So we went to Office 365 and at work. Fine. I hate the changes in the 2010 apps. The Excel interface is ridiculous and causes me to click about 800 million more times than before. My tennis and golpher’s elbow love that because clicking the mouse that often doesn’t cause me any more pain or anything like that </sarcasm>

But its the phone part that kindof bugs me. First off, hooking my phone up to the email server so I can get work emails anytime and anywhere seemed straightforward. Put in username, put in server. check. But then I get an error saying it needs to change security settings. I blindly say OK because I just want it to work. First thing I notice…..it doesn’t work still. It never changed what it needed to and still doesn’t work. Well, because I was at a conference I was able to try it about 1000 more times. Still nothing. Great. This sucks. But maybe not getting work emails is a blessing. For fun I try to access webmail through the browser which also fails miserably. Damn or Score! Depends on your perspective.

This morning my phone is slowwwwwww. (not entirely an uncommon occurrence) So I reboot it. Oooo looky! 2 email envelopes in the notification bar! Well one is my normal personal account but the other is work! Woohoo! Oh wait……it says something about security settings needing to be changed for my work account.  Hmmmmm. OK, so I select it to set settings. Oh wait. WAIT just a darn minute Microsoft. You want my settings to be set to WHAT to be able to get email to my phone? Really??????? Here, I’ll just post a picture.

So…..let me get this straight. With Gmail, Zimbra, and every other mail I’ve ever used, the mail app in Android was enough. You can just push email to the phone!

But……with Microsoft’s new brainstorm, all of the sudden Mail needs to be able to have the ability to:

Erase all data: Erase the phone’s data without warning, by performing a factory data reset

Set password rules: Control the length and the characters allowed in screen-unlock passwords

Monitor screen-unlock attempts: Monitor the number of incorrect passwords entered when unlocking the screen, and lock the phone or erase all the phone’s data if too many incorrect passwords are entered

Lock the screen: Control how and when the screen locks

 

WTF? Really? Seriously? You want that much control over my phone…my life….for flipping email? EMAIL. It is EMAIL. It does NOT need to have Device Administrator privileges. Exactly how does the Mail app having the ability to Factory Data Reset my phone allow me to get TEXT EMAIL to an app that already exists and works freaking well with Exchange already!

Sure. More than likely nothing bad and scary is going to happen. It is certainly not in anyone’s best interest if mail just goes around resetting people’s phones, screwing with their passwords or not allowing screens to lock. But it could happen. Coders get tired, sleepy, some are new and quite frankly not very good at it. Mistakes happen and wonky code gets into a baseline. And crap happens. That’s why there are permissions! To protect us as much as possible from really wonky code. BUT why o why does this only pop up when we need to connect to Microsoft email. Is Doofenshmirtz Evil Incorporated in charge because it just feels so evil!

Bite me Microsoft, just bite me. I’m seriously thinking if people need me that bad we can engage the “Can you hear me now” philosophy and make a call.

 

 

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 From author Aaron Crocco’s website:

When a devastating earthquake strikes Manhattan, Travis Hunter finds himself among the other survivors trying to make sense of a city in ruins. In the aftermath, word spreads among the displaced: New York City was only a small part of a global disaster. For the first time in human history an earthquake shook the entire world.

While trying to get back home, Travis is confronted by a being from another realm and tasked with a divine mission: help bring on the apocalypse or be killed. Faced with this directive from a messenger of God, Travis must assume a role dating back to the beginning of time and is forced to begin a journey that will destroy all of humanity.

 

 

 

 

I was lucky enough to get be able to sit down on the beach (I stay from morning til evening) and read this book cover to cover…err…. start to finish as I read it on my Kindle.  It was a quick and easy read but left me wanting more. I’m hungry to find out what happens next. I have so many questions I want answered and to think there are so many books left in the series to wait for! I’m on the edge of my seat waiting.

The book begins in my favorite way….it just jumps right into the action. In my opinion this is the best way as I have a short attention span for all the introductions that happen so often. I like a book to grab me early on or I’m likely to set it down and not pick it back up again. As Darkness Ends did just that. I was instantly drawn into the tragedy and what was happening with Travis and the global disaster that was occurring.

Travis is then given the choice to bring about judgement on the world or have no one judged at all at the end times. He chooses to do God’s will as a runner and spread the Encautum to every corner of the Earth and begin the process of ending time for all. The book chronicles his journey and his realization of the power he possesses and its effect on others as they are instantly judged (and the effects that has), or some, not at all. We easily connect with him and his struggles with watching and experiencing how people suffer and how some who are initially unaffected can fall due to fear. But he keeps going so that some of humanity can be saved and judged fairly instead of being condemned to hell.

To say this book left me wanting more is an understatement. I want to know more about him, his life, his family, friends, interactions. I want to know how more people are affected and how they are handling it. I have no idea where the next books will go but yearn to find out.

But the biggest thing this book did is something that I think every artist…writer, singer, photographer, painter, etc. wants their art to do. It left a mark on me. It made me question myself, my actions, my life. It made me think about my being and myself and where I would fall if the Encautum and I ever crossed paths. It made me ask if I’m proud of myself, if I live authentically and question what in my life would I change if I could in order to achieve the most good. I think the fact that it makes a reader pause is it’s greatest strength.

I think this is a fantastic first book and I’m thrilled that Aaron decided to write a series so that we can hunger for more. Well done!

Links:

Aaron Crocco and As Darkness Ends

 

Fan Page

As Darkness Ends at Amazon for Kindle only 99 cents! DO IT! You know you want to!

As Darkness Ends at Amazon Hardcopy Only $6.99! Great addition to any bookcase!

 

 

 

 

Dear Victoria’s Secret

Posted: April 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

I like your store. I like your clothing. I really love your coupons. I mean really love them. I adore the gift cards I get monthly for free undergarments and especially now you can get any color! So when I saw the phone in survey for a $10 coupon on my receipt, I thought sure!

OK. Should only take a minute, right? RIGHT??? I answered a ton of questions, and when I finally got to where I could just speak my experience into the answering machine, I thought “WOW, I’m finally done.”. Nope. Seemingly not even close. “How many people were in line ahead of you.” I press 0.  “Please listen to the whole question. (pause) How many people were in line ahead of you.(pause) If zero, press zero.” I press zero. “PLEASE listen to the whole question. (pause) How man” *click*

Do you want to know why survey responses are low? Because, for these kinds of surveys on receipts, they are low. It’s because you make it such a royal pain in the behind.  Keep sending the free undies but don’t expect me to call in again. (yes, I could do it online, but I was in a kitchen cleaning mode and thought it would take a minute. and writing this has clearly made it more than a minute)

CFLs, really? No thanks.

Posted: January 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

I did no scientific experiments.

I have not done fancy math to figure out the best and worst paths to take.

I trusted what I’ve been told, read and heard about these things.

I just used them.

I really hate Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs, now more than ever.  But only because my experience has kind of stunk with them (and sure, there are tons of you that will tell me I got a bad batch, a few times, or I did something wrong, but because I only have my experience to go on…..I don’t really care.)

So these goofy looking things are supposed to save me loads of money.  They are supposed to essentially last forever!  Or at least some massive amount of time.  According to energystar.gov, the goofy looking CFL bulb they:

  • can save me > $40 in electricity costs over its lifetime
  • uses ~75% less energy than their incandescent counterparts AND they last up to 10 times longer
  • produces ~75% less heat, so its safer to operate and can cut energy costs associated with home cooling.

I’m not at all comfortable with these things here and their mercury content.  I think we’re going to find a large majority of people tossing these lovely things right into the trash and filling the landfills.  Why?  People are lazy.  People like convenience.  People don’t want to have to research and guess what the heck to do with these things.  And last year when I toured the recycling center I don’t remember once, not one time, any mention of these things.  Old electronics, yes.  CFL bulbs, no.  Nothing.  When I look at recycling bins placed in various locations, there are ones for paper, plastic, newspaper, office paper (funny, how there aren’t any for glossy except at the Ronald McDonald House…I used to do drives and then haul the glossy mags there to help lessen their costs any way I could).  Heck now you can even see compost bins throughout Penn State’s campus.  But what I don’t see are bins for these things.  I go to Best Buy and can recycle my printer ink cartridges or old phones right there at the door.  But last I looked, nothing for these bulbs.  As much as you can say “it’s against the law to throw them away” that’s where a large portion of these things will end up, law or not.  And I suspect the police are trying to fight larger crimes like murder and reckless driving to be diving in everyone’s trash.  Did you know AA batteries aren’t allowed to be thrown out in regular trash?  I didn’t.  That was news to me this year when I was told by someone.  But do you think people even know what to do with the 800 million we go through, more if you have kids and their toys that chew through them faster than I could chew through a Hershey bar?  Doubt it.  Like I said, the recycle bins at the community center or scattered in public places I’ve seen don’t ask for them.  Paper, plastic, cans, glass. That’s about it.

But all of that aside, I needed money. (still do)  I need to save money, lots of it.  Especially now.  So in an effort to make some changes to ensure that my goal of less money leaving my account was realized, I invested in some rather pricey CFL bulbs.  I opted to take the route of replacing the incandescent bulbs as they died and I had just experienced that moment where a bunch burn out right around the same time.  They seem to be in sync like that, probably because they were all put in at the same time.  My first high-priced purchase of a multi-pack proved to underperform, big time.  I grabbed a large package from Sam’s Club and they are the kind you need to turn on and wait a good hour or two until they warm up so that you can finally see in the room.  Right then and there I decided this CFL thing was a dim idea.  But as luck would have it, many died and the ones that didn’t got distributed to the more obscure locations in the house, like the crawl space, which is actually the WORST place for a CFL b/c if it should break, which is a very real possibility given the number of incandescents we broke in there, there is absolutely NO way to clean it up. No way to get the mercury out of the gravel.  But given that the choice is being taken away from us we shall just have to deal with mercury running down our head or back as we navigate the storage area and mercury living in the gravel.  The upside?  Hopefully it will kill any ants or spiders that happen in there.

After talking (read whining, bitching, complaining) about these with a friend I gave the things another chance.  I then went to Wal-mart and picked up another economy box (why get one when you can commit to at least a big box, right? I am supposedly going to save money).  I began replacing as bulbs died, again.  They look stupid in my chandelier, but I’m over it.  My house is messy anyway, what’s ugly bulbs in my chandelier.  The downstairs didn’t seem to matter too much.  The right lampshade seemed to counteract the cool hue.  We usually just have a lamp and the TV on anyway and during the day the house is pretty bright so lights aren’t needed.  The real test, was the bedrooms.  I have one of those 3 bulb ceiling fixtures in each bedroom.  In my room, the bulbs tend to last longer in general due to me not spending much time in there with the lights on. If I’m awake I’m usually not in there.  If I’m in there an awake it’s not for a long time, or at least a long time with the overhead light on.  So a bulb burned out.  So in went a CFL and I think I felt weird when it was on.  There was a definite adjustment to the blue hue my room now had.  I feared when I’d have 3 CFLs in, but as of now there was one.  Then 2.  And then I forgot how many are in there as there is a cover on it.  Awhile ago I noticed one of the bulbs burned out, but I had no idea if it was CFL or incandescent.  I ignored it as, like I noted, I’m not in there much.  It didn’t bug me enough to climb up there.  But then, yesterday, another bulb burned out.  Being 2/3 down, it was dark in my room so I took off the cover to at least let the one remaining bulb’s light not be filtered.  I would need to go to the store to get more bulbs, or pilfer from an obscure lamp later.

BUT WAIT!!!!  I started this quest to save money almost 2 years ago.  I’ve changed these CFL bulbs in the house countless times.  I found some that actually lit when given power.  But of the 3 bulbs that are in that light fixture, guess which 2 are dead?

CFLs that didn't last

So this about sums up my biggest issue with the bulbs.  The one that isn’t meant to last does.  The ones that are supposed to last up to 11 times longer, don’t.  The oldest bulb of the 3?  Incandescent.  The only one lit?  Incandescent.  I dropped a bunch of money and the ones that last are the ones that I like better anyway (not that it matters soon).

So I haven’t noticed a significant reduction in my electric bill (actually its been increasing but that seems to be pesky rate increases.

They probably do use less energy, I can’t prove it but I believe it.  But they do not last, in my experience, 11 times longer (or even 1 time longer as the bedroom light case is for me.)

They do, in fact, produce less heat.  BUT, I kinda liked the dual duty that my lamps put out heat.  I don’t live in the south.  The seasons in PA are often joked about that they are winter, holy hell its cold winter, less winter and super hot I think the majority of my use of the heat pump is for heat and not cooling so any help with that is, well, helpful.

Also…..you can’t make cakes and cookies in an Easy Bake Oven with these things which is why, I’m guessing, Easy Bake Ovens are being phased out by the easy bake put in your microwave kit.  Sad.

Lots of good information here, like, when changing your lightbulb, always use a drop cloth, and, if you do break one, open the window EVERY TIME you vacuum before you do it, during and at least 15 minutes after.  Wonder how good that is on the heating bill given its winter so much of the time.  Fun times. http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/cfl.asp

Yes, we need alternative energy sources that are clean.  I am not anti-green.  In fact, I’m very pro-green.  But I’m also not made of money and am tired of tossing money in the trash and tired of storing dead poisonous bulbs.  Guess I could bust them open, grab the mercury and make thermometers. (kidding)  And now that I’m sure they are inadequate I will save packaging and receipts so I can ship them back to their manufacturer every single time they die.  Why?  Because I like my money and I don’t like advertising promises that don’t come true.  I’m tired of being taken advantage of and want what the box promises.  And next time, I’m calling out brand names.

I’m sorry, but the NHL has dropped the ball.  We are huge fans in this family, this hollow, this area, but we don’t subscribe to satellite service.  And we don’t get fancy channels with our cable supplier.  But its hard to upgrade to satellite when you don’t particularly like the thought of the need to keep them clean, deal with the fact that you live in a forest and a mountain does stand between you and the actual view of the satellite and the fact that I pay pennies compared to my fellow TV viewers.  And even still, it doesn’t matter what my reasons are, but I don’t have a service that gets……….Versus.

I’ve been ever so slightly bitter since ESPN and ESPN2 stopped carrying hockey (and really, replaced it with Poker, Pool and some weird soap opera?… is that even still on?).  I used to watch hockey more than most anything else.  Any team.  I knew most of the players all over the league and my favorite team (well, 2nd favorite as the Penguins will always be my #1) was the Mighty Ducks.  But no more does ESPN think they should actually carry sports or games from other teams, let alone hockey at all.  So, at least, thankfully, we do get Fox Sports Pittsburgh and get to see many of the Pittsburgh Penguins games.  While I adore them, I would enjoy seeing others for some variety or at least friendly sparring with my friends.  We used to miss some because they were on a local Pittsburgh channel, while annoying, at least it was from my hometown so I could grumble but….it was usually only on Saturday nights and I’d go have fun doing something else (or watch ESPN).  Now the games we miss are because they are on Versus! Ummmmm, FINE.  Still get to see a lot but it’s getting more annoying.

Then it happens.  The NHL and Versus get greedy.  Some of the Stanley cup playoff games were actually put ON VERSUS!  What?  Huh?  Come again???? These games are the culmination of a season of cheering and rooting and loyalty to our team and they end up blocked from view?  And even if I subscribe to the NHL channel on the Roku I hear they’re blacking games out there, just like how we get old boxing matches on TV.  Scuse me NHL, but WTF?  Maybe if we’re lucky we can catch some games on Saturday on NBC…..although that seems to be dwindling, or is it that we just have busy lives and can’t sit around all day Saturday in hopes the NHL will grant us some bit of hockey viewage.

Now the NFL, on the other hand, well, while I cannot expect to see every game on Sunday, guess what?  I get a full lineup, of big games even!  Every week!  On…….network television!  There’s not one football time slot where I have to go….dangit, can’t see that game!  And I’ve not had to miss one Steelers game at all due to it being on Versus or some other obscure network that so many don’t get.  And what’s more, is I don’t have to worry about it, think twice about it or even bitch that the kids are too young to spend all day in a bar so I can watch the games there and drink beer!  I can just sit back and enjoy the games.

Then, this weekend.  Pro Football and Pro Hockey….big celebrity weekend for them.  The NHL All-Stars and NFL Pro Bowl this weekend.  I’m kinda pissed that I don’t get to see the skills competition, definitely for the NHL, I’m pretty sure for the NFL b/c I didn’t see it but honestly I could be wrong.  Skill competition though, that’s fun.  Something everyone in the family would enjoy…..and we do want the kids to enjoy it, do we not?  After all at their young ages we should be corrupting them to like this stuff so they grow up to be proper consumers and spend their money on merchandise accordingly, right?

But today, today was the “big” games.  The NHL All-Stars….on…..Versus!  That’s right folks, for some reason a deal wasn’t reached with any network station or even TBS or something like it to show it.  Yup, that dumb obscure station, not one most people would get.  Oh we checked and checked to see if it was on, but nope.  I saw tweets that it was in fact actually happening but no.  But I did hear that NBC, earlier before the game, gave us approximately 37 seconds of skills competition coverage! Oh ya baby.

I’ll accept that ESPN has their heads up their butts and totally screwed up and I can’t fix that.  But I can say, for the things that matter to all of us, show it somewhere that actually is most accessible.  NHL could take a lesson from the NFL because my kids see way more football on TV.  And you, NHL, you’re not worth the money to drill a hole in the mountain and subscribing to the NHL channel when you block home games for my favorite team, well its slimy and sucky.  While I will always love the sport of hockey first, I don’t buy as much memorabilia anymore, my give a damn about other teams, well, its busted, and sadly enough, even the biggest fan in this house (who is not me) also has resigned to just not caring so much about anyone but the Pens.  We still would if you didn’t make it so exclusive of a club to see them.  And really….. hockey always gets the shaft when it comes to being represented in about everything from t-shirts at the store to Christmas ornaments, you think the NHL would do more to make it more accessible.  So folks, hopefully you like your hometown team and have Fox Sports to show them to you.  (By the way, the sports sections here in Wal-Mart that have hometown team paraphernalia…TONS of Steelers stuff, no Pens stuff.  Nada.  No hockey stuff at all.  How’s that promoting your wares working for ya NHL?)

Oh ya, and guess what’s on FOX right now… (thumbs up, NFL, 2 thumbs up)

Oh ya, NFL rockin the network TV

Bang Bang Shoot Em’ Up…

Posted: October 4, 2010 in Uncategorized

….the party never ends. (and now I have Skid Row in my head)

Well, it does when the credits roll. This weekend was quite long after 2 days of grueling GRE prep courses so as soon as I was sprung from today’s class I high tailed it to Target, made a return and noticed that I could make a movie! It was 5:05. The next one started at 5:10 and I could make it. It wasn’t my usual comedy or drama. None of those love story (“horror flicks”) for me, or real horror ones either for that matter. The movie du jour…. The Expendables. I didn’t know anything about it. I barely skimmed the description in my Movies app for Android on the phone (handy app by Flixter…I use it a lot to see movies, theaters, times)

I pretty much checked that it wasn’t horror or sappy and the time.  Heck I didn’t even watch the trailer.

In all reality, I probably would even have gone for the girly sappy one if it had been the one at the right time.  But as luck would have it, the Expendables were the one up at the right time.  I was a hair late but still made it in time for 2 previews that I completely missed while I checked in on foursquare.  And then, the tell tale gears  came up on the big screen signaling movie time!

I don’t think I really knew what I was in for.  I should have seeing as Sylvester Stallone starred in it, directed it, was one of the screenplay writers.  I really shouldn’t have been surprised.  And I can’t say that I was when the opening sequence involved a rescue of some guys from pirates.  I did find that I questioned the use of opening credits on the screen when they were actually showing the movie and not some scenery or something with music.  Do they really think I’m going to not watch what is going on in the movie just to read some names?  I’m sure those people being displayed are quite proud of their work, but I couldn’t tell you who any of them were because I was kindof actually watching the movie.  It just seems silly to waste screen space on names, but since I made it a point to watch the movie I guess it doesn’t matter.

There was a lot of guns, a lot of killing.  The banter on the screen between the characters kept it fairly entertaining enough.  There was a girl, of course, and she ended up being the reason for the crew to again head right into extreme danger and save the day.  It did not fall short of your typical good-bad-but-good guys who do bad things for the right reasons and have good hearts guiding them to do the right thing, especially when a girl is involved all the while killing many and fighting while clearly out-manned and out-weaponed.  And of course the machine guns that so easily miss them despite being fired directly at them.

So ya, a great entertaining movie.  Not what I’d call the best movie ever but definitely worth a watch if you need to clear your mind after 2 long days of solid GRE prep combined with being the day before going back to work for another week.  Always good to check out of reality for 1 hr. 43 min. and start my mind over for the week, or at least until I head to the next movie.  Open invitation, who wants to go to the next one 🙂

Android App: Ringtone by ringtone

Posted: August 10, 2010 in Android, App
Tags: , ,

Ringtone…I don’t need no stinkin’ ringtone.  But I want oneeeeee.

So this came up in the list of popular downloads when I was (quickly) browsing the market the other day.  I thought sure! I hate my ringtone as it’s just a default one and I like things a bit more personalized.  I downloaded and installed it…that went well but most things seem to just work well on the phone (ya ya, I’m sounding like a fandroid I know).  I decided to try it out this morning and did my search.  Well, I had to do it a few times.  First I hit the standard Android Menu button which brought up 4 options: Search, Clear Cache, unset ringtone (really, everything else is 1st letter capitalized but this option??? Inconsistency irritates me) and Upload.  So I searched for Jimmy Buffett and seemingly started to get a list but then, didn’t actually GET a list of songs that were all by Jimmy.  It was just a list, wait, the default list.  Tried it again.  And again.  So then I see at the TOP of the screen is Find.  Ummmmmmmmmmmm OK.  That worked BUT what the hell is Search for then?

Anyway, I searched for Jimmy Buffett songs and after previewing a few I quickly realized that none of the songs (I tried at least) had the ringtone as the chorus or recognizable part of the song.  When my phone rings I want it to belt out “If the phone doesn’t ring you know that its me…” or “Wastin’ away again in Margaritaville”.  You get the point.  A ringtone is relatively short and should be a quick recognizable portion of a song, or at least a LOUD portion, not the soft sounds or talking at the beginning, or some middle part.  I certainly, in good practice, do not sit there and make the person who is calling me wait until I get to the good part of the song, sing it, and then will I answer.  Ha ha! Wait, so would that deter people from calling me?  If it took 2:24 seconds for me to answer the phone would you give up and txt, IM or DM me instead?  Wait, this is BRILLIANT!  Wait, and wrong…anyway…

After about 10 songs I decided any more effort is too much effort.  I am one of *those* users who is lazy.  If an app *might* do what I want it to do great, but if it’s not there staring at me then I quickly move on.  I don’t put forth the effort in figuring you out b/c quite honestly I have to code and figure out my own apps so if mine have to work great and be intuitively obvious then that’s what I want.  If the snippets were in the good part of the song that would be great.  As it stands I’ll probably head back over to that site that escapes me at the moment but is linked to off of Jonathan Coulton’s website and I know works well, but now I have to find where I put that file I need to upload to create the ringtone I want as I know it’s not there.  Maybe later.