TOTD 2018-10-18: Amazing Apps

I was a late adapter to a cell phone. I thought I didn’t need it. I could use one of the ubiquitous pay phones that were everywhere in Japan. Well, the pay phones are now an endangered species and I would feel naked without my cell phone. I call it a cell phone but it really is a small computer with a phone function. What amazes me is the wonderful apps you can download to make your life easier.

I will share two apps with you. One app I have used for years and a new one that came with iOS 12 on the iPhone. The first one is 駅Locky (Eki-Locky). Eki means station and Locky is added so it sounds like “clock” in Japanese. What this app does is gives me a countdown timer for when my train leaves the station. This is far better than just giving me the time when the train leaves. Looking down at a timer that says I have 5 minutes left gives me the information that I need. I can either run to the station or relax and take the next train. If I swipe left the application shows a countdown timer for the next train so it is easy peasy.

The new app is Measure by Apple. This little app uses the camera in the phone to measure an object. Instead of a tape measure I can point the phone at a starting point then an ending point to see how long the object is. Pretty neat, right? It also has a level so one can see if the picture on the wall is crooked or not.

How about you? What app is amazing to you?


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Standards II (revisited)

OK, the last post about standards drifted way off topic, or so it seemed to some. I tried to get a screen grab of an interview with the owner as seen on FOX News. Since I could not get a direct link to the clip, I grabbed it and reduced it in size to post. Unfortunately the video clip is still too large, even after I reduced the resolution by 50%, so here is the audio from the clip. The video just included stock footage that many have seen before. The point is that he took the effort to exceed standards, deeper pilings, special windows and accepting the fact that the first floor would be swept away.


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The Khashoggi case demands context

I found this interesting:

http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/2018/10/the-ugly-terror-truth-about-jamal.html?m=1

In high school, Jamal Khashoggi had a good friend. His name was Osama bin Laden.

“We were hoping to establish an Islamic state anywhere,” Khashoggi reminisced about their time together in the Muslim Brotherhood. “We believed that the first one would lead to another, and that would have a domino effect which could reverse the history of mankind.”

Hmm. Maybe this man was not, in fact, a fearless champion of free speech. Maybe there is more going on. Maybe sometimes, the United States is allied with nations who also are bad actors. Maybe things are more complex than the media want to make themout to be.

Closing quote:

Before the media and the politicians who listen to it drag the United States into a conflict with Saudi Arabia over a Muslim Brotherhood activist based on the word of an enemy country still holding Americans hostage, we deserve the context.

And we deserve the truth.

The media wants the Saudis to answer questions about Jamal Khashoggi. But maybe the media should be forced to answer why the Washington Post was working with a Muslim Brotherhood propagandist?

The real mystery isn’t Khashoggi’s disappearance. It’s why Republicans aren’t asking those questions.

The media’s relationship with Khashoggi is far more damning than anything the Saudis might have done to him. And the media should be held accountable for its relationship with Osama bin Laden’s old friend.

Nothing is every simple as the headlines want them to be.


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No bear yet…

Boy am I eating crow….

From Oct 16, first at 1245 AM, second at 331 AM and finally at 808 AM.

I’m not sure how big the rack on the buck was, maybe a 7-pointer.

My wife is gloating over my invisible bear…

Like 10+

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Book Review: Red War

“Red War” by Kyle MillsThis is the fourth novel in the Mitch Rapp saga written by Kyle Mills, who took over the franchise after the death of Vince Flynn, its creator. On the cover, Vince Flynn still gets top billing (he is now the “brand”, not the author), but Kyle Mills demonstrates here that he’s a worthy successor who is taking Rapp and the series in new directions.

In the previous novel, Enemy of the State, Rapp went totally off the radar, resigning from the CIA, recruiting a band of blackguards, many former adversaries, to mount an operation aimed at a nominal U.S. ally. This time, the circumstances are very different. Rapp is back at the CIA, working with his original team headed by Scott Coleman, who has now more or less recovered from the severe injuries he sustained in the earlier novel Order to Kill, with Claudia Gould, now sharing a house with Rapp, running logistics for their missions.

Vladimir Krupin, President/autocrat of Russia, is ailing. Having climbed to the top of the pyramid in that deeply corrupt country, he now fears his body is failing him, with bouts of incapacitating headaches, blurred vision, and disorientation coming more and more frequently. He and his physician have carefully kept the condition secret, as any hint of weakness at the top would likely invite one or more of his rivals to make a move to unseat him. Worse, under the screwed-down lid of the Russian pressure cooker, popular dissatisfaction with the dismal economy, lack of freedom, and dearth of opportunity is growing, with popular demonstrations reaching Red Square.

The CIA knows nothing of Krupin’s illness, but has been observing what seems to be increasingly erratic behaviour. In the past, Krupin has been ambitious and willing to commit outrages, but has always drawn his plans carefully and acted deliberately, but now he seemed to be doing things almost at random, sometimes against his own interests. Russian hackers launch an attack that takes down a large part of the power grid in Costa Rica. A Russian strike team launches an assault on Krupin’s retired assassin and Rapp’s former nemesis and recent ally, Grisha Azarov. Military maneuvers in the Ukraine seem to foreshadow open confrontation should that country move toward NATO membership.

Krupin, well aware of the fate of dictators who lose their grip on power, and knowing that nothing rallies support behind a leader like a bold move on the international stage, devises a grand plan to re-assert Russian greatness, right a wrong inflicted by the West, and drive a stake into the heart of NATO. Rapp and Azarov, continuing their uneasy alliance, driven by entirely different motives, undertake a desperate mission in the very belly of the bear to avert what could all too easily end in World War III.

There are a number of goofs, which I can’t discuss without risk of spoilers, so I’ll take them behind the curtain.

This is a well-crafted thriller which broadens the scope of the Rapp saga into Tom Clancy territory. Things happen, which will leave the world in a different place after they occur. It blends Rapp and Azarov’s barely restrained loose cannon operations with high-level diplomacy and intrigue, plus an interesting strategic approach to pledges of defence which the will and resources of those who made them may not be equal to the challenge when the balloon goes up and the tanks start to roll. And Grisha Azarov’s devotion to his girlfriend is truly visceral.

Mills, Kyle. Red War. New York: Atria Books, 2018. ISBN 978-1-5011-9059-9.

Here is an Author Stories interview (audio only) with the author about the novel and process of crafting a thriller.


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The Warren Commission

Sen. Elizabeth Warren released some DNA findings to prove Indian ancestry. Trump has punched backed. What I find fascinating is not the substance but the ripples of this public debate. Whether someone likes Trump or not he is the master of forcing opponents to look silly fighting back. “Why aren’t I 50 points ahead” Hillary and “His hands are small” Rubio are a few examples. I don’t see how this will end well for Warren.

Thoughts?


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Monday Meals: 18-10-15 Hot Beverages

Hot Beverages

The above picture is of green tea. It is something I drink but rarely make for myself. My preferred drink is black tea with milk.

Occasionally this without the whipping cream.

What is your go to hot liquid? Are there any unusual things you like?


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New York and Chill

The Grand Ave subway station in northeast Queens is a madhouse at 7:15 am. Young people tryna get to school, grownups tryna get to work; it’s crowded; it’s uncivil; nobody gives way; nobody is polite; elbows are out; people are squished; if I don’t get on this train I’m gonna be LATE. (Continual delays and disruptions  are a microagression against all New Yorkers, but I’ll let others moan about that).

However, the same station at 7:00 am is nice. It’s tranquil. It’s quiet. It’s peaceful. There’s a place to stand, maybe even a seat.

So I leave my house much earlier than I need to, just to have a peaceful ride to the city.  I spend the extra time at Starbucks composing original content for all you fine people.

So yes, I’d rather wake up earlier, and get to work earlier, in order to have extra time to chill.

How is your commute? Would you leave your house earlier just to avoid unpleasantness?


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TOTD 2018-10-14: Snark

What is the difference between good humor and snark?
When is snark good and when is it bad?
If good, at what percentage should it be used?
I think most people are biased. They think using snark against opponents is good but take umbrage when it is used against them.

Please write your thoughts in the comments and I will give my answers there too.


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TOTD 2018-10-13: Quotes

Time for something from Chesterton. (I have to keep Blumroch happy.)

  1. What embitters the world is not excess of criticism, but an absence of self-criticism.
  2. Moderate strength is shown in violence, supreme strength is shown in levity.
  3. The reformer is always right about what is wrong. He is generally wrong about what is right.

UPDATE: There was originally only the first quote but then I founds some more.


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