Note Taking and Books in the Modern Era of Education and Enterprise – a 7 year lifespan is why Apple will consistently sell me a new iPad

When you’re in a professional setting, what do you use to take notes during a meeting? Paper and Pen, Tablet (either with or without some type of peripheral input), or a Laptop? I have been in the tablet mindset since I purchased my first device in 2010 – the WebOS HP Touchpad. While I eventually hacked it and put Android on it, that was merely for ease of application updating, as well as to give myself a much larger app database to work with, as HP eventually gave up on the Palm product, and left a few years before they eventually made the source code open. In my mind, the tablet is the perfect device for any setting – they’re relatively light, in fact my iPad 3rd Generation, and iPad Pro are 1/2 the weight of what the Touchpad was, and they all can do a lot in such a small package.

When I graduated High School in 2012, I was really trying to figure out what to do financially about college textbooks – I was already taking out a massive amount of debt just to attend, did I really want to dole out a few thousand more a year just for books? I then looked into Apple’s Education platform that they were launching at the time – interactive textbooks? Active hyperlinks to videos from the publisher? In book clips, or pronunciations for foreign languages? Sold. Not just that, but a book that could potentially cost $300 for the print version and a CD to try and load on my lagging Windows computer, when I could have an interactive version literally at my fingertips for $170? That led me to sit down and do the math – If I’m saving $130 here, $50 there, $200 on that – I’m up to $380 in savings in my first semester by buying them digitally and getting a cleaner version that has updates as they’re published. It would be stupid not to do this.

Of course, being the Apple-holic I am, and after some research that is, I went with the top of the line at the time iPad – this was the 3rd Generation iPad, 64gb Storage, Retina Display…..but Just missed the boat on the lightning connector. Sure, I did research some other tablets, and was sold on the HP Touchpad as mentioned before but the reason I got one in the first place is that I was able to get one was that I purchased it for $50 as HP had decided to discontinue the device, and blow them out of every store. The other device I was seriously considering was the Toshiba Thrive tablet – 32gb of internal storage, however it has a memory card slot, full USB ports, Full HDMI, and was spec-ed pretty similarly to the iPad, however it was running Android. As someone who has been an (almost) consistent user of Apple Phones for the better part of the last 10 years (with a year and a half off in there to try out the Motorola Modular Platform), not to mention having used iTunes for all of my music since 2004, an iPad made the most sense for multiple reasons. Less than a month after I bought my device, Apple released a very similarly spec-ed iPad, barely anything worth noting, but it had their shiny new connector – which funnily enough would become the new standard I would need to use between devices…. and had to keep a stash of 30-pin connectors for the older iPad.

Sure, I took the concept of gaming into account too, I’m active in and out roof the gaming world depending on how busy I am at the time, as I’ve stated before, I have too many hobbies to count, and I’m adding in some more as time goes on (of course), but iOS, and any of the mobile platforms for that matter, have never really took off as quality gaming platforms. Companies like Aspyr Media have released ported versions of games like Knights of the Old Republic, but originally designed games for iOS (or Android) have kind of taken a back seat it seems. Things like Angry Birds, and Fruit Ninja have really been the best we could ask for. With the sudden explosion of Battle Royale games like Fortnite, and PUBG coming on scene, and adding all platform capability, and the success of such, I feel like we’re going to see a lot more of this in the future… but I digress…

That original iPad purchase was in August of 2012 – it’s now February of 2019, and I still have that iPad, and it’s still functioning… for the most part. The OS is well out of date for sure as the hardware will no longer support the software, meaning that a lot of Apps will no longer update, and that a lot of things that I would previously do from it I no longer can. It still is a great tablet that I magnetically mount in the kitchen to display recipes, or watch a streaming service while cooking, but 7 years and out of date software/hardware, that’s about it’s usefulness anymore. And that alone is longer than the life of any Windows computer I have ever owned to date – therefore I’m okay with that. And it’s also why I purchased a new iPad when I was looking for a new tablet to power use, I was looking for something to run Google Analytics, do basic Excel functions, as well as potentially do some basic graphic design (which if you have any suggestions on programs, I’m all ears!), and the iPad offered all of those features and more. If I can get the sam lifespan out of this device, and Apple can consistently provide on this, they’ll have at least one customer until they discontinue making the product for sure.

Is a Smart TV smart enough?

With the advent of streaming services it has completely changed the way in which we take in our entertainment. When Netflix launched a streaming service that was separate from it’s traditional DVD mail service, it took off in a way I don’t think anybody really expected it to. Now, with the volume of streaming services out there, the concept of cord cutting is more popular than ever, and cable subscriptions are on the decline, while streaming TV subscriptions, which provide a slightly cheaper, and more flexible alternative to traditional cable and satellite service, are increasing. These alternatives allow you to utilize your service from virtually anywhere in the world, such as Sling TV, Fubo, YouTube TV, Playstation VUE, certain networks are allowing you to stream their content live, or certain programs for free, such as Fox, and ABC, and others are requiring a paid subscription, like CBS All Access. There is also more than just Netflix when it comes to the standard streaming market now, with Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video being major players in this market as well.

With this, however, we have shed the monthly fee that is a cable box, or satellite receiver because we have all of the Applications, but what is the best way for us to access these applications? We started this transition to streaming media with our laptops, and an HDMI cable, and then moving in to our tablets, and phones being supported for these applications. Then along came streaming media sticks, and boxes that were dedicated for TV, and games. The perfect example of early adopters to streaming content on something other than a computer, tablet, or phone are game consoles. The PS3, and Xbox 360 were the first to incorporate this, and then along came the Wii offering Netflix support after. After these, however, we get into something that, while we’ve had them for a while now, are still not necessarily the most perfect device. Smart TV’s. A TV that has, “all” of your streaming applications built into it, and there is no need for a separate box to do anything, because it’s all built in to the one device… or is it?

The concept is great, and it’s what everybody wants when it comes to any category of technology, one device that works for everything, in the age of us carrying around more computing power on our wrist than the spaceshuttle had, why are our TV’s still not able to have absolutely everything we want all in one? That’s actually a relatively simple answer, to me at least. Personalization. Sure, you’ll say licensing of the software and such, but in reality, we could make use of what we have, and make it do just about everything we want, but we all have the OS layout we like. Some people are die hard Roku fans, others Playstation or Fire TV fans, I like the Tivo layout, but find the PS3 was my favorite as a whole. We all have a device that we like to customize, or that works best for us and our needs. Me, I’m kind of in a bind. I got my first Apple device in 2004 (an iPod Mini – oh yeah!), and from day one started importing my CD’s, and building my music collection in iTunes to be able to sync to my iPod, before that I used WinAmp, so a lot of stuff was already ripped, and just had to be imported to iTunes. In 2007 when I got my first apple device that played video’s (iPod Classic – after 11 years, I just laid it to rest this past year), and from there built up my iTunes movie collection – after who knows how many dollars worth of movie & TV season purchases. While the Movies Anywhere application has fixed that for the most part, allowing me to watch my purchased movies on virtually any device, from virtually any application I like that syncs with it, TV show purchases and music streaming become the issue.

The fix for me would be to get an Apple TV, but, do I need another set top box? I already mix and match between the PS4 and the Tivo, both of which are loaded with applications – the issue with Tivo is that they do not update the applications as often as they should… hence using the PS4 in conjunction with it. And then there’s the fact that my TV is also a smart TV… and I have a Chromecast attached as well for the odd app that we want to use with the TV! What good would one more device be?

This is the predicament of the modern era of streaming. Each device has something different and unique that you may want, something that is useful to a point where you can be persuaded to purchase it for the occasional use. The same goes for all of the streaming services. It’s getting to a point where you want the streaming services for the exclusives in a lot of cases, and by the time you’re done with Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, your Amazon Channels or individual network subscriptions so you can watch CBS All Access, HBO Go, or what have you, you’re back to being about even with your cable bill… or even paying slightly more. Oh! And you still need to rely on cable from the aspect of them being your ISP. Is this era of entertainment really better than the last? At least when we had cable, there was one device that would play all of your channels.

How much more fragmented will this streaming entertainment world get?

Smart Home Transition

Being about three months away from Dayton, and four months out until the next contest, with June VHF and Field Day within a couple weeks of each other, I think it may be time to put the radio talk on hold for a little bit – there’s a lot of other stuff going on! What’s on the agenda? Well – this blog is going to go back to more than just radio – with moving into a new house, sure there’s going to be some radio talk, in fact I’ve started to setup a nice shack area (see below), but we’re also (kind of) converting it to a smart home. We talked about it before we moved in, and had decided not to do the whole smart home concept, but as we’re going along and replacing odds and ends like light bulbs and the thermostat, I’m noticing some of these items have nice energy monitoring features that I really like, so I’ve said screw it, and we’re slowly transitioning over to a semi-smart home. The first question to ask was what ecosystem of smart products do we want to go with? What do we use for our control, and hub? Well, a few months ago I had a coupon for Best Buy, and they had just started running all of the specials on the Eco Dot’s, with the 3rd Generation being $24.99 – that plus $10 off? Sure, let’s get an Echo to play with. A few weeks later Christmas shopping, I bought something that allowed me to purchase an Amazon Smart Plug for $5 – well… sure, I’ll try it. Let’s see how useful it is! I had the Christmas lights plugged into it all month, and it was really nice to be able to go, “whoops, I left them on!” and go to the app and turn them off. In the real transition to the smart home setup though, we’ve begun changing out all of the old incandescent light bulbs, and installing Phillips Hue lights, using an Echo Plus as a Hub. The Echo Plus came with a Hue bulb as well – and I had a 30% off coupon for that device as well. So far so good, and we’re up to 8 lights – 7 of which are Alexa controlled, and one using a Hue Dimmer Switch. One thing that I’ve read is that when you’re getting closer to 20 or so bulbs, the hub in the Echo starts to get a little laggy, so moving over to a Hue hub is the way to go then – with that said, I don’t think that we have that many light sockets in the house where that’ll ever be a worry.

There are a bunch of the smart thermostats on the market, but after a lot of research, finding a sale, and holding a store to their Price Match guarantee, I was sold on the Ecobee 3 lite. The beauty of the Ecobee is the lack of having to mess around when you have an older system. The furnace is about 15 years old, which isn’t all that old, but it’s just old enough where it’s lacking some of the extra wires needed for items like the Nest, or Emerson. The Ecobee provides an adapter kit, so thermostats with four wire connections can be adapted to send power from the furnace to the thermostat that would normally be sent via a fifth wire. This thermostat offers all of the same capabilities of the others, such as vacation programming, scheduling, daily settings, etc.., integration with just about any assistant that you would want to use (Don’t think it’s compatible with Cortana, so sorry to the three people that use that), requires no Hub to function, and is about half of the price of others on the market. How can you go wrong?

I think that this is where we’re going to keep it for now, I’m looking into the Wyze Camera’s, they’re one of the highest rated out there right now, an American company, and their products are only $20, and $30 respectively. For that price, it’s worth trying, but for now, I think we’ll hold back at the pseudo smart home status, and finish getting settled for the time being..

New Mobile Incoming; Let’s give Fusion another shot with a more capable radio; and a few months with DMR, and for the everyday user, your mode doesn’t matter

For anybody that operates in their vehicle (where I do about 75% of mine) on repeaters or even FM Simplex on 2m or 440, and is in the market for a new radio, I’ll give you a heads up about a sale from Yaesu right now. The FTM-400XDR, what is their top of the line mobile, is currently on sale for $400 – I just placed my order for one this week, and am excited to see how it’s going to mount in the Patriot. For anyone that doesn’t know, this mobile is (as stated above) a dual band 2m/70cm radio with touch screen, runs FM/C4FM for voice, APRS capability with built in GPS. This radio will be a nice complement to the Icom ID-5100 that is mounted in the car at the moment, allowing operation of two digital modes, as well as APRS capability.

I’m trying to learn the ins and outs of all the different digital modes, at least when it comes to the day to day usage of them, and this will be a bigger step with fusion than the FT-70 HT that I currently use. The FT-70, while it is a durable HT (which has been my experience with Yaesu Radio’s as a whole), reminds me of the early days of D-Star. Each individual function that you would like to perform has to be programmed as a specific memory channel if you want to be able to perform different actions on the radio such as node linking, and not just use a repeater as is. So far from what I’ve gathered in using these modes is that Fusion is about the least capable of the modes, while it’s being pushed the most with cheaper repeater systems to get involved. Direct Callsign linking and talking is something that it lacks that the other modes possess in some form or another – and if it is there, it isn’t anywhere near as simple to use (in true Yaesu fashion) as D-Star and DMR both.

All modes are able of transmitting Location data over their signal, while Fusion and DMR admittedly COULD do more, given that the bandwidth is twice that of D-Star, what more could you really want to do? You have the ability to send GPS data, images even, as well as compressed digital voice in a transmission. That’s enough for the every day user, in fact that’s more than enough.. Even in an emergency scenario, unless you’re going to build a transporter off of that mode, really GPS data, and an image is about all you need.

What are your thoughts on the never ending battle of the modes? What do you use? I’m really excited to delve more into Fusion and DMR over the next few weeks, and see what these all really have to offer!

 

January VHF 2019: Day 2 and Summary

img_4563

Day 1 was ended with 16 contacts, only a very few multipliers, and I was just generally in bad shape, but Day 2 was a completely different story. Instead of monkeying around with 6m, I just shrugged it off, the band wasn’t very open, it just wasn’t worth the time. I started off fairly close to home allowing me to get things resettled a bit before hitting my first grid (only 20 mins behind schedule!) – the roads were a mess, but this is why I drive 4×4 vehicles. Plows hated me for the first few hours I was out – I was well out of the realm of where they’d normally plow, but for some reason they decided I was in the way and made me move. I was able to find a new spot and rack up a few more points before we met up for our rover lunch. We quickly make a stop, eat some lunch, hammer out a handful of contacts, and get back on the road to hit our next grids.

img_4544

After the lunch activity, I headed down to FN12, which for me was a new grid that I do not normally work, and am I glad I did – the majority of the contacts that I made for this entire contest were from that grid! Not to mention that after having given up on 6m, I thought about the fact that I could try and go QRP with my new Yaesu FT-818 by attaching the BNC Duck and the 6m Element to it. I was able to pull off quite a few contacts this way – upwards of 60 miles from my site!

img_4570

All in all it wasn’t a bad contest, as I was about to pack up I peeked at the temperature gauge ad we were holding steady at -3… which didn’t make hanging out of the car to make those 6m QRP contacts easy! (Pictured is the 818 on the hood, had just made a contact on the other side of Rochester from about 40 miles away) Ending with a score of 24,840 I will say that while it was a dip of about 9400 from my score last January, it was an increase of about 3000 points from June, which I’ll take as a win. There are numerous improvements to make to the rover for this upcoming June, starting with 6m, and then working towards adding microwave equipment. I would like to, at a minimum, be capable of working up to 3456 in June reliably. This contest reminded me a lot of what it’s like climbing an Adirondack Peek in the winter – you’re cold, there are little things you have to pay attention to that don’t even phase you in the summer, you’re incredibly tired by the end and sometimes wait a day to put the equipment away, but it’s always fun to look back on it, and you’re excited to do it again.

img_4576

My first contest like this was June 2016, I had a mere 2100 points, and I think I only actually worked about 4 hours of time on the radio, and drove for 6. In June 2017, I put in a little more effort, and 6m opened up – happened to work down to DM32 from FN02 with a wire dipole that year! Last January was my first January contest, scoring 34,224 which was a fantastic first year to have. Wasn’t able to get near that score in June, scoring 21,758 in that contest. This June I’m aiming for 50,000, with hopes that I’ll shatter that – new plans in the works, hoping to activate extra grids early in the contest, as well as improve the antenna systems. We’ll see where it goes!

img_4566

Day 1 of January 2019 Contest

I just would like to say that so far, just about everything that could go wrong has gone wrong… I say just about because there are a few things, mainly things I’d rather not jinx as some equipment is not mine, and I really don’t want to have to tell people that it’s broken.

Issues that arose today were as follows:

  • it wouldn’t be a contest for me if I actually had 6m up and running… in fact, my nice 6m moxon I built disintegrated (note: I even waited to put it up until I was stopped to prevent this very thing from happening)

  • 70cm isn’t tuning

  • I keep finding things I either need to make another jumper cable for, or have the wrong connector on

  • It took 4 trips to Home Depot for me to realize that they didn’t have a long enough 2″ width U-Bolt for the new Roof Rack Mount – so I’m U-Bolted to one crossbar, with paracord tied to the other crossbar, and the actual luggage rack

  • Oh… and need I discuss the weather? I don’t think I should bother because it’s all we’ve heard about on the news for the last week

But, with all that being said, this has simultaneously been one of the more fun, and adventurous contests so far. I was an hour late to getting on the air, wasn’t even in the location I was supposed to be in, or with the group I was supposed to be with, in fact I only have 16 QSO’s in the log, and nothing above 440. Tomorrow is a new day, one that will have a bright and early start to try to hammer out some of these issues before hitting the road. I’d like to at least get 440 back on the air, and if I have time I’ll get the 3 element 6m beam assembled and ready to go.

Guess Who’s Back!?

Wow, that was a whirlwind few months… I haven’t posted since July!? Okay – time to change that! What’s changed since July? Well a few things:

1) Apple has revamped a ton of devices, and I’ve been gawking – some dummy not only went back to an iPhone three months before they announced new stuff, but also bought a new iPad a week and a half before they released them

2) I have a new car to design around for the January VHF Contest (if you have setup ideas for a Jeep Patriot, let me know!)

3) I’ve finally gotten DMR functional on my Zumspot

4) Alexa is everywhere

5) I think I’ve finally realized just how ADD I am… more on that below!

Before I went dark for a few months, I had 5 posts canned, and 90% written, just not reviewed and scheduled to post. We’ll get to DMR first, likely tomorrow, after this little catch up post, but each one of these bullet-points will be something that I’m going to touch on over the next couple of weeks. When I last was posting, this was an almost daily blog – we’re going to have to bump that to weekly due to time issues.

For the next week, I’ll be moving into consumer electronics, specifically Smart TV’s, Set Top Boxes (not a term you’ve heard in a while, eh? But it means something different now!), Game Consoles, and other things that the everyday user wants.

Following that I’m going to briefly discuss Alexa, and smart assistants – this could be a part of consumer electronics, but the fact of the matter is that this has branched off into its own platform entirely. Amazon has literally been giving away the devices to get one of these things in your home, and it’s amazing the support of devices out there.

Then we’ll be getting into January, and the VHF contest is a big one for the club I compete with, so I’ll need to rethink the entire rover setup following the purchase of a new car! With any hope there will be some progress by that point, and I’ll have something to post.

 

 

Handheld Gaming – What happened?

Who remembers the Gameboy, the PSP, and the… well I guess we don’t have to ask who remembers the Nintendo DS, because it’s still around, and still has decent sales, but still who remembers having a Gameboy and being one of the cool kids? Then the PSP came around, and it was like having full console games in your pocket, and having the ability to store Music, and watch Movies, and have it all right there! Well, admittedly, we don’t have to ask what happened to make this device no longer popular. The advent of the smartphone, and development of games for 100% touch screen inputs, as well as all of the major game developers decided that this was going to be the future of portable gaming, so why not? When Apple released the iPad, and kickstarted the consumer tablet market, it was easy enough to take these games that had been developed for 3.5″ and 4″ screens, smooth the graphics, and blow them up to a 9.7″ screen, and voila! They could sell another copy of the same game! The graphic quality on these games has always been pretty great, however the story lines, and lack of advancement of previously successful franchises such as Doom, Halo, or Call of Duty onto these platforms, and lack of porting of popular MMORPG’s, and lack of processing power and control customization has always been something that would make hardcore gamers shy away from them.

I guess this is me just writing more about my nostalgia for the PSP, and classic portable gaming – I owned two PSP systems, and a little over a year ago, bought the PS Vita, which was the successor the the PSP, and still play it often. When you look at the quality of today’s mobile games industry though, what do you see? Sure, there are a few games that have story to them, such as Infinity Blade, or NOVA, and we even saw one Mass Effect game for mobile too! But compare any of that to the Resistance Fall of Man story and game play style, or the Call of Duty play style, Killzone, Borderlands, Little Big Planet, the list goes on, you just don’t see quite the same style, and it’s difficult to because the devices we’re using simply aren’t designed for games. Being able to play games on them the way we do is just a bonus. Nintendo, however, believes that the tablet market is the future of gaming, so much so that their last two systems have been tablet centric. The Wii U wasn’t the best seller, but it paved the way for the Switch, the tablet based machine that you simply dock to play on the TV, or slip the controllers on the sides. Is this the wave of the future? Will the next Playstation, or Xbox be tablet based? Nintendo has never really had high end focus on GPU and CPU speeds like Microsoft and Sony have, they’ve always gone for the family friendly gaming experiences.

Personally, I miss the classic handheld consoles, but if Sony or Microsoft were to go the way of Nintendo, and design a quality console that is portability focused, I’d give it a shot. I remember waiting and waiting for Microsoft to announce a handheld like the PSP and it never happening, and I’ve owned at least one iteration of every Sony portable. I think that the market still wants it, the Vita, while it’s mainly considered a dead console in the US, it is still very popular in Japan, and if a quality product is provided, and it is marketed properly, we could see a resurgence in the portable market.

Fermented/Preserved Foods – What I’ve done, and what’s next

When you think of fermentation, what’s the first thing that you think of? Do you think of traditional beverages such as Beer and Wine, or distilled beverages like Whiskey or Vodka? Or do you gravitate towards foods, and think more along the lines of Sauerkraut or Kimchi? Preserved foods? The process of fermenting is kind of crazy, we use microbial life that wants to help us, and boost our immune systems to take our food and beverage, and preserve it to keep out the other microbial life that wants to kill us. We’re the battleground for a microbial war!!! There of course are the other methods of curing, such as jerky, or canning things to make pickles, or spiced peaches… but I’m talking about Fermenting! Activating yeasts/bacteria that are naturally occurring, or added to a product to create something entirely different!

About two years ago I started making fermented beverages for the first time. I started with an attempt at making a non-alcoholic ginger beer actually, as I wanted to make a homemade, carbonated beverage, without the alcohol content. The first batch came out okay actually, however at this point in time I wan’t utilizing an airlock to let off the pressure, and had to,”burp” the container a few times a day to let off the pressure. If you don’t do this, you’re going to have a mess on your hands as things will get a wee explosive. This was an okay process, however I did forget one day, and all of the bent in portions of the 3L jug I used decided to push out due to pressure. The end product was okay, a little lacking in ginger, but pretty tasty! After this attempt, I bought an airlock, and tried it again, and it worked quite well! From there, I thought it would be a good time to try brewing beer! Why not? At this point I’ve gotten a basic understanding of the fermentation process down, lets go for it! I was reading recipes, and just had no clue what the terms were, “mash,” “sparge,” wait… why is it just saying @30 mins? What am I doing at 30 mins? 30 mins into what? And you can read the full directions, but unless you get yourself a little background on the process, you can get a little lost, even in a fairly basic process. So, I continued to do my reading, finally understood that a mash was just your ingredients holding at a certain temperature for a duration of time – fundamentally it’s the exact same concept as steeping tea. You keep the leaves, or grain in this case, submerged in hot water until a desired flavor is achieved, a sparge was running water through your grain after the mash (which isn’t even a necessary step if you’re extract brewing), and then the boil is when you bring your wort up to a boil for a duration of time, and add your hops and other desired flavors. Man, why did I think it was complicated? First batch was mediocre at best. Actually the first batch I made molded because I added my yeast when the wort was still too hot, and killed it, but the second batch was not great. Was a good beer to cook with because all of the flavors transferred nicely to foods, it just wasn’t the greatest drinking beer.

Another, increasingly popular, fermented beverage is actually derived from tea, Kombucha. I have had very little success in making it, but am in the process of trying again as I enjoy this drink, but it’s quite expensive to buy, ranging from $3-7 for a single serving. The process is fairly straight forward, take a colony of yeast, and healthy bacteria – called a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast), and place it in with a pH balanced sweet tea, and let it sit around 70 degrees or so. The pH is balanced by the addition of vinegar, and sugar to the tea, making an ideal environment for the SCOBY to work on fermenting the tea. Now, because this beverage is fermented, it can leave a very small trace of alcohol – usually no higher than 0.5% on the high end – meaning that anybody that has a sensitivity or allergy to alcohol in any form should probably refrain from consumption, however the concentration is small enough that there is nothing to worry about for the average person. One of the major manufacturers of retail kombucha faced a lawsuit in regards to alcohol content. The hardest part about this is that once it’s put together, it’s a waiting game, there’s nothing you can do to it to help it from turning, you just need to hope that it was done right in the first place.

While I am attempting another batch of Kombucha at the moment, I also am working on a small batch of Sauerkraut at the same time! That’s one of the cool things about fermenting, and preserving, it only takes up a little bit of space, and is minimal overall work!

“Does this insurance cover stupidity?”

If you read my post about smartwatches, and noticed that I really liked my Samsung Gear Fit 2, and had no intentions of getting rid of it anytime soon, you’ll get a chuckle out of this. On the Saturday preceding the holiday weekend, I was enjoying a day at the lake with my family, and decided that I wanted to go swimming off the boat (you already know where this is going), so I threw a life-jacket on, made sure my pockets were empty, and decided to leave my watch on, because hey, I went water skiing with it last year, how could a simple dive off the boat be worse than hitting the water straight on at 25mph? Well, I jumped in, and there it went… right to the bottom of Seneca Lake. When I purchased that fitness tracker/watch last January, however, I purchased the 2 year replacement plan on it, because I know that I can be accident prone – gotta love Best Buy! When I was at the register, I asked, “Does this insurance plan cover stupidity? The odds are that I’m going to do something majorly stupid if it breaks this.” And the cashier said, “oh yeah, it’ll cover anything!” Well… some dummy forgot to read the fine print about needing to bring in at least some piece of the device that broke in order to be able to cash in on that insurance plan. The day after I lost it, I went into Best Buy with my receipt, and the box, and told them the story of the 47 8×10 colored glossy photographs with circles and arrows (forgive my Alice’s Restaurant), and while they got a chuckle, they said that they couldn’t do anything about it.

Now, I am back to the old school, analog watch, and you know what? I’ve actually missed that to some extent. As you can tell, I enjoy tech and all, but I don’t always need to be connected to everything, in fact, I prefer to not be from time to time..