Elizabeth Peratrovich Day

Betsy Peratrovich, granddaughter of the civil rights activist, told Google her thoughts about her legacy. “She and my grandpa Roy were quite a team,” she said. ” He liked to give her all of the credit, as she continually inspired him to strive to improve the lives of Alaska Native peoples.

“But my dad recounts that they both used to sit around the dining table at night where together they typed letters, wrote and practiced speeches, and strategized on how best to secure equal rights for all,” she added.

Newsweek
twitter.com/GoogleDoodles

I thought I’d put out an article on the actual day that is hers. That is today. At least, in Alaska today is her day. Everywhere else in the US we still hold native Americans as second class citizens. Unofficially.

Anemic Dizziness

I’ve been dizzy for several weeks now, in an unbroken chain of dizziness. During this period of dizziness I had blood drawn for my semi-annual blood tests, tests that came back showing that I was anemic. I wasn’t anemic by much according to the normal ranges for iron in the blood; but still it was low enough that my doctor was concerned about it and thought to mention it to me.

I basically blew the concerns off at the time. I mean, anemia? Right? What is anemia? It means low levels of red blood cells in your blood. It wasn’t critical. It wasn’t like I was four pints low on blood and I really needed a transfusion (I’ve heard that reported by others who have had anemia over the years) I was a few points low on the percentages of iron in my blood in one test. I figured, no big deal, I’ll just start ingesting a bit more iron in my diet. I shifted to taking the Wife’s daily vitamin for a week or so (her’s has iron in it. Men generally don’t need iron supplementation, women do) but after that I went back to my same old Men’s One-A-Day that doesn’t have iron in it, and I forgot all about it.

Until today. Today, as I’m standing there with the world in a fog of dizziness around me, not actually spinning but always worried that the general dizziness might turn into vertigo, it suddenly occurred to me. Brain function. Oxygen carried by red blood cells. Red blood cells distinguished by their ability to carry oxygen because of the ability to bond with the iron that is in them (that is what makes them red after all) is it possible that this prolonged bout of dizziness is caused by the anemia and not the Meniere’s?

To answer this question I turned to Dr. Google, like most of us do these days. As usual, Dr. Google was not a useful source of information on the subject of anemia and related dizziness. This image is the summary that Dr. Google offered me for the search phrase dizziness low iron. See what is second on the list? It took a minute for the reality of the situation to sink home.

Dr. Google on dizziness low iron

Acupuncture. Acupuncture is second on the list of recommended treatments for dizziness. I was almost apoplectic with outrage while reading this summary. Acupuncture has no proven use for dizziness, and yet it is second on the list of what to do about dizziness from anemia. Why? Why is this on the list at all? Why does Dr. Google think that medicalnewstoday.com is a reliable medical news source? Why is this unknown resource cited in a summary that purports to offer solutions to a particular problem? Cited at the top of a list of other possible answers to the question.

I’d like to thank Dr. Google for putting the word anemia back in my vocabulary today (words keep disappearing on me when I’m dizzy like this) put the word back in my vocabulary list so that I can hone the question I want to ask, but seriously? Why is is this website quoted as a source? In Dr. Google’s defense, Healthline is the first resource offered on the page, but the clarification block appears directly under that resource. Healthline’s value as a resource is also questionable. I wouldn’t take their advice as being rock solid without checking facts in other places first. When you read symptoms off a list of symptoms and you start saying “yeah that sounds right” even though you haven’t been complaining about that particular symptom, it’s time to find a second resource.

Using the search phrase dizziness anemia proved to be even less revealing than the previous search phrase. The top resource on that results page was yet another poorly written questionable source that I wouldn’t trust to give me advice about which direction was North, much less give me advice on how to treat chronic health issues.

After a few hours of fruitless searching I decided to quit looking and simply treat the problem that I know exists and see if that helps. I already know I’m anemic because my general practitioner told me I was. I was anemic when this dizziness started. I’m going to approach the problem as if I was suffering from anemia, and simply start by taking some iron supplements to see if the dizziness recedes or not. I have also been listless and tired a lot lately. Maybe it is anemia after all? Stay tuned.


Several days later, after a few days of adding iron to my diet (The Wife’s supplement didn’t have iron in it contrary to my prior statement) I’m already starting to notice less dizziness. Which is good. I didn’t want to have to go back to the ear, nose and throat doctor and get steroids injected into my inner ear again.

I will only be adding iron to my diet for a few weeks at most. I don’t want to overdo it and cause other types of damage that can be caused by having too much iron. I’ve never suffered from anemia before. At least, no anemia that I know of. The doctor who told me I was anemic also told me that blood donation could not have caused the anemia, but I’m at a loss to explain why I would suddenly be anemic outside of the blood donation that I had just given the day previous to getting the blood tests done. I guess I will go back to him and get an order for another blood test and see if the anemia is still present, after I’ve finished my few weeks of iron inclusion.

Weather and allergies frequently mess with my vestibular system. These are a known triggers for Meniere’s in some people. I thought the dizziness was coming from weather and allergies, but then it lasted through several changes in both. I tried the vestibular therapy exercises, as I mentioned previously on the blog, and they helped for a few hours but the next day the dizziness would be back. This is a last-ditch effort. I did not want to take iron supplements because I know that iron can be quite toxic at high doses.

I don’t know what caused the dizziness and I won’t know, possibly ever. This is the problem with chronic illness and common complaints like dizziness. If the dizziness that I’ve had for a solid month goes away, and I get a blood test that shows the anemia is gone, I will have demonstrated correlation. An interesting set of facts that might be related. If I get extended dizziness several more times and each time taking iron makes it go away, I’ve demonstrated a possible causal link. At least for me.

Dizziness is one of the most common symptoms/complaints that doctors hear. Almost anything can cause it. Dizziness is not just one thing, either. It can be a mental fog. It can be a feeling of imbalance. It can be active rotation and when it is active rotation it should be referred to by its real name, vertigo or rotational vertigo. Every time I get a symptom these days I’m always wondering if it is Meniere’s or if my thinking it is Meniere’s means something more serious is going on and I’m missing it.

What I do know now is that next time I donate blood I will be sure to include more iron in my diet before and afterwards. I don’t want to do this again and blood donation is still my only explanation for the anemia. If I become anemic again even with these precautions, then I’ll get concerned.

Ad Nonsense

I was trying to watch the Democratic Convention on Youtube. Trying to watch and failing to watch because the Orange Hate-Monkey had bought ads for the entirety of the event, and every time I tried to watch a part of the convention I had to look at OHM Bullshit as part of it. I have to watch ads from the mother fucker that I blocked on Youtube more than a year ago.

That’s the part that blows my mind. I have blocked Donald Trump on Youtube, but ads that run under his user identity on Youtube are not blocked from running. How does that make any sense at all, Google? If I don’t want to see that mother fucker’s face, if I don’t want to listen to his voice, why the hell would you think I might want to see advertisements promoting him? Why would I want to see ads denigrating the man who will be elected president to replace him? That is, if the OHM doesn’t get his henchmen to help him steal this election? Do you just want me to not use your service, Google? I mean, I could go to Prime video and watch the convention without ads, and I will probably look for the videos there if they are still up. If there are parts that I want to watch in the future.

You need to change the name of your integrated ad platform, Google. it is ad nonsense, not adsense. If it was adsense, I wouldn’t be seeing advertisements from Youtube profiles that I have blocked.

Connectivity – Take 1,178

I lost connectivity. It feels like it has been over eleven hundred times. If I’m feeling even more vexed, it will feel like more times. I blame LG for this. This time, number 1178, was definitely all LG’s fault. I have a new phone. A new LG phone. I had an LG phone before last week, but now it is a new, five day old phone.

The new phone required me to take four days off from doing just about anything else other than trying to get data from the old phone to the new phone. A task that proved fruitless to the very end. That is the short version of the story.

The family switched from Ting to T-Mobile sometime in 2019. I liked Ting. I liked it because it was cheap. But then the prices went up, and our usage went up, and the Son started watching movies on his phone at college, and suddenly we were spending enough on cell phone charges that we could probably save money going with a standard carrier instead of a minute and data swapper like Ting. So we bit the bullet and changed to T-Mobile as a family, and I got a new LG phone to replace the Motorola G5 that inexplicably didn’t have NFC capability on it.

That was when the fun started. The first LG-Q7+ was always flaky. It kept giving me operating system errors and crashing at unexpected times. I dutifully tried to troubleshoot the poor thing for several months, tweaking this, changing that, reloading this or that application. No luck. Then one day it decided that it couldn’t take pictures anymore, so the LG-Q7+ that was my first-ever cell phone provided by a carrier’s plan had to be replaced.

Fortunately or unfortunately its replacement was another LG-Q7+. The LG-Q7+ is not a bad phone. Personally, I think it runs circles around the Motorola G5, and that’s just because I can use it to do electronic transactions without having to dig for a card. But because it was another LG-Q7+ I thought that this was a good time to try the LG Mobile Switch software that I hadn’t bothered to use when I changed from the Motorola to the LG the first time.

That first time I set it up? I just fired up the smartphone, selected language and country options, then I told Google it was my new phone, and Google set it all up for me in about a half-hour. It was fast and easy, but I was never certain that letting Google set it up hadn’t been half the problem that the first LG-Q7+ was having with it’s memory.

So, silly me, not allowing something that works stand in the way of trying something new, I loaded up the LG Mobile Switch software and set it to copying and transferring the dozens of gigabytes of data that I have on my phone. I wanted this to be a straight copy from phone to phone, so I didn’t bother to associate the new LG phone with my Google account in advance. I figured it would know it was my phone after it initialized the new installation. This was my first mistake.

After I got the data transferred, the Switch software coughed up an error. It said that it couldn’t transfer Amazon music to the new phone. I figured I’d just install it on my own when I had the new phone up and running, so I pulled the sim card and SD card from the old phone and popped it into the new one.

It started up fine, but then I noticed that some of my data from the old phone didn’t copy. Data that wasn’t in Amazon music. Data that I couldn’t transfer on my own. My Google Fit data, specifically. So I started the transfer process again, thinking it was the error that caused the data glitch. This was my second mistake.

The second data transfer completed without error, but when I looked at the phone records I realized that the data had been duplicated, and the Google Fit data disappeared when I opened the application. This is the point where I should have stopped, reset the new phone, and let Google know that I was trying to set up a new phone, starting the process by accessing my Google account first. Had I done that (this was already two days into the four day torture session) I would probably still have my Google Fit data.

I didn’t do that. Instead I deleted data from the individual applications (!) and started the transfer process a third time. I figured that I was only clearing data from the one phone, it wouldn’t affect the actual data on my old phone. When the process completed the third time, I still didn’t have the data I wanted. What was worse is that when I went to check the old phone, I watched as the data was deleted from it as well.

The weird part was that a phone that wasn’t currently connected to the internet in any way, didn’t even have a sim card in it, could get instructions to delete data and then delete it. My best guess is that the command was transferred during the brief moments that the phone was on the network to do the third transfer, and that the data purge was simply waiting for me to fire up the app the next time, which I did.

I tried resetting the old phone to factory specs and then reinstalling the data from an old backup, but the damage had been done already. The data in the backup had also been deleted; or if it hadn’t been deleted, it was deleted when it was sent to the new installation. What was worse is that the LG Mobile Switch software still hadn’t duplicated some of the other data that it should have copied, if it was actually doing what it promised to do.

So on the fourth day I reset the new phone to factory specs and downloaded the backup from Google to the new phone, just like I had done the first time with the flaky first LG-Q7+. Annoyingly LG Mobile Switch insisted that I allow it to copy data from my old phone, even though the old phone had been reset to factory specs and returned to T-Mobile the day before. I had to figure out how to get the software to stop bugging me to copy data, which meant telling it “yes I want to copy” and then canceling out of the process after it got to the start screen.

It would have been nice if the LG Mobile Switch software had prompted me to log into my Google account as a precursor to starting the copy process, so as to let the dumb new user know that logging into your Google account was going to be required for the process to be successful. That would have been a big help. Not being so willing to try new things just to be able to screw up in new and interesting ways (and then write about the process) would also have kept me from accidentally deleting seven-ish years of fitness tracking from my Google account.

I started writing this on Monday, February 3rd. I got the new phone on Thursday, January 30th and started setting it up that day. As I started writing, I was logging into the last of the hundred or so apps that I have on my phone. What this experience has taught me more than anything, is that I really need to do some weeding of old apps from my phone. Not having to wedge data on to tiny old phones has made me lazy over the last few years. I really don’t know what all those apps do, or why I have them other than I thought “oh, cool” while listening to a TWiT or TWiG or All About Android episode, and then forgetting I installed whatever it was after I finished fiddling around with it. Why is it that everything requires regular cleaning, even the tech?

Looks like I’ll be duplicating the data collection that my doctor requested me to do about two weeks before I changed phones. I had just finished entering the last set of data into Google Fit and just needed to copy it and upload it to his website. If only I had done that first. If only.

Postscript

I replaced the LG-Q7+ a third time before our two years were up at T-Mobile and we were eligible for new phones. On the third phone I got tired of the twitchy interface and culled 60+ apps from the phone (I still don’t know why most of them were there or what they did) as well as started doing daily optimization and restart on it. That kept the maddening slowness and crashing behavior to a minimum.

I was still tired of the phone though (I’ll probably never accept an LG as the mobile device I will rely on again because of my experience) and I went out and purchased a refurbished Pixel 3XL on my birthday in 2021 so as to tide me over until the Pixel 6 is released and all the bugs are worked out. I should qualify for a new phone from T-Mobile by then. Fingers crossed that they’ll offer me a good price on the new phone.

Context Menu. Context Problem.

For months I’ve been fighting with search options in the little bar that appears over text on the various Android devices I’ve been working with. When Microsoft came out with the Microsoft launcher and their next big blue E browser, Edge, for Android phones, I thought “why not check it out?” and let it install on my Nexus 5. I fiddled with it a few times and then forgot I let the Microsoft stuff install, and then the Nexus 5 power button broke and it went into a bootloop and I had to have it repaired, and then I had to have it replaced, and then I had to replace the replacement that wasn’t what I was sold…

So anyway. The Microsoft launcher is still on my current phone. I don’t mind it being there, but it is still there and something that it did is driving me nuts now. At some point after I changed phones the first time, the bar over selected text changed. It looks like this now.

Three searches. Three, and two of them are Bing searches, and they don’t say which ones are Bing. Now, I don’t mind the Big Blue E being on my phone. I don’t even mind the amusement of occasionally switching to the Microsoft launcher just to see what Microsoft thinks will sell me on coming back to their operating system on my phone (never mind that it is still at heart Unix/Linux/Android) but what I do object to is the Microsoft launcher and/or Edge changing my search options and not giving me a way to take out the searches that I’m never going to use.

Today I decided that I would humor the Son and I installed the Ecosia search app (it plants trees!) thinking that adding a search engine to the phone would at least allow me to alter the system parameters and I could finally get Bing out of my phone or at least off my search options, but still no dice. I can’t get at the search options in the pop up over a text selection.

So now it’s time to start searching for a solution to this problem. None of the search engines can figure out what I’m asking for. It isn’t a menu; at least, that word doesn’t produce useful search results. Using pop up or popup as a search term gets me results that offer to help me remove malware and unwanted popup advertising. It isn’t a bar. It isn’t a task.

I’m finally reduced to asking the various search engines

what is the thing called that appears over selected text in android

Google Bing DuckDuckGo Ecosia

None of them give me exactly what I want except Google. Google, who has been spying on my searches for the better part of twenty years and so knows me best. DuckDuckGo did offer me this article on Popular Science – 24 hidden Android settings you should know about which was interesting at least, if not what I wanted. Also? I have something hidden that needs adjusting. I don’t know what the name of that thing is, but that thing should have been on the list of things in an article that purports to tell me how to adjust things that are hidden. Quod erat demonstrandum. Clearly there should have been 25 hidden things to talk about.

However. This article:

For some, especially those of us in the approaching-the-over-the-hill gang, working with text on our phones can be cumbersome. Because smartphone text itself, context menu entries, and all the other tools for working with text are so small that they render simple tasks, such as selecting an address or phone number, copying it, and then pasting it into the target app, is not only hard to see but also somewhat difficult to manipulate.

The good news is that, with features like Smart Text Selection and Text Magnification, later versions of Android (versions 8 and 9, or Oreo and Pie) have found ways to alleviate some of the tedium.

online-tech-tips.com

…offered up by Google, didn’t actually answer the question but it at least gave me the phrasecontext menu. Now I have a name for the thing I want to change. That makes the job easier. Well, I should say, it makes the search manageable. I don’t want to program a new menu so the article on Tutlane.com that is part of the explanation for what a context menu is, isn’t going to help me. But that article gave warning that maybe what I wanted to do wasn’t explained anywhere because it was going to require learning to program in order for me to do it. Using the search string:

"android context menu" change search

I came up with this hit on Reddit in which the solution they found for removing Bing from their context menu was to,

Found a Microsoft launcher that I was testing out a long time ago still installed.

Uninstalled

Resolved

Redditisfun

Pulling the Microsoft launcher from my device did alter the context menu in question. To completely get rid of Bing I have to remove Microsoft Edge too. That’s too bad. I was entertaining using the Microsoft launcher and possibly Edge as well. There isn’t much hazard in doing this now because they are no longer dominant and so no longer the prime targets. At least, not in the mobile computing realm they aren’t. Google and Chrome are the prime targets there. But I’m not willing to put up with Bing search in order to do any fiddling around with alternative launchers for an Android device. Microsoft shoots themselves in the foot once again by forcing me to use Bing as a search engine in the context menu. Context is key.

I don’t know that Reddit is fun, but I finally have to admit that Reddit is useful. So much for the article where I blame Reddit for destroying the Blogosphere. And it had such a good title too.

More Than a Step Counter

Fitbit Versa 2

I was gifted a Fitbit Versa 2 for Christmas. I’ve been needing something to track my exercises more accurately with for awhile now, and this was the Wife’s answer to my issues with my Android phone and Google fit not logging my steps correctly. I’ve been kind of obsessed with accurately tracking activity as well as heart rate and blood pressure since the angioplasty that I underwent back in May of 2019.

RAnt(hony)-ings

…I can’t imagine why that is. What I wanted was an implanted monitoring device, but I’m not going to find that tech cheap or beyond the experimental stage in the United States. In the meantime, wearables are the only way to go, and Fitbit is one of the more common activity trackers on the market. The problem starts with my not liking things tied around my wrists. I’ve never worn a watch. I thought it was because I couldn’t afford a watch, but after an in-law gifted me with a very nice wristwatch a few years back, and I still didn’t wear a watch, I knew that it was having something on my wrist that I was objecting to.

We don’t need computers to wear on our head, or wrists, or arms. We need computers that fade into the background. Forget wearable computing. It’s time for disappearable computing.

ReadWrite – Hands Off My Wrists! Why I Don’t Want To Wear My Computers– Owen Thomas
YoutubeNext-Generation Biointegrated Sensors by Profusa

Wisniewski and her colleagues solved this problem by fooling the body so it can’t recognize their sensors as foreign objects. The sensors are smaller than a grain of rice and are made of a hydrogel scaffold that’s as flexible as a contact lens. The researchers also made sure their sensor lacks any flat surfaces, which are a dead giveaway to cells that an object isn’t natural, says Wisniewski, who is at Profusa Inc. As a result, cells and capillaries grow into the sensor’s porous structure without triggering the undesirable immune response. In fact, Wisniewski is announcing today that the first sensors implanted in human volunteers are still functioning after more than four years.

American Chemical Society

There are six other companies listed in this article from Dr. Hempel Digital Health Network that are working on implantable technology, and there is a lot of projected profit in that new marketplace. But that is tomorrow. I need something to work with today.

I found several articles lining out different wearables/hideables and their functionality when I went looking online for health trackers back in June. One of them was this article from Larry Magid at the Mercury-News. He has two Fitbit’s on his list. Then there was The Best Fitness Trackers from Family Living Today. The author lines out twenty-five of the best trackers that she tested in the course of writing the article. Most of those are stand-alone trackers that don’t necessarily sync up with your phone. She has a couple of Fitbits on her list as well.

The article that caught my eye was Hideables: Best wearables and clip-ons for discreet fitness tracking from Wareable. The article there was the oldest of all of the ones I had run across, but it focused on what I was interested in if I can’t just reference my own internal head-up display to see my current health status. There was a Fitbit Zip on that article. However, the Fitbit Zip isn’t on the Fitbit website. That’s troubling. It’s also three times as much as the quoted price in the article on Amazon.com, as of this writing. More troubling. The Nokia device that is mentioned is also not at the link on Amazon or on the Nokia website.

The wife and I talked about the subject of fitness trackers a few times after I went looking for one during the summer. That was months ago. I think I was open to a fitness tracking watch in principle, the last time we spoke, but I didn’t think I had left the impression that I was seriously interested in any one device right then. She just happened to be in the warehouse shopping club a few weeks back and noticed a display for the Fitbit Versa 2 with a price point that was reasonable (less than $100) and remembering that I was looking for a fitness tracker, she bought one.

I have to say, I still don’t like things tied around my wrist. I’m doing my best to ignore that minor irritation. The Versa 2 tracks exercise pretty well. It tracks sleep patterns, and since I’m on a CPAP machine, that seems like valuable information. It records my pulse. Those are the good things. The minimum functions one should expect from a fitness tracker. It doesn’t do blood pressure but that isn’t a deal breaker. The next part might be a deal breaker.

Entering data on the Versa 2 is truly frustrating. If you are trying to do it through the watch itself, it frequently doesn’t apply the data correctly. For example, I decided I would track fluid intake as part of running the thing through its paces. If you enter 32 on the display marked oz, as in “32 ounces” the watch doesn’t add 32 ounces. It adds 1.08 oz to the total amount for the day. Entering weight from the watch adds the number you entered to the total weight that you started with. Not at all what one would intuitively expect. There are posts up for both the water issue and the weight issue in the community forum. Fingers crossed that they get a patch out soon. The work-around for these kinds of issues is to simply enter the data through the Fitbit app on your phone. Makes you wonder why you need the hardware.

Supposedly I can play music with the Fitbit Versa 2. It syncs with several subscription services, none of which are ones I pay for. What about just using a player app on the phone itself? I’ve tried swiping down to access the notifications and settings tab, which is where the music controls for the phone should be if I’m trying to play music from my phone. However, if I tap the music icon it tells me to pair with my phone if the phone is selected as the music source, or it tells me to use the mobile app to download music to the watch if the watch is the source. Never mind getting the source to switch back to the phone if you change it to the watch. Since the watch doesn’t know it is paired with a phone, it doesn’t want to change back to the phone. This is another issue that is represented on the community forum. I’m beginning to think the problem here is Fitbit itself.

On the other side of the ledger, Google doesn’t offer any Fitbit interoperability with their fitness tracking software, Google Fit. Fitbit might be the problem with Fitbit’s internal software issues, but not having the data synchronized through the Android operating system and logged in other fitness tracking software (especially Google’s own fitness software) is major impediment to using anyone’s hardware to do this job. I certainly won’t be buying Google’s watch. Pressure tactics don’t work with me if I suspect I’m being pressured. If I was vulnerable to those kinds of tactics I would have already sold my soul to Apple for the next hardware upgrade and been happy in my Apple rose gold colored hell. Google should make Fit talk to Fitbits and other fitness tracking hardware. Fitbit should make their hardware talk to Google fit. I mean, the two biggest players that aren’t Apple should be willing to work together. It profits no one if you aren’t. I shouldn’t have to utilize a third party programmer (fit to fit) in order to do this. A work-around like that is a security breach waiting to happen.

If I end up returning the Fitbit Versa 2, I’m going to have to conduct some more research looking for another device. The limited amount of looking that I went through in order to write this piece has shown me that the marketplace has completely changed in less than six months. Which is startlingly fast in hardware terms. You can’t even design devices, construct the facilities to manufacture them, and get the product to market in that time. I can’t imagine the hoops that have to be jumped through to get things to market that quickly, only to be onto something else by the time you’ve completed that project.

Where is my Phone?

When I bought my latest phone and paired it with my Aftershokz bluetooth headset, a bone-conduction headset that allows me to hear sounds my ears no longer pick up, the nearly pure Android OS on the phone worked beautifully. Now that I had a phone that was something near current in technology, I discovered that the tech allowed me to do things that I had never thought to try doing before.

Things like telling my phone to find itself for me. It’s a bluetooth headset, it is securely linked to the phone, all you have to do is trigger the voice dialer on the headset and ask the headset “where is my phone?” then the helpful Google assistant speaks again and offers to ring the phone for you. Or rather, it did until sometime in the last few weeks.

The brain fog that is a side-effect of Meniere’s symptoms leaves me pretty much a basket case for days at a time. I spend a lot of time looking for things that I’ve set down somewhere, but I can’t remember where. As I’m standing there looking for my phone I remember I can ask the headset to find the phone for me. So I ask the question. This is the response I got.

An app? Why the fuck should I download an app? Why would Google seperate out the functions that were available right from the headset, and put them in an app? When I finally found the phone, conveniently located exactly where I last left it, I downloaded the app and then tried to use it to find my device. The app helpfully told me that the phone was in my hand. Well, duh. There was no function at all within the app to allow it to do the thing I used to do by triggering voice dial on the headset. Or as I said to Google in my feedback,

This app is fucking useless. If I had two phones, maybe not. But now when I ask Google “where is my phone” it unhelpfully directs me to get this app rather than offering to ring my phone as it has done for me for the last couple of years. Why in the hell would you take that functionality out of the OS? Now I have to own two phones or use a desktop computer to access the device connected to my Bluetooth headset? Why in the hell should I have to do that, when the two devices are securely connected?

Feedback that Google promptly deleted, probably because I violated their feedback standards by cursing at them. What do they expect when they break shit that works? It’s not like this is the first time. I doubt that it will be the last time, either.

For the last week Android has unhelpfully directed me to download this useless app, the app that only tells me when the phone is in my hand, the app that cannot possibly locate the phone’s precise location using current technology even if I had two phones so that when I lose one I can find it with the other, that app was what Google wanted me to go use. Until today. Today, on a whim, I asked the headset “where is my phone” and it responded “I can ring your Motorola phone for you. Would you like me to do that?” as if the last week of hopeless irritation had been a bad dream. I nearly cheered, but instead just told the voice “no”, which it quite typically didn’t understand and unhelpfully informed me that it could only ring the last two phones I had, to which I responded with what it could go do with itself for all its troubles…

…but at least that one useful function has been restored. I would prefer not to lose the phone in the first place, but at least I haven’t driven down the road with my phone sitting on top of my car. Driving along wondering where I had put the thing but confident it was in the car since my audio kept playing on the bluetooth connection. At least I’m not that forgetful. Yet. Who does that? Did someone do that? How would I know?


Editor’s note. I discovered that the phone, when it is on, goes through this behavior. When the phone is locked it instead offers to ring the phone. I’ve just started making sure the phone is locked before I set it down now. Beef is now crow.

Google Delivers Russian Propaganda

I’ve got some feedback for Google

I don’t usually use Google now. I don’t know how many people even know what that is. If your phone is an android phone, you should be able to swipe right on the home screen to get to Google now. Google now isn’t even what it is called anymore, but it still is exactly what Google now used to be, it’s just referred to as Google these days. That makes the following feedback even more succinct.

Russia Today – RT.com

The screencapped story above was at the top of my Google feed today. A prime example of why I don’t use Google now very often in the first place. Top stories on my feed are almost always some flame-inducing bullshit from some less than trustworthy source. What does Google think I should read first today? A story from rt.com on Rachel Maddow. Google is suggesting I read an RT story about Maddow when there is a perfectly decent news article over on the Washington Post website that actually tells me what the real facts in question are. A news piece that isn’t about Rachel Maddow in the first place. So Google? Are you officially acting as a propaganda arm for the Russian government now? Why would I be offered a news story from rt.com in the first place, if not? RT is not a legitimate source for anything newsworthy. They are an even less reliable source than FOX is, which is saying quite a bit.

YouTube’s recommendation algorithms are designed to steer viewers to videos they may not have otherwise searched for, including by automatically playing more videos through its “Up next” function. But experts said that functionality can lead viewers down a rabbit hole of increasingly concerning videos of conspiracy theories, disinformation or offensive content.

YouTube’s algorithms have previously been designed to maximize watch time, which Chaslot and others have criticized as rewarding more shocking or sensational videos. YouTube said it now relies on information such as user surveys, likes, dislikes and shares to improve its recommendations.

Even its efforts to combat misinformation have in some cases backfired, as happened this month when videos of the flaming collapse of the spire of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris were incorrectly identified by YouTube as imagery from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York.

Washington Post

Here’s a thought, Google. A thought I’ve offered to you as design advice more than once. I want the ability to exclude URL’s directly as an input function. I want to be able to key in URL’s directly and exclude those URL’s from my news feed. This would be useful in two ways. One, it would stop your customers from flaming you every time you offered an article that the user felt did not adequately outline the facts in question. Secondly, this block information should be useful as a rule of thumb determinate for the reliablilty and general acceptability of the source among the general public. A general trustworthiness rating of a site.

The subject in question is an excellent example of the problem. If I want to know how to get to the meaning of the Mueller report, I have plenty of reliable sources that I could go to, none of them controlled by the Russian government. Here’s one.

Thursday I surveyed the entire Mueller report. I read some sections carefully; I skimmed others. My job was to anchor Lawfare’s initial coverage, so I needed to have a sense of the big picture, as well as detailed knowledge of certain findings and arguments. Starting Friday, however, I am reading the entire document carefully, starting at the beginning. I’m writing up my thoughts as I go in this post. There will be no cohesive argument to this journal. It will simply be a collection of my observations, questions and thoughts as I go through the document. It will get long. I will not attempt to summarize the underlying document, merely to reflect on it, but I will organize this post by document section. I will update the post as I read. I hope people find it useful.

Lawfare Blog – Notes on the Mueller Report: A Reading Diary

Lawfare is world’s above in reliability for communicating legal information than any other site I that I can think off right off the top of my head. So, contrary to the talking head on the RT Youtube video that dismisses the entirety of the report as some kind of conspiracy against the Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) you might discover that the Mueller team uncovered real crimes committed by the sitting president of the United States, and we might want to impeach him for these crimes. It would probably be a good idea.

It would probably also be a good idea not to act as the propaganda arm of any government, Google. The numbers of propaganda organs that survive unscathed after the existing powers are unseated is a number very close to zero. You might want to contemplate your future employment plans if you continue down this road. The vast majority of the American people are not fooled by this chicanery conducted by the OHM and his Russian buddies. There will be hell to pay, eventually.


Google is not the only culprit here, either. Google is simply the culprit pushing misinformation on my personal device. In this TED talk, listen while this journalist describes the multiple crimes and misinformation spread by the leave campaign, with direct ties to Donald Trump and Russia.

Carole Cadwalladr – TED2019 – Facebook’s role in Brexit — and the threat to democracy

This is the real harm in allowing ourselves to be used in this fashion. Allowing ourselves to be pushed in a direction we really don’t want to go except for the lies being told to us. The referendum that Theresa May thinks she has to honor was conducted outside the law. It baffles me why she thinks doing the stupid thing the referendum calls for, leaving the EU, is the thing that has to be done. What has to be done is to punish the lawbreakers who enacted the sham on UK citizens. The felonious results of the sham are irrelevant.

The Orange Hate-Monkey Accosted Me on YouTube

The Trump ads have to go away Google. Now. Not later, now. More generally, I want to be able to remove ads for users and subjects, for causes which can be enumerated to Google as an ad provider. I never want to see the Orange Hate-Monkey’s face on any screen, ever, and I definitely am not interested in any fucking thing he wants sell me. So give me the ability to block his and any other content I deem harmful or erroneous with the ability to flag said content for review by responsible authorities, which unfortunately doesn’t include the sitting president of the United States. Make this happen, Google or I will start blocking all ads on Android like I do on Windows.

Feedback on the YouTube forum.

Gmail Hovercard Doesn’t Sort by Address Anymore

Why Google? Why?

Feel free to spam those addresses all you like.

The hovercard doesn’t sort by address anymore? Why? That function is perhaps the single, most used function in Gmail. Thousands of people are now screaming at their laptops in frustration. All of those thousands of put-off tasks now immediately requiring attention because you can’t find a fucking thing in your inbox easily anymore because you can’t isolate the one section of messages you are interested in seeing. Now that mess that you’ve put off cleaning up for months has to be dealt with, and the raging emergency that sent you in search of that one email that you can’t find now because Google changed the interface in Gmail, again, this time for good, and the new interface won’t let you isolate the newest, most important messages from that one address without having to manually type it out.

Do you think you will make me empty my inbox by making it harder to find stuff in it? Is that what you are thinking Google? People are not using email anymore because it’s such a frustrating mess of things that they just don’t want to look at it? You think you’re going to make me clean my room now, do you, Mom? I really don’t think you want to get in that fight with me. I’ve been known to throw out important things, like my favorite software providers, when pressed to do things I don’t want to do. I’m going to go play video games now, Google. Let’s hope one of us feels like making up when we see each other again.