Newsviews

International

Scores of rich westerners are going to have to delay their plans to climb Mount Everest until all the bodies of the dead poor people who actually live there can be removed.  Life can be so unfair.

National

The nation looks for a way to reduce over-policing and reduce the levels of angst in minority neighborhoods.  The utility of legalizing and taxing weed is not to be mentioned in context with these events.

Sports

When we’re not decrying the amount of black violence in our cities we’re busy extolling the virtues of minority males beating the crap out of each other for huge piles of money in the ring or on the field.

Crime

The cops in Los Angeles Baltimore are bringing civility back to law enforcement by gunning down homeless killing Black people  on the street already in custody with cameras rolling. on their way to the police station.

Business

Twitter stock tanks 20%. Most Americans are still pondering; “What the hell is a Twitter?” Related? #techbubble

Opinion

Just when you think the Republicans can’t get any more ignorant than the previous week along comes an rising star imbecile comparing union workers to ISIS. claiming Obama is bringing on “the Rapture”.   It boggles the mind. #creationscience

Enjoy.

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Hashing it Out

Simple Internet Indexing

Cures Clutter

I’ve been playing with hashtags since at least 2012, when I first blogged about the subject and shared some of my favorite personal hashtags.  I don’t think Twitter nvented the hashtag, but starting in 2009, they certainly fostered the trend.  In any case, both the inventor and the popularizers have my thanks and praise.

Hashtags are really coming into their own with journalists and social justice warriors worldwide.  They’re helpful as advertising hooks to publicize and comment on specific events, both non-profit and commercial.  There’s even a new word that’s been invented. “Hashtivism” is the noun that describes people who use hashtags in promoting their favored causes online, an activity that is now referred to as hacktivism.  Here’s a bit of my tongue-in-cheek hacktivism:

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Bill Nye versus Ken Ham

The Thriller over the Gorillas

“The Thriller over the Gorillas” is about to start in a little while.  It’s on at 7 p.m. eastern time and I’m going to be live tweeting the event for anybody who is interested in a little play-by-play off-color commentary.  Follow me on Twitter @thetimchannel  Look forward to seeing some of you there!

Post Debate Analysis and Highlights

I enjoyed all the interactions with my vast army of angry and mobility-impaired militant atheists during my live tweeting of the debate.  Special thanks to all of you for favoriting and retweeting those missives which struck your fancy.  Not every tweet of mine is Shakespeare worthy but since I’m aiming for the standards of Mad Magazine and not the hoi polloi of medieval England, I’ll be able to live with myself in the morning.

I was using my “broke screen” blue-collar iPad mini for most of the debate, which caused me a great deal of thumbnesia.  I switched to my pristine iPad mini late in the event, only to realize that I’d grown so accustomed to the diddling I was engaged with on the shattered iPad screen that my fingers were rendered almost totally useless on the perfect one.  It seems that all the tappy doo bullshit I had to engage in to keep a semi lucid and steady flow of live tweets pumping out of the compromised iPad had rendered my fingers nearly useless.  I watched for and backspaced over, more repetitive touch screen errors than Ken Ham had instances of repeating his “Molecules to Man” line throughout the evening.

“Molecules to Man” is obviously a field-tested Creationism “sciencey soundbite” as well as a safe harbor to return to at times of confusion or panic and Ham was promiscuous in it’s application.  Even when he wasn’t in obvious panic mode, I swear I could hear Ham, muttering “Molecules to Man” under his breath during the inhale portion of his respiration cycle.  He had to figure out a way to keep squeezing it in somehow, and that was difficult to do on the exhale portion of his breathing cycle which was fully committed to the task of creating a perpetual stream of Creationist boilerplate claptrap.  Ham seemed to offer words like ‘evidence” a special place in his litany.  I’m pretty sure I remember him bringing it up in a list of words that had to be properly defined by Creationist standards.

By a special coincidence of Providence’s own design. the list of sciencey sounding words needing clarification by Ham’s own admission, shared in his worldview a common definition derived from the sole source of reliable human knowledge in the universe, his Bible.

May be more added tomorrow.  I gotta crash.

Enjoy.

Top Ten App Rappin’

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The internet is currently abundant with “top ten” app lists. This is likely due to the rush of after Xmas holiday app downloading from the huge spike in tablet sales this year (not to mention the perennial need for content creators to stuff the intertubes with as much fluff as humanly possible).  I try to make a point of perusing all the lists I can, in hopes I will see something new or exciting, and on occasion, I am rewarded for my efforts.  Any list produced will vary by selected task, and there are often multiple great apps within the same category.   My list focuses on what I consider a standard example of apps an average social user would find useful.  I may do some specialized app lists (e.g. photography, videography, blogging) in the future that will drill down to more specialized functions.

The Breakdown

Precious few app lists will overlook Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Beyond that, it is a crap shoot of tremendous proportions. The  “Big Three” are considered de rigueur in any respectable app list, though to be honest, the only one of the three I’d miss (or have trouble finding multiple suitable replacements for) is Twitter.

Aside from the big three, opinions seem to vary.  I’m all too often left simply scratching my head and wondering if the author of a list I’m reading isn’t secretly just pimping an app for a friend or favored company.  When an already truncated top ten list includes all the usual suspects, but manages to squeeze in one or more obscure paid gaming apps (while failing to note the myriad available (and hugely popular) freebies), it is the obvious mark of an internet shill.  Everything on my list is FREE with optional premium upgrades noted where appropriate.

And Away We Go

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I originally joined Facebook for the ease of being able to comment on other sites without having to manually resubmit all my id info for every site where I wanted to comment. It can also be useful for connecting with old coworkers and friends as well, but in my mind it is mostly an overhyped and confusing jumble of everything.  If Facebook has a “focus”, I haven’t been able to figure it out.  Recent reports suggest that my move to the platform, along with a lot of other old geezers, has ruined Facebook for the kids.  I don’t know about that, but will note that the other old geezers who have recently moved in seem to have a proclivity towards duck hunting, gay hating and rightwing Tea Party politics.  Bad enough when these righting Jeebus slobberers were just posting random Bible verses all over creation, but now I have to wade through the constant noise and confusion of “Bullshit Mountain” in between all the pictures of cute puppies and kittens.  Note to the old geezers gumming up my Facebook:  Go back to Fox websites or stay in your pews.  Either way is fine with me, just STFU already.

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I was late to the Twitter bandwagon (by ubergeek standards anyway!) but I have done a helluva job of catching up!  Twitter is still a mystery to a lot of folks, even though it gets a lot of press coverage, so I couldn’t help but take a whack at figuring out what the hoopla was all about. So what the hell is Twitter? Probably a lot of different things to different people, but I think of Twitter like Google News on steroids.  It is the finest source of breaking news on the planet IMHO. The fireball incident over Iowa last week is prescient to me because it reminded me of the fireball I spotted (and documented) here in Germany a couple years ago on Christmas Eve.  As soon as I witnessed it, I started searching Google for info on what I had just witnessed to no avail.  Then I did a Twitter search and confirmed others had seen AND posted videos as I had.  Google noted it the following day.  If there’s a news event going on live anywhere in the world, people are Twittering it as it happens.  We are the new journalists.

instagInstagram.  They say it is the thing to have for pictures, but is that really true if you have Twitter and Facebook, since they handle pictures too?  Outside of the fixation on filters to make your pictures look more like ass…err..artisan creations, the popularity of Instagram seems to be the simplicity.  Now available with added Vine-like video capabilities.

More Meat and Potatoes

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YouTube is nice for posting videos. With the option for paid content creation, you can become the next James Cameron.  Great resource for watching old movies and TV shows.  Lots of niche categories of interest.

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Camera+ is a companion app for your smartphone.  Plenty of sharing options and more control over framing and exposure than provided on standard camera app.  The built-in lightbox feature allows for simple editing.

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Spotify is my favorite music app.  The ad-supported free version was recently sweetened to cover mobile devices.  Off-line usage is still limited to premium subscribers ($10/month).  Cannot recommend highly enough!!!  WiFi response to service is outstanding.  Cellular access more dependent on service environment and plan.  I use wifi at home for browsing new stuff and my mobile pro account for offline/travel.  I dump a couple gig of songs onto my phone.  You get to create playlists just like every other media player and with the premium level access you get syncing of selected playlists/songs for offline use.  The iPad app is a truly brilliant piece of work.

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Shazam is an app that uses your smartphone mic to listen to music and identify the title and singer of songs you don’t know or can’t remember.  It will then offer you links to purchase the music off iTunes or Amazon.  Since I’m a die-hard Spotify user, I paid a one-time upgrade fee for Shazam Pro ($9) to get access to the direct Spotify links for identified songs (so I wouldn’t have to search for them separately on Spotify).  I keep Shazam fired up and handy when I’m watching television to identify background music I like but am unable to identify.  I use it when I troll the hipster hangouts in Holland so I can zero in on what tunes the locals are groovin’ on.  I’ve even stuck my phone out the living room window to catch music playing off a neighbor’s jam box and gotten positive results!  It’s scary smart.  NSA scary.

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Yelp is one of the two shopping/check-in apps I use, the other being FourSquare.  I tend to think of them as restaurant location and public opinion rating services.  Their in-app photo feature allows for inclusion of suitable food porn shots.  I’ve written a fair number of restaurant reviews on the Yelp website which may be of use to English speaking locals and tourists to Munsterland.  Click on the Yelp icon to access them.

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Something, something Google.  The Plus app is more socially targeted, but at a minimum, you want a search engine you can talk to that understands you better than that crazy girl Siri*.  It’s high time you get used to chatting with your devices, and using Google’s state of the art voice recognition system is a welcome introduction to our new machine overlords.  *Full disclosure.  I’ve not really attempted to chat up Siri that much.  I’m still getting used to the idea of talking to my phone and it’s a bit easier with Google since Google doesn’t add a creepy anthropomorphizing name to their voice response system.  Besides, Siri is the kind of name you give the cute girl who does nothing but stand around looking cute.  The kind of girl you really don’t want to interrupt in the first place.  Maybe if Apple had named Siri something like Jenny, a good hardworking farm girl kinda name, I would feel differently.

That’s a list of ten apps already (if you count Foursquare), and I haven’t even touched on the other oft-noted must have apps you should be aware of.  Weather and mapping apps, cloud based storage apps, as well as all the free Angry Birds you fancy are all awaiting immediate download at your app store, and if they’re not, you bought the wrong smartphone.

Enjoy.

Vizified @thetimchannel

Vizify

Enjoy.