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Ello

October 5, 2014

I gave in, and have been giving Ello (https://ello.co/rickstringer) a try. I’m finding that there is good and bad, just like any social media.

The good: no advertising, simple to separate people I just want to follow from people that I actually know, I am discovering some great artists that I did not know about.

The bad: not many of my friends are there at this time, it takes a bit to get the hang of the interface, buggy on iOS, there is no simple way to share a post from someone else.

The first couple of days were challenging. I didn’t grasp it all right away. I will say that it is growing on me. If more of my friends were on Ello, I’d probably prefer it over Facebook, but for now, I have far more friends on FB.

I will say that I like it far more than Twitter. I’m not a fan of Twitter. I’ve been on it since practically the beginning, but I don’t like it, and rarely use it. Way too noisy for me.

Google+ is another one that I keep wanting to like. I will say that it has greatly improved over time. I’m hopeful that Ello will too.

Of all the social media sites that are out there, at this time, my favorite is Pinterest. I think that is because I’m a very visual person. I love art, and I’m and artist. I love discovering so many new images.

If you want to give Ello a try, send me a message. I’ll send you and invite.

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We Have to Share the Road

July 4, 2010
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I’ve been a bicyclist since I was kid. I started taking it serious when I was in high school. I was lucky enough to be making some money and I bought my first road bike. It was a German bike by a company that has long since gone away. Then in 1976 I bought a Motobecane Super Mirage. Motobecane is still around, but they have become a shadow of what they were in 1976.  My Motobecane rocks! That is still the bike a ride today. It is solid and rides great. I can still keep up with the young guys on it.

So, what is this blog post about? It isn’t about who makes my bike. It is about the rights that bicyclists have on the road. I live in a beautiful resort town, Traverse City, Michigan. I love it here. If you live in the right location around Traverse City you have easy access to the TART trails. The TART is great if you live near it. Unfortunately for me, I live eight miles outside of town. The road that I need to use to get into town is very busy. There is almost no shoulder on the road. Cars go by very fast, and it takes all the fun out of riding.

I was inspired to write this post because of an incident that happened to me recently. I was riding on a beautiful sunny day here in northern Michigan. It was perfect riding weather. I was on a two lane road coming up on a car that was waiting to turn left. I’m almost up to that car when this pickup truck comes racing past me and around the right side of that car onto the shoulder to pass. I swerved to avoid the truck, hit gravel, and down I went. Both the truck and the car went on like nothing happened. I wouldn’t be surprised if neither driver even knew that I went down. This is a prime example of why passing on the shoulder is illegal, yet I see people doing that almost every day. It is stupid, and dangerous, but I will bet that many people don’t even realize it is illegal.

I’m a careful rider. This is the first time I’ve gone down on my bike in at least 25 years. However, I can’t begin to count the number of close calls I’ve had in over forty years of bicycling. Too many drivers don’t treat bicycles like they have the same rights on the road. Bicycles have the exact same rights to the road as cars, and have since the 1800s.

This is for you bicyclists out there—you have to obey all of the same rules that cars do. That means that you have to use the proper lanes, you have to obey all of the signals and signs. You have responsibilities too in this. It drives me crazy when I see a bicyclist riding the wrong way on a one-way street. I see that happen almost every day. That is SO stupid! Cars pulling out onto the road are not expecting a vehicle to be coming from the wrong direction.

I did find some interesting videos about the rights and responsibilities of bicyclists.

The Rights and Duties of Cyclists – Bicycle Safety

Drivers Education Video

There are some good things in both of these videos. One thing that I find of interest is the way that they try to control the lanes by moving out into the lane. To be honest, there are some streets around there where that would get me killed. These cars are coming up doing 55 or more. Staying out in the middle of the lane on the road I ride into town would be suicide.

My whole point here is, show some respect, both drivers of cars or trucks, and bicyclists. We have to share the road.

Learn From My Mistakes

January 24, 2010

I received an email from one of the Variant Frequencies fans. He asked if the site was down. I wrote back that I’d check. So, I checked. Yep, it was down. I put in a trouble ticket, assuming that it would be working again in the morning. It wasn’t. I later found out that it is going to be out for a few days.

To know how I got into this predicament, I’d like to give you a little history. I hope this helps one of you avoid what I have gone through.

Four years ago when I first started the site, a friend from the internet provider that my company was using at the time, setup my domain name for variantfrequencies.com. It was a little bit tricky because I wanted to use my dotMac site as the location for the podcast. That was an easy way to produce a podcast at the time. I had asked him if we could point variantfrequencies.com to my dotMac. He said he could do it. The next thing, I knew, he had it setup.

That all seemed fine. About a year later, his company was bought up by another company, and eventually he was let go. The guy who took his place assured me that I didn’t need to change anything.

About a year later, I was dealing with some things with the domain, and realized that variantfrequencies.com wasn’t in my name. I contacted him and asked him to make the change. He assured me that he had. It looked to me like it was all set. Also, my company was no longer using these people for our internet access. I should have followed my instincts and moved my domain to someone like GoDaddy or some similar company.

Well, jump forward to January 21, 2010. A listener asked me if the site was down. I checked into it, and yes, it was down. I put in a trouble ticket with my provider, thinking that it would be back up in the morning.

Not only was it not working in the morning, I found out that the domain name had expired. I sent a couple of emails to the guy who worked for the company that was controlling the domain name. I wasn’t getting any answers.

Finally, I called them. I found out that he was no longer working there, and that they didn’t know who the hell Variant Frequencies was, and closed the account, because the domain had expired on January 19, and as far as they were concerned, it was not a paying customer, so basically “fuck em.”

I did finally get in contact with a nice woman who tried to help me. It was made more complicated by the fact that they really didn’t handle domain registrations either, it was another company.

Well, to shorten this already long story. I had to set up an account with this other company. She and I had to fill out a form that said that they were releasing the the domain name to me.

Oh, and by the way. That jerk had not switched it over to my name. So, I was not getting any notices that it was about to expire.

Anyway, I now have to wait for all of the paperwork to go through. I was told that it can take five working days. They have me over a barrel.

That is the whole ridiculous story. the moral is that I should have followed my instincts and switched it to another setup when I had the chance. If you ever setup a web site. Make certain that the domain name is registered to you directly.

I’ll let you know the the Variant Frequencies site is back online. Until then, thank you for sticking with us.

Twitter Tip – Ellipsis

January 9, 2010
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Here is a quick Twitter tip for you. Having that 140 character limit in Twitter makes every character important. Often people will have the first few words from a site that they are linking to followed by ellipsis. An ellipsis is usually indicating that there is more to be read. Usually, it is a set of three dots. Most of the time when I see them used in Twitter they are three periods, like this…

However, there is a better way. Every computer, iPhone, iPod Touch, and I’m guessing other smart phones can create an ellipsis. What is the advantage to this? Three periods take up three characters, an ellipsis only takes one. That may not sound like much, but when you are squeezing text and links into 140 characters it can make a difference.

The key command is pretty simple:
Mac OS: option + ; (that is holding down the “option” key and pressing the semicolon)
Windows: ALT + 0133
iPhone: press and hold the “.?123” button. That will change the keyboard to the numbers and punctuation. While still holding down that button move your finger to the period (.) (IMPORTANT: don’t lift your finger from the screen for this trick to work.). Keep holding your finger over the (.) button, and it will change so that it shows the period and next to it the ellipsis. Move your finger to the ellipsis, now lift your finger. The ellipsis will now be in your text.
G1: Shift + Alt + Period (Thank you Heather for telling me about that one!)

I don’t know if the other smart phones have a similar option. I’m guessing that they do. If one of you knows, please let me know, and I will add that to this tip.

Here is a good blog post about what an ellipsis is: http://www.canistercreative.com/newsletter/april_09/dotdotdot.html

I hope you found this helpful.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Help for a friend

January 7, 2010

The podcasting community suffered a loss on Wednesday, January 06, 2010. Natalie Morris, the wife of our friend, Tee Morris, died. Now Tee has to deal with that grief and their young daughter. Phillipa Ballantine has setup a fund to help them. Please consider helping out.

Vote for the Spartans – help an autistic young man

November 22, 2009

The Michigan State Spartan Marching Band baritone section is trying to win a Wii system for a young autistic man. Please click on the link below, and cast a vote for the video “Hooahs Love Faygo”. Please vote once a day, through December 1st (when the contest ends).

http://faygo.com/ContestDisplay.aspx?id=401

This young man’s mom does not have the resources to get a Wii game for her son herself. She very generously gave of her time and talent to put this video together for the Spartan Marching Band baritone section. Unbeknown-st to her, we are trying to win the contest on behalf of her son. Please help us gain votes; it costs nothing but a minute of your time each day.

So, what is my connection to the Michigan State Marching Band? My niece is in the baritone section of the band. These young people are awesome, they work so hard at what they do. I think it is wonderful that they have donated their time to try and win this Wii for the young man.

Please vote.

Survived the the Kilroy2.0 Hack

October 28, 2009

Well, we got through the big push for J.C. Hutchin’s book, “7th Son: Descent.” I’m back in control of the blog. It sounds like Hutch had a great day. I hope you all went out and purchased his book. Hutch is a fantastic writer, and I can’t say enough good things about the man.
7th Son: Descent