Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Wireless cost info is available

Well, well!  I take it back about telcom information being hard to find without calling.

I just found http://www.att.com/att/planner/.  It gives you most of the info you need to determine your monthly cost.  As usual, the taxes and other surcharges aren’t included.  Estimate that at about 10%; this will vary month-to-month and by location.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

iPhone weather app puts midwest in England

See https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7294687 for full discussion.

Don’t touch that dial!

I lay awake last night thinking about the iPhone weather app having the wrong time for the Central Time Zone.

It occurred to me that the time given is Greenwich Mean Time.  I even got up and looked up the time in London.  It was one hour later than Greenwich Mean Time because Britain is daylight savings time.  The British time was one hour later than the time in weather app.

This morning I checked my wife’s iPhone.  It had the wrong weather time, and she is still on iOS 9.0.1.  I asked several people in a fitness center and they reported that their iPhone weather apps had the wrong time.  Some even reported that this started at the end of last week.

I think what has happened is that whoever maintains the data for Apple’s weather app took off the -5 adjustment for Central Daylight Time.  So, the problem is not in your phone and no kind of reset will fix the problem.  We’ll just have to wait for somebody in Apple to put the correct adjustment on Central Daylight Time.

Now I have to find Apple’s Feedback page and post the above to it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Slicing and dicing clichés

One of the most used clichés used is “The Media” as if all news programs, all newspapers, and all magazines were all alike and not presenting the views of the speaker.

The use of this cliché is most strange.  Those who consider themselves “conservative” complain about “the liberal media” even though they get their news through the likes of Fox News or the Wall Street Journal.  Those who consider themselves “liberal” complain about “the conservative media” even though they get their news through PBS and the New York Times.

Maybe the truth is that most “media” present a wide variety of news, including what a “conservative” says and what a “liberal” says.  The “media” is “biased” because some of the news includes views that the complainer disagrees with.

And maybe the complainers watch too much TV news and don’t read enough newspapers.  Most papers include a variety of columnists and a large variety of opposing view in their letters columns.

If “The Media” has any bias, it is partly “laziness” and partly lack of resources.  It is rare that we see on the front page “Joe Blow” came in second to a de facto “none of the above”.  That is, Joe Blow received 55 percent of the 55 percent turnout, giving him a “landslide”.  Huh?  55 percent of 55 percent represents a tad over 30 percent of the registered voters; it’s even worse if you consider eligible voters.  Come on, almost 70 percent of the voters didn’t care to vote for Joe Blow, but “The Media” tells us a different story.

“Two party system” is used almost as if it were were written in the Constitution.  It is just a fiction of convenience. If you think about it, we had a de facto “three party system” in the middle of the Twentieth Century.  There were the Republicans, the Northern Democrats, and the Southern Democrats.  The two parts of the Democratic Party came together on many issues, but if the Southern Democrats detected any threat to “States Rights” they were agin’ it.  The miracle was that a Southern Democrat, Lyndon Johnson, broke the log jam.  Now many of those Southern Democrats are Republicans.

Now Southern Republicans and “Tea Party” Republicans have all but drowned out “moderate” Republicans.  “Moderate” Republicans being those who want to work with Democrats to solve real problems.  What’s a “real problem”?  A problem that affects the “General Welfare” as called for in the Constitution.  That is, how do we make government work for all of our people, not just a chosen few.

This impasse many call a “dysfunctional Congress” and blame each and every member of Congress for this problem.  Interestingly, some commentators point out that in almost every district or state, a sizable number of people don’t think their Representative or Senators are part of the problem.

Along with this view many say that “government is the problem”.  But it is “We, the People” who have voted for this government.

However, some of the same people who think government is inefficient think that the United States should and can solve all the problems of the world.  Worse, they think the United States should use force to do so.  Ah, another cliché, “Leader of the Free World”.  Who in the “Free World” outside the United States had a vote in selecting the President of the United States?

When those who want to exercise their will on other countries with military force, they call it “defense”.  But defense of what?  Defense of our homeland?  Or defense of their view of the world?  A thought experiment: if we hadn’t “defended” ourselves in Afghanistan, Iraq, and dozens of other places, would there have been a “9/11”?

“Greedy corporations” is a cliché used often by the “Left” as if all corporations were the scum of the earth.  Interestingly, many of them find out about meetings complaining about corporations on their computers and cell phones and drive to the meetings in their private automobiles.  In other words, they depend on large corporations to complain about large corporations.  It makes me think of a Lenin quote, but I don’t think it quite fits: “A capitalist will sell you the rope to hang him with.”

Just like we have good government and bad government, we have good corporations and bad corporations.  For every hidden recall, how many public acknowledgments of corporate problems do we hear?

The latest effort at corporate responsibility is by General Mills.  Because of the various sources of grain it has, it makes every effort to make sure its products are what they say they are.  To ensure gluten-free products they use expensive machines to separate wheat from other grains.  As with all human systems, stuff happens.  As soon as General Mills found out about the problem, they recalled supposedly gluten-free products.  Interestingly, it may have been the truck of a small, independent contractor that had the mixed grain.  For more details, see the Star Tribune of 2015-10-10.

To end on a negative note, I’ll fault General Mills for deceptive packaging.  We had Golden Valley Nut Bars as a snack this past Sunday.  The nut bars ended at the border between the clear part of the wrapper and the opaque part.  Even considering the need to seal the top of the package, three quarters of an inch more of bar could have fit in the package.

Also published online in the Duluth Reader, 2015-10-15 at http://duluthreader.com/articles/2015/10/14/6089_slicing_and_dicing_clich_s

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Pride goeth before the fall

The full King James Version of the title is “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

Is pride always a bad thing?

Pride based on the assumption that you are better than everyone else is certainly not a good thing.  This was the pride of kings and nobility who thought they were better than the “rabble” or even the lesser “nobility”.  They lived lavishly, depending on the taxes and labor of those “beneath” them.  Some of these “haughty spirits” had a great fall.

Do we have a new “nobility” who wouldn’t have their wealth without the labor of many others?  Does this “nobility” think they earned every dollar personally, even if those who did the actual work for them lived in dire straits or worked at dangerous jobs without proper safety measures?  Their pride does cause destruction; is a fall coming for them?

Pride is a good thing when it is to bolster one’s self-esteem.  Think “gay pride” and “black pride”.  If this pride makes people think better of themselves, despite the disdain of others, then it is definitely a good thing.

Pride is a good thing when one has created something unique or solved a difficult problem.

These kinds of pride could come under the advice “Don’t hide your light under a bushel”.  Of course, one should balance between waving the light in the face of others and getting rewarded with money or fame for one’s effort.

Southern Pride has been much in the news lately.  Is this a good thing or a bad thing?  But is it a pride based on “we’re right and everyone else is wrong” or is it based on some real accomplishments?  If it is still fighting the Civil War, it is not a good thing.  If it is, then those who hold this attitude should consider the warning of George Washington in his “Farewell Address”.  He warned of the dangers of south against north or east against west.

Have you heard much talk of Northern Pride or Eastern Pride or Western Pride?

National pride is something many feel, but is it really justified?  I am an American but I feel neither proud nor ashamed to be an American; I just am an American.  This is my country with all of its greatness and all of its faults.

I feel no pride because many Americans fought and died to help defeat Hitler.  I was only seven years old at the time.  About the only thing I did for the war effort was to fill my war stamp book.

I feel no shame because the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing thousands of women and children who had nothing to do with Imperial policy.  Again I was only seven at the time.  Interestingly, there are some who are proud of this attack, some of whom are also anti-abortion.  How many instant abortions were there at Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

I feel no pride because I am not a hyphenated American.

My name may be Irish, but I don’t consider myself an Irish-American.  In fact, when I visited Ireland, I was called a Yank.  The earliest ancestor I can find with the name Magree was in the 1830 census.  I know he is an ancestor because his son married in England and gave his father’s first name on his marriage document.  For all I know, Vincent Magree could have immigrated from Italy as Vincenzo Magri!  The 1830 census did not provide the detail that later censuses did.

Most of my traceable ancestors were from England or Germany, and possibly Poland.  But I am not English-American or German-American or Polish-American.  I am just American and happy to be so regardless of the achievements or the faults of many other Americans.

Some time ago I wrote a Reader Weekly column entitled “I live in the best house in the world”.  I poked fun at myself because I lived in “the best house in the world.”  I kept stepping up from best city, best state, and best country.  At each step I pointed out that others felt the same about their cities, states, or countries.

Another aspect of pride is “school spirit”.  I never did like the term.  I went to the schools that I did because they had to let me in or I chose them for my own convenience.  Sure, I participated in a couple of varsity sports and I cheered on my friends in the sports they chose.  I also donate annually to the two colleges that I went to.  Others paid a large portion of my tuition then, and so I support those who study there now.  The pile of literature that I get from both includes what the sports teams are doing.  I could care less.  I do care that the students are learning important and useful stuff.

I find it amazing or amusing that so many get wrapped up in the doings of sports teams, both scholastic and professional.  If the locals win, they are overjoyed; if the locals lose, they are dejected or even derisive of coaches or players.

My attitude is “who are the Bulldogs”?  Yeah!  Yeah!  I know, but I have no idea what their schedule is.  I  just wish the band would play a bit quieter so that I didn’t hear it at my house three-quarters of a mile away.

Finally, when someone asks me about the Vikings, I reply, “Vikings!!  Hide the gold!  Run for the hills!”

OK!  I have no shame!  I am done rambling.  You can use this page to wrap fish.

Also appears in the Reader Weekly of Duluth, 2015-10-08 at http://duluthreader.com/articles/2015/10/07/6053_pride_goeth_before_the_fall.