Monday, January 21, 2019

Data Day: 3 Years of Monthly Finances

  • The chart shows my income and expenses (omitting all investments) throughout my brief stint at the commercial startup, as well as the Great Stay-At-Home-Dad Experiment.

  • 2018 was the first year with a net negative change -- I ended the year down $15.80 from where I started, which isn't half bad when I spent most of that time hiking through the woods trying to get Maia to nap.

  • My goal for 2019 is to get back in the black in spite of my new major expenses (Netflix fee hikes, HOT lane charges taking Maia to Grandma's house during rush hour, and generous support to the burgeoning local brewery industry).

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Friday, January 18, 2019

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

We All Got Lost by Spose:
If you liked Spose before, this is more of the same -- heavy on witty similes but light on songs you want to listen to more than once. It's also not quite as fun as previous albums.

Final Grade: C+

Homecoming, S1:
This moody, sci-fi show starring Julia Roberts as a counselor in a peculiar military rehabilitation clinic left me bored after two glacially-paced episodes full of cliches. I gave up. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: Not Rated

Crazy Rich Asians:
This is a light, by-the-numbers romantic comedy that's fun while it lasts but will leave no lasting impressions. Awkwafina's character, while very funny, is essentially a female Ken Jeong, which is strange since Ken Jeong is actually in the movie as her dad.

Final Grade: B-

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch:
The latest (standalone) episode of Black Mirror is a self-referential "Choose Your Own Adventure" story about a programmer in the 80s creating a Choose Your Own Adventure video game and questioning his own free will. The ability to decide how the show progresses is fun for awhile, and the "final" ending can be reached before you get bored with the concept (about 80 minutes or so). However, it's not compelling enough to watch again for one of the five different endings. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B+

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

List Day: 8 Reasons Why Google Photos Sucks

I've used Google Photos for photo storage ever since they bought and gradually crushed Picasa. It's no surprise that Google continues to single out useful pieces of software to axe once they're bored of them -- I don't recall where I read it, but I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment that the Google company is like a Montessouri school full of software engineers run amok.

While I regularly say that Google Photos sucks, I've never actually itemized the reasons why.

  1. Google bills it as a drop-in replacement for Picasa, which was a solution for organizing photos, performing minor edits, and sharing them in albums. It's actually a photo backup service, intended for synchronizing bulk collections of photos between devices.

  2. It's impossible to create a truly "public" album, as all sharing requires sharing-by-link or a Google account for each recipient.

  3. The old Picasa API was not updated to serve photos from new Google Photos albums and I never felt compelled to support 2 separate APIs just to get all of my photos together. This is why old Picasa photos show up with URI! Zone theming while the new albums are just links out to Google.

  4. Google is now shutting off the old Picasa API permanently, so I'll have to rewrite my photo-serving MVC code whether I want to or not.

  5. Google Photos allows photos to live in limbo outside of albums. If you accidentally "remove" a photo instead of "move to trash", it will pop up in unexpected places later on.

  6. Google likes to suggest things it thinks should be in your albums. If you explicitly remove a photo from an album, Google will suggest that you re-add it the next time you want to upload new photos. You cannot disable the suggestions and have to click through them to get to the upload mechanism.

  7. Google has a hard time preserving photo order, always using the timestamp on the file, which might be different if you've downloaded the photo from another device or edited it in Photoshop. Sometimes, I've gone back to old albums I've painstakingly reordered before to find the photos back in timestamp order.

  8. Google is incapable of uploading more than 1 - 2 photos at a time without stalling out. Sometimes I'll get daring and upload 4, only to stall on #3. Even then, 1 - 2 photos may still end up duplicated in the album.

What do I like about Google Photos?

  1. The facial recognition is pretty neat for watching babies grow up.

Series to be continued in, "Why Firefox After v56 Sucks"...

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Monday, January 14, 2019

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

12 pictures of your day on the 12th of every month

7:52 AM: Showered and ready for the day.
8:05 AM: Breakfast.
9:09 AM: Back from a Home Depot / Safeway run. I threw those salmon out two hours later -- I should have done a better job checking the dates.
9:59 AM: Finishing the first task on today's agenda: a full cleanse and organization of the nursery.
11:48 AM: Taking a lunch break from my cleaning extravaganza (at 50% completion).
2:19 PM: Christmas is no more!
4:34 PM: Rebecca and Maia return from their overnight Girl's Night at the Smith's house.
4:41 PM: Hints from BUise: Distract the baby from the absence of the Christmas tree with an elephant.
5:08 PM: Playing at dinosaurs.
5:18 PM: Unsure about the health care profession.
6:05 PM: Joe's delivery for dinner.
6:48 PM: Bath time is a favourite time.

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Friday, January 11, 2019

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Fine Print by Invisible Inc:
This album from a band fronted by Watsky reminds me of several jazz combo albums from my youth -- it's really music the performers want to listen to themselves rather caring about what the audience wants to hear. The songs are catchy enough and have a few good hooks, but the album leaves me cold.

Final Grade: C

Mission Impossible: Fallout:
Having only watched the most recent (J.J. Abrams dynasty) MI movies, Rogue Nation was the only one I truly enjoyed. This follow-up movie is too video-game-y and not visceral enough. The action sequences are overwhelmed by CGI, the exposition threatens to bury the action with a running time of 2.5 hours, and nothing felt particularly dangerous. Skip it.

Final Grade: C

Two Tone Rebel by e-dubble:
This album by white rapper, e-dubble, relies a bit too much on oversampling and autotune, but is a fun, simple callback to hip hop circa 2010. I first heard of him through the song, Olly Olly.

Final Grade: B

Designated Survivor, S1:
This show stars Kiefer Sutherland as a mild-mannered bureaucrat who ends up as the President after a catastrophe during the State of the Union address. As a network show, it has some built-in flaws such as repetitive exposition to make sure you heard the important plot points, weak and sometimes preachy dialogue, and annoying secondary storylines involving family. The first half culminating in the intersection of two parallel stories is great, but the second half is much weaker -- the conspiracy takes a backseat to a much milder version of The West Wing. I probably won't watch the second season. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B-

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