I just relocated my travel journal from Blogger/Blogspot/Google to another WordPress folder on my server.  The Blogger account was the first on-line posting I did way back in the ancient days of the Internet, and I was happy with Blogger.  Even as WordPress vastly eclipsed Blogger with features, there’s a role for simpler tools and it did enough that I did not feel very compelled to move.

The driver for the move was really more about Google Maps than Blogger.   Google changed their Maps product substantially a little while ago, and I’m in the camp that liked the old version much better.  The new version seems like they shoehorned the tablet/touch interface into the browser and I find it more clumsy to use.  More specifically, they removed the simple feature where you could easily create HTML code to embed a small map in another piece of content – Email, blog post, etc.  I’m sure its still possible, there are certainly still Google Maps embedded in other content.  But, it is no longer a simple cut & paste into a limited content tool like Blogger.

To help insulate me from the changes, I set up a new WordPress folder, and started copying content from Blogger to the new location.  I also found a plugin for WordPress (MapPress) which insulates me from the Google Maps API and whatever changes they make down the road.

A lot of old content isn’t moved over yet, but all the new content is now here.  You can also see the RSS feed on the navigation section on the left.

Side Issue: an example of how intolerable Google Maps has become.  Embedding maps is supposedly still available as long as you aren’t in “lite mode”.  The instructions on lite mode are here, but notice the instructions tell you that the control is on the lower-right and down further lower-left.  When I run it, the control is in neither.

Urbanspoon’s Demise

Author: Lyle

I had been a user of Urbanspoon for quite a long time – I think it was the first app I downloaded on my first iPhone (iPhone 3, if I recall). I was great when traveling for finding a place to eat, and I eventually started adding reviews there and placing Urbanspoon tags on my travel log.  Urbanspoon has recently been absorbed by something called “Zomato“.

The transition has apparently not taken Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 8.08.35 AMmy account with it, I’m unable to log in.  Even as a new user of Zomato I can’t get it to recognize the city I want to search – it seems to think I’m in London, with no way to change this.  The location change widget just cycles on a cryptic “Peabody, Peabody”.   I looked at downloadingthe iPhone app, but the reviews are terrible.  The Urbanspoon user base seems to have mostly bolted, based on the reviews on line and comments on news articles (most are advising to move to Yelp).  This may be a lesson on mismanagement of integrating an acquisition in the long run.

I’m not sure where I’ll move to for searching – most likely Yelp – but I am glad I’ve been keeping the bulk of my content in an app I control directly.

When your web site allows comments you find that you get many notes from your readers that praise the quality of your work:

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These are, of course, automated posts from millions of machines across the globe searching for ways to exploit comment mechanisms.  They seek to create many links back to sites they are promoting; selling things or trying to pump up Google rankings or something. When you think of all the years of technology, hard work to deploy networking systems between homes and cities, and the monstrous amounts of electricity it takes to keep all these computers running its kind of depressing to think that half of the world’s computer resources are for the purposes of spamming.

How Tetris Helped Game Boy Take Over the World.

How cool is it that Woz posted a comment on this article!


Author: Lyle

Automatic: An Auto Accessory to Make You a Smarter Driver.

Just keeping track of this link – a very cool idea, and makes me question the need for On Star.

Iceland Gear

Author: Lyle

Documenting gear purchased for Iceland in the winter.

Read the rest of this entry »

How I Lost My $50,000 Twitter Username — Medium.

(Found this article through a link on LinkedIn)

This is a recount of someone who lost their Twitter account through extortion.  A good read, with real useful advice.

I was going in a direction of trying to reduce the number of Email accounts I have to maintain, but when using email addresses to control accounts, it seems like having them point to “unchangeable” domains (gmail.com, yahoo.com, me.com, etc.) is a good strategy.  And, having common exploit apps with personal information (Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn) use the same Email account for management seems like a problem (maintain multiple systems as the administrator account).

While linked systems provides great convenience, the mechanisms for authentication of transactions continues to be a major weakness, relying on common ID numbers and communication links which can be lost or redirected.  There isn’t enough economic incentive for service providers to change because the cost to them is very minor and is just an expense for doing business.  The impacted customers go through huge time and financial loss.  The recent ID theft at Target and Neiman Marcus might be the beginning of a conversion to stronger systems, but a lot of inertia to move large institutions makes this a long process.

Incredible article.  A real eye opener in terms of common understanding of healthcare in the US.

JAMA Network | JAMA | The Anatomy of Health Care in the United States.

Favorite: “US health care is not a system, as it is neither coordinated by a central entity nor governed by individuals and institutions that interact in predictable ways.”

I’ve seen lists like these (and made up my own from time to time).  I thought this one was spot on and well written.  A good practice regimen, regardless of your instrument.



Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: BIC Cristal For Her Ball Pen, 1.0mm, Black, 16ct MSLP16-Blk.

Gotta love Amazon for having the sense of humor to leave these comments on line.  This might be the funniest thing Amazon is selling.