Wednesday, September 30, 2020

I Hate Apple Or Reclaiming Local Access to Pictures in iOS 14 Or How Linux People Think Too Much To Live In A Walled Garden.

If you are looking for a bit of help to set things back to the way that the phone was on pre iOS 14.0 try these things.

In Settings:

Camera - Change  Formats to "Most Compatible"

Apple ID - iCloud, Photos should be Off to leave the photos on the device.  

iCloud Drive - I turned this off to retain control of my data.

General - Airdrop should be contacts only so you don't get "weird stuff sent to you on a bus".

Photos - Turn off iCloud Photos, My Photo Stream, and Shared Albums.

This allowed me to have full access to the photos locally when I plug the phone into the cable to the laptop.

The Long Story:

Maybe this all started before the phones.  Maybe I should be blaming it on T-Mobile, I am not completely sure.

I've had T-Mo since before I moved to Fort Lauderdale Area, say back to 2003 when I got my first cell phone when I was on vacation on a Florida area code, and went back to Philadelphia.

I have been quite fortunate that a very good friend of mine gave me a couple of his old Android phones over the years.  One "stuck".  It's an 8 year old Samsung Galaxy S4 and I have been able to root it gaining full control, then install an "alternate" version of Android called LineageOS when true to form, Samsung stopped supporting the thing after two years.  That particular eight year old phone has a fresh 8 day old operating system that is still supported.

If it isn't rooted, you don't fully own it.  It is like having a car that you can only drive on Northbound roads. 

T-Mobile will be switching to a new network connection protocol called VoLTE.  Voice Over LTE.  5G to the rest of us.

But it is uncertain whether that beloved S4 phone will still be supported.

I am waiting for Q1 2021 to see which of these phones will actually work on the network.  I vastly prefer Android since I know more than a little bit about the Linux operating system that they are based on.

A Smart Phone Is A Computer That Makes Calls.  If I can't use it as a computer, its use is highly limited to me.

That brings me to Apple and my complete disdain for the company's design practices. 

You see over the years, I've been given iPhones.

Currently, working are an iPhone 6, and 7.  I was told that I should have them because the 6 "Is too old for me" and the 7 "has the better camera and you need it for your blog and for skating".

Generous, but still, iOS does not like me.  They have a nasty habit of hiding things from me.  Microsoft is doing the same thing these days with Windows 10.

You see the 7 came without any way to use a NORMAL pair of headphones.  You know, that little plug thing that we have all been using since the 1980s?  Those dozens of headphones that you collected over the years?  Yeah they are worthless on an iPhone 7.  Go get an adapter.

Some clueless designer decided that thin and gorgeous is better than useful and compatible.  I guess that is a pretty good view of how Apple designs things. Consider that using an iPhone without a case is dangerous, and now I have a case on that phone that weighs about a half pound and definitely is not thin and gorgeous.   242 grams because you actually want an extra battery to be able to use it without thinking about Range Anxiety.

Mind you if I am trying to take pictures or video while I am about town the camera works, and the phone has 128GB of space on it.

But I still can't listen to the headphone of choice while I am skating because it does not fit.

The other reason why I was given the 7 was so that I could do Facetime with my sister on her birthday.

I am sure you folks have done many more video calls than I have, I use the phone for internet radio and photos for this blog... when I have the headphones that work.

After a rough night sleep last night I took a pre-dawn picture of Rack the McNab SuperDog (TM) on the floor near my foot and thought nothing of it until after a successful Facetime test call with someone here.

Anyway, I said that I had some pictures on the phone that I needed to get off the thing and copy to my laptop.  You know what?  They were not there.  My pictures were no longer on the phone.

You see the iPhone cajoled me with a red dot that said I should upgrade the phone to iOS 14.0.1 NOW.  New!  Shiny!  FasterSaferBetter!

Rule One of Project Management.  Never force a major change to a system without getting permission from the main user.

You or me.  We are the users, we own the system.  They need permission from us.  It isn't the other way around.

Except.  If it isn't rooted you don't own it.  Welcome to Apple, do as I say, not as you need.

The theory with Apple is you live in a walled garden.  My theory is that the only thing that the Walled Garden has a lot of similarities to a Prison Exercise Yard.

You see, they have disdain for the open world that I personally subscribe to.

Where they say they have "upgraded" the phone, my pictures vanished.

Where they say they have "upgraded" the camera, my pictures came up in a strange format.

It took me about an hour of hunting to find the hidden tick box that allowed me to make the pictures visible when I plugged the phone to the side of my laptop, then another hour to find another way to get the pictures back into JPEG format.

Mind you, the version of Linux I use, Debian, is known to be "conservative".  They take their time and do very measured updates.  When I do an update to my laptop, it is a novelty and on my schedule.  Things Do Not Break.  It Just Works.  I use it and enjoy it, and it does what I want, not what That Dead Guy thinks it should.  If I want to change something, I can and do.

It also means that when Apple decided to change the format of the pictures to a weird format, I had to go into the camera and change them back.  Then launch the weird format pictures into a program one by one and copy and paste them into another piece of software to put yesterdays dozen or so back into JPEG.

Why?  I Was Not Asked.  The reason seems to be storage and that there is a newer standard for DSLR use that is supposed to be more better-er for video.  Well, just throw out your old toys and make new E-Waste, you won't mind will you?

The problem is like someone went to your garage, switched the engine out on your car while you were not watching, put in a Diesel engine and left you with enough fuel to get to the filling station... without telling you.

I hope you noticed that the filler cap is now green.  You didn't?  Car won't go now will it?

I don't care if the standards have shifted, mine have not.  Not yet, later.

The moral of the story?  Let go of my ears I know what I am doing. 

Or Linux People Think Too Much To Live In A Walled Garden.

As my good friend in Atlanta says, with a shrug, "It's Just Apple and Apple Just Sucks".

Personally I think that there's a worm in that apple called a fetish for mimimalism and it needs to be excised. 

It used to be "Think Different".  Now, It seems to be "Don't Think At All".

Sorry but Momma Didn't Raise A Fool.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

I was gonna tell a time travelling joke but you guys didnt like it

 And speaking of British Humo(u)r, this little one is talking about the Girl Guides.  That is what they call the Girl Scouts.  

Girl guides

I was accompanying my eight-year-old daughter who was selling cookies door-to-door for the Girl Scouts. After visiting several homes, she commented on the different styles of doorbells: some buzzed, some rang, some warbled.

We made a game of guessing what the next bell would sound like.

At the precise moment she touched the doorbell at one house, the church tower began to chime. She wheeled around with a look of amazement on her face. "Now THAT'S a a door bell"

A man has found water while digging in his backyard

For many years, he used the water at home saving tons of money until one day, the water stopped flowing. So he dug a little bit further and found water again and used it for years until it also dried up. This time, he went further, brought a digging machine and dug a deeper hole until he found water.

Neighbours, annoyed by the noise, called the local sheriff who arrives to check what's happening in the backyard. The sheriff discovering the scene in the backyard says:

"Well, well, well ... what have we got here ?"

Saturday, September 26, 2020

If looking good is a crime then you're looking at a law abiding citizen

I have a habit of putting up jokes on the weekends, a remnant of the times that I had been writing something every day.  I get these things from various sources, and in this case, someone British shared this one, and I encountered it.  

 I guess they like this pub in Uxbridge.  The only other Uxbridge I know is a rather pedestrian condo complex in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.  That one replaced some forests there.

I'd rather have forests than condos but that's just me.



A group of guys, all turning 40, discussed where they should meet for lunch. Finally it was agreed that they would meet at Wetherspoons in Uxbridge because the waitresses had big breasts and wore mini-skirts.

Ten years later, at age 50, the friends once again discussed where they should meet for lunch. Finally it was agreed that they would meet at Wetherspoons in Uxbridge because the waitresses were attractive. The food and service was good and the beer selection was excellent.

Ten years later, at age 60, the friends again discussed where they should meet for lunch. Finally it was agreed that they would meet at Wetherspoons in Uxbridge because there was plenty of parking, they could dine in peace and quiet with no loud music, and it was good value for money.

Ten years later, at age 70, the friends discussed where they should meet for lunch. Finally it was agreed that they would meet at Wetherspoons in Uxbridge because the restaurant was wheelchair accessible and had a toilet for the disabled.

Ten years later, at age 80, the friends discussed where they should meet for lunch. Finally it was agreed that they would meet at Wetherspoons in Uxbridge because they had never been there before.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Bougainvillea Bondage or Merely My Macrame Masterpiece

When you have a garden that you wish to conserve, you eventually have to make a decision.

The house here is old enough that the original plantings are now quite old.  I have a few prize plantings of Bougainvillea that predate my ownership by quite a few years, and I am assuming that they predate the 1980s.  The house is either built in the 1960s or 1950s, even the city does not know.

However, those Bougainvillea arbors have a few problems.  Being in the tropics, it means that eventually they get chewed up by some rather aggressive ants and termites.   The big black Carpenter Ants that are endemic to the Northeast have a distant cousin here.  Black with an amber translucent middle to them, they create a home in a hollow of a trunk and get protective of that spot.

Ask my one finger how protective that can be.

So through time, they move in, hollow out a cavity, and eventually cut off the circulation of nutrients to the rest of the plant.  When the plant is larger around at the base than my skater's beefy quadriceps muscle, and the inside of that same plant is hollowed to about as thick as an egg shell, I have to do a few things.

Being in Florida, and past the peak of the hurricane season, I could have ignored it and let mother nature take its course.   That arbor is lashed to the fence by ropes and zip ties as well as some sturdy anchor bolts.  But the rope is older than my own 14 years in the house by a long shot.

The last storms that came through snapped the cords and lashings.  The plant would have been on the ground instead of leaning against the roof.

Every time I trim that plant, I save anything that looks like it has life in it and plunge it into a nursery pot hoping that it will root.  Also since the flower color is salmon and not magenta, you really want to match the cuttings.  

Picture me, on a 93 degree day, (34c by my count) with a bamboo pole that is longer than I am tall braced against the house.  The plant was balanced on that pole so that I could wrap the thing with ugly yellow synthetic rope allowing it to remain in place until the next storm snaps my bindings again.


In the meantime, wish me luck.  I don't want to lose the plant, and regrowing from cuttings takes years.  Some of the cuttings are in place, others are started in those nursery pots.  I am thinking they will be perfect when the next owner takes over in 20 or 30 years.  

For now, it is landscaping and gardening season, run amok.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

If you don't succeed the first time, maybe parachuting isn't for you

Truth be told, "Who Do I look Like" is a dangerous response to give anyone in a discussion.  Besides being rude, it's easy to twist back on you.  


Who do I look like?!

A newlywed couple moves into their new house. One day the husband comes home from work and his wife says: “Honey, you know, in the upstairs bathroom one of the pipes is leaking. Could you fix it?”

The husband says: “Who do I look like, Mr. Plumber!?”

A few days go by, and he comes home from work and his wife says: “Honey, the car won’t start. I think it needs a new battery. Could you change it for me?”

He says: “Who do I look like, Mr. Goodwrench?”

Another few days go by, and it’s raining pretty hard. The wife finds a leak in the roof.

She says: “Honey, there’s a leak on the roof! Can you please fix it?”

He says: “Who do I look like, Bob Vila?”

The next day the husband comes home, and the roof is fixed. So is the plumbing. So is the car. He asks his wife what happened.

“Oh, I had a handyman come in and fix them,” she says.

“Oh great! So how much is that going to cost me?” he snarls.

The wife says: “Nothing. He said he’d do it for free if I either baked him a cake or slept with him.”

“So, uhh, what kind of cake did you make for him?” asks the husband.

“Who do I look like,” she says, “Betty Crocker?”

Saturday, September 19, 2020

What do you get when you cross a joke with a rhetorical question?

Funny thing about this story... I was watching a Dr Pimple Popper yesterday evening and this was pretty much the discussion with one patient.

Plus, it's evil in its own way.  :) 


Fire victim gets a skin graft

A married couple was in a terrible accident. The woman's face was severely burned. The doctor told the husband that they couldn't graft any skin from her body because she was too skinny. So the husband offered to donate some of his own skin.

However, the only skin on his body that the doctor felt was suitable would have to come from his buttocks. The husband and wife agreed that they would tell no one about where the skin came from, and requested that the doctor also honor their secret. After all, this was a very delicate matter.

After the surgery was completed, everyone was astounded at the woman's new beauty. She looked more beautiful than she ever had before! All her friends and relatives just went on and on about her youthful beauty! One day, she was alone with her husband, and she was overcome with emotion at his sacrifice. She said, "Dear, I just want to thank you for everything you did for me. There is no way I could ever repay you."

"My darling," he replied, "think nothing of it. I get all the thanks I need every time I see your mother kiss you on the cheek."

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Godzilla Climbs Mt. Jeep

I don't bother these creatures.  I have transported lizards before and arrived with one looking at  me from a weird crevasse in the car.

I have a live and let live attitude towards Lizards.  Even these invasive Curly Tailed Lizards.

I figure if one gets into my Jeep and does not cause too much of a mess, and survives, I probably needed to set loose a pest spray inside the car.  They are finding food, shelter, and get enough water if they are there for more than a short visit.  

I don't care for pesticides myself.

I just have to say that it is a bit strange looking down into the car when I am inside the house and seeing those little eyes looking back at me. 


Now I have been told that we had lizards in Suburban South Jersey where I grew up but I never saw them.   Here in Suburban South Florida I know of two lizards that live in my Florida Room on a permanent basis. 

As a result I have markedly fewer insects invading my space.

I'll take a lizard over a mosquito any day.  It's a case of choosing your guests.  

Besides my hand gets tired flinging that tennis racket around.  The Tennis Racket Of Doom is strung with wires into which voltage is passed at the right current to vaporize what ever bugs are caught to create a circuit between them.  A brief snap, a flash, and that insect has gone to its next reality.

Even if that next life will not be a relation to me.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

What do you get if you cross a road with a blindfold? Ran over.

 A perfectly cromulent story for a Sunday morning, I would say. 

(Even if I did have to add cromulent to the spelling dictionary here).


An atheist is hiking in the woods when he stumbles across a huge hungry grizzly bear.

The bear rears up to full height and gives a roar as it leans in toward the man. The atheist screams in terror,‟ Oh God,help me!!!” An atheist is hiking in the woods when he stumbles across a huge hungry grizzly bear. Suddenly,everything--the bear,the trees,the birds,everything but the man--freezes. The man sees the clouds part as a deep heavenly voice reaches his ears. ‟So,all your life,You deny My existence,yet now you call for My aid now that death is upon you? I am sorry,My son,but it is too late.”

The atheist thinks quickly. ‟Well,God,if it is too late for me to become a Christian,how about you just convert the bear?”

Time begins moving again,and the bear immediately stops its roaring,kneels quietly and respectfully,and begins speaking. ‟O Lord,bless this meal in which I am about to partake...”

Saturday, September 12, 2020

My friend’s bakery burned down last night. Now his business is toast.

Any Time I can find a story including a Moose, I'm on it.

A man feels burnt out by his busy city life, and decides to vacation as far away as possible from the hustle and bustle.

He finds himself in a cozy cabin just outside of a small, remote Alaskan town. For a few days he marvels at the serenity of the forest. He fishes, he hikes, he naps blissfully while listening to the trees sway. But by the middle of the week, he begins to get bored, and goes to town.

Checking out at the general store, he asks the cashier what people did for fun around this dull place.

"Can I eat out, are there any good restaurants?"

"Well, there's Maude's diner," she said, "but only if you like cold eggs and burnt toast."

"Clubs? Bars?"

"Ha! Bernie doesn't mind if folks hang out in his garage. But it's BYOB."

The man looked at her and asked, "How do you people not go crazy out here? It's so boring!"

A customer chimed in. "Haven't you been to the frozen lake just south of the town? It's where we go to watch the moose dance. It's absolutely beautiful to see!"

"Yes," nodded the cashier. "We all go to see the moose dance on the ice when it gets dark. They skate and move with such grace. It never gets old."

Unsure how to respond to such a ridiculous idea without offending the townies, the man thanks them and leaves. He spends another two days fishing and hiking and napping and being serene - and going insane from boredom. Sitting staring at his fishing pole, he decides to go to the frozen lake that night. Anything is worth a shot.

Aside the lake, he waits, watching for movement. Suddenly, there is a rustling of the brush, and a giant moose steps out onto the ice. Another two wait on the lake's edge.

"Wow," he thinks. "The townfolk aren't crazy after all."

The moose on the ice begins to slide forward, then splats onto its belly as its hooves slip in four opposite directions. It struggles to stand up, makes it to its feet, and immediately tumbles down again. This repeats for several minutes, and the moose stumbles from the ice. The other two slide toward the center, but one stops abruptly and the second slides antler-first into the other moose's behind. They, too, slip constantly as they try to glide. After ram into each other headfirst, tangling their antlers together, they sidestep awkwardly back into the forest.

The next day the man goes back to the store, and complains to the cashier. "What the hell was with that moose thing you told me about? I went to watch at the lake last night, it was terrible. Just a bunch of clumsy animals falling down."

The customers and cashier all burst out laughing.

"You went last night?" The cashier shakes her head. "Of course it was bad. Thursday is amateur night."

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Sometimes you just need a quiet day to run out of things

I had one of those days.  It seems to parallel what is going on in society to a basic level or maybe I am just putting too much into it.

On the other hand, as my Sister commented, I have always had boxes of parts for projects around and partially projects have a tendency to pile up until you get just that right part.

It was quiet here.  I was alone except the parrot and Rack the SuperDog (TM).  

Being an early riser, I began to work through projects.

A while ago, years actually, someone was trying to park.  From the outside, it looked more like someone was trying to teach himself how to park.  That would be how I ended up with a couple light strips.

Our someone backed over a parking curb, some strips peeled off the bottom of his car, and he zipped out of The Shoppes looking confused.  

Being creative, of course I grabbed them.  Taking them home to test, they ended up being serviceable strips of White LEDs.  

Since then I have used them in a bunch of short term projects.   12 Volt LEDs are amazingly useful if you have "Low Voltage Lighting" around the property.  

If you have parts laying around you can do an amazing amount of good.  The problem is that in Pandemic America, and indeed the world, you will find that parts are getting a bit difficult to come by.  The shipping channels are confused.

Noticing that my light by the shed was fading, and it would be easier for me to replace them, I pulled apart a rather interesting light fixture I had and repurposed the fixture to accept these LEDs.  They mated well to the fixture, and since it was proudly emblazoned with the Made In China motto, I expected mediocrity and indeed got it.

However my little shed in the back corner of the yard now has a rather nice light that is on the low voltage system, even if the Mediocre Chinese Light took my literal and figurative blood to complete the construction.

That repurposing took me two hours while the Barbecue Pork Loin cooked, 350F for about 1:15 or until internal temp was 150F plus 5 minutes rest.

While all this nonsense was going on, I was puttering around the house repairing things that I would not have attempted if I didn't have eyes following me around.

We all have help.  We all have "help".  It's up to you whether that is effective.

Going through all of that, and calling for appointments, and looking for other parts, I noticed I needed a few odd things to repair my skates.  Oh sure I could go out and buy new, but it's kind of a personal thing.  I enjoy keeping my skates rolling, up to a minute at a time for a test, but the parts are getting harder to find.  

So I went online.  I needed Parts.

My one account has a list of "Things Bill Needs".  On there were three different pair of skates.  Since I have not been sponsored in skating since the early 2000s, a Patreon account is not yet in order,  and I went searching with the intent to price out gear, not to buy.  

What is happening in the Inline Skating sport is that the weekend warriors are coming out of hiding, and Dad and Son have graduated to doing more.  Mom and Daughter are joining them too.  It's progressed from being "That Weird Thing They Did In The Nineties" to something so current that it is like the yeast shortage that we went through, or worse, toilet paper.

Maple Leaves are better than Poison Ivy for all purposes.  Just a hint.

One after another of those three pairs went off the Amazon list when they sold out.  Internationally, Inline Skates have become the Latest Hen's Teeth of 2020.

This is to say that unless you dig, you won't find any decent gear.  You see, most sporting goods require constant upkeep.  Gears need to be cleaned, wheels replaced, and plastic and padding degrades.

That last thing means that the plastic on the pair of skates you bought new in 2002 has shattered when you put your size 11 foot into them and you have resigned to tossing them out.  

I had to rescue a couple of skaters as well as someone on a bicycle over the COVID Epidemic Summer.  I always carry a spare Allen Key or three, and just give them out since you will find them all over the place in parking lots.  It's also the same size that Ikea uses to build the Poang Chairs and others, but that's an aside.

One guy had a pair of skates throw a wheel, I rolled up, offered help, and gave him and his wife a key.  After they found all they needed to limp home, I got thinking. 

If I am running through my gear, can I find more?

Actually, no.  Inline Skates are in white hot demand these days.  Not everyone knows which pieces of which items to save for future, ahem, cannibalization skills, so not everyone has jars of old skate bearings just waiting to be sent in for reuse, coach.  

I do.

So if you find yourself in a quiet house, hot gluing things together, consider that the old wartime Britain motto of Make Do And Mend is a good thing to follow, because just like then, you may not be able to find replacement parts.

Just like my workouts, "It's A Marathon, Not A Sprint".  So be patient and cruise through the thrift stores once in a while.  You may find what you need.

Which reminds me... I wonder if they have some size 11 boots?

Sunday, September 6, 2020

What does a pepper do when it’s angry? It gets jalapeƱo face!

Ok, A Bit Gross but here you go!

A man walks into an insurance office and asks for a job.

“We don’t need anyone,” they replied. 
“You can’t afford not to hire me. I can sell anyone anything anytime.”
“We have two prospects that no one has been able to sell. If you can sell just one, you have a job.”
He was gone for about two hours and returned and handed them two checks, one for an $80,000 policy and another for a $50,000 policy.
“How in the world did you do that,” they asked.
“I told you I’m the world’s best salesman, I can sell anyone anywhere anytime.”
“Did you get a urine sample?” they asked him.
“What’s that?” he asked.
“Well, if you sell a policy over $40,000 the company requires a urine sample. Take these two bottles and go back and get urine samples. ”
He was gone for about eight hours and then he walks in with two five gallon buckets, one in each hand.
He sets the buckets down and reaches in his shirt pocket and produces two bottles of urine and sets them on the desk and says, “Here’s Mr. Brown’s and this one is Mr. Smith’s.”
“That’s good,” they said, “but what’s in those two buckets?”
“Well, I passed by the school house and they were having a state teachers convention and I sold them a group policy!”

Saturday, September 5, 2020

How do you know if you have a polar bear in your refrigerator? The door won't close.

Ok, how about a tasty little joke for a Saturday morning.

Ice fishing

I was in Greenland a few years ago and I wanted to try ice fishing. 

So I went to the local sporting goods store to purchase everything I would need, an ice saw, fishing pole, line, hooks, and a bucket to hold my catch. I drove out to the ice lake, cut a hole in the ice, and got set up. 

I had been there about an hour when another guy set up a fishing hole about 20 yards away from me. I hadn't caught a thing, but as soon as he set his line in the water, he caught a fish. 

This continued every five minutes he'd throw in his line, he'd catch another fish. 

Finally, after 2 hours of nothing, I decided to go over and ask him what his secret was.

He responded "mmmfff to dmakd the mmmf fmmm".

I told him I didn't understand, and he said again "mmmfff to dmakd the mmmf fmmm".

I told him I still didn't understand him, so he cupped his hands under his mouth, spit into them, and said "You have to keep your worms warm."

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

ASMR - An Hour At The Pool Video

I'm sitting here early watching this video upload to Youtube.

I don't really understand the attraction of this kind of thing.  It's called ASMR which is "Autonomous sensory meridian response". 

It's that tingly feeling you get when you hear or see something that excites you on a low level.

Or perhaps not.  I get this same kind of feedback while listening to Uplifting Trance during a Skate Workout, but I have been training hard since 1993.  You know, runner's highs are a wonderful thing.

I can see this being interesting in the middle of winter when you are sitting at a desk and have not seen sun in months.

I also can see at least two or three other similar videos that I can make from the comfort of my own backyard.   

At 6.2 GB per hour for full HD at 60FPS, it's been a long upload.

The video was shot with a camera I have here, obviously, then brought onto my Linux system where I added title cards, and watermarks via OpenShot and Inkscape.  It's possible to do professional video processing on a 7 year old hand-me-down "commodity" laptop running Debian Linux and all the software above.  Nothing bought, nothing Proprietary.

So Enjoy if it is your kind of thing.  For now I'm going to get up and get something to drink as Youtube is telling me I have another hour before the upload is done!

Now that it's done and processing... Whew!