Topic Stew

Question: What do my ADHD and Friday blog posts have in common?

Answer: An inability to stay focused on one topic.

So fasten your seatbelt, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Running and judging progress

I suck at judging my progress in my exercising or weight loss programs. What I mean is, I forget where I started and focus on the now and often that now looks like I’m not progressing.

For instance, in running, if you were to ask me have I improved any, I’d probably say, “a little.” Because I can’t see, or remember, where I used to be. And I even keep a training log! I just don’t look at it.

So when Facebook wanted me to post a memory from last year, I was shocked. Shocked, I tell you, because I finally had concrete evidence that I have improved. Here is that memory:

2016-04-26 20.16.59

How things were back on April 26, 2016

That is from April of last year. My Facebook comment was something like, “Look what I did!” and I was proud of it. I had run one and a half miles in under twenty minutes at an average of 4.6 mph!

So when I saw that, I really was amazed to realize I had indeed made a ton of progress. Just recently I set a personal best running the 5k (3.11 miles) on the treadmill in 28:45 minutes at a 6.5 mph average.

Sometimes you need to look back to move forward.

Weigh-in Friday

I broke the 200 pound barrier! Whoohoo! 199.9, baby! Booyah!

Earbuds and driving

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of people driving around with earbuds on. Seriously? You’re behind the wheel of a 2000 pound bomb! All your attention should be focused on safe driving, not distracted and deaf to everything around you.

Why do they do that? Do they think it makes for safe, hands-free phone use? Maybe, but now you can’t hear emergency vehicles and other sounds that could warn you of impending dangers.

If that’s the reason, then get a single-ear Bluetooth device so you still have one ear free to listen to the traffic sounds around you.

If, on the other hand, you’re listening to music, well, then you’re just an irresponsible asshole. Get off the road.

I thought for sure earphone wearing while driving was illegal, but I checked. Guess What? It’s legal in 35 states! That’s whack. And you’re still an asshole.

Another advantage to driving stick

Unless I chew gum or munch on candy (which isn’t good for my teeth or diet) while I drive, I have the unconscious habit of biting my nails and cuticles, often to bleeding. Hey, I said it was unconscious.

But I’ve been driving stick now for over a week and I just realized, I haven’t been biting my nails. I guess because I need both hands to drive there isn’t any time to gnaw.

Bluetooth woes

If you’re a regular reader of this blog you know how much I can’t stand my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge because of a whole laundry list of reasons.

Add “the Bluetooth sucks” to that list. It just won’t connect to the Blue&Me in my Fiat. I’ve tried deleting a ton of apps in case they were interfering and it finally manaves to pair, but it still won’t connect, which is weird, right? It’ll pair but not connect?

Red Sox fans hurling epithets

For many of us, the news this week of Red Sox fans shouting racial slurs and epithets is downright shocking. Seriously? We aren’t past this yet? Sure, I admit we haven’t eliminated racism, but many of us thought we had at least sent that sort of pig ignorance underground, made it so racists could no longer be overt about their hatred unless they wanted to be severely castigated by intelligent society for their repugnant views.

But now, it seems racist and bigoted thoughts have risen from under whatever rock they had been hiding under and are becoming normalized. Why? Because of Trump, that’s why. He’s made that sort of hatred and vile judgemental anger acceptable among his voting base. 

And that is why they are deplorable.

And speaking of deplorable pig ignorance

Hasn’t this man — sorry, Trump isn’t a man, he’s got all the emotional maturity of a child — hasn’t this illegitimate buffoon said, and done, enough ignorant bullshit to get him impeached? I mean, Andrew Jackson is just the latest in showing off his amazing stupidity. Hasn’t he embarrassed us enough on the world stage? Aren’t Americans fed up enough with his lying, cheating, and vacation golf every weekend to shout a collective “you’re fired!” yet? Haven’t we learned by now that “Make America Great” really means “Make America Great Again for Trump and his family and businesses at the expense of the poor and middle class?”

Isn’t it time to invoke Section 4 of the 25th Amendment and get this orange asshole out of office?

And speaking of orange assholes, Milwaukee has a statue dedicated to Trump:

20170504_103121

Trump’s orange anus

Thank god it’s Friday!

-30-

Tomtom fail fail so far so far

Technology is really pissing me off.

For example, my Samsung Galaxy 7 Edge this morning had no signal. None. Nada. Zip. Zilch point shit. The signal strength meter was greyed out with a tiny “x” by it, plus the words “Emergency calls only” was displayed along the top.

WTF? I hate this phone. Or I hate Verizon. Or I hate my building. Maybe it’s all part of some dastardly plan by the Cheeto in Cheat to prevent me from responding to his ignorant tweets.

Whatever.

My latest technology related rant is my brand spanking new fitness watch. I only just got it last night and already I’m frustrated as Hell.

It’s a tomtom Runner Cardio  (according to Amazon it’s been discontinued by the manufacturer — yet tomtom’s website shows something amazingly similar for 3x the price I paid. Go figure.).

To be honest, I haven’t even had a chance to run it through its paces yet. I spent the entire evening and again this morning just trying to get the thing TO SYNC UP WITH THEIR GODDAMMED PHONE APP!

But aside from that, what else is giving you buyer’s remorse, I hear you ask. Allow me to count the ways.

1) It doesn’t track steps! Really? I thought that was just a given with any wearable fitness device: they track steps. Not this one. And maybe that’s my fault. I didn’t think to even look for that as a feature when I was reading about it because I assumed that was a standard on all fitness devices. It would be like buying a car and then finding out it doesn’t have a GAS PEDAL. “We find most of our customers are perfectly happy just idling wherever they go.”

2) It doesn’t track sleep. Again, and maybe I’m wrong, but I assumed sleep tracking was another basic for fitness trackers. My Garmin Vivofit monitored sleep. So did my Fitbit Charge HR. My wife’s brand new Misfit Ray also monitors sleep. The tomtom doesn’t. But then, this thing is so bulky, I doubt I could wear it comfortably while I slept. Which brings up reason #3.

3) This thing is “Yuge!” as Benedict Donald would say. It did not look this big in the box at Best Buy when I looked at it. Nor did it seem so massive in the various pictures I looked at, but believe me, it’s so large I can’t even wear it comfortably with a long sleeve shirt; not and be able to button the cuff. In fact, buttoning the cuff squeezes the navigation button on the band and makes the menus change willy-nilly. Also, you can’t simple move the cuff off the watch to look at it. It’s that tight. I mean, the watch part is 1-5/8 inches wide, as is the strap buckle, while the strap itself narrows to a still very wide 1-1/4 inches. I mean, it feels like a massive shackle on my wrist.

Tomtom Runner Cardio

At this point, based on its pure bulk alone, I wish I had gone with the Misfit Shine 2. They are very minimal, unobtrusive, and much more stylish considering they are just a round disc (available in several colors) with tiny lights around the perimeter to indicate your status. And they track steps as well as sleep.

Misfit Shine 2

4) I chose the tomtom specifically because it had a heart monitor, which was a feature I liked of the Fitbit this was replacing. But unlike the Fitbit, which constantly monitored your heart rate and instantly provided feedback with just a tap and a glance, this one seems to take the long way home, forcing you to menu over to the heart rate sensor. Maybe I’m wrong in that. Maybe it does constantly monitor your heart and syncs that info to the phone app except, oh, that’s right, IT ISN’T SYNCING!

And the syncing problem isn’t with the phone, it’s something to do with either the tomtom app, or even the watch itself (maybe it just has a crappy Bluetooth transceiver), because almost every review of the app in the Android Play Store is bitching about, what’s that? Oh, right, SYNCING PROBLEMS!

Are you listening tomtom? Your app is a Piece of Shit!

Nothing pisses me off faster than technology that doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do.

At this point, your probably wondering, Ed, what made you choose this particular fitness watch?

Well, I’ll tell you since you asked so nicely. I chose the Runner Cardio because it is specifically designed to track RUNNING. It has GPS to track your run, provides info on pace and distance, and compares runs, meaning it’ll show you how you did compared to your last run and if you’re beating or losing to yourself. But what really sold me was this can track you on the treadmill.

I do a lot of treadmill running. This is Wisconsin, after all, and we have more bad days than good. A fitness watch that could track me while indoors on a treadmill had me at “Hello.”

But I haven’t run with it yet. I’m still trying to SYNC THE GODDAMMED THING! Maybe once I do run with it the watch will impress me so much I’ll be able to forgive it all its other faults.

Maybe. I mean, a step counter is nice, but I know I average 20,000 steps a day, so I don’t need one for motivation. And a sleep tracker is fun to look at and go, “See? This and this and this were when the effing dogs had to go outside. Bastards.” But again, it isn’t an absolute necessity.

But not syncing? That is a deal breaker and I’m pissed.

SYNC, DAMN YOU!

-30-

The day the music died

As you should be aware if you follow my blog, I hate my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. I’ve written twice about it since I got it in June.

Hate. It. With. Passion.

My biggest complaint has been that the receiver is just weak. I can’t get decent signal strength at work and even at home on wi-fi, reception is spotty.

But the one thing I kept forgetting to mention in those reviews was it’s music capabilities. When I first got it, I was able to load a small portion of my music library to it with the intent of adding the rest when I had more time.

The problem is, it hasn’t allowed me to add more and I can’t figure out why. 

I’ve followed online directions. For some reason when you connect the S7 Edge to your computer, the phone defaults to Charging mode. If you want it to do something else, like transfer files, you have to swipe down and change that on a menu.

How idiotic is that? I would think once you plug it in that should be it. It connects, it charges, it transfers files, it’s happy. Like every other phone I’ve ever owned.

But no, not the S7 Edge. It has to be difficult.

The other issue I’m having is regarding connecticity with the computer. Once I do the swipe, the computer sees the phone, recognizes it as a storage device, but files won’t transfer!

Use Windows Media Player to sync? It won’t. In fact, it crashes WMP. Use Explorer to drag music over? Nothing happens.

Even rebooting both devices won’t help.  So the few songs I had downloaded when I first got the device I was stuck with. I couldn’t add any more.

But now this morning, I go to listen to my music and… Nothing! There is no music! Somehow all my music, and only my music, was wiped from the S7 Edge! 

I’m this close to smashing this piece of shit with a sledge hammer.

Tonight, I’m going to do a factory reset and see if that solves anything. Maybe I had downloaded some app that was preventing my phone from transferring music. Fine if that works. That won’t explain what caused my already downloaded music to disappear.

And if you can recommend a good quality music playing app, I’d appreciate it. On my Droid Turbo I had the Poweramp and I was very satisfied with it. On the S7 Edge, however, the app plays much too softly. It has no volume to it no matter how I set up the equalizers.

I’ve downloaded and tried a few, Black Player being the one that seemed to work best with this phone, but I deleted that to see if it was interfering with my downloading of music. It wasn’t.

I do not recommend the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.  In fact, I rate it a piece of shit. Avoid it. (Note: my wife owns the Galaxy S7 and loves it. So if you think you need a Samsung, get that instead of the Edge.)

-30-

The Edge of Tripe

I apologize for not posting much recently, but I’ve actually been doing some real writing, fiction-type writing. 

And no, I wasn’t participating in NaNoWriMo. I don’t need an artificial challenge to write shit. I can write shit all on my own, thank you very much.

And speaking of shit, I thought I’d do a long term review on my smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. I first reviewed it here. OK, it wasn’t a review so much as I savaged it.

Well, time hasn’t improved matters. After six months of ownership, I’m chomping at the bit to replace this piece of shit. It is by far the worst smartphone I’ve ever owned and I’ve owned a few.

My first “smartphone” was an LG something or other with a slide-out keyboard. it wasn’t an android device, it had a weird user-interface and to get online (which I rarely did because we didn’t have a data plan at the time) you clicked on the LG browser icon and were launched into an AOL-style experience. Anyway, it came out about the time the iPhone first did, before android, when Crackberry dominated the market and touchscreens were still in their infancy.

My next real smartphone was the first generation Samsung Galaxy S. I liked it at first, but quickly found it didn’t like the area where I had just started working: downtown in the mall.

Thus started my love/hate with smartphones. The building I’m in is, as I’ve mentioned, like a Faraday Cage. Reception within sucks. Although some people seem to do it, I haven’t been able to. 

That first gen Samsung Galaxy S wouldn’t connect to the Internet until I did a hard restart by yanking the battery once I stepped outside my building. 

My next phone was the iPhone 4S. Oh, yay, Seri! Personally, I don’t get the whole fad of talking to your phone (or those Google home devices where you can turn on the sprinklers to get rid of annoying people on your lawn). I don’t like to talk. Period. Not to people. Not to my devices. Seri, therefore, was a wasted accessory for me. But beyond that, and at first I was thrilled with the iPhone, I soon came to loathe it. For many reasons which I won’t get into. I’m sure I ranted about them four or five years ago. But the iPhone’s reception sucked, too. I had to do a hard reboot all the time to connect to the Internet.

At this point, I’d tried Android and the iPhone and found both lacking, so I picked up a Nokia Win7 phone. If memory serves, the hardware was pretty decent (Yay Finland!), but the disappointing part was the lack of apps for Windows phones.Basically, with that phone I could get online, but the apps sucked so bad it didn’t really matter that I’d gotten on.

My next phone was the Motorola Droid Turbo. I liked this phone, except the camera sucked. it was like time warping back to 1998. This phone suffered from severe digital lag. Snap a picture and seconds later the picture takes. Forget action shots unless you could anticipate when something would happen. “Oh, my son’s shooting a basket!” *click!* And by the time the phone reacted, all the players were already at the other end of the court. “Hey, nice shot of an empty court, dude.” Shut up.

So I traded that in for this, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. Yes, it takes excellent pictures. I have a great portable camera.

But for anything else? It sucks. As I mentioned in my first look post, the receiver is THE worst. (Pronounce it like thee for full effect.) I have to restart or do a shutdown all the time so it’ll find a signal.

Wi-Fi isn’t any better. I can sit right next to my wife in our house and she’s Facebooking and Instagramming like all get out, but there I sit only a few feet away unable to get a fucking signal. It can’t find the Wi-Fi. And she owns the standard Samsung Galaxy S7! WTF?

Does hers have a better receiver? Because her phone is thicker, was Samsung able to squeeze a bigger, more powerful receiver in hers and we S7 Edge owners get stuck with inferior crap?

I don’t know. All I do know is I hate this piece of shit phone and I can’t wait until I can trade it in for something else. Maybe the new Motorola Droid Turbo 2, if they’ve improved the camera. Or possibly the latest LG (which I was looking at until the Verizon Wireless rep talked me into this POS. “Oh, the S7 is so much better!” Or maybe I’ll get the latest HTC, that one with the stereo speakers, because the speaker on the S7 Edge is horrible. No. Horrible would be a improvement. You need headphones to listen to videos because it its one weak ass tiny speaker on the bottom can’t be heard unless you’re isolated inside soundproof room.

Okay. Sorry. That really wasn’t a review so much as as rant about every smartphone I’ve ever owned, was it? This phone really has me on edge. Pun intended.

Maybe one day I’ll find a phone I can be happy with. 

What do you have? Are you happy with it? Whose your carrier? Are you satisfied with them? Feedback it’s appreciated.

Until next time.

-30-

Samsung Edge disappoints

I’ve had my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge for little over a week now and I can tell you this: it sucks.

I know what you’re thinking. “How can that be? Everyone is raving about it. I’ve read the reviews!”

Sure, the Edge gorgeous. It’s got that cool curved edge on the screen with scrolling notifications. And the camera is fantastic. It’s the best phone camera I’ve owned.

“Well then what’s the problem?”

It’s the receiver. This phone has the worst receiver of any phone I’ve ever owned with the possible exception of the crappy free noname Sprint phone we got back in 1995.

As you know, I work in a Faraday Cage-like building. But I know that and really don’t expect much in the way of Internet access. I do, however, expect to be able to receive calls at my desk–like every other cellphone I’ve owned.

Not this one. It rings, I answer, it drops the call.

I’m also aware that the mall I walk in on breaks when the weather is inclement (and this is Wisconsin, so the weather is always inclement) is called the Black Hole by the cellphone stores inside it.

But I’ve also been walking it for 6 years.  Six years and 5 phones. I know all the areas where there is weak reception and avoid the one dead spot.

The receiver on the Edge is so piss poor, the entire mall is one big dead spot! Even though it says it has a couple bars of 4G LTE, it still chugs away before giving me the notice “Try again when you’re online.”

I am online, asshole!

And you’d think going outside would clear things up, but no. Even in the open the Edge finds the dead spots.

“Post will appear when you’re online” is Facebook’s standard response to my attempts to post from this phone. It really chaps my ass.

It’s sad that I have to carry my little Jetpack mobile Hotspot with me so I can get online with this phone, but that’s the situation.

Yet even its reception of Wi-Fi sucks. We have home Wi-Fi and all our phones and devices can pick it up throughout the house and in the yard.

Not the Edge. I go outside and it complains there is no Wi-Fi signal. But instead of switching to the 4G network, it just sits in Limbo, unable to make up its mind what to do. Leaving me without any Internet, wondering if I should just drop it into the grill and be done with it.

In the time it’s taken me to write this I’ve watched my Edge say “connected to Wi-Fi,” “Lost Wi-Fi,” “connected to Wi-Fi,” “Lost Wi-Fi,” countless times.

So, in summary, if you plan on using the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge for anything other than a fairly decent camera, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

And the “beast of a battery” some reviews claim is pure bullshit. Maybe it’s an improvement over the S6, but compared to my last phone, the Droid Turbo, it’s like it doesn’t even have a battery. I have to charge it two or three times a day.

For a supposed state-of-the-art phone the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is a monstrous disappointment.

Makes me wonder if Samsung isn’t engaging in a little payola to get those glowing reviews for this POS.

I wonder if Verizon will let me swap for the latest LG?

-30-