• Back in the day before Gmail I used to run my own email server in my house. It was a bit of a pain to maintain, but it satisfied the geek in me. There is a company that is selling an IoT-like email server that costs $500. I’ve never heard of the company and therefore can’t vouch for it, but I find the appliance intriguing. Just found an article on Ars Technica about this product.

    The solution, called Helm, sounds a lot like Pogoplug, which was a personal cloud storage device that is no longer available. The risk of using a product from a small company that might not stay in business to store and access personal data is something one has to take in to consideration.

    Out of curiosity, I looked for the oldest message in my Gmail archive, its from when I first got an account in May, 2004.

  • An Open Letter To the So-Called Exhausted Majority:

    The thing that makes everybody exhausted is when people are speaking and acting out of a need to be right all the time. That need to be right is the thing that I most need to be saved from. When I’m okay with being wrong and letting others teach me something, I’m less exhausting to them.

  • Barbara O’Brien:

    Television producers booked one right-wing religious figure after another, all taking the side of Terri Schiavo’s parents, as if “religion” spoke with one voice on this issue.

    Unfortunately, many assume that how they see Christianity represented by talking heads on TV defines Christianity. One of the biggest mistakes made about religion is thinking that there is one voice on Christian thought, which is why government decisions based on Christian ethics conflicts with the first amendment.

  • David Brooks writes of the Hidden Tribes survey and seems to conclude that our problem is a white civil war between Progressive Activitists and Devoted Conservatives.

    When I scroll down through the results, I am not so convinced, particularly when I read this definition of The Politically Disengaged, which made up 26 percent of the participants.

    The Politically Disengaged (26 percent of the population) are untrusting, suspicious about external threats, conspiratorially minded, and pessimistic about progress. They tend to be patriotic yet detached from politics

  • So those filters in Discover… are those hashtags like #baseball or emoji? Are they automatic?

  • The gist of the articles currently being written about Aaron Rodgers and the Packers is that the Packers are wasting what time they have left with Aaron. Frankly, I had the same complaints about how the Packer’s treated the second half of Brett Farve’s career.

    You have one of the best, if not the best, quarterbacks in the league, but you do not keep him surrounded by good talent. Good receivers, running backs, offensive line, or defense. You put in place a coach who frankly doesn’t appear to have a sense of urgency.

    The Packers were very fortunate to have drafted Aaron and that he was better than they most likely thought when he was drafted. Most teams do not replace one hall of fame quarterback with another hall of fame quarterback. It is not likely they will do the same when it comes time for Aaron to step down, and that means that every season that Aaron plays in which you don’t win a Super Bowl could be another year added to many, many years of not winning one.

  • Are good speakers really an important component for a smartphone? Google’s commitment to dual front facing speakers is a head scratcher. I know it was HTC’s thing back in the day, but if I am listening to audo on my Pixel I am using a headset. If I want to fill a room with sound I will connect to an external speaker using Bluetooth or Chromecast.

  • How much screen time is too much screen time? Looking at the Digital Wellbeing Android app, there were only two days last weekn when my Pixel 2 screen was on for more than an hour. Only three times last week I uinlocked my phone more than 20 times.

    The main problem I see with Digital Wellbeing is that it doesn’t easily show history or averages. You open the app and see your current consumption, but that info is not useful when it is not related to anything. The Screen Time setting in iOS shows averages and how that relates to prior weeks.

    Still, while the information in Screen Time is interesting, it says I pick up my iOS devices (two iPads) on average 42 times a day, I have no idea what that means? Is it good? bad?

  • There is established history of corporations lying about the affects of their productions on people and the world. Why would we think they scrapped that playbook just because they got caught once?

  • Why would you believe a Republican?

  • Still Standing

    We saw Elton John last night for the first and last time, as this is his farewell tour and I believe it to be true. The show was fantastic, particularly when you consider that Elton is 71 years old. He played for a little over two and a half hours, with no intermission. After each song he would stand up, acknowledge the crowd as he did a circle around the piano seat, take a drink of water, sit down and launch into another song.

    I’ve never seen a musical act with so much percussion. Two full drum sets, three drummers, including tympani, bells, and tambourine. The dude playing the tambourine, which was well miced, got more video time than the guitars. The act, however, had no cowbell.

    Finally, a couple notes on Little Caesar’s Arena. It was the first concert that we attended at LCA. In an email the day before we were told the arena would open at 6:30 PM and encouraged people to come early, Elton was starting promptly at 8 PM. The arena didn’t open until 7 PM, which was very annoying.

    We had seats in the upper bowl, which frankly were the cheapest seats. The climb to the seats in the upper bowl is pretty steep, and I felt bad for some of thr elderly and disabled who made the climb.

  • Still going

  • Sir Elton John

  • Hands-on with Google’s Pixel Slate

    One advantage the Pixel Slate has over the iPad Pro is the support for micel

  • More Thoughts About The Google Pixel Slate

    Google classifies the Pixel Slate as a Tablet with Google Assistant. Based on my definition of tablets, the Slate is not a tablet, it is a 2-in-1. If you stick to Google’s view of it as a tablet then I stand by my initial impression that the Slate could be DOA.

    My concerns about it are driven by the total cost of ownership. I start with the 8 GB, 64 GB, Intel Core M model that costs $799, and then add a keyboard, either the Google keyboard that costs $199 or the Brydge G-Type that costs $159, making the minimum total cost $958; throw in the pen and that is just north of $1,000. For my money I much rather buy the Pixelbook or any one of the newer Chromebooks than pay $1000 for the Slate 2-in-1. Arguably the Surface Pro 6 is a better option, and it would definitely be better for me because I know I can use a pen with OneNote.

    The Slate does look like a nice piece of hardware, and if you want Android and Linux apps on a 2-in-1 it’s your only viable option, but is that option more appealing than an iPad Pro? Particularly a newer, larger screen, same form factor, smaller bezel iPad Pro? I am skeptical.

  • My Definition Of A Tablet

    I do not think we should define a tablet as a screen without a keyboard, instead a tablet ought to be defined by how it is most commonly used, by which I mean you mostly use it in portrait orientation like one would a notepad of paper or a book.

    In my opinion, a tablet has at least a 7-inch screen and is comfortable to hold and use for long periods of time with the device in a portriat orientation. Consequently devices that claim to be a tablet that have a 12-inch or larger screen are not really tablets, they really fall into a tweener (with notebooks), 2-in-1 category.

    Based on how I use my iPad Pro 10.5, it is more a 2-in-1 because it is mostly used in landscape or when in portraint lying on a desk. By my defintion the only true tablets that I own are the iPad Mini 4 and the Nexus 9. The iPad and it’s 9.7-inch screen is probably the largest screen size for a tablet.

    My tablet use case definition might account for why tablets have not really overwhelmed the market. Apple had great initial success with the iPad, but sales started to taper off until the introduced the Pro line and significantly decreased the price of the regular iPad. The Pro line really fills the 2-in-1 market, while the lower price iPad has gained sales from holdouts who have wanted one the past but found them too expensive.

    Further, by my defintion, the most successful tablet maker is likely Amazon with their cheap 7-inch and 8-inch tablets.

  • Changes Google Needs To Make

    I have a hard time swallowing the $150 price increase between the Google Pixel 2 and the Pixel 3. I know Google can set prices the market will bear, but when I look at the difference I ask myself is the price increase due to higher costs or a desire for a higher profit margin?

    Just about every Android phone that I have owned, from the original T-Mobile G1 to my current Pixel 2, has been either a Nexus or Made by Google phone because I value having the pure version of Android that is directly and quickly updated by Google. Having suffered during my Windows Mobile days of delayed software updates due to OEM timelines, I have tried to avoid such situations.

    I want to keep using Pixel phones, Google seems to want to be in the premium priced smartphone market. What can be done? Google can follow Apple’s lead into that premium market by doing the following:

    1. Continue to support older Pixel phones for several more future releases of Android. Google forced me to by a Pixel 2 because it announced Android 9 will not support the Nexus 6P, which I previously owned. In short Google should not continue only providing two operating system upgrades for their Pixel phones. The latest version of iOS supports five generations of iPhones and Android needs to do the same for Pixel phones.

    2. Keep selling at least two generations of Pixel phones and lower the price of the older generation. Right now the Pixel 2 is still available at the Google Store, but for how long? I think Google needs to keep selling the Pixel 2 until it announces the Pixel 4, which then builds in a lower priced Pixel.

    It seems clear to me that smartphone prices have gone up across the board because Apple increased the price of the iPhone. I don’t like the iPhone prices either, but there is one big difference today between iPhone and Pixel. The iPhone you buy today will very likely be able to run the version of iOS released four years from now, so you don’t need to buy a new iPhone in two years, you cannot say the same thing about Pixel.

    The combination of the $150 price increase, Apple’s practice to support older models of iPhones and selling older models at lower prices has me considering for the first time a switch to iPhone. I value the ability to receive updates direct from the source of the operating system.

    I prefer Android smartphones and I don’t want to switch, so I hope Google will make the changes I describe above. I also need to take a closer look at Android One, which may clean Android with updates from Google at a lower price. The bottom line is that Googe needs to know there is more to providing a premium phone than a price increase, and paying $800 for a phone that will only get operating system upgrades for two years makes no sense.

  • I am confused about the value of the new Call Screen feature that Google plans to add to Pixel phones. I assume the primary purpose is to screen telemarketing calls, but doesn’t the very act of answering the call provide a signal that the number is valid? I was under the impression the best thing to do with telemarketing is to not answer the call.

    Right now, if I get a call that I don’t recognize, which is most, I decline the call. Period.

  • I wonder what the reaction would have been if Obama had campaigned as much as Trump does. Pretty sure Fox News would be all over it. And I wonder how much I as a taxpayer am paying for these campaign events.

  • It must frustrate Detroit Tiger fans to see so many former Tigers in the MLB Playoffs. The Red Sox have three former Tigers playing for them in this game against the Yankees. Not to mention the Red Sox GM, who used to be the Tiger’s GM and then you have Justin Verlander over on the Astros.

    Looks like the it will be Red Sox vs. Astros in the ALCS, with Dodgers vs. Brewers in the NLCS. Both will be good series.

  • I am also not thrilled by the $799 starting price on the Pixel 3. I paid $649 for the Pixel 2, and wasn’t entirely thrilled by that price. Given my use of tablets I have a hard time justifying paying more than $650 for a smartphone. Sadly, Pixel 2 may be my last Pixel phone at this pricing.

  • First reaction to the #madebygoogle event. Meh. I think the Pixel Slate is DOA with a starting price of $599 for a 4GB RAM 32 GB storage tablet when one can by an iPad with 128 GB of storage for $429. The lowest price iPad Pro is $649, which is cheaper than a comparable Pixel Slate priced at $799.

    Given these prices and how the compare with iPad, I don’t understand why Google is even bothering with a tablet.

  • My Flickr Pro account is coming up for renewal and I am wrestling over whether to renew it. The cost has doubled since I first signed up and I don’t think I get double the value. On the other hand, I’ve used Flickr for more than a decade and there is a part of me that wants to see it continue. If the price had remained the same, I don’t think I would be having this internal debate.

  • It strikes me that what Paul wrote about had much to do in opposition to this.

  • Mother Jones:

    The issue made national headlines in 2000, when Republican officials in Florida alleged that thousands of people with felony records were illegally registered to vote and needed to be removed from the rolls. African Americans made up only 11 percent of registered voters in the state but 44 percent of those on the purge list, which turned out to be riddled with errors. After the election, the state conceded that 12,000 eligible voters had been wrongly labeled as ex-felons and barred from voting. That was 22 times George W. Bush’s 537-vote margin of victory over Al Gore in Florida.

    Active voter suppression and the result.

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