Learning How to Use My iPod Touch

At the Apple Store in Palo Alto, I asked the very young sales clerk, “Is there a manual to tell me how to use it? A: “No, but you don’t need one. It’s really easy to use.” Now after a month, I have some time to start exploring how to use it. I discover a folder of Extras, including Tips, click on Essentials and the first Tip tells me how to call up Siri (hold down Home button). I quickly discover that Siri knows what town we’re in. So . . .
Q: What is the population of our town?
A: The population of Our Town, AL was 641 in 2010 (from the Wifipedia page it pulled up.) Ummm, we’re NOT in Alabama.
Q: What town are we in?
A: It gives the exact street address, along with a map of the spot.
Q: What is the population here?
A: It gives links to five websites about population.
Okay, so we can conclude that Siri is not expert about putting 2 and 2 together. But I like that I don’t have to start every (or any) question with “Hey {name of robot} . . .

Tip #4 tells me how to download the User Guide for iPOD Touch for iOS 12. I follow the directions and it is now open in Books to the Table of Contents. Now that is useful! If it wasn’t 1,792 miles away to that Apple Store (Siri told me), I might go back there and show the nice young lady the manual, open on my iPod. To be fair, she probably knows a lot more about an iPhone than an iPod.

Today my iPod Touch nudged me to install iOS 12.0.1. It only took ten minutes or so. Then I installed the Scores app, as suggested by @Mtt. I wanted to be able to check the scores on games, without using a website that insists on displaying the latest video from some game.

Don't Be a Lemming, Part II - read it here ---->

You might want to read the original Don’t Be a Lemming, but it isn’t essential, as this piece is gonna be mostly about lemmings. When that title popped into my head as I was waking up one morning, it occurred to me that I should make sure I knew what a lemming really is, so I found the Wikipedia article on them and read it.

What a surprise! They are cute little critters who live in the snow in the Arctic. They even have a special claw on their front feet to help them dig in the snow for food. And they don’t hibernate, but remain active through the harsh Arctic winter. I was already beginning to feel that I owed them an apology for believing in a derogatory connotation to the word lemming!

I had thought a lemming was just a figure of speech, a metaphor of blindly following others with no critical thought at all. It was actually an Apple ad during the 1985 Super Bowl that had given me my most vivid image of lemmings, but they were blindfolded people, not cute little fur balls. The video immediately reminded me of Orwell’s book 1984, which had a big impact on me during high school.

I read more about lemmings at Wikipedia and about the misconception that they march to mass suicide by jumping off cliffs. These are very old urban legends, started long before there was a Snopes to look them up. Then it got worse. I discovered that Disney had produced a so-called documentary in 1958 about their marching off cliffs, called White Wilderness, quite convincing when you watch it, so convincing that Disney won an Oscar for Documentary Feature for it. But it was entirely staged by the film crew. They didn’t march off the cliffs, they were pushed, shoved or thrown off the cliff by the film makers! Now imagine the folks in that production that had to march up on the stage and accept the Oscar for their skullduggery! Do you think they bragged about their Oscar for the rest of their careers? You can read all about it here and be sure to look at the two images the article has of adorable lemmings. It ends by saying “Do they really kill themselves?” No. The answer is unequivocal, no they don’t.

So I must take it all back. I should not have implied that a lemming is a bad thing to be at all. Maybe I should just say, think for yourself. Leave Twitter if you decide it’s the best thing for you to do. If you decide it’s better to keep your Twitter account, for possible use during travel, well then that’s okay too. Or anything in between.

The next time I go to a major zoo, I’m gonna look for the lemmings and tell them how much I like them and wish them well.

Apple has big annual events where they show off lots of new features on their iPhones. Manton does it differently here. Everytime he gets something new working, it just appears as a working feature. e.g. new Preview & Show More buttons. @manton’s approach is far better IMHO.


Berkshire Hathaway’s Charlie Munger Donates $68.5 Million in Stock to UC Santa Barbara - Barron’s

Testing sharing Apple news from my iPod Touch.

Don't Be a Lemming

Think Different - (Jobs version)
Don’t follow leaders, Watch the parkin’ meters - (Dylan version)

That first one in this series of three titles just popped into my head one morning recently. I immediately recognized it as the perfect title for the article I had been meaning to write, about the trend of people leaving Twitter. I would never delete my Twitter account and not just because I would want to buck the trend, but for a more practical reason. I consider Twitter to be an essential tool for travel, especially in areas of temporary chaos, where a lack of information and proper communication could cause people to make poor choices. I discovered this on my own during the early stages of the May 2014 coup d’etat in Thailand, the homeland of my wife, Paula. I had come back to the US and Paula was still in Thailand when the coup began.

I wrote about it in detail at the time on one of my earlier blogs. Read about it and you’ll see how essential Twitter was in providing me with up to the minute information on events as they unfolded. The Tweets of Richard Barrow kept me well informed and not at all concerned about Paula’s safety. It was actually safer there after the coup, than it had been when I left the country just before the coup began.

It seems there is now more chaos in America than in Thailand, but when we travel there next time, I will certainly make sure I can readily follow Richard Barrow on Twitter. I have no objection to other people taking principled stands and deleting their Twitter accounts, but I won’t be following their lead. I’ve been through this before and know that Twitter could be a vital source of news for me.

Stay tuned to learn more about those lemmings. Watch for Don’t Be a Lemming, Part II.

The best time to blog is when you have something to say. If you have something to say, the writing will be easy. For me, these things usually come from a personal experience, anything from a simple observation to a full-blown epiphany. Write about it in the moment, if you can.

My Visit to an Apple Store

The nearest Apple Store to us is now about 200 miles away, in Chicago. But we had to fly back to Silicon Valley anyway, so I could testify for the prosecution in a felony embezzlement jury trial, so there were soon going to be a lot more Apple Stores nearby. Once the trial was done (the defendant changed her plea to No Contest the day after I testified), we had several days to visit with friends before we had to fly back. We scheduled a lunch with a bunch of our friends at PF Chang’s in the Stanford Shopping Center. With a great lunch over, we only had to walk to the other end of the mall to get to an Apple Store. My buddy Jim, who is an expert on both Apple products, as well as Windows and Android products, agreed to go along with us, to hold my hand, if necessary.

I wanted to see an iPod Touch, as I had recently discovered from @fernando that the Touch was the least expensive Apple device for using Micro.blog, only 200 bucks. I was amazed that there was even any Apple device that was that cheap! Jim swung the big glass door open for us and we went inside. A young lady immediately offered to help us and Jim told her I wanted to buy an iPod Touch. “Thanks, Jim.”

She knew where they were, though I doubt she had ever sold one before. I told her I didn’t have any Apple products, but that my very first computer had been an Apple II+ with the upgraded 64K of RAM and the extra language card, bought during the first year after they were released. She didn’t know what an Apple II+ was. She had also never heard of Andy Hertzfeld, my friend from the Stanford course on Bob Dylan, who had written the original Mac operating system. No problem, that was all ancient history, surely all occurring before she was even born.

She handed me one of two iPod Touch devices on display, both in Space Gray. I had come to see the Blue, Pink and Gold devices. None of those were on display, but they had them in the back, so she went to get them. They were still in their original packaging, so I could only peek at the narrow slice of color visible in the unopened packages. She knew about the two choices of RAM and the prices.

I had read rumors about an upcoming Generation 7, so I asked her whether it would be Generation 6 or 7, if I bought that day. She and one of her associates didn’t know the answer to that one, but their fingers went flying on their little iPhones. Soon they had the answer, it would be Generation 6. Oh well. no big deal. I didn’t even know what the difference between 6 and 7 would be. Meanwhile I had decided on Gold and my wife approved of that choice. All Thai people love things that are “golden.”

So I told the sales lady I’d get the 32 GB one in gold for $200. Immediately my wife said, “Nooo, get the one with 128 GB of RAM.” If we got the little one, we’d regret it later she explained. That had happened to friends of hers, who had bought iPhones with small RAM and immediately regretted it, paying a lot later to upgrade to an iPhone with a lot more RAM. Hmmmm, but it’s only for blogging, I told her. “You love music, I want you to put a lot of Bob Dylan on it, so you can listen to it, even when there is no wi-fi available.”

Our real estate broker had once assured me that “A happy wife is a happy life.” I turned to the Apple lady and said, “We’ll take the bigger one” and handed her my credit card. She looked directly at my wife and said, “I think you’ll enjoy it very much” and started running my card. I commented on who she was looking at when she said that, but she immediately said she had actually said, “I think you guys’ll enjoy it very much.”

We had bought the house that my wife really loved too. It’s proven to be a pretty darn nice house!!

Travel day today, so I won’t be able to follow much iPhone X news. The court said we had to fly into SFO, even though SJ airport would be much closer, because SFO is $80 or so cheaper. But then the court just has to send a driver that much farther in a car to pick us up!

I'm Old, but I'm Not Dead Yet, Not Even Sick! -- Click to read ---->

Yeah, I’ve been gone from the scene for a while, the result of a number of factors. I had become so active, mostly with replies, that my tax work was not getting done fast enough. Then I discovered that at least one person misunderstood two of my comments, not how I had intended them at all. This was a bit surprising & verrrry unnerving to me. I realized it was time for me to step away and re-evaluate my path forward. I have no interest in creating problems for anyone. I’m the oldest person on this platform. but I have never developed a very thick skin and certainly don’t want to become known as the old curmudgeon.

I have some corporate tax returns to finish up for clients and then Monterey County in CA is going to fly me there to testify for the prosecution in mid September in a felony embezzlement trial. When that is all behind me, I will likely experience a major reduction in pressure and I will have much more time for my writing and other personal activities, probably including some international travel.

Going forward, I plan to mostly write and post my own blog articles, some short and some long and greatly curtail my activity in the social media end of things. I’ve been compiling a list of things I want to write about, which is actually getting pretty long. Those things excite me. I think my life experience is different from most on the platform, as I am probably the only one here from my generation (born during WW II). I’ve also been something of an outsider from the beginning. My first computer was an Apple II+ but when the IBM PC came out, I mostly switched to that platform, as it totally dominated the professional accounting world ever since, which is how I make my living. I am very technical in many areas (US tax accounting, ham radio, Morse Code, etc) but I’ve done no programming since college and certainly nothing in the Apple world.

This is primarily a platform for Apple folks, so a very high percentage of the traffic in the social media here is either irrelevant to me or over my head. I have some things to say about that, which I will get to in due course.

I very much appreciate the friends I’ve made here and was very surprised when I read William Schuth, Brad Enslen, Robert (rnv) and Smokey Ardisson expressing some concern about my whereabouts. I was surprised that my absence had even been noticed. I’m sorry if I worried anyone, which was not my intention. It has been very good for me to step away for a while and I’m looking forward to getting back to actual blogging, maybe even some creative things when I return. I signed up on micro.blog to be able to do more blogging (plus to get the book) and so it will be good to return to that activity.

Keep up the good work to all of you, not just the four people I mentioned!

Ron Chester

Phishing - Public Service Announcement
The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. Full details here.

As we started up the hill, I pointed at my neighbor’s white car in his driveway, “Turn into the driveway after that one.” She looked & exploded, “Ohhh my god, you live in the Gingerbread House?! I can’t wait to tell my son that I met the man who lives in the Gingerbread House!!”

Just after sunrise, a fireball on the horizon had begun to be a sun in the sky. As we drove along, we looked out over the fields in all directions & mist was floating up, as the sun warmed the night moisture & turned it into a fog. Not for long, but I still see it in my mind.