California Fires

The fires in California have gotten bad. I feel bad for the people that have lost homes, loved ones, pets, etc. So much land has been damaged/ruined. I couldn’t help but post this interview of Jerry Brown talking about this. I pray we get through this fast and safely.

Also, CNN did some good reporting on it today.

 

iPhone X Review: Way Cool But More

I’ve now played with the iPhone X for two days. First day was second hand with my wife’s and second day I got lucky and found a store with one in stock. At first, I was very reluctant as it does feel like a smaller phone than the 7 Plus. My initial thoughts before playing with the iPhone X –

  • The 5.8 inches is a trick as it’s not as wide as the iPhone 7 Plus or 8 Plus which makes it less than ideal for watching any video on it. It’s not 16:9 which makes the aspect ratio on the phone weird.
  • No touch ID. Why couldn’t Apple have really surprised people and put TouchID on the back? Top Android phones are doing this and I hope Apple does that with the X 2.
  • It’s still a 12-megapixel camera. How much does that mean? To moderately serious photographers – not much because the sensor on these phones is incredibly small. I almost wish they charged an ultra-premium for a ‘Photographers Edition’
  • OLED. Yes, you can rant about how awesome the colors look on it. But the problem with OLED is ‘burn in’. Same as with OLED televisions. Over a period of time eventually, most OLED panels get light to severe burn in. Will these panels be any different? We don’t know as this is Apple’s first edition using the panels from Samsung.

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Now my review based on my time using it. My big annoyance is still around. Every phone that Apple ships has ways of the iPhone charging faster. Yet Apple chooses not to include those cables for the fastest charging. Why?!? This time is no different.

This iPhone X has a better camera than the iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 8 Plus. Hugely different? No. But you can notice it if you look at the colors and the sharpness around people. Again it’s a smaller sensor so for anything which you know you’ll really want to cherish, I’d use an actual camera. Remember those? Higher quality lenses with more megapixels.

It completely ditches the home button. Initially, I thought this was a negative. But then I remembered my complaints with the iPhone 3G and iPhone 5 was that the home button always made me feel like the device was very simplistic.

The iPhone X feels ahead of its time, perfect for a target audience of technology enthusiasts and obsessive photographers. Everyone else may want to wait awhile to buy as there is a slight learning curve. Actions that you’ve been using for 3/4 of a decade are now gone. You might as well get ready and learn them as this is the direction that Apple is headed.

Bottom line

In terms of features, the iPhone X is the most impressive smartphone ever made. It’s worth the $999 — but that doesn’t mean you should buy it. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the iPhone X to my tech-crazed friends or photographers, but the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 7 are just as fast while being simpler and more familiar to use.

Then again, if you are willing to get up early to line up for a $999 phone, you are probably the target demographic for the iPhone X anyway. Make sure you grab a coffee while you wait in line.

Uber Allows and Encourages Tips

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Uber tomorrow is going to match every tip given to drivers. Now, this has to be an in-app tip. Not give the driver $5 and Uber matches it.

I’ve called for Uber to allow this for the longest time. Their CEO was against this and boom – he was asked to leave the board of his own company for basically not listening to what the users wanted. Also – the company was found to have rampant sexual harassment claims that were ignored by management. Enter tips and Uber finally has some good PR.

Good on you Uber!

Comey, Golf, and Gal Gadot

I’ve taken a few days off from writing on my website. Now back to the fire…

Comey Testimony

Comey gave his testimony yesterday on the hill. What was gained? We learned that Donald Trump is a strange man. Comey said he felt uncomfortable with the nature of his personal meetings with Trump, including a private dinner at the White House. He said Trump told him he had “hope” that the then-director would “let Flynn go,” and that he took the suggestion as a “direction.” Is that obstruction of justice? Nope. Is it stupid? Yep. If this were litigated it would probably be called ‘Trump vs Competence”. Guess who wins?

What was odd? Usually, after an event like this, you’d have former Attorney Generals and White House aides lined up to defend the President. Not in this case. Well, Donald had Donald Trump Jr. – but former aid to George Bush Jr took care of him well.

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“A guy who kills baby elephants for kicks to be giving James Comey a lesson in character is rich at best, and pathetic at worst,” she said.

First Wednesday Tournament

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Holy Crap! We won.

I’ve played in two of these events where we were just crazy under par. First one was a scramble at Cottonwood. Second – last Wednesday. The format was two – Best Balls of Four. So you just take your lowest two scores in the group and that’s what you post. You wouldn’t know how well we played by some of the videos that I took.

This weekend – the Club Championship.

Wonder Woman

Holding strong at the box office. Huge success. Now the big issue is can they get the director back for the sequel?!?

 

Health Care and a new Thermostat

Health Care

House Republicans passed a bill yesterday. Yep! They finally did it. What does it do? Well, it for starters reduces the tax burden that Obamacare put on the top 1% and gives it back to them. Some $833 billion dollars going back to the richest Americans. What’s the effect of that? Some twenty-four million people will lose their insurance. Not something you can brag about Republicans. I haven’t understood this President and this party for some time. How can you claim you’re the party of the religious right and not take care of your brother and the poor? Isn’t that within the very teachings of Jesus and the strongest message in the bible? It’s rhetorical. Of course, it is. Also – I find it deeply disturbing when even the American Medical Association doesn’t stand by it. AMA is doctors and care providers – the largest group in the USA – and they don’t support it.

Read their statement below:

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We still have a long long way to go. A celebration is very early. You still need to have the bill to committee for adjustments in the Senate – voted on – and then back to committee in the House – and voted on again. Some members of the Senate have already said that the bill in its current form – won’t be voted on.

I think what I find most ridiculous to me. They didn’t even wait for it be scored by the Congressional Budget Office. Our representatives voted on it without even knowing the numbers of cost and how many will be affected.

Watch the video above and notice all of the constituents behind Trump. Those are people that in a year are going to be running for re-election and they’ll have to answer a very difficult question. Why did you strip my health insurance? Why did you choose not to take care of the weakest amongst us?

Anyone remember when Trump promised “insurance for everyone“? Twenty-four million isn’t everyone. Whoops!

Moving on…

Installed an Ecobee 3 Thermostat Yesterday

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It’s an intelligent thermostat with sensors for monitoring temperatures in rooms. But more importantly – it monitors movement in the rooms and then adjusts based on that. I’m ready for the savings $$. That being said we don’t use our AC but maybe a month a year.

What do I love best? It works with Siri and Alexa and works mobile. So if I’m at the movie theater – nobody at home – I can manually turn up the thermostat to conserve on electricity.

 

Tommy’s Birthday.

My step-son turned 20 years old a few days ago. Originally, we had planned on going to Outback Steakhouse but instead, we wound up going to this German restaurant in Ocean Beach.  Kaiserhof was the name. I’m going to try and stick with the positive. It definitely does have that German vibe, excellent German beer, and does have decent German food. That’s where the positives end. Negatives – highly overpriced. Nearly $300 for six people this is without any appetizers and only three of us ordered any liquor. It was about thirty to forty-five minutes between when we got drinks and the food arrived. Argh!

But, it’s his birthday. If you’re going to do it but once a year – go for it. But maybe do it reasonably priced. Not my style.

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On a slightly funny note. A week ago Tommy was involved in a slight car accident. I use the word slight because he was stopped at a red light and someone ran into the back left side of his bumper. So he has been without a car for about a week while the car is at the body shop. He’s also heading to study abroad for about a month in Oxford, England and to visit some family in Germany for about a week. Good. Now you’re caught up. So this conversation happened on the way to dinner.

Me: So are you missing your car?

Tommy: Yes definitely

Me: Well you’ll be gone a month without it soon.

Tommy: Do you mean my vacation?

(I’m puzzled. Vacation? No, it’s studying abroad. STUDY!)

Me: No it’s studying Tommy.

Tommy: Well it’s kind of a vacation.

 

I’m a Bit Over Comic-Con

 

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Comic-Con has finally exploded into something it was never meant to be. It was supposed to be the nerd/geek culture coming together to share their love for comics and those that produce them. With the movie industry taking notice of SDCC, it’s exploded into something that it wasn’t meant to be. Waiting outside all night for panels that you want to see, walking around in a crowded indoor convention center, and fighting in lines for overpriced comic book items.

This is the first year in probably seven years that we weren’t able to buy tickets. We didn’t get them in the “You went last year so you get first dibs” line and we didn’t get them in the “Buy with everyone else.” Yep – there are really that many people that are attending that we couldn’t get tickets this year from either opportunity.

When I started thinking about the comic book shops in my local area on the drive home today – I thought that I have so many within a fifteen-minute radius that I don’t actually need comic-con.

Addressing the size issue. The major is proposing a tax put in tourists that visit to buy for the expansion on the convention center. San Diego Comic-Con is under contract to stay thru 2018 and I think they’re realizing that attendance is becoming an issue. They literally have to turn people away because they have reached the max for the convention center. My opinion: The city makes money off San Diego Comic-Con. Why aren’t they paying for the expansion?!? Why are they making money off the backs of tourists that are here? Just doesn’t seem right to me.