Turn those apps off.

17 02 2015

I’m a complete social media nut, I use it constantly, but only over wi-fi when I’m at home, But when I upgraded from my iPhone 3GS to a brand new Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, I began to notice that the apps were on constantly.

The problem is that I have an extremely light account with my phone company, it allows me to contact people in an emergency, or phone a taxi. If I do use the internet while I’m out, it might be to take a note or to send a tweet while I have an idea, it might also be to use a map.

So while I can pull down the screen and switch mobile data off, which seems useful in theory. If I do want to use a single app while I’m out, there is a sudden rush by all the other apps to download any lingering data.

I would prefer that apps like Twitter and Facebook could be set so that they do not refresh while I’m out, but I could still write and send text.

A separate lite version perhaps?

Last night I noticed the Active Apps widget, which allows me to turn apps off, but am wondering if they’re totally off or will they still download data? I will experiment with that later.

Wolfie Rankin.





Skinned

8 02 2015

After buying a phone, I went looking for a skin for the screen… but the Galaxy Note Edge was so new that Australian shops didn’t have a screen protector for it.

So I consulted the internet, and found that Skinomi skins were available on E-bay, so I shelled out for one, and weeks later it arrived in pristine condition from the US.

I had managed to use screen protectors on my Iphone and even on my old Palm PDA, so I wasn’t bothered by the idea of applying it, although I had major problems, which I’ll get to, when I got one for my Macbook.

The kit arrived, and the instructions said to watch the video on applying it, which was on youtube, which I did.

I watched the guy wipe his phone down, with the supp0lied cloth, spray his fingers with the supplied spray, then peel the skin and place it onto the phone, easy!

So I tried it, this is what happened.

I wiped the phone down and got it nice and clean, then sprayed my clean fingertips, and peeled the skin. Sprayed the back of it as instructed, Just as I was about to put the skin onto the phone… I noticed spots of dust, which had only just landed there, I live with an Alaskan Malamute, dust free places in this house, HAHA, Surely You Jest.

So I tried to wipe the phone again, but as hard as I tried to get all the dust off, there was no way I could manage it, and the film I had been holding had a fingerprint onto it, and wilted in my hand, and then I thought the phone was clean enough, and positioned the film in just the right… no that’s not looking right, I lifted it up, and it sticks and no, arggh, no….

AARRGGHHHH!!!!!!!

I crumpled the stupid thing up and tossed it angrily to the floor.

The exact same thing happened when I tried to do it on the mac, dripping wet messy plastic, a very wet macbook, sticky stuff, sticking everywhere it wasn’t supposed to… anger… plastic mess on the floor.

So that’s twice I’ve wasted money on this stuff, although I can’t remember if it was the same brand.

Have you had better luck with it?

Wolfie Rankin.





Problems with mobile devices

8 02 2015

We love our mobile devices, they’re so very freeing, we don’t have to sit at our desks, they don’t take years to boot up, but, they still lack basic functions which ought to be available.

I recently upgraded to a Galaxy Note Edge, and I have been very happy, I know this because I’ve been using it for weeks, almost forgetting my PC and laptop completely.

But here’s a few thoughts, it’s fucking difficult to hold, firstly it’s super flat which sounds cool in theory, but it’s a cow and a half to hold. I’m sure my hand is getting RSI from holding it by the edge all the time, and I’d like someone to come up with something I could slide my hand into, so I can hold it better. I got a Verus case for it, it’s brilliant, it has given me slightly more grip, and a similar case saved my iphone numerous times, but something so I could really hang onto it (and not drop it) would be extremely helpful.

And now Samsung is thinking of releasing a newer phone with two curved edges, instead of just a single curved edge, like I have on my current phone, that’s going to be murder to hang on to.

Editing is also very difficult on phones.

I’m often on social media and have thoughts which I might type out on Facebook and want to add to Twitter, and yet the official Twitter app does not allow any copy and paste functions, Come on, WTF?

And when I am allowed to copy, yes I can do it from the Facebook app, selecting all the text is not easy, get to the top of the screen and I can never quite get all the text highlighted, that’s frustrating and needs work.

And this is something that I’ve been after for a long time, not only for phones but for the PC too.

Why is copying files to folders so damn complicated?

If I see a photo on a website that I want to keep, it’s a matter of right clicking, choosing “save”, finding the exact folder I want, and saving it there.

Why can’t we just grab the photo with our mouse, drag it to the side of the screen and drop it into a handy recent folders popup? (recent or pre-chosen) I think something similar would work on the phone too.

Wolfie Rankin (Who is currently writing some fiction and needs encouragement)





Misplaced Love.

9 01 2015

I’m getting fed up with the internet, so naturally I’m going to complain about it on the internet, I could also do the big dramatic thing of pulling up roots after telling everybody goodbye, for good… but I won’t.

The internet is my drug, I kind of hate it in some ways, but will always inject more of the stuff into my ever hungry veins.

And yet I’m frustrated with the whole shebang.

I thought for a long time that I could produce work, and put it on the internet, partly for fun, partly to show off what I could do, not that I can do much, I can’t play the guitar, or sing, or write novels (no patience), and partly to entertain others.

I’ve seen people do things and thought that I could do that, and have done much the same thing, but in my own way, and it’s hardly looked at, and I don’t know why, I put lots of work into it, I share it on all the social networks, and yet the most I can ever hope to attain is twenty views.

Am I jealous of others? I hope not, I’m not a jealous person, I really just want a little love if I can, but I do feel annoyed that I can do a lot of work and be all but ignored, while an animated cat with a rainbow coming out of its arse, gets billions of views.

I’m sure I’m not the only one to feel this way, I’m sure there are singers, musos, actors, writers and more, who have put their heart and soul into their work, which might be really good, who are just not, for whatever reason, ever noticed.

I spend a lot of my time on Twitter, What I think I hoped to do was to forge connections with others, so that at some point I’d be a lot less lonely in this world… I really don’t see my work getting me anywhere, nobody wants a 49 year old bloke, who am I kidding? But I thought that somewhere along the line I could make friends who I could probably hang out with in the real world.

Now 99% of the time, it’s really only an issue of distance, if we all lived in the same city then I’m sure I’d be going to a lot of lunches and birthday do’s. but all I’m actually getting from all this tweeting is me chasing my own tail, and I seem to have been doing that for quite a while.

I have been online since the late 80’s, and I think that because I have never been a social animal, that I first used it to find out who I was, and I think in a way I’m still doing that, but I am looking for friendship, I feel like a failure at most things, but I can make friends, except…

I seem to find people to talk to, but then it’s like the power is pulled from the wall.

I can make friends, and am happy to support others, I love doing that.
I want to make things better for others… but I fail at making my own life better.

Yes I am fed up with the internet, it seems to have led me down a one-way street, and I’ve come up against this wall that I cannot ever hope to penetrate.

And I seem to have lost contact with myself too.





The Misery of BluRay.

15 12 2014

I’m a music lover, and I’m usually looking for new vinyl or CDs, but once in a very rare blue moon, I fancy watching a movie.

So at the supermarket today I thought I’d grab Guardians of the Galaxy and give that a spin.

My PC is newish and has a bluray drive in it, but I’ve not had a BluRay movie yet, so this would be a first.

Around Ten, I popped the disc in the drive and prepared to watch it… it wouldn’t run in Windows Media Player, or VLC.

A quick Google search suggested that I should go to a page which would let me tweak VLC with a few clever files, which should sort out the problem.

it didn’t work.

Then I tried Cyberlinks DVD player, it’s a commercial player, which I didn’t have, but as there’s a 30 day trial on it, I thought it’d be ok to get.

Well that didn’t work either.

A friend told me that basically a certain movie distributor is so paranoid about piracy that it basically forces you onto a torrent site, because you’ll never get the original movie to play.

It’s now 1:17am, I’m fed up.

This bluray will be going cheap on e-bay tomorrow.





MP3s Quality over Quantity.

1 12 2014

The first time I heard about MP3s was on “Beyond 2000″ in the Late 80’s (Australian version).

They were first used to store samples for sampling synthesizers, but then moved on to be a way to store a song digitally.

There was a shop in Japan which sold MP3s as singles, on an early kind of memory card, inside a small box which looked something like a small CD package.

Then, They began to appear freely on various websites, and these MP3s were tiny and sounded pretty bad, because back then we mostly used dialup internet, and so the smaller an mp3 was, the quicker it could be downloaded… it seemed that to many people, sound quality didn’t matter all that much.

I have a friend who works in a recording studio, she feels frustrated because at one time, music was mixed in a way that would sound beautiful when played back on good equipment, and she found herself mixing audio for MP3 use, which is something akin to using artificial chocolate in place of the real thing, it’s nowhere as good.

So the whole idea of MP3 was to transfer files quicker or to take up the least amount of space on our devices.

But things have changed, as things do… and people forget why we did things, and still do, this is where habits or needs become traditions, and everyone just goes with the flow without asking why.

Our devices have loads of space, and our internet is faster than before, so why do we persist with a format which is known for poor audio?

Yes, you can still have five thousand songs on the one device, but might it be better to have half of that for audio which sounds a lot more like my sound engineer friend would approve of?

Part of the reason MP3s sound better or worse is because of something called “bitrate”, and about the best MP3s come in at 320k, you can check the bitrate of your MP3s by right-clicking the file and selecting properties, have a look around in the box which appears and it should tell you.

What people don’t realise is that MP3s sold at a popular online store are lower than 320k

(Please don’t be confused, 320k is not the file size)

There are different files called FLACs which are considered lossless, meaning that they sound as good as a CD, I personally don’t think that’s quite true, but a really good FLAC beats a really good MP3.

At this point in time, online stores should offer a better option for those who want it, and MP3s should probably be at the point of being phased out completely.

– Wolfie Rankin.

flac





Walking the Facebook plank

23 10 2014

Thrice in recent months, I’ve lost my Facebook page.

Once was over a slightly naughty image of a bloke laying on the beach, nude, with a sunburnt scrotum. The photo was quite far away, and who knows if it was real or not, probably not real, and most people would have laughed.

Except this person, who flagged my page and had me suspended.

A few weeks went past, and one morning I woke to find a friend had left messages on Twitter to ask what I had done with my page, as it had vanished.

As it turned out, Facebook had suspended me due to it’s real names policy, I had been on Facebook for over five years, surely they’d know by now if I was a good “netizen” or just a creep with a fake name?

Facebook wanted me to change my name or offer proof of legitimacy, I went with the latter option and it wasn’t long before my page was re-opened and all was well with things.

Then about two weeks later it happened again, and was resolved a few days later (my fault it took so long).

As it turns out, if a person doesn’t like you for whatever reason, they can flag your page and it is then suspended pending review.

And that’s what was happening, I simply had a person whose hobby it was to try and wipe me from Facebook.

The Fake Names policy is a contentious issue, with one side claiming everyone with a “fake name” is a troll, stalker, possible rapist… while the other understands that plenty of performers use stage names like Boy George, Marilyn, Elton John, David Bowie… and there are various people who wish to get their thoughts out to the public, while maintaining some secrecy for their own safety, such as political activists.

Drag Queens, Furries, LBGT People, Pagans and others who were not causing any trouble for others, and who were good “customers” at Facebook, have simply been evicted by club bouncers, a simply pointless attack.

This same issue was a huge stumbling block for Google+ too, who in the early days decided this was a great policy, but found that it was much like shooting yourself in the foot, as many enthusiastic people who joined Google+ simply lost their account and although Google+ no longer adheres to the rule, many were offended and didn’t return.

And yes, I have to remember that I was a mod once too, and sometimes I took rules too seriously and acted too strongly, it’s fine to intervene when someone is clearly doing something wrong, but often, just talking about the issue can resolve things really well too.

Wolfie Rankin.








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