Sunday, January 15, 2017

Technology never works episode 4

This week my directv dish had to be re-aligned.

Was unable to sync kids iPad mini Just Sing companion app with Just Sing on the Xbox, after countless attempts.

The iPad mini is horrible slow lately, and AirPrint only successfully finds the printer and prints about 20% of the time.

While publishing this post, my wifi adapter crapped out. Took uninstalling, re-installing several times and a few reboots to get it back.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Nostalgic indoctrination

I’m been introducing my kids to favorite movies and shows from my youth, and they’ve had some interesting reactions.  They weren’t given a choice about liking Star Wars, although the indoctrination didn’t work on my daughter. Nevertheless, here are some reviews:

  • E.T. – Liked it
  • Back to the Future – Really liked it.
  • Gremlins – Liked it, but didn’t think it was scary enough.
  • Jaws – loved it.
  • Raider of the lost ark – really liked it.
  • Aliens – it was ok, but long and dull.
  • Big Trouble in Little China – it was ok. “I know, there’s a problem with your face” stuck.
  • The Last Dragon – It was ok.
  • The Black hole – Not great. long and dull.
  • Ghostbusters – really liked it.
  • The Princess Bride – really liked it.
  • The Temple of Doom – really liked it. Ripping the heart out was memorable.
  • Rocky – really liked them all.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Best TV Shows Evah!

This is a list of mostly drama series, otherwise I’d have to include Seinfeld.  Listed in rough priority order.

Great shows:

  1. The Shield
  2. Game of Thrones
  3. Six Feet Under
  4. Deadwood
  5. Spartacus
  6. Kingdom
  7. Farscape
  8. Battlestar Galactica
  9. The Walking Dead
  10. Vikings
  11. True Detective (the first one)
  12. Sons of Anarchy
  13. Rome
  14. The Sopranos
  15. Justified
  16. Rescue Me
  17. Babylon 5
  18. The Wire

Good shows:

  1. Lost
  2. Firefly
  3. House of Cards
  4. The Last Kingdom
  5. Marco Polo
  6. Lights Out
  7. Luke Cage
  8. Westworld
  9. Boardwalk Empire
  10. True Blood
  11. Oz
  12. Eastbound and Down
  13. Generation Kill
  14. Mr. Robot

Shows I managed to watch:

  1. Breaking Bad
  2. Jessica Jones
  3. Daredevil
  4. Band of Brothers

Shows I couldn’t stick with:

  1. Hell on wheels
  2. Mad Men
  3. Dexter
  4. Nurse Jackie
  5. Homeland
  6. The White Queen
  7. Newsroom
  8. Curb Your Enthusiasm
  9. Orange is the new Black
  10. American Horror Story

Technology never works chronicles episode 3

The bluetooth mouse connected to my laptop continues to drop connectivity. Sometimes it goes for a weeks working fine, then spends a few days on the fritz. Its on the fritz the last few days, and this leads to complaints from other members of my household.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Technology never works chronicle episode 2

Today the Chrome browser stopped working on my Windows 10 desktop. Uninstalling and re-installing didn’t help. Just hangs as a black box on launch and never opens. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The technology never works chronicle

Technology today is amazing, from smartphones you strap to your face to bring you VR, to drone deliveries, self-driving cars and digital assistants.  Despite the near ubiquity of sophisticated awe-inspiring devices and apps, I nevertheless encounter malfunctions, glitches and failures of technology at such a high rate that it often feels like it never works (when you need it to or expect it to). 

Selective attention

I figured I might start chronicling these failures and frustrations as they occur just to see what the anecdotal evidence suggests.

Day one


On my way home from work, the podcast I was listening to on podcast lounge over bluetooth in my car froze.  Stopping and starting the podcast didn’t work. Nor did switching to a different podcast.  I had to switch to Audible and listen to an audiobook instead.


Today my kids asked to watch a recently recorded home video.  No problem.  I fired up my Vizio SmartTv, selected the Plex app, and viola!  Nothing. Plex hung there on the splash screen indefinitely.  That’s weird, never happened before, so I’ll just shut off the TV and try again.  Nope.  Still stuck on the Plex splash screen.  Eventually, I was able to traverse through some TV system menu’s and find a reset function.  After resetting Plex eventually loaded. But by then the kids had moved on.


Later, many of my DirectTV stations were either un-viewable, or the ones that were were constantly interrupted by the Searching for satellite error messages. This has been an intermittent problem for a few weeks, and DirectTv support is reluctant to send out a technician so I have to keep resetting the box.

Just to name a few…

Friday, November 11, 2016

Winner takes it all, loser takes the fall

The two-party winner-take-all nature of the american political system makes the stakes unnecessarily high. 

When a loss means you’re party is shut out of executive power entirely for four years, and it doesn’t matter whether you lose by only one vote, or get no votes at all, the stakes are high. The prospect of no power, no influence, no seat at the table, no agenda advanced, humiliation and ostracism amps up the pressure to win at all costs. 

This election demonstrated this so clearly.

The republican party was destroyed.

A week ago, the Republican party as we know it was destroyed. There were to be massive recriminations, soul searching, blame and finger pointing.  They were headed for final defeat once and for all. 

No wait, the democratic party was destroyed.

This week, the Democratic party was decimated. Its now lost, leaderless, with less power than they’ve ever had.  There needs to be recriminations, soul searching, blame and finger pointing. They have been devastatingly and overwhelmingly defeated.  They must figure out what went wrong. 

Wait, wait, pollsters, pundits and media credibility is also destroyed.

Not only did the Democratic party suffer a massive loss, but the pollsters and pundits were massively wrong too.  They too need to do some soul searching and self-reflecting.

None of that is true, except that it is

When I looked at the nearly completed election results it seems to tell a much different story.  Polls predicted a close Clinton victory, in both the popular vote and the electoral college.  And the result was an razor thin Clinton victory in the popular vote and significant electoral loss.  But if you look at the electoral loss just a bit more closely, it suggests that a 100,000 or so votes would have swung the electoral college.  So in reality she won a razor thin popular vote, and lost a razor thin electoral vote.   That’s essentially true of the senate majority as well.  The same amount of votes allocated just slightly differently and the democrats would have won both, but instead lost both.  Its conceivable that it could have come down to one ballot in one swing state that could have decided both the presidency and the senate majority. 

By the way aren’t all of those outcomes within the margin of error of every polling methodology.

Nevertheless, its winner take all, a one vote loss is just as bad as a blowout.  Instead of a Republican ‘destruction’ we saw instead a Democratic ‘destruction’.  We also had a polling error, so now everything we know about polling and science is wrong.

Every vote does matter, but not in a healthy way

Because those are the stakes, we get the need for massive voter turnout organizations, voter suppression tactics, roll purging, voter id laws, gerrymandering, hanging chads, legal challenges, October surprises, spin rooms, false-equivalence, media bias, vitriol, unsubstantiated accusations, gridlock, filibustering, putting party before conscience or country,  outright lying, and a whole host of unhealthy tactics in the name of accumulating those oh so important votes.

Disenfranchisement ping pong

I’m not familiar enough with other democratic systems, parliamentary or otherwise, to know what works best.  But I wonder, especially with the presidential election, if the losers got some kind of proportional influence then the stakes wouldn’t be quite so high.  Maybe losers could earn cabinet appointments with electoral points.  That might even legitimize third party candidacies.  Admittedly, the idea is of the top of my head and may be impractical, and could have the adverse affect of leading to an escalation of parties trying to utterly annihilate each other.  But the point is that we should probably diminish the spoils of victory and the severity of losing, when that’s not really reflective of the will of the people.  Disenfranchising and stressing 50% of the population every 4-8 years seems unproductive, unless you’re working in an industry that benefits from it.