Bears. Eagles. Big Horn Sheep. Owls.

I’ve always wanted to spend a week or so in Yellowstone National Park. Photographing bears, and eagles, and owls, and big horn sheep.

I found this video on YouTube today, and while this guy actually works in Yellowstone, thus is able to spend 3 months at a time in Yellowstone, I just would like to spend a week or so exploring. But the video is super interesting.

Three Months in Yellowstone

The Cult of iPhone

I’ve been an iPhone user for quite a few years. But I also have dabbled in the Android world. I’ve tried, many times, to leave the Cult of iPhone, because for me, there are quite a few benefits to Android that are (IMO) better than iPhone.

So why do I stay with the iPhone?

Three reasons:

1) IMessage
2) Facetime
3) CarPlay

1 – I have five kids. Four of whom have iPhones. So, communicating with them securely, using iMessage is a no brainer. Do we need to have secure communications? Probably not. But it’s a secondary level of protection.
2 – I have five kids. Four of whom have iPhones. Two of whom have children (my grandchildren). Being able to see them, especially when one of them is far away, is indispensable. Yes, I could use Zoom. But FaceTime is built in.

3 – I spend an inordinate amount of time in the car. CarPlay is something that makes using my phone in the car (HandsFree mind you) a breeze, and it works so much better than Android Auto. I’ve tried to love Android Auto, but it has so many quirks as compared to CarPlay that it is difficult to use, at least in my usage case.

On September 7,2022, Apple will announce their new iPhones. I have an older iPhone, and look forward to the possibility of upgrading my phone to a newer, larger model. We shall see what the rumors and the reality shows us on Wednesday.

Tiny houses and THOWs

After spending our second mini vacation in three years at the Tiny House Village in Leavenworth, Washington, I think I have come to the realization that while I want a tiny house, I don’t want a THOW (tiny house on wheels). THOWs are for people who want to move around with their tiny house. It is also for people who can deal with stairs or a ladder to get into their bedroom. Which is fine for today, but when I get old (ok, older), I won’t necessarily want to have to climb stairs to get to my bedroom, at least that is my thinking at this point.

If I wanted one of those, I would look into getting a small Class C motorhome.

What I really would like, after much deliberation within my brain, is a small house. Three bedrooms (Master, office, and second office/spare bedroom for Laurie). I would like a bathroom with a walk in shower. I would like a medium size living room, medium size kitchen and a three car garage. On about 5 acres of land. Far enough away from people that I’m not bothered, but close enough to civilization that I can get high speed internet and UPS deliveries.

Very difficult to come by on the west side of the mountains in Washington state. Maybe down the road. But I really believe, as much as I love the THOW concept, it isn’t for us.

I think we will continue to go to Leavenworth Tiny House village (and hopefully next year Mount Hood Tiny House Village), but I don’t think it is a long term solution for us.

Apple CarPlay versus Android Auto

When I purchased my car in 2019 (Chevrolet Spark), I didn’t initially know that the car supported CarPlay or Android Auto.
I purchased the car with no options whatsoever. So I have manual windows, manual door looks, no key fob that locks and unlocks doors, etc.
But I found that the car supported CarPlay and Android Auto.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto both allow you to do the following

– Navigation via the phone, either using Google Maps or Apple Maps
– Make and receive phone calls hands free
– Send and receive text messages hands free

Those are the basics. I’m sure there are more things, but those are the items I use it for 99.9% of the time

CarPlay has some significant advantages over Android Auto.

– With CarPlay, when you tell the system to read new messages, it will read ONLY your new messages. Android Auto will read ALL your messages.
– With CarPlay, if you are having the system read your messages, or replies, and a new message comes in, you will be given the opportunity to
read that message after your current messages have been read.

I find that CarPlay is more robust, and is more mature than Android Auto. While I prefer Android, because of the limitations of Android Auto, I have chosen to stay with iOS and CarPlay for now.

Windows annoyances and the Mac

I’ve used Microsoft Windows since 3.0. I’ve used most versions of Windows in beta form since Windows 95 as well.

Recently, my main laptop died (I only buy laptops about once every seven years or so). So I switched to using a desktop.

Recently, I’ve been helping my father in law out by staying at his house. So I switched to a different older Dell laptop that had Windows 10 on it. Worked fine. It’s slow, but it worked.

I emphasize worked.

Windows (in it’s infinite wisdom) decided to install updates on Friday night. After that, when it rebooted, it would get about 2-3% progress and then it would turn the laptop off. So I would turn the computer back on. It would progress 2-3% more, then turn off.

Finally, it got to 100%. At that point, I could log in and the machine would turn itself off.

Fabulous. I don’t have time for this. So I did a complete re-install of Windows. Worked fine, until I did a Windows update. Then I ran into the same issue.

So I gave up. I installed UBuntu Linux. I got the VPN working to my office. Works fine. I can use Remote Desktop to get into my work desktop and get work done. It’s not a long term solution.

Long term, my plan is to buy a new laptop. But I’m going to pick up a Macbook Air. I had one for about four months last year, until I decided to sell it because I was short on cash.

Big mistake. I loved the laptop. I was able to use it for everything I do, which is mainly through the browser, and then through Remote Desktop once I connect to work. I use Lightroom for photography,which works wonderfully and faster than my regular home desktop. Plus, it weighs about 2.3 pounds. My old laptop weighed 8 pounds.

Annoying, yes. But I think it’s time to move to the Apple side for my laptop needs.

Heat waves, and tiny houses

We’ve been having a minor heat wave in the PNW for the last few days. It was 100+ the last couple of days, but it has cooled down to a respectable ~80 degrees today.

Got me to thinking more about the tiny house idea.

The tiny house we stayed in when we were in Leavenworth, and many tiny houses, have mini-split systems. They both heat and cool the house.

Because the tiny house is so small (250 sq ft), it takes very little time to either heat or cool the space.

Would have been a great thing the last few days….

I had a guy come to my house about eight months ago to replace a thermostat. I talked to him about putting a mini split in the house I currently live in. He said it would work well for such a small house I live in, but then I asked him the cost to do so.


I’m sure there are other alternatives, and getting different bids would be a must. Good to know.

Books, digital versus physical, part 2

Something I had not realized during my ‘e-book’ time, is that hardback books no longer ‘live forever’ in bookstore time. Granted, I probably haven’t been in a physical bookstore about 18-24 months (covid not the reason), but I was surprised by this, I guess.

I tend to read books in a series, or by a specific author. At least until that author either passes away, or in some cases, stops writing, for whatever reason.

A few authors I have read like that are;

– Tom Clancy
– Stephen R. White
– Janet Evanovich
– John Grisham
– Brad Thor
– Lee Child
– JA Jance – The Beaumont series, not her Ali Reynolds books
– Sue Grafton, until her untimely passing from cancer (damn cancer)
– Vince Flynn, who succumbed to colon cancer. Kyle Mills has picked up the baton there though

In the Vince Flynn series, I missed a book (not sure how this happened), call Lethal Agent. So I ventured off this morning to find Lethal Agent in hardcover in my local Barnes and Noble bookstore. I’m thankful they are still in business, but I miss Crown Books and Borders.

Alas, they did not have the book in stock, either in hard cover or paper back. I could order it and they could have it for me within a week or two.

Or, I could buy it in e-book form and have it immediately. Or, I could just order it from Amazon and have it on Saturday.

Digital books versus physical books

As many people who know me know, I’ve been a proponent of digital books (Kindle, Books on iPad) for many, many years.

I’ve gotten dozens of books digitally, and have read on a Kindle or an iPad for years.

But recently, I noticed that when I read on the iPad, or the Kindle, my eyes get tired, or I get distracted by the other apps on the device.

To that end, I’ve decided to start ordering physical books for a while. I usually order at least one book a month (Amazon loves me), but for my next book, I will be buying a physical hard cover.

We shall see how it goes.

I think it will be a nice change. I can’t afford to convert all my digital books to physical books, but going forward, I will probably stick to the physical hard cover books.

Lightroom 6 on an i5 versus Lightroom Classic on M1 Macbook Air

Same 64 images. Exported to JPG. 100% quality.

Lightroom 6 on i5 – 80 seconds – 16 gigs of ram.
Lightroom Classic CC on M1 – 32 seconds – 8 gigs of ram. Intel version of Lightroom Classic

Did another test with a different set of photos

Lightroom 6 on i5 – 4 minutes 52 seconds – 167 photos
Lightroom Classic CC on M1 – 2 minutes 18 seconds – 167 photos

Tesla and Full Self Driving

I’ve been watching a few videos from a guy by the name of James Locke on Youtube. He has the fully self driving beta for his Tesla Model 3 and has been posting videos of his experience with it, and the experience looks pretty good.

I think he *may* be a Tesla employee, but I don’t honestly know.

I can see a potential benefit to fully self driving, even for someone such as myself who enjoys the driving experience and long road trips.

– Driving at night
– Driving in the rain
– Driving at night, in the rain
– Driving over the pass (snow or no)

While I love to drive, and am unsure that I could fully give over control to a machine, the benefits of a self driving automobile, in my opinion, are plenty. There are lots of people who don’t enjoy (or have difficulties) driving at night. There are lots of people who don’t enjoy (or have difficulties) driving in the rain, especially at night.

Enter self driving. The driver still needs to pay attention, of course, but the car does 99.9% of the work and makes decisions based upon machine learning.

From the videos I’ve watched, they (Tesla) are on the road to having a fully self driving version available probably within the next year.

Interesting times, indeed.