Dirty Airy

Posted in Uncategorized on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 by Ed Wyrd

Its only November and 50% of the contiguous United States has snow cover. Here in Wisconsin, up north aways, by Gile, they recorded 50.1 inches of snow. Yes, four feet of the white stuff fell from November 10th through early morning November 14.

November. Normally we average temperatures in the 40s. This year we’re going through temperatures in the teens and colder.

This year, winter has come early and by many predictions, it’ll be here for a long while.

Milwaukee has been subjected to a long strange weather pattern over the last three or four years. We went through a period where we set a record for the longest time between snowfalls, 288 days set in 2012. (And I believe Chicago went 329 days without snow.)

That also happened to be the last year Milwaukee saw a decent summer. The last two were cool and wet.

Then in January 2014, we set a record for consecutive days below zero, 28. Not only that, 2014 was the year every month from January through June had below average temperatures (I stopped keeping track after that, so its possible that trend continued until November).

And it isn’t just Milwaukee. There’s drought in California, super storms across America, and unusual weather around the world.

Is this recent spate of weather just a fluke, or is this what Climate Change looks like? Well, to tell you the truth, in all the excitement over global warming, I’ve kinda lost track. But seeing how this is the Earth, and our lives depend on its fragile ecosystem, before you throw out denier rhetoric and spew more greenhouse gases into the air, you have to ask yourself, “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk?

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The Compromise Gap

Posted in bolognium, Democrat, GOP with tags , , on Wednesday, November 5, 2014 by Ed Wyrd

Tuesday’s elections swung the power in Congress into the hands of the Republicans. Many Democrats, myself included, couldn’t understand why anyone paying attention to what was going on would vote for a Republican.

Many others seem to believe both parties are at fault. There might be some truth in that. One of the biggest complaints is neither party is willing to negotiate. Nobody on the right or left is willing to compromise. But the actual fact of the matter is, both parties have tried to negotiate, but the problem is something called the Compromise Gap.

What is the compromise gap? I’m glad you asked and what better way to illustrate it than with a graphic? Why, with two graphics, of course.

compromise gap

Graphic 1 illustrates how things used to be. The line represents the entire political spectrum; the farther right you go, the more conservative you become and the farther left you go the more liberal you become. In the center lie the America people, mostly moderate, not too liberal, not too conservative, just right.

The GOP and the Democrats traditionally occupied the circled areas, fluctuating along the line from more so to less so year to year, but never really deviating all that much between 4 and 5 for the GOP and 6 and 7 for the Dems.

The fringe groups occupy the farthest extremes on the scale. Representing the right wing extremists are the Christian Right, now joined more recently by the Tea Party. I didn’t bother to make a circle for the radical left, because as I’ll explain, they don’t have much of an affect upon the movement of the Democratic Party as a whole.

For years, the GOP and the Dems haven’t had very far to go to reach the center, where the majority of Americans await. It was easy to compromise on many issues. The two parties negotiated readily and those involved were often viewed as statesmen.

But then, the Tea Party and the Christian Right began to gain political clout, winning elections on their extremist platforms. With each new success, their political reach grew and the GOP was sucked across the political spectrum by their strengthening gravitation field, pulling the traditional Republicans farther and farther to the right.

Graphic 2 shows how things are today. The Tea Party and Christian Right still occupy the extreme right position, but now the traditional Republicans have been dragged over and occupy positions 2 and 3 on the scale compared to their previous position of 4 and 5, whereas the Democrats haven’t moved at all.

So there are several things at play here. First, many conservatives think the liberals have moved farther left, not realizing it is they, and they alone, who have moved.

Second, the Compromise Gap, once easily bridged has now grown into a political Ginnungagap, a vast, insurmountable frozen void that neither party is willing to cross for fear they’ll fall in and be destroyed.

Sure, both parties are still willing to negotiate the same 1 or 2 points left or right on the scale that they always have. And the Dems when negotiating are still crossing to the center where the rest of America as a whole still resides. And the GOP, likewise, is still willing to negotiate the same distance they did before, except for them, they now reside so far right that their attempts to compromise only land them solidly within the conservative spectrum, still many points away from center.

And it is the Republicans who decry the Dems for not being willing to cross the great divide while completely ignorant of the fact that they’ve moved so far right that even centrists seem like extreme liberals to them now.

It is not the Democrats’ fault at all that negotiations have often failed miserably, nor should anyone really expect them to move farther right than they already are.

The best the nation can hope for is a return to sanity on the side of the Republicans. Only by rejecting the fringe fanatical right wing and moving closer to center can we ever hope for the good old days of compromise and negotiation.

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Day 5 with Motorola Droid Turbo

Posted in Android, Droid Turbo, iPhone, motorola with tags , , , , , on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 by Ed Wyrd

It’s been five days that I’ve had the Motorola Droid Turbo. So far, I find it to be a great phone. Much better than the Nokia Lumia 928 I traded in for it. And tons better than the iPhone 4s I had prior to that.

Some quick thoughts: It’s fast. The apps open (some times they didn’t work at all on the Nokia Win8 phone) quickly and operate flawlessly.

It has really nice Internet reception and data transfer at work and in the mall I walk. I’ve only had two minor “Lost Internet Connection” issues and one was in the enclosed stairwell. That’s a whole lot better than my previous three smartphones. The Samsung Galaxy S had a habit of hanging up completely because it couldn’t get a signal in our building. I’d have to shut it down and take out the battery to get it to resync to the Internet. The iPhone hung up, too, often requiring me to do a hard restart. The Nokia wasn’t bad except for the fact that none of the social media apps worked. I could get things through the browser, sometimes. I give it an B+.

The battery is pretty impressive. I unplugged it this morning at 6:30 am and right now at 5:00 pm, it’s at 28%. That’s pretty incredible. Those other phones? I’d have had to plug in by Noon! Sure, the ads say the battery will last two days, but I’m a heavy user. I give it an A+.

As a music player? When I try to drag M4a or WMA, nothing happens. It shows up in the file manager, but you can’t see it in the phone’s player. It only takes MP3 files. Guess I have to figure out how to convert all my files to MP3. That’s a bummer. But the player itself? Awesome. Best sound I’ve ever heard from a smartphone. Great stereo separation. It’s like I’m hearing these songs that I’ve listened to on all my previous phones for the first time. For the sound, I give it an A+, but because I can’t figure out how to use M4a or WMA on it, I give it an overall B+.

The camera. I read one review that said this was the Droid Turbo’s weak point. What? It is 21megapixels. I thought my Nokia, with it’s 8.7 mp with the Carl Zeiss lens was decent, but this, well, even I can take some nice, in focus, pictures. Even my state-of-the-art SLRs couldn’t do that. I give it an A+.

So far, I haven’t run across any negatives on the Droid Turbo. Granted, it’s only been five days and these are just first impressions. But so far, the Droid Turbo is a great smartphone.

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Buh-Bye WIndows Phone

Posted in Android, iPhone, motorola, motorola droid turbo, win8 phone with tags , , , , on Friday, October 31, 2014 by Ed Wyrd

My first touchscreen phone was an LG. It wasn’t an Android, this was long before Google. Nor did I have a data plan, so my Internet use on it was limited. Mostly used for texting, with a flip open keyboard, and as a phone. You know, that thing people do when they hold the object to their head and say, “Hello? Is Joe there?”

But then the true smartphone revolution started. IOS, then Android (forget about all those silly first attempts like the Palm Pilot and Crackberry — which for about 2 seconds I had thought about the Crackberry Storm, but then I came to my senses), and of course, Windows.

My first smartphone in this area was the Samsung Galaxy S. I believe it was the first iteration. At first blush, it was a pretty great phone. But after a few months, that blush turned to a flush of anger as I discovered more and more things about it that simply irritated me. I probably blogged about that at some point.

So when that contract was up, I switched to the Apple iPhone 4S. And again, at first blush, I thought it was marvelous. I became an Apple fanboy. I was going to switch every electronic device I owned over to Apple, but that lasted for only about a year, then I started getting irritated by it again. For one thing, since it was an Apple, everything was proprietary. I had to use their music service, which also meant their software on my computer, software that wasn’t always compatible with my Windows machine. There were other complaints, which I’m sure I blogged about, but most critical to me was writing. The iPhone just didn’t have a writing program completely compatible with MS Word. And the teeny tiny screen made editing on it a nightmare.

So I divested myself of that as quickly as I could and picked up a Windows 8 Nokia Lumia 928. Best thing about it? It had a phone version of Word that was completely compatible with my laptop’s version. I could edit on it without any hiccups or complaints. So for that reason alone, I was happy. But, as the year went on, I started to realize how pathetic Win8 apps were. I thought I could live without many of the ones I had on my Android and my iPhone, but no. There wasn’t an app for my bank, or an app for Wisconsin Public Radio, or Live365, for starts. But more importantly, the apps it did have, Facebook, Twitter, and so on, were crap. More often than not, when connecting to Facebook, I received an error, “We’re having trouble receiving data.” Totally frustrating and it got to the point where that was the deal-breaker. A smartphone without useable apps is a paper weight.

So guess what? Yes. I have a new phone. I’ve gone back to Android. If it isn’t 100% compatible with my laptop, at least it will be compatible with my Samsung tablet.

What did I get? The just released Motorola Droid Turbo. Just released the day we bought it. Verizon has just started the ad campaign for it. I’ll let you know how much I like it in a few years, but so far, the Facebook app flies! Literally. Whereas the Win8 phone took forever to load, then took an addition forever to refresh, this one is open the instant you touch it and it responds instantly to every touch. Beautiful.

To me, the 21 megapixel camera itself is worth the price of admission. It puts my Nokia, which had an 8.7 mp camera with a Carl Zeiss lens, to shame.

My youngest son has had the Motorola Droid Maxx for a few months and has been very happy with it. I know Motorola fell on hard times for a while there after creating the original Droid, which was all the buzz back then. But things fell apart and much of their equipment was less than stellar. Then they were bought out by Google, and now by Lenovo, which puts them in very good hands. Lenovo makes some excellent devices.

As the months go by, I’ll try to give a report on my impressions, first, and with continued use, but for now:

Hello Moto.

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Adventures in ADHD

Posted in ADHD, life with tags , , on Friday, October 24, 2014 by Ed Wyrd

In our previous episode of “Adventures in ADHD,” I mentioned how important routine is to a sufferer of Attention Deficit.

Today, I bring another good example from personal experience.

Routinely, when I get home, I put my phone by my computer to charge overnight.

Routinely, when I get out of my work clothes and into that evening’s comfy clothes, I put my wallet on my dresser.

Routinely, in the morning when I dress, I put my wallet in my pocket, go downstairs and put the phone in my pocket.

Yesterday, for some reason, When I changes out of my work clothes, my phone was still in my pocket and I set it on my dresser, as well as my wallet.

This morning I got dressed, saw my phone and put it in my pocket. Do you see the problem? The action of taking the phone and putting it on my pocket was an unanticipated step in my routine that took the place of a normal step.

I continued to get ready, and left for work. I parked my car, got out, and felt something wasn’t quite right.

I reached into my pocket and…

…no wallet!

This meant, not only could I not buy anything, my morning coffee because our Keurig is down, but I also can’t get into work or use the elevator because my keypass is in my wallet!

Its going to be a great day. Thank god its Friday.

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Life in the slow lane

Posted in grocery store, life with tags , on Friday, October 3, 2014 by Ed Wyrd

I was making good time tonight, which is unusual considering how many Milwaukee streets are torn up for unnecessary repair.

It was only 4:40pm as I neared the grocery store. I figured I had time to run in and pick up a few things and get out.

4:43pm – I made it through the store in no time and headed for the checkout. Since I did only have a few items, I chose the “15 Items or Fewer” lane. I was behind three people with only a few items also. I’d be out in no time.

Then I noticed the cashier. She was holding some coupons and typing on the screen. OK. Sometimes you have to key them in because they don’t have a bar code. No problem.

4:44pm – Tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap

Seriously?

4:45pm – Tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap

Oh, come on!

4:46pm – Tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap

And by this time, it’s too late for me to change lanes. The others are full with people with grocery carts full. And our line is now 10 deep behind me.

4:46pm – The cashier finally asks for help. Another cashier comes over. The first cashier says, “She just showed me how to do this once.” OMG. So the second cashier takes the coupon. Tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap

I started looking around for cameras and Alan Funt’s son, Peter, to show up and say, “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera!”

4:47pm – Tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap.

Finally, the second cashier steps away and leaves the first cashier to her own devices. Tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap.

No. This can’t be real.

4:48pm – Tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap.

Now there is a line from extending from all three open lanes. It’s like a nightmare. I’m hearing my cashier tapping away while another cashier is yelling, “Price check,” and the third actually says, “Override on 2!”

I’m in Hell. I know it. I’ve died and I’m in Hell. I’ll be in this lane forever.

4:49pm – Tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap.

A man, who I thought was the manager comes over and says to my cashier, “You’ve been on this for 10 minutes. The entire store is backed up!”

As he stepped away, I realize he’s just an irate customer. There’s a lot of us here now. Finally, the second cashier opens another lane. But because there’s now like 15 people behind me, I can’t move. I’m committed, or fit to be.

4:50pm – The cashier from the service desk comes over to help. Tap tap tap. “There.” And she walks away, but the first cashier finally says, “That’ll be $5.85.” Yay! We might actually get out of here.

4:51pm – The next customer in line moves through in no time.

4:52pm – The customer just ahead of me is having her stuff scanned. Whoohoo! I’m next. But wait, what’s this? She’s handing the cashier some coupons! Oh, no, you didn’t!

4:53pm – Yes, she did. Tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap.

4:54pm – Tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap tappity tap tap tap tap tappity tap tap.

My stomach is growling. I am, too. I contemplate opening the jar of peanut butter I have just to keep from starving to death.

4:55pm – Tap! “You’re total is $2.35.”

I’m next! Seriously, I am! Boop! Boop! Boop! Boop! Boop! Boop! She’s done! I’ve already ran my debit card through the reader and I’m impatiently waiting for it to say, “Approve?”

She looks at me. “Do you have any coupons?”

No! As God is my witness, I do not have any coupons! Please, just hit the Debit key so I can get out of here!

4:56pm – She finally hands me my receipt – with attitude – as if I was the one causing all the problems.

Really?

4:57pm – I make it to the parking lot. I’m home free.

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Adventure in ADHD

Posted in ADHD with tags , , , on Tuesday, September 30, 2014 by Ed Wyrd

To some people, routine means stuck in a rut, but to someone with ADHD, routine is one of the few orderly things in a chaotic world.

For instance, every morning I would make myself a mug of coffee with breakfast. I’d hardly drink it and as I got ready to leave for work, part of my routine for the last several years was to pour that mug into my travel cup then take my Adderall before screwing on the lid and leaving for work.

The last two mornings, however, I changed things up. I thought, why do I dirty a mug when I could just brew the coffee into my travel mug, cutting out all those extra steps?

So that’s what I did yesterday and today. And guess what I forgot to do as a consequence?

That’s right. I forgot to take my Adderall.

You may call it living in a rut, or doing things by rote, or even being unimaginative and boring, but the fact remains, for many of us suffering with ADHD, routine is our lifeline keeping us from being swept away in a river of chaos.

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