Google, Allegedly, Rather Stupid Sports Cell Phone Option

July 6, 2019:  Tomorrow I want to watch the final women’s soccer match with the Netherlands.  I did a search on my cell phone to find out when the game would start.  Google presented a new cell phone option called “Sports”.  I decided to give this desktop option a try.  After I installed it into my phone, an option appeared: “Who you’re following” and World Cup was right under that text at the top of the cell phone screen.   “World Cup” thus showed up as the most prominent option.  I chose that menu option but it only showed 2018 games only.  I think those games were men’s.    I could not find 2019 games.  I had to go into “News” menu item and scroll down to find The Washington Post story “Locked on and still hungry, U.S. soccer enters World Cup final aware of its legacy.”  I click on that option and the news article shows.  I sill can NOT find the rather impossible male chauvinist, obfuscated, rather incompetent path to find any information on WOMEN”S SOCCER”!  I gave up looking for women’s soccer.  I deleted the Google option form my cell phone.  I am looking for news not history.  Simply incredible.  Simply stupid!  Simply incompetent.

Facebook Should Not Be In A Safe Harbor

Opinion

Facebook is currently protected by a legal provision called “safe harbor”. The legal definition is that it gives legal protection from liability under specified conditions.

Safe harbor is necessary for such industries that provide the pipes through which data flows because their only purpose is to link two opposing points with information. They do not create the content, they provide the connections between the send and receive points. They should not be responsible for the content they move through their pipes, thus the safe harbor legal provision. The key point in this is these companies must not create any data content.

The phone company links homes and businesses with voice and computer signal data so does internet service providers. The phone company does not create the content; it just move it from place to place.

Visually think in you mind that this company as a pipe company. Pipe companies should not, normally, be sued for what passes through their pipes.

Facebook creates content and moves content. It does two things at the same time. It is similar to the phone company and also a news paper company. Yet, Facebook uses safe harbor as an excuse not to receive any legal claims against it for the content it creates from its “reporters”.  Facebook’s safe harbor arguments are utterly false and legally stupid at any simple level of common reason. Facebook does move content that they do not create thus hugging the safe harbor protection. But, they do create the content when it is put up to their web site platform. Their web site platform now can be thought of as a newspaper creating content. Private text messages between Facebook members would be a pipe movement but once a member puts up any display of a still image, movie, or pronouncement, then those individuals are Facebook “reporters”. Facebook becomes like a newspaper and the person putting up that type of information is acting like a reporter for a newspaper. In once sense, Facebook is a type of electronic newspaper because it is a vehicle of display, not a pipe.  In fact, Facebook “is a fully fledged news organization on a scale we have never seen”.

https://hbr.org/2011/03/facebook-is-the-largest-news-o

With that type of content, Facebook must act to supervise within a reasonable time to remove such content that offends, creates or transmits disinformation, is inflammatory, libelous, or could suffer legal actions against it. In other words, Facebook must not be protected with the provisions of safe harbor.

The United States currently has offered safe harbor protection for Facebook, allegedly for political reasons.   Some of the Facebook staff are Donald Trump supporters such as Peter Thiel a Facebook Inc. board member.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-01/peter-thiel-praises-trump-pledges-to-support-his-2020-campaign

 

Posted May 31, 2019

Charter Spectrum Review

Charter Spectrum has our cable TV service for our city. I have no issues with any of the people who came to our house to troubleshoot issues. I do despise this utility for their corporate business plan for the following reasons:

  • They refuse to finish fiber optic cables to the homes. They do have fiber optics runs within a quarter of a mile. To finish fiber optic runs to the homes would cost them a lot of money.
  • Their TV packages are way too expensive. You are forced to pay for channels never used.
  • They move their channels out of the channel range that most modern TV sets can automatically find. In this way, the utility can charge a rental on their tuners. The few TV channels that a television set can pick up are quite awful.  One might expect that all the local TV channels should be picked up without a cable box so that low income people could better afford the service.
  • I find their Internet speeds to fluctuate during the day. When the schools are out and the children get home it seems that our Internet speeds drop. I watch television on my laptop using Spectrum TV application which is pretty wonderful when it works. Problem is that the visual and audio stops for significant periods of time.  (Note: I have two wireless access points in my home.  The main access, Apple Time Capsule, shows 12 devices connected.  The second access point, Apple Airport Express, only had one device connected.  I found that by connecting to the second device, the access speed was faster and way less buffering.)
  • From time to time, this utility has major service interruptions. I expect this. What is not normal is to loose computer servers so you can not log into their Internet TV service. This happened during the World Cup Soccer game June 26, 2018.  I am a blogger and spend a lot of time watching news on my laptop using Spectrum TV web site which is quite good.  Problem for me is the frequent “Buffering” incidents when the visual and audio stop for long periods of time.
  • When the company was Time Warner and I went to their local branch offices to talk over an issue, I frequently came away with a special deal or package that I did not know about. The people in the office seemed to have the attitude of wanting to help. When they changed to Spectrum, the store location changed and the whole operation became cold and impersonal.
  • I occasionally like to view news and sports away from my home. My cell phone provider is T-Mobile. I pay for unlimited data. The Comcast Spectrum cell phone application is near perfect in how it functions but, in my opinion, flawed for it’s offerings and this is my complaint. I expect that I should be provided important channels away from my home but NO. Let me show the deficiencies:News category
    Weather Channel (I am ok with that)
    Fox “News” (Right wing propaganda, I despise Fox)
    CSPAN (OK but boring)
    Fox “News” (Administration propaganda)
    Fox Business (Why all these FOX channels?)
    BBC (I am ok with that)
    Weather Channel
    CSPAN. (Why two CSPAN channels?)Sports category during the FIFA World Cup utterly failed to offer coverage in English.Broadcasters category offered no stations at all. Our local channel that offered FIFA World Cup, was a Fox station, which if turned on, would be perfect for viewing.If a local important news event or disaster takes place, I should be able to view all local broadcaster stations to get more information. So why not?

    The cell phone message that shows at the bottom of my screen is “Connect to In-home WiFi for More” which is a rather lame attempt to explain why so many important channels can not be viewed away from WiFi. But, why the alleged flawed and awful channels that are offered?

    It seems that Comcast favors right wing US politics with only Fox “news” channels.

    It seems that Comcast has no clue that they might have a responsibility to serve their customers more completely and for this failed business model and apparent lack of ethics, I despise them for their long list of alleged deficiencies.

I strongly recommend that our city try to get rid of Spectrum, if they can, and provide TV and Internet service as a city utility.

(Posted June 26, 2018)
(Updated June 30,2018)

Apple AirPods Definitely Work With LG V30 Cell Phone

I have been annoyed with my JayBird X2 Bluetooth headsets for a number of reasons.

  • The ear pieces do not seem to fit into my ear very well.  I have to keep pushing the earbuds into position from time to time on my weekend walks.
  • When I take a walk with my wife, I notice that the cord connecting both headsets rubs against my shirt collar and at times the cord pulls on one of the ear pieces and I have to push the earpiece back into my ear.
  • The rubber fins keep coming off the ear pieces when I take the headsets out of my pocket.  I have lost a number of them.
  • Getting the JayBird X2 Bluetooth to sync to my cell phone, about half the time, takes repeated efforts to pair with my LG V30 cell phone.  I have even had to do a cell phone restart to get the pairing to work.  I am not sure where the problem lies, the cell phone or the headset.  The JayBird X2 does pair with my Toshiba Satellite Windows 10 laptop.

I love to sit watching news programs from my Macbook Air every night while eating dinner.  I never use the JayBird but instead use a wired headset,  I use only one earpiece, for some reason.  I would love to have a single Bluetooth headset instead of wired.

I think I began seeing only a few individuals wearing the Apple AirPods early 2018.  They look sort of dorky.  I went with my daughter when she shopped at the Apple Store for an Apple Pencil.  I decided to buy the Apple AirPods.  No Apple sales person could confirm if the AirPods would work with my Android phone or not.  A sales lady fired an AirPod up to pair with my phone but there were so many Bluetooth devices in the store that it failed to show.  I went home and did a quick research and one web site report gave some hope that the AirPods should work with the LG V30.  I drove back to the store and purchased the AirPods.  If they did not work, I could take them back for a full refund.  When I got to my car, I opened the box and took out the AirPods and tried to pair them with my cell phone.  THEY WORKED!  I used one of the AirPods to listen to my favorite Pocket Cast show, Background Briefing.

Here is what I like about the AirPods:

  • The case that you store the AirPods in is extremely clever. The case is extremely small.  The earpieces seem to get sucked into the box each time you put them in.  The case can charge the earpieces multiple times with no USB cable attached!  So put the earpieces back into the case each time.  The LED under the lid will show you when they attain full charge.
  • The pairing button on the back side of the box is a bit hard to view but clever.
  • The case lid snaps shut nicely.  The lid activates the LED indicator inside the lid.  Note that if the lid is left open, the LED indicator will not show.  To see the LED status light if it extinguishes, just close the lid if it was left open and then open it again.
  • The LED light inside the case shows you the status of the headsets when the headsets are inside the case:
    • RED = Charging
    • AMBER = Not Fully Charged.
    • GREEN = Fully charged.
    • WHITE FLASHING = Pairing.
  • I found that the whole case slips into my jeans coin pocket.
  • The unit comes with a USB charge cable.  If you buy the unit, remove the bottom cardboard piece under the AirPod case to find the cable.
  • The audio quality is very good.  I think it is a bit better than the JayBird X2.
  • The earpieces are very comfortable.

Note:  (Alternative to pairing using the case)  I have had the headsets loose pairing.  This can happen when I place my cell phone down on a table and walk away some distance.   All I need to do is put the headset into my ear and go to the audio source (cell phone, laptop, etc.) and initiate the pairing from the source.  The headset will give me a brief tone indicating that pairing has taken place.

What I do not like about the AirPods:

Once I paired my Airpods to my LG V30 Cell phone it would not pair with my MacBook Air.  This should be an embarrassment for Apple.

Here is what I do like with the JayBird X2:

These headsets pair with my LG V30 with some difficulty.  They Pair easily with my MacBook Pro.  They pair easily with my Toshiba Satellite Windows 10 laptop.

I love the audible messages that the JayBird X2 is turned on, turned off and paired.

The JayBird X2 seems to be the better value if you have a number of different devices that you want to use them with.

 

What I am concerned with:

  • The AirPods earpieces do not seem to lock into my ear canal tightly but I found they do stay in place.  The JayBird X2 have rubber fins that sort of help keep the earpiece in place but I have more trouble keeping them in place than the AirPods.
  • These AirPod earpieces are so small, I am worried that I will loose them.
  • The case is so small that I might loose the whole unit.  I get a lot of free address labels because I donate money to charities.  I put one of those address labels on the case.
This post was written and put up, May 11, 2018.  As I gain more experience with the Apple AirPods, I may modify this post. This post  was updated May 29, 2018.

HTA2037, 20-37″ Universal Flat Panel Stand For TV Or Monitor

My daughter came home with a small used TV/Monitor that her work was getting rid of because it was going out of business.  She only paid $25 for it.  It sat around for the longest time.  I did some research and found the HTA2037 20-37″ Universal Flat Panel swivel TV Stand / Wall Mount Combo.  I ordered it from the Internet.  I was a hoot to build.  It came with so many parts.  It may not be that easy for some people to put together.  I had no problem except the back supports blocked the in and out signal connections.  There were parts available to solve this problem.  The stand is really sturdy.  It is a well designed product.  Strongly recommend.

Sirius XM Satellite Radio

Our family purchased a new car 2016. One of the many options was to activate Sirius XM Radio service from satellites into our car radio. I paid $136.54 for one year. I share the car with my daughter. She never would listen to Sirius. I would, occasionally, when she was not in the car but the advertisements were really annoying. I enjoyed listening to my podcasts transmitted to the car radio using Bluetooth signals from my cell phone which has the added benefit of no commercials. When my subscription ran out December 2017, I looked at my Sirius account on-line and found they wanted to charge me $286 for the next year. Yikes.  I also found out that my first subscription had an auto renewal clause. I called December 7 to cancel. I get an e-mail stating that I need to pay my bill because my credit card had changed and I need to submit payment. I called again to cancel. I was routed to a second person (the closer) that ultimately offered me $138.10 for the next year after I told him their product was way too expensive and I would not pay any more. I was ready to say “yes”.  BUT, I had to agree over the phone. I refused. I did not trust him. I do not trust Sirius. I wanted a proposal to be sent to me by e-mail so I would have proof of what I was told over the phone. He refused. I had to repeatedly say I want the account cancelled. I could not believe he would not take cancel for an answer. Here are some more issues that were annoying:

  • Their phone service quality is not very good. I found it difficult to understand everyone I talked to through their phone service.
  • I do not like auto payment. All the bills I pay are not auto payment. This company seems to fail on this count.
  • I will not make any binding agreement over the phone. I insist upon seeing the terms in writing and possessing my copy prior to any agreement.  They would not agree to this requirement.
  • I did NOT get any warning that they did not get payment until after I called them the morning of December 7, 2017 at 8:16am. They then sent me a warning as an e-mail at 8:59am, same day, 43 minutes after I called to cancel.
  • Sirius Radio is a good product but the business model is flawed, in my opinion.  They fail to offer their product at a reasonable cost but instead seem to inflate to what the market will bear.
  • Sirius Radio on line Internet web site that allows you to view your account is not very good, in my opinion.   It just offers you a singular option to pay their top annual fee.
  • A number of their business practices, which I group together as pressure to buy, really turn me off which is my PRIMARY reason I decided to cancel. This is rather sad for Sirius and me. We came close to closing the purchase except for their pressure tactics.

I typically make a recommendation, of yes or no, at the end of my product reviews. I think this product should be measured by you.  I think the Sirius Radio works for some people.  It did not for me.  It may be worth your consideration.

The Battle For Net Neutrality

My son, daughter and I are very upset that there is a movement by the FCC and the US Congress to violate Internet neutrality.  My son suggested that I contact the following web site:

https://www.battleforthenet.com/

I did and found that this website can connect my cell phone to my local House of Representative member, which is Republican Ed Royce.  It is all automated.  Once you enter your home or cell phone number an automated voice prompts you what to do.  They even provide a suggested script for you to use, so have a pen and paper handy.  This process can be continue to the next politician and the next.  You can stop any time.  Problem for me is Ed Royce’s phone never picked up.  My guess is he might not want to receive these calls.  So, let me send the current member of the United States House of Representatives for the 39th District of California my message in this post:

I vigorously support net neutrality which is the reason for this call.  In addition, I despise the FCC individuals that are working for corporate gain at the expense of free and fair Internet access for the businesses and individuals of this country.  I also, loath the US congress members that work, some times secretly, against what is best for the citizens of this country.

Chrome Browser Does Not Show My Amazon Advertisements

I noticed that when I viewed my web site using Chrome, the advertisements along the left side widget area did not show correctly.

 

Image shows a sad face instead of the Amazon advertisement.
Instead of Amazon advertisement showing properly, this image appeared.

I went into my Chrome extensions and turned off each one until I found the culprit.  It was Privacy Badger.

Once I turned Privacy Badger Chrome extension off, my Amazon advertisements would show.

 

How Good Is Your Internet Provider?

Internet Health Test

This test measures whether interconnection points are experiencing problems. It runs speed measurements from your (the test user’s) ISP, across multiple interconnection points, thus detecting any degraded performance.  This test also, over time, will tell you how good or bad your Internet company is performing.

The more data that is gathered from these tests (the more times you and your friends run the test) the more Battle For the Net and other Net Neutrality advocates will be able to identify interconnection congestion, and work to stop your ISP from throttling your access to content and services hosted off of their network.

Updated April 7, 2018

Google Latitude Gone.

I used Google Latitude to track my daughter’s location when she went away for trips.  I figure that girls need a bit more protection than boys.  Also, my son would never allow me to track him.  Google Latitude was not perfect when my daughter traveled in areas of the United States where there was no cell phone coverage.  Where there was cell phone coverage, it was very useful and accurate.  I assume this decision by Google’s alleged  oligarchy to kill Latitude held no concern for the greater good vs the company profits.