This, That and the Other – Robot, Monks, Oops (Video)

This

You might be able to relate to this fun video if you have ever had to prove you are not an internet Robot or if you have had to verify your account so that you can change your password.

That

It starts off so plausible and serious…

Did you know that in Las Vegas, NV, there are more Catholic Churches than casinos. Not all that surprisingly, some worshippers at Sunday Mass will put casino chips in the collection baskets.

Since the diocese receives chips from dozens of casinos, it has become problematic and time consuming for individual parishes to separate, count and cash in the hundreds of chips they receive each week.

The Bishop turned to and enlisted the assistance from a Franciscan Monastery, just outside of Las Vegas. Some of the Franciscans sort and count the chips, while others are tasked with delivering the chips to their respective casinos and returning the cash to the parishes.

The latter are affectionately referred to as chip-monks.
– With Thanks to Ray V. at Mitigating Chaos

The Other

Good idea, really poor execution: The Alberta ‘Rona Virus website has a COVID-19 personal risk severity assessment tool. I tested it out.

Age group: 60-69. Biological sex: Female.
Conditions (from list of 8 health risks): none.
Resulting risk level: LOW

That was what I would expect… except I recently took up residence in the 8th decade. So I took the test again.
Age group: 70-79. Biological sex: Female.
Conditions (from list of 8 health risks): none.
Resulting risk level: HIGH

To sum it up: If you took this test one day before your 70th birthday, you would be at Low risk. One day after your 70th birthday and you would be at High risk. Seems like they have to have a greater number of age brackets AND they have to give some weight to the health risks.  (In Alberta, the average age of death from Covid-19 is 82. The majority of those who died had 2 or more health risks.)

Some more Close, but not quite right

When you want to fly direct to Boston but end up wherever your luggage got sent…

 

Maybe a new way to social distance???

 

Not the most appropriate photo for this frame…

 

 

This, That and the Other – Perspectives

This: Digital Perspectives

I’m reading “Digital Minimalism – Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World” by Cal Newport. I’m at the part where you do a one month Digital Declutter. I am supposed to step away from any technologies (apps, sites and tools on my computer or mobile phone) that I can take a break from without creating harm to my personal or professional life. Fortunately, I am 50% there even if I do nothing because I don’t have a mobile phone. I don’t have a professional life either… or much of a social life…

As for Apps, I can easily slim down Facebook. All I have to do is ‘snooze’ a few people for 30 days. I can clean-up my Twitter feed too – unfollow, block. News Sites? Shouldn’t be too hard to stop reading the news for a month… I’m feeling calmer already…

That: Funny Perspectives

My Twitter feed can be quite fun some days:

 

And the Other: ‘Rona Virus Perspective

I’ve read that a lot of people put on weight during the lockdown…

 

Gravity Falls! (Video)

I’d never heard of Dipper, Mabel, Grunkle Stan or Gravity Falls – but here they are on the Line Rider Track! Watch!

Gravity Falls is an American animated mystery comedy television series created by Alex Hirsch for Disney Channel and Disney XD. The series ran from June 15, 2012, to February 15, 2016. Twin siblings Dipper and Mabel Pines spend the summer at their great-uncle’s tourist trap in the enigmatic Gravity Falls, Oregon.
– Wikipedia and IMDb –

The Video was designed in Line Rider by Mark Robbins (DoodleChaos), Ben Harvey (Rabid Squirrel), and David Lu (Conundrumer).

Line Rider is an online drawing app. You draw hills for your Line Rider to sled on.
If you want to see just how difficult and time consuming it was to make videos like the one above, go to the Line Rider site (click play to start) and try drawing a few lines! See if you can keep the little sledder from crashing!

I tried it, and you can see the results at this post Line Riders – Blue Danube.

I Found my Pizza Crust

Before the ‘Pizza Crust’

In the big scheme of things, it was a little blip. I logged onto my WordPress blog a few days ago, and instead of being greeted with my WP Admin page, I was looking at the contents of the WordPress Feed Reader. Instead of seeing my personal Dashboard, I was seeing the endless list of what other people had posted and what WordPress thought I should read, etc, etc.

I was not amused. Granted, I could still get to my WP Admin page in a few clicks, but that wasn’t the point. When I log on to this account, I want my information to be the priority.

I won’t go into great detail about the discussion I had online with three WordPress ‘Happiness Engineers’; the rating I gave them when I got a cheerful email asking me to rate my help experience; or the message I posted in the WordPress Forums.

That’s now water under the bridge because this morning when I logged on, life was back to normal. My WP Admin page was the first thing I saw. That wretched Reader was back where it belonged – a tab at the top of the page.

The ‘Pizza Crust’

The ‘pizza crust on the sidewalk’ was the email that I got from WordPress (in response to my message thanking them for fixing my problem).

Isn’t that just a hoot!? They changed something in order to fix something which then broke something else, which when they fixed that, it also fixed something that they didn’t know they had broken.

Refreshing honesty and a good outcome for all. Life is Good.

What Say You – have you found any ‘pizza crusts on the sidewalk’ lately?

Line Riders – Blue Danube (Video)

DoodleChaos has a new Line Riders upload on YouTube. Be sure to watch to the very end – best chuckle of the day!

The DoodleChaos artist, Mark Robbins, draws with Line Rider, an online application that allows you to make videos by drawing lines on which, Bosh, a little person on a sleigh, slides along the path you draw.

Mark matches the movement of the Line Rider with the music he has chosen. If you want to understand just how difficult and time consuming this is, go to the Line Rider site (click play to start) and try drawing a few lines! See if you can keep the little sledder from crashing!

This is the track I drew (after a lot of tries…)
And this is what happened to the Line Rider as he attempted that last climb…

Crash…

9th Blogging Anniversary – What Were You Doing 3287 Days Ago?

Nine years ago (the aforementioned 3287 days) I published my first blog post: Did you Get the H1N1 Flu Shot in 2009. It was not highly successful and has been viewed a grand total of 13 times. At the other end of the scale,  Tricky Questions – Thinking Outside the Box has been quite popular with over 36,000 views. Go figure…

That’s the interesting thing about blogging. While I might have a general idea what my readers might find interesting or when it is a good time to catch them in a reading mood, I  have no idea how the Search Engines will promote or trash my posts! I do know this involves algorithms that judge, filter, penalize and reward content, but that is about the extent of my understanding!

While the stats for the Tricky Questions post are fascinating to watch,  I like the H1N1 post as much and I love the process of researching and writing.  I’m happy with my blog as a whole –  a scrapbook of my photos, thoughts and ideas – my Codex Vitae.

I think the pleasure of completed work is what makes blogging so popular. You have to believe most bloggers have few if any actual readers. The writers are in it for other reasons. Blogging is like work, but without coworkers thwarting you at every turn. All you get is the pleasure of a completed task.
– Scott Adams –

I’ve mapped out a plan for the next year of blogging at Fueled by Chocolate (because 9 years of blogging won’t be as newsworthy as 10 years of blogging!) I’m bringing over all my quotation posts from The Quippery and will roll them out, two every week, for the next six months. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I’ve enjoyed collecting them.

Old words are reborn with new faces.
– Criss Jami, Killosophy –

My Birds and Bugs will keep being updated.

When you have seen one ant, one bird, one tree, you have not seen them all.
– E. O. Wilson –

I’ll also be taking a Conservative exploration of topics that include politics, the environment, media bias, free speech – but also the exciting possibility of a return to civil discourse!

The reason that free speech is so important… It keeps the balance between those two tendencies. You need the questioning, and you need the order. You think, “how much of each?” The answer is, “the recipe changes day to day.” And so you think, “well, if it changes day to day, how are we going to keep up?” The answer is, “by keeping up! Here we are. We’re alive. We can keep up, but we do that by thinking, and we think by talking, and we think and talk by disagreeing. And we better disagree conceptually, because then we don’t have to act out stupid ideas that would kill us.”
– Jordan Peterson, Oxford Union Address –

What were you doing 3287 days ago? What was the most popular post you have ever written? Which of your posts is your favourite?

Mildly Amusing Missives – Dance of the Line Riders (Video)

I created a Twitter account a few weeks ago.  I’ve been following and unfollowing people since then. There is a fine line between ‘this is interesting’ and ‘this is depressing’. Here are some of the more amusing and thought provoking things I’ve found.

What your Dog is Thinking

something. you may not realize you’re allowed to do. is take a snoozle. and then when you wake up. immediately start another one
– Thoughts of Dog @dog_feelings Jul 4 –

sometimes. i will yawn really big. and soon after. the human will also yawn. i have yet to decide. what to do with my powers
– Thoughts of Dog @dog_feelings –

I don’t own or use a virtual assistant – do you?

You would think that by now Alexa might be experienced enough in the ways of carbon-based lifeforms to be able to distinguish between a sneeze and the calling out of her name. “Bless you, Stephen” would be a better response than “Hm. I don’t know that one.”
– Stephen Fry, @stephenfry Jul 11 –

Would Car Guys agree?

As a teen, I dreamed of getting a Porsche 928. The 1982 model could go 0-60 in 8.0 seconds — so fast! But now my 2005 Hyundai Tucson can go 0-60 in 8.9 seconds. And it can carry kids, Christmas trees, and/or miter saws. #progress
– Geoffrey Miller @primalpoly Jul 10 –

DoodleChaos – An Animated Doodle to Music – Brilliant – I’ve watched it more than once!

Actor James Woods responds to Bette Midler’s Climate Change angst

Calling all #climatedeniers. IT WAS 117 YESTERDAY IN LOS ANGELES!!! IT’S GOING TO BE 103 TODAY. ITS 8AM. GIVE US A BREAK!!!
– Bette Midler @BetteMidler Jul 7 –
You live in the desert. It is July.
– James Woods @RealJamesWoods Jul 9 –

Fear pays – that is why it is so rampant

I hope people don’t figure out that you can monetize fear. If spreading fear becomes profitable then greedy people might start distorting reality in a way that causes people to panic.
Rev. Duncan Trussell M.D. @duncantrussell Jul 7 –

Satire about HuaWei – the second largest smartphone manufacturer in the world after Samsung

CEO of HuaWei refuses to stop using expression ‘It’s my way or the HuaWei’
– The Beaverton @TheBeaverton Jul 7 –

Office Lingo

Have been compiling a major report all day and I’m not sure if it’s just that I’m a bit tired but I can’t help but think that “PDF’ing a file” sounds like something you just shouldn’t say in an office environment. #officelingo #notreallyswearing
– Blair King @BlairKing_ca Jul 6 –

Aquaculture makes a significant contribution to Canada’s economy, but is another industry under attack from environmentalists.

Trying to farm fish in Canada is like trying to operate a chicken farm under the rules of the Migratory Birds Act. – @brianleecrowley
– Stewart Muir @sjmuir Jun 22 –

Now and then you have to prune back Twitter, Facebook and Feed readers

Unfollow three toxic people in your Twitter feed (or unlike on FB and unsubscribe on YT) and see how quickly your day gets brighter. You don’t have to invite the madness to live rent free in your head.
– Dave Rubin @RubinReport Jul 3 –

Internet is Watching You – TEDTalk Tristan Harris (Video)

What if this was a dialogue between you and Google?
You: Hello! Is this Gordon’s Pizza?
Google: No sir, it’s Google’s Pizza.

Did I dial the wrong number?
Google: No sir, Google bought the pizza store.

Oh, alright – then I’d like to place an order please.
Google: Okay sir, do you want the usual?

The usual? You know what my usual is?
Google: According to the caller ID, the last 15 times you’ve ordered a 12-slice with double-cheese, sausage, and thick crust.

Okay – that’s what I want this time too.
Google: May I suggest that this time you order an 8-slice with ricotta, arugula, and tomato instead?

No, I hate vegetables.
Google: But your cholesterol is not good.

How do you know?
Google: Through the subscriber’s guide. We have the results of your blood tests for the last 7 years.

Maybe so, but I don’t want the pizza you suggest – I already take medicine for high cholesterol.
Google: But you haven’t taken the medicine regularly. 4 months ago you purchased from Drugsale Network a box of only 30 tablets.

I bought more from another drugstore.
Google: It’s not showing on your credit card, sir.

I paid in cash.
Google: But according to your bank statement, you did not withdraw that much cash.

I have another source of cash.
Google: This is not showing on your last tax form unless you got it from an undeclared income source.

WHAT THE HELL? ENOUGH! I’m sick of Google, Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. I’m going to an island without the internet, where there’s no cell phone line, and no one to spy on me …
Google: I understand sir, but you’ll need to renew your passport … it expired 5 weeks ago.
– Author Unknown –

Who Collects Your Data?

Social media platforms come with a price tag. You have given the “Zuck’s” people full permission to collect almost anything from your cache of info. Why are we suddenly surprised that data was collected, sold, exchanged, and shared?
Don’t hold only Facebook responsible for collecting because every app you added to your phone is already doing the same thing. You scroll through after installation and agree to each little pop-up screen and then wonder why they can take your information without permission.
You gave it up willingly, and some was shared illegally, we all could take stock in being a little more cautious…
Don’t get me started about the folks who are angry about everyone knowing their business just before they yell to Alexa to play something from the Little River Band. Let that sink in for a few minutes.
She already knows where you are making reservation for dinner, and that you probably are wearing the new pants and shirt you purchased through Amazon.
– TC, Bangor Maine Police Department –

How a handful of tech companies control billions of minds every day

Limiting the Information Flow.

Those lists we keep seeing — like Google’s “autocomplete” search suggestions or the news feeds on Facebook — those determine what content we will see and what content we will never see — in other words, what content will be censored. That, as George Orwell warned and as Chinese officials know well, is how you control people: by limiting the information flow.
– Robert Epstein, Daily Caller – Google and Facebook Are the Problem –

Are You Gullible?

… the idea that a “targeted” bleat from a campaign basement to a functional adult will bring that person to vote a certain way can only lead to one of two conclusions: such a person should never go on the internet, or, should not be allowed to vote.
– Rex Murphy, Facebook Made Me Do It, Nationalpost –

They’re Watching You

Facebook: “The notion of being handed a multimedia pass to all your friends, wherever they might be, for free, holds immense appeal — even if “free” turns out to mean “we’re watching you and making money and maybe pulling some of your psychological chains to our own ends.”
– Ted Anthony, Facebook – Should You Leave it, Financial Post –

Auto-Refill

News feeds are purposely designed to auto-refill with reasons to keep you scrolling, and purposely eliminate any reason for you to pause, reconsider or leave.
It’s also why video and social media sites like Netflix, YouTube or Facebook autoplay the next video after a countdown instead of waiting for you to make a conscious choice (in case you won’t). A huge portion of traffic on these websites is driven by autoplaying the next thing.
– Tristan Harris, How Technology is Hijacking Your Mind, Thrive Global –

If We do Nothing

If we do nothing about Google and Facebook, we will get more of the same: more hyper-targeting, more algorithmic bias, less competition and the further erosion of collateral industries, like media. Enough is enough.
-Gabriel Weinberg, CEO and founder of DuckDuckGo, CNBC –

How to ‘Avoid’ GoogleThe Quippery

Yahoo and or Outlook email instead of G-Mail.
WordPress.com blogs instead of Blogger – (though frankly WordPress P*$$ me off a bit now that they are cancelling Photo Challenge.)
Firefox instead of Chrome.
DuckDuckGo instead of Google Search.
Dropbox instead of Google Drive.

What have you done to limit how much of your data is ‘mined’ by one company?

Security – A New Year – Time for New Passwords!

Happy New Year to you all!
Do you have a List of Resolutions?
Thought about adding ‘New Passwords’ to that list?

The Quippery

In 2011, The Car Guy’s Yahoo Mail account sent out invitations to most of his contacts to use Viagra. After hours of looking for a breach, I realized that the account had been hacked through Yahoo itself. We secured the account with a new password, but the whole episode was a good reminder of why it is a good idea to change passwords frequently, and have different passwords for different accounts.

Strong passwords are also highly recommended. Some sites require specific combinations, though not quite as rigorous as this password protocol that I made up:

The Car Guy and I developed and memorized a few mnemonic phrases. They form the first part of our passwords. The second part of each password varies from site to site. We’ve memorized most of them, but keep them all in a database (without the mnemonic part) for those days when we can’t find our car keys, let alone remember a password…

Do you have a Password ‘System’?

Internet – Google Autocomplete – Unfiltered Eavesdropping

Google Search wants to help you find what you are looking for. To speed up the process, it uses autocomplete to list suggestions that are based on the search activity of other Google users.

Here are some of the searches I did and what I learned from my digital eavesdropping:

How do I convertpdf and atheism – two new religions.

How do I know ifOnce the issue of the unlocked cell phone is resolved, we can move on to other pressing matters.

How do I know whenPotatoes were right up there with making babies.

How do I know whyWhy wouldn’t you know why your license was suspended?

How do I stayMaybe if you do the first three, the last will be easy…

Best style ofThe fridge was a bit of a surprise considering the rest of the list.

I will have the children read Hamlet as soon as it is practical. There are some useful cautions against eavesdropping to be gleaned from that.
– Maryrose Wood, The Mysterious Howling –

One of the unique things about the human brain is that it can do only what it thinks it can do. The minute you say, “My memory isn’t what it used to be …” you are actually training your brain to live up to your diminished expectations. Low expectations mean low results. The first rule of super brain is that your brain is always eavesdropping on your thoughts. As it listens, it leans. If you teach it about limitation, your brain will become limited. But what if you do the opposite? What if you teach your brain to be unlimited?”
– Deepak Chopra –

Sounds like you kids have some talking to do. I’ll be eavesdropping from the kitchen.”
– Jill Shalvis –

A raintree bent towards a window in one side of the bungalow, eavesdropping on the conversations that had taken place inside over years.”
– Tan Twan Eng –

Our whole lives are lived in a tangle of telling, not telling, misleading, allowing to know, concealing, eavesdropping and collusion. When Washington said he could not tell a lie, his father must have answered, ‘You had better learn.
– Germaine Greer –