iPad Air 2 RMA Imminent

Okay. So I’m done and am gonna initiate the return to Best Buy per their not wanted criteria. Tomorrow it goes back. I came up with the following reasons to keep the Nexus 9 and return the iPad:

The iPad is not the kind of device I can use easily. I’m used to a degree of freedom declaring what applications are default for an action. I guess I’m spoiled there.

IOS8 is not Lollipop. Trying to manipulate the IOS Launcher is pitiful. Whoever ever came up with the select all icons when holding down one should be taken to the whipping board.

A garden is a pleasant place but a wall limits outside and inside actions. The iPad really limits how applications can share with another application.

Now why I am keeping the Nexus 9 particularly:

I like it. I don’t give a flying f**k if the guy that writes for Android Authority does or does not like it. I never did care whether he did or not but this stuff is up to independent verification.

The hardware is understated in favor of the software for the 9. What are we really buying here? We are buying a view into Android 5 Lollipop I believe. LOf course the hardware could be better. No matter what we buy it could be better. The software could be better. Well, of course. Its never done and all those entitled boys on XDA and other places need to grow a set and grow up. Software never finishes.

I like the screen on it and how responsive it is. I like the performance. I like everything about it. Even its little faults. I have my faults too. In the iPad world everything just works ™ but its how it works that bugs the hell out of me. Its like without human interaction it works.I guess I love Linux too much and this is so far away from the open standard, the ability to customize down to fonts and icons and experience.

Some folks would tell me you shoulda knowed. I did. But I am habilis. I investigate and use tools and toys.

Now back to waiting for Android 5.1 and see what happens next in the wondrous, wacky, and strange world of Nexus.

There is beer







Its Friday. Time to party like its 2014. I’ve decided to post completely random crap to my blog for the remainder of the year. I’m testing all you legions of dedicated Mikes Thoughts readers. Those that stick it out will be rewarded commensurately.


A Thursday iPad versus Android Post

Its a Thursday iPad versus Android day. But its not really because each device has a different niche for me. My Nexus 9 is really fun to use in that unfinished, Lollipop way. It reminds me why I love an evolving and unfinished platform. Its so Linux-y. My iPad gives me a polished and done environment much more structured and with the walls ever so visible. The usual ways of doing things avail not but Google is very present on IOS and you can make things or get things to work to a certain point. The real joy though is of the hardware and how responsive it is. You don’t need iTunes to use and I did a large OTA from the tablet. I would never have bought one if I needed iTunes. Its the bane of the devil and I will never install it.

One question I got from a roommate is whether I would keep it. I believe so because I enjoy it and each tablet fulfills a toy need for me. None of this is serious stuff for me really. The most serious is my Nexus 5 with Lollipop 5.0.1 on it. It fulfills a daily need and its quite stable and runs so well.

I think there is room for a person to use what makes them happy, productive, gives them some fun. A person never has to be locked in to a thing and should always be a habilis type. Experimenting, using, having fun with the toys.

Android is more fun. It has this open nature to how you can interact with sharing, using, controlling. The iPad is more controlled but the applications are very nice. Its not a one or the other thing. We all can use what we want and there is room to make other uses of things.

Go visit an apple store and try out an iPad Air 2. See if its your cup of tea. If not, no big deal. Nothing lost or gained. Same with an Android tablet. I happen to like the open ended nature of the experience and how things can be declared as default applications with no real heavy lifting. Its not a versus thing. Its a “and” thing.

Happy Birthday Me

Its been an interesting life. I think back on the accomplishments, failures, things I’ve done or not done. Places I’ve lived or visited. People I’ve wronged or righted. Friends that have come and gone. I still miss the DaveR. A loss of a person which life has never made up with replacement people. There are others that have gone their other ways which now I understand. When I was an archeologist, I preferred to excavate by myself. This Native American monitor called me “lone warrior”. Not out of teasing I don’t think. It was just a statement about the way I am. In retrospect, all the the things have come about where I interacted with another of the opposite sex have ended and I’m left as this lone warrior. Living in a house we jokingly call the “Money Pit”. Its falling apart in a few ways. I think the ceiling leaks and my memory leaks too. Right onto this blog. I hear strange noises that the wall heater makes like it grumbles about its mission in life. The refrigerator sounds sometimes like a little tank just starting up. So many thing which seem on the edge of working and non working.

We all persist here though just like I persisted a few times. I realized then and now I am a solitary warrior. My task in life is not to make another person happy. I’ve realized that I can never do that. I cannot make another happy until I am happy. A person asked whether another person will enter my orbit. I doubt it. I’m a voyager of the lone degree. My solo orbit crosses many places and each birthday reminds me.

So I’ve gently accepted or at least live with the passing of years. Getting old. But not feeling old. Perhaps that’s the difference. Maybe I still feel like that precocious youth striding down the streets of Lancaster. Singing those old Beatles songs with my friend Mike. The only thing has changed is that time has passed. I’m left a youth still. More so than ever before.

Happy Birthday me.

My Real iPad Air 2

In two days I’ll get the much vaunted iPad Air 2 tablet. I’ve tried to use IOS products before and have failed miserably. The whole iTunes thing has always been bad for me because I absoltively hate iTunes and its ecosystem requirements and its garden with walls and how it treated the music I rented from it years ago. I want to see for myself the differences between it and my Nexus 9 tablet. Its been said its the best tablet out there right now and I’m a habilis guy.

The reason I liked Nexus products before were easy root and bootloader unlock jobs but lets face it; the real reasons to root are getting less and less. The one thing i do like is the ability to install a custom kernel which makes things better or extends a feature or function which were not available before. I like custom widgets on the home screen, installing a new launcher, adding in icon packs to make things look different.

I’m also a consumer guy. I want to consume media and news and music and stuff. I like applications like Netflix and HuluPlus and HBOtoGo that let me stream from chromecast to my Samsung TV. For that role, nothing beats my Nexus 7 2013 tablet as a dedicated local tablet for streaming, for my daughter to use to stream YouTube videos, etc.

So what will I do if the Air 2 is better? I will use it. I will also use the Nexus 9 because I am a tool user. We’re all free to use what works for us, make our lives better, experiment with toys. These are all toys besides my Nexus 5 with a custom ROM and kernel.

Hold on for the real review. Only subjective because most reviews suck and the reviewers know it. What they fail to tell you is that they are speaking after a use level of one person only. Its them and their notions and their decisions. These reviews are not scientific experiments so you should not base your buying decision on some Android magazine saying X is best. He don’t know what’s best for you. He only knows what’s best for him. Ignore the reviews like you do for movies you want to see. If we only want to movies with glowing reviews, we’d never see all the fun and action movies out there and we’d be bored. We decide on movies to see a thing or not independent of what some dude says. Why not practice the same level of objectivity with your technology practices?

If you don’t like it; return it for heaven’s sakes but make up your own minds. Letting some guy on Android Police or Android Central dictate to you is dumb.

My Nexus 9 Review

I am comparing my Nexus 9 against the iPad Air 2. I don’t have a iPad Air 2. Probably never will. I do have a Nexus 9. The power button on it while a bit recessed is better than the one on my iPad Air 2. The screen on my Nexus 9 is nicer too. My Nexus 9 can be mounted up on my Linux laptop. My iPad cannot. I can turn the volume up on my Nexus 9 and the front facing speakers rule. My iPad has no speakers. I can install actual widgets on the screen on my Nexus 9. My iPad Air 2 has no screen but even if it did I don’t think it can do widgets. I am immediately productive on my Nexus 9. My iPad Air 2 is hard to find. I can edit files on my Google drive on my Nexus 9. My iPad Air 2 lacks basic editing tools and the screen is hardly visible.

There you have it. My review of my real Nexus 9 against my non existent iPad Air 2. Please publish in fan site blogs and technical magazines.

This review focuses solely on my review and does not include third party materials.

The Power of Old Papers in a new World

I received a box from the fractured home. A small box filled with old papers. Pictures of people and places long gone. Family members which were here, were vital, and left. Old letters from my days as an archeologist working at a few places like the US Forest Service and Edwards Air Force Base. Mentions of things I had done, failures logged, successes made, challenges either met head on or swerved away from.

This left me with how much old papers in a manila folder dog-eared by the passage of time reminds us of the things we were, how they may have shaped what we became, and how we destroy the templates to create new things. Everyone perhaps has a set of old papers which they open up every so often. Perhaps they search through their old gmail to find a old record of what a person may have said in 2009.

I don’t delete email too often since I view it as some calendar of events which every so often I can call back up, look at what I was doing in some year, remember my thoughts as things went a certain way. That’s perhaps fitting for us all as we approach a new year. I think those old papers and email also remind us of a trail or path we broke or followed and how much we’ve changed.

Driving by myself, every so often I wonder aloud. I drive down Mission Street in Fremont and perhaps cruise by the old fractured house and see the residents there. When I finally moved out earlier this year, I realized that those things became part of yet another box of old papers and memories. Pictures of RWR getting his LandCruiser stuck in the desert. Old trips which seemed so important now fade into a lost cavalcade of time.

What’s important to the old papers is how they make the new us. Perhaps one day you will clean out the garage and find a small brown box. You will open it and find yourself suddenly trapped in a set of memories of what might have been, could have been. My mom was fond of saying that we can never get a thing back again. Kind of like the “you cannot go back again” but more you never will. You can drive 1000 times down a street, see the old home, visit your old state. Nothing will be the same. The old days truly are gone and its good.

That old box of papers stuck in some lost corner of the garage now is lessened. I’ve seen and read the old letters and poems and stories I once wrote. While I still wonder at times what happened between 2009 and now; none of that is fit for a rerun. I want the old pictures and letters and forms. I bet you all have those secret places in the garage where you keep the stories and memories. For some reason, we trot them out every December because time is telling us another year is waiting in the wings.

Enter the Old Story

Its Saturday here. I was reading over breakfast at Carl’s Jr the story of an archeologist’s most fabulous find ever. He acknowledges he gets that question quite often. I always wonder if some of that is fueled by the movies of yesteryear like Indiana Jones or the earlier 1950s era movies of the intrepid archeologist watching his troop of diggers getting dirty while he sits nattily attired with a suit and tie and a journal book where he writes concise entries.

In the so many years of doing professional archeology, I never reached the vaunted level of having others do the digging or being able to wear a coat and tie or writing diaries and journals of my fabulous discoveries and so-called hardships. I have gotten questions which persist from well-meaning but ill-informed folks until now. The questions run the gamut of:

What dinosaurs have you dug up? Archeologists don’t dig dinosaurs. We leave that to the paleontologists. They seem well-suited to the endeavor besides their humorous law of super-position which we always put certain sexual connotations to. Older on bottom and younger on top. Hmmm. ┬áHahaha.

Have you found a golden monkey head, temple, pyramid, mummy? No, no, ┬áno, no. None of those things and even when I explain I did new world archeology primarily in deserts and the pacific mountain ranges; those questions seem to still persist. We don’t find any of those things in the Mojave Desert. I don’t recall ever feeling disturbed or bothered by this lack of the big gold things or temples or pyramids. It was challenging enough just doing it with winds blowing 45 mph, with desert sand finding its way into all those little cavities you wish it would not, with the sun blasting down at 125 degrees making you wish archeology could be done in a cooler clime. Yet with all these things I never wished to find things in the Nile river valley or the valley of the Kings or Luxor or the African rift valley.

Archeology and anthropology are not real sciences. I have heard this so many times. They compare what we do and did to something like molecular sciences or something. Look at it this way. We have a fractured and incomplete view of a thing which we interpret behavior from. We use another culture’s use of a thing to attribute how a prehistoric culture we are studying may have done a thing. Perhaps an example of my own history. I was interested in prehistoric cooking pits for awhile and wanted to find some dynamics around them down in the Antelope Valley. I believed that we could find certain key characteristics of prehistoric social behavior, inter-personal behavior, size of these moving hunter-gatherer groups. Not just what they ate but what their life was like. The physical evidence was incomplete though much like all of archeology. A famous guy told me once “we just cannot excavate ideas”. But I believed I had a trend or a hypothesis to test based on a graduate college class in something completely different. I learned the law of proxemics in a non-verbal communications class which started me down the path. Why did hearths grow in size? Why did some hearths have no burned animal bone? Why were there different sized hearths on the sites? I then learned from watching at a gathering in the desert how the law of proxemics worked around fire pits in general. People would gather with certain intervals between them. No one wanted to invade that unspoken law about how close you sit to someone else. Was it the same way back when? Was that the reason why the hearths grew so much in size? Was it because populations were growing too? Incomplete evidence and information and I lost the job where I could study the resources funded by the US Air Force. I never learned the answer but I still have the questions.

So what was it like to practice the science? To actually do the thing? It was full of notable characters, scenes from books come to life, wonders found and lost. Lifetimes spent in front of fires with a warm beer and warmer companionship. We still found things and we treasured the act of finding. But we knew they were incomplete pieces of a story we could try to piece together using a variety of approaches. Much like my hearths; our landscapes were spent trying to understand things. It was fun, challenging, troubling at times. We had rich professional meetings that we only went to yearly. We were solitary beings separated by ideas and ideologies and 30 meter increments or digging 10 centimeter levels.

An interesting place and time that captured my thoughts on how life works. My life still cycles around the anthropological view. My time has ended there but I still secretly revel in the moments of finding and interpreting and questioning.