35 Things I Noticed After Upgrading to iOS 11 and an iPhone SE

iOS 11 just happened to drop on the same day I bought a new 32 GB iPhone SE in order to replace my 16 GB iPhone 6 and switch over to a prepaid plan. The 6 was running low on storage space and the SE was on sale, so why the heck not upgrade my OS and my phone on the same day!

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#19-YUUUGE!
  1. First things first: Upgrade my iPhone 6 to iOS 11. Maybe I can use that as a selling point after I move to the SE.
  2. I can’t help but cackle at glee at how many problems iOS 11 is likely causing for customers at my old job. Jerks.
  3. Yes, I am saying my former customers and my former employer are jerks.
  4. Free space on 16GB iPhone 6 before upgrade: 900 MB. Free space after: 4.9 GB. WTF?
  5. When I hit the Wireless or Bluetooth buttons in the Control Center I expect them TO TURN OFF, not just disconnect. No bueno. iOS!
  6. Is a Location on/off button in the Control Center too much to ask for?  Android has had one in their Notification Area for years. Don’t you want to be cool like Android, iOS?
  7. On a related note, the fact that Apple constantly wants to know where you are is mildly creepy.
  8. Why would I want to turn off the cellular part by itself? Isn’t that what Airplane Mode is for?
  9. The “Do Not Disturb While Driving” thing is pretty cool.
  10. The Pebble smartwatch app is still standing; it’ll be a sad day when it or my watch stops working. Stupid FitBit.
  11. From the ‘what took Apple so long’ department: Files. Yeah.
  12. Only four app updates to install…so far!
  13. All in all, iOS 11 is pretty nice, with a few annoyances I can live with. On to the new phone!
  14. Why not Android? Let’s see: For $200 I can get a questionable phone with a lousy camera and maybe one OS update or a really good phone with an awesome camera that will get updates for a few years.
  15. Despite the smaller screen, I consider the SE an upgrade. Better CPU, twice the storage, and a better camera.
  16. Yeah, yeah. I shouldn’t have bought the 16GB model two years ago, but here we are.
  17. The SE is small enough to fit in my pocket and not be constantly clipped to my belt looking like it’s there for something important.
  18. I’m sort-of trying to not be tied to my phone so much.  I don’t know how successful I’ll be, but I’m trying!
  19. Funny how my old phone is nearly as big as the box my new one came in.
  20. Shopping for a case was a little annoying because the iPhone SE section at Ye Olde Electronics Store was cleaned out. It must have been one heck of a sale, or maybe the SE has become the ‘poor man’s iPhone.’
  21. Found an OtterBox case on the cheap at Wally Martinez (Wal-Mart) so maybe there’s something to that.
  22. Yay, another set of EarPods and Apple stickers I’ll never use.
  23. I can never put screen protectors on right.

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    Out with the old, in with the small!
  24. The gal at the activation line has an interesting accent. I wonder if she’s in the Philippines…FOR NO PARTICULAR REASON.
  25. Accidentally hung up on her once during the activation process. Oops.
  26. Apparently the dweebie at the Best Buy warehouse didn’t scan my new phone so it wasn’t technically ‘purchased.’ That led to WHY IS IT NOT WORKING ANYMORE ten minutes after activating it, which led to another phone call to Whereveritis-istan.
  27. Realization: I’m going to have to be super-careful to not drop this thing in the toilet.
  28. It took me a half day before I realized I hadn’t set up my ringtone.
  29. Apple productivity apps are useless to me without OneDrive support.  Buh-bye.
  30. Garage Band, iMovie and TV apps on a 4-inch screen? Um, no.  Gone.
  31. Free space: 22 GB  That’s more like it!
  32. What the hell is up with not letting me use my phone as a hotspot, cellular prepaid people? Crazy idea: If people use up all their data tethering, THEY HAVE TO BUY MORE DATA WHICH MEANS YOU MAKE MORE MONEY.  Idiots.
  33. Tethering seems to work just fine via USB, so neener-neener, prepaid cell phone weenies!
  34. Going to take a little adjusting to having a smaller phone, but I think the SE is going to work. Hopefully my new provider works out, too!
  35. I’m just waiting for that one friend (you know who you are) to see my new SE and say “OH MY GOD, IT’S A BABY PHONE!”
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80 Things I Noticed During Texas Furry Fiesta 2017

Another year, another Texas Furry Fiesta. As much as I like San Japan, TFF is my favorite convention bar none.  Sadly, this is the last year in the Dallas InterContinental, but it went out with a bang!

If a guy with bear ears took your picutre, check it out on my Facebook or Flickr!

  1. BEFORE-I wanted to start this list two weeks before the show, but that would have been a bit much. Two days it is, then.

    B
    #75 Fur-tobombed!
  2. I put more effort into picking T-shirts for conventions than I do into dressing for my job
  3. The same goes for shaving: I’ll regularly have a 5 o’clock shadow at work but usually shave whenever I’m going to be with friends.
  4. Had to resist the urge to put “Skills: Striking fear into the hearts of men” on my volunteer application.
  5. Should have mentioned my ‘command voice,’ though.
  6. Seeing Facebook keep going ‘REMEMBER ALL THE FUN YOU WERE HAVING 2/3/4 YEARS AGO’ these last few weeks has been maddening
  7. Went over last year’s list that I apparently DID start two weeks prior, guess I’m getting more patient as I get older.
  8. Planning on using my point-and-shoot for pictures instead of my iPhone, too many dark pictures last year.
  9. Still using my iPad mini to record the parade, though, just need free up lots of memory beforehand!
  10. Sing just came out on video, I wonder if there will be anyone cosplaying? (there wasn’t that I could tell anyway)
  11. Bluetooth speakers at cons SUCK. I have bad taste in music too, but I keep it to myself.
  12. Lucky for me Riverdale is not showing this week. I don’t mind waiting for the next Powerless, BUT I MUST KNOW WHO KILLED JASON BLOSSOM
  13. THURSDAY-Passenger: You better be ready to go at 9. Me at 930 on Thursday: Still waiting for him
  14. I pity people that have been to Whataburger without having a Breakfast on a Bun. THAT’S NO WAY TO LIVE
  15. Siri turned my friend’s last name into ‘Command’ so that is his last name now
  16. Took a shortcut down some caliche roads to bypass a big accident on I-35 North.
  17. Yeah maybe I shouldn’t have washed he car yesterday
  18. Made it past the accident okay, though!
  19. Not liking Braums is a crime, apparently
  20. Thursday and the hotel parking lot is already full, oh boy
  21. Friend as we’re going to the room: “This hallway smells like B.O.”

    A
    #25: Come here often?
  22. Funny that I’m going to spend part of my vacation working (as a volunteer) yet I don’t mind
  23. Volunteering: Started off helping unload some stuff, kinda wish I’d showed up earlier to help more.
  24. Furst World Problem: Being swatted by someone’s tail.
  25. Volunteering: It was fun helping at Kempi’s, I am going to totally miss the Disco Dungeon!
  26. Weird moment (for me, anyway) “Didn’t that guy have the prettiest eyes?” “Sorry, but I’m straight.”
  27. I ended up splitting a room in a single instead of a double, we used a pillow as the ‘border.’
  28. FRIDAY-Surprised at how unorganized the volunteering seems to be early on, (it got better)
  29. Idea (that may not work): E-mail verified volunteers blanks of the tracking sheets.
  30. Volunteering: Spent a couple hours in the con suite playing barkeep at the snack bar some more in the morning
  31. Mary Mouse is just too busy, I need my Certified badge!
  32. The panelist didn’t show up to the first panel I went to…I have yet to miss one of mine…just sayin’
  33. These guys really need to purchase a legit scheduling app. The ‘purchase’ part means it likely won’t happen, though
  34. Kept getting asked: “Are you doing a panel?”  I think it’s safe to say me doing panels is a thing now.
  35. My apologies to my friends when I don’t recognize them in or out of fursuit: I have enough trouble remembering people that only have ONE name and face!
  36. Decided to belt out Be Prepared at Kempi’s during karaoke and loved it. I kicked into my vocal ‘fifth gear’ that I very seldom use.
  37. Ten buck special at Boston Market = good eatin’ Going to miss all the close places to eat next year
  38. Finally figured out to hold my camera by its sides when showing pictures to fursuiters so it doesn’t flip back to camera mode when I’m showing them pictures
  39. Probably just need to invest in a new camera already.

    d
    #31: I’m also certifiable!
  40. SATURDAY – I want to go to panels but keep bailing on them to have fun with friends!
  41. Or getting double-booked and leaving a panel early to go to another one
  42. If you’re asking for questions fifteen minutes into your panel, you might need more material, but it worked out.
  43. Having an intro written to start your panel isn’t a Bad Thing per se, but it depends on the type of panel
  44. Lobby ATM machine barfed on me multiple times throughout he weekend, argh
  45. Fursuit parade seemed to go quicker this year
  46. Someone swatted me with their tail!  How wude!
  47. Love to upload the video while I’m here, but the 3.1 GB file ain’t uploading over hotel wifi anytime soon, maybe overnight.
  48. I’m learning that sitting is weird when you have a tail, even if it is just a nub!
  49. The pictures from my point and shoot are coming out so much better than the ones from my iPhone last year
  50. Note to self: Get fursuiter pictures when you have the chance, because that StarFox suiter was way cool, but I missed him!
  51. I was working, though /shrug
  52. Volunteering: Checking for badges gets a little weird when people have them on their waist/belt
  53. Okay, so I’m a prude.
  54. Bought a voodoo-themed print and now I have the Dr. Facliler song from ‘The Princess and the Frog’ in my head
  55. SUNDAY-Left my laptop on all night to upload the Fursuit parade video and it worked!
  56. Likely have to retire my iPad mini after this year, 16GB just ain’t enough!
  57. It’s always funny being functional at 8AM while the party animals slowly lurch to life
  58. Walked away from my backpack by accident Guess I need coffee!
  59. Woofle House to the rescue!
  60. Not trying very hard to sell anything in Artist’s Alley, which is good because I didn’t *le sigh*

    C
    #60: Take my books, please!
  61. I swear I am the only seller in Artist Alley that is standing up.
  62. To be fair, they’re all drawing
  63. And sold more than me 😛
  64. I gave away three books, so there’s that.
  65. New rule: No more using my iPad as an attention grabber, people just watch the videos and block the table
  66. You’re welcome for the name, Kawaii-pool!
  67. Why are there two kinds of Steak N’ Shakes? The ones where you get seated SUCK sometimes.
  68. Elevator conversation:
    Me: “You draw the fluffiest furries I’ve ever seen!”
    Tirrell: “That’s how they’re supposed to look.”
    Me: “Right, but nobody draws them like that.”
  69. None of the pictures I took during Closing Ceremonies came out. Insert joke about Path here.
  70. When someone brings bubble wrap for pick-up to the art show you know they buy a lot of art 0_0
  71. Got plenty of exercise helping tear down the Art show, and earned enough time for a free registration next year!
  72. I had originally planned to stay till Monday, but I have too much adulting to do, so I hit I-35 at 10PM
  73. It was hard for me to leave ‘early’ though MUST PHOTOGRAPH ALL THE FURSUITERS
  74. If you are a fursuiter and I didn’t take your picture, I AM SO SORRY
  75. My friends and I got ‘furtobombed’ by Zig-Zag at the end!
  76. Didn’t run into any of the storms on the drive home but saw lots of scary lightning!
  77. Had a scary moment on a patch of flooded construction, too
  78. Finally got home at 3AM,. I’m tired, but the good kind of tired
  79. Another great show, and I even helped (a little)!

And one late one:

80. At least we only have 11 months to wait until TFF 2018!

First Impressions: SodaStream Fizzi

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Fresh fizz

I love soda.  For me, there’s nothing like the simple pleasure of an ice cold soda: The little cloud of gas you see when you first open up a bottle, the sizzling sound the fizz makes, the taste, and the feel of the fizz as it goes down your throat are all wonderful.  Even the aftermath, in the form of a good belch, carries a certain appeal.  Okay, so I’m a guy. Sue me.

I received a gift card from a friend for Christmas a few weeks ago and pondered over what to purchase with it.  My friend had gifted me a card from an electronics store, which was cool, but I wasn’t really wanting for a video game or computer equipment or a new tablet, or really, anything related to technology.  What to do, what to do.  Then it hit me.  I excitedly checked their website and was delighted to find the store sold SodaStream machines.

I was less than delighted to discover that they were not in stock at any nearby stores.  No biggie, I could wait a week or two.

I have thought about getting a SodaStream for a while.  The idea of concocting my own soda flavors at home is very enticing.  Producing less waste is also nice, though I do recycle my cans.  The up-front cost of a machine kept me away, though, but thanks to my friend’s gift, I would pay less than half the cost of a SodaStream Fizzi.

I received my Fizzi, excitedly opened the package and removed the contents. It came with the unit, a CO2 bottle rated for 60 liters of soda, a one-liter carbonation bottle, what I presumed was an instruction booklet, and a coupon of some sort.

The SodaStream Fizzi stands at just over 16 inches tall, so it just fits under my kitchen cabinets.  I have to pull it out so I can press the carbonation button, but that’s a minor inconvenience.  The Fizzi doesn’t need electricity so there is no power cord to get in the way.

The carbonation bottle has a little bit of heft to it.  The fill line and expiration dates are clearly marked and the opening is fairly wide, allowing for fairly easy filling and cleaning.   Interesting note: While the bottles are marketed as being 1L bottles, filling it up to the appropriate level takes less than a liter of water.

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Seriously, that’s IT?

I was perturbed to find the booklet included with the device was full of legalese and warnings.  No instructions.  I get that SodaStream machines are supposed to be easy to use, but some guidance would have been nice.  All I got was a paper foldout with pictures that was stuck to the back of the unit.  No words, just pictures.  Okay, I guess it is that easy.  I quickly glanced at the pictures and concluded that there wasn’t much to it.

Also disappointing was the lack of any syrup.  I wondered if it was a trade-off in exchange for receiving a full bottle of CO2.  My understanding is that SodaStream machines originally came with a very small CO2 bottle that didn’t last very long and made people unhappy.  That said, I was aware of that shortcoming coming in, so I took the liberty of purchasing a bottle of SodaStream’s Diet Cola flavor as well as a bottle of water enhancer.

The first step was to install the CO2 canister, which was simple enough.  First, I removed the seal and the plastic cap from the canister.  Then, I removed the back panel of the Fizzi, screwed the canister into the the machine, and replaced the panel.  So far, so good!

I rinsed out the carbonation bottle, filled it with the appropriate amount of water, and snapped it into the machine.  I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to screw it in or what, but it appeared to stay in place so I figured it was okay.  I then held my breath, firmly pressed the big carbonation button at the top of the unit, and water sprayed everywhere.

Remember that quick glance from a few paragraphs ago?  I neglected to notice the correct method of inserting the bottle, which is to pull out a plastic backrest at an angle and then insert the bottle.  At this point, I was a little gunshy after getting water all over my countertop and gingerly added a second shot of fizz without spilling any more water.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t sure how much to fizz the water at that point, so my first bottle ended up not quire as fizzy as I would have liked.  I’ve read online that screwing  up your first bottle is a common occurrence, so it seems I’m just as silly as everyone else.

Future bottles went off without a hitch.  The Diet Cola flavor I purchased tasted okay but adding water enhancer was much tastier.  I have yet to try my hand at making my own flavors but will likely look online for some recipes before I get too adventurous.

Even after making a few bottles, I’m still not quite completely sure when I’ve fizzed the water enough.  A sticker on the top of the unit says to fizz until you hear three puffs, but I don’t always hear them.  I have yet to under-fizz another bottle, though, so I’m apparently doing it enough…or maybe too much?  Time will tell how many bottles I get out of that 60L container.

After getting over the initial (messy) learning curve, I’m enjoying my SodaStream Fizzi.  I’ve already purchased another pair of 1-liter bottles and look forward to eventually mixing up my own fizzy waters.  With a start-up cost of $100 for the Fizzi and a pair of extra carbonation bottles; SodaStream isn’t exactly the most cost-effective solution compared to buying off-the-shelf, and as anyone who has tasted a Dr. Pepper knock-off will attest, their flavors won’t quite match up to the originals.  The value of a SodaStream to you will depend on how much you enjoy soda.  Would I have bought one without that gift card?  Probably not, but as a fan of fizz, I’m glad I did.

The sun will rise in the morning…

So Donald Trump won.  I’m disappointed, but at the end of the day, the majority of people are good, and many that voted for Trump had reasons for doing so that didn’t involve hate or fear.

God Bless America.

Some Neat Stuff I Saw at HavenCon 2016

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Con loot!

Instead of my usual ‘things I noticed’ list, I’m going to take a different approach with this post-convention blog post. At every convention, I see lots of neat artwork from independent artists. Sometimes there are independent game studios showing their wares, and they will often have some pretty cool demos to check out.

This past weekend I attended HavenCon in Austin, Texas. HavenCon bills itself as “the first geek and gaming convention in Texas to focus on the LGBTQIA and Ally communities,” and indeed there was a variety of things to see and do.

So without any further ado:

I purchased some nice X Files-themed prints from Megan Kluck featuring artwork similar to this.  Her art can be found at tasteslikekeys.tumblr.com

This print from Robby Cook will be hanging in my home soon.  His wonderful artwork and mash-ups can be found at robbycook.com

I bought a zine from Bis Thornton (bisthebox.com) and E. S. Mahoney named “Singularity: Contraption” that contained some neat stories about robotics.

“Redemption,” a comic written and drawn by Veronica Kathryn, is the story of a girl who’s trying to make up for the fact that she ENDED THE WORLD.  Oops.  It can be read at redemption.smackjeeves.com and her artwork can be found at bobo-kitty.deviantart.com

There were a few indie game developers there with some neat games, such as Black Ice, a funky Tron-inspired first person shooter with RPG elements by Garrett Cooper.  Finji knocked my socks off with a turn-based survival game called Overland, which is currently in development.

I had an enjoyable weekend at HavenCon, made even more so by these folks and their wonderful work!  I hope you check them out, and thanks for reading!