Tuesday, October 13, 2015

God Never Said that...

Ever thought this?
When we make a decision based on our inherent goodness and reason, it must be correct.

Yeah, that's not Biblical at all, and it certainly doesn't align with my personal experiences over the last six decades.

We're immersed in a society that teaches us our INTELLECT will guide us correctly, especially when it is paired with our EMOTIONS. The news services and the government seem to concur with the thought that repetition makes something true - so our WILL can govern our actions.

In Grad school classes I interacted with a lot of smart people - and I liked them. Still, one of the basic arguments we had in every class was whether morality was absolute or relative. Most of the others argued for a relative morality. I always took (and still take) the stance that morality is, and should be, absolute.

I will never forget the one comment after I said "For instance, we can all agree that murder is wrong."
Another student said "Well, I think murder is wrong, but if a Father feels it is right to kill his infant daughter because of his society, who am I to say he's wrong?"

I had no response.

The point is, there is an absolute morality. I believe that morality is defined by the Word of God as given to us in the Bible, where God's character is defined for us. Does the Bible confuse me? Sure it does, but some things in it do not.

Do not lie. Do not cheat. Do not steal. Do not murder. Do not condone these actions in others.

As the Pastor of the new church I visited said "The Word of God is Powerful, Perpetual and Permanent." (They do like alliteration.)

God's Word is the ultimate authority in my life. It isn't my personal thoughts, feelings or decisions,

That premise simply makes me a better person than I was.

PS - Nope, I'm not always successful at doing what I should, but I keep trying.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Random thoughts on the first of September

September swept in, surprising me in how quickly it displaced the months of summer.
(I do miss the fall leaves the the sweet smell of the earth as it falls into winter slumber.)

I retired in January. People ask me if I'm bored. No, not yet. In fact, I still have so many things on my list of to-dos and I keep adding to the list. What, for example? Story ideas, game ideas, reading books, taking classes on Udemy...

I wake up some mornings with story ideas. I write them down in my notebook. It's a standard spiral notebook with a hundred pages or so. I usually write on both sides of the page. Since January, the notebook is almost full of ideas and thoughts. I'll need a new notebook in a few weeks. That's okay.

If you don't keep a personal notebook of your ideas and thoughts, you should. Jim Rohn, one of my favorite speakers, recommends it as well. He was the mentor of Tony Robbins. You can catch recordings from both of them on YouTube, and I recommend them.

Sometimes I get a game idea. I came up with another wonderful one the other day. That one came to me in a dream, too. Well, parts of it. Dreams are not a good template for a complete story or a comprehensive game, but they give a good hint.

Darling sits next to me on the couch, playing "Mary, Did You Know" from a link on her Facebook page. (This links to Clay Aiken, the same singer, but isn't the same video.) She enjoys Facebook a lot. I use it to keep track of my relatives, so if you send me a friend request, don't be surprised if I don't accept. Very, very few non-family members are on my Facebook page. Most of those knew my parents and grew up with me.

I take notes in my notebook on what I'm currently reading, watching or studying. After half a year of studying finance information, I've concluded that there are no financial experts. I think when people get a degree in finances, they simply learn the lingo so they can express personal opinions in the right economic jargon.

I'm reading (diligently) Tony Robbins' new book "MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom" and I really like it. Some financial people say he oversimplifies the subject and that the book is full of Tony's brand of personal development information. It is. I think if Tony pulled his development thoughts out of the book it would be a mere hundred pages instead of over SIX HUNDRED PAGES (ouch), but it would lose much of the flavor that Tony Robbins can bring to the subject. I plan to post my notes on the book soon, so keep an eye open.

Just a side note - the guy is six foot seven. Impressive.

So, bored? Not a chance. I don't miss going to work. I do sort of miss the paychecks. The stock market drop last week hurt our finances a bit, but reminded me - I'm just the caretaker. My God owns it all.

So no worries.

Welcome to September.

Friday, August 14, 2015

iPhone to Droid - Part Four (Fini)

I have a lot of data on my iPhone 4S. There are - literally - hundreds of solutions in the internet to capture and transfer the data. Some are more useful than others, but I didn't manage to successfully finish any of them.

I made a complete backup of my iPhone on the Mac and traversed the directory to find the files. Without some sort of database schema, I'm lost at that point.

Some sites said backing it up to the cloud from one machine and bringing it into the other machine via the cloud would work. I can see that working for the pictures, but I backed my pictures up manually. Just plugged the iPhone into my computer, opened the disk and copied each of the picture folders. In my opinion, it should be that easy for all the data on a phone.

My picture history spanned a few years. I hope the pictures are captured elsewhere, but I don't know for certain. That's a future project (I'll put it on my list).

The tricky part seemed to be the SMS text data. I mentioned I have some important history there - the text history with my youngest brother, for instance. I could not find any good solutions for transferring those important bits of personal history.

I found the Phone transfer program by Apowersoft. For about $40, I transferred all my calendar, contact and SMS messages (as well as phone call logs) to my Galaxy S4 from my iPhone 4S. If I were programming a solution, it would be as clean as this one. Check it out here - I don't have any affiliation with them.

On my S4, I manually walked through my contacts and cleaned them up. To delete one, I simply have to touch and hold a contact, then select the Delete. I was vicious about the cleaning, too. If I just contact you via LinkedIn, you've been purged from my phone. Not that you'd notice…

My music? The program wasn't successful for that. I didn't have enough room on my new phone - and it didn't see all my music, anyway. I'm guessing that's an iTunes thing. I do have a solution, though. Almost all our music comes from CDs that we copied to the computer, so I have the originally copied files. I will lose a few songs that I bought through iTunes. I'll worry about them later (I wouldn't want to lose Felicia Day's Do You Want to Date My Avatar?).

So that's it. There are a few things left on my iPhone 4S, but it is comfortably nestled in a music cradle in the study acting as my personal music player. If I need something, I can always go check the phone. I didn't bother with a lot of the apps - how many do I actually use? How many do you?

Back to writing my books. If you're interested in writing (or in my books!), you can check out my Writer's site, or even sign up for my Writer's newsletter.

Ever onward...

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

iPhone to Droid - Part Three

I don't know if this is a mental shift away from Apple or not, but I even set up Darling's iMac to boot directly into her Windows partition. (See my Back From Mac post)

I am probably more driven by cost. My iPhone 4S was getting old and I had an almost new Galaxy S4 sitting on my desk.

I jumped ship from my iPhone to my Droid two weeks ago (and a day, but who's counting?). For over a year I tried to make a good, comprehensive plan for switching over, but my analysis paralysis became to obsessive. So I simply leaped from one to the other.

The initial shock is detailed in Part One, with some follow-up in Part Two.

 I have a few more observations...

I installed Pandora, Chromecast (for my Google Chromecast) and Netflix. With the latter two I can use the phone to stream movies to my television. How nice is that?

Wow, the Galaxy S4 drained power fast! I didn't even do much with it, but I knew something was going on because it sat in my pocket and got warm. Heat is a byproduct of inefficient energy usage - so the phone was doing something even though I didn't know what.

I'll admit, this isn't my biggest priority. I'm currently writing three books (at various speeds). The S4 makes phone calls and I get the occasional text, so I'm fine with the functionality. The power drain annoyed me, but not enough to actually do the research and make changes.

For those out there who are adept at the Droid phones - yes, I did use the Home button to shut down running programs, compulsively trying to conserve energy. I especially like the "Close All" selection. Apple™ could take notice of such a simple and effective addition.

I also used the Notification Window (dragging it down from the top of the screen by swiping downward) and looked for things that might be draining power. In fact, I also selected the "Power Saving" option.

Still, the phone drained quickly and stayed warm in my pocket. I set aside some research time and went after the probable causes.

The candidates jumped out at me when I knew where to look. In the upper right of the Notification Window is a small icon with tiny squares. Touching that gave me a look at some extended functions on my phone, ones I didn't see by scrolling left and right on the Notification Screen. Icons for "Air Gesture" and "Air View" both glowed green, showing them enabled. Turning those off seems to resolve the problem. The phone no longer gets warm in my pocket.

I sort of miss the companionable warmth. (Just kidding! The phone is neither kitten nor puppy, is it?)

On another note, the text in Messages became huge! Just look at the photo. I did it accidentally, but didn't know how to fix the problem. I researched that straight away, but it still took me a few hours to find the answer, hidden among all the billions and billions of bytes on the internet.

While looking at Messages you simply need to use the Volume Up and Down keys to change the font size.

One more thing. I wanted a screen shot to post the picture of the Messages screen in this post. Just like the iPhone, you have to press the home button and the power button at the same time to capture it. Just like the iPhone, that took a few tries.

On the iPhone, the screen capture goes to photos, where I can view it and send it. I went to the Photo app and it needed to do an update.

Of course it did.

Once updated, I scrolled through photos of a few years ago - pictures that Darling took when she first got the phone and before she switched to the S5. Nowhere did I see the screen capture.

The S4 did tell me it captured the screen to the clipboard. So I simply sent myself and email and pasted the screen shot into the message area. Problem solved. In fact, I like the Droid clipboard, since it kept a few items on the clipboard available for me to use.

What's next? I still don't have my music. I still haven't addressed the abandoned text messages from the iPhone 4S. Neither issue is critical. I still have the iPhone sitting on my desk.

It still has about 18% charge on it. I think I'll plug it in.

Final note:
The Lad updated his phone to a Galaxy S5 and doesn't seem to be having any problems at all. In fact, he totally rearranged all his apps so he is only two clicks away from anything and doesn't need to scroll from screen to screen. Here's what it looks like (and he said nothing about problems sending me the screen capture).

That's pretty clean. I like it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

iPhone to Droid - Part Two

So it's been two days. I expected I'd miss my iPhone 4S more, but I don't. The Galaxy S4 seems to be fine. (I just realized this is a 4S to S4 transition…it's the little things that make me happy).

The first night with the new Droid was hard. I felt I was cheating on the iPhone. I like the Do Not Disturb feature on the iPhone, but the S4 has one, too. Blocking Mode on the Galaxy seems to work in a similar fashion, though not exactly so. I don't have it figured out yet, which might explain the lack of incoming phone calls. Then again - there isn't anyone to call me.

Unlike the commercials, Siri didn't come after me. I did hear a strange noise in the study during the night, but attribute that to the cats, not the sad little iPhone 4S still sitting on my desk. The iPhone still has 52% of its battery charge as of this morning.

The Droid sucks up juice like a toddler at the zoo. What's with all the updates? Probably because the phone is a year old. It updated ten apps - I thought about deleting them, but I cannot delete these; things with odd names such as AllShareCast Dongle S/W and Ant Radio things. The battery life dropped to 88% by the time it was finished. Well, updates are hard work.

The little drop-down notification screen told me I had a system update! Another update! This one took about twenty minutes, culminating with a small line of text that told me it was updating x of 135 apps.

I didn't know I had that many apps on the phone. I did install Candy Crush and Facebook. When I first started Candy Crush the Galaxy rebooted. The phone - not the real galaxy.

The battery life dropped to 62%.

I don't have the phone numbers of my children. I have their email addresses in my new Contacts folder, but all the numbers are missing - just like Darling's. You'd think I'd know their numbers, but I might need to wait until they call me. That could be a while, especially if the calls are blocked.

Also, I didn't bring any text messages over with me. I wonder if I can figure out how to do that? Otherwise the iPhone will remain my only repository of some important texts.

Oh, well. I won't worry about it right now. I'll just kick back and do some reading and listen to music.

Right. No Kindle on my new Galaxy. I'll have to take care of that.

Where's my music? AUGH!

Monday, July 27, 2015

From iPhone to Droid - Part One

Over a year ago I decided it was time to ditch my aging iPhone 4S and switch to a Galaxy S4. I own both phones - due to one of our sweet daughters giving their mother a Galaxy S5 phone (leaving me staring at the S4 with a look of mixed terror and fascination).

As of this morning I was still using my iPhone 4S (a nice phone, darn it!). I like it. I'm used to it. I don't need to think about how to do anything on it. I've used iPhones for a while (and programmed some apps, too, but that's another story and I let my development license expire).

So I had a plan. It went something like this: Make a list of current apps. Duplicate them on the Galaxy. Move my addresses (how?). Move my messages (how?). Take care of all the pictures on the phone. Switch over my service.

Simple, right? Except I have dozens of apps on my iPhone - I made a list that took over a page. Don't judge me. You're the same way.

Some of my apps are iPhone only. I don't use them much, so maybe it doesn't matter. I dithered for a while longer more weeks, in fact.

There is only one solution.

I just switch over. Let's see how that goes.

Pop the SIM card from my iPhone. Cool. That was easy.

Put it in the S4. That was easy, too. Does it know it's me? How the heck can I tell? …
I know. I need to do a reset on the S4, since it used to be Darling's. So I do that and it walks me neatly through the setup. Almost.

I need a Samsung account. Let's see. I thought I had one… Let me try… nope! Okay, so I set up a new one. That's easy.

I need to setup my Google account on the phone and I have two-step verification for it. That makes it harder for someone to hack my account. It seems it also makes it harder for me to get into it from a new device. You see, it sends a six-digit code as a message. I hear it arrive in the background, but have no idea how to view it without leaving the setup. I'm not even sure I can.

Wait. It's okay. I have the option to send it to Darling's phone as well. Now I'm cooking…

What's this thing? Oh, I need to verify the Samsung account I created. So I have to setup my mailbox, but that's easy - except for the two-step verification, but I see where I can look at the code now, so I'm good.

Except I don't see the verification email from Samsung in my inbox. I don't know how to look at the SPAM folder from my phone. That's okay. I can do that from my computer. Yup. There it is - in SPAM. Well, just click that button and I'm good to go.

Let me try a phone call. That's simple. I type in Darling's number. My contacts came over with the SIM card, except I don't have Darling's phone number, just her email. Well, I can type that in, can't I? No problem.

Why does the phone keep going to sleep while I look up what to do? Okay, under Settings> My phone it is set to 30 seconds. That's too short for me, so I'll up it a bit. And I'd like to see the battery percentage at the top instead of the little symbol. Check. Hey, I'm drained to eighty percent and I started this entire routine at full charge. I guess a reset uses a lot of juice. I'll plug it in.
Seems dim for my old eyes, too. I need to set it brighter.

I lost all my messages from my iPhone. Well, they are still on the iPhone. Too bad I can't move them over.

All that only took about an hour and a half. I'm slow, though.

So now I'm on the Galaxy S4. Finally.

But my IPhone 4S awaits me at my desk if I need it.

Let's see how this goes…

PS - hey, where's Candy Crush?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Nine Recommendations for New Workers

Laszlo Block, Google’s Senior Vice President of People Operations, posted comments on what employees should do when they start a new position.  He certainly has more credibility than I do, and that's okay, but my youngest started an intern position and I had to think about what advice to give him.

There are some basic rules when you work for someone in an office environment.

1. Be on time (or even a little early). I'll tell you from over thirty years of experience that a boss doesn't care if you stay until ten o'clock at night - but he cares if you show up five minutes after he/she tells you to be there.

2. Personal hygiene is important. Take a bath or a shower. Wash your hair. Brush your teeth. Please do not smell offensive to your coworkers.

3. Dress well, like a young professional. Some employees might be wearing t-shirts and sloppy jeans, but that doesn't need to be your attire. A three-piece suit and tie are no longer the norm (thank goodness) but a nice shirt and nice pants always look good. (Yeah, I don't have any personal advice for women - sorry.)

4. Be courteous. Leave the attitude at home, or just toss it out of your personality entirely. It isn't attractive. In meetings, be quiet and attentive and speak when asked to do so.

5. Nap at home. Do not take a nap at your desk - that includes lunch times. If you are that tired, you are not getting enough sleep - and you need to fix that while you are not at work. No boss likes to see an employee napping, especially a new hire.

6. Surf at home. Your work computer is for work. If you do not have enough to do, ask for more. Reading personal emails and doing Facebook updates can wait until you are on your own time.

7. Speaking of Facebook, be loyal to the company that is paying you. You might disagree with what they do or how they do it. You might be a genius and know better ways to accomplish something, but don't bash your employer on public media. It's disloyal - and it's rude. No bashing co-workers either.  Just don't post specifics about work at all.

8. Take notes. I know that sounds trite, but keep a daily log of what you're doing. Record key events and key people. Write technical notes for yourself - how to logon to that testing environment, or what those command lines were that gave you access to the team notebook.

9. Don't try to change the Corporate culture. If you stay with the company for years, then you might take a stab at doing things the better, faster way that only you perceive, but wait to do that.

(Captured from Top Small Companies)

Whether you are working for the summer or starting your first full-time position, remember that it takes a while to learn the basics of your workplace. Everyone was new once and they had the same problems you face now. Most coworkers will be happy to help you get past the rough spots. Don't give up. It's always hard at first, for everyone.

In the movie Harvey, the main character says "Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, 'In this world, Elwood, you must be' - she always called me Elwood - 'In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.' Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant."

Employers are looking for energetic, courteous people who want to work hard. Be that person. In a few years, you can help some new employee. He or she will be just as baffled then as you are now.