Thursday, March 1, 2018

Changes

"Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way
Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun..."
--Time by Pink Floyd

Life Changes

A few months ago I learned that there was a reason I felt like shit. I have Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH).  Sugar and Fatty foods are killing me. The fact that I could feel it, means that it has been going on for too long.  I had been eating better and exercising more before this point, but not enough to keep me from feeling like garbage.  Luckily the liver is amazing and if you are careful it can repair itself over time.  You may not be able to fix all the damage, but you can survive with a only a part of it being healthy.

I've really only just begun changing my behavior and body based on this new information.  Yesterday was day 50 of me tracking everything I eat. I eat low-fat and little to no sugar. I try to have no more than 6 ounces of red meat in a week. I avoid anything with added sugar in it. I avoid all potatoes other than the occasional boiled sweet potatoes.  Mainly whole wheat bread and pasta is allowed.  High-Fructose corn syrup is banned for life. I also try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise daily.

At first it felt like I was unable to eat anything that I liked. Everything tasted bland. However, I have found that things are tasting better. I'm becoming more comfortable with the changes.

In the last 50 days I have lost 25lbs. I'm down 56lbs from my heaviest.  I still have a very long way to  go, but I feel better than I have in years. It's nice to see progress. Hating the way you look can be a depressing way to live.

My watch just told me that I walked 91 miles in February.  I'm gonna try hard to better that in march.



Friday, February 23, 2018

HomePod Mini Review

So I got a HomePod. I did not previously own any of the other dedicated Voice assistant devices.  I could talk to my phone, and my watch, and my TV. But, the power of a dedicated, always listening assistant is just more useful. I have used the Amazon device in other environments and thought it was pretty cool. But, I'm all in on the Apple eco-system.

My short review is it's great.  I think it will get significantly better in the near future.

Sound Quality

This small speaker sounds great.  It does not sound better than my huge Stereo.   I won't be using it when I watch movies, but it is ideal for casual music in the kitchen or in the bedroom.  When cooking or preparing to start or end the day is when it shines.

Siri

Say things like:
  • "Hey Siri play some music." 
  • "Hey Siri shuffle Steely Dan."
  • "Hey Siri start a timer for 10 minutes."
  • "Hey Siri whats the weather for tomorrow."
  • "Hey Siri turn all the lights off."
  • "Hey Siri set the thermostat to 68."
  • etc.... 
Siri will most of the time hear you correctly and do what you want.  But, you need to know how to ask for what you want. Trial and error will eventually train you.  All the same issues you have with Siri on the phone are here. Contextual conversation often fails. Siri can't do some things that other devices can. You can only have one timer at a time. You can set alarms and reminders.

Siri needs more 3rd party APIs. Continue to develop and extend the limited apis already added to Siri. Add new apis. Let Spotify decide whether to develop an integration. Let Overcast develop an integration, etc...   I'm sure this will happen. I wish it would happen faster than Apple typically moves.

Siri needs to be consistent everywhere Siri can be used. The phone should be no different than the desktop, which should be no different than the HomePod.

Siri also needs to support multiple users on the HomePod.  I'm sure Apple wants this to be based on the person speaking. Not asking for a new profile to be active.  However, profile switching would be good enough for now.

Conclusion

If you use Apple Music. Don't mind talking to Siri occasionally on your phone. Have a place in your home where a good speaker would be nice. Then sure give it a try.  Don't buy it based on the possibility of future features. It does more than enough to justify the purchase.  If you already have Echo and are happy with it, maybe skip the HomePod.

I liked it so much that I already bought a second one.


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Side Projects - So hard to get started

I have multiple side projects whizzing around my mind at the moment. The long overdue re-write of Simply Lists, my ill-fated To-Do list app.  I don't expect to make much money with it, but It's something I want to write for my own use.  I have a Trello board all ready populated with tasks. I just need to get started.

I also really want to move all the content I have here to a self hosted blog.  This involves exporting my content from Blogger, converting it to something like Markdown, and using a blogging engine of some kind.  I'm currently liking the idea of using something like Hexo. I like the idea of generating a static site.

Speaking of blogging, I've recently started using Micro.blog. It's an open replacement to things like Twitter. You can use the social graph of Micro.blog, but keep your content on your own site.

Now I need to decide which of these to work on in my limited personal time. Hmmmmm


Monday, February 19, 2018

Me?

I have had to make some big dietary / lifestyle changes and thought I would do a quick post to mark 40 days in.  It's still not normal to me, but I have to admit I feel pretty good so far.


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

8 Bit Madness

Electronics and old-school computing is one of the many hobbies I find myself returning to over and over. Of course I'm old enough to have been right in the middle of everything that you might call "old-school computing". I had a great deal of experience with the Tandy Model 1, and the Commodore 64.  I went to my friends house and drooled on his Apple II.  I spent way to much time typing programs into these machines. These early experiences are what inspired me to become a Software Developer.

I recently stumbled on a, new to me, YouTube channel "The 8-Bit Guy", the videos here are all about these old computers and their restoration. He also has a channel about synthesizers called "8-Bit Keys" thats pretty cool. Watching these videos has re-kindled my desire to work with electronics again. Check them out!

I have to admit I've thought about trying to buy a working Apple IIe or maybe even an Amiga. I don't need these - I have plenty of other projects to keep me busy.