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#210 July 1, 2016 from
We have some friends who have a computer but don't have
internet access and I was silly enough to assume that I
could gift them with a little black box that would give
them internet access through a nearby cell tower so I did
some research on it. Most of them are like cellphones in
that you're expected to sign a long term contract and pay
a given amount each month. Not gonna happen. I refuse to
carry a cellphone because I was on-call 24/7 throughout
most of my working career and, in my mind, part of being
retired is not having to carry an electronic gadget on my
person at all times. Lisa's cellphone is a Tracfone. Her
original flip-phone was a refurb that cost us $40. When
she needed to be able to accept credit cards in payment at
the first Llano Earth Arts Festival we upgraded her to a
refurbished smartphone for $50. We buy a years worth of
service at a time when it's on special and add minutes to
her plan every so often when they're on special. We don't
pay a monthly fee and I doubt if our actual monthly cost
is even close to $10 a month. So I figured there ought to
be a some similar sort of pay-as-you go, when and if you
like, internet service gizmo. I went looking for one and
thought I'd found it. They had a questionaire and wanted
my zip code so I typed it in. Then they asked 'Are you
going to be using your phone in Tow, Texas?'.  Wait, when
did this internet service gizmo turn into a phone? I'm a
computer nerd and very highly web savvy. If you can't
offer me something that clearly and understandably fits my
requirements then you aren't really serious about selling
me anything. I wrote them a letter complaining about how
confusing their online questionaire is. They replied with
a very polite letter that did nothing at all to dispell
the confusion.

So, one of these days I'll be standing in line at the
supermarket and there'll be a blisterpack hanging there
with a little nondescript black box in it and the label
will say '12 Gigabytes of WiFi, $19.95, No activation fee,
No monthly contract', When I see that, I'll consider
buying one for my friends. Until then, nuts to 'em (be
sure and tell me if you see one somewhere).  :)


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If you just can't stand Windows 10, maybe it's time to take
another look at Linux.

Stephanie's camera skills need work and I've not seen the
musical that the song comes from but I enjoy her singing.

I guess youtube has pretty much spoiled me because I've no
patience with any video that runs over about five minutes
but if I was a movie junky this would be a cool site.

I was really surprised a few days ago when I found out that
my friend Stevie, who isn't an electronics hobbyist and has
no real background in electronics, repaired his own LCD
computer monitor with a kit he bought from these folks.

I was going to post links to a few of the tiny computers
that seem to be appearing all over the place (like the
Odroid or the Raspberry Pi) but then I found an article
that covers them nicely. [pcworld dot com]

This is an onion-like, strange little news site that makes
no bones at all about being 'a little biased'.

Of possible interest to Fantasy/SF fans.
Or writers.

Winnie the Poo's hundred acre wood map on google maps.

You know those webpages filled with ads that want you to
click through a several page slideshow with pop-ups and
other annoyances? Yeah, those. This website is supposed
to display them sensibly for you. In all honesty I haven't
found a site where it works but I remain hopeful.

Do you remember back in the day when we'd go to a mall and
check out all the shops, occasionally finding one that sold
out-of-the-ordinary things and was oddly cool? Are shops
like that still in malls? I haven't been in a mall in over
twenty years now so I've no idea but 'shops' like that are
cropping up all over the internet. Here's an odd one I ran
across the other day. I'm not recommending you buy stuff
from them, I just thought it was sort of cool.

Harp music, to me, is a little like bagpipe music. It's ok
but, please, only in small doses. That being said, here's
someone I don't mind listening to at all.

Wanna do something cool for the Smithsonian? [smithsoniammag dot com]

How many of these have you read?

Here's a lovely little song written and performed by Tracy
Newman (she says she wrote it for a man to sing) that's
been stuck in my head for a couple of days now. I guess I'm
just going to have to learn to sing it. She told me, on
Facebook, that she'd like to hear my rendition and she's
Tracy Newman, so now I have to record it. :-|
[If I actually get that done, I'll post a link in the
following issue of this tiny but illustrious publication]

My grandsons love to read (take after their grampaw) and
ebooks are way less costly than paperbacks but my daughter
doesn't want them to have unsupervised access to the web.
I think I've found a solution. This gizmo is just a reader
that you have to load files onto from a computer. [ematic dot us]

A few links from my co-conspirator & spouse, Lisa Miller.

Need to caption your own videos? YouTube has a pretty good
one on-board

Create captions in Amara software, download them
and upload to YouTube. This video shows you how.

Most of us know this by instinct, but Bibliotherapy is a
real science.

Trying to read some of the Classic Literature I may have
missed, a friend reminded me that Amazon Books has lots
of free Classics

I've just joined Goodreads, which takes the books I've
read and rate, and makes recommendations of others that
might interest me. Then I go try to find them free.

Would you like to fight crime without half trying? [fox2now dot com]

BBC has had a comprehensive, free language-learning program
since 1943.

Brainpickings is a daily source of art, culture,
literature and creativity.

(thank you dear)


This publication is only mailed to verified
double opt-in subscribers, and is brought
to you by me, Don Crowder, and
with occasional help from my wife, Lisa Miller.
At the time this issue was posted, the current
subscriber count for this publication was 316.


Fifty years ago I was an inch taller than I am now and
weighed 160 pounds (72.6 kg). These days it's all I can do
to keep my weight below 200 pounds (90 kg) and how well my
trousers fit is subject to change from week to week. This
is but one of several things I haven't enjoyed about
growing older but is perhaps the most annoying. I'm not
vain. I'm ok with having to move a little slower, aches &
pains, balding and don't mind being an old, fat guy but
I'd much prefer to be not quite so fat. Yes, I'm whining
(whinging to those of you from the UK) but that is my right
as a senior citizen. :)

Hope you found something here that you enjoyed.  See you
next time.


P.S. I asked Lisa if she wanted to add anything to the
closing message. She thought about it and said 'Nope
but I guess you could write it for me'. I thought
about that for a bit and decided she might say
something like this:

You should get yourself a ukulele. After extensive
research and testing I've found that a ukulele is
wonderfully conducive to a state of satisfaction
and general happiness.

'I am Lisa Miller and I approve this message.'



The Internet:  A Weapon of Mass Instruction.

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