I have used many Google products in the past. Of course, nearly everyone uses the Google search engine. In the beginning that seemed harmless. But more recently we have seen how Google uses your search history to build a profile of you. Search for a product and soon you see ads on your favorite websites trying to sell you that item. (Although Google doesn’t seem to be able to figure out when you’ve purchased the item but continues to try to sell it to you.)
Many people’s first indication that Google might not be not-evil was after the launch of Gmail. Google announced that they would scan email messages to provided targeted ads. While no humans were allegedly reading your email, it still seemed wrong for a company to systematically scan the contents of your messages. But still, most people continued to use the service. I used it to send large files and to sign up up for a few online services. I have had email accounts with my personal domain since the 1990s which I use for most of my email communication.
In the last few years, Google has really started to adopt questionable practices. They manipulate search results. They help censor the Web in countries like China. Their YouTube service censors and demonetizes videos that go against its political leanings. Google has clearly abandoned free speech and unbiased access to information. For these reasons, I decided to stop using Google products wherever possible.
Porsche competes in the GTLM and GTD classes of the Rolex 24 at Daytona so I joined my fellow Porsche Club of America members to cheer them on. Unfortunately, I signed up too late to park in the Porsche car corral inside the track, so I found a fellow Porsche to park with in Lot 4. The day was sunny and cool, prefect for racing.
I entered through the tunnel under Turn 4. Immediately upon emerging I saw the Corvette car corral, the only other brand besides Porsche that had one. The new Corvette C8 would compete against Porsche in the GTLM class.
The title of this post should really be “Joseph Finder and Steve Berry at The BookMark” but Steve Berry was the person I went to The BookMark bookstore to see although he was not the reason for the event. But I didn’t know that until the day of the book signing. The event was a stop on the book tour of Joseph Finder, a writer I was not familiar with before this night.
I started reading Steve Berry novels after finding one while browsing the Leisure Books collection at Hunt Library. I didn’t know who he was, but the title The Patriot Threat and its story involving a conspiracy surrounding a painting of George Washington and the 16th Amendment intrigued me. I really enjoyed the fast-paced story interspersed with historical facts and conspiracies. After reading, I learned that this novel was the tenth book in the Cotton Malone Series. I decided to start reading the series from the beginning and soon bought The Templar Legacy. I have read and enjoyed all of the Cotton Malone novels and short stories.
Generally I prefer to buy print books rather than ebooks. However, I own a NOOK ebook reader and I do buy ebooks, especially when I can find them at a low price. For discounted ebooks I use BookBub.
BookBub finds heavily discounted ebooks, audiobooks, and even print books. While I buy all my ebooks from Barnes & Noble, BookBub links to ebooks from all major retailers: Amazon, Apple, B&N, Google, and Kobo. In the BookBub settings, you can choose the formats you want and also the retailer(s).
KEXP is an independent radio station in Seattle which streams live and also hosts musical artists playing in their in-house studio. The station makes these live performances available on YouTube. I have discovered many new bands by following KEXP’s YouTube channel. Here are some of my favorite live performances. See also Best of KEXP 1 and Best of KEXP 2.
On Friday evening, January 10, 2020, we got the shocking news that Neil Peart, drummer for the band Rush, had died. He had died the previous Tuesday, January 7, but the announcement came days later. Like many people, I consider Peart to be the greatest drummer of all time.
My cousin Mark introduced me to Rush in 1980 after the release of Moving Pictures. Even at the age of 12, I could tell this band was composed of amazing musicians. I don’t play an instrument myself, but have always been drawn to the drums. And Neil was the best.
For 2020 I redesigned my website homepage and freshened up the site. It had been virtually unchanged for about four years. During the redesign, I had a look back to all of my previous websites; I have kept an archive of all major updates since 1996. Here are 20 screenshots of the homepage for my website covering 24 years. We’ll start at the present and go backwards in Web time.
Here is the new homepage launched on 1/1/2010. It has a rotating image gallery corresponding to the eight main pages.
A few days before the end of the year (2019) my friend A. sent me a message saying she wanted to search for rocks and shells at Ponce Inlet on New Year’s Day. The weather was expected to be good, so we made plans. I met her at the shop where she dropped off her car for some work and we drove the twenty minutes down to Ponce Inlet. We climbed on the boulders, A. looking for rocks and me taking photos.
Living in the small town of Daytona Beach, I don’t get to enjoy a lot of live music. But in 2017 my boss introduced me to a local punk bank called SHOT OUT. George, Rob, Furey, and Jon put on a fun show, four geeks not taking themselves too seriously and who clearly enjoy playing together. That night I bought their eponymous six-track CD.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Daytona Beach campus is home to several colonies of cats. Some are friendly while others avoid people. Before we moved into the new library in 2018, I sometime sat outside the temporary library during lunch. Often I would be surrounded by cats and I usually gave them some of my lunch: fish, turkey, and chicken. Around that time, some students, with the support of faculty and staff, formed a club to help feed and care for the campus cats. They called it P.A.W.S. or the Protecting Animal Wellness Society.