Yellow glasses for driving at night.

Yellow glasses for driving at night.

Yellow night glasses

Yes. I got them. Yellow glasses for night driving. And they seem to work, which surprises me as I’m colour blind. I also have very light-sensitive eyes. I drove with sunglasses a few early mornings and that helped a lot but they do make things quite dark. How many people that read this use these yellow glasses as well? And do you think they’re a great idea?

They are not a great idea.

No. These yellow glasses are not a great idea. They’re a fix for a problem that the lighting industry should take on. This is a band aid for sore night-eyes.

If the need for this kind of glasses arises, that means there is something wrong with the light conditions at night. Lights that hurt and hinder people, creating the need for these glasses. That is the root problem of things in this case, and the best way to attack that problem is to change the night lights.

I’m not a light expert so perhaps my idea of using infrared or ultraviolet is ridiculous but perhaps there is something to be done with polarised lights, filters or something like that.

They are merely helpful, but…

These yellow glasses are helpful, don’t get me wrong, but they are yet another expression of investing in materialism to make life easier. Life that’s difficult enough to cope with when you consider everything that’s going on in an average (if that exists) person’s life.

So… I’m officially on the band wagon.

Band wagon

Actually not this kind. I mean the Xiaomi Mi Fit Band. Wagon. Sort of. Well, you get the drift.

Xiaomi Mi band.

An amazing friend of mine has such a thing. It’s like a nice price Fitbit and it comes with an app. It measures all kinds of stuff like your heart beat (important; if that stops you should have a physician check you out), the number of steps you take each day (fitness related, health related and so on) and it can show you the time. (Hey, who wants to hang around at work too long!)

Another cute thing it seems to do (I only got the band in about an hour ago) is that it can monitor how you sleep and make pretty graphs of that. And that’s where I hopped on the band. Wagon. (Keep your boo and hiss, suck it up, folks.)

I’m curious how that works and looks. Let the fun begin.

Of course I am in luck. Today the car was in the shop and I walked almost 8km (5.5 something miles, do the math if you’re curious). The step counter would have come in nicely!!

The looks.

How does it look? Well, like this:

Xiaomi Mi band
Xiaomi Mi band

If you’re curious about the thing itself, check out DX.Com. The band comes with a USB adapter with which you can charge the clock module (which you take out of the strap for that). My band arrived 24% charged so I hooked it up immediately. The little circle you see on the module is what you tap to activate the display and cycle through the modes you set up.

The manual.

Well, that is interesting. Since DX ships from China, the entire manual (which basically is a scrap of paper) is in Chinese. There are some pictures on it though, which helps just enough to get going. It was fun to see.

The app.

Xiaomi mi appThe app itself (I have the Android version) looks nice and so far works well for the tiny bit it had to do for me so far.

It guides you through pairing the band, setting up a profile, and it simply works.

You can set up if you wear the band left or right, the info you want to see on the display of the band and a few more bits and bobs. Nice is that you can preset the number of steps you think you want to achieve each day. I’m curious if the band will electro-buzz me if I don’t make it. 😀

If I’m not too lazy I’ll keep you posted about this toy.

Phones, phones, phones

Phones.

I’m intrigued by all the new phones that swamp the world. Nearly every day there’s a new phone coming out, or so it seems.

phones
Phones

This is a world of communication. Being connected has become part of our life. Some people take it to extremes by being connected 24 hours every day. Modern smartphones, whether you’re into Apple, Android, Windows, Tizen, the unfortunately (officially) deceased Ubuntu phone or any other platform, give you that option.

A new phone.

I wonder how many new phones a person needs. With so many new phones coming out every week, I wonder if the manufacturers can actually make a profit from all their new designs, options, gadgets and doo-dahs.

Don’t get me wrong: I couldn’t care less if they do make a profit; they’re rich enough as it is. I just wonder what the advantage would be to have a new phone every, let’s say, two months, just because the bezel is a little more rounded, the display is 0.2″ bigger or the camera is a bit better.

Are there people who change phones almost as often as their socks? Or even more often? (Eeuw?)

Consumerism.

Piggy bankThat’s probably the thing. The media are pushing people’s buttons to get the latest and greatest. Constantly. Get a new this and that or you won’t be happy. Get the new iPhone or your friends will laugh at you. Make sure you have the latest wearable gear or you look silly. Be hip, hop, modern, and most of all: spend your money. Spending money makes happy. (Okay, mostly that means happiness for the people who get your money but that’s beside the point.)

Freedom.

Our world seems to hand us freedom. The freedom to go where we want, when we want, and stay connected to all our Facebook friends (how many of them have you actually met?), connected to Google+, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat and what not. And the world knows where you are, when you’re there and probably even why. Big data rules, and big data is watching you.

When’s the last time you went out for a walk, leaving your phone at home?

 

Purple doesn’t exist.

Purple is a figment of people’s imagination.

Really. Believe me. I know this. And why do I know this? I have never seen it. That is why I don’t believe in purple. It’s amazing how many people are convinced that it does though. Even when I ask Google to show me ‘purple’ it comes up with something:

This can’t be purple. I see 3 entirely different things but none of them is purple (apart from the actual word purple). For me these consists of “I don’t have a clue”.

My popular witch Hilda will hate me for this. Her favourite colour is purple as well while for me it’s not real.

Why do I state that purple doesn’t exist?

Because I’m colour blind. (Note to ignorami: colour blind doesn’t mean that I see in black and white. Colour blind is a stupid, wrong name for the fact that many people can’t see all the colours that are around.)

Purple to me is a word. A concept that other people’s eyes make them interpret as a colour. That also goes for stuff like mauve, beige, pink and other pastels.

It’s the same thing with religions and gods. Those to me are concepts that in other people’s eyes signify something. A kind of creature, a colour I can’t see. For me it’s not real.

If you feel that a god is real, that your religion is real, be happy with it. Just don’t expect me to see it the way you do. I’m religion blind in the same way I’m colour blind so I see things differently from how you do.

A test.

Do you see a letter or a number up here? Yes? Great. You can see your god. I just see a lot of little circles of a doubtful colour (green, brown, grey?) which make up the totality of a ball, a sphere. This is how I see my world, my surroundings. I don’t have a god colour to tell me what’s what. I can look at the whole of evolution, the world, space, the other planets and stars, and take those as the ball up there. Doubtful colours, but definitely a shape I can appreciate. In the entirety of the cosmos there are probably more colours I can’t see. More colours that you can’t see (beyond ultraviolet, beyond infra red, into the electromagnetic ranges). You are blind to them as I am blind to your precious colours.

I’m happy with that. I know what to expect. I know there’s more out there than I can see which is fine. As long as people respect that and don’t try to make me ‘see’ what they see (because again, I’m entirely blind to that) we’re all in harmony.

If you try to convince me that your god is the one and only, and that she’s black, has horns and teeth that would make a tiger jealous, then I will shake my head and walk on. Be happy with your tiger tooth god. It’s not mine. I don’t see it. It won’t bother me and if you’re a good follower it won’t bother you.

So please don’t bother to bother me with it.

 

A new phone.

I got a new phone last week. An Asus Zenphone 3. Yes, I stepped off the Samsung train for a change. Samsung has really nice phones but they also have really nice price tags.

I had my eye on the Zenphone for a while already. Read about it somewhere, liked the specifications and the way it was shown by Asus.

I also read lots of reviews. Many of them told me it’s a great phone and so I waited for it to become available in the Netherlands. I could have ordered one online from somewhere and hope for the best but for such amounts of money I tend to be a bit careful. If something’s wrong with the device and the seller whose name I can’t pronounce lives in a place I’ve never heard of, that’s enough for me to be patient.

Last week was the day I discovered the phone to be available. Again I went out to read the latest reviews. What struck me was that many of them sing and dance about the Zenfone 3 but there is only one common gripe: the bloatware, the odd Zen UI launcher and the many notifications.

Bugger all that. I ordered the phone. I have it here. It’s really nice, fast, and the screen is definitely nice. The resolution is less than that of the Samsung Note 4 I had before but I don’t notice that at all.

On to the bloatware. I have disabled everything I don’t need. That took me several hours because on a new phone there’s a lot of new stuff and it’s not exactly sure what you need and what not. That took care of that.

On the Zen UI launcher. I don’t use it. Since a long time I moved to Smart Launcher 3 and that’s perfect for me. There are lots of launchers available for Android; there has to be something you like if you don’t like Zen-UI. I had a look at Zen-UI and it looks a lot like regular Android to me but I didn’t investigate a lot. If you ignore a phone simply because of the default launcher you’re going to miss out on a lot of good devices.

Finally: the notifications. The Zenfone 3 comes with a nice built-in option to set which app can push notifications and which can’t. People who whine about the notifications should first really get to know the phone. I have no problems with the info on the screen; it shows what I want, when I want.

Another nice thing on the Zenfone that no one has mentioned in the reviews I read is the option to prevent specific apps from starting at boot time. That saves boot time and memory. I have the 4GB/64GB version so memory isn’t a big problem but the option’s there and it’s great.

All in all I’m really happy with the phone. I’m not going to list all the specs, you can find that online everywhere, like on the Asus site. Why it’s called a mid-range phone is a riddle to me but my demands on phones aren’t high. I don’t spend hours playing the heaviest games on my phone. I think the Zenfone would do well in that area but I have no inclination to find out because I’m a lost case with games.

Who wants to live forever?

Do you want to live forever?

Something tells me that many people will answer yes to this question. To live forever, to see how the world unfolds, perhaps travel to the moon and Mars someday. Yup, sounds great.

And how about work?

Did you think about that? Suppose you can indeed live forever and be the person you were in the prime of your life. Be it 25, 30, 35, take your pick. You’d not only live forever, you’d also be working forever. Pay taxes forever. Perhaps even pay for a pension plan you’ll never get to enjoy.

That might outweigh the idea of working (forever) on the moon, or Mars, or wherever, but I don’t think that’s all too appealing.

And how about the ones you love?

They might not want to live forever. You will see them grow old, demented, sick, and die. All the time you’re alive and moving through the centuries, people will come into your life and leave you again.

There’s more to living forever than not dying.

Keeping your passwords safe in a safe safe.

Passwords.

Keepass logo

I’m a huge fan of Keepass. Keepass is a free program that will remember your passwords for you.

It is very easy to use and it features ‘auto-type’ so you don’t even have to copy your usernames and passwords, Keepass handles that for you.

Lastpass logo

A little while ago I heard of Lastpass. It basically does the same thing and nicely integrates with your browser, Android and IOS devices. I installed it, imported the Keepass data (which works quite well but not 100% accurately) and I used it. It’s good. It does what you should expect of it.

Then however I started wondering where Lastpass stores its data. With Keepass you have an encrypted file on your computer that holds your passwords. You can synchronise that to all your other devices by sticking it in Dropbox, Google Drive or any other file sharing system you prefer. Not so with Lastpass. I couldn’t find where that file is stored so I went looking.

It turns out that your password file is stored on the Internet, on the Lastpass servers. Each time you connect to the Internet, Lastpass will synchronise the file on the device you’re currently using.

Cloud.

Internet Cloud

So here’s the deal. You use Lastpass and you’re a happy camper. Understand that your passwords are not only on your system (in a spot that’s hard to locate; I tried and didn’t find it) but it’s also on a machine that’s outside your control. I can imagine that’s fine for vacation pictures and your collection of recipes for lasagna and hot tamales, but I didn’t feel very good about that. It’s my collection of usernames and passwords. Of course, you may argue that I’m paranoid, that Lastpass will treat your file with care and loving attention, but…

How many loving, caring systems that contain your files have been hacked lately? Yahoo for instance has a great track record of being hacked. Imagine that a hacker gets access to the file that contains your passwords, slaps some ransomware over it and next time you sync your Lastpass – kazaam, there you are with nothing left to show except a kind note from a hacker to hand over a lot of money for your files. Okay, okay, hackers can also do that to Google Drive and Dropbox (which is why I don’t keep those files there).

Control.

I like to keep things that are mine in my own hands. I’m one of the lucky people with a Synology NAS which gives me my personal cloud system (google ‘Synology Cloud Station‘). There are other ways to set up your personal cloud, I’m sure. Worst case you can always e-mail the file to yourself and download it to your device.

The potential security issue I just described made me go back to Keepass. Because I like my passwords in a safe place, one that I can decide on.

Control freak? Perhaps. But for my entire collection of credentials for online access I am happy with that title.

America. Since it’s in the news.

I didn’t watch the in-ogre-ation yesterday. That was a good decision, everything happened without me just as well.

This morning I was curious. About the @potus twitter account that now is in the twitter-capable hands of one Donald Trump. (Interestingly his original twitter account, https://twitter.com/therealdonaldtrump) doesn’t exist any more.)

Something struck me. Let me show you:

Does this man strike you as a kind man? As someone who is happy? As someone who… cares about you?

I really would like to know, because I don’t think so. Not at all. He looks troubled in this image. Unhappy. Uncertain even. Not the qualities I’d look for in the leader of one of the biggest countries in the world. A country that has to become great again under the guidance of this man.

I have read about the first moves that will make America great again. According to Mother Jones, “the administrative order will end Obama’s efforts to cut premiums on FHA-insured home loans”.

In practice, this means that low-income homeowners will be stuck paying higher insurance premiums on their FHA-insured mortgages.

That’s probably great in itself although I fail to see how. Next to that, George Takei reported this:

Let’s hope they will be replaced by something even better.

Let’s see how event unfold. We may yet see a shimmer of light on the horizon.

The Dakota pipeline.

Much has been said about it. But it’s never enough.

Since when is it the task of the police (you know, these people who uphold the law, protect, serve, saves us from crime and all that) to use force against peaceful protesters who stand up to protect their sacred lands (which is officially theirs) from being turned into a huge oil spill disaster waiting to happen?

(Image via Google+)

Guns, rubber bullets, bean bags (don’t misunderstand those; these things are meant to hurt), water cannons, even dogs. Those are the ways big oil companies try to ‘persuade’ their opponents to go away. It’s a crying shame. Those oil companies should be prosecuted. Where is the honour in such behaviour? All that counts is money. Who cares about the earth, the water, the sacred lands of the native Americans?

Big oil companies… can you grow food on dollars? Can you drink oil when you’re thirsty? No, you can’t. No one can. Are you people deaf, dumb and blind? According to a comment on Youtube, Dakota Access was told by the federal government not to drill close to the Missouri River. Apparently that was too difficult to understand for the board of directors, because have you noticed where they are drilling?

The world stands with Standing Rock. I stand with Standing Rock.

I hope the US government takes responsibility and ends this disgrace, this humiliation of justice. Stop this, please, before people get killed. There have been enough wounded already, and even a reporter was shot in the back with a rubber bullet while interviewing someone.

This is horror.

#NoDAPL

Make it easy on yourself.

Yesterday I dropped a bank order into the mailbox of my bank so something would be paid.

acceptgiro

On the lid was a large sticker: Make it easy on yourself! It continued telling me and the rest of the world that I could use their mobile app or the website to pay stuff. I know that. I have it and I use it at times.

But… is that making it easy on myself? I had to be there so all I needed to do was sign a piece of paper and put it in their box. According to the sticker it’s easier to open the app, log in to the app, type in all the information that’s already on the paper, verify that using my bank card and a special card reading device to verify that I am me using my own phone. All that goes for the website as well.

The meaning is of course to make it easier on them. Everything you do, they don’t have to.