Tag: Pixel 3 XL

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The Joy Ride

Classify this story in the category of surprising Sunday dramas. Painters have been working on our apartment building and parking their lift truck along the street. Around 11:45 a.m. PST, I saw some stranger climb onto the lift and start it up. While he wore yellow utility belts that gave the aura of authority, his presence was suspicious, because: Neither he nor his buddy was one of the three painters; his companion drove a nondescript white utility truck, while the painters’ vehicle is branded and red; and he initially fumbled around like someone unfamiliar with the controls.

When the dude unparked the lift, I wondered: Is he stealing it? Off he drove down the street, with his companion following behind in the white truck. This is my neighborhood, it’s a sleepy Sunday, and I am more curious than a cat. I had to follow, first on foot and then by car. The pair drove about 1.8 km (1.1 miles) through University Heights to Rhode Island Ave., which is nearby an area called The Point and overlooks a canyon leading into commercial area Mission Valley below. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Ruff

Heavy rains gave way to summer sun this fine Caturday, as temperatures topped 21 degrees Celsius. I hauled out for a late-morning walk, with intention of calling my sister who winters in Florida. Her line went straight to voicemail. I rang my (last living) uncle, instead. Yikes, he prepared his Northern Maine homestead for impending heavy snow and possible power outage. About 15 minutes into the conversation, I asked that he wait while I used Google Pixel 3 XL to capture several quick portraits of a handsome dark grey shorthair sitting beneath a propped window and looking out through the screen.

The Featured Image is the second shot of four, taken along Meade Avenue not far from where Teach lives. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 67, 1/7813 sec, 4.44mm; 11:22 a.m. PST. Thirty-fourth behind-the-window watcher to appear in the series, the cat earns its nickname for fine white ruff. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Mitsie

Our second featured feline of 2019 is the thirtieth seen along Alabama—on the same block where live Harley, Holiday, Laramie, Lupe, and Precious and where were the homes of the departed Monkey and missing Smokey. I have exclaimed about the putty population density on the street, numerous times, and I know of at least four more cats on the block that have yet to be photographed. But there are others of which I am aware along the 1.5 km stretch between Adams and Lincoln.

I met Mitsie (her real name), one of her owners, and three dogs while they sunned on the cool morning of Dec. 29, 2018. She came to one of her current caretakers as a stray about six years ago, when he lived in Imperial Beach, Calif. 

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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: Storm

Our third New Years furball joins Norman (2018) and Chub (2017) in the distinguished role. The kitty is also twenty-ninth featured from Alabama. I walk all over the neighborhood, such that the street gets no special attention with respect to others. Yet, for reasons that mystify, more felines are seen there than anywhere. Of the 237 profiles to date, 12 percent come from Alabama between Adams and Lincoln. Meow! The real number of known cats rises to the mid-thirties; I simply don’t have satisfactory portraits of them all yet.

The handsome Tuxedo earns nickname Storm, for appearing between two major rain fronts on the morning of Nov. 29, 2018. Considering the weather, I was walking for exercise between torrents rather than scouting for early day paw-paws. I spotted Storm first in the yard where Striker appeared five months earlier. The Tux moved behind cars and along a house and garage onto another property before approaching close enough for photos. 

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AMC and I argue the Semantics of A-List Membership

Earlier this week, movie theater chain AMC dumped coal in my Christmas stocking when I attempted to cancel the $19.95-a-month, watch-three-movies-a-week Stubs A-List subscription. One, and then another, customer representative informed me that at signup, the terms of service explicitly states that commitment is for three months. He, then she, warned that cancellation would trigger immediate charge for the remaining two months. But the ToS restriction shouldn’t apply to me, being a returning customer.

Everything comes down to the meaning of one word: Initial. When A-List launched, on June 26, 2018, my wife and I joined. We ended our membership about 90 days later. The ToS states: “A-List has an initial non-cancelable term of three (3) monthly membership periods (the ‘Initial Commitment’)”. We were good with accepting that requirement, which we met. But on November 18, with a few holiday movies of interest, I resubscribed, presuming that by making a second commitment I could cancel whenever. However, AMC service reps claim that my 3-month obligation reset and initial is the applicable word. Oh, did I futilely argue the semantics of that. C`mon? Doesn’t initial mean first time

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Gatto Basket

The folks over at Tuft + Paw saw my “Cats of University Heights” series and asked about my interest in some of their products and “to collaborate with you on a story. We have a talented team of cat behavior experts, designers, and engineers”. In looking over the outfit’s website, the understated designs of the feline furniture and accessories greatly appealed, but not the pricing, which I felt fell into a niche of well-to-do shoppers. Finally, on December 2nd, I seriously responded to founder Jackson Cunningham’s request (it has been a hectic autumn).

The $129, all-wool, Gatto Basket arrived this afternoon (my formal review, with tidbits about the company’s notorious beta tester, appears on BetaNews). Baskets are abundant inside our apartment. My wife loves them. As such, I unpacked the Gatto with great trepidation, wondering: “Why would any cat take to this?” We have so many others inside which our kitties can play, but for the most part neither does. A basket is a basket, right? Apparently, not. I plopped the thing onto the living room floor, and Cali settled inside quite nicely. Immediately, in fact, and she is finicky. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Stark

Meet Stark, who earns his (or her) nickname for my mood while writing (see next paragraph) and ambience of the Featured Image, which I captured using Google Pixel 3 XL on Nov. 18, 2018. The tiger tabby presented for portrait near where Monroe and North avenues meet. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 58, 1/3906 sec, 4.44mm; 3:19 p.m. PST.

This post has the distinction of being my first composed using WordPress 5.0’s so-called Gutenberg editor. I’m not loving it, in the least. Compatibility and reliability top my list of blogging software priorities—and neither is consistent composing with the radically new WP incarnation, using a theme from a reliable designer that supports the new editor. Some other theme authors have sent email warnings recommending against Gutenberg, to which my webhost auto-updated this site middle of last week.

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The Cats of University Heights: Tocino

On the morning of Nov. 1, 2018, as I approached Polk from Georgia, a lithe, tiger-tabby strutted up the sidewalk. I wasn’t the kitty’s interest, but a black-and-white shorthair looking out the window of a house. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough interior light for a good shot of that animal. Even so, I chose the Featured Image because it’s the street shoot’s story: Tocino staring up at the unseen beastie inside. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 73, 1/1020 sec, 4.44mm; 9:54 a.m. PDT.

The second portrait, taken two minutes earlier, captures Tocino at our first meeting, just before greeting and opportunity for me to read the name tag. Tocino is Spanish for bacon, and it is also a surname. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 56, 1/903 sec, 4.44mm.