Turning off Auto-Play of Videos on Twitter and Facebook from your Smartphone

It’s the most annoying thing … you scroll through your feed or timeline, and one of the feeds has a video.  It plays as soon as you scroll to it.  While it is a neat feature, not everyone wants it on by default.  First, it’s annoying, if you are scrolling through it, wasting time, in a doctor’s office.  If you have your phone on half volume, then everyone will hear the video.  Second, it chews up your bandwidth.

So when you read articles from Facebook, it tells you about the obvious disadvantage of it using up bandwidth on your phone.  So why the hell do you have it enabled by default?  You would expect that it would be off by default, and you would opt in, if you happen to be in high bandwidth wi-fi regions.  Not only that, they make it extremely difficult to find the options to disable it.  I guess I should be fortunate that they give you an option to turn it off … but there is no reason why it should be enabled by default, on your mobile phone!

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No $749 is not an affordable phone

Apple is so smug. Here they are, advertising they have these new phones and at an affordable price, $749. What the hell? That is not affordable. A Chromebook is half that price.

Why can’t someone make an affordable phone, less than $500? Is that too hard to ask? All I want is the following

  • Decent camera
  • NFC
  • Bluetooth
  • Headphone jack
  • Removable battery
  • WiFi
  • Run social media apps

Is that too hard to ask for?

A fingerprint scanner would be nice, but why can’t we have this less than $500? While we’re at it, how about something smaller than 5 inches? Something I can fit in my pocket?

If you want a big screen, get an iPad.

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Where Can You Get a $6.75 Ticket to See a Movie?

I didn’t bring my bike with me this weekend, so I had to spend some time away, so I thought I’d duck in to see a movie. Crazy Rich Asians was showing in West Covina, and the web site advertised $6.75. I thought, this must be a typo.

I go there, and yes, the admission is $6.75. Wow, that is amazing. And this is not some second quality flick, this is the best selling movie for the past three weekends. Damn, and the place looks really good too. They have a large courtyard with room for a band. They don’t have anything like this in the Bay Area … unless of course, they close off the entire downtown area.

I hardly ever go see movies, and this prompted me to see movie on consecutive days. Crazy Rich Asians, and Black Klansman. All in all, a great movie seeing weekend.

Oh the movies? Both were excellent. Crazy Rich Asians is pretty important, as it is the first all asian cast movie in about 25 years … last one was Joy Luck Club, which I totally enjoyed. This one was up there too, although it was more of a chick flick, screwball comedy. I could relate to all the weird characters in the wedding (as some of my 1st and 2nd cousins are like that). The backstory behind the mother, and not knowing who the true father is … although that didn’t happen with my family, the story certainly has parallels to mine.

The second move, Black Klansman, is great. It is a bit political, and even though it takes place in the 70s, they do have a bit of it at the end, that reminds us of what happened in Charlottesville, SC in 2017 … basically stating that the same problem is occurring today, so that story is relevant even today.

So that’s my quick review of the two movies. Have a great Labor Day everyone!

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I Can Use Android Pay as an ATM Card

I’ve been using Android Pay for a couple of years, and it’s great.  I regularly use it when I go to the market, and I just pay with my phone.  I also use it at a few favorites, like Chili’s, Subway … I just wish everyone would use Android Pay.  I was thinking … if only I could use my phone as an ATM card, without having to pull my ATM card out.  There was a time, where I forgot to bring my wallet, and I commuted into work.  Since I didn’t have my wallet, I didn’t have money to pay for lunch.

Now, I find that my bank does support Apple and Android Pay.  Sweet!  All I did was go onto my bank app, chose Android Pay, choose my account, and voila.  Now I can swipe my ATM machine.  Very cool!

Since I always carry my phone around, if I happen to forget my wallet, I have a backup.  Sweet!

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Cranking up Those Miles in July

Wow, I guess I had a pretty good month in July. Stuck in the middle was Santa Cruz Mountain Challenge, a good 95 mile ass kicker, but I did keep up with good solid rides. It feels good, and I feel stronger, and to some extent, more fit. I’m able to hang in with the Meetup group, without getting caught up in the back.

782 miles is for to be one of my best months. Felt so good, I signed up for Carmel Valley Double Century at end of August. Now why did I go and do something like that? I guess I need to keep it up

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Santa Cruz Mountain Challenge 2018

The 2018 edition of the Santa Cruz Mountain Challenge was this past Saturday.  It’s one of my favorite organized ride … this is the 4th time I’ve done it.  In years past, it used to start from Scotts Valley, and was set so that you do a base route, then if you wanted to, you can do optional “spurs”, or extra hill climbs.  A few years ago, they moved the start location to UCSC campus, and hence, different featured climbs, and a more traditional ride, with 4 lengths (with no “spurs”).  The latest design is kinda nice, as the later portions of the ride runs parallel to Hwy 1, and you ride along the Pacific Ocean coastline.

What I like about this, is that you can check-in the day prior, in Campbell (for those of us who live in Silicon Valley area, who intend to do the ride).  That’s smart of the organizers, knowing that a bunch of the participants are from the San Jose area.

I treated this a little bit like a double century, where I would wake up really early, and I basically left the house by 5 am, to get to the start by 6 am.  I made sure I spent a minimum amount of time at the rest stops.

Because I started so early, I rode along with the 135 mile riders.  That meant, after going to the first rest stop, as I climb Zayante, I was basically the only one on the road.  Eventually, I would get passed by some of the stronger, faster riders.  It’s different riding Zayante first, which is nice.  At least I didn’t have to do the long slog up the hill with tired legs.

The one obvious benefit of starting so early is that the sun would stay down until at least the first big climb was finished. Actually, last year, it stayed overcast most of the day, but on this day, it did peep out right before we got to Alba, the marquee climb of the day. They made Alba a time trial.

It was interesting, because there were quite a few people that did not treat this like a time trial. Most were taking breaks here and there, taking pictures, stopping at scenic points … I just continued on, even though I know my time would be twice as slow as the top finishers.

During the climb, my Garmin would keep beeping me, because it would lose a GPS signal.  Later, I found out my Garmin tracking was so off course, it didn’t even know I was riding the Alba segment … so my Strava didn’t have an Alba segment.  It’s not a big deal … not like I would be competing against anyone.

When I finally got to the top, I saw my friend Lorri there.  She had been there for a little bit, and I was just trying to catch my breath.  At least lunch was just a couple miles up the road, so there’s that to look forward to.

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They had a pretty nice spread for lunch. I made pretty good time, as it was just after 11 am by the time I got there.

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The ride then went down to the coast, and it was a screaming descent, with 30+ mph speeds going down Bonny Doon. We then hit Hwy 1 north to Swanton Road, where we had a nice little climb (nothing like Alba or Zayante) … then back south on Hwy 1. The next part of the 101 mile route would be to go back up Bonny Doon … the same stretch where we were descending 30+ mph. No way! That’s a little silly, so instead of doing that, I just followed the 76 mile route, where we go straight into Santa Cruz, and then cruise along the Santa Cruz shoreline.

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From here, we made to final grinding hill climb back up to the UCSC campus, and onto the finish.  It’s always that last 5 mile grind to the finish that gets annoying, but glad I made it through.  It wasn’t a full century .. it turned into a 95 mile, 8500 foot climb ride.  It was a fun ride, and I’ll probably do it again next year.

 

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Survived the Excessive Heat Advisory

There was a massive heat wave that hit the southwest, which included all of Southern California.  And guess who decided to visit Southern California during this heat wave … yeah, yours truly.  I figured that since we have the 4th of July off, I might as well extend my time off with a couple extra days to extend to the weekend.  I knew it would be bad when I saw the weather.com forecast to be 108 F in Rosemead, which is where I would stay.

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Well that forecast was a little generous … actually, it got even hotter.  It got to 112 F at the hottest point, and that wasn’t even the hottest in the Southern California area.  The hottest was in Woodland Hills, where it got to 117 F.  Yeesh!

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Needless to say, I didn’t ride on this day.  I actually got into town the day before, and rode around the Rose Bowl for about an hour … but even then, the temp was around 100 F.

Saturday, I did a ride with a bunch of friends, and we started in Tustin, then headed to the coast, then went south to Carlsbad (just south of Oceanside).  It was a cool 82 F on that ride … much better than the triple digit temps forecasted in the valley.  And that was about 10 degrees cooler than the previous day.

We took the train back from Oceanside, back to Tustin.  The Metrolink route goes parallel to the beach, so as you can probably imagine, a number of people were taking the train from the beach back inland.  And yes, Metrolink was crowded.  I guess it’s kinda lucky we boarded with all our bikes in Oceanside, where we did have room to get all our bikes on.  Passengers who boarded a few stops later weren’t so lucky

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It was actually pretty funny … the train conductor was begging people to get onto the train.  In my 10 years of riding Caltrain, I never heard them begging for people to get onto the train.

When we finally got back into Tustin, opening the door, it was an oven … Oooh … we wanted to get back into the train.  Oh well.

I was to drive back the next day … I decided I would leave before 7 am, just so I can beat the heat.  Luckily, the temp never got above 100 while on the drive … at least according to my thermometer.  By the time I got into San Jose, it was in the low 90s.  At least it wasn’t 111 F.

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