Google Photos is awesome/creepy with these videos it made & sent to me automatically…


Fascinating.

So, Google Photos made two of these video clip compilations all by itself, then it let me know in the photos app. One was for Molly, and one was for Ian.

HOW DOES IT KNOW?

Are these algorithms? Facial Recognition? Time, date, & location stamps?  Did it use the videos from my phone, or the online backups?

This is so awesome, cute, and creepy.

These videos give me all the feels.

For those who noticed I didn’t blog very often for a while, all this was happening. It’s incredible to look back on it all.

I wish I could tweak some of the clips just a tiny bit to include some better little funny moments, but whatever made this did a pretty damn good job.

As amazing as this is, and how cool it is that it reminds me of the make-a-grown-man-cry Dear-Sophie Google Chrome commercial, it’s a bit weird.  Are we in the future?  How does it do what it does?

I may find a simple answer after a Google search.  Does Google let you learn all about Google?  Does anyone use Google+?

Google Photos

Your Friendly Binary Overlord

Seriously though, they do grow up so fast.  Thank you for the reminder, Google Photos.

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Degenerated


"Degenerated"

What’s Johnny doin’ out on a Tuesday night?

The song “Degenerated” from the movie Airheads is one of my all-time favorites.  If you’re a fan of the movie, you no-doubt know the song.  And if you’re a music nerd in general, you probably know that it’s a Reagan Youth cover.  I would love to know more about the song.  I have collected most of the “who,” but I would love to know the “why.”

Check out the two songs and then we’ll get into why I have so many questions & what they are.

OK, here are the players involved from the information that I gathered on Wikipedia, IMDB, Discogs, & wherever else I clicked;

Here’s what I want to know;

  • Who decided to use the song?  The director, the music guy, the writer, the musicians?
  • Why that song?  The running joke about Chazz writing the song for his girlfriend or before he met her makes it even funnier because I wouldn’t remotely call it a love song.  Did someone just really like the song?  Was licensing cheap all around?  Did they ask Paul Cripple for permission?  What does he think of the song?  Did Dave Insurgent ever get to hear it?
  • Why metal up a punk rock song?  They seemed like an 80’s holdover kind of band.  Was it a statement on Grunge being a punk n’ metal hybrid?
  • Why are there different chord changes?  The chord progression is different, but the melody (and I use the term loosely) is the same.  The cover may be tuned below standard if I remember correctly?  Someone more musically versed may be able to explain the difference I just know when playing by ear on guitar they’re totally different progressions.
  • Why the lyric change?  ( I assume to keep the movie rated PG-13?)  Most notably a removal of the F-word and references to constipation (Lone Rangers Lyrics/Reagan Youth Lyrics).  Who made the changes?
  • Who played drums?  Jay, Sean, Bryan, or were there other uncredited musicians?
"The Lone Rangers? That's original. How can you pluralize 'Lone Ranger?'"

“The Lone Rangers? That’s original. How can you pluralize ‘Lone Ranger?'”

I’m sure I have more questions that I haven’t thought of here.  Does anyone out there know the explanation?

It is 2017.  I may have to reach out via Facebook , Twitter, or email to all of the players involved to see if I can get an answer.  (If they even remember.)

Sadly, Dave Insurgent passed away in 1993 & Bryan Carlstrom passed away in 2013.

I just really dig both versions of the song, the movie, and that it led me to checking out more Reagan Youth.  Is it weird to be a fan of a song by a fictional band?  Hey, I dig “Three Small Words” too, and that was produced by Babyface.

Do you like either version of this song?  Do you have a song by a fictional band that you really dig?  Do you know any of the relevant information here?  Let me know in the comments!

Now I’m off to look at naked pictures of Bea Arthur and eat cottage cheese out of a football helmet.

So, we built a swing set…


It was a fun family project.  We told the kids that birthdays & Easter would be light as we were putting a lot into the swingset.  I’m not sure they understood or cared.  Our moms helped with the purchase, too.  Bethany & I looked online at 6,487,932 swing sets, and narrowed it down to 15 or so in our price range.  I made a spreadsheet to compare them, because OCD or something.  Looking at the roadside swing sets at those places that also sell sheds and rocking chairs, we got a similar product for about ⅓ or ¼ of the price, albeit with no installation.

Installation is expensive, and now we know why.  Ha ha.  Everyone who knew we were getting one gave warning, so we weren’t surprised, but it was an interesting task.

It came in 3 boxes from Walmart.com, and we did in-store pickup because I measured & it all fit nicely in the family vehicle.

Yay, #swingset!

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It took two weekend days with one week night in between to get it done, but the first weekend day was slowed by the kids “helping,” a move-the-tools-in-because-it-looks-like-rain delay, and maybe even a “let’s undo that part because I put it on backwards” moment.  The week night was hindered by the fact that as soon as I attached the ladder & sliding board, the kids needed to test it out.

Bethany & I enjoyed the kids helping.  We do the Home Depot Kids Workshops so both kids are comfortable with a hammer & a screwdriver, and we have done some other stuff at home like carpet removal and hanging curtain rods where they have actually helped.

Hard at work!

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Had some "helpers" today, ha ha.

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My mom even got video of the little man showing off his ratchet skills;

We have been at the house for a few years now, but the project this year is another step to getting the back yard to where we want it, and next year we’ll work on the front.  Having some trees removed recently & moving our garden really opened up some space in the back yard.  I’d like to put in a fire ring, and a toy car race-track play area.  I actually proposed removing the Bean House to make room for the latter, but I was vetoed by a 2yo boy saying “Unh-uh, Daddy.  Hoooome.  Hooome.  Daddy, unh-uh.”  I really hope the beans take off this year.  I have some sprouts popping up already.  I have some squash around it too. I don’t think the soil is all that great there though.

I even recently built this Pinterest inspired potting bench…

Back to the swing set, we even got a few extra add-ons from Amazon, like the steering wheel, telescope, telephone, and some handles.  I think I want to replace the kitchen area tarp walls with some chalkboard-painted wood… and eventually when the canopy fades or dry-rots, I’d like to replace it with some type of solid roof.

"There's so much room for activities!" @CedarSummitPlay #Laurentian #PlaySet #Swingset

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At any rate, I encourage you to tackle a project as a family.  I encourage you to get kids outdoors.  I encourage you to not be afraid to give young kids some tools with a bit of guidance and a lot of supervision.  I encourage you to get them into building, gardening, cooking, and the business of imagination.  I encourage you to try projects yourself, and don’t be afraid to involve the whole family.  It’s amazing how much you can learn through Google, YouTube, and a maybe a few tries.

I think the kids like it…

Decoding the car horn honk. (So, can you help this PA n00b out?) #beep ⚠


Recently, I was contacted by a non-native PA resident as a sort of last ditch effort in providing an answer behind the reason to the local-ish custom of horn honking.  I believe a Google led to my blog on horn honking traffic trolls (or maybe one of many road rage posts).  As much as I’d like to proclaim myself an authority on all things ridiculous in Southwestern & Central PA, I must confess that I’d only be guessing here.  So, I’d like to ask you to help this southern transplant understand the ways of us nothern-ish-ers here in Pennsyltucky.

Here’s the email:

Name: Victoria

Email: XXXX####@gmail.com

Website: http://victoriasviewpoint.wordpress.com

Message / Comment:

Hi,

I really hope you can help me, and answer my question before I either lose my mind, or go running out into the street to flag down a driver and ask him/her.

A bit of background: I moved to Central PA 5 years ago from Memphis, TN.  It’s a very long and stupid story but, suffice to say, I am stuck in Hollidaysburg for now.  It’s not a bad little town.  And, compared to Memphis, it’s safety personified.

Anyway, I have noticed over the years that people honk their horns here.  A lot.  And not (seemingly) to acknowledge a friend they see on the street, as I have noticed this happen when there is NO one on the street (my street, in particular).

It always bugged me, and no one seemed to know why people do this (or it’s a stupid reason and they are ashamed to tell me), but today I really got in a snit.

From around 2:30 this afternoon for a good 5 minutes, people were honking their horns.  A lot of people, honking a lot of horns.  It annoyed me.

I looked on the internet, which is where I found your blog about horn-honking, and since you are in Pittsburgh, I thought you might be able to explain to me what in hell is with all this honking!  I didn’t see anything on the internet that it’s, say, “Hollidaysburg Annual Honk-Your-Horn Day” at 2:30 PM or anything.

It’s snowing a bit, the first time this season.  Is this some kind of weird weather ritual I never noticed until today?  “Honk if you like snow”?

To me, it just seemed like an exaggerated example of something I hear on an all-too-often basis.  And it’s, as we say in Memphis, getting on my last nerve!

Do you know what’s going on with this behavior??

Thank you in advance,
Victoria

How’d you find my blog?: searching for “Pennsylvania horn honking”

Time: November 13, 2014 at 2:50 pm
IP Address: ##.###.###.#
Contact Form URL: https://aixelsyd13.wordpress.com/contact/

Sent by a verified WordPress.com user.

And here are my thoughts:

Other than that, I’m stuck.  What say you, people of Pennsylvania?  Please comment below.  Victoria and I would appreciate it!

DON'T HONK | $350 PENALTY 🚌🚍🚙🚘🚗🚕🚖🚛🚚🚓🚔🚒🚑🚐

So, have you heard of the #TealPumpkinProject?


This year, we’ll have 3 bowls of treats for Halloween.  We’ll have the traditional chocolate gooey goodness, a bowl of peanut/tree-nut free treats, and a bowl entirely made up of non-food party favor-ish goodies.

Why?  Why not?  I was able to pick up a bunch of party favors at the Dollar Tree, and my wife Bethany got some Halloween themed stuff from Target.  The no-nuts candy wasn’t a big deal either, all we had to do was read the label… which we’re used to.  Even the extra bowl was only $1.  It wasn’t a whole lot of effort or money.

Even painting a foam pumpkin teal for use for years to come wasn’t a big deal, or printing the posters from the FARE website.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that.  This is a movement.  It started with some of the most kick-ass people on the planet, food allergy moms in Tennessee.

FARE | The Teal Pumpkin Project

My point, I guess, is that it isn’t a lot of effort but it can be a big huge gigantic deal for a kid.  What’s a big deal?  To feel included on a holiday where you’re hyper aware that you’re different.  To know that this piece of candy doesn’t contain nuts or wasn’t “processed in a facility that may also use peanuts or tree nuts.”  To know that if you’re allergic to dairy or chocolate or just about everything that everyone else can eat or isn’t one of the top 8, but this little trinket or toy (or 2 or 3 if you’re at our house) is all yours.  To know that you don’t have to go home & “trade up” for safe candy on this one.  To know that your parents didn’t have to drop off a safe treat with all the neighbors ahead of time, and that someone else “gets” it.

I always liked getting those Little Hugs drinks (which may be a safe treat), but some people would complain about the weight.  That would have been gone by the time I got back to the road when I was a kid.  Then again, times have changed.  When I was a kid, we had to play the “guess who you are” game.  If I asked a kid his name now, the next ring of the doorbell would probably be the local police.  Also, kids… always let your parents check your candy for razor blades or syringes.

Like I said, we read labels.  Luckily shellfish is generally easy form me to avoid in packaged foods, slightly less so in restaurants.  Our little girl Molly can’t do eggs.  Well, she can do eggs baked into things, but has to avoid straight up eggs, mayonnaise, some mustards, custard, and we just noticed… Mallow Cups?  (I hate them, they are the devil’s candy.  The wife loves them though… even though it tastes like someone replaced the inside of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup with sunscreen.)  Will we have to avoid meringue too?  Who knows?  Hopefully she outgrow her allergy, I’ll never get over mine without some kind of cure.

There are many others out there going through the same thing.  We can stick together, and support each other.  We can ask those without any food allergies to support us too.  Spreading awareness is the key to keeping us all safe.  So, take a few minutes to learn about the #TealPumpkinProject.  Use the hashtag on social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc.), get a pumpkin and paint it teal, and/or print out the fliers.  Get some safe treats.

Teal Pumpkin Project - Ideas for non-food treats.

Someone did a crazy search for mazes…


947 views on one maze in one day?

947 views on one maze in one day?

Looking at my WordPress stats, I found a really weird day on Feb. 27th, apparently Yahoo! Image Search was inundated with the word “maze” that day.  Check out all these crazy hits, click on the image to the left for the full size.

Weird.

It’s cool that one of my mazes shows up on the first page when you do a Yahoo image search for “maze”.  (Google too, just lower down the page.)

Did I miss national maze day or something?

Was there a maze in the news?

I really need to work on putting together a book, or trying to sell some prints online somehow.  It would be nice to do something productive with them.

1053 hits in one day?

1053 hits in one day?

 

A letter to Sprint, HTC, and Android…


This is my letter to anyone within the Sprint, HTC, and Android organizations who will listen to my plea for an actual quick and final solution to my phone problem…

Hello,

I’m writing to inform you of a problem that I’ve had with Sprint customer service, HTC‘s hardware, and Android‘s operating system.  I’m not sure what kind of answer or resolution I’m looking for.  I just feel the need to tell someone or everyone how unacceptable Sprint’s service (or lack thereof) has been lately as related to multiple HTC or Android errors.

It started about two weeks ago, shortly after I applied the latest update as prompted by the phone.  My original HTC EVO 4G LTE purchased only in September started going crazy.  The screen would freeze, become slow or completely unresponsive.  It would eventually load a screen that looked like TV static… only not moving.  Naturally, I took it to the Sprint store.  They also tried to blame the problem on various apps and settings. They did a soft rest, a hard reset, and even apparently looked up the problem on the internet.  I had to leave my phone overnight and pick it up the next day.  Well, the next day I was given a new or refurbished phone.  The store employee said he couldn’t tell if it was new or refurbished.  He said it might be new because the phone itself was rather new and they might not have refurbs yet.  I find it hard to believe he couldn’t tell a new phone from a refurbished one.

So, after updating the new phone, reinstalling some apps, and setting everything up the way I had it on the old one…  I started to notice a minor annoyance.  If I opened a browser link through Facebook, email, or Twitter it would immediately close after it fully loaded.  I took it to the Sprint store that Saturday morning.  Again, they did the soft & hard resets, and tried to blame it on an App.  They changed some settings in the phone that were telling the phone to look for a 4G network.  When I went back in after leaving the store & running into the browser-closing problem again…  The next guy changed that setting back and told me that I shouldn’t have changed it… and wouldn’t listen when I told him the last guy had just changed it.  Oddly enough, I was told that the 4G network would be in the area by January when I purchased the 4G phone.  When I told the person helping me at the Sprint store that I was told that… he says they were never given a timeline.  Is lying part of your training as a Sprint customer service representative or sales person?  What about intimidation and making someone feel like they’re not using their phone properly?

I was persuaded out of getting a 2nd replacement phone.  I was told to delete all of my apps, add them back one by one to see which was causing the problem.  The browser-closing problem was happening even without any added apps.  Now it was shutting the phone off each time the browser crashed.  I can assure you that I’m not an idiot when it comes to technology.  I was told I was part of a percentage of HTC users that were having a similar problem, and that a replacement phone could potentially have the same issues… and to wait for HTC to make the next update.  So, the solution was to wait?

My phone has taken to shutting itself off all week at random intervals.  I can be talking on the phone, using Facebook, or not even be near the phone.  It just shuts itself off.  It comes back on, and I send HTC an error report.  Where do these error reports go?  Do they do any good?  Is anyone working on the problem?  Is this an HTC problem, or an Android problem?

Well, I waited a week.  This Saturday I went back to the Sprint store, looking for a replacement phone.  I work on the road & I have a pregnant wife.  I need my phone to be functioning properly all the time.  Again, we went through the hard reset option, and my apps were blamed. “Unfortunately Android is an open system” they said.  “It must be a bug.”  What about this mysterious problem that a certain percentage of HTC users had encountered?  (I wish I could remember the percentage, I was told 10% or 20%, I believe.) A week has gone by with an apparently large bug issue, and nothing has been done about it?

Lookout

All clean!

I was advised to install the Lookout app.  I guess that app’s OK.  I was told it would hunt out any apps that were messing up my phone.  So, another thing to add to my monthly bill…  Of course it’s not free or a one-time fee.  As I tried to download & install Lookout, my phone shut itself off.  I handed it to the woman assisting me, and it shut off for her again.  She took it back to the technician.  Again.  Their advice was to run this app, and hope for the best.

Upon walking out of the store, I ran the app & it found no problems with any of my installed apps.  I went back into the store, and this time they decided to put in a “ticket” for a replacement phone.  I really have to wait again?  A phone may be in by Tuesday.  Again, I will have to re-download my apps, re-import my contacts, put all of my settings back.  This will be the 5th time within the span of three weeks.

I left the store hoping to go on about my day, & my phone went into some “HD media link” video after hanging up on my wife in the middle of a conversation where I was expressing to her my exasperation with the entire situation.  I went back to the store asking for the next level of solution.  An entirely new phone?  I’m not eligible for anything other than the ridiculously outrageous full prices because I’m not eligible for a new phone, or wouldn’t be singing up for a new line.  I have been a Sprint customer for over 10 years.  You would think that would carry some sort of weight.  You would think I could “split the difference” in purchasing a new phone with some kind of discount.  You would think a quick affordable solution would be offered instead of feigned apologies & being told to wait.  I feel like I might as well have been talking to the brick wall in front of the store.  It would have offered the same resolutions & peace of mind.

The early termination fees are the moral equivalent of extortion.  I am tempted to move all five lines in our plan to another carrier.  For what we pay for 5 lines total per month, you’d think Sprint would like to keep us happy.  Once all the 2 year limits are up (and they’ll all be happening around the same time), we will be moving to another carrier.  I know that Verizon has better signal/coverage in our area anyway.

I think that HTC and Android may find it interesting that Sprint employees routinely verbally (pardon the expression) shit all over the hardware, firmware, software & apps before any diagnosis is even made.  Perhaps you ought to review your arrangements with how Sprint “supports” your products.

HTC ought to be a little more transparent as to where the error reports go…  and maybe perhaps respond to them?  Let someone know that you’re working on the issue.  Maybe let Sprint or other carriers know if you’re having a major issue or if you get 10+ error reports from the same phone in one day.

If anyone can offer a solution or explanation that doesn’t throw another entity under the proverbial bus, I’d love to hear it.  I just wanted to let everyone involved see how poorly their products & services are being represented.  Writing this & eventually blogging it will hopefully be therapeutic.  It’s an added bonus if it helps bring to light a seemingly never-ending careless customer service loop, and even better if it gets something resolved.

Thank you for your time in reading of my misadventures, I hope to hear your thoughts.

Disgruntled & disgusted,
-Eric

Some more phone info if you need it:

Sprint Fail

Sprint Fail (Photo credit: evo_terra)