Thursday, July 29, 2010

Android vs. Apple....

Everyone loves a winner until the winner gets a little too big. You can take your pick between Apple's fluctuating stock price, antenna gate on the new Apple iPhone 4G or the bitching and moaning about iTunes being too restrictive and totalitarian but the result is the same; let's pick on Apple.

People whine that they "have" to download their apps from iTunes and developers whine that all the apps are subjected to a rigorous certification test from Apple. The blogosphere is whining because Apple's new iPhone 4G can get poor antenna reception if you death grip the phone. Bag on Apple because they have become the new Microsoft of the 80's. They are the innovators where Microsoft once was, they are becoming the behemoth that everyone hates just like Microsoft has become. I suppose there is one difference, Apple customers are rabid. So rabid in fact that they can be referred to as fanboys.

So where does that leave us? It left an opening for Google to come in and introduce the open source free for all called the Android platform. In the Android's case applications are distributed either through the Android Marketplace (an icon on the phone's home page) or through the developer's website (scary). This link is from Phone scoop and it talks about a Chinese owned domain stealing personal information from people downloading their wallpaper Android app. Imagine that....No controls on the apps at all, unlike iTunes, so thieves go about unchecked. Give me Apple and it's controls anytime!

Here is a poignant snapshot of the Android Marketplace article:

In June 2010, a study performed on 48,000 Android market applications by SMobile Systems Inc., revealed that 20 percent of applications asked users permission for access to private or sensitive information that an attacker could use for malicious purposes, such as identity theft or mobile banking fraud. 5 percent of applications have the ability to place a call to any number, without requiring user intervention.[15][16][17]
However, while installing applications, Android displays all required permissions, so the user can decide whether to install an application whose permission requirements seem excessive or unnecessary (e.g. a game is likely to enable vibration, but unlikely to read messages or phonebook). This effectively makes the process more secure than other systems that do not ask for any permissions and instead receive full complete access.

Which phone will you buy? Who do you trust? Only you can decide but you shouldn't decide based on the phone's good looks. You should decide on many factors and being well informed is vital!

Monday, July 26, 2010


Oh how I hate these. Look at this huge bugger I found gobbling down one of my baby tomatoes. I put it on the garden clippers for size context. I suppose sacrifices of some must be made for the good of the whole but my goodness he's a fatty. I hope there aren't little hornworms running around that I haven't caught yet. These buggers are the ones that put the little and sometimes BIG holes in your tomatoes. If you listen closely in the quiet of the night you can actually hear them crunching. Then take your flashlight and go a picking....

These caterpillars are so big (three inches long or more) that it would seem to be easy to control them just by picking them off. And so it is, sometimes. The problem is that their pale green color provides excellent camouflage, and the nymph and larval stages are far smaller and less obvious. If there are only a few, picking them off works well. If there are more than a few, other measures may be called for. One of these is Bt, Bacillus thuringiensis, an organic treatment that can control numerous other problems as well.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tomato Harvest #1

The first tomato harvest happened so suddenly I almost missed it. We had weeks during June and early July of marine layer cloudiness and cool temperatures. I enjoyed it but the plants weren't all that fond of it. A couple of my tomatoes even developed a case of "cat facing" which is an appropriate name for what they look like. See picture. I only have a couple like that fortunately. Catfacing is an abnormality that develops on the blossom end of susceptible tomato varieties. It results from cool weather at blossom time and causes the fruit to pucker and have deep crevices.

Here I am all proud with the days harvest. As you can see it was bountiful and there are plenty more where that came from. Dena is in the kitchen right now making some sort of tomato soup.

Friday, July 23, 2010


There's something to be said for Anonymity. Only last year if you googled my name you got millions of hits with none of them pointing to me. You see Dawn Armstrong is a fairly common name. There are literally 1000's of us out there. Today after reading an article regarding Social networking personal brand suicide I figured I'd better google myself again. I was shocked that this blog is the #2 hit. I didn't realize how much I missed that anonymity....

For awhile I was thrilled that when you googled "direct buy scam" my blog was the first hit. I was proud that I had become searchable. I've had this blog for about 6 or 7 years now and it had never been searchable until that fateful blog post in late 2008. It took about 4 months for it to climb to the top of the page rankings but it did. Today using that search term gets me at 3rd place. I'm happy now to have dropped. I don't want to be first and I don't want to be so out there on the internet.

Over the past two years I've become very cognizant of the fact that what I post will be read by too many people and some day it may be used against me. It enters my mind each time I write a blog. I have to temper feelings, delete blog posts and be careful what I write so as not to offend anyone too much or damage any career opportunities.

Have you googled yourself lately?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Today's Harvest

Spaghetti squash, red cabbage, and a few tomatoes. Soon I will be up to my ears in tomatoes just like today I'm up to my ears in squash. Spaghetti squash is different from other squashes when it grows in that once the vine bears fruit it dies, other squashes will continue to produce. I've planted peas and cucumbers in the spaghetti squash's place to see if I can get another crop of veggies. I'm sure I will as it is only July.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Red Neck Trellis

This Better Best Boy tomato plant, yes there's only one there, is so out of control I had to use a 6' ladder to prop up this side. There's another trellis on the back side to the left of the main plant because there are some 8' off shoots there bearing fruit and they are sagging from the weight. The same thing was happening on this side so what's a girl to do? Why spend money on another trellis when you have a ladder around?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Unemployment and the Federal Extension Bill

There seems to be a tremendous amount of confusion out there of what this bill in the Senate and Congress actually accomplishes. It is called the Federal Unemployment Extension Bill. To me that means that they are considering extending unemployment benefits past what is already allowed or been voted on previously. That's what I always assumed because they use the word "extension". That is not the case.

In all actuality it is really an unemployment funding bill. The unemployed people currently collecting or moving toward any form of federal extension of benefits can no longer collect anything until they pass this. If someone has remained unemployed for more than six months, typically they have moved into one of four tiers of federal extension benefits that have been available since July 2008. Without further Congressional action, unless these unemployed workers are currently collecting on the separate FED-ED extension, they can continue to collect the balance of benefits available on their current extension tier but nothing further after that.

Some of the "tiers" of extensions are only 6 weeks long. So if you happened to be in that tier while they dick around and argue about funding what they already granted then you already ran out and you haven't gotten any checks for a few weeks. People and the media often talk about the 99 weekers. These people are supposedly eligible to collect unemployment for 99 weeks. Often right wingers and people frustrated about the deficit are against unemployed people because they figure they can collect for almost 2 years so why would they go back to work? What they don't realize is that there are about 6 different applications to apply for each extension that you have to deal with and that every time congress delays on funding the extensions these people get no checks. And when/if any of the unemployed do get a job they are more than likely getting it for 25 - 50% less of a salary than they were making before.

What would you rather have? Millions of people without benefits moving to welfare, food stamps and without health insurance or fund the federal unemployment package? Which do you think would cost more in the long run? Definitely welfare.

The middle class are disappearing, write your congress person and your senator!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Old Age - The Eyesight

I am constantly reminded of my age lately. It's getting quite annoying. Over the past 18 months or so my close eyesight has been failing me. It started with the directions on the back of pill bottles, progressed to menus in dark restaurants and has recently hit a new low with any form of reading in almost any light. I'm thinking of having Dena make me a cool chain to hang my glasses around my neck. Can glasses chains even be cool?

I've been in restaurants with my mom and she'll ask me what looks good and then says that she'll have that. I eventually figured out that she had forgotten her glasses and couldn't read the menu but now I have a new understanding and empathy. It's depressing and debilitating. Am I going to have to start carrying a purse or something? Maybe I could get away with a small messenger bag? I seem to have lots to carry the older I get. Reading glasses, Carmex, eye drops, cell phone, keys..... I only have so many pockets and the older I get the less I can do without any of these things.
Mom, I love you but bilberry isn't going to bring my eyesight back. I know you think it does but it doesn't. Maybe it helps eye fatigue, I'll give you that. Oh and mom, I appreciate all you've given me, my young looking skin, my small bladder, my thin esophagus, but you could have left off the poor eyesight gene.