SoCS — The Sky’s the Limit

Or is it?

For today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, Linda G. Hill has given us the phrase “sky’s the limit,” and had asked us to write about something that has or seems to have no end.

The phrase “the sky’s the limit” is meant to convey the notion that there is no limit to what someone can achieve. Strictly speaking, though, the sky is the space over the Earth where the sun, moon, stars, and clouds appear. But in the 20th century, that phrase has become somewhat quaint, if not obsolete.

We have launched satellites that circle the planet high above the “sky.” Unmanned space probes are exploring the universe far beyond our solar system, communicating with Earth from over 11 billion miles away. We have demonstrated that the sky is definitely not the limit.

The next question then becomes this:Is space, indeed, the final frontier? Who knows? Maybe we’ll learn someday that there is something beyond space. But in the meantime, as Mr. Spock would say, “Live long and prosper.”

TMP — Just a Nit

Every Monday, Paula Light, with her The Monday Peeve prompt, gives us an opportunity to vent or rant about something that pisses us off. Today my beef is a bit of a nit (i.e., nitpicky).

In my last Who Won the Week post in 2020, I mentioned that I bought a pair of Bluetooth headphones to use while I’m watching TV. Because I’m somewhat “hearing impaired,” when I watch TV, I have to have the volume turned up pretty high in order to hear the audio. Unfortunately, my wife’s hearing is fantastic, and, at the volume I need in order to hear the TV, it’s way too loud for her. She complains that the volume is blasting her out of the room.

The good news is that these headphones do the job quite well. My wife is very happy that she can hear the audio on the TV that is set within the normal human range of hearing. And I’m happy because I can, well, hear the TV audio at all. Everyone wins.

The only “peeve” I have is that whenever I turn on the TV, I have to go to my TV’s sound source settings and delete the headphones as a paired Bluetooth device. Once deleted, I then have to instruct my TV to search for a Bluetooth device. And when it finds my previously paired headphones that I just deleted, I then have to re-pair the same headphones again. I have to do this every damn time I turn the TV on.

Sure, it only takes a minute, so it’s not that big a deal. But because I have to go through these steps each and every time, I leave the TV on all day long just so I only have to do it once a day.

See, I told you it was a nit.

SoCS — Magnetic Charge

For this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt from Linda G. Hill, we’re given the word “magnet.”

I had always heard that magnets can wipe our hard drives, wreak havoc on our computer monitors, or can distort the flow of electrons through cables. Thus, I was always diligent about keeping magnets nowhere near my computers or other electronic devices.

So it kind of floored me when I bought my new iPhone 12 Pro Max, and a recommended device for charging the phone was something called “MagSafe.”It’s essentially a large, round magnet that you place on the back of the iPhone in order to charge it.

Whoa! If I put a magnet on my iPhone, won’t it wipe out the iPhone’s memory, fry the iPhone’s components,or short circuit something? Well, apparently not.

It seems that concerns about the dangers of mixing magnets and computer components came from the days of floppy disk drives. Stick a cheap magnet to a floppy drive and whatever information was stored would be gone. But seriously, when was the last time you stored any data on a floppy disk?

That said, though, Apple has warned that charging through MagSafe could damage credit cards, security badges, passports, and key fobs if you leave them between the phone and the charger.

That’s good to know. I guess I’ll have to keep my credit cards away from my iPhone’s MagSafe charger. Surely there must be another way to keep my credit cards charged up.

TMP — Bad News

Every Monday, Paula Light, with her The Monday Peeve prompt, gives us an opportunity to vent or rant about something that pisses us off. Actually, I was pretty stoked today because I really wasn’t pissed off about anything, so I was going to skip today’s Monday Peeve.

This afternoon I saw that WordPress had just come out with a new update to its iOS app for the iPhone, version 16.3, and I got very excited. Why? Well, because I had been advised a few weeks back by one of the Happiness Engineers, that version 16.0 of the WordPress app, which was released in early November, included a fix to a different feature that, “unfortunately, had a side effect that would cause the in-app browser to be logged out for certain sites.” Talk about adverse side effects! Anyway, I first posted about this so called side effect here.

On December 1st, a Happiness Engineer notified me that “once we learned about the problem we put together a fix, which is still being tested, but if all is well, should be coming in version 16.3.”

Oh goodie. The fix is finally here! So I uploaded version 16.3 of the iOS app to my iPhone and gave it a shot. I tried to visit a post from my reader that didn’t have “.wordpess” in its address and to like the post. No deal. I tried to comment on the post. No deal.

So I wrote to the Happiness Engineer who told me they expected the bug to be fixed in version 16.3. I wrote…

I just updated my WordPress iOS app to version 16.3 and I am extremely disappointed that the issue we have discussed remains unresolved. In your comment you said that your team was working on a fix and that you thought that it would be addressed when version 16.3 was released. Sadly, that’s not the case.

So it’s Monday and I’m peeved. I’m pissed. I’m vexed. I’m angry. Hence, my Monday Peeve.

The Monday Peeve — Technology

Every Monday, Paula Light, with her The Monday Peeve post, gives us an opportunity to vent or rant about something that pisses us off. Today my peeve is directed at technology that doesn’t work as it is supposed to.

From my perspective, when it comes to technology, 2020 has not been a good year, which is not at all surprising, since 2020 has been a particularly shitty year in most respects.

From a technology standpoint, WordPress launched its block editor and decommissioned its classic editor. It also released a buggy version 16 update to the iOS app for the iPhone, which won’t allow me to like or comment on a number of blog posts from the Reader. And other software apps have released upgrades that are anything but improvements over earlier versions.

The latest example of technological frustration for me has been going on for the past week. You may recall that at the end of last December I had surgery to remove a middle ear growth in my left ear. The surgery successfully removed the growth, but not before it destroyed a tiny bone in my middle ear that connects the ear drum to the inner ear. Without that tiny bone, sound waves that vibrate the ear drum don’t reach the inner ear, which means that sounds don’t reach the brain. As I result, I am deaf in my left ear.

This has created a problem between me and my wife. In order to hear the dialogue while we’re watching TV together, I have to turn the volume up. But my wife complains that it’s way too loud. We’ve tried close captions, but my wife finds them annoying and distracting. And I find that reading the text distracts from seeing what’s happening on screen. Further, closed captions don’t work very well for live TV, like cable news.

My wife suggested I get a device that would permit me to hear the audio through headphones while enabling her to hear the audio through our surround sound speakers.

I did some research and ended up buying this wireless headphones/transmitter set, which claims to work with virtually any TV, audio receiver, and cable box configuration.Well, maybe except mine. I admit that my configuration is complicated. I’ve got a wall-mounted hi-def TV that is connected via an HDMI cable in the wall to my stereo audio receiver, which then connects to my cable box.

Either/or

I followed all of the detailed instructions that came with the device and everything seemed to be set up correctly. But I could either hear the audio through the headphones or via the speakers, but not through both at the same time.

I’ve had four calls with the tech support team from the makers of the wireless transmitter, but so far they have been unable to get the headphones and speakers to work simultaneously. This morning, after yet another hour on the phone, I was asked to send them pictures of the back of my TV, the connections on my audio receiver and those of my cable box. I was also asked to send photos of how my sound was configured on my TV’s settings.

I’ll give them one more chance to figure out how to get this technology to work as advertised. If not, I’ll send it back and hope my wife and I can figure out how to watch TV together so that I can hear and she doesn’t feel like she being blasted out of the room. Either that or one of us will be sent to our room to watch TV.