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Reading about the Election Disaster

Here’s a living post of interesting links and reads I find. I am more liberal by nature. Not crazy liberal but definitely feel more at ease with more liberal policies than conservative.

I can’t comment as much on Australian politics these days as I have now been in the US for 15 or more years. And I have definitely not tracked Australian politics during that time. Even for the US, I am certainly no expert but I do pay more attention around the election ‘crunch’ times.

Conservative views that push me away from that party include mixing religion into politics, guns and military spending/strategy (tied into foreign affairs also). I do agree with some views of the conservatives is to reduce government and increase efficiencies. But this shouldn’t come at the expense of the minorities or the poor. Right wing politics is too much based on every man and woman for himself. At some point, we need compassion and empathy to help those that need it. They are indeed citizens or at minimum, humans.

So, the links here will be more conservative leaning. But perhaps there is some interesting reading that offers a bit of a balanced view about what happened in the US in November 2016 when the US elected a man that seems incapable. The democrats have a lot of soul searching to do too. They were overly confident. They ignored all the people that voted for Sanders and the reasons and policies why people were attracted to him. They failed to understand all the people that simply wanted ‘change’ and not really caring if that change meant Trump. Many people could not logically articulate why Trump would be a good president or how his shortfalls didn’t matter. They just want change and the democrats did not bother understanding exactly what change and why. Certainly Hillary was nowhere near as popular as Obama either.

The New Yorker

How we broke democracy – medium

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Stupid Corporate IT Departments

Oh the joys of corporate IT departments.

Instead of doing things that that offer little to no additional value to the company such as:

  • Blocking iCloud, Evernote, Dropbox and Google Drive (among others) on phones when there are many other ways to share information outside of these services
  • Blocking iOS v8 ‘swipe’ style keyboards in some apps but not others
  • Blocking use of fingerprint sensors to unlock phones but allowing it’s use in apps once the phone is unlocked
  • Blocking sites like pushbullet that offer a nice service to quickly get information between desktop and phone

Why don’t these departments do useful things:

  • Roll out quickly the latest collaboration tools and software?
  • Invest and keep investing on making everything faster and easier – Faster = $$!!
  • Look at what startups are using for tools and consider integrating – See previous point
  • Stop trying to develop in house tools and buy the latest/best/best practices!!!!!
  • There is a thing called the cloud. It offers great advantages. GET WITH THE TIMES AND $#(@)$*#)(@ USE IT.
  • Did I mention -> STOP ROLLING OUT SHIT TOOLS AND MAKE EVERYTHING FASTER > AND REPEAT!!!!!!

OK, enough said.

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Apps I Use The Most – The Best Apps for iPhone 6

These are the best apps for iPhone 6 that I use. As I have written before, I’m an Apple Fan. Mostly because it simply works. Even as a technical person (engineer), I just simply don’t have the time or patience any more to stuff around with Windows or even Android. Android, I find OK but I simply still find the app store generally a dogs breakfast with cluttered and apps and quality inferior to the Apple App Store. I also find for some reason the Android UI cluttered and not as simple, clean and usable.

The issue with any App Store is the sheer number of apps available and new apps always being released to tempt you into trying and using. I must say on the topic of new app releases, while I do keep my eye out on the various tech blogs and the app store itself, I am finding less great new and innovative apps than I used to. This makes sense I guess as the App Store matures. With that, I have settled into a set of Apps that I use and trust the most. They dominate my home screen, with bold showing a lot of use. Here the are:

  • Google Maps – Don’t yet trust Apple Maps although I want to with it’s integration into iOS
  • Hangouts
  • Instagram
  • Newsify – RSS feed reader – Aggregate various blogs together for quick skimming
  • Flipboard
  • Twitter – The native app
  • Day One – Journal
  • Coach.me – Habit tracker
  • Downcast – Podcast app – There is a newer one available, Overcast that I could switch to but no real reason for now
  • LinkedIn
  • 1Password
  • Drafts – Great note taking App with many built in actions to export to other apps
  • RunKeeper – I try to exercise a bit!
  • Any.Do –  To Do List
  • Spotify – Music!
  • Inbox – Google app for GMail – Fantastic app – Revolutionizes email reading and habits
  • TripIt – Travel manager
  • World Time
  • Weather Live
  • Authy – Two Factor Authentication

There are more but I tried here to show my most used. These come from my iPhone but are typically mirrored on my iPad mini. I must say I don’t use my iPad as much I could or should. I am sure there are more or perhaps better apps, but these are mine! I have around 100 apps on my phone but a lot are used rarely if ever. One notable exception is Evernote. The IT security organization at a certain company I know blocked me installing that and still having work email and tools on my phone. Brilliant!! I love IT departments.

Hopefully you find this list useful. Would love to hear any alternatives you use or I should consider. Again, I am sure there are some!

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Actually Useful Tech – IF This, Then That – IFTTT

IFTTT or IF This, Then That is a great tool that allows you to set up automated actions between multiple inputs to produce different outputs. Examples:

  • On Dec 31, automatically wish everyone on your social media a Happy New Year
  • Receive iOS weather notifications
  • If leaving work geographical area, SMS your partner/spouse saying you’ll be home soon
  • And many others

Rather than doing a long review and details which has been done before, here are some useful links for news, information and recipes for the fantastic automation service, IFTTT.

IFTTT Popular – Best place to start for popular recipes

Engadget – Updated page of all posts related to IFTTT

Lifehacker – Updated page like Engadget

Buffer App Blog – 34 Recipes for Social Media Use

Gizmodo 15 Recipes

PC Mag – 101 ‘best’ recipes – Kind of annoying slideshow format that some sites use these days!:(

Hope you find these useful.

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Actually Useful Technology – Macbook Air

I wanted to start a series of technology articles that explain what I use and find actually useful. My most memorable and by far, favourite Christmas was when we received a Commodore 64. I would have to do some calculating to work out exactly what year that was. I am sure we were young, perhaps around 10 or so. Ever since then, technology has been central to my life and passions. I feel qualified to write such a series!

A Lot of Useless Tech

Following a lot of the big technology news and sites online, I find it funny (and sad) how much useless and crap technology there is out there being produced every day. Maybe it is some product that has a very narrow use and probably short use or something trying to ride some strange consumer fad of the moment. I love it even more when some Silicon Valley startup calls their useless tech world changing or some such shit. Perfect example right now is the anonymous messaging apps or self destructing messaging apps. Seriously. Who gives a rats? Why are we wasting brain power and time and money to create such stuff? Just to cater to a bunch of teenagers who could probably be pushed a little towards better applications of their time and talents?

Maybe I should start a useless tech series too. Anyway, sorry I digress…..

Or I Hate Windows

Windows to me is a MASSIVE SCAM. I used to own windows computers myself up until around 7 years ago. In fact, I used to build my own computers which was kind of fun, at least for a while. But it got less fun as I had less time and patience and simply needed something that worked. That is the problem with Windows. It doesn’t fracking work!!

  • Resets
  • Viruses
  • Lock ups
  • Slow operation
  • Spyware

It is CRAZY to me how bad Windows is. I have to use Windows at work so I still use it and the more recent versions haven’t changed. Because of how bad Windows is, massive markets have been created just to try to patch it:

  • Virus scanners
  • Spyware removal
  • Disk defragmenters
  • PC ‘speed up’ tools
  • PC ‘repair’ services
  • Registry editors/cleaners

The amount of time I spent when I owned Windows PCs at home trying to fix these problems was unbelievable. And I am an engineer and very much into technology. The average users are constantly being scammed into new, paid software to try to patch/fix some problems and businesses offering to ‘service and repair’ their computers. It is sad that we have this industry where the average user (including my parents!) waste time and money dealing with such problems they often don’t understand and shouldn’t have to. What other modern technology do you know of that is so bad and unreliable, it has spawned thousands of products and services just to try to fix it? Enough ranting.

Get a Macbook Air

Apple is your saviour! In fact, there are probably other solutions out there, but I’ll focus today on the easier and most accessible solution for most users. Simply go out and get a Mac. Yes, it might cost a bit more. The lowest tier Macbook Air 13″ is $999. A semi decent Windows laptop will likely be at least $500 to $700. When you add up the costs of services and products you will buy to try to fix your Windows computer and the time spent doing so, you will save significant $$ with a Mac. Or at bare bare minimum, you will break even. Some wonderful things:

  • 12 hour battery life
  • Open the lid and it’s instantly on from sleep!
  • Almost never crashes or freezes up
  • No registry. No ‘defragmenting disk’.
  • Almost no risk of virus/spyware – Not 0 risk but almost 0:)

Bottom line -> The Macbook Air or any other Mac simply just works. It does exactly what it should. It is a computer that operates when you turn it on and allows you to do whatever you want to do with a computer. Rather than stuffing around trying to figure out what is wrong with it. Do yourself a favour and get out of the Windows scam.