Sound Off

Today I was going through my iPhone and changing up some ringtones and sounds. Life is too dull with only having the default sound effects set up. I would like to say that I often change up my ringtones, but it’s more like once a year. Usually my phone is on silent/vibrate. But lately I’ve been wanting to hear it again.

I realized that the ringtones I have are from movies, video games, and some of my favorite songs. After years of using these themes, I still like to hear them. Pretty sure that subconsciously, when others hear my ringtones, it brings up feelings and memories. I know that a couple of weeks ago, when I was using the ringtone from “Episodes” it caught people’s attention. Mostly because it is a very irritating theme. Also, I was getting a lot of phone calls, so even I was getting irate.

I guess that this is what makes life a bit more interesting. Sound effects are everywhere. But we become so accustomed to them that they get filtered out. I sometimes add my own from my mouth just for fun. Nothing like singing a line from a song before answering the phone. “Who can it be now?” Or yelling out “Boom” as you hit enter on on email.

These are my current sounds. I love the Disney Turnstile beep. It’s one of those sounds that you hear in Disneyland all the time, but ignore.

I’m always on the hunt for new sounds/songs. What do you have set for your phone?

Passwords

All this computer security stuff irks me. Especially PASSWORDS. Seriously- who would want to hack me?

Today I was trying to log into an online account and I could not remember the password. Then it dawned on me- I was using the wrong email address! That was dumb.

Yesterday at work, I needed to access a program that I hadn’t used in months. Because of this- it locked me out and I had to reset my password to gain access again. It didn’t take very long to fix.

Even worse at work is that they make us reset our passwords every so often. I have also had to reset my password on other sites/apps and I always forget what it is. Especially when I only log in every so often or rarely at all. Then I’ll request an email to get a reset my password, only to discover that I can’t use the same password! Holy hell.

But you can’t make the password simple. It should be different for every site/app/program. Or so they say. I have a couple of “Go To” passwords. But with variations such as capitals, numbers, symbols… I often forget which variation I used.

If I didn’t have my WordPress app set up to log on, I have no idea if I could remember my password. Same with most of my social media apps. As long as my phone doesn’t die, get lost or stolen- you’ll continue to hear from me.

No, that doesn’t mean I want you to steal my phone!

Enjoying Fallout

Last night my son and I began playing Fallout 4 on PS4. Ya I know the game is already 3 years old, but it’s new to us. As I mentioned back in January in Father/son Video Game Day, we finally got a PlayStation 4 for Christmas. We have been slowly adding to our library of games. A game such as Fallout 4 that has been around for a few years is generally inexpensive to purchase. So, we now own it.

Since we only just began playing the game and it is a one player, first person shooter, my son has taken most of the control of the character. I have sat on the sidelines offering advice and asking questions. It surprised my son that I know so much about the game. I had to explain to him that most games like this are formulaic. They follow a set style which makes it more natural to pick up and begin playing.

What sets apart each game are a few key features. Storyline, characters, settings, graphics (these increase in quality over the years), sound effects, and music. Fallout 4 surprised me in this last area. Where most games of this style (shooters) usually boast either no music or go heavy metal/industrial, Fallout 4 does not. Instead, because it is a post-apocalyptic theme, the soundtrack is rockabilly/ bluesy songs from the 1930’s-1960’s. It comes through their mock radio station- Diamond City Radio.

This music playlist really sets the tone of the game for me. I have already fallen in love with it after only playing for about an hour. The use of music in the storyline really sets the narrative. I am looking forward to many more hours of gameplay. With my son at the controls of course… because I suck at gaming nowadays. I miss my blocky running dude from the early 80’s.

My Technology Is Listening to Me… And Getting It Wrong.

Last night I tried to tell my son Theory that I loved him. Because that’s what you do when it’s time to say goodnight. I just tried to say it all cool like. You know, just kind of throw it out there.

“Hey Theory.”

“I love you.”

Aww. Easy Dad speak to a 12 year old son, right? Not according to the phone in my pocket. She answered me suddenly after a beep:

Aw man. What should’ve been a simple response from my son, “love you too” turned into a mean statement from my iPhone. I then began to ask Siri if she could pronounce “Theory”. Then I asked her to pronounce “Siri”. Then I asked her to find my son. So she did:

You see, my technology listens to me. Even when I don’t want it to.

Sometimes it gets it right, sometimes it doesn’t.

3D Printer- Part 1: The Obsession

I’ve been wanting to buy a 3D Printer for a few years now. I even became convinced that I could justify its existence in my life. Hey honey- Looks like I’ll need to reprint more flower pots! I’ll have that ready in about a week. But why don’t I just hit the Home Depot and spend $2 on some?

Once I almost spent some money on a pancake printer! What the heck is wrong with me? I know- it’s the excitement of making something out of almost nothing is kinda cool. Just an image in a program, some heated plastic and a few hours later- there it is: a plastic replica of something.

3D Printers have gotten better lately. After years of obsessing, studying and watching every video review- I think it may be time to get one. The model I want is the CR-10. It looks like a good printer with good reviews and a decent price point. My only worries- I’ll get bored and have an expensive paperweight or it will end up as annoying as a regular printer.

You know what I’m talking about. The paper printer at work that randomly stops working. Or the printer at home that refuses to print in black and white because one of the ink toners is low. I imagine that it could get frustrating partway through a 3D print only to have it flake out towards the end. Troubleshooting things like that are the part that makes me leery about going too cheap.

But hey, maybe I could print off my own 3D money in the end!

Treat Yo’ Self

On Friday I decided to buy a new iPhone for myself. I was really bad with my last phone. The 6+ was too big. I broke the screen 3 times (four if you count the pixel lines that appeared down the side). It pissed me off one time that I had to write about how stupid I was: Aw Dang. I never broke my iPhone 4! I treated that thing like gold. I took some Parks & Rec advice:

Since we are going on a trip I don’t want a piece of poop iPhone with a broken screen or dying battery to try and make memories with. I wanted something that works. Convincing my wife was easy… I had to buy her one as well.

This time around I bought the phone in white. Last year I mentioned how I associate white cars with Luxury so I figured, maybe I should do the same with my iPhone. I should be able to treat it better now. It’s smaller and easier to see. It feels slick and clean as I type today’s blog post. I had to spoil myself for my birthday…

I’m also excited to utilize some of the new features available for video and photos. I’m going to force my children to participate in some fun while we are gone!

I love my new phone.

WiFi

I can’t live without technology. Over the past 15+ years, I also can’t live without access to the internet!

Ya I know I could “live” without it. But it has become an integral part of my daily life. In fact, once I got a smartphone- I have been unable to remain offline for extended periods. I’ve come to terms with this. I do however know when not to go online or use my smartphone; for example- driving.

Since the world is connected and Google is everywhere- I figured that our trip out of the country to Japan would require some sort of access to the World Wide Web. After speaking to some people at work who have been to Japan recently, I came to the conclusion that access to Google would be a necessity.

I’ve been using Google Maps on my computer and my iPhone for the past few months studying up on Tokyo. I’ve been trying to get my bearings of where we are staying in relation to the various sights. I’ve already printed directions and train times for each day. But I know that I will also need access to a live map periodically.

Having access to “Google Translate” also seems like a great idea. Since none of us speak Japanese- nor can we read it- having quick translations both written and in speech will be handy. Knowing my personal limitations when it comes to other languages and cultures is humbling to say the least.

It all comes down to the question, “How am I going to access the Internet abroad while on the go?” I had a couple of options:

The first was to fork over $12/day on my personal cellphone to “Roam Like Home“. The second option was to get a SIM card or a “Burner Phone” and pay as I go for the twelve days we are there. But the option I liked best was “Pocket WiFi“. This is $7/day and I can connect up to 10 devices. This will also allow my wife and children unlimited access to the internet as we travel around Tokyo.

This option seemed like a no-brainer. I pre-ordered the Pocket WiFi from Econnect and it will be delivered to our hotel the day we arrive. I had the option to pick up at the airport, but it was on the far side of the airport at the Domestic Terminal. I have decided that we will try and manage a 15 minute train ride from the airport to our hotel without use of technology. This may end up being the longest 15 minutes of my life as I stress about what stop we are getting off at and which way to walk afterwards.

The benefits of having WiFi in a foreign country won’t make me feel so nervous. It’s a common ground that most of the civilized world understands. Who knows, after this trip I may try and venture further out of my comfort zone.

Note Taking Skillz

At work, I am constantly taking notes. Always scribbling on pieces of paper- tidbits of information needed throughout my day. Before my day is over, I review these notes a few times during my shift to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

I don’t take any long term notes in notebook form anymore. Over the past few years, I have begun using my iPhone as my note taking device. It has become invaluable to me. (As in having lots of value, not having no value.) I use this because of the simplicity and ease of using the “Search” bar to find keywords. Much easier than flipping through notebooks.

I’d also like to think I have a decent memory. But some of my computer skills would tell you otherwise. I often forget the DOS style commands and end up fumbling through until I discover the correct code. At that point, my phone comes out and I figure out where I went wrong. I’ll probably die with a bunch of memorized codes after 25 years of work. But by then, we’ll all be integrated into the Matrix and my mind will just be another battery…

Group Messaging

I’m hardly a fan of text messaging. Most emotions or ideas get lost in a text. As well, you may inadvertently say or share something you wish you could take back. Texting has all the evils of misunderstood email, only quickly shared and quickly misinterpreted.

But group messaging is far worse.

It’s already bad enough having the regular messaging issues I mentioned. Now you have more people judging you. If everyone is active, sometimes the discussions get jumbled up. A question posed five comments before gets answered, but it could be relevant to the last message. It all becomes so convoluted. Even as simple as asking about getting together becomes a chore.

Humor also doesn’t come across very well in text messaging. In a group setting, suddenly someone could be offended and drama unfolds. Words are feverishly typed and sent. Then a second group message is created to talk about the first one behind someone’s back. More drama.

I just want to live in a simple messaging society of emojis and gifs. Don’t ask me to call though. Talking on the phone was so 25 years ago. Basically, I just don’t want the hassle anymore of deciphering group texts or phone calls.

Thermostat

A couple of days ago, the heat in our home began to act up. It would either be extremely hot upstairs or freezing cold downstairs. No idea why.

As the temperatures outside drop, so is the main living space of our home. We hit 15° the other day… not the best while winter is approaching. So I have taken it upon myself to figure out how to fix our heating issue.

The last time we had an issue was back in 2013. I had to change out the part that spins to allow water to flow through our radiant hot water baseboards. It was obviously a success at the time. I tried shutting off the breaker and it just resets this and I hear it work. So it must be something else entirely. I figure it’s the thermostat.

This morning I installed a “smart thermostat” called ecobee3. Hopefully I did it correctly. There were so many wire terminals, but I only had 3 wires. It at least turned on… soon we shall see if my family will live comfortably or have to wear numerous sweaters and blankets.

If anyone has used this system or knows about heating and thermostats, I’d love some tips. I love learning new things and becoming more self sufficient in the DIY area.