All posts by mikestrock

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.

Why I want to go tiny

I’ve been thinking quite a bit since our tiny house adventure this summer about why I want to go tiny. I think it is for a multitude of reasons, here are most of them:

– Easier to heat (a small fireplace/propane fireplace could heat the whole house)
– Less stuff means less clutter means less cleanup
– The money we save on utilities and the like could be used for other endeavors

The biggest downsides to going tiny

– I need an office space
– I want a dishwasher and a washer and dryer and a stove/oven
– I need land. Preferably at least five acres. I don’t want to live in a RV campground
– Downsizing would be a challenge. Doable, but a challenge.

Points to ponder.

The potential seduction of the Dark Side

I’ve used a PC since 1983. I’ve used every version of Windows, personally and professionally, since Windows 3.1.

I used to carry a laptop to and from work, until it died an untimely death. Now I use a desktop both at home and at work.

I’ve wanted to go back to using a laptop for quite a while now. I’m not one of those people who upgrades their computer every year. My desktop at home is four years old, and my desktop at the office is even older.

But, recently, Apple introduce new computers based on their own architecture. From reading the reports, the machines are quite fast.

The Macbook Air, which is the lowest level laptop that they sell, is $999. It weighs less than five pounds. By contrast, my previous laptop weighs at least eight, maybe nine pounds.

The battery life on the Macbook Air is somewhere North of six to seven hours. My laptop (which is at least 9 years old) gets no battery life. When it did get battery life, it lasted for maybe two hours.

Most of the work I do now is in the browser, or via Remote Desktop into a Windows machine.

I’m sorely tempted to get a Macbook Air because the portability would be awesome.

Also, if we do move into a Tiny Home down the road, I think we would both switch to using laptops, to save space. This would be a good step forward toward that goal of consolidating my computer equipment.

Also, I am hoping that 2021 will allow Laurie and I to travel a bit more. Having a good laptop for travels would be an excellent bonus.

We shall see. Gotta save those pennies and hope that 2020 doesn’t kill my business. In 2021, we shall see. I may move my computer usage to the Dark Side.

Android versus iPhone

This post is mainly for me, so that when I consider switching, I can look at it and see where the pain points are (at least for me)

Everything works for me on both platforms.

IPhone

– iMessages and FaceTime are proprietary, so I have to remember to turn off
– In CarPlay, for whatever reason, the phone responds more consistently than Android Auto
– WhatsApp backs up to iCloud, so if I go back to Android, I lose the messages in WhatsApp, even though they are backed up.
Haven’t found a way to back up to Google Cloud instead,at least on iPhone.

Android

– I can originate and reply to text messages in the browser. This is both a good thing and a bad thing.
Bad because it is a security risk. Good, because I am most frequently at my computer, and it makes it
very easy/convenient to reply to text messages. This is the main feature that brings me back to Android.
– In Android Auto, my phone frequently doesn’t respond to ‘Hey, Google.’ Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t.
Inconsistent. Mostly works, but when it doesn’t it’s a major pain, as I rely on it when I am in the car.
– WhatsApp backs up to Google Drive, so I can’t restore if I move back to iPhone.

For now, I’ve decided (painfully) to stick with iPhone. For now.

Rudolph – The Tiny House Experience

I believe the tiny house experience was a roaring success.

We found that we could live in a tiny space.
We found things we would need to change in order for that to work, but it is doable.
We loved where the tiny house was located, on a small ‘lake’ in a Thousand Trails campground.

Will we go tiny moving forward?

Great question.

I priced out a tiny house that would work for us. $114,000. Including delivery.

I want it to be on a piece of land, maybe 5-10 acres in size. So add $50-$100k above the $114k price. Plus the cost to install utilities.

Might not be a feasible idea. But, it was a grand experiment, and I believe we will be back. I’d like to go back for a week or so. Mainly because it would be nice to relax for a week and not have to worry about anything, including rushing back to ‘civilization.’

Probably next year. We shall see.

I do recommend this place. Was a great experience and a quiet getaway.

Leaveworth Tiny House Village Leavenworth, WA

Rudolph Tiny House

We are spending the next couple of days in a 250 square foot tiny home in Leavenworth, Washington. It has a small ground floor, with a bathroom, a kitchen, and a great room.
The upstairs has a king size bed and a double bed.

Would it work for us long term, full time?

I’m not sure. I think we could, given a few changes.

I need a space to work.
Laurie needs a space to use her computer.
I think the bathroom is fine, but she’s not so sure it is big enough.
This is day one.
We will see.

I’ll have video and pictures when we get home.

Trip Over North Cascades

Laurie and I took a trip yesterday and today to Winthrop over the North Cascades Highway. We stayed at a little place in Winthrop for the night, walked through Winthrop, through the shops and bought a few little things. Then when we headed back over to Western Washington, we went through Leavenworth over Highway 2 home.

Good times.

A few notes from the trip:

– 100 degrees in Eastern Washington is blissful. Not opppressive like it is on the west side.
– We were in a tshirt shop in Winthrop yesterday and an older woman came in and I was trying to look at her shirt.
She looked at me funny, and I said “I’m just trying to read your shirt. Not look at your boobs.” She laughed and said she thought I was looking at her love handles. She was probably 72.
– I walked out of a rest area rest room and a guy looked at me and said “I like your shirt.” I thanked him, told him it was more appropriate on the East side of the state than the west side. He then proceeds to ask me if I know if 9mm ammunition is in short supply. He is having problems finding any to purchase. I explained that there is a shortage due to the Covid-19 pandemic shutting the factories down. He said “OK. It’s not just me then. That’s good. I was thinking I was going crazy.”
– I went out this morning to put bags in the car. I was immediately accosted by two dogs who needed to be pet. I guess I was outside so long that Laurie had to come out and find me. Oops.

Here are a few things I found on our trip.

A porta potty we found after driving a few too many miles in the wrong direction yesteday. Laurie was quite excited.

This is a speed test on my phone, through the Wifi available at the hotel. I think they were using a dial up connection.