A late goodbye to 2016
bored / sleepy
xoagray
Well, what can I say about 2016 that hasn't been said by everyone else. There were some good moments, but much like with many others mine was at best bittersweet. It was a long struggle with a few things, some issues with illnesses, isssues with living arrangements, and just about every computer I own dying on me. I'm doing alright now, but that's about as good as anything in 2016 ever got... alright.
I think that's really the overall theme. I may touch on some of the things that specifically went into making this year bad for me, but I'm not going to go too deep into anything. Mainly I don't feel I accomplished much in 2016. I had some good ideas, but financial and hardware setbacks kept me from really exploring most of them. It's like I could touch on them, but lacked the abililty to get into them on any meaningful level. I had started working up my YouTube channel for instance, but having computers die repeatedly on me and not having the funds to get new hardware have all but killed it for what I was originally going for. I have other ideas, and still have my cameras, but anything else I might do on there at least for now is going to be a total change of direction.
My health comes and goes. Sometimes I'm just fine, sometimes I'm just not. It's made keeping a regular job difficult. People don't get that you can be alright one day and just not the next. Most businesses can't deal with someone that's not able to run at 110% all but maybe 3 days a year. I still go to work, I still give 100%, but sometimes my 100% is ony 60% of what it was yesterday. For a lot of employers that just breaks their model and they don't want to deal with it. On that note, I still have things I can do, it's just getting them going. Once I'm past that hump things will go a lot more smoothly. Right now all I can really do is bide my time and plan.
We finally got out of the hotel we were living in for almost 4 years. But that's also bittersweet. We moved out because they were going to jack the rent (I say that because we were actually on a monthly lease with the hotel), up to almost double what we were paying. Because they were shifting from being an extended stay to being a regular hotel. There were a number of us that lived there, I guess they just wanted to free up the rooms for people they could charge more money. Fortunately, they gave us a warning and we were able to get into a place that some friends had to let. Bittersweet part is that we're spending as much money to stay here as we were at the hotel. Eventhough it's much nicer, and has more space, that still leaves us just barely above water in the financial department. Enough to get by, but not enough to do much of anything. So while I'm very glad to be out of the hotel, we still have a lot of work to do. On a good note, I was able to score a pretty good deal on internet. 100mbps for about $40 a month. :). So I have a connection good enough for streaming if I get the chance to get back into that.

Looking forward, I want to do more artsy stuff. Wether that's with writing, photography, videos, or whatever. I want to let myself be more creative. I've been told for years I need to put some of the stuff that comes out of my head out there for others, maybe that's what I need to do. I'm also going to try and score a cheap car so I can start working for Uber, and I've also been in contact with an old employer where I delivered campers. May go back to that if Uber doesn't work out. (I'm not really expecting Uber to be a full time job, but more hoping that it lets me get the money to get some other things going). Either way, we'll see how that works out. I have some real trepidation about this coming year, mostly due to the results of the 2016 presidential elections and the events leading up to / that have happened since. 2017 will definitely be a year to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Here's hoping we all find oursleves doing better than I fear we will.
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The year the truth got kneecapped.
pretty gray
xoagray
You know, if there’s anything that the election of 2016 should be remembered for, it’s the huge amount of misinformation that was spread during the campaigning season. And the fact that many people got most of their news from sources like Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets.
So many of the stories posted on these sites was fake that it actually out paced real news in the final months of the election. As sited here.

Facebook,
https://www.buzzfeed.com/craigsilverman/viral-fake-election-news-outperformed-real-news-on-facebook?utm_term=.nubrkoO0Q6#.uo7am0o64v

Twitter,
http://news.usc.edu/110565/rigged-usc-study-finds-many-political-tweets-come-from-fake-accounts/

In fact so much fake news hit the internet this election cycle that it’s easy to see how so many people had no idea what was real and what was fake. I saw and heard people every day posting or saying things that were outlandish and blatantly false. And they said and posted them with as much certainty and conviction as anyone that was saying or posting actual facts.
It’s fair to say anyone following news from hyper partisan sites on either side is going to get a lot of misinformation. Also, the frequency with which people reshare things without fact checking is alarming. Or worse, actually seeking out things that specifically cater to their view or way of thinking and then posting them as if they were factual even if they were blatantly false.
Add that to the sea of memes, fake quotes, sites like Facebook and Twitter trending a lot of false info, and general bullshit that was spread about by people. What you got was very confusing and polarized groups of people into self affirming groups living almost exclusively in echo chambers where everything they said or thought was reinforced by others in the same groups. Even as much as I fact check I found myself passing along the occasional story that was fake, and I go out of my way to try and make sure that what I post is true. No one is totally immune to this, no one got away from this election without passing along at least some garbage. Unless you didn’t say anything about it at all.
It’s truly sad, and it’s likely that this isn’t going to be the only election where this is the case. And with as well as it worked this time, (let’s face it, the fake sites got a TON of hits by taking advantage of not only the people that ate up the fake news, but people going to their sites just to fact check), it’s likely that the next election will see as much if not more misinformation if some way of curtailing it isn’t found.
Oxford Dictionaries sited the word of the year this year as “Post-truth”. they define that as “Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”.

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/post-truth-oxford-dictionaries-word-year-2016-n685081

In other words, stories that evoke an emotional response or play to someone’s already established belief system are more important than ones that are true.

Let that sink in for a little bit. That’s their word of the year, meaning it’s the one they felt was most influential or most representative of this year. This should be a huge wake up call to anyone right now. This is the year that irrational and emotional thinking has won out. The year where a large percentage of people let their own desires to be right, and to feel good win out over what is factual and true.

Hurricane Matthew.
pretty gray
xoagray
Well, the hurricane came and went. We in Melbourne FL were told to be prepared because it was going to be something major and we were right in the path. Stores were emptied out, gas stations were bought out of fuel. People as far inland as Orlando were hunkered down and battening down the hatches in preparation for this monster category 4 hurricane to come through. Governer Scott issued state of emergency and mandatory evacuation statements and we waited.

First it was supposed to hit around 20:00 on the 6th, then 22:00, then some time between 01:00 and 02:00. The suspense was really killer. We had been told this thing was massive and strong and would bring a real thrashing. I was in a relatively safe building so while I was conscientious of the storm I wasn't so much concerned.

As time went by it became increasingly clear that the massive weather we were told was going dead on for us, (at one point where I live was supposed to be passed over by the actual eye,) wasn't coming. Sure enough, at some point the storm had veered to a more northern course and all we ended up getting was the wind and rain from the outskirts of the storm. Very little actual damage happened here. Some trees were blown over and roof shingles blown off. There was more damage along the shore from the water and waves but not much. Farther north like up in Flagler county there was more damage, parts of A1A were eaten away by the waves for example. And St. Augustine and Jacksonville seem to be having some flooding. But it's mostly along the coast where people were told to evacuate, so any damage there should mostly be just property.

I'm honestly glad we didn't get the brunt of this one. Though I'm also a little disappointed that I didn't get the chance to get any good photos. Most of the action that we did see happened at night and there just wasn't enough light to get any good shots. I did put some videos up on Periscope, but that's about it. I tried YouTubing some stuff, but the data connection was too poor and I wasn't really getting good enough video to justify trying too hard in that department.

It still made for a long night, but thankfully not much more, and I hope that people in areas that were more heavily effected get back to normal as fast as possible. For now, down here most places are still closed, but should be opening back up within the next couple days. And hopefully fuel will be getting shipped in, our car is literally on vapors because we couldn't get any fuel before the gas stations ran out.

Cheers,
Xoa

Why SMS is still better than things like Telegram and What'sApp when it matters most.
pretty gray
xoagray
Hurricane Matthew made me realize something, and it's one of the reasons I will always prefer SMS to things like Telegram and What'sApp. Telegram and What'sApp are dependent on data, without that they don't work. SMS will work as long as you have a Cellphone connection.

When the weather gets really bad, or cellphone lines are congested, as often as not the first thing to go out is data, it's also often one of the first things that goes out in your home during a large or powerful storm. Without data, things like Telegram and What'sApp will fail.

SMS also often works even if voice services are spotty. The packages to send an SMS are so small that they will often get through on all but the most troubled networks. And it can take a lot less power to send off a quick SMS than to make a phone call.

So just some food for thought, if you prefer things like Telegram and What'sApp, be sure to at least get the phone numbers of those close to you so that when they fail you still have a way to get in contact.

Cheers,
Xoa

Just a little blurb I wrote about the Google event from October 4th
pretty gray
xoagray
Just a few highlights that I thought to jot down.

Google Event October 4th 2016

So, takeaway from the #Google event. New phones, the #Pixel and #PixelXL look generally like good stuff. A lot of focus on their cameras which are very highly rated via #DxoMark with a score of 89! (That's slightly higher than the iPhone 7!) and a LOT of talk about #GoogleAssistant which seems to be going to take the place of search and now on the upcoming Pixel phones. Pixel will be starting at $649, and preorders are open as of today!

Assistant it's self seems like a good merging of Now and Search, with some healthy borrowing of functions from Apple's Siri (and yeah, before anyone gets on me for that, Apple and Google both copy eachother a HUGE ammount, get over it.) If you don't intend to get a pIxel you can get a taste of Assistant with Google's new chat app Allo. The chat app it's self however has only had a lukewarm reaction from people, so you may find that all you can do with it is talk to the assistant.

Google also announced #GoogleDaydreamView which is a VR mask looking to compete with Samsung VR. With a handy remote that stores in the headset and a focus on being more comfortable it might be a good deal. Daydream View will be $79 and comes out in November.

#GoogleHome looks to be a direct competitor with Amazon's Echo, having much the same functionality, but better integration with Google devices like Chromecast and Chomecast Audio. Where it brings "Voicecasting" which will let it work a lot like the Apple TV where you can just tell it what to play and it does it. Controlling a Chromecast seems very smooth and the system as displayed worked very well. Google Home will be $129 and starts shipping on November 4th.

Speaking of Chromecast, the #ChromecastUltra was announced, touting 1.8X faster processor and the ability to stream 4K video! Definitely a nice upgrade if you're coming from a standard Chromecast. Google Play will be starting to stream 4K video later this year, and there are already many titles on Netflix and others. The unit will be $69 and becomes available in November.

Finally, we have #GoogleWifi, This is basically just their entry int the home router solution arena. In general you can have one or multiple units around your home, and control them from a smartphone app. otherwise they're pretty much just a router branded google. Still, good stuff. Google Wifi will come in a single pack for $129, and a three pack for $299, preorders will start in November and shipping in December.


Other notable things were that the Pixel and Pixel XL will have #GoogleDuo and #GoogleAllo preinstalled. I wonder if that means that they won't come with #GoogleHangouts? Goolgle has mentioned that it looks to make Hangouts more of a business oriented application, which would seem to point to them wanting the non business users to shift more to Allo, Duo, Messenger, etc.

Also, the similarity between the new Pixel phones and the iPhone is something that a lot of people have been pointing out. I'm sure some will love that while died in the wool Android fanboys will hate it with every fiber of their being. Google seems to be taking a number of plays from Apple's playbook, but that's not a bad thing. There's no disputing that controlling both the hardware and the software is a much better way to make a quality product than just making software and hoping that the OEM's will do what Google hopes they will. I'm admittedly an iOS user, but I'm very interested in these new Google phones. And maybe that's part of the point. To get people like me to come back to Android by producing something that has the quality, fit and finish of an Apple device, but the flexability and open ecosystem that Google is known for. I'm definitely tempted.

Zzzzz.
pretty gray
xoagray
Sleep and I are not friends tonight. There are times I'd like to say we were pretty close, but we never managed to get together. Often at arms reach, but never within my grasp. Tired of tossing and turning I decided at least my fingers should get some rest, so I let them rest on my keyboard. But they couldn't sleep either, so they started typing. And before I knew it I was writing a post. There really isn't much rhyme or reason to this, it's just the meanderings of a tired mind filtering slowly through it's fingers. Across silicon and satellites, and possibly large copper cables and other computers and eventually to your screen if you happen to be reading this right now.
It's amazing in a way, to think that even in my barely lucid state I'm able to sit here, and type something that almost anyone, anywhere can see. The tiny motions of my fingers can create something, even if almost meaningless, that touches others out there In the great pool of thoughts we call the Internet. Minds all over the world loosing a torrent of ideas, thoughts, feelings, or even just complete nonsense out into the vast sea of the web. And to think, this little rambling will be part of that great big thing. A tiny droplet suspended in that great ocean of data. What an amazing thing that really is. And it's so easy that even my blurry eyes and bleary mind can do it. If I in this state can comfortably tap out this pointless drivel, I submit that there is no longer any reason for me to not do great things.... After I wake up.

Like old fishing tales.
pretty gray
xoagray
What it looks like when people tell stories about, "the one that got away," in 2016. #PokemonGO

Didnt get to do AC, but...
pretty gray
xoagray
Well, I didn't get to go to AC, but it was still a pretty good weekend. I got to hang out with some friends at a local party, and ran into Ator, whom I'd only talked to previously on line.
Spent the rest of the weekend hanging out with Xan, doing a little thinking about the future and stuff. We're still trying to get a few things going, and might be making a couple big changes in the future. But that's for another time.


Posted via m.livejournal.com.


No more gaming videos for a while.
bored / sleepy
xoagray
Well, there's only so much that I can do as far as keeping failing old computers up and running and I've hit that limit. Down two machines that I can't resurrect and there's nothing I can really do about it right now. I've had a lot of fun the last few months making video game videos and hope to continue to explore what I can do with YouTube, but for right now I just don't have the hardware for any more gaming stuff. It was a fun run, and I hope to do it again some time, but for right now there's literally just nothing I can do.
I need newer hardware. I tried getting a new motherboard for my PC and trying to find parts for my Mac, but they're both so old that at this point the parts I need are actually hard to come by. And when I can find them half the time they just don't work. That and old hardware is fine if you're just tinkering around, but it's a pain in the ass when you're trying to produce something and need it to be reliable. I can't complain too much though, these machines have lasted far beyond their expected lifespans. The stuff I was trying to do this with is positively archaic by current standards. In a way it's been amazing that I was able to do what I did with what I have to work with. So at least I can be happy about that.
So what will the future bring? I'm not sure right now. I want to keep doing video / photography stuff, but I'm not sure what direction to take things. I also don't want there to be too be absent too long from my channel. I guess from here we'll just have to see what I can think up. The gaming videos did serve a purpose though, even if I never do another one. They were the test bed for me to prove to myself that I could do this stuff if I really wanted to. And a lot of what I learned making them I can apply to any other video project that I embark on. So that's a win as well.
Here's to whatever the future brings. :)

PC's down.
pretty gray
xoagray
Well, I was starting to get my YouTube channel going with some gaming videos, but that's going to have to wait for a while now. Both my MacBook that I was using as my primary video editing machine, and my PC that I was using for gaming are down. So that pretty much kills it off for me till I can get some new hardware, or maybe find a way to bring my old hardware back from the dead again. While I've become a very accomplished technomancer in my time, even my powers have their limits. I hate to cut things short like that, but without the hardware there's not a whole lot I can do. I still have the hardware to do some things, but I'm going to be all mobile at this point. It's a setback, but I'm not going to let this shut me down.

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