This Article Is So Good I'm Willing To Give Up Oreos For Breakfast To Read It Again

Just kidding. I actually got more oreos and made another cup of earl grey to go along with second read of Matt Taibbi’s brilliant article. Things in this article that tickled me most:

  • Hunks of recent political history that #americants should know. (But then again, if we knew them we wouldn’t be #americant.)
  • Taibbi rips apart the Bush family and I can’t think of a family that deserves it more! Although Taibbi doesn’t go after those who voted for the Bush’s. Or does he? “Dinkley McBush.”
  • Making the comparison between Trump’s wrastling persona and the reality that #americants actually believe in wrestling means that Trump is the perfect presidential candidate for republican blue-collar voters.
  • The author mentions the German word backpfeifengesicht that is used by a psychologist when asked to describe Ted Cruz’s irritating face. It means: a face you want/need to slap.

Definitely worth a read once or twice along with worst-writer’s POV that Trump is what #americant has earned–not what it deserves.

Rant on. -Tommi

Source: How America Made Donald Trump Unstoppable | Rolling Stone

Passage To India Update. Finding Love Of Bureaucracy. Jitters.

Dom and Sky

Last Wednesday

Moving company arrives to begin packing. They’re an hour and half late. I order them sandwich rolls from local bakery and also get them some Cola. After a few hours of boxing, rolling glasses, listening to the screams of packing tape, I surprise them with an offer to buy lunch at a Greek diner a few doors down. They reluctantly accept but when they return they are very pleased. After that they immediately start working again. Six and half hours later about three quarters of our stuff is either packed or taken apart or prepared to be packed–except for our Ikea kitchen. That night we moved into an apartment-hotel in centre of Köln as there’s no way to sleep in our place.

Last Thursday

The movers arrive in the morning on-time, a little after eight. They stayed the night in a local worker-hotel and by the sound of the foreman’s voice they splurged the money they saved by not having to buy lunch Wednesday. His voice sounded like expensive Aldi Schnapps. Yeah, that was part of my generous plan. More on that here. They finish packing all the furniture and deconstructing the kitchen. I’m amazed at how little damage the kitchen has sustained considering my cooking art which includes but is not exclusive to excessive alcohol priming. Of course, the floor is a mess.

Another very important thing happened on Thursday. We got the required paper work for Beckett, the killer pug–a huge relief–that allows us to import a small dog to India.

Another important happening: During the chaotic packing and apartment removal, we heard from our new employer in India that they changed our temp housing in Bangelore. We’ve been moved from the outskirts of the city to a hotel in the city centre. Reason for change? According to sources it has to do with the first hotel not willing to accommodate us for such a long stay. Either that or our company started to consider the bill of staying in a five-star hotel for up to two months. The good thing is, they moved us to another five-star hotel. So that doesn’t make much sense. The bad thing is, it’s the middle of Bangelore and that might not be good for walking Beckett, the killer pug. Of course, all of that is mute if we don’t find a place to live fairly quickly. Who knows how that will work itself out. We’ve been warned that in India things move rather slowly.

And while we’re on the subject of places to live, luckily there’s lots of info available on the Internet about housing and there seems to be plenty of houses, townhouses and condos to choose from. In hindsight, we should have had housing arranged or at least picked out some objects to choose from before our arrival. It would have been easy to do after our visit last November. Of the places we looked we could have directed our Relocation Officer (that’s right, such a job title exists) to pick out a few houses so that we pick from them as soon as we arrive. Oh well.

Last Friday

Be lazy. Have a cocktail at 11am. Worst-write. For example:

During the next few days we’ll be cleaning up our flat, prepping it for return to rental company on Monday. Btw, in Germany there is no clear legal distinction between landlord and renter. This is due to the simple fact that Germany is a collective. It is also a socialist, pseudo communist state. But that political ideology nonsense is neither here nor there. What’s important is that the collective state of Germany’s first priority is to offer the appearance of égalité. The Germans don’t even bother with the other parts of the French idear. The appearance of égalité is enough for the powers-that-be to keep the hard-working, BMW-driving riffraff at bay. Indeed, the German Mittelstand (middle class) is a passive and submissive bunch. Where the lie does shine, though, is when you move out of a rental apartment. For you see, dear worst-reader, (sarcasm on) in Germany, a landlord should not have any costs when it comes to owning real-estate–other than, of course, the costs it must pay to reimburse the bank for loaning money to buy the unit (sarcasm off). When you move out of an apartment in Germany you’re supposed to leave it renovated, hence the burden of ownership cost is transferred to the measly (riffraff) renter. This is reminiscent of how much of the German economy actually functions–or should I worst-write dysfunction? At the least, Germany is not the efficient machine that it projects to the world. If, on the other hand, the burdens/costs of the rich can’t be put on the shoulders of the Mittelstand riffraff or the poor, then all the collective does it raise taxes. That’s how Germans cook their books and pay for pensions and free university and tax havens in… wherever. So. There you have it. Germania explained. But before I get too far off track…

There’s also some paper work that needs to be done for Germany i.e. cancel GEZ (German compulsive TV tax), cancel land-line phone and ISP and also cancel cell contracts. In fact, once we got our Abmeldung (unregistration) notice (which was a pain in the ass and worth a separate post) and forwarded copies of it to all to these for-profit agencies, we promptly heard the following.

  • The land-line phone company and ISP immediately accepted the cancellation.
  • We’re still waiting on GEZ and will be notified while in India.
  • Vodafone immediately told us that they won’t accept our cancellation. Cell phone companies are a bit nit-picky, aren’t they? And that brings us to our next bureaucratic dilemma.

Telekommunikationsgesetz §46 (Telecommunication Law)

The Germans passed a law not long ago that if a cell company can’t maintain the original contract when someone moves, they HAVE to let the customer out of the contract. Since Germany is a collective state, i.e. everyone is tracked and watched and observed, it’s easy to know if a person HAS to move and under what circumstance. Even the German collective sees the burden of the riffraff having to deal with stubborn and greedy cell phone carriers. This in part relates to what I write about above regarding Abmeldung (deregistering). It works something like this:

You are required to register when you move from one residence to the next. I suppose the equivalent of this in the US is when you have to get a new driver’s license moving from one state to another. The difference though is that German residence is decouple from a German driver’s license. Of course, it doesn’t matter if you move within a state. So allow me to reiterate this very, very strange dystopian reality of the German collective. Whether you move from one corner of a city to another or from one part of the state to another you have to register at a state registration office notifying the collective of what you’re doing. The information you provide, though, is not just about your new address. You also have to provide proof of a rental contract or home ownership, proof of a job and income and proof you have children, if applicable, etc., etc., etc.

How this relates to a new telecommunications law is the following: As Germany struggles with globalisation, which equates with riffraff workers having to both work & live across large distances, too many people were getting screwed as the cellphone craze took shape. Buy your phone with company A in city A but then move or work in city B and find out that your phone service suddenly sucks bat balls and you screwed. Obviously Vodafone can’t fulfil our contracts where we’re going so we want out. Or can they fulfil them? I suppose non of that matters because cell phone companies, for whatever reason, seem to wield a lot of power over getting money out of people–and thereby doing very little for those people. Our situation will probably be something like this: Vodafone is already delaying our request because our contracts run out in July 2016 anyway. Unless we fight them through legal means we don’t have any chance of making them stop collecting money from us. And don’t get me started on bank transfers that are controlled by the cellphone company. Oh well.

Yesterday (Saturday)

Say goodbye to family, drink heavily again.

Sunday (Today)

Finish prepping old apartment, final clean, discard/throw-away plants no one wants, clean mess/floor left by kitchen deconstruction, fill holes on walls from hanging stuff, and put throw-away Ikea stuff on the street where I ordered special trash pickup for Monday, etc.

Monday

Even though I’m writing this on Saturday night and Sunday morning, I’m gonna go out on a limb here. After our last weekend in Germany, sweating paperwork and bureaucracies and worrying about Beckett, the killer pug, and how he’ll handle the eight hour flight in a box, I’m finally getting the jitters. Ok. Maybe I’ve had them all along. But we’ve been so busy doing krapp, it hasn’t had time to sink in. Or? Anywho. All we have to do during our last hours in Germany is turn over our apartment, turn in our company car (goodbye Audi A5 Quattro and that shitty transmission!), turn in work assigned computer equipment and then spend our last night staring at the Kölner Dom!

Alles wird gut!

Rant on. Tommi

Awash In Ethernet Jacks, Dübels And Bad Jokes

OJ and German Pickles
Screenshot from US HuffPost that caught my eye yesterday. Can you buy Salz=Salt, Gurken=pickles in US now?

The movers finished yesterday around 17:00. Paperwork followed and I eventually signed. My wife asked that I double check the list of packed stuff before signing it so I did that first. Of the hundreds of items listed on about six sheets of paper I only took notice of whether or not my office equipment, especially my Mac, was on it. It was. My wife asked if something of hers was on the list but I can’t remember what that was as I’m worst-writing this post in the wee-hours a day later. Nomatter.

Everything is on its way to India now. Well, it’s kinda on its way. Other than a lamp the movers forgot, we also got notice that the Indian authorities haven’t approved our shipping container for arrival on their shores. It’s just like when you board a plane from PHL to FRA. Airline at PHL has to get consent from FRA before it can even start. “A slight delay,” is all we got from the moving company. “Normal procedure,” they added. Oh well.

Since we don’t leave for a few more days, we’re staying at a corpo apartment hotel in the centre of Cologne. A very compact, one bedroom flat. It has a full kitchen but no dining area–which means meals from the couch and its “coffee” table. The last two nights we’ve come home pooped, opened something fancy to drink and rolled around the couch listening to music or reading. Of course, as usual, WIFI sucks in the hotel but then I noticed two ethernet jacks on the wall above the desk. Since I try to travel prepared, I whipped out an ethernet cable from the plethora of tech equipment I’m taking on our flight to India, where we’ll stay in a hotel for up to two months, or until our stuff arrives from Germany–and we’ve found a place to live…

Full stop. Breath. Start thought anew.

I plugged the Ethernet cable from my MBA into the jack. Btw, there are two jacks available and they are both labeled DV26. Jack-left is labeled A534, jack-right A673. Quickly I found out that jack-right doesn’t work. I plugged my cable into jack-left and got an immediate IP address. A few configurations on the hotel homepage–which doesn’t know the difference between WIFI and Ethernet–and we are up-n-running. Cool! Moving on.

No. Wait. Something more about ethernet jacks. Luckily this hotel has plenty of electrical outlets. When I joggled plugs for charging this or that device I noticed, next to an electric socket that I found under our bed, another set of Ethernet jacks. That’s strange, I thought. Why would a hotel suite have more than one Ethernet jack? The jack under the bed, btw, is on the floor, not on the wall. I then proceeded to look around the suite for more jacks. Surprise. There’s a third Ethernet jack under the kitchen sink. I looked more. There’s a fourth Ethernet jack in the closet, behind the safe. This boggled my mind for a few minutes. But then I looked to my wife and said, now I know why this suite is so oddly shaped. It used to be an office. Yeah. They converted an office building in the middle of Cologne to a hotel. But enough of my useless discoveries that are of interest to worst-minds.

Let’s worst-write about the movers and while doing so I’ll try to work up the courage to tell a really, really politically incorrect joke!

We pay movers a krapp load of money to move our stuff. In fact, part of our stuff goes in storage for up to three years in Germany. The rest is being shipped to India. Unlike a “normal” move from one German town to another, everything has to be packed and prepared for either storage or shipping. Hence it took two complete days from 8:00 to 17:00 to get it done. There were a total of four men working round the clock. Two to four more men came depending on the truck that was being filled. I have to admit, all-in-all, the mover’s logistics, i.e. timing between packing and moving stuff into trucks and vans, is worth commending.

All of the men were Polish and only two of them spoke broken German, one spoke broken English.

At around 12:00 yesterday they had finished all the packing. Our eighteen hundred square foot flat was full of boxes, wrapped furniture and two crates with a flatscreen TV and a our only original painting. I’m a little nervous about that constellation. At 14:00 the flat slowly began to empty-out. At 15:15 there was mostly dust and four years of grime–and a few things undone. The foreman was finalising papers that we would sign so they could finally get down the road. They were obviously eager to leave. The only problem was, undone things bothered me.

Moi: (to foreman) When we picked your company we were told that you would not only move everything out of this place but you would leave nothing behind. What’s that? (I point to a curtain rode hanging above the terrace entrance.)

Foreman: Not job.

Moi: What?

Foreman: Not job. Nicht mein Arbeit. (He mimics me pointing to curtain rod.)

Can you believe it, dear worst-reader! They thought they could leave the friggin’ curtain rods on the walls. The one over the terrace entrance wasn’t the only curtain rod still hanging.

Moi: Come on, dude. You’re not finished yet. I’m not signing any papers if you don’t finish the job. There’s two more curtain rods upstairs and, btw, you haven’t removed a wall cabinet from the upstairs bathroom.

Foreman: Part of bathing room.

Moi: What?

Foreman: Upstairs. Oben. Toilet. Cabinet part of bathe room.

Moi: No, it’s not. Remove it. Oh, and there are still some items on the terrace that ned to be packed and shipped.

Foreman: Work done. Here sign. (He points to papers and tries to hand me a pen.)

In the mean time, one of the young apprentices is up a ladder cursing in Polish at the curtain rod over the terrace entrance. I deduce that he stripped out a screw and is now complaining that he can’t remove the screws from the anchors in the drywall. Seriously? I stood there dumbfounded.

Moi: You do realise that you’ve packed all my tools and my ladders. If you don’t remove those curtain rods, who is going to remove them? By the way, we don’t own this flat, we rent it. Our landlord requires that when we move out it be returned without curtain rods and lights and all, I mean ALL, screw anchors.

Four Polish adult males and a lot of broken German starred my way during a long, thoughtful pause. I put my hands together like a mother-teresa and told them that I’ll not be signing any release forms until the bathroom is done, curtains are removed and…

Moi: …that broom, that bike trailer (for my dog), that silver flower pot are packed and all, I mean, ALL screw anchors–Dübels!–are removed.

Someone cursed in Polish but in a few minutes electric drills where working, aluminium ladders were being unfolded, the forgotten bike trailer was being put into the last remaining moving  van. When I finally signed the papers releasing these men from their/my burden, I walked around the flat one last time. Would you know it, in the entrance foyer they forgot to remove a lamp from the ceiling.

With that in mind, dear worst-reader, I’m gonna go out on a limb and tell a really, really bad, politically incorrect joke that I learned when I was kid. But first, full disclosure. I was raised by a first-american born Polish stepfather. I experienced a lot of the Polish world in America during that time. This is just a joke.

Question: How many Poles do you need to change a ceiling lamp light bulb?

Answer: Three. One holds the light bulb and the other two turn the ladder.

Rant on. -Tommi

Useless Eater From 30k Feet First Class Adoring The View Of #Trump2016 Rampage On…

first class useless eater
I’ll always consider it a fluke being upped to first class last year but I’ll never forget it. What a grand bourgeois experience it was. But I’m almost always fine in eco. Or maybe not.

As I’ve worst-said before, #americant doesn’t deserve #Trump2016 but it has earned it/him. With that in mind, dear worst-reader, I really enjoyed reading the news this morn about the Bush family dropping out of the 2016 race. For that I’m forever grateful to The Donald. And here’s my (ir)rational as to why I’m grateful. As far as I can tell, the Bush family has done at least two generations of damage to my beloved #americant. Alone dipshit Dubya’s tax cuts for the wealthy–an astonishing political achievement when one considers who, i.e. blue collar white people, voted for this guy (twice). The reason two generations are screwed is because–along with these batshit tax cuts–we are stuck in a perpetual war in the middle-east. The reality of paying for both has yet to even be approached. If millennial’s are angry about their future because they are ridden with student debt and can’t get jobs valued enough to pay-off those debts, well, that’s screwed generation #1. Screwed generation #2 is anyone under sixty working for a living. “Prosperity” for the masses who work for a living is simply non-existent. Of course, since I jumped ship over twenty years ago where I said out loud that the results of Reaganomics is an unmitigated disaster, I’ve learned to live a life of comfort, be a father to my son, take care of my hard working wife and live comfortably within rational, debt-free means. Does that make me better than anyone else and worthy of the feeling I’m trying to transcribe in this silly blogpost? Of course not. But it does make my 30k foot flight over my beloved #americant that much more painfully sweet. I found refuge in socialist states on pastures that are less green and thereby the whole time kept peeking out that fuselage window to the grand happenings below–always with tears running down my face because of how much I miss home. And so. All I can (still) say is this: how the hell do the same people that elected dipshit Dubya twice, i.e. angry white blue collar workers + greed monger baby-boomers, now think that The Donald is gonna save them? Seriously? Really? (Short pause.)

Hold a sec. Cough. Gurgle. Chip off shoulder. Go…

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha…

I’m just glad that this morn some pretty bad people with a track record of being awful and ugly and evil and war-mongers and murderers… are gone. Hopefully it’ll last and the evil womb of the Bush family can fade away. Go Donald. Go Bernie. Go Hillary!

Good luck suckers.

Rant on.

Links that helped motivate this post:

This vs That And Something Above The Snowball(den) Effect

As usual, dear worst-reader, worst-writer is shocked. (But I’m not surprised.) I’m shocked that #americants once again just don’t get it. I mean, come on. Do you really believe that Blackberry died such a tragic death because the Canadians are so bad at managing a corporation? Or could the whole demise of Blackberry have something to do with the fact that it lost its edge in security? Ok. Ok. I have absolutely nothing to substantiate a claim that Blackberry went under because it lost-out on the secure-phone game. But I can say this: the fact that Apple has to answer to the US government because it made products that are secure enough to prevent a multi-billion-dollar funded security apparatus from cracking customer passwords…. Yeah. ‘Nough said. With that in mind, let’s do a worst-writer run-down of what’s happened here so far.

  1. Yet another horrific murder spree takes place in San Bernardino, CA, USA. This murder spree is different than any other murder spree because, well, it was committed by… (wait for it) “terrorists”.
  2. One of the murderers possesses an iPhone, which, btw, was issued by his US employer.
  3. After the murder spree and during the subsequent criminal investigation of it, it’s determined that the culprit shut off the auto back up settings of his US employer issued iPhone.
  4. When the US authorities discovered that a few days of backups were missing they decided that they needed that information in order to further their investigation.
  5. The US authorities, via court order, requested that Apple provide a means to crack the security settings of their iPhones. In other words, Apple has to rewrite its iPhone operating system so that US investigators can attempt to re-install the new operating system on the phone they want to crack. If that works, then US investigators will attempt to “brute force” cracking the iPhone and its user’s access password.
  6. Brute-forcing a password means nothing more than being able to submit millions upon millions of password inputs on the phone. Preventing multiple inputs of passwords is the fundamental means of securing the device.

Ok. I’ll stop there. But if you get a chance to see the video I’ve linked to in this post (see above), heed this: the entire conversation about this issue is wrong. The fact that Apple’s security methodology is being discussed means nothing more than the US has failed after it has invested multiple trillions of taxpayer dollars into a system that was unable to do anything about… the Boston bombing, 9/11, London, Madrid, Paris…

Once again, #americant and the automatons that are part of its hugely expanded government protection apparatus have failed. But then again, failing upwards is winning. And so. While failing all one has to do is tap into the ingenuity of corporatist that don’t fail (as much) and all that taxpayer waste will be fine. Or maybe not. Good luck suckers. And…

Rant on. -Tommi

What Will Be Missed: Brötchen Not Bureaucracy

german roll brotchen

Actually I prefer Mehrkornbrötchen but every once-a-once I splurge and have a (regular) Brötchen smeared with a minimal amount of Nutella. Minimal! The splurging on my diet, though, will change soon because in India there is no Brötchen. I’m sure there’s plenty of Nutella. (Aghast! Short pause.) Oh. And. No! Bread Rolls are not a substitute for Brötchen. Remember: what the baguette is to the French, Brötchen is to Germanins. As far as this Amii living in Germania goes, I have to admit–even though I’ve refused to go 100% native during my twenty-plus year here–I have grown to adore the incredible assortment of bread. I will miss it.

And while I’m on the subject of grandland Germania

Due to early rising and the gloom of forever bureaucracy I missed my Brötchen by spending the morning at the Cologne registry office (Meldebehörde) trying to get de-registered. That’s right, dear worst-reader, in the grandland of modern Germania one has to register with a register office in order to live–or leave. That is, if you don’t register:

  • No bank account
  • No TV
  • No landline phone
  • No ISP
  • No cell phone contract
  • No insurance
  • No this or that and more of NO to everything.

The problem is, since we are leaving the country for a few years we have to also de-register because, well, we want to stop paying all that money for services that we no longer need (see bullet list above). Problem? The only way to cancel these services is by proving that we no longer live in Germania. Problem? The only way to prove that we no longer live in Germania is to de-register at the Germania registry office. That’s a pretty simple concept ain’t it? No. It’s not.

Obviously the bureaucrats of Germania have their reasons for this level of civil control. (And, yes, that’s exactly what registry is.) It’s just that when bureaucracy exceeds what should be a certain level of decorum on the part of automaton administrators of that bureaucracy, how is one supposed to react? The experience of de-registering was so bad this morning that I thought I was going to die because of over-heated blood. But before my blood starts to boil again by simply recalling what we went through this morning, allow me to share my (in)ability to type properly while I tweeted something as my wife (better-half) took care of things.

(There used to be a twitter link here but I’ve since erased all my tweets.)

We sat in front of a mindless automaton this morning attempting to de-register from Germania. This entails being able to “prove” that we are moving out of our apartment. In order to “prove” such a thing we must have a document from our landlord stating that we’ve moved out. But get this. We are leaving before our lease runs out–two months before it runs out, to be exact. According to the rules/laws established by Germania and its registry offices, legally our landlord can’t prove whether or not we’ve actually moved out before the end of our lease.

Let me put that in other words. Our lease is up at the end of April, 2016. We move to India March 1, 2016. Actually, we move out of our apartment Feb. 25, 2016. But none of that seems to matter to anyone in the register office. Nor does it matter that we are required to pay two months rent to our landlord although in that time we will not be living in our apartment. Yeah, that’s our problem, as well. Keep in mind, notice of our move was given in January 2016. Because Germanin laws protect landlords (and, of course, stiff renters) we’re screwed out of two months rent. Who cares about that at the register office. But you know what? That’s not even the worst of our troubles.

As stated above, Germania, for whatever mindless reason that can only remind one of a world transcribed by Dostoyevsky or Gogol, we have to get proof of our moving out in order to stop paying for things that we no longer will be using (see button list above). But we can’t legally get proof because we’ll already be in India when our lease runs out. According to Germania law, our landlord can’t say we’ve moved out if our lease isn’t up. You got that, dear worst-reader?

When we sit with the automaton to clarify this, does she offer us a solution to the problem of moving out before the lease is actually up and getting proof of our move? No, of course not. Using a demeanour reminiscent of a scrooge or an evil stepmother, she insists that our problem (proof of moving out) is not her problem. The good things is, while all this mindlessness goes on and my blood boils and I almost die, my (Germanin) wife–who is facing this level of her own country’s bureaucracy for the first time–handles it well. Indeed. Just before I was about to explode, my wife–using the skills that obviously rocketed her career to where she is today and where she’ll be in India soon–was able to convince the automaton across from us to wake the fuck up. A call was made to some dipshit high-level automaton at a bigger registry office in the city centre. All the while yapping and zapping goes on and on and we sit impatiently. (Or is it just me that lost patience?) After about thirty minutes of yapping the news comes back that an exception will be made. Well good for us, eh.

There really is little positive I can say regarding my experience as an ausländer in Geramania. Alone the bureaucracy and rudeness I’ve faced is worth all my wrath. But I stuck it out for two reason and two reason alone. One is my wife and the other is my son. Now that my son made it to the ripe and legal age of eighteen and he’s in the process of ending his studies, a better time couldn’t come for trying some new horizons. Hence, India here we come. Indeed. And btw. I will not only miss Brötchen. I can’t wait for my son to come visit us in India asap.

Rant on.

-Tommy

PS I know. I know. But we can only hope that the bureaucracy in India that we will face is a bit more human than that of Germania.

Messages From H. E. Double Toothpicks

Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 20.28.06

Got this message today when I tried to access my site in order to… rant on. My first thought: What the hell! Then all enthusiasm went asunder. Getting the rational part of my brain to shrug off all the booze I’ve been drinking, I googled the problem and quickly realised it is a common problem among those naive ones who decide to  host a wordpress site on AWS. As usual, when these type of tech messages come my way I freak out. Why? I hear Walter Sobczak from The Big Lebowski during these moments.

“Shut the fu*k up Tommi! You’re out of your league!”

Luckily a bit more googling brought me to an easy solution (the ringer). Well, it is the solution for the time being. Obviously with an “error” like this one can never know what’s really going on in the confines of server darkness. Till then the solution is thus:

sudo service mysqld restart

Once I did that, worstwriter was up and running again. Of course, I wish it would just work. You would think it should just work. But I suppose this is what we moochers have to deal with in a world of glorified typewriting. Or?

Rant on. -Tommi

Backdoor To Your Frankenstein

be owned

The grand question goes like this, dear worst-reader: who owns you? In the case of the individual and her/his desire to lead a digital life, your owner is your hardware supplier.  (Boy did Blackberry screw this up, eh?) But the questions don’t stop there. How secure is your digital life? Worried about passwords? Worried about losing your phone? Worried about that Amazon purchase you made while connected to the Interwebnets at a coffee shop? The problem is, once you start asking one question about technology security it only leads to a bunch more. Reason? Well. Since a company like Apple puts a lot of effort into making its phones secure, why should they give up all that effort because a government agency can’t do it’s job in the first place? Does that agency really need access to my/our digital world? Besides the fact that the FBI, IMHO, is one of the most useless agencies every created by our grand dysfunctional government, no agency should get a backdoor to my phone. Heck, if granting backdoor access to Apple iPhones is what the FBI needs to “protect” the US from bad guys, that’s just more proof of how useless the agency is. Let’s not forget–as we #americants often do–that it really doesn’t matter if the FBI can make your digital life insecure or not! The question is, what will the FBI do with access to our digital lives? Do you want the FBI to possess a key to your house? How about the pin number to your debit card? How about access to your PC? A copy of the key to your bank safe deposit box? Heck, the US government knew about all those 9/11 guys being in the US (and how they went to strip clubs!) and it also knew about an imminent attack from Osama Bin Hasen. (Hasen is German for rabbit.) What about the Boston bombers? The FBI was tracking one of those guys for a while, weren’t they? Oh yeah. If the government would have taken one of those guys out before their bombing spree then maybe $300m wouldn’t get spent on trying to catch them. (Just google it.) What good did any of that information do for anybody? Oh. I guess, at least, 9/11 made a few well connected government officials very, very rich. But I digress. §My point is this: backdoor access to technology by a government agency should not be granted under any circumstances. I hope Apple wins this one. But I’m not sure it will. Remember: government is the Frankenstein Monster, the electorate is Frankenstein (the crazy grave robbing doctor). Rant on.

Link that motivated this post:

The Lie Of Things Flawed

Here’s the thing, dear worst-reader. Does Morgan Stanley actually have $3.2 billion to pay a fine? I mean, does it have that much cash? And if it does, would it use that cash for something as silly as paying a fine? Or would it use it to pay an exec another bonus? Which brings me to the question: where does this “news” come from about a bank paying a huge fine with money it probably doesn’t have? I mean, what’s the point of publishing this as “news”? Well, let’s go deeper, shall we? Morgan Stanley doesn’t have money in its bank account anymore for paying fines. Bet you didn’t know that, did you? No. And the reason for that is simple. Morgan Stanley has your cash to pay fines. So is that the “news” that should be reported? Probably not. And here’s why. While you were galavanting around your whole life buying all that krapp you don’t need on credit that keeps you a slave your government combined with a few private sector big-shots have been laughing their asses off watching the minions of the so-called “middle-class” have an orgy dance of ignorant bliss. These bankers and government stooges got you to vote for their ideals, they got you to hate liberals, they got you to believe the lies of taxation and representation, they got you hating each other because of race, migration, religion, etc., etc. Indeed. They got you. And now that they’ve are able to combine investment bank assets/liabilities with retail banking assets (i.e. your savings and personal investments) every greed mongering bank has enough money to pay fines. It’s just not the banks money. Now that’s worst-news! Of course, the other side of the coin is nothing more than the same type of bank across the Atlantic. So while Morgan Stanley pays its silly little fines–that amount to nothing more than a tax write-off–Deutsche Bank is doing the same thing but instead of fines it’s in über-debt because of Euro-greed. Yeah, baby. Rant on. -T

Links that motivated this post:

Waking up to #thebern

“It is a truism that many who join a rising revolutionary movement are attracted by the prospect of sudden and spectacular change in their conditions of life. A revolutionary movement is a conspicuous instrument of change.” -Eric Hoffer, The True Believer

Things Returned And A Bit About Landlords

Not sure it’s worth a post but I can’t get enough blog content. §First. Boy do I love buying krapp online. You know the best part about buying krapp online, dear worst-reader? You can return it without some jerk-off asking you why s/he should take your krapp back. Yeah, that sort of thing happens all the time in Germania retail stores. In fact, it’s the main reason I buy from retail stores anymore. Well, that’s not quite true. I still buy fresh farmed organic chickens from a retail farmer. So now you know what’s for dinner tonight. §Second. It’s not right after paying so much rent for so many years that when it comes time to moving out (moving on), I’m treated as though the landlord has earned the right to not incur any of the costs of renting. I mean, some inspector fellow comes to apartment and looks over everything and then tells me I have to paint this or I have to cover that. All I can say in return is: But I’ve been paying you outrageous rental fees for the past four and half years. So I guess it’s time to hunker down and get ready for yet another fight-the-power experience against the net-feudalists of pseudo-communist Germania. §Anywho. Here’s the consume-to-survive products I returned today. One of the reasons I think it’s worth posting is because I don’t think I’ve ever returned so many products in one day before.

Transcend JetDrive Lite 256 SD card for MacBook Air (MBA).

  • Pros: Beautiful fit, great design.
  • Cons: it’s slow, it’s not backup compatible and its expensive for what it does.

Samsung T1 Portable 250GB external SSD USB3.

  • Pros: absolutely none! I never even got around to trying it.
  • Cons: In order to use it you have to install a “driver”. Samsung should put a warning on the cover of the packaging that this external SSD requires a driver. Hello, Samsung! It’s 2016. Wake up some of those Win95 people you got programming this stuff.

Speck Satin Shell for 13″ MBA.

  • Pros: Had one of these on my old MBP and it really does protect the device from obnoxious scratches. I ordered a new one so, technically, this isn’t a a return.
  • Cons: The other night the tiny clip on the left side that attaches it to the bottom of my laptop broke off.

Consume to survive. Down with the power of landlords. And. Rant on. -T

Contradictions In The Skies Of Greed

Can’t believe what I heard this morn while listening to a BBC News podcast. Get this, dear worst-reader. The “news” is promoting the idear that airlines might have to raise ticket fares on account of climate change. Climate change is gonna mean they have to fly longer and burn more fuel to get through the/our dirty atmosphere. I say “news” because in other news something completely different is being reported–and I’m wondering if these are two different things. Now, I don’t know about you, but something is up. For example, is it possible that airlines–practically a monopolised industry these days–are a bit pissed that they had to release info about their high profits due to low oil prices? To counter that, I guess, they have to blame climate change for not giving us (passengers) a bit more than krappy peanuts.

Rant on. -T

Links that motivated this post:

The Tidyman, Casseroles And Early Dessert

tidyman don't litter

Remember how, if given the choice, children always reach for dessert before dinner? Remember how, when playing in the sandbox, there’s always a kid who will destroy your sandcastle just because he can? Remember when you got so made at the government for taking out so many taxes and giving you nothing back for it that you thought about killing EVERYBODY? Ok, that last one goes a bit far. But perhaps this worst-rant comes across anyway. No? Well, how ’bout this? We live in a sloppy casserole. What? Never had a sloppy casserole? Yes you have. In fact, you live in one. And just like a casserole, you also live in a mess. The only reason casseroles exist is so that lazy people can throw krapp into a pot and say they’ve cooked something when it’s done. Again. You live in one. But enough about casseroles. Let’s worst-write about Tidyman. Ever put any effort into figuring out why it is we have trash cans? No? Well, don’t worry. It’s really a no-brainer–once you figure out how to use your brain. Which brings me to the Supreme Court of the united mistakes of #americant. You know, say what you will about politics in the US these days–goodness knows the only thing good about it is the havoc The Donald is causing the Republican Party. Nomatter what happens with the election, the damage that the GOP has done to #americant over the past thirty or so years is probably irreversible. And part of that damage, IMHO, is what conservatives have done to the third branch of government which has conveniently decided recently to hear a case regarding the “rights” of corporations–before the case is ever heard in lower courts. Did you know that two liberal seats on the Supreme Court could be vacated during the next presidency? For this reason alone republicans should not have any majority power in national politics. But I digress. I was trying to talk about Tidyman and why it should not be a political issue whether or not we (all) clean up after ourselves. Here’s my thing about the whole climate change issue: clean up after yourself. That’s the only thing that needs to happen with all the krapp pumped into the air by greedy energy companies. Just clean up after yourself. If you can’t clean up after yourself than you should be made to do so by government. Just like you mom made you learn to clean your ass. Which means we’re back to the worst-thought about all the damage that republicans have done over the past thirty or so years. Good luck suckers. Rant on. -Tommi

Link that motivated this post:

A Very Beginner's Guide To Migrating & Hosting WordPress On AWS

wordpress

Update: After about a year of use, as of the end of 2016, I’ve given up on AWS and moved my blog to wordpress.com. Reason? First. This is not an attempt to sell you wordpress. Use whatever blog platform you like. 2nd. (And now let’s move on.) While trying to host my (wordpress software) blog on AWS I was consistantly getting an error notification that my blog was “down”. This happened at least once a week. The only way to deal with the problem was to reboot my “instance”. According to the web, this is not an uncommon problem with self-hosted AWS blogs. The cause of this problem I’ve never figured out. WordPress claims that it’s a problem with AWS. AWS claims it’s a problem with wordpress. At this point I don’t care anymore. What is clear is that there is a level of complication at AWS that can only be dealt with by becoming a paying customer. I’m sure that more tech savvy blog users can deal with AWS (without paying), but I’m obviously not one of them. Although I can install WordPress on a server and get it running, I don’t feel like fiddling with anything any deeper than that. Also. If you ask me what the problem really is, here’s my best-guess: once an AWS self-hosted “free-tier” blog gets any traffic AWS breaks the connection between wordpress and mySQL. Unless fixed within the code of your wordpress install and/or a few adjustments are made to your mySQL database, the problem creeps up everytime your blog even gets a few hits. I concluded that if I had to start paying for this level of service at AWS that maybe I was in a bit over my head. In other words, if I had to pay for this, there was nothing at AWS that motivated me to do so. In the mean-time, I’ve tried hosting my blog at Bluehost but concluded that, although they had good service, I just didn’t feel like the whole back-end krapp of keeping my blog up. I’m now paying wordpress.com to host my blog. We’ll see how it goes. And now on to the original post…


If at first you don’t succeed… rest before trying but most definitely try again. As mentioned here, I recently migrated worstwriter.com from 1und1 hosting to Amazon Web Services (AWS). Why? Well, nothing against 1und1 but the service I migrated to makes 1und1 look a bit old and dated–and AWS is much cheaper. In fact, unless I get a lot of traffic to my site, AWS is free. Plus, I am moving to India soon and I thought it better if I oriented my web content around a service that is a bit more international. But before I get into complaining about 1un1, here’s what I did to make this move. Good luck.

Step 1

  • Backup blog.
  • Put backup file in a safe place.
  • Install and use the WordPress (WP) plugin All-in-One WP Migration to export blog to download folder. Make sure it’s there and make sure you can find it.

Step 2

  • Sign up with AWS.
  • Go to EC2 and launch, setup Instance.
  • Pick your server. I picked Basic Amazon Linux. Go through the setup process following all the default settings. There are a couple areas where you have to name things and provide input regarding web hosting but all-in-all getting the Instance running is easy.
  • Here’s a great webpage that provides pics on how Instance setup is done.
  • Btw, “Instance” is just another word for Server.

Step 3

  • Migrate your domain names using AWS Route53. I was not only moving my website to a new host but I completely forgot about my domain names that were still at 1und1 when I started this.
  • With that in mind, this could just as well be step 2. This did cause me some problems later during my first install attempt. (That’s right. I went through all of this more than once.)

Step 4

  • Establish SSH connection using the Mac’s Terminal App.
  • Note: during Instance setup you are given a security “key” in the form of a file that you must download to your computer. Save this “key” on your computer and always know how to access it. Do not lose it or throw it away.
  • Use Terminal and the Linux chmod command to change the access rights of the key .pem file accordingly. Actually I’m not sure if this is required. I don’t think I did it on the second install. Oh well.

Step 5

  • Using your SSH terminal connection to your AWS Instace, install LAMP. Linux Apache MySQL PHP. This is where things get fun with the CLI. If you follow AWS documentation, though, it’s a no brainer. Seriously. I did this twice and it’s the easiest part of the whole thing.
  • Here’s a AWS LAMP install tutorial.
  • When this is done your webserver is running–but you’re far from home.

Step 6

  • Install WP.
  • This is where things get fun. And allow me to add this slight poke at WP.
  • Considering the requirements of launching a AWS Instance and then installing all the proper software for a webserver (LAMP), you would think that installing 7mb of files from WP would be a piece of cake. Well, it ain’t. This is the hardest part.
  • AWS tutorial installing WordPress.

Take a break. Don’t drink alcohol. Espresso. Espresso. Espresso with sugar.

Here a bit about how Step 6 is the hardest. As noted (with pic) in this post, the biggest problem with WP install is being given the choice of where to install its files. This is totally confusing. I guess the choice is about whether or not you are gonna install more than one blog or if you’re a stickler for sub-directories. I still don’t know how sub-directories determine more than one blog but since I only want to get one running, the issue is mute. Anywho. After initially screwing this up and then thinking about it, this is what I’ve concluded about how to deal with this simple but devastating issue.

The Linux folder that Apache (the webserver) accesses when delivering http requests cannot change once it’s set–unless you want to configure Apache, too. No thanks! Therefore, you must install WordPress within the proper Apache directory. Hence, the AWS tutorial has you download WP with the wget command to your Instance root directory–where there is no Apache. Later on you have to move the WP folder to the proper Apache directory. Keep in mind, the way Apache is setup is that it will only deliver http requests from the Linux folder “/var/www/html”. Aghast!

Why AWS has you go through this directory mess during a simple single blog install makes no sense and is obviously confusing. If you make a wrong choice here, you basically kill the entire install when you setup WP. Also. When installing WP to a sub-directory (i.e. the Apache /html/directory) you are required to add that location to a WP-Config.php file. Why would a simple install of such a simple thing require the complexity of editing a .php file? And so. On my first install I got the directory right–probably because I didn’t think about it. But I screwed things up when I went through the WordPress setup. This also the area where I realised my domain names were still at 1und1.de. In the end, I did not want to access my site through some lengthy, computer generated URL. When I went to change that to worstwriter.com in WP>general>settings, I broke the whole thing because Apache couldn’t know where to find the html files. Aghast, aghast!

When I first made this mistake I thought I could fix it from within the WP>general>settings. Wrong! Then I tried to follow some other documentation after googling and requesting help from AWS support. That lead to actually going so far as to use the Linux nano editor to edit .php files. Again. It didt work. What a mess. Oh yeah. Aghast!

The only solution I could find to the problem was to terminate the whole Instance and start over. Which I did. What a waste, eh.

I repeated everything on a new Instance. I was very careful when choosing where to install WordPress in Step 6.

Step 7

  • Once WordPress is running, use All-in-One WP Migration plugin to upload/import the file you downloaded in Step 1.
  • Re-initiate your connection to WordPress.
  • Log-in
  • Bang.
  • Done.
  • Happy worstwriting, baby.

For those interested, here’s a pretty decent bunch of videos that I came across from two guys who mastered the struggle a bit better than me.

Rant on.

-Tommi

Error 53 Or Area 51? Either Way Want More Want More

tommis iphone 6s

Warning: post is NSFW. §After reading article above and a few others on the same subject, I’ve concluded the following: Dear worst-consumer… you and your journalists don’t get it. An iPhone isn’t “bricked”. Instead, it’s controlled. It’s owned. It’s not yours. I mean, you don’t really believe in what is printed on your dollars or your purchase receipt, do you? Legal tender? Tender for/with what? §This isn’t an issue of privacy and/or government spying. This is instead an issue of consumption. Consumption run amok. Your iPhone breaks and you obviously can’t afford to buy another one. You then take it to some guy that will help you save some money getting it working again–because you already gave most of your money to Apple when they suckered you into buying it in the first place. The cool thing is, most of these devices are fixable at reasonable prices. The uncool thing is, Apple is founded and is run on the principles of assholes. With that in mind, let’s not shy away from reality. §Steve Jobs was an asshole. Being an asshole is the greatest legacy that he left behind. Obviously the iPhone is also part of his legacy–I guess a financially successful company is also part of it. But let’s not get to far off subject here. §As we see in the article above, Jobs’ asshole-ness still lingers among us. It is a hard thing to get rid of. But I think its (Apple’s) time has come (once again). §Please stop misreading the daily news, your daily life, the day. There is nothing out there in the ether of your consumption that is more dangerous than your consumption–which leads to misreading your daily news. It really doesn’t matter what Julian Assange says or what Glenn Greenwald publishes. The game has been rigged all along–by assholes. In fact, it’s been so rigged that the friggin’ govt. can’t even keep up anymore. The device in the article above (dare I say iPhone) was and always will be a device that is closed. It’s as closed as Steve Jobs’ asshole. In fact, the iPhone ain’t even the first device that Jobs made that was as closed as his asshole. Can you say: Macintosh? I will never forget the first Mac Classic I bought (yes, even though I was well into adulthood when I bought it, it took me till then to be able to afford it). Obviously I love Macs. The Mac is the single greatest glorified typewriter ever made. Heck, some even consider it the greatest über-pencil ever made. But let’s not get off subject (again). Steve Jobs was very clear with his intentions about selling and–and this is very important–controlling hardware. Jobs, although he never said this out loud, believed that the hardware you buy from Apple isn’t yours. The stuff you create with it can be yours–but the hardware belongs to Apple. That’s why Apple made computers that were/are all about closed eco-systems. Why should the iPhone be any different? But then again, if journalists miss the real issue, as is the case with the linked article (above), I suppose there is no reason for worst-consumers the world over to get lost in their miss-hate. Keep trying journalists–and I’ll keep up the useless blogging about the truth. Rant on. -tommi

Link that motivated this post:

 

Last Coffee Bean Bag Is A Telescope On Our Passage To India

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 14.33.12
Empty Coffee Bean Bag Is A Window To Our Passage To India

Saw something strange this morning after what might be the last coffee bean bag I empty in #eurowasteland for the next few years. The count down has begun. 10. 9. 8… We’re at around 7 at this point. The moving company is chosen. Vaccinations have been given. Dog paperwork fulfilling bureaucracies almost done. Our passports are at India Consulate in Frankfurt awaiting stamps. Yeah, this is gonna be a trip–to say the least.

Rant on. -Tommi

Not If But When The End Is Nigh Or How I Miss RSS

These images were taken from my iPhone 6s a few nights ago while scanning through Apple’s News app. This News app is actually nothing new. I’ve been using Feedly, Google News, Flipboard, for some time now. Let’s just say I’m nuts for information distribution. But the problem is companies like Apple are incapable of understanding information distribution. Facebook can’t understand it either. Nor can Yahoo or Google. The only ones that come close to understanding it are Reddit and a few (not worth mentioning) online news aggregators. Which means, what we get these days are Apps that give us the pics above.

Empty Apps. Empty world.

Boy do I miss RSS. What happened to RSS anyway? But before I get to that. There’s one minor (major?) thing I miss after having upgraded my 2010 MacBook Pro to a 2015 MacBook Air. I mean, obviously, I’m not gonna miss the slow boot times or the weight of the device on my lap or its forced (convenient Apple) obsolescence. No. What I’m gonna miss is the snappiness and purity of Snow Leopard and that grand mail client that also served as an RSS reader. Yeah, that was cool!

When I first discovered RSS (1999+) I was in heaven. Really Simple Syndication was a godsend to me. Having worked as an industry analyst through the 90s meant that I also had a unique perspective in the area of information gathering. RSS not only gave me a constant stream of access to news but it also provided all the meta data that coincided with that news. The best part? I had full control of what I subscribed to. RSS feeds (or subscriptions) could be automatically stored and were easily searchable. Which means: if it’s too good to be true then it’s too good to be true.

You can guess what happened, dear worst-reader. Like much of the Interwebnets, the owners of information quickly realised that RSS was not something that could be readily monetised. But monetising wasn’t the only factor. If used to the fullest, RSS is the perfect form of mass information distribution. What a dream world that would be (for us news junkies), eh. Yet here we are. News gathering today is no better than it was in 2003.

With that in mind, I guess I should give Apple some credit. Its new News App, which I believe came out with the iPhone 6, is a grand idea in the shadow of RSS readers. But as we can see from the pics above, there is no content available. Not much of a surprise there. Is this embarrassing for Apple? Doubtful. I don’t think Apple gives a hoot. In fact, it makes no sense that they even make an App like this. Unless, of course, they think that they’ve (finally) found a way to monetise information distribution. Since there are no subscription fees for any of News’ feeds, I’ll just assume that this is yet another failed effort.

One last thought. I believe that all information should be free. With that in mind, don’t get wrong. I’m not saying that all information has to be free. If NYT or The Atlantic don’t want to provide us with free feeds, that’s there prerogative. It’s just that the whole idear of paying to be connected to the Internet, then paying again to get information through it and then paying again to buy the software to get information… This is all just another sign of a greed society run amok and no one is able to see through it. Oh wait. Someone did see through it. And look what THEY did to him. My hat is still off and I will forever bow deeply to Aaron Shwartz. But I digress.

Rant on. -Tommi

Arduous Feet Amongst The Intrepid Or Peace Pumpkin Cake While Changing Hosts

wp-tux.png

Note: an update and follow-up to this post is here.

It began on Thursday. It ended the following Monday in the wee hours. What is ‘it’? Well, I finally got around to changing my Internet host. Appropriate (or not) since I’ll also be changing countries soon. (But that’s another post.) It’s not that I was, am disappointed with my previous host. In fact, I moved to a much more complicated hosting service. Complicated in the sense that there was more person to person tech support at my old host. On the other hand, my old host was boring, it was connected to an archaic landline telephone system that I don’t use anymore and every year, usually around this time of year, the host’s Internet, aka also my ISP, goes down for a week. (I think it has to do with the Cebit and Germany not allocating enough bandwidth to private users during the huge trade-fair so they scrape bandwidth away form paying customers. But at least I got a “data stick” from them last year–which I have never even used. But I digress.) Wait. Let me put things another way.

I did receive tech support from my new hosting service but it was only in the form of email. The guy that helped me was named Evgeny. Can’t tell you how curious I was to ask him where he was from. But when I would write something off-subject in my email response, his response was always on subject. No fraternising there, eh. Until, of course, it came down to the WP install and setup. Evgeny helped me with all the Apache, MySQL and PHP and Linux stuff. He even helped me understand the difference between “Istance” and “Server”. (There is no difference, btw.) Which brings me to a question I tweeted while pulling the hair out of my chest for two days after I screwed up one basic setting during the WP install.

Why can’t the install process of WordPress, my all-time favourite writing software/tool, be a little less hacker-fied? (Is that a word?)

I mean, I don’t mind all the Linux commands I had to cut & paste from the install documentation provided by my new host. It’s just that, eventually, there is a sy of relief when you finally encounter a GUI again. Linux command lines be damned! On the other hand, I got through the CLI with flying colours. Not one misplaced single-quote (‘) or semi-colon (for PHP code) or one misuse of the most feared asterisks (*) when using the command “mv” with files or directories.  Which means you go from this (example):

[ec2-user ~]$ chkconfig --list httpd httpd 0:off 1:off 2:on 3:on 4:on 5:on 6:off

To this:

wp general settings screw up
WP general settings screen where life can be good or…

Indeed. Get through all the Linux coding and then finally get a GUI to work with but then make the stupid mistake of inputting the wrong web addresses in the right place because you’re kinda blinded by all the CLI interaction after five or so hours. That’s all I did. I made one little, stupid mistake. After that, no more access to wp-admin or your domain. No more access to a setup screen or even restore or backup file. I tried everything. After googling the problem and reading various forums and blog posts, there was nothing to be done. Manipulate this .php file or that .php file. Nothing worked, nothing got me back into my website once I screwed the pooch during the WP setup. Talk about über frustrating.

After trying for two days to fix my error I finally gave in and terminated the Instance and started anew. I know. I know. Real hackers would find a way to solve the problem. But I’m just a lonely wannabe hacker. I only like the idea of coding and networking and unpacking, unzipping, tarball file manipulation. Plus, all this meddling around only took away from worstwriting. Yeah, blood was boiling. Anywho. Long story short. After about four days I was finally able to migrate my website from one host to the other–including the migration and transfer of my domain names. The only thing I lost in the process was a bit of sanity. What I gained? The reassurance that tech-geeks the world over deserve their big bucks.

Oh, one last thing. As good as the email tech support was with Evgeny, nothing can replace having a neighbour that is a professional network manager. So. If you ever undertake such a task as this one and you have absolutely no training in webservers, Linux and wordpress installations, make sure you at least have the neighbour(s) to call on when you’re pinched. Yeah. They come in handy. The best part is, after he’s helped you get your site back up and running, you can offer him his favourite cake–which I found out from his wife after she complained about me stealing her husband for so many hours over the weekend.

Here’s a great recipe for pumpkin cake.

Rant on. -Tommi

Do As The Romans Do In Flint Michigan

cosmos

Yesterday morning I was catching up on the situation in Flint, MI. A few hours later, while preparing dinner–as part of my dinner-making ritual–I streamed a TV series. Somehow bingeing on TV shows is my newest thing, no thanks to the convenience of digital streaming. Newest binge? I started watching the new-fangled Cosmos series, a continuation of the 80s series that I remember watching once or thrice back in the day. Although the show is a bit winded, I found myself getting hooked after the second episode. But it wasn’t until the 7th episode that Neil deGrasse Tyson, the shows narrator, really caught me. While explaining how the age of the earth was found through the discovery of there being too much lead on the surface of the earth–which wasn’t naturally occurring–Tyson segways to a sub-story where he mentions that one of the reasons for the fall of the Roman Empire was the simple fact that they suffered under the debilitating side-effects of lead poisoning. As stated in the show, it was the Roman’s use of lead in those infamous aqueducts that was one of the reasons they were poisoned. It was also the Romans that really started mining for lead in a big way. Of course, they were clueless at the time to the horrendous side-effects of lead poisoning on humans. It took until the discoveries of Clair Patterson in the 20th century for mankind to finally figure out the dangers of lead. Suddenly, while chopping onions and garlic and ginger (for my asian wok base) I thought of the articles I read earlier in the day about Flint, MI. I also thought: what a coincidence. The origin of the fall of Rome is known, the origin of the unnatural appearance (due to human greed) of lead on the surface of the earth is also known, and yet,  Flint, MI, so it can save a few rich guys some tax money, has poisoned itself. Yeah! The fall of Rome. Rant on. -Tommi

Links that motivated this post:

A Pattern Of Doom, Learning How-To Video, New Refurbished MacBook Air

Reviewing the news this morn. Bored of all the election bullsh*t. When I’m bored of the news I always find myself turning the dial (aka clicking other links). In this case, instead of gawking at pretty cars and pretty sailboats, I clicked through tech news feeds. In it I found something akin to a pattern. But before I get to that, this first. My better half gave me a GoPro for Xmas and with it a note: “Merry Xmas. Love you. Blah, blah, blah. This camera is for our scuba adventures–so no more excuses.” The problem is, I’m a text guy. I don’t know anything about video. But I have complained once or thrice about how we go to all these great dive places around the world and we’re the only ones without a camera or GoPro. Heck, if it weren’t for cellphone cameras I would still not own a means to take pictures. With that in mind, I take threats from my better half very serious. And so. In order to figure out how video works in this digital age and the fact that I won’t be scuba diving for at least another six months, I decided to find something else to do with my new toy. For starts, I made an unboxing and review video of another recent new toy, a 13″ MacBook Air (above). Why? Well, I’ve seen so many of them recently–on account I’ve been shopping for a new laptop. I thought that making a video, then getting the video from camera to Mac, editing it, adding audio/voice-over, is as good a project as any when it comes to learning how to do deal with future scuba material. The first result you can see above. But let me move on. §Allow me to rant about having just purchased yet another Apple product. My previous 2010 13″ MacBook Pro was the last of the Core2Duo, and it served me very, very well over the past five+ years. I was actually hoping to be able to replace a laptop with an iPad. Boy was I wrong. I bought a refurbished iPad4 about eighteen months ago. It came with iOS7 and it was great. (Stop giggling.) At first I was really tickled with the iPad. There was a short period while using it that I thought I could replace my ageing laptop with it. But then I followed Apple’s updates and by the time I got to iOS 8, doom set in. Also, I’ve been reading lately that Apple is having some problems selling iPads and iPhones. Allow me to thread this (see links below). The bad news is, I don’t give a hoot if Apple swims or drowns at this point. I’ve thrown so much cash at them over the past ten years, it’d be worth it watching them implode. Seriously. Apple is only the best of the worst (of a horrible industry). Second, I think I can tell you why Apple is having trouble (even though it’s trouble any modern corporation wishes they had). First, Apple screwed the pooch not recognising how the iPad should be more than just a digital consumption device. Second, OS updates constantly degrade the user experience to the point of not wanting to use it all. Third, because of the closed eco-system that supplies the iPad (and all iOS devices) software, I’m even more turned off. Today my iPad4 serves as a Kindle reader and an Amazon Prime video streamer. With iOS 9 the iPad is so slow it reminds me of my iPhone 4s–which I just replaced with a 6s–but I won’t do the same with an iPad. Obviously it cannot replace a laptop. Oh well. §The iPad debacle does raise a question: what should replace my old MacBook Pro? Long story short, I bought a refurbished 2015 13″ MacBook Air w/i7 cpu, 8GB ram and 250 super fast SSD. Fine and dandy, eh. So far so cool. Yet I couldn’t help but notice one thing through out the buyer’s process. I’m a bit of stickler for making these kinds of buys. Hence I really dig Apple’s refurbished website. I regularly watch both the US and German version of it. For at least two months I constantly watched the website to see if I could make a deal. Heck, I remember last spring that the US Apple refurbished site offered three and four year old 15″ MacBook Pros with up to $1000 off. I just couldn’t justifying buying such a workstation-like device. Unfortunately I didn’t get that lucky with the German site while shopping for something a bit more affordable. But I did notice that, of the 13″ MBAs that I wanted and were offered during two months prior to my purchase, they were always available. Could that mean Apple was unable sell Mac hardware through 2015? Or were there really that many people returning their new purchases? I won’t get into whether or not Apple is on its way back down the corporate rat-hole–but I do remember the 90’s before and after Steve Jobs. It’s just that, as far I’m concerned, iPads really suck these days and the only way to get you to buy one is if they make your old one obsolete. The same, btw, for iPhones–although I think Apple put more effort into making sure battery better controls those sales. Hence, the Apple Watch is a joke, the new iPhone battery case is an embarrassment and I also read that they already have AppleTV4s in the refurbished store. Yeah. Maybe things have peaked. §There is something odd going on in the tech world these days. I did a lot of shopping around before making my choice to buy an MBA. I looked at Dell’s XPS, Lenovo Thinkpads and even the Microsoft Surface. I was VERY impressed with Microsoft’s Surface device–until I looked at pricing and battery life. Almost two grand for a pseudo laptop slash tablet hybrid? $2000? Hello! In fact, for my use, the most competitively priced device that fit my needs is the refurbished MBA with high-specs and a 300€ discount. Ok, the monitor isn’t the newest thing around but it is more than adequate. And don’t get me wrong. I’m not a spec nut. I don’t need the latest and greatest processor, screen, ports, etc. Yet I was really surprised at the pricing and quality of laptop equipment out there. Which brings me to the pattern I think I saw this morning while going through recent technology news and figuring out whether or not I’ll be able to edit scuba video. §What the hell is going on with this industry? Is it in the middle of a flux, a paradigm shift, a cough and burp? Surface devices from behemoth Microsoft are plagued with firmware errors and they are priced as though Microsoft just invented computing. Dell devices are still boring as hell–although I thought the XPS was cool except for that 16:9 screen that looks like it belongs in a view finder of a video camera from 1994. I don’t trust Lenovo anymore as they’ve gotten too far away from the mystique they once had when I used Thinkpads while working for the man. The Google is manipulating https in order to secure future ad revenue. And then there’s the news that Twitter is in trouble? Really? Twitter? A company that allows the digital world to communicate with 140 characters can get itself into trouble? Ok. With that in mind, I need to get out of this post. I digress.

Rant on.

-Tommi

Links that motivated this post: