Archive for August, 2018

Medium is not Facebook

Posted: 27 August, 2018 in Medium, Reading
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(I’ve written before about Medium; you can find the posts here and here.)

But why do I treat it as if it were?

A funny thing happened on the way to my breakup with Facebook. No, I’m not talking about the fact that today, more than two weeks after I told them to delete my account, it’s still active.

I’m talking about the ways I’ve been noticing how Facebook influenced?—?and still does?—?almost every aspect of my life.

Facebook makes it easy to be superficial. Read a friend’s post and like it? Just hit the LIKE button and move on. Between Facebook and the nightly “news,” my attention span has been drastically reduced.

As has my critical thinking.

How I used to read Medium

It was rather like Facebook: scroll down the latest stories, click on an interesting headline, read the story and give it a few claps. Then move on.

But today I realized that isn’t fair to the author?—?or to myself. Reading stories this way is the Facebookization (if I may coin a word) of Medium.

So I’m trying a new way of reading stories in Medium. Oh, I’ll still click on headlines that interest me, or stories my authors I follow, but that’s where things change: I’ll read more slowly, interspersed with sips of tea or hits on my vaper (yes, I finally said “goodbye” to tobacco). And I won’t give it any claps, at least not on the first reading. Yes, I’ll still highlight passages that caught my attention, or that I think require greater comment.

Instead, I’ll add the story to my reading list and reread it later. Maybe that say day, maybe the next, but not until I’ve had time to think about what I’ve read.

Authors spend a lot of time and put a lot of thought into their stories; the very least I can do is give them as much time and thought as they did.

“Technology transfer” means the transfer of new technology from the originator to a secondary user, especially from developed to less developed countries in an attempt to boost their economies.

But in this post, it means “all of the hoops I had to jump through to transfer my iPhone contents to a new iPhone.”

Some Background

My ex, her daughter, and I all have iPhones, for which I am paying. My stepdaughter is in a situation where she can no longer use hers, and so my ex returned it to me so that I can cancel the account and—we hope—no longer have to pay for it.

That was some 3 months ago.

This morning it dawned on me that (1) my 16 Gb phone is always running out of space, and (2) her 32 Gb phone has the amount of memory I should have gotten for myself, and (3) it would make sense for me to start using the iPhone with the greater memory.

And so began my journey through purgatory

Actually, it wasn’t that  bad. Just terribly time-consuming.

I had previously reset the phone, clearing all personal data and returning it to its factory-fresh state. When I put it on the charger to check the battery level, it automagically went into setup mode, the first step of which was updating the operating system to the latest iOS version. No problem—except that it took nearly an hour to complete.

Did I mention that I worked on Apple’s iPhone help desk on the day it was first released? We had had two weeks of intense training about how to handle calls, and how to distinguish calls that could be handled by Apple and calls that should be routed to AT&T—the only carrier originally. We also had no idea what the iPhone even looked like, secrecy was that strict.

Anyway, after 8 hours of handling calls, all of which were of the AT&T variety, only to have AT&T route them back to us, I went home, drank an Irish coffee, had a nervous breakdown—and never went back to the job.

So yeah, I know what frustration  is.

The Next Phase

After the iOS update, it was time to do the same with all of the apps on the new phone. The initial setup had copied over the icons for the apps on the old phone, but none of the applications themselves. That took another hour.

Finally, there was the matter of actually launching the apps and having to key in userids and passwords. That ate up another 30 minutes, because I had to look them all up on the other phone. I mean, who has memorized userids and passwords for all of their accounts?

And What’s My Takeaway From all This?

It’s quite simple: whenever you buy a new device, make sure it has enough memory. Think you need 32 Gb on your iPhone? Get 64. My new iPad was 128 Gb, and I’m already wishing I could have afforded more.

Here’s the rule of thumb when it comes to memory: however much you have is never enough.

Thanks for stopping by.

Robyn Jane

And it’s driving me crazy

Some background

It’s not really new…just new to me. See, when my ex and I were together and I was getting a decent monthly check, we (me, my ex, and her daughter) each got new iPhones. Then her daughter got stupid and ended up in a situation where she’s not going to need her phone for a very long time.

So about 3 months ago, my ex gave it back to me so I could cancel the line and return the phone. Which I still haven’t done.

(I’m not making any excuses, but if you’ve ever suffered the Dementor known as clinical depression, you’ll understand why I haven’t brought myself to return it.)

So all 3 devices were pretty much the same: iPhone 6S Plus. The only difference? I got the one with 16 gigs of memory, while the other two got 32 gigs.

As a result, I’m constantly removing and reinstalling apps from my device.

Then The Lightbulb Lit!

Yesterday I had the brilliant idea of switching phones! I’ll switch to the 32 Gb model!

Before doing so, I figured I’d check the battery level on it. But plugging it into the charger–and since I had already wiped the phone clean and reset it to the original factory settings–as soon as I plugged it in, it went into its start-up mode.

Once I was done with that, it then (automagically) downloaded and installed the latest IOS version…

…which took up the better part of an hour.

If you’re setting up a new iPhone and you already have one, a screen comes up on the new phone. All you have to do is activate the camera on the old one and holding it so that the image on the new one completely fills the screen on the old one.

That triggers the mechanism that copies your settings to the new phone. And once that was done, the new phone asked me if I wanted to restore everything from the recent backup made on the old phone.

Which is what I did, only to discover that only the icons for all the applications and not the apps themselves were restored. So yet another hour was spent as the new phone automatically downloaded the applications (and their data) from the cloud.

Except not all of the data and settings were restored. Several apps required me to go into them and enter my login data. I don’t have an issue with that: after all, it’s a question of account security and they’re just making sure I’m who I say I am.

The problem is that several apps didn’t copy over my settings and preferences to the new phone. So now I’ve got to spend a couple of hours trying to get those apps to function correctly.

Sometimes Technology Sucks

Especially when “upgrading” to a new device. But no worries: I’ve already been singing.

We’ve had a good run, but it’s time to say goodbye. I never used you as an actual writing program; I merely copied what I’d written in other programs and apps and pasted them in to you. So I was only using you as a place to store all my writings.

My first mistake was configuring you to use Dropbox. I wanted to be able to access you across all my devices. But that created a problem: when I launched you, Dropbox had to sync before you would open. And when I’ve got an idea for an article or story, 2 minutes is too long to wait.

So I deleted you from my laptop, after deciding that I’m never going to own a Macintosh, desktop or otherwise.

Instead, I’ve moved all of my files into Evernote.

Why Evernote?

  • Because I can install it on all 3 of my devices—laptop, iPhone, and iPad—and it will synchronize across all 3 of them.
  • Because I can fine-tune my settings to a degree that Scrivener never approached.
  • Because it has a smaller footprint, loads faster, and in general just does a better job of what I want it to do.
  • Because even if I leave my devices at home, I can access it on the web via the nearest computer.

Still, it Hurts

It hurts because Scrivener has been a good friend for the past couple of years. And like any other friend, it hurts to say goodbye.

But nothing lasts forever, right? Just as we outgrow certain friends, so it is with computer applications. And I’ve simply outgrown Scrivener.

An Aside

QUESTION: What’s the difference between an app and a program?
ANSWER: There isn’t any. Software publishers decided that “app” sounded sexier than “computer program,” and the rest, as the cliché goes, is history.

    Cream or milk?

    Posted: 9 August, 2018 in memories, Tea
    Tags: ,

    The older I get the more I find myself agreeing with George Orwell.

    At least, when it comes to tea.

    I was raised to enjoy tea the traditional Irish way: brewed strong, and served with milk and sugar. I grew up thinking that was the proper — and therefore — the only way to make tea. This belief stayed with me through most of my life.

    I felt the first breath of heresy when I moved into my current home. I rent a room in my landlord/friend’s house. I call my room My Lonely Writer’s Garret™.

    Ed (my landlord) is probably the only person I know who drinks as much tea as I do. He tutors private students in French, and whenever he has a student over he makes a pot of green tea.

    Which he always serves sans lait.

    Even when he’s drinking black or herbal tea, he adds only sugar or honey. He thinks that I am a barbarian for drinking my tea with milk.

    I, on the other hand, am of the sure and certain knowledge that truly civilized people adhere to my method.

    Nothing lasts forever

    Very true. Which is why my method has changed. I’ve finally decided to try my tea without milk or cream.

    (An aside: cream is quite possibly the worst thing you can add to tea. The fats in the cream and the tannic acid in the tea do not play well together.)

    This is what Orwell had to say about tea:

    “[O]ne should pour the cream off the milk before using it for tea. Milk that is too creamy always gives tea a sickly taste.”

    Orwell, crotchety old Irishman that he was, also had this to say:

    “Lastly, tea — unless one is drinking it in the Russian style — should be drunk without sugar. I know very well that I am in a minority here. But still, how can you call yourself a true tealover if you destroy the flavour of your tea by putting sugar in it? It would be equally reasonable to put in pepper or salt. Tea is meant to be bitter, just as beer is meant to be bitter. If you sweeten it, you are no longer tasting the tea, you are merely tasting the sugar; you could make a very similar drink by dissolving sugar in plain hot water.” ¹

    My new tastes

    Over the past several days, I’ve been cutting back on the amount of sweetener I add to my tea. I should be completely free from sweeteners by the end of next week.

    The only exception is when I brew a pot of strong Assam tea and add Masala tea spice, thus making what far too many people call “Chai tea.” Chai means “tea,” so “Chai tea” is redundant.

    On the other hand, I live in a country that calls the southern California baseball team “The Los Angeles Angels,” which translates to “The the angels angels.”

    It’s enough to drive a woman to drink.

    Which drink, right now, is a nice cup of Earl Grey. WITHOUT milk or cream!


    ¹ — The Orwell quotes are from A Nice Cup of Tea, by George Orwell. You can read his essay in its entirety at: A Nice Cup of Tea, Evening Standard, 12 January 1946.