Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Review: Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This, I think, explains the environment where I live: A nurse asked me about the book when I had just started it. I explained that it was a secular look at Jesus. She looked confused and asked what secular means. I described it as non-religious which made her look concerned. She shared that she and her husband are reading the Bible together, but it is very slow going because it is hard to read.

This does a good job of setting the environment and circumstances of the time and place where Jesus operated. It continues a bit further along the early Christian church. It explains how and why there was the first split.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Review: Maori Myths & Legendary Tales

Maori Myths & Legendary Tales Maori Myths & Legendary Tales by Alexander Wyclif Reed
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you have seen "Moana" and want to read some of the original stories about Maui, then this book is for you. He shows up in maybe up to a dozen ones.

I picked this up at Te Puia where we were able to attend as guests to a dinner. Maori have a fascinating culture. Their stories are much more varied and interesting than the Irish, Norse, and German ones I have previously read.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Review: The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius

The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius by Marcus Aurelius
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was Aurelius' diary. He introspected on Stoic philosophy and especially the behaviors of a good person: integrity, willpower, quietude, and self-focus. I strongly identified with many of his thoughts and feel the content of the book was worth reading it.

My first main issue with the book are more that it needs an editor. Because it was his diary, the content lacks organization and focus. Somewhat ironic that a book about discipline is so lacking it in the writing.

The other main issue with the edition I chose is the lack of references. It probably would double the 100 pages to get an appropriate amount of footnotes. The George Long edition, Thoughts of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus is what I probably should have read. The downside of it, though, is footnotes on why Long chose the translations he did. That's not a big deal.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Someone made a ping on my Unfriendly Connect For Feedly blog post. So, here is an update. I did use Feedly for another year. I do not recall there being a single thing that drove me away, but for months I was pretty frustrated and unhappy using it. To me, Feedly being THE last RSS reader signified the death of it, because I could not see many people putting up with the product. There was a doubt that maybe it was just me that kept me trying to figure out how to change myself to be OK with it. I think if I had migrated to the mobile app, and dropped using it on my computer, then I'd have been fine. There are just so many other things I do in the limited time that I use my phone it never dawns on me to use it there.

Last September was the final straw. Either I was going to either

  1. Abandon RSS entirely or 
  2. Find something else.
Apparently my something else is Inoreader.
  1. I migrated my feeds through an OPML export and import.
  2. I started subscribing to new feeds again.
  3. Most importantly, when people ask what reader I use, I am happy to reply with a confident "I like Inoreader." 
That last is rather than couch a vague "I want to like Feedly, but ugh. Everyone else seems to be using it."

It has the simple things like keyboard navigation I understand. Space to page down, mark the next post as read, and advance to the next feed. Posts have a unread count that makes sense.

Flickr posts show the image twice. Once in the body and again marked "Original enclosure." 

The integrations are nice, but something I almost never use.

Anyway, I am happily reading RSS and sharing stories again for the first time since the Google Reader shutdown.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Google Hangouts

Anyone else finding Google Hangouts to be unstable and frustrating?

  1. Google decided my version refused to let me use it unless I upgraded, but the upgrade it offered was not new enough. So infinite loop. I switched to my phone. 
  2. A friend could speak to me (hot mic), but she could not hear me (cold speakers). In retrospect she may have had the speakers on silent. She switched to her phone and we could hear each other. Well, once she found her headphones not on speaker.
  3. Yesterday she had network connection errors that dropped her.
  4. Today we both saw pauses in the video but audio continued.
  5. With a remote coworker a couple weeks ago I had the same upgrade loop problem. Sure wish I remember how I solved it 23 minutes after I started.
  6. Screensharing is complicated when I move back and forth from various applications, so it seems better to stick with share the whole desktop.
  7. After about an hour on the last six or so sessions, the screenshare sticks and flips the image upside down. We have to end the call and start a new one to get it to correctly share.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Sunset Through

Sunset Through
Originally uploaded by Ezra S F
The Solstice sun through the center stone at the Georgia Guidestones.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Unfriendly Connect For Feedly

So Google announced Reader will shut down. So I migrated to Feedly. It is okay, but I will miss Reader just like I still miss Bloglines. (The current Bloglines is actually NetVibes which I hate.)

A few weeks ago, I noticed one my categories displays in the left menu there are unread posts, but the main window displays there are none. It took a week for me notice on the right side the list of feeds in the list also shows there are unread posts. Two views say there are unread but the one that shows the titles or previews of them says there is nothing. WTF?

Even stranger, the category does not appear in the Organize section, so I cannot just move the RSS feeds to another category.

Apparently Feedly users have complained for 4 years about the category. And even worse, many of the solutions appear only temporary. Whatever they change restores itself later.

Today, I put together another clue. The problem category is called "blogger-following." Google Reader displays it as "Blogs I'm following". Blogger actually owns/creates these in Google Reader when I subscribe to them using Friend Connect. This also adds them to the Blogger Reading List on my dashboard. Feedly picks up these subscriptions from Google Reader.

I think making changes to these in Feedly updates Google Reader. However, Blogger will change it back. I tried removing blogger-following from the feeds. However, a logout and login restored those changes. I think because Friend Connect is authoritative to Reader who is authoritative to Feedly, the fix has to be upstream of Feedly.

However, unsubscribing in Friend Connect did not really do it. (At least through a logout and login.) When Feedly pulled the data from Reader again, the unsubscribed feed came back.

Apparently Feedly relies on Google for authentication. So, I cannot just Revoke Access for Feedly to my Google account to do #1 below now.

So there are a couple potential ways to approach fixing this.

  1. Do nothing. Google Reader dies on July 1. That should remove Reader, the man in the middle. Without Reader there, Feedly ought to no longer know about Friend Connect based feeds.
    Pro: Least amount of work. Con: Six weeks is a long time. Unknown whether that will actually work.
  2. Unsubscribe in Friend Connect. I subscribed to a blog through Blogger and confirmed new posts showed up in Reader and Feedly. I removed the subscription in Blogger by going to Settings to the right of Reading List. I clicked Settings to the right of the blog to remove. Finally, I clicked "Stop following this site." When I refreshed Reader and Feedly, this blog disappeared. Of course, any I want to continue to read need a direct subscription in Feedly.
    Pro: Not sure. Con: I will longer publicly support friends. Very cludgy to stop following these.

Probably wait and see.

Fortune cookie

Fortune cookie
Originally uploaded by Ezra S F
Not just live and let live... but live and HELP live.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Blogger Integration with Google+

Blogger lately has pushed the new comments integration with Google+. I figured Google is headed in this direction anyway. First, the Blogger profiles were dropped in favor of G+ ones. Then, the other Google properties did the same. Google Reader, my favorite property is closing, so I think more attention can be given to G+. So it just seemed a matter of time before Blogger became more tightly woven into G+.

Still, I do not really understand the options. First, just like posting something on Google+, the new Blogger integrated comment system has a filter for who can see it. You can pick Public, Your Circles, Extended Circles, or specific circles. But then there is another button called "Also share on Google+".

If I understand it right, then when I make a comment on a blog, then permissions take effect. Hopefully the blog owner automatically sees it, but then others are limited by which the permissions I selected. So, in theory, a very select portion of the readers could see the comment. Is that a good thing? (UPDATED 2014-APR-30: I can see a situation where I leave a comment on someone's blog where my friends can see it. One of them responds to that comment where only her friends can see it. Any of her friends who are not my friends do not see my comment, so they do not know to what she is responding.)

The Also Share button posts the comment on my profile. I think the point is to drive traffic to the blogs.

And of course, whatever one decides is permanent. So think carefully.

It was so much easier when I just had to complete the CAPTCHA a few times.