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I’m an Android guy, and I like customizing my phone. The stock launcher doesn’t give me enough options, so I have been using Nova Launcher. And that’s since at least 2013, and across multiple phones.

Until now.

TeslaCoil software, the manufacturer, just sold out to an analytics company. There are a lot of words in press releases about independence and not siphoning data. I also know that Branch bought them for a reason, so I assume that the data will be flowing to the analytics company, and will be sold to the highesr bidder, somewhere down the road. Unhappy about that.

So I dropped Nova Launcher and picked up Hyperion. Different product, of course, but the end result is very similar. One minor tweak is absent, and I can live without that. My data will presumably be safer going forward.

I don’t blame TeslaCoil for selling out. Doesn’t mean I have to keep on using them – that’s the price of freedom.

And then I bought the Plus version of Hyperion using Google money, which I got from answering Google Rewards surveys. So I sold information to Google to protect information from going to Branch.

There are three or four big consolidators of data. Google, Amazon, Microsoft, maybe Facebook. Lots of others (Oracle bought Cerner!), but those are the biggies. They are all sucking data from you daily. I chose to align with Google as my primary. Still use Microsoft (though not Windows 11) and Amazon (Prime has many benefits, which encourage more purchases and data gathering). I stay away from Facebook.

I also use AdGuard and multiple ad-blockers. I may be selling my information, but I’m selling it dearly.

I flew back from Arizona overnight Tuesday into Wednesday. Then I did a deployment Thursday night into Friday.

Saturday I tested positive for Covid.

Thanks, government (meaning me)

I felt like I’d been run over by a truck – headache, muscle aches, coughing, runny nose. I don’t like working overnight, but I usually bounce back better. So I tested, and now I have a reason for feeling bad.

My second infection. First was right after Christmas a year and a half ago. Then I missed New Year. This time I’ll miss Memorial Day.

I’m seeing a trend, and I don’t like it. Any of it.

Don’t disable Bluetooth using your Bluetooth mouse. It works one direction, not the other.

Nothing terrible – grab another mouse, turn it on again. But on a desktop with no trackpad, or for somebody with no spare meeses, this could be problematic.

You’re welcome. And yes, your assumption about how I came to know this sage advice is correct.

Two black cylindrical things

Two nifty things recently, both black and round in two dimensions.

The Amplifi Alien has been serving wifi throughout the house for a month, and doing a wonderful job of it. Phones, streaming devices, wireless printer – everything just works. This is the way it’s supposed to be. Is it a terrible thing that I can’t do network segmentation on it? Nope, no more sad that I can’t extend my hammer. Purchased to do one thing, and it does that thing well.

The other cool thing is a little bluetooth speaker from Anker. Twenty bucks for twenty hours of audio (at lower volumes), that is surprisingly loud, clear, and bassy. It isn’t green – it’s reflecting in the glory of the “signal-is-good” Alien.

Both recommended, for different purposes, of course.

I started a project in June to re-digitize all my CDs. Finished all the CDs I could locate, turning them into FLAC files. I know I’m missing some, and I didn’t do my vinyl (the project could grow infinitely).

I used the excellent dBpoweramp and the accompanying PerfectTUNES to get the audio off and locate cover art. Again, still more work to do. I’m aiming for useful, not perfection.

Then Google Music shut down, so I downloaded everything I had sent to the cloud, which filled in some gaps and added some Amazon samplers as MP3s. Google downloads don’t know about folders, and every download has the group and album built into the song title. I could fix that, but the project could grow infinitely, as I may have mentioned before.

I spent some time cleaning up folder names and structures, and was finally ready to transfer it all to my phone (I really don’t like YouTube Music, Google’s replacement – it’s structured for them instead of for me, and rather forcefully. Gmail, Google Drive, and Keep are tools for me. YTMusic is all them.). And without a slot for an external memory card, it wouldn’t all fit on my phone.

I’d given myself a budget of 40G for music – seems right on a 128G phone. I had almost 180G of music. On my PC that’s fine – a 10T drive holds that without blinking. But for my phone I achieved 450% of my goal. If I was selling Girl Scout cookies that would be great. With a limited container, not so much.

With much hacking and chopping, making hard decisions, I got down to 50G and couldn’t see much more fat.

Today, Christmas of 2020, I have finally transferred all that music to my phone. No playlists yet, but I have the source material.

I verified the transfer with the always-helpful Beyond Compare. I’m playing the music through Musicolet, a local player. Yes, I paid for the upgrade to be able to cast to the TV (thank you, Google Opinion Rewards!).

Now I can carry around 2,444 songs – that’s 176 hours of music, so I can go a week without repeating – in my pocket.

Merry Christmas, Steve!

Sunday night. Watching the taped last race of the season. I have noticed a couple words that I very rarely hear outside the F1 broadcasts.

Monegasque – a native of Monaco.

Penultimate – next-to-last.

ESPN is carrying the Sky Sports feed from England, which may influence the novelty of the verbiage. Very much enjoy the reporting team, and greatly appreciate Mothers sponsoring the commercial-free shows.

And yes, I know that tape isn’t involved in the delay of a show via YouTube TV. Similarly, ESPN isn’t broadcast – it’s a cable channel. And it isn’t even cable-only, since we get it streamed. *sigh*

By strange coincidence, Bettie is watching “A Tale of Two Cities”, the source of “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times”.

It’s not the worst, despite the title, but it’s not the best.

One of my treasured pieces of ancient electronics is my Palm Pilot, a Tungsten E. This was before smart phones. It was also before non-volatile ram, which was introduced with the E2, which Bettie has (and uses). So I have to keep mine charged, which I have done for years. Until now. Tonight, when I plugged it in, I found out the default year for the calendar is 2003. And I found out that I had lost all the stuff I had on there. Bummer.

What was it? Lists of important Bible verses. Some notes I had taken for myself at a significant time of my life. Shirt sizes. Stuff. And now it’s gone.

A good lesson on the transience of things, and the need to pay attention to the passage of time.

He’s not totally right, but he’s also not totally wrong.

Taken with the Google Pixel amazing Night Sight. Blown up and cropped, but not edited.

Sometimes there’s stuff that needs doing.  Sometimes I’m the guy to do it.  This is one of those times.

Monday evening, the city of Cincinnati released confirmed coronavirus cases by zip code.  Cool – I like seeing maps of things.  Data is beautiful.

But no.  They provided a list – a necessary component, but not the necessary result.

So in a half-hour, I whipped this up.  Not fancy, no landmarks, but it’s the data mapped.  Enjoy.

confirmed

At least for now.

My PC died last summer, and I got a whomping big workstation that was going to be my Linux base, with tons of virtual machines hung off it.

I did make one virtual machine, and it ran nicely.  But I ended up fighting with Fedora more than I got work done – well, that’s the filtered memory.

Tonight, when I tried to start it up, I saw this:

Cannot open access to console, the root account is locked

I tried some things, and poked around, and got frustrated, and now I’m typing this on Windows.  Bye, Linux.  I’ll make some virtual machines to play with Linux, but my life is too short spending it wondering if the latest updates will crash things (and I still don’t know what caused this crash).

At work, I tried running Linux on my laptop for months before giving in and going the Microsoft way.  History apparently repeated itself.

Welcome back, Steve.

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