Group Messaging

I’m hardly a fan of text messaging. Most emotions or ideas get lost in a text. As well, you may inadvertently say or share something you wish you could take back. Texting has all the evils of misunderstood email, only quickly shared and quickly misinterpreted.

But group messaging is far worse.

It’s already bad enough having the regular messaging issues I mentioned. Now you have more people judging you. If everyone is active, sometimes the discussions get jumbled up. A question posed five comments before gets answered, but it could be relevant to the last message. It all becomes so convoluted. Even as simple as asking about getting together becomes a chore.

Humor also doesn’t come across very well in text messaging. In a group setting, suddenly someone could be offended and drama unfolds. Words are feverishly typed and sent. Then a second group message is created to talk about the first one behind someone’s back. More drama.

I just want to live in a simple messaging society of emojis and gifs. Don’t ask me to call though. Talking on the phone was so 25 years ago. Basically, I just don’t want the hassle anymore of deciphering group texts or phone calls.

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Thermostat

A couple of days ago, the heat in our home began to act up. It would either be extremely hot upstairs or freezing cold downstairs. No idea why.

As the temperatures outside drop, so is the main living space of our home. We hit 15° the other day… not the best while winter is approaching. So I have taken it upon myself to figure out how to fix our heating issue.

The last time we had an issue was back in 2013. I had to change out the part that spins to allow water to flow through our radiant hot water baseboards. It was obviously a success at the time. I tried shutting off the breaker and it just resets this and I hear it work. So it must be something else entirely. I figure it’s the thermostat.

This morning I installed a “smart thermostat” called ecobee3. Hopefully I did it correctly. There were so many wire terminals, but I only had 3 wires. It at least turned on… soon we shall see if my family will live comfortably or have to wear numerous sweaters and blankets.

If anyone has used this system or knows about heating and thermostats, I’d love some tips. I love learning new things and becoming more self sufficient in the DIY area.

Always Updating

Anyone who has a cellphone, tablet or computer knows all about “updates”. So we think about it, and postpone it.

Then there is the frustrating moment that your device needs to configure and change settings. You can only ignore them for so long before it feels threatening.

So you update. And wait. And wait. And wait. Then everything pops back on. Shiny and new and nothing like the old software. It forces us to relearn everything all over again.

But we all do it. Partly because we want to, but mostly because we have to. We have to update our software to keep up with the rest of the world. Unless you’re These people still using a Commodore 64. Then you’re totally going to rock, 25 years later. For a brief internet article. But hey, they didn’t update their software.

The Death of Social Media

Is social media dying? One word:

Advertisements.


I am among most people who have been groomed into social media sites over the past few years.  In its infancy it started as using a computer having an identity on ICQ or later on, Messenger.  Advertising began as little ad bars along the top or sides of your message windows.  Easy enough to ignore. Typing took a lot of focus!


Then Facebook boomed. There were no ads, a bit of freedom to share statuses and tidbits of your life.  All you had to do was log in.  Facebook started to allow links to websites, photos, and simple word based games that forced you to log on repeatedly to get further on.  All of it exploded into a worldwide phenomenon. People staring at screens for hours on end, logging in hourly, hoping to connect.


Even as Twitter and Instagram grew as alternative options to Facebook, the freedom to just spend time with online friends soared. Someone out there realized that there was an untapped advertising market.  So now as you scroll through your smartphone, trying to see what’s new with your friends, every third of fourth thing is an ad. 

Much like the way movie theaters know that they can put 20 mins of commercials at the start of a film because they already have “bums in seats”. There was no where to look but directly in front of you. Now, we do it to ourselves.  The amazing computer in your palm spewing advertisements when all you want to know is if your friend had a good birthday the day before.

Social media we once knew is dying. It is no longer “Social”.  At some point, there will be something new and everyone will jump on board because of the lack of initial advertising.  But it too will become a stream of commercials. We need to start calling it like it is:

Sommercial Media

Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram…

One Last Item?

Back to school shopping was completed yesterday. Most of our supplies have been the leftovers from years gone by.  Saving money 101! Don’t throw it out or give it all to the kids at the start of the year! We have found that oftentimes the supplies requested aren’t all being used throughout the year.

We have a cupboard under our stairs that we have named “The School Supply Cupboard” – it’s a very original name. It also looks like it was ransacked and looted. No one wants to clean up, so it’s barfing out the contents everywhere.

We still needed a few things this year from Staples and Walmart. As I entered Staples, I remembered my childhood of back to school shopping. The K-Mart near us would have a list of the schools and the supplies needed to be picked up.  There wasn’t much selection back then- so nearly everyone had matching items on the first day. Sure, some of my fellow classmates had fancy pencils or pencil toppers, but nearly everything was the same. Nowadays there are too many options.  Many being far too expensive.


The last item we needed for our daughter going into Grade 8 was a cellphone. Giving a phone to a child isn’t ideal. But with the amount of after school activities and the difficulty of communication ahead of time, we knew this was a necessity. We had done the same for our oldest daughter when she entered Grade 8. Of course our two year contract was up on her phone as well, so she wanted an upgrade. Both of our daughters each now have an iPhone 7. A better phone than my wife and I at the moment.  My wife originally didn’t want to allow this. But with news that an iPhone 8 was coming out soon, she was ok having a lower model until the release date in a month or two.

These phones were the last big expense prior to the start of the school year. Next week, I’m pretty sure there will be hundreds of more dollars being requested. Ugh. It leaves me to wonder:

Why is free public education so expensive?

Independence Day 2017

As we have done every year, we are watching ID4 as a family. Last year I mentioned the story of how I made my children believe that this film was a documentary based on real events: ID-4. This year I cannot help but feel that if I were to tell my children that now for the first time, they would almost believe it again. 


That’s because there is far too much “Fake News” going around.  And that scares me. My example may seem far fetched, but is it?What if our history books get rewritten?  Or legitimate news articles get buried and erased from existence?  At what point will we as a species completely forget what is real or the truth? Stories handed down from generation to generation and then forgotten or lost. There’s nothing stopping this.

And so we watch on social media.  We watch and interact with one another.  We eat it up. And we yearn for the next story. We spark up conversations about hot topics and buzz words.  Have you heard the term “Flex for the gram”?  That’s what we all do on social media.  We portray the perfection of our lives that we want shown. We don’t share realism.  We share what we think others want to see.  We share our own “fake news”.  I’m guilty of this. I know I am.  I’ve also shared some unfunny and darker stories, but I’ve kept much of it private. I love sharing the adventures of my family.


Tonight as people celebrate Independence Day, my family and I are just hanging out.  A quick dinner in the backyard and the movie on in the theater room. Family time as we start the summer break. Watching this film is our tradition. Laughing at it and pointing out the flaws is so much fun.  On a side note- President Whitmore would be a better man to run the USA at this point in time… if he were real.

Customer Support


About a week ago I wrote about having a Spam issue with my blog: iOS Spam? I received numerous messages from friends and readers taking screen shots of the issue.  This was great for two reasons:

1. It showed me this was a problem with not just one or two people.

2. It showed me that I have diligent readers of my blog.

Immediately after posting that day’s blog, I contacted WordPress and told them the issue.  They responded quickly. At first they suggested my friends try rebooting their phones and using a different browser to read the blog.  Obviously, this tactic didn’t work and my blog continued to have pop up ads preventing readers.  So I contacted WordPress again.


This time they worked on resolving the issue on their end.  To much greater success. I don’t always commend companies or websites because oftentimes I’m just a little voice hardly worth hearing.  But I was rather impressed with how WordPress took the time to help me out and I had a direct responder who must’ve been assigned my case.  

Chrissie- You were very professional and prompt with the responses.  It may not seem like much, but I appreciated the time and courtesy you gave to me.

And to all of those who read my blog on a regular basis- thank you again!  I love writing every day.  I know that it’s usually nothing life changing or world altering, but it’s something I have grown to enjoy doing.  Having readership and excellent customer service just proves to me that I should still keep on writing.

iOS Spam?

Today’s blog post isn’t about anything.  It’s more a test to see if my posts are receiving iOS spam.  I’ve had two people tell me that when they try and read my blog posts that it connects to spam and is unreadable. One was from clicking the link on Twitter, the other was from my Facebook page- only when trying to read on an iPhone. But if you exit and go back, the spam is gone.

That sucks.  But in a era of cyber hackers and a-holes it doesn’t surprise me that even my little blog would get affected. Hopefully I can get WordPress to resolve this issue.  Or perhaps they already are.  

I wonder if this would fix it?


I don’t have much else to add today.  So if there’s ever an issue trying to read my posts, please let me know.  Because maybe the two other people who read them are having the same issues.

Memory Full…

Some of the most frustrating things in life are things that don’t exist.  Computer memory space for example.  I swear that within a year of buying a computer, the space gets filled.


No matter what size storage you have on any given device- it gets filled quickly.  We could have the largest storage on an iPad or iPhone, and it would get filled.  Same with videogame systems.  Our PS3 is maxed out, so is our Wii-U.  Both have been in our possession for years though- so that’s forgivable.  

Over the past couple of days, I’ve been working on managing the storage on all of our devices.  Removing defunct or useless apps.  I’ve deleted the kids’ old homework from years ago that isn’t needed anymore.  I’ve also been trashing numerous duplicate photos.  Even going as far as deleting all downloaded videos in hopes that our computer will run smoothly again.


I don’t know if our computer will run any faster.  I just know that I am able to find files easier now.  It’s as if we just click “save” without choosing a destination on the computer.  We have a 2tb external hard drive and it still has more than half of its storage available. But our 500gb computer is full.  I just want to yell at my family that they don’t need to save to the desktop or create numerous links on the desktop to various file folders. It does not make sense!  


The only thing more frustrating than having to move storage around is trying to re-connect to the internet when you get a new modem or the connection craps out. Or when you forget passwords.  Passwords are the worst.  But that’s a topic for another day.  I need to get back to moving files around now.  Wish my luck in the Matrix.

Before The Interwebs…

A little over twenty years ago, the Internet did not exist the way it does now.  It was a set of BBS dial ups that would disconnect if you had call alert. So the best times to go online was after midnight and before six am.  I had many a late night sharing useless info and code.  But that’s not my point today.


Nowadays we have YouTube and Facebook to share stupid videos and the strangest things that people do. But years ago, Friday night was spent gathered around my television watching a show titled “Weird TV”.  A collection of psychedelic imagery and the strange people of America.  Something that was hidden from view only to show up on late Friday night.  As I said, nowadays everything is shared instantly.  When I first began watching Weird TV, people attending The Burning Man festival were merely a few thousand. That was a good place for the strange and unusual to converge. Now it’s more like a frat party.


The other show I would watch with friends was Mystery Science Theater 3000. Which by the way, I swear was originally called Mystery Science Theater 2000- but I seem to be wrong.  I even owned a t-shirt with Crow on it. He’s my favorite of the robots.  When I worked at the movie theater, we would do private advanced screenings of films. Some friends and I would sit in the very back row and MST3K the films.  We had a blast, and most of the staff also enjoyed our humorous banter.  Recently, Netflix started up a re-boot of MST3K with Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt.  My two favorite celebrity nerds, only one of whom I’ve met and she beat me… at Munchkin.

Here we are on a Friday night, nearly a quarter century later: My plans include watching some Netflix with my wife and children. Probably going to finish another episode of MST3K. I don’t know where the time has gone, but I’m glad I still spend it with people I like.