Category Archives: Rants

iTunes LP: Another Reason Why Apple Sucks

Fresh off the announcement that iTunes is going away, I thought I’d review all the songs/titles I have on iTunes.  One that I haven’t played in a long time is the Beatles Box Set.  This included some exclusive videos, as well as all the songs, album covers, liner notes, etc.  So when I go to iTunes app on my Mac, I see the following:

It doesn’t show any tunes.  If I try to play, it takes me to another screen with the album cover, but nothing when I click play.

Then I found out they discontinued iTunes LP.  But I didn’t think that meant they would remove the ability to play.  So they screwed me over … $149 box set, no it’s worth nothing.

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!

Social Media – Use at Your Own Risk

The concept of social media was so innocent when it was introduced to us.  They promoted, hey, let’s produce a platform where you can catch up with all your friends.  Sounds like a great idea, right?  That meant putting lots of personal information on there, like date of birth, phone number, home address …. Whoa, put the brakes on … phone number and home address?

As you all know, Cambridge Analytica was able to extract possibly all of that information, when some survey was posted on Facebook.  I mean this not only allowed people to share information, but it also extracted information from their friends, who didn’t even participate in the survey in the first place.

So I immediately turned off the ability for 3rd party applications to communicate through my Facebook profile (I may actually do the same thing for Twitter and Google Plus as well).  Will that help?  Who knows.  One thing I did notice is that when I tried to share my Instagram posts directly from my phone, it didn’t allow it.  I guess that confirms that it does do the job … but I think it may be a matter of a little too little, a little too late.

I then started to look at my other privacy settings, and more specifically the ads settings.  What I didn’t realize was each application that you click “like” will add to the source of where ads will get posted to you.  Holy shit!!!!  I had probably 20 sites, that was not high on my interest list, that could possibly be posting an ad.  Sheesh … I immediately turned that off.

Next I looked at some of what my friends’ settings are, and wow .. under contact info, I saw that many of them included their home street address and phone number.  If someone just viewed your profile, and saw your basic contact info, they can start spamming you like crazy, calling you, even visiting you at your home.  The default setting is for everyone to see your profile information.  That is bad …

So this is why I cringe when looking back at Social Media.  I’m too deeply into it now, but the first thing I would do is restrict who can access my profile.  Second, remove any personal information that can be spread to cause harm, like home address, phone number, and will probably be removing a few more in the future.

Facebook is not alone in this … Twitter is not quite as bad, but I still have some issues with them.  I chose to require 2 factor authentication for all my Social Media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus).  However, with twitter, the 2nd factor is via SMS text messaging, which means I have to put my cell phone in there.  The cell phone is in my twitter profile.  However, if someone got access to my profile, they can retrieve that info, and start spamming me.  What I really wish, that Twitter will do, is provide 2nd factor via push authentication (like what Google, and WordPress does).  I really don’t like the fact that the 2nd factor code is done via SMS, which can be hacked easily.  I really think push authentication for 2FA is the way to go.  I only wish more apps could adopt this.

Anyhow, enough of my rant.  The point of this blog is to be very leery of the information you share on Facebook, Twitter, or any other Social Media platform.  Now back to doing more house chores.

Grass is always greener on the other side

The title of this blog could apply to anything … but in this case, it applies to Cable TV/Internet.  In the Bay Area, the Cable provider is Comcast.  Yes, we all like to punch Comcast in the gut, complain about how bad their customer service is … and I am one of those … but man, I found something even worse.

I went to visit dad in LA, and in LA, the cable provider is Charter Communications … yeah, the same one who just got FCC approval to buy and take over Time Warner Communications.  Well, when I arrived, I found out Cable TV service is out … not only that, but Internet is also down.  Their phone is also down (but we don’t have that service, so at least we didn’t have to worry about that).

I went to their web site, to see if I can find any outage information.  Oy vey … You can’t even get support for a network problem.  How did I find outage information?  Not on the http://www.charter.net web site … no, I had to go to http://downdetector.com/status/charter-communications.  No, it’s not a Charter web site … at least with Comcast, they have a section on their web site, where you could check for status of the connection, and determine if there is an outage … but with Charter, you had to check through third party sites.

They didn’t even publish a phone number to report a problem.  I had to find the local Charter office, then call a 888 number … not a local number, but a 888 number, where I was able to get to support.  Then, they said they detected a service outage in my area.  However, they don’t allow me to speak to a live person.  Eventually, after about 3 subsequent calls, I found there was a fiber cut, which was affecting multiple areas … constituting most of San Gabriel Valley area.

So go ahead, complain if you want to about Comcast, but be careful what you ask for.  With this small sampling, Comcast is not that bad .. Charter … oof.  I wonder how Customer Service is with Cox, or Centurylink.  Why do cable providers strive to have bad customer service?

Time Change Again … Ugh

Once again, it is time to do the time change again.  I was all used to the morning commute in darkness, and possibly the home commute in the dark as well.  Darkness is not a problem for me, as I’ve got ample lights.

Now, we gotta do another time change, and when I go into the office, I may think I woke up late!  I mean, why do the time change?  Channeling John Oliver, why is this still a thing?

Now this will probably take me a couple of weeks to get used to this. Oh, and then there’s confusion with international conference calls and communications with other countries (like case handovers between US and India).

Pet Peeves of Multi Use Trails

I can only shake my head in disgust sometimes while riding MUT so here is my short list of my biggest pet peeves on MUT(in no particular order)

Talking on phone while riding
Walkers who hug the center line
Riders going > 15 mph
Riders with no lights
Walkers with no lights wearing dark clothes
Yelling on your left and walkers don’t move and you have to squeeze by
Walkers not budging and you have to stop so that reverse traffic passes by
MUT being closed for no good reason (49er game night before)
Riders passing you without calling it out
Riders passing you on your right
Crossing the street on a red light

Please Wear Reflective Clothing on Multi Use Trails

OK, I admit, I am ranting … By the time I get home, it gets dark on the MUT … At least I think it does.  So why don’t more people wear reflective clothing or carry a little light with them?  There are some that wear black, and it’s hard to see them, especially when going thru an underpass. 

Until it does get really dark, I’m going to use blinkers on front and back.  I really don’t like blinkers on the front, but this seems to be the only way to get people’s attention.

I really don’t understand why people walk in the dark, with dark wardrobe.  Can someone explain that to me?  Because of this, riders should really slow down, especially those that don’t have adequate lighting.

Giving the Body a Rest The Hard Way … with a Cold

So I had been riding everyday for a period of time, and it wasn’t like I was training for anything.  I’ve been commuting everywhere, with less and less reliance on the car.  Lately I’ve been having some issues with my knees, and was thinking my body needs a little rest.  I wanted to do the Grand Tour Lite first though.

I did that, then decided to rest Monday, then hit the pavement Tuesday.  Ugh … caught a cold Monday, so looks like this , is forcing rest on my body.  So I rested Saturday, ride Sunday, but it’s now Wednesday, so 3 days off the bike.  Rough way to spend PTO, eh?

Commuting Pet Peeves

On my commute on Friday, I had walkers taking up the entire multi-use trail (MUT).  Guys, this trail is for walkers, runners, bicyclists …. use one side or the other, but don’t hog up the whole trail.  And even when I call out, they don’t make an effort to move.

Then, later on, I’m riding on San Tomas Expressway, and there is a narrow lane for bikes (enough for 1 bike, but no more).  I’m riding the lane, then suddenly this guy passes me on the left.  I was going to maneuver a little to the left to avoid the drain in the street, but at the split second, I saw this guy pass me.  WTF …. call it out … on your left!