Long term, low level injury

One of the joys of getting older is that I no longer bounce back from even minor injuries. Case in point:

About a month or a month and a half ago, I jammed my left thumb. I don’t remember what I did, just that it hurt like hell and was tender for a few days. Usually, these things pass, and in a week or so, you forget that you ever did it.

However this time, it didn’t quite go that way. It still hurts when I grip with my left hand. Like holding a beer bottle is a struggle (oh noes!!!!!). I can’t use my left thumb to dispense soft soap at the washbasin. I can’t open jars (can’t grib the jar with my left hand).

Cycling is hard, as you need to grip to be somewhat safe and efficient.

So, off to the doctor. Probably a referral to a orthopedist, and X-Rays to ensure that I didn’t break anything.

But really, I just want my left hand to work right again.

IT upgrade or is it really a downgrade…

Last friday night we had one of those upgrade events. Supposedly to improve our broadband connection, and improve the experience of using both the internet and the internal network.

I have to say it is a resounding failure. Sending 750 MB of data to a server in Colorado Springs (intranetwork), has taken 45 minutes, and is still only 75% complete. It used to be faster.

Guess I will have to submit a helpdesk ticket. (FWIW, it would be faster to drive home, VPN in, and transfer this data from my home network connection).

Some weird shit – Microsoft Office to HTML

So, I run a website for a great group of people. It is a non-profit that rescues greyhounds.

Sometimes, they need to post something, so I get a file in Microsoft Word, and I need to get it HTML formatted.

Their website is based around Joomla, and I use the JCE rich text editor. In general, it works pretty good, but sometimes it is thrown for a loop by what Microsoft outputs as HTML.

An example:

<p style=”margin-left: 60px;”>1. &nbsp; Identify caring and responsible homes.</p>
<p style=”margin-left: 60px;”><span style=”line-height: 1.3em;”>2. &nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style=”line-height: 1.3em;”>Re</span><span style=”line-height: 1.3em;”>scu</span><span style=”line-height: 1.3em;”>e</span><span style=”line-height: 1.3em;”> </span><span style=”line-height: 1.3em;”>s</span><span style=”line-height: 1.3em;”>i</span><span style=”line-height: 1.3em;”>ck</span><span style=”line-height: 1.3em;”>,</span><span style=”line-height: 1.3em;”> </span><span style=”line-height: 1.3em;”>i</span><span style=”line-height: 1.3em;”>n</span><span style=”line-height: 1.3em;”>j</span><span style=”line-height: 1.3em;”>u</span><span style=”line-height: 1.3em;”>r</span><span style=”line-height: 1.3em;”>e</span><span style=”line-height: 1.3em;”>d</span><span style=”line-height: 1.3em;”> </span><span style=”line-height: 1.3em;”>an</span><span style=”line-height: 1.3em;”>d</span><span style=”line-height: 1.3em;”> </span><span style=”line-height: 1.3em;”>abandone</span><span style=”line-height: 1.3em;”>d </span><span style=”line-height: 1.3em;”>g</span><span style=”line-height: 1.3em;”>r</span><span style=”line-height: 1.3em;”>eyhound</span><span style=”line-height: 1.3em;”>s.</span></p>
<p style=”margin-left: 60px;”>3. &nbsp; Seek to return lost greyhounds to their owners.</p>
<p style=”margin-left: 60px;”>4. &nbsp; Teach the principles of kindness and humane dog care.</p>
<p style=”margin-left: 60px;”>5. &nbsp; Promote birth control by neutering/spaying all intake animals.</p>
<p style=”margin-left: 60px;”>6. &nbsp; Provide pre-adoption health services.</p>
<p style=”margin-left: 60px;”>7. &nbsp; Provide residential foster care to assist greyhounds in becoming acclimated to a home environment.</p>

Note the second line item, it is supposed to be :

  1.  Rescue sick, injured, and abandoned greyhounds.

It has become some gawdawful bunch of span’s that make no sense whatsoever.

Sigh, I get to clean this mess up…

Music: iRadio FTW(?)

In the past I have pitted Spotify against Google All Access, and while the Google offering was slightly cheaper, it had enough warts to drop it into second place. At that time, I mentioned that I looked forward to Apple’s offering, and would revisit when it was officially launched.

iTunes has long supported internet radio stations, but they were all third party, and of quite varied quality and availability. At first, I thought this was the offering of Apple, and I was disappointed (until I found the Live365 feeds at least).

With the launch of iTunes 11.1, and iOS 7, Apple has put out its own radio service. I have been using it pretty extensively since last Thursday (before I even updated my iPhone), and I am quite impressed.

There is no doubt that Apple has an amazing selection of music in their grasp. But could they do a good job defining stations and genres to tailor the music. I should add that I am not a demographic for top 40, or much of the pop/country/hip hop music. I am a guitar player, so my tastes tend to classic rock, blues based rock, some folk, and generous helpings of heavy metal.

One of the first “predefined” station is a “Beatles” station. ITMS has the Beatles, and Spotify doesn’t. I fired it up and enjoyed several hours of mid – late 60’s pop-ish, and deep cuts/covers and related tunes. Awesome.

I dove into creating my own stations. They have genres that make sense. In the “Metal” category, they have british, classic metal, progressive, and the harder stuff. All these sub genre’s are great.

In the blues, I have electric blues (Stevie Ray Vaughn, Buddy Guy, Gary Moore), and Delta Blues (Robert Johnson, and his ilk). Great stuff.

The selection, and the mixes have been awesome. I don’t think I have heard the same song twice in probably 20 hours of listening. (One area where Spotify could improve, is that you seem to get in a cycle and the same song can come up 2 times a day.)

A long time back, I was a Pandora user. I never subscribed to them, because if I wanted to listen to Gary Moore, I didn’t want a radio station based on Gary Moore. So I went to Spotify when it came to the US. But I always liked the Pandora stations. They seemed to have awesome algorithms to select music, and a deep playlist that went on forever. I believe, from what I have heard over the last 5 days, that Apple has come really close to this algorithms.

The best point? Since I am a iTunes Match customer, the radio is ad free. And free is better than $10 a month.

Yes, I see my monthly spend to Spotify going poof.

Some Evernote Love

I have been a premium subscriber of Evernote for a few years. At first, I paid to get the larger amount of storage, and to toss them a bone.

It is the premier cross platform notebook. I have written in the past that Microsoft’s OneNote is a better app, but being Windows only means that I am not going to adopt it.

At first, the disparity in features between OneNote and Evernote were pretty wide. But with the last few updates, the gap has narrowed greatly, and in some ways, Evernote has surpassed. The ability to toss PDF’s, Gmail messages, and pretty much all documents at it is impressive to say the least. Its apps for the smartphones are also excellent.

And, as a premium subscriber, it will OCR documents for me in the background, so they become searchable.  Adobe Acrobat does that as well, but it is nice to just send them to Evernote and let it chew on them.

Lately,  I have been using Evernote for collaboration. I have invited some people to share my “Marketing” notebook, and it has fostered some great idea sharing.

I am beginning to use it more and more for my daily workflow, and it is improving my productivity. I have no doubt that trent will continue.

If you are a “free” Evernote user, consider taking the plunge and go premium. You will find a lot more uses for the product and service.