Saturday, 5 September 2015

08:34 – Before I bought Barbara her Kindle Fire HDX, I did some reading. The consensus seemed to be that tablets, including the Fire, were well-suited for content consumers but sucked for content producers. After months of using Barbara’s HDX and my own Fire HD, I conclude that Kindle Fires suck, period. Short battery life, unreliable WiFi connections, and my HD locks up frequently and requires a power reset. Barbara is also frustrated with her HDX, whose WiFi connection is even less reliable than my HD’s.

It may be that not all tablets suck as badly as the Fires. I’m prepared to believe that Amazon butchered the OS in the interests of encouraging customers to buy their products. If I have time, I may replace the Amazon OS on my HD with a vanilla Android.

Or I may simply start using the Dell notebook that’s been sitting unused for months on my side table. It runs Windows 8, but even that has to be more reliable than these Kindles.


13:24 – Just back from a small Costco run. I didn’t grab much in the way of shelf-stable stuff, other than 12 gallons (45 liters) of bottled water, 22 pounds (10 kilos) of assorted pasta, six large jars of applesauce, a can of Gatorade lemon/lime drink mix, a couple large boxes of Ritz crackers (which have surprisingly long shelf life even in the original cellophane tubes), a jar of cashews, and a couple other small items.

Barbara is out doing yardwork at the moment, while I do laundry and ship kits. This weekend, we’re going to make bread the easy way.

40 thoughts on “Saturday, 5 September 2015”

  1. It may be that not all tablets suck as badly as the Fires.

    iPad has been reliable. I read books, particularly reference books, on my iPad without any issues. More expensive than a Kindle. And I know you don’t like Apple but having something that works may be worth it.

    It runs Windows 8

    Upgrade that puppy to W10 while you have the chance. W10 is better than W8 and the upgrade is currently free.

  2. More football pictures at http://www.raymondthompsonphotography.com/GCA

    A private school (Grace Christian Academy). Artificial turf field. Currently building a new field house that is probably well north of one million in cost. Seems unfair that public schools have to participate against private schools that have almost unlimited funds. Private schools can also recruit and offer scholarships to good players.

  3. I’ve had my Kindle Fire HDX for a couple of years now; it will stay live on the battery for a couple of days, but otherwise when I’m not using it I shut it down, like any computer; charges up in a couple of hours from totally dead. Zero problems with wireless or locking up. I took it with us to NJ for a week back in July and it was A-OK, even had not-bad sound with Pandora streaming a Baroque channel. I’ve also put Android apps on it via the Windows computer hookup, taken loads of good pics and videos, and I have probably 50-60 books on it.

    Another sunny and very warm/humid day here; Mrs. OFD has been staying overnight in Princess’s apartment in Montreal and had no sleep thanks to inconsiderate scheisskopf new roommates there. Princess has it through October and is meanwhile looking for another place up there. Wife will be back later today, unhappy and exhausted. Swell.

    Back to work on house scut and grunge tasks, etc.

  4. I may reset my HD to defaults and start over. Unfortunately the Silk browser is a complete piece of shit.

    As to the notebook, Windows 8 is bad enough for me. I have no desire to install 10. In fact, I’m going to pull the hard drive, install an SSD, and run Linux on it.

  5. “I have no desire to install 10. In fact, I’m going to pull the hard drive, install an SSD, and run Linux on it.”

    That would be my choice, also. Not going to Windows 10 here on anything. I haven’t run into any problems with the Silk browser but you can install Chrome on it if you want. I’m trying to cut down drastically on my usage of Google stuff here but it’s tough going so far.

  6. I like my kindle fire. I stuck with my kindle original and used a book light for months after receiving my fire, just due to the weight, but finally the backlight won me over. I use the fire almost exclusively. I only use the original when outdoors or traveling. The built in cell modem is very handy.

    I don’t have trouble with wifi, except playing one particular word game, and I suspect that was a problem on their end. It does require a fairly strong signal to connect. I find the battery life good for a full day of reading, with the b/l at about 60%. It’s good for a week of reading before bed.

    Maybe I’ll use my fire HD or HDX this weekend so I can compare (I’m a sucker for $5 and $10 kindles. I’ve got a dozen, and a couple of sony ereaders.)

    For reading the Paperwhite is awesome.

    My wife uses the ipads to read her kindle content, to read web content, primarily from flipboard, and to entertain the kids. They never have any problems.

    I have a dell convertible laptop, and it’s the worst of both worlds. HEAVY and thick to use as a tablet, weird aspect ratio on the screen, too small to be a good lappy, really slow as a lappy. Battery in sleep will last months. I bought it to use as a personal machine while traveling for bigcorp but I rarely use it at all now.

    My friend loves his surface, both in tablet mode and as his primary work machine with a keyboard and mouse. I like the size of it, but don’t really need a new machine (or toy.)

    nick

  7. Windows 8 is bad enough for me. I have no desire to install 10.

    W10 is better than W8. I never did like W8 and have stayed with W7 on my main system. Will migrate to W10 on that system after Black Friday when I will pick up a larger SSD. Wipe the system, install W7, then upgrade to W10, reinstall all applications. I have W10 on my Surface and it runs quite well in desktop and tablet mode.

    At least do the install of W10 before pulling the drive and putting Linux on the drive. That way you at least have a copy of W10. No use in keeping W8 around on anything in my opinion.

    My friend loves his surface, both in tablet mode and as his primary work machine with a keyboard and mouse.

    I do also as does my friend who is using the Surface as his main work machine. He had the docking station and that is what I want to get next.

    With the docking station you have multiple USB ports and can easily attach two monitors which the Surface and W10 handle quite nicely. You effectively have three monitors, the Surface and the two external monitors.

    When I was looking for a new machine I compared the Surface and the Macbook. The Surface came out on top in a couple of areas and was really close in other areas. I don’t regret the purchase.

  8. I alternate between Kindle Voyage and iPad for reading. As Mr. Ray says, the iPad is good for reference material. Especially pdf’s. I scan in or download every manual I get for something and sync to iPad. I’ll consider an iPad Pro as an upgrade if Apple announces it.

    I haven’t installed Office 365 on an iPad yet. Anyone here tried it and are office documents fully editable?

  9. @RBT

    I will second Ray’s advice to install Windows 10. Say you have Windows ME on a machine and could freely and automatically install Windows 2000 or Windows XP Pro. It’s minimal effort and costs you nothing. Yes, Windows 10 sucks, but it sucks a whole lot less than Windows 8.

  10. In the last two presidential elections, I was for anyone but Obola. Admittedly, I did favor Rick Perry. He does appear to be incompetent at running for office though. But, he was a very good governor for The Great State of Texas.

    Now I am for anyone but Hillary. Trump will do. And at this extremely early date, he might could beat her. Trump 2016! Trump 2016! Trump 2016!
    http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/252825-poll-trump-beats-hillary-head-to-head

    “The poll by SurveyUSA finds that matched up directly, Trump garners 45 percent to Clinton’s 40 percent.”

    I just do not think that the USA can take another four years of abject liberalism. Hillary will just be like Obola, just more of the same. Plus, the next president will probably get to nominate several supreme court justices.

    For those people who think it does not matter, I think it matters. I suspect that Obola’s last year in office will be where he hangs it all out. Gun seizures, tax increases, cats and dogs living together, etc.

    It may be that not all tablets suck as badly as the Fires. I’m prepared to believe that Amazon butchered the OS in the interests of encouraging customers to buy their products. If I have time, I may replace the Amazon OS on my HD with a vanilla Android.

    My father really likes his 7″ Motorola Android tablet that he has owned for a couple of years. I personally do not have one.

  11. “I just do not think that the USA can take another four years of abject liberalism.”

    We’re fated to get that anyway, regardless of which clown is in the WH.

    “For those people who think it does not matter, I think it matters.”

    About as much as whether I wear gray socks or green socks today. They’ll still stink at the end of the day and have to be washed out and hung up to dry, twisting slowly, slowly, in the wind…

  12. ” It’s minimal effort and costs you nothing. Yes, Windows 10 sucks, but it sucks a whole lot less than Windows 8.”
    +1

    Google is evil. That said, I like my 2nd generation Nexus 7 a lot. I use it to read, surf, and play brain games. I’ve Skyped with it – works better than my laptop but not as well as my phone for that purpose. It holds a charge for reading for 7-10 days (airplane mode). Surfing 5 or 6 hours. I rarely stream video but it seems to be good for a couple hours there.

    I paid $100 at a pawn shop and have been happy

    I picked up an HP Stream running Win 8.1. Underwhelming. Crappy touch screen, crappy battery, yada yada. I’ll bump it to 10 and pass it on.

  13. I have a lenovo android tablet that I occasionally use to read during breakfast.

    The browser doesn’t like some sites, the batteries don’t last even on standby, and it had minimal internal storage.

    Other than that it was great 🙂

    I ended up not really using it.

    nick

  14. I have a Samsung Galaxy tablet. It’s good for certain things, for example, we always take it on trips, because online maps are a lot more useful on a larger screen (as compared to a phone).

    However, the reason I got it was to do interactive things, like giving lectures or presentations. Using wireless, you ought to be able to walk around, display things, annotate whatever you are displaying with the stylus. It turns out that the whole experience pretty much sucks.

    That’s not the fault of the tablet, so much as the software. The necessary features exist, but they have been crudely grafted onto existing applications. You can’t just *use* them to do you work, you have struggle to get them to work. The point of a tool is to help you do a task, not to become a task itself. For that, at least for the kinds of things I was hoping to do, tablets still have a ways to go.

  15. “The point of a tool is to help you do a task, not to become a task itself.”

    There it is. Too many of our little gizmos, gadgets and geegaws supposedly designed and sold to make our lives easier have been anything but. I’ve had pretty good luck with laptops, netbooks, and the Kindle so far, can’t really complain. Full disclosure is that all those machines run a version of Linux, and further full disclosure is that I’ve used and worked with Linux since Y2K so I have some familiarity with it.

    Also can’t bitch about this Windows 8.1 machine; I had to fiddle and diddle with a few things moving from Windows 7 experience but now I’ve got it working for both of us here with nary a problem (knocks on wood). We don’t see a need to “upgrade” to yet another M$ o.s. at this point and I’ll be pressuring to dump this, too, and move it to Linux in the next few months, maybe. Further interrogation of Mrs. OFD’s needs and alleged things that don’t work in LibreOffice is coming up soon.

    Just had a short conversation over the fence with our neighbor; he was complaining somewhat about his two stepdaughters-with-children-and-no-visible-means-of-support, except mommy and daddy, of course. They swan around, lie around, smoke ciggies, play with their phones and that’s about it. While Leo and his wife slave at jobs, mow the lawns, cook dinners for them, etc., etc. Oh, and also give them a free place to live, the double-wide on the other side of us. The Entitled Teen and Twenty Generation of, from what I can see, mostly females. They think money grows on trees and the old farts are placed here on earth to cater to their every whim and demand, apparently an epidemic nowadays. We’d didn’t have this issue with our son, who worked his ass off summers and part-time during the school years while also playing hockey.

    He is also prepping, it sounds like, but he didn’t go into detail. I’ll see what else I can find out, as the more local folks in the ‘hood are doing this, the better.

  16. nice football photographs. If you don’t mind, what size/speed of lense were you using ?

    I use an Olympus 35-100 http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/404517-REG/Olympus_261012_35_100mm_f_2_0_ED_Zuiko.html lens on an E-5 camera body. It is the equivalent of a 35mm 70-200 because of the sensor size. Constant f2.0 aperture over the entire zoom range.

    Biggest problem I have is that high school football stadiums are poorly lighted as the game goes past sundown. The lights are actually quite dim forcing me to shoot at f2.8, 1/250 (slowest I dare go) at ISO 2500. If I go any higher on the ISO I get too much digital noise, any slower on the shutter speed and there is way to much blur (bad enough at 1/250). At f2.8 focusing is also a problem when there is movement as DOF is quite shallow.

    The lights also flicker, not noticeable to the naked eye. The light output along with the color changes constantly. One image will be fine, next image in rapid sequence is dark and orange. It could be the first image in the sequence, middle of the sequence, or end of the sequence. Most schools only have four poles of lights, two on each side. End zones are really dark, almost impossible to get an image. For schools with six light poles (three on a side) the lighting is always much better.

    I once had a chance to photograph in a collegiate environment for basketball. The lights (LED) were all color balanced to 5,000K, different lights on different phases of 3 phase power thus no flicker, and most importantly lots of lights. Of course it is a larger area to light but it was still a much brighter venue.

  17. I just do not think that the USA can take another four years of abject liberalism.

    Populists are just as bad. And Trump is a populist.

  18. Our costco has cans of pulled pork in stock ATM. Same sort of shrink wrap pack as their beef and chicken. Harvest something brand. Picked up 2 packages. Never had it before.

    Eggs are down slightly from their highs, at $3.99 / 18 off of $4.89 just a week ago.

    Ham is cheaper than it’s been in 2 years at $1.99/ pound for Kirkland spiral slice.

    regular gasoline is $2.05/gal

    Funny thing is that there are NO freeze dried foods in the store, even though it’s hurricane season. They used to have the square bucket kits (which were a bad deal in my book) and a Mountain House mixed assortment box (that was a decent deal.) Now there are NONE and haven’t been for some time.

    The wallyworld near me doesn’t have any storage food. I read online all the time about people picking up auguston farms at w*mart but I’ve never seen it, and the staff have no clue.

    Very strange.

    nick

  19. Some Walmarts (mostly in Utah and Idaho) stock Augason Farms, but most don’t. I just order them from Walmart on-line. They also carry some of the Keystone Meats items at good prices, but they’re usually out of stock. Walmarts within about 200 miles of the Lima Ohio HQ of Keystone often stock them.

    I ordered a case of 24 cans of that Harvest Creek pulled pork in 12-ounce cans. It just arrived a few days ago. Haven’t tried it yet. Let me know what you think.

  20. We’re screwed …

    I still think that we are are a slow boat to dystopia. 10 to 20 years long. But Hillary could definitely speed that boat up.

  21. The WH Occupant is irrelevant and immaterial as to how fast we slide down the toilet. They’re simply figureheads, puppets, that’s all. You don’t think Queen Elizabeth actually runs the UK, do you? Well, then, neither Cankles nor Donald nor Joe nor whoever will actually run the Murkan Empire, either. It’s a faceless, nameless krew back of the curtain, pulling strings. It hath amused them greatly to let the Bolshevik janitor play at running things for eight years; we think they may be done with that line of entertainment now. Not sure which way they’ll turn, though; populist demagogue like Juan Peron and Il Duce? Bipolar Joe Biden, amiable dunce? I’m beginning to think Cankles might not make the cut and am pretty sure the rest of the Repub clowns from that circus car are all done, as in toast.

  22. OFD wrote:

    “You don’t think Queen Elizabeth actually runs the UK, do you?”

    Sure she does. Along with Prince Phil and the other royals she’s busy doing all sorts of evil stuff like denying food to the starving millions and is a major mover and shaker in hard drug distribution…

  23. I’m surprised the UK didn’t sell the entire royal family to Disneyland years ago.

  24. After those home movies of Elizabeth giving the Nazi salute, I’m surprised she didn’t abdicate in disgrace. Of course, that would have made Chuck the Moron king. I remain convinced that she’s holding on desperately until he dies.

  25. Oh who cares if a little girl does what her uncle asks and makes a gesture. Fer cryin out loud, it’s not like she did it as an adult. And even if she had, can’t your political orientation change over time? Disavow the past and move on? Is ANYONE suggesting she’s a closet Nazi?

    A better question is WHO BENEFITS? Why did old movies suddenly find their way to the news?

    Like this chick Gigi Hadid. Where did she come from? Why are we seeing her everywhere in the news? Ok, she’s cute, but there are a lot of cuties out there. Why this one?

    That’s what I wonder when I see this crap.

    nick

  26. That bread recipe looks interesting but it is too long to wait for me!

    I like a beer bread for quick fresh bread, if I don’t want to use the bread machine.

    I have used a “kit” in the past (was a gift) but here is the #1 googled recipe-

    http://www.food.com/recipe/beer-bread-73440

    The keys are
    – no waiting
    -no yeast
    -the carbonation from the beer makes it rise.

    It’s yummy.

  27. You can do the same with baking powder or baking soda and vinegar.

  28. RBT: “You can do the same with baking powder or baking soda and vinegar.”

    This is often called quick sourdough. Using different types of vinegar can produce some tasty flavors.

    @nick, I have made that beer bread and it is very tasty. I have used everything from PBR to Guinness Stout to Black Butte Porter (my favorite, brewed by Deschutes Brewery, a craft brewery founded in 1988 as a brew pub in Bend, Oregon, USA). The darker stouts and porters usually have less fizz so the loaf is denser, not to mention darker.

  29. I use a first gen Nexus 7 tablet running the latest stable Cyanogenmod release. The device was almost unusable with the latest version of the official firmware installed, but I am very happy with it now.

  30. Why do gummint entities hand out permits for chit like this?

    “Orange County court records show Kennedy has held permits to keep various exotic and potentially deadly animals for years. He’s been cited a handful of times for letting the permits expire or failing to provide adequate housing.”

    Always seems to be a problem with venomous reptiles and/or constrictors escaping.

    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/breaking-news/os-king-cobra-search-orlando-20150904-story.html

  31. He’s been cited a handful of times for letting the permits expire or failing to provide adequate housing.

    I can’t speak to the housing issue, but the permits issue sounds like just paperwork BS, compounded by unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles. I have experience with a business needing a handful of licenses and permits, each of which needed to be renewed regularly, not on the same schedule, in person, at different government offices. IIRC some but not all had to be renewed by the owner in person. None of the permits had any relation to health and safety, they were simply the state, county, and township governments sticking their hands out “for the public’s protection” or just because they could. In the five years I did occasional consulting with this company, they were cited and fined probably once a year for missing the renewal of some meaningless permit. And of course the permit schedule couldn’t be adjusted to coincide so the boss could take one day a year and do them all. No, roughly once a month he had to take a couple of hours out of the work day to take care of one permit.

  32. two things that I read today

    Still remember Juan Peron? which kind of fear inspirated on US that a lot of people still rememeber him (not Eva, him), he was not at war, strange, very strange I cant understand (BTW, see Huey Long)

    Anyone but Hillary, remember, anyone but Carter, you had Carter….

    ps forgive my sintaxis

  33. Just back from a small Costco run. I didn’t grab much in the way of shelf-stable stuff, other than 12 gallons (45 liters) of bottled water, 22 pounds (10 kilos) of assorted pasta, six large jars of applesauce, a can of Gatorade lemon/lime drink mix, a couple large boxes of Ritz crackers (which have surprisingly long shelf life even in the original cellophane tubes), a jar of cashews, and a couple other small items.

    What, no vanilla wafers? I have restarted my vanilla wafer addiction again and will have to kill it soon. BTW, they come in very thin mylar bags nowadays.

    Any specific kind of pasta or just varied hard pasta that will keep until 2100?

  34. Just assorted Barilla pasta that Costco carries in 7-pound boxes and spaghetti in 8-pound boxes.

  35. That’s some nice fast glass. I am shooting canon and I was using a 55-250 but it runs f4 at 55mm to 5.6 at 250mm. Saving pennies for a better lense. My challenges are that I’m shooting 8man and its just bleachers. You get power poles, lines, buildings, junk in the back ground. In addition as you said, the lighting stinks and just causes more problems. Don’t want my ISO super high causing noise.

    Anyway, you got some nice shots.

  36. That’s some nice fast glass.

    That is why I got the lens. I wanted as wide an aperture as possible that remained constant.

    Saving pennies for a better lense.

    Quality of glass is important. Sensors are now to the point where they exceed the resolving power of consumer grade lenses. No use in having a 20 meg sensor when the lens can only resolve at 10 meg. Good glass is expensive. Get insurance as most homeowners will not cover professional grade lenses.

    My challenges are that I’m shooting 8man and its just bleachers. You get power poles, lines, buildings, junk in the back ground.

    I try to position myself about 10-15 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. That way I can be looking down the field towards where the action is happening. It helps that I know the coaches and they let me roam the sidelines at will. I just have to obey the two yard off the sideline rule.

    In addition as you said, the lighting stinks and just causes more problems. Don’t want my ISO super high causing noise.

    Indeed the lighting does stink. Some fields I resort to using a flash, rear curtain, dialed down about a stop. It fills in some light without looking too badly flashed.

    I also use a monopod to support the camera and the lens. Helps to overcome the weight issues and reduces the motion blur substantially.

    One other thing I do is I always shoot in RAW. You can fairly easily increase the exposure in post processing without any real loss. I tend to underexpose a half stop anyway when taking the image to avoid blown highlights. RAW allows a lot of latitude in exposure. RAW also allows you to easily adjust the white balance as you have 12 bits for each color as opposed to 8 bits for RGB. Much wider color range.

    I use Adobe Lightroom for post processing. That allows me to quickly go through the images I take (about 250-300) and eliminate all but about 50 images. I then go to the develop mode, pick one image, zoom in, and denoise that image as much as I dare. I then zoom out and crop the image to 4×6. Back to the Library module and sync all the images. I then view each individual image adjusting the crop and white balance as necessary.

    There is a learning curve involved. Anticipation and luck, mostly luck. Good luck.

    Anyway, you got some nice shots.

    Thanks.

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