I took my nephew on rides at one of the smaller amusement parks in California; but, even when I lived in Florida or California, I did not visit the Disney venues. I’m not bothered by heights or gees, but I am very bothered by crowds. Hate ‘em!
As it worked out, it seems that Stu was not referring to the Mamba ride, (I had missed/ignored "water" in Stu's note - my mind does that sometimes) but to the Verruckt water slide that was scheduled to open in late May. (Opening was delayed for modifications to the slide when the first weighted raft to be sent down it went over the edge. In addition to modifying the slide trough design, a safety net was added that encloses the trough along its length.)
Well...my comments still stand. Either looks like it would be a lot of fun - if they would get the crowds to stay home so that I would have the whole place to myself.
One of the reasons that I use the activity center for swimming and working out is that, as was true today, I am sometimes the only person in the pool, the only person in the women's locker room, AND the only person in the weights room. How fabulous is that!?!
Last Monday, Pergelator posted Soldiers concerning a young woman who was denied enlistment into the US Army because she had a tattoo on the back of her neck. Immediately, I thought of all the tattoos gracing the bodily parts of men in the US Navy. (I was an AMS-1 in the USNR 1980-1986.) Curious, I looked up the US Navy policy concerning grooming of sailors.
To my surprise, the young woman mentioned above would not have met US Navy policy. In BUPERS' (Bureau of Personnel's) Grooming Standards (updated online: 5/21/2014 3:26 PM) we are told (I have changed the most relevant part to red text):
7. TATTOOS/BODY ART/BRANDS. Four Criteria will be used to determine whether tattoos/body art/brands are permitted for Navy personnel: content, location, size and cosmetic.
a. Content. Tattoos/body art/brands located anywhere on the body that are prejudicial to good order, discipline, and morale or are of a nature to bring discredit upon the naval service are prohibited. For example, tattoos/body art/brands that are obscene, sexually explicit, and or advocate discrimination based on sex, race, religion, ethnic, or national origin are prohibited. In addition, tattoos/body art/brands that symbolize affiliation with gangs, supremacist or extremist groups, or advocate illegal drug use are prohibited.
b. Location. No tattoos/body art/brands on the head, face, neck, or scalp. The neck area for purposes of this regulation is any portion visible when wearing a crew neck T-shirt or open collar uniform shirt. In addition, otherwise permissible tattoos/body art/brands on the torso area of the body shall not be visible through white uniform clothing.
c. Size. Individual tattoos/body art/brands exposed by wearing a short sleeve uniform shirt shall be no larger in size than the wearer’s hand with fingers extended and joined with the thumb touching the base of the index finger. Pre-existing tattoos/body art/brands that exceed size criteria are waiverable provided they do not violate the content and/or location criteria.
d. Cosmetic. This regulation does not prohibit cosmetic tattooing to correct medical conditions requiring such treatment. For the purpose of this regulation, cosmetic tattooing refers to medical or surgical procedures conducted by licensed, qualified medical personnel.
As I've never had a tattoo, this part of the regs had never come to my attention. While I was at it, I read through the whole chapter and learned that the regs on wearing of earrings had not changed much, as far as I know. (I did not have pierced ears until 15 years later, but I happen to somewhat remember the regs on the wearing of them.) The Grooming Standards tell us:
6. JEWELRY. Conservative jewelry is authorized for all personnel and shall be in good taste while in uniform. Eccentricities or faddishness are not permitted. Jewelry shall not present a safety or FOD (Foreign Object Damage) hazard. Jewelry shall be worn within the following guidelines:
a. Rings. While in uniform, only one ring per hand is authorized, plus a wedding/engagement ring set. Rings are not authorized for wear on thumbs.
(1) Men. Not authorized while in uniform. Additionally, earrings are not authorized in civilian attire when in a duty status or while in/aboard any ship, craft, aircraft, or in any military vehicle or within any base or other place under military jurisdiction, or while participating in any organized military recreational activities. When considered appropriate by the prescribing authority under article 7201.2, earrings may be prohibited while in foreign countries.
(2) Women. One earring per ear (centered on earlobe) may be worn while in uniform. Earrings shall be 4mm - 6mm ball (approximately 1/8 - 1/4 inch), plain with shiny or brushed matte finish, screw on or with posts. Gold for officers/CPOs, and silver for enlisted personnel. Small single pearl earrings are authorized for wear with Dinner and Formal Dress uniforms.
What I did not recall was that the metals were prescribed for officers/CPOs (Chief Petty Officers) and for enlisted personnel. I would have been authorized to wear silver. Note the inversion of the status of gold versus silver in this case, recalling that in general, silver outranks gold in US military insignia. Never having owned Dinner or Formal Dress uniforms, I would never have been able to wear pearl earrings.
For obvious safety reasons, as a mechanic (AMS-1 is Aircraft Mechanic, Structural - Petty Officer First Class), I wore no jewelry while on duty. This is a photo of a rating badge like the one I wore on short-sleeved white uniform shirts.
Three weeks ago, I re-posted a YouTube video that I had seen at Ronni's blog, Time Goes By: What It's Really Like to Get Older as Older Ladies. (I failed to credit JB Lockhart for having brought the video to Ronni's attention.) I first started reading Ronni's blog over ten years ago. I must say that, as a daily dose, I would get bored with the whole premise of that blog; but, occasionally, I go by on a daily basis to see what's happening with Ronni. You see, she and I struck up an online friendship. We are close to the same age (she's three years the younger), but we've lived completely different lives, so we've had a lot of interesting things to share with one another.
Ronni was a professional in the television industry; thus, she tends to structure her blog by bringing in "experts" on a regular basis (music, health, legal, LGBT have been the subject matter of a few of her, for a time at least, regular contributors.) One of her more popular regular features is her Saturday "column". On Saturdays, Ronni shares "Interesting Stuff" - stuff that has usually been brought to her attention by one of her hundreds, yea thousands, of readers. (I recognize the names of 50-100 of her faithful readers/commenters.) Today was no different. Ronni posted, Interesting Stuff: 5 July 2014.
One of the videos featured in Ronni's current posting is 23 and 1/2 hours. Although I know of no readers of my own blog who "need" this video (everyone in our family is an exerciser), I post the video, and include Ronni's lead-in to it, for my own future reference - to help motivate me. I, myself, exercise; but, I am (and have been for the past 21 years) over weight. (Okay...make that fat if you insist!) Obviously, I need to take a leaf from either of HH's and my daughters' books!
On to Ronni's posting.
I'm acutely aware that I spend a lot of time here since I've lost so much weight [40 pounds - CC] and become an exercise convert reminding you of the astonishing health benefits of moving around a lot.
Not that I want to become a bore about it, this video animation has been sitting around on my computer for nearly a year and it is one of best exercise motivators I've seen. Take a look. From Dr. Mike Evans.