Tag: iPhone X

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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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The Cats of University Heights: Teach

Meade is a sentimental street, between Park Blvd. and Maryland. Call it memory lane. Along the stretch live seven kitties featured in this series: Captain Blackbeard, Honey Bunny, LeviPee-Pee, Tink, Veruca, and Vivienne. During summer 2018, my wife and I nearly bought the property that we call the Schoolhouse, at the corner of Campus. A few doors away, the adventure of neighborhood teens trapping a feral momma cat and her kittens unfolded two weeks before we made our offer on the Spanish-style home. The time was magical.

I imagined how the delightful chatter of parents walking their kids to school would fill our living space each weekday morning. There is something soothing about the ambience that the sound of happy children or running water makes. On the morning of June 4, 2018, a tiger tabby watched and listened, as I once hoped, to students arriving for a day of classes at Birney Elementary. The apartment complex where the putty-tat lives is one of several across the street from the school. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Spice

For some reason, June 7, 2018 was a busy day for feline finds. The tortoiseshell that I nickname Spice is third in succession, following Royal and Sleepy. We met along Florida between Madison and Monroe. I have seen the tortie twice since, in the same apartment parking lot.

I pulled out iPhone X to capture the Featured Image and companion at 6:08 p.m. PDT. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 32, 1/60 sec, .97 ev, 6mm. The other: f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/120 sec, 4mm.

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The Cats of University Heights: Sleepy

Cleveland cat sightings are surprisingly few, despite the expansive street’s neighborhood prominence. Among them: BellBlack, Black and WhiteFess (who disappeared), Fresh, Hunter, LeviLiloMellow, Mika (who moved away), MiniPepe (who was rehomed), Roly Poly, and Tortie. That’s fourteen out of the 195 profiles posted since the series started in October 2016 (hopefully I missed none in the counting).

The fifteenth feline—and the first new seen in six months along Cleveland—rested (hence the nickname) in a yard on the stretch between Tyler and Van Buren. I shot the Featured Image on June 7, 2018 using iPhone X. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/345 sec, 6mm; 3:29 p.m. PDT. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Darth Mew

It’s a Friday doubleheader: two beasties with Star Wars names—and real they are! We follow Princess Leia with Darth Mew, whom my wife and I met on June 10, 2018. Texas Street is the neighborhood’s designated boundary, and we saw Darth just beyond as we walked in the direction of Arizona.

The Featured Image comes from iPhone X. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/60 sec, 6mm. The other is an ever-so-soft-focus portrait taken with Leica M10 and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens. Composed as shot: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/60 sec, 50mm. Time for both is 8:52 a.m. PDT. 

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Be Brave, Bunny

While walking along Park Blvd today, I saw something quite unexpected on the block between El Cajon and Howard: A frantic rabbit hopping around the sidewalk looking for refuge and finding none. I snapped the Featured Image and companion using  iPhone X, being careful not to approach too closely.

But eventually the exhaust roar of a city bus startled the bunny, which sprinted from the Bruno pizzeria doorway across busy Park Blvd to the Chevron petrol station. Presumably he continued across six lanes of Washington Street traffic to San Diego school administration buildings, where there are places the little hopper could find cover and familiar surroundings—like bushes and trees.

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The Cats of University Heights: Smokie

Here’s the continuation of an unexpected story. In late January 2018, I met Lola, as her owner returned home with groceries. When the cat came outdoors, she spooked another kitty that neither of us humans had seen. The little grey returned, continuing to do so over the months since—or so I would learn.

Walking to my daughter’s apartment today, I observed that same frisky feline sitting in Lola’s yard. I snapped the Featured Image, using iPhone X, at 8:43 a.m. PDT, along Polk approaching Park. Late afternoon, when returning home, I saw Lola’s caretaker working in the yard and asked about the visitor. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Vivienne

Our first feline of June is Vivienne, who adornes this fine Caturday with her loveliness. We met on May 31, 2018 along Meade between Campus and Cleveland. Coincidentally, she resides in the same house as Sophie, who moved away with her owner around Sept. 1, 2017.

In the adjacent property, feral kittens and their Momma briefly lived before being trapped by neighborhood teens and taken to the local animal shelter for adoption. They joined the series in mid-August 2017. 

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The (Honorary) Cats of University Heights: Envy

The one-hundred eighty-first profile in the series is the fifth where we take liberties with the neighborhood’s boundaries. One-half block beyond, along Mississippi between Lincoln and University, the juxtaposition of squirrel outside taunting its freedom before an indoor kitty was just too timely to resist. So here we be, with a shorthair I dub Envy. The rodent remains nameless.

I shot the Featured Image with iPhone X on May 22, 2018 at 4:06 p.m. PDT. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/417 sec, 6mm. The companion comes from Leica M10 and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens, one minute later. Vitals: f/8 or f/11, ISO 100, 1/45 sec, 50mm. The original camera capture is more color accurate than the handset; however, I changed contrast and hues to make the animals more obvious. 

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The Worm in Apple’s App Store

Earlier today, I needed to get Skype onto my iPhone X to receive an overseas call. So I hauled over to the App Store, like any sensible iOS user would do. I was shocked—absolutely floored—to see an advert for Google Duo taking up about half the screen, and appearing above Skype.

You got to ask how many people end up downloading the upper one instead. I don’t often go to the App Store and wonder: How long has been this kind of aggressive placement? Looks like since the recent redesign. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Abby

For months, I have pursued Abby, looking to capture a portrait worthy of her beauty. Time has come to go with what I have. She is too wily a rascal for my amateur photographic skills.

The Featured Image starts where sightings began, on Jan. 23, 2018, in a yard on Adams Ave. where she hangs out but doesn’t live. A resident confirmed her name. I captured the moment with iPhone X, using the second camera to 2X zoom. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/873 sec, 6mm; 12:47 p.m. PST.