Finished reading: If the Church Were Christian by Philip Gulley πŸ“š

Go Cubs Go! First day of MLB spring and the sun is shining.

On paper the Cubs don’t look much better than last season, in fact you could make the case that they are worse. The saving grace is that no other team stands out in the NL Central, so one can claim the Cubs have as good a chance as any to win their division. More and more it looks like the Cubs owners are settled with the one World Series win and now are all about milking a cash cow like owners before.

Today is the the first day of spring. The Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox start spring at 3 PM EST today, and the Cubs have not signed Cody Bellinger. Hoyer has stuck to the plan as I saw it back in November. He did sign a pitcher to fill out the starting rotation, another pitcher for the back end of the bullpen, and a possible starting first baseman. Only way I see Bellinger back in the Cubs uni this season is if he gets anxious and decides to sign a short term, one or two year deal with an opt out to secure work for this season. In other words, Hoyer and Boras are playing a game of chicken.

Dear Google. Please stop being hostile to users by switching Google Assistant with Gemini on Pixel phones. I rely on Google Home routines and because Gemini is not capable of triggering routines while Assistant can, I need to continue using Assistant. You should never replace something in Android with something that removes functionality and not seek the user’s permission to do so. I get that you are excited about Gemini, but if you intend it to replace Assistant then table stakes requirements is that it provides all the functionality of Assistant.

Finished reading: Saving Grace by Kirsten Powers πŸ“šβ€Grace is what makes human coexistence possible.”

Finished reading: Gold from Iron by Triumph Books πŸ“šAs a fellow Yooper, I was cheering for Nick Baumgartner at the 2020 Winter Olympics. While this is Nicks autobiography, it also does a fantastic job of showing readers what it means to be a Yooper.

Retirement practice brought me to Ground Control roasters in downtown Farmington, Michigan.

Public Service Announcement! It’s seven days until the Chicago Cubs spring training 2024 opener. Spring is only seven days away people!

Today I am enjoying my first vacation day, or what I like to call retirement practice, of the year. My company provides the Presidents Day holiday on Monday, so thus I have a four day weekend. Now that the Super Bowl is in February, I wonder why the NFL hasn’t decided to make Super Bowl Sunday be the day before Presidents Day every year, enabling many to have a day off on the Monday after the Super Bowl.

Finished reading: The Amen Effect by Sharon Brous πŸ“š

I installed the Google Gemini app on my Pixel 7a and found that it breaks the ability to initiate Google Home routines/automations via Google Assistant, so uninstalled. Gemini can’t be used as a standalone app, it replaces Assistant.

Day 3,285

Mr. Whipple!

February 8, nearly a new record high but still crazy warm for this time of the year. Forecast for tomorrow is more of the same.

It is very strange to see Michigan Tech Winter Carnival snow statues with exposed grass near by. It’s amazing what they were able to build given the unseasonable warm weather.

I’ve been receiving many “offers” from AT&T lately trying to get us to drop our landline and convert it to AT&T’s VoIP service. My speculation has been that AT&T wants to get rid of landlines as it is probably costing them money, and this article about what is going on in California appears to support that speculation. One of the single biggest problems I have with VoIP is with what happens when there is a power loss. Landlines continue functioning when the power goes down, Internet connections do not unless you have a UPS, and even if you do that could be for a short amount of time. The article states that AT&T already received relief of its Carrier of Last Resort obligation in Michigan. I won’t be surprised if sooner or later we get notice that they are dropping their landline service.

Smart Monitors On Faces

Despite reading more about the Apple Vision Pro, I have yet to warm up to the idea of strapping a headset on to my face, no matter the potential cost of the headset and the utility. I think back to the idea of one using notebook computers in meetings, many think that is rude or at the least too intrusive. While one can clearly take more detailed notes, there is a physical screen between oneself and other meeting participants. In this case tablets are more favorable because they can lie flat on table and be no more intrusive than a pad of paper.

While the Vision Pro does have a pass through mode that enables the wearer to see what is in front of them, it is obvious to others in the room that the wearer’s attention is not fully on them. Anything physically larger than regular glasses is going to send signals to others, just like the use of notebook computers in meetings and classrooms. Consequently in it’s current incarnation the Vision Pro is a very private device.

It’s true that over time the use of notebook computers has become more accepted and it happens now in nearly every meeting and probably every class in college, but that still doesn’t make it right. When Google first released Glass the debates about the social norms for their use started but never ended because the product really never gained acceptance, these social discussions, and probably laws, will need to restart. For example, I think it is worth serious discussion about whether one should ever be allowed to wear the Vision Pro on a plane, which is a place in which ones attention can mean life or death. Most expect Vision Pro to succeed mostly because it is from Apple, but even Apple is not immune to flops.

So, then, the question is at what price point and for what utility will the Vision Pro gain acceptance? Do you spend $1,000 or more on monitor on you desk? Some do, most do not. I think the price is going to have to be closer to $500 in order to generating real sales. I have no doubt that will happen, just like how 4K desktop monitors are affordable and thus dominant in sales. How long will it take for the price to come down, and might that be too long for the Vision Pro to gain acceptance? Money may be on Apple’s side, but we will see whether time is too.

Temperature way above normal for February, makes for a very nice day. More of the same for the upcoming week, but I doubt that Mother Nature doesn’t have a change in store.

Having seen more writing on the decline of local news, I sought out and found a link to an independent news site for the county that I live it. In a suburban area like where I live, I am not sure county equals local, I really would like new relating to my township and the immediately bordering cities. None the less, I checked out the site, and I don’t know whether it’s me or not, but I find the intense amount of graphics on the site to not be very professional. Most “news” sites I see online are loaded with ads and other graphics that make it heard to actual find and read the news, hence they become not worth my time.

Really good, and I think really important, column here by David Brooks in The Atlantic, The Zeitgeist of Doom. I think he correctly puts his finger on what we are experiencing right now in American society, a kind of peer pressure of negativity, that appears to be a badge of honor among both sides of the ideological and political spectrum. I confess to finding myself feeling this sense of doom, and worse the feeling there is nothing to be done. Here is the thing though, our pessimism is helping our opponents and does not actually make things better, it produces lose-lose results . So, not giving into negativity, focusing on being positive, recognizing much of life is better right now than it was 10, 20, 50 years ago, while at the same time being angry that so much more can be improved is an act of resistance.

I think the biggest argument that should be made to the American people is that you are being used. I get the feeling that everything is so bad that it might as well all be blown up, but every crater created by an explosion is eventually filled, so you better beware of what will come after everything is blown up as there are no guarantees it will be better for you! Take the red pill. It’s not good enough to just want change, to just oppose whatever is, we need to be able to know and communicate what is to go into the crater after the explosion. You can be certain there are those with power who definitely have plans for filling the crater.

It’s still morning and my gratitude list is full. Grateful for fresh fallen snow. Grateful I work from home so that I don’t have to drive in the snow for hours. Grateful to be able to walk in fresh snow.

If you know someone living in southeast Michigan today, be kind, they are likely hurting from the crushing defeat of the Detroit Lions to the San Francisco 49ers last night. Only 15 days now until pitchers and catchers report and the first spring training game is 24 days away.

Finally some blue skies and sunshine, if only for a brief moment this morning. A day in Michigan to get outdoors.

Green trees with blue sky above

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Pebble Creek this high. It’s the result of several days of rain and melting snow.