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Messages - Mike D. aka jmiked

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The Book Corner / Re: Mystery Suggestions
« on: December 12, 2016, 10:53:22 pm »

And last but not least. Rex Stout Nero Wolfe series. Good mysteries, but it's the dynamic between Wolfe and Archie that makes the series. There's also Stout's style. I reread this series a lot.

I seem to be in a continuing loop on the Nero Wolfe series. I read one every month or two and then by the time I've gone through all of them, it's time to start over.

Not Quite Kindle / Winter Tip
« on: December 11, 2016, 08:19:56 pm »
Here's an idea I saw several months ago. I bought a roll of small bubble wrap at that time, and yesterday trimmed lengths to fit my kitchen windows and living room sliding doors (inside). I sprayed a light mist of plain water on the glass surface, then applied the bubble wrap (bubble side towards the glass) and patted it down. It's not glued down so it can be removed easily. I ended up leaving a small 3" gap at the bottom of the glass door so the cats could see outside.

Yeah, it obscures the view a bit, but really all I lose is the fine detail. There are several places where I left a flap that can be folded back to see out.

Previously I could put my hand between the curtains and the window glass and it felt quite cold, and that end of the kitchen was always been quite a bit cooler than the rest in the winter. Now the area between the curtains and the glass feels almost like room temperature, maybe very slightly cooler. It makes a significant difference. The temperature last night was down in the forties (F), and the area by the kitchen sink didn't seem any cooler than the rest of the area.  This is almost certainly not as good as double glazing, but it costs only a couple of dollars to do those windows and doors. It should help a bit in the summer, also. This glass takes up about a third of the east wall of the kitchen/living area and has always been too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer.


Not Quite Kindle / Re: What are you binge-watching?
« on: December 11, 2016, 05:45:20 am »

Makes me wonder if the reason Fringe only gets an ok on the sci-fi series like-o-meter online, is too many people didn't like the time jump.

I gave up when they started writing stories with people from both worlds/universes trading places. I gave up on Continuum when the stories had multiple instances of one of the main characters running around.


Apple devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod...) / Re: What has happened to Apple?
« on: December 08, 2016, 02:21:34 pm »
Samsung has announced that the Galaxy 8 phone won't have a headphone jack.

Why do they have to copy the things Apple does wrong instead of just the things they get right?

Only my opinion, of course.

BTW, the number of reports from the tech community in the last several months about the exploited flaws in the Android phones has convinced me to stay with Apple phones. For now.


Let's Talk Kindle! / Re: Software Update 5.8.7 is live. New font.
« on: December 04, 2016, 07:46:35 pm »
Linda I agree with you to a point . . . . but I still find the sans serif fonts more difficult to read, even if they are 'darker', 'bolder', whatever. A heavier serif typeface would be ideal! At this point, I'm satisfied with Bookerly.

I feel the same way. No sans serif for me.


Not Quite Kindle / Re: What are you binge-watching?
« on: November 24, 2016, 03:39:20 pm »
Babylon 5.

That's probably coming up for me in a month or so.


Not Quite Kindle / Re: Earworm! What Song Is Stuck Inside YOUR Head?
« on: November 22, 2016, 11:07:48 am »
I've been binge re-watching a New Zealand tv series called The Brokenwood Mysteries the last week or so. One of the background/end-title songs they used on the first episode has been lodged in my mind for three or four days. It took me a while to track down the one I wanted, because there are three or four different arrangements (by the same artists). I finally found it and bought the track, as well as locating the chord charts (for possible future fingerstyle guitar arrangement of my own).

It's called Little Heart:

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Apple devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod...) / Re: What has happened to Apple?
« on: November 22, 2016, 09:48:17 am »
Yeah, I don't understand the obsession with thinness, either. In my case, I've had to add an iPhone case with an additional battery built into it because the phone charge alone just won't last for an 10 hour geocaching expedition (five or six hours and the built-in battery is just flat). My phone ends up being almost twice as thick with the Anker case. And it's more comfortable to hold and use because of it. Another side effect of the new case is that I can now use a standard micro USB cable for charging and data transfer instead of one with that proprietary connector that Apple went with.

One other thing the obsession with thinness has done is ruin the keyboards on Apple laptops. They are almost the worst in the laptop field. Almost zero travel and no tactile feedback. My mid-1990s Apple 250c laptop had an almost decent feel to the keys. I took typing in high school and became pretty much a touch typist. My 2008 MacBook is much better than the current ones, and I'm not particularly fond of it. I'm saving my pennies to buy a Cherry keyboard for my desktop machine. My favorite keyboards were made by Northgate but they went out of business many years ago. I held onto several for years, but they couldn't be adapted to USB inputs.

I'm glad I'm not faced with the immediate need to replace anything. I figure I have 2-4 years before that happens.

Apple devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod...) / What has happened to Apple?
« on: November 21, 2016, 12:44:33 pm »
It didn't start with the removal of the headphone jack, but that's the first of the recent high-profile items.

Then, this month with the introduction of the MacBook Pro, it was announced that the MagSafe connector was being removed. This is the power connector that is held to the computer by magnets and just pops off the laptop when the cord is pulled. This prevents your expensive computer from being yanked off the table and crashing to the floor. This has saved my MacBook at east a dozen times in the 10 years I've owned it.

Now it turns out that the new MacBook is completely not upgradable and not repairable. Everything including the solid state drive and memory is soldered to the main board. According to, it has five batteries that are glued to the assembly so well that you pretty much can't remove them without risking danger of fire/explosion. The conclusion they draw from this is that the computer cannot economically be re-cycled (meaning it won't be), as removal of the battery is so time-consuming and tricky that you can't recover any of the recycling costs. Straight to landfill. Plus if the battery needs to be replaced Apple will possibly just have to swap it out for a new/refurbished computer.

A few weeks ago, Apple announced that they were no longer going to sell their stand-alone 5K monitor (out of my price range anyway).  Now they have announced that the Apple Airport Express wireless router is being dropped (I really like this device).

And their phones are so thin that it is all too easy to flex some of them a slight amount and cause solder connections to the chips to pop and then the phone fails. At least it doesn't explode. The 5 series phones were much better, IMHO.

At this point, there's no particular reason for me to ever think about buying another Apple product. As a long time Apple user (since 1984, Apple //c), this makes me sad. I'll mention that I have also been a PC user since before Windows even existed.

I'm really unhappy.

 :'( :'(


That's not encouraging. I'll probably be dropping Direct TV in 4-5 months when my commitment is up. I've been a customer for 17 years, but I've had it with the nickel-and-dime billing and the buggy DVR software.

I'm really not looking forward to the process.


Not Quite Kindle / Re: DVRs
« on: November 06, 2016, 08:06:18 pm »
I'm getting closer to cable-cutting. I've found I can get BBCA,TCM, SyFy, and several others through the Sling streaming on the Roku and that adds $30 a month to the cost, bringing the total to about half my present satellite monthly bill. You have to watch most things on Sling in real-time though, which is a bummer. Still, the only things I watch on BBCA are Dr Who and Graham Norton, so maybe it's not that big an inconvenience. They are both on Saturday nights. The search function on Sling is pretty much non-functional.

I'm thinking a TiVo Bolt for recording local programs, which is around 80% of my viewing.


Not Quite Kindle / Re: Daylight Saving Time: yay or nay?
« on: November 02, 2016, 06:51:02 pm »
On the plus side, you hardly have to remember it anymore because all connected devices will fix themselves automatically. ;D

Except WiFi-only Kindles.  ;D ;D

Put me in the category of "don't care." I'm retired and it literally doesn't matter.


Let's Talk Kindle! / Re: New Kindles Coming?
« on: October 23, 2016, 07:49:42 am »
My view is that the hardware of the Kindle (Voyage, for example, since that is what I use) is fine as it is. Where it needs improvement is in software. It's practically feature-free. There is essentially no customization of the viewing experience. For example, every single third-party mobi and epub reader on the iPhone and Android phones supports extensive customization of the text display.

And I still have to wonder why the WiFi versions are too dumb to get the correct time from the internet. This is the only WiFi device I've ever had that won't do this simple task.


The Book Corner / Re: Early Bird Books from Open Road Media
« on: October 23, 2016, 07:18:04 am »
Mike . . . I merged your post with the thread I'd started back in July . . . . :)

Obviously I didn't search previous posts well enough.  ;D


The Book Corner / Early Bird Books newsletter
« on: October 23, 2016, 06:31:20 am »
I only recently discovered a newsletter from Open Road Media publishers that offers discounted books (through Amazon, Apple, Kobo, etc.) from their extensive catalog. An email is sent every few days with some books from genres you have picked. These are sometimes free but mostly discounted to about $2-$3. Open Road publishes a lot of Mystery and SF, and I've been impressed with the quality of the books. I've been getting the newsletter for about two weeks and have bought three books already (yeah, that's what I need, more books in the TBR queue).

The newsletter is listed under Sites at


Not Quite Kindle / Re: What are you binge-watching?
« on: October 23, 2016, 05:57:44 am »
I'm binge-watching New Tricks (again!). I've dropped almost all the returning series this year except for NCIS and Blacklist (and Blacklist is on the fence).

I watched the new Dirk Gently series on BBCA last night. I thought that the previous attempt at a series of that character was as awful as it could get, but I was wrong.

At this point, I'll be surprised if I don't "cut the cord" by this time next year.


Not Quite Kindle / Re: EPIpen alternative
« on: September 01, 2016, 12:06:30 pm »
That is good to know. I've misplaced one of my EpiPens, and the other has been in my backpack for four years… I need to check and see if the fluid is still clear.


Not Quite Kindle / Re: What are you binge-watching?
« on: August 29, 2016, 07:42:25 pm »
I watched all six of the Mr Wong movies on Prime in the last several days. Boris Karloff starred in the first five and Keye Luke starred in the last one. Afterwards, I bought the first book of the short stories from Colliers magazine that the character was based on.

This August has been a huge dead zone when it comes to watching things either from networks or cable channels. I'm thankful for the three or four sources for streaming from the Roku box.


Not Quite Kindle / Re: What are you binge-watching?
« on: August 22, 2016, 09:03:58 pm »
What search do you use?

I searched for and watched several old movies like Yellowstone and The Spanish Cape Mystery, then they started showing up by the dozens in "Prime - Recommended Movies". Seems as though the more oldies I watched, the more showed up in the list.


Not Quite Kindle / Re: What are you binge-watching?
« on: August 17, 2016, 05:57:04 pm »
By the way, Amazon Prime has added a lot of great older films from the late 40s and 50s. Some very good stuff! Been binging on them all weekend. :)

I've been watching these off and on for a couple of months. There's some very good films there.


Not Quite Kindle / Re: What are you binge-watching?
« on: August 10, 2016, 05:16:54 pm »
I'm currently near the end of binge-watching The Dresden Files. I started them after I finished up a binge-watch of Inspector Morse that I suspended in the middle of last year. I haven't decided what to start on next.


Not Quite Kindle / Re: What are you binge-watching?
« on: August 02, 2016, 07:44:50 am »
People keep recommending Stranger Things but I couldn't get past the first episode. Might have to give it another go!

I had the same experience. I'm not inclined to give it a second go however.


Not Quite Kindle / Bread Makers
« on: July 30, 2016, 05:49:35 pm »
I'm sure someone here has some bread-making expertise. I'm looking for some kind soul to make recommendations for a relatively inexpensive bread-making machine and info on supplies and such.


Not Quite Kindle / Re: I finally got hearing aids
« on: July 22, 2016, 07:07:28 pm »
I got to try the hearing aids out in a restaurant environment today. First impression is that they do help out in a noisy location. A second trail will be done this Sunday.

One thing I noticed while trying various things out is that a too-large eartip is just as bad as a too-small one.My thought was that the better the seal in the ear canal, the better the effectiveness. That doesn't seem to be the case. The medium tips produce a more desirable result (for me). Also, I'm going to have to experiment more with using one side to stream audio. I'll have to play around with that a bit more before a definitive answer presents itself.

I have found that you can overdo the treble-boost setting. There are sounds out there I'd rather not hear. The fan/motor in my central A/C sounds like a bearing is going when I drastically over-boost the treble. Maybe this is actually a good diagnostic tool, though.


Well, drat. It appears that IOS 10 won't install on my iPad 3.  :(

But the iPad will still do everything it will do now.  :)


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