Tag: Google Pixel 2 XL

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Sorry, Google

The laptop that led me back to the Google digital lifestyle is gone. Two days ago, a preschool teacher—who happens to be the same age as my daughter—bought the Pixelbook that I purchased in June 2018 during a Father’s Day sale. Subsequently, my wife and I swapped iPhones for Pixel phones and each a MacBook Pro for Google Chromebook. I added the Pixel Slate five months later. Funny thing: While I sold her MBP, I kept mine and iPad 10.5 for software testing. That decision was wise, although sticking to the Apple Way would have been wiser.

I love the Google lifestyle, but it doesn’t love me. Too many workarounds impede my workflow, which makes me more likely to consume content rather than to create it. Google’s Material Design visually appeals, and the UX (user experience) is more consistent than Apple user interfaces, where too many motifs compete and distract. That said, Android and Chrome OS crumple where I need them to be solid. Half-baked is the Android-integration with Chrome OS—not ready for commercial release is Chrome OS tablet. The tools I need most either aren’t available, or they don’t work well. Or worse, Google takes them away.

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My Personal Tech Kit 2019

I start the new year in a very different space, and with turnabout attitude, than 2018. About six months ago, I surrendered my digital lifestyle to Google, abandoning Apple as primary platform provider. Trust brought me to the Apple way. Distrust drove me away. Choosing between priorities privacy and security, in an increasingly dangerous Internet, the latter matters more. The Alphabet subsidiary truly has its ABCs ordered in ways that the bitten-fruit company doesn’t. I can trust that Google, being native to cloud computing and depending on it (mainly by way of search-related advertising), will secure my content and devices better than Apple, which is at best a cloud computing resident alien and more typically behaves like an immigrant who doesn’t speak the language well nor understands local culture.

Sure, I surrender some privacy but that would happen anyway, because privacy is a fiction. If you use the Internet or connected mobile device, you have none. Google is motivated to protect me (and you) because we are the product that generates ad revenue. Between marketers and hackers, it’s easy choice which I’d prefer to have my personal information. Granted anyone can debate which is, hehe, more criminal. But marketers aren’t likely to clean out my bank account or steal my identity. Or yours.

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Fido Confections

Among the stereotypes that cling to Californians: Their love of—no obsession with—dogs. Take a peek into this window of a local dog bakery. I could understand meat pie. But cake? Welcome to SoCal, where residents primp tail-waggers and fawn incessantly over them. I am aghast how the fussy folk here let their beasts pee and poop everywhere. Sure, most dog walkers carry baggies to clean up the hard deposits. But the liquid soils sidewalks and anything along them; considering how rarely rain falls, this crap clinging to shoes and dust that becomes airborne can’t be healthy. So why in a state where residents also are lifestyle-profiled as being health-obsessed is there such contradiction?

In County cities Carlsbad, Del Mar, Encinitas, San Diego, Santee, and Solana Beach, there are about 162,000 licensed dogs, according to official statistics. Human population for the same locales is about 2.15 million, says the Department of Animal Services. FYI: San Diego Humane Society assumed responsibility for providing county animal services to these communities during second quarter of this year. If you’re local, and interested in domestic or wild beasties, SDH’s annual report is informative reading. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Grape

Strangely, feline sightings along Shirley Ann Place are rare. I have only ever seen two kitties outdoors, and you will meet both consecutively as the series resumes pace after a deliberate slowdown. The first earns nickname Triumph—chosen for posture and demeanor. Our first encounter was Sept. 24, 2018, sitting atop a recycle can. The Featured Image, from Leica Q, was captured the next day. Vitals: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/60 sec, 28mm, 5:42 p.m. PDT.

I shot the companion portrait, during the first meeting, using Google Pixel 2 XL. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/289 sec, 4.459 mm; 8:30 a.m. The kitty has triumphantly presented several times since, but these two humble photos are the best ones so far. 

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The Cats of University Heights: maow maow

Along Florida, between Madison and Monroe, I encountered a demur Calico on Oct. 18, 2018. She earns nickname Pumpkin-Patch for her seasonal orange and black coloration, which I enhanced in Google Snapseed by applying the Accentuate filter, which adds HDR-pop. I captured the Featured Image, at 8:52 a.m. PDT, using Google Pixel 2 XL. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 58, 1/4673 sec, 4.459mm.

A day earlier, I received the Pixel 3 XL “Just Black”, which was supposed to be a Pixel 3 “Clearly White” for my wife. Nearly three weeks later, and more than 10 hours of phone calls endured, Google Store has not fully resolved the ordering mishap, which since has become a disaster. That story is forthcoming, along with photos shot using the phone. Stay tuned!

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The Book of Our Times

It’s catch-up time for things I meant to post but put aside, temporarily. Family drama! Perhaps you will read about it in the future, but likely not. Now to the main course: On Oct. 21, 2018—the day after reading that San Diegans spend more on alcoholic beverages than residents of any other city in the United States—I spotted something surprising on a table outside LeStat’s on Park. Did someone forget the book? Was it purposefully left behind—seemingly appropriate commentary about America’s “booziest city”?

For sure, breweries are commonplace, and most eateries serve alcoholic beverages, which also are sold everywhere—not predominantly in liquor stores but from pharmacies, supermarkets, warehouse stores (e.g. Costco), and more. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Bashful

We celebrate National Cat Day with a feline that I nickname Bashful, for cautiously approaching me during our first meeting but pulling back because of passing cars; good thing for saving any (or all) of the nine lives. I captured the Featured Image, using Google Pixel 2 XL during our first encounter on Oct. 1, 2018. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 52, 1/1017 sec, 4.459mm; 4:17 p.m. PDT. The companion portrait is second-to-last photo—the other of the same animal—taken with Leica M10. I since sold the camera, which fate will be explained in another post. Vitals: f/4.8, ISO 200, 1/350 sec, 50mm; 4:14 p.m.

Bashful lives in the same cottage complex as Friends, but along another corridor. I have seen the kitty several times since, often in the same vicinity. 

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The Cats of University Heights: SID

For six months, I have looked in the area of the Point for ginger tabby SID. Today, we briefly regarded one another after he trotted across Madison near Rhode Island. He posed for three quick portraits, captured with Google Pixel 2 XL. Vitals for the Featured Image: f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1114 sec, 4.459mm; 9:30 a.m. SID is sister to STAR, who this series profiled in mid-April 2018 a few days before she vanished. She is missing still, so I understand.

BTW, the series passed its 2-year milestone on August 17. Perplexing family matters distracted me from posting to celebrate 4 days ago. This is two-hundred twenty-fifth profile so far. Tip: New photos are rarely added to existing posts, but I do regularly refresh the companion Flickr album with new pics of the kitties. Please take a peek. 

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James

For as long as we have been in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood—11 years next week—a homeless man lived near the top of Texas Street before it passes the Valero gas station at Madison. James was a fixture, seen day or night, every day, regardless of weather. If absent from his chair for any length of time, there would be chatter across social networks—in recent years NextDoor—asking where he was. Sickness or even police harassment were the more likely reasons for his absences.

Near the end of September, James vanished again, raising roarous concerns on NextDoor, until someone stated—and later was confirmed—that this homeless man had passed away. I didn’t know James, but some of my neighbors engaged him. “Friendly” and “kind” are two words used to describe him among many NextDoor posts and comments. I just took James for granted. He was as much a part of the scenery as the palm trees. As I would drive up Texas, or walk across the Adams Ave. bridge, he was an expected sight—and refreshing one, too. Something about his presence, and neighbors embracing his homelessness, was a triumph of humanity and dignity. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Clarity

While walking to the library yesterday, I spotted the series‘ twenty-eighth Alabama Street putty-tat, and thirty-second looking out from a window. Blacks are the trickiest subjects shot through mesh screen, and in this instance diminishing daylight. I captured the Featured Image at 5:39 p.m., about 50 minutes before sunset.

Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 85, 1/5848 sec, 4.459mm. I used Pixel 2 XL to capture the moment, near Howard Avenue, and edited in Google Photos. The portrait is close-cropped and auto-enhanced. From the distance, and focal length, the smartphone can’t match either of my Leica cameras for clarity. Oddly then, the nickname explained.