Sunday, June 13, 2021

Don't Ignore Caution Signs. They Are There For A Reason.

I'll admit, I don't always take warning or caution signs seriously. I think it is because often these kinds of signs are over used or not actually relevant in the situation. For example how many times have you seen a wet floor sign posted and the floor was perfectly dry? How many times have you seen a street sign saying a lane would be closed ahead only to find out that the lane was actually open?  

It's true sometimes the signs are not always accurate, but you should still take them seriously because they are usually there for a reason even if it doesn't seem apparent at the time. For example a floor might appear dry but maybe there was a spill around there recently and it is still slick even if it doesn't look like it. For that sign that said the lane would be closed, it is likely the lane was just opened or it will be closed shortly so they don't want traffic in that lane.

Twice recently I ignored warning signs that were posted and I ended up paying the price. The first was a sign on an emergency exit door that said an alarm will sound if it is opened. I was pretty sure I had seen this door opened before and no alarm went off so I figured the sign was just there for show and that it would be fine to open the door. So I open it and guess what? An alarm went off! So I had to explain to the management that it was just me and apologize for the inconvenience of setting off the alarm.

The other example happened when a section of stairs was blocked off because the carpeting was being redone. Again I ignored the warning and thought it would be ok to go on the stairs even though the carpeting was taken up. Little did I know a soapy substance had been applied to it to get the adhesive off and it was very slippery! Well sure enough I did not expect that and as soon as I took my first step, I went right down on by butt. I ended up getting some scratches and also messed up my clothes for the day.

Both of these situations could have been avoided if I had actually taken the warning signs seriously. Sometimes you have to learn the hard way, which unfortunately tends to be the best way to learn. I will try to pay more attention to caution signs from now on as I realize now, they are usually put in place for good reason.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

iPhone unused for many years won't start up - Fixed. My experience fixing a new iPhone that was in the box for years and would not work.

I have had an iPhone 6 for many years and it has been very reliable even up to today. The only thing it needed was a battery replacement a while back which I wrote about in a previous article here. The phone still works great but recently some of the apps I use for work started requiring iOS 13 or later and unfortunately the iPhone 6 only supports up to iOS 12.

About 4-5 years ago I got an iPhone 7 through my work but since my iPhone 6 was still good, I decided to just keep the 7 in the box as a backup and wait until I actually needed to upgrade. I figured now was a good time to make the switch considering the apps require the newer iOS versions which are able to run on the 7.  

So I opened the box and plugged in the phone to charge. I knew the battery would be dead since it had been in the box for years. The phone flashed the Apple logo on and off repeatedly. I let it charge for a couple hours and then tried to turn it on. Unfortunately when pressing the power button, I could not get it to turn on. Even trying every solution such as doing a full restart did not work.

I figured the battery was probably completely dead and needed to be replaced. This is normal for phones that are many years old so I was not surprised by this. So I made an appointment to bring it in to the Apple store.

At the store I explained the situation to them about how it was a new phone that had been unused for many years and would not start up. They tested it out and were not able to detect a current. I asked if we should replace the battery but they said even with a new battery it still probably won't work. This was pretty disappointing to hear.

They said there really is not anything they can do at this point to fix it and wanted to know if I was interested in buying a new phone and giving them my phone to recycle. Considering it was a brand new phone I just unboxed, I told them I better hold on to it and that I was not ready to buy a new one since my old phone still worked.

So I took the phone home and decided to do some more research. There were some suggestions about trying to heat up the phone to bring it back to life. Apparently with the lithium batteries if the power drains too low, they sort of disconnect or something as a safety feature. I tried warming it up as suggested but unfortunately it did not work.

I thought about bringing it back to Apple again for a 2nd opinion and just asking them to do a battery replacement. Then just for the heck of it, I started looking up how much replacement batteries cost. They go for about $20 and this is including a full tool kit. Apple charges $50 for the replacement.

The tutorials online didn't look to hard so I figured I would give it a try since I didn't really have anything to lose. It would be a fun project and a good experience trying to change an iPhone battery.

So I ordered the battery with the kit. When it arrived I got to work. Honestly, replacing the battery turned out to be more difficult than I expected. The screws are extremely tiny and there are 3 different kinds. Just prying the screen away from the base was incredibly difficult since it is sealed on there with and adhesive. Still I was determined to get it done.

I followed the steps and managed to get through it in about 2 hours. Keep in mind, with all of this, there was still no guarantee it would work even if I did everything right. 

Then came the moment of truth. I plugged it in to the charger and after a second, the Apple logo came on. That's a good sign! Then after a few moments the start up screen appeared. It worked!

So it was just the battery after all just as I had suspected. Right away I was pretty annoyed by my experience at the Apple store since they told me nothing could be done to save it and that a new battery would not help. They wanted me to recycle the phone and spend hundreds of dollars on a new one, when all it needed was a $20 battery.

So if you have a new phone that has been in the box or unused for many years and it does not turn on, chances are it may just need a new battery.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Dreams and Creativity - Our brains may be more capable than we realize

The other day I had a dream where I attended a play. The play was about viral videos and it had a mix of live acting as well as videos. In the dream I distinctly remember how each idea presented was original as in not something I had seen or thought about in real life.

I remember each scene was very detailed like a movie that was fully thought out. As I began waking up this concept stuck with me. I thought how could these events in the dream be so well executed considering they were not things I had seen or experienced in my real life.

If I were to create it in real life, it would be incredibly difficult and time consuming. What I mean by this is that it would be like trying to make a movie from scratch. You would have to come up with the ideas, write out a plan or a script, do the acting, and then edit it. This would be very difficult and would take a lot of time to do. But in the dream, this all happened within minutes. The ideas were fully developed and executed in the dream as if they had been planned out and worked on for weeks.  

It got me thinking that maybe our brains are a lot more capable and powerful than we think. In real life, making a movie is very difficult, even just coming up with the ideas for it, but in a dream, it can all be done spontaneously in the moment.

If we could tap into that ability that we have in dreams, we might be able to be a lot more creative or more efficient in coming up with ideas in real life. It's just a thought and maybe it is not possible. I know that often dreams can be deceiving in a way that they seem to make perfect sense in dream world, but when you wake up and think about them in reality, they don't make any sense.

But sometimes dreams do make sense and they can be very enlightening. Like many things in this world, there is a lot we don't know. Who knows what we may learn about dreams in the future? They might be more important that we think.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Pet Peeve - Car Alarms that go off when they are not supposed to

If you live or work near a parking lot with a lot of cars, chances are you probably hear a car alarm going off now and again. Car alarms are supposed to help protect the car by alerting if someone is trying to break into the car, but I find that usually when you hear a car alarm going off, there is not even anyone near the car. These false alarms can be very annoying especially if it is a loud honking alarm that keeps going off repeatedly.

After doing a little research it seems there are quite a few things that can set a car alarm off such a low battery in the car or the key fob. Sensors on the car may also get triggered mistakenly causing it to go off. And of course there is the issue of people unknowingly pressing the alarm button on their key fob. Whatever the case, it is very annoying when this happens and everyone around has to put up with an alarm going off for no reason.

Car alarms are another one of those things like foldable stop signs that seem to cause more harm than good. The idea seems to make sense at the time, but in the long run, it just ends up being more problematic than actually being helpful.  If your car alarm has a tendency to go off when it is not supposed to, please get it checked out so it can be fixed as soon as possible.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

The System of Reporting Issues to Police Needs to be Improved

The other day I witnessed someone littering by throwing bags of garbage out of their car into a parking lot. If you follow this blog you know that I take littering very seriously and I also believe in taking action when you see something that is not right.

So as soon as it happened I got my phone camera out and managed to get a picture of the license plate and make and model of the car. I thought about calling in a police report right then but I needed some time to review the evidence and put together all the details so I decided to wait until I got home to send it in.

Once home, I emailed the picture and all the information I had to the local police. I thought for sure they would be able to identify the person and maybe even issue a ticket for a fine, but instead I got a reply saying they cannot accept police reports by email so if I wanted to report it, I had to call 911.

I have called 911 in the past so I kind of know what to expect, but I don't really like calling it unless it is an emergency. But for this case I really wanted to see if something could be done if enough steps were taken. So the next morning I called and placed the report by giving them all the information they asked for.

I thought that was pretty good and maybe they will be able to issue a ticket or at least put it on their record or something. Then a short while later I get a call from a police officer who was following up on it so I explained all the details to him.

Unfortunately the officer said there was not much they could do. He recommended calling it in as soon as it happened, but really I don't think that would have made any difference. I was able to give more information by taking the time to assemble all the details of the case.

He said they would need video evidence, but I got the evidence in the picture with the identifying information and the garbage next to their car with the lights illuminated on the car showing they were about to drive away. So really it seems like they could have done something about it if they wanted to but just didn't want to bother with it.  

Something I found surprising was that he seemed to be more interested in my information than the person who committed the crime. He was asking details like my birth date and even middle initial. I should have asked why but I didn't want him to think I was trying to hide anything. I'm sure he just wanted to look me up in the system to get more of an idea of who he was talking to.

Anyway, I came away from the experience being pretty disappointed with the police service. I caught someone in the act committing a crime and got enough evidence to identify them and still justice was not served.

Crimes need to be able to be reported by email, not just by phone. These days many people do not even like talking on the phone anymore. In a case like mine where there is picture evidence to submit, it needs to be done by email. Reporting by phone is good for an emergency, but for other issues, they should be submitted using an online form. Hopefully changes can be made in the near future to improve this system.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Ben and Jerrys Mint Chocoloate Cookie Non-Dairy Ice Cream Review

My favorite ice cream flavor for a long time has Ben & Jerry's Mint Chocolate Cookie, so when I saw it was offered in a non-dairy version, I had to try it out. I have tried other non-dairy ice creams in the past and usually they are ok but not nearly as good as the original dairy versions. 

Upon trying this one out, I was surprised at how similar it tastes compared to the original Mint Chocolate Cookie. The main mint and cookie flavors are identical. The ice cream itself seems to be nearly identical but I would describe it as slightly more icy as if it were made with a slightly lower fat milk. 

How do they manage to get it to taste so similar without dairy? For the ingredients it uses sunflower milk instead of cream. There are a few other differences in the ingredients but this seems to be the main change. 

For the nutrition it is a little lower in fat but still has a surprisingly high amount of saturated fat considering it is non-dairy. I guess this is needed to keep the creamy texture like the original. It does have 0 cholesterol which is much lower than the original. It is still pretty high in sugar at 26g. It does have about 1/3 the amount of protein compared to the dairy version. I noticed they added pea protein to the ingredients to help get some protein in there. 

Overall I am very impressed with the Ben & Jerry's non-dairy Mint Chocolate Cookie. They did a fantastic job replicating the original flavor and texture while adhering to the change in the ingredients. If you like the original flavor and are interested in trying the non-dairy version, I highly recommend it!

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Spam and Advertisements Infiltrating Google Maps

I use Google Maps a lot and for the most part it is pretty good, but one issue I have with it lately is the amount of spam that is popping up on the maps. Often when you zoom in you will see what looks like the name of a business but if you look closer you will notice it is placed on a residential house. Dig into the details more and you will often find that the business is not actually located there and may not even have a location at all.

It seems many people are just using Google Maps as a free way to advertise their business. They will put a link to their website in some random place hoping to get more traffic and attention for their business. This is a problem because these links are cluttering the maps with useless information. Businesses that have no physical store location should not be posting on Google Maps. It is not a free advertising service.

You can report these posts but in my experience reporting them does not do much and I still see the same listings on the maps long after they have been reported. Google really needs to do something about this issue.

It seems anyone with a Google account and put whatever they want on the map. Google needs to start verifying this stuff better before publishing it to the world. They need to find a way to distinguish businesses from houses and areas on the map where nothing even exists.

I know some people may have a home based business and for those, I might give an exception if they use their home address as their business address. For the other cases where people are just posting links to their business in places that have nothing to do with their business it is not ok and these listings should be removed.

People at Google, please look into this before Google Maps becomes just a mess of random spam and advertisements.