November 20, 2000 – January 30, 2016

goodbye

Goodbye, my dearest companion, buddy and best dog ever.

You leave me broken and empty beyond words.


 

Perhaps love is like a resting place
A shelter from the storm
It exists to give you comfort
It is there to keep you warm
And in those times of trouble
When you are most alone
The memory of love will bring you home

Perhaps love is like a window
Perhaps an open door
It invites you to come closer
It wants to show you more
And even if you lose yourself
And don’t know what to do
The memory of love will see you through

Oh, love to some is like a cloud
To some as strong as steel
For some a way of living
For some a way to feel
And some say love is holding on
And some say letting go
And some say love is everything
And some say they don’t know

Perhaps love is like the ocean
Full of conflict, full of pain
Like a fire when it’s cold outside
Or thunder when it rains
If I should live forever
And all my dreams come true
My memories of love will be of you

Lyrics: John Denver

Pillows

My recent visit to the new orthopedic guy went well. He is extremely cute, funny and looks to me like he just finished high school. That appears to be a side effect of getting older. No, I’m not obsessing.

It appears that the severe pain in my arm in the night is being caused by two vertebrae in my neck that are way too close to each other, pinching some nerves while I am in a reclining position. The doc ordered physical therapy, massages and pillow experimentation.

I’ve not called for an appointment about PT or massages, as I am  sceptical. I have experimented with pillows and have found that the stupid habit of folding my pillow in half only serves to harm  me, and that the flatter that my head lies, the less pain I have in the night.

Yesterday, I got an expensive “orthopedic pillow for side sleepers” that I ordered from an online retailer. It is made, among other things, with memory foam and has a recess in the middle for the head, and a lip at the bottom, and I tried it out immediately. It felt great. I’m hoping that it will be a big help in getting my neck back into some sort of normalcy. Last night there was no pain and no tingling.

Seems to be a good start.

What Everyone Should Know About Exifs

If you like to share pictures on social media or other places, you should be familiar with Exifs (Exchangeable Image File Format). Exifs are basically a set of tags that are stored within the photo that contain information about (among other things) the file format, aperture and shutter speed, information about the camera, date and time, and if you are taking the picture with a modern camera or with your cell phone, it’s likely that the geolocation data (the precise GPS location at which the picture was taken) is also contained and can be accessed by anyone with access to the photo.

If you share pictures on blogs, social media or photo sites, it makes sense to strip the Exif data from the photo before uploading in order to preserve your privacy.

Luckily, there is a very handy app for iOS called ViewExif, for iPhones and iPads, which allows you to strip the Exif data from a photo before sharing it. This weekend, the app is free of charge from the US app store.

If you need to strip Exif data on other plattforms, just enter “View Exif” into your favorite search engine. There are multiple programs available that will allow you to look at and remove your Exif data.

More information on Exifs can be found over at Wikipedia.

 

It’s another sign

of getting old, I guess. All my doctors have retired.

Some years ago, I phoned my gynecologist’s office for my annual appointment and was surprised to learn he’d retired. It saddened me, as he was incredibly nice and had a very dry sense of humor. I’ve since found a replacement, but remember the “old” doc fondly.

This summer, I learned that my general practitioner had sold his practice to a younger doctor and retired. I’ll miss him too. He also had a wicked sense of humor and a good eye for the general state of things. His enthusiasm about demonstrating his then freshly acquired ultrasound unit surely played a role in a family member’s successful battle with cancer. I miss this doc sorely already. Though his successor is a funny guy. I went to pick up a prescription last week and met him for the first time, he gave me his hand, as if to shake mine, and in a sneaky move, grabbed my wrist to take my pulse – only to pronounce that I was “very relaxed”.

Now, I’ve had a blockage in my spine for a few months which has gotten continually worse, especially while I am lying down. I wake up multiple times at night because my right arm and hand have gotten numb and are screaming pain at me. So, yesterday, I called my orthopedic guy only to be told by the phone company that the phone number was not known to them. Unbelieving and fearing the worst, I drove to his office only to see the sign announcing that his practice was closed just before Christmas. I’m truly devastated. I’ve never been to a better orthopedic doctor, ever.

I’ve an appointment with a new orthopedic guy on Thursday. I hope he can fix me as well as the other doc could.

Really Cool Stuff

I finally caught up on reading the magazines I subscribe to over the holidays and caught an interesting tidbit on Linux World (though not in the issue I’ve linked to, I think) regarding a new product called eBlocker.

eBlocker is a little computer in a little box that you hook up to your router. It “blocks all ads, stops all trackers, hides your IP – and lets you surf truly anonymously – on ALL your devices.

I don’t know about you, but I am soooo sick of being presented ads for products on news pages for things that I may have briefly glanced at during my online Christmas Shopping – not to mention the tracking of my surf behavior, what I look at on Amazon, which news articles I read, what terms I enter into various search engines.

The eBlocker (Quality Made In Germany) can be pre-ordered during the kickstarter phase starting on January 20th, for a discounted price of €99 instead of €199. They ship worldwide, and estimate that the units will be shipping in the second quarter of this year.

If you are an impatient person like me and can’t wait to have this thing, you can buy yourself a BananaPi and download and installl the software on said Banana Pi free of charge until March 30. Thereafter, I think there is an annual fee to keep the software and ad and tracker filters up to date, but I haven’t found the exact price just yet, I think somewhere around €50, which is a small price to pay for privacy, IMHO.

I got my BananaPi yesterday, wrote the software to the Class 10 SD I bought to go with it, and attached the Banana Pi to my router. I was up and running in 5 minutes, the configuration is amazingly easy, and now all of my laptops, iPad, iPhone, etc., are ad and tracker free.

What an amazing product.

Computer Experiments

I purchased something called the BananaPi (which is the successor to the very successful Rasperry Pi).  Before I get into a stumbling and rambling explanation about what that is, I will quote from Wikipedia.

“The Raspberry Pi is a series of credit card–sized single-board computers developed in the United Kingdom by the Raspberry Pi Foundation with the intention of promoting the teaching of basic computer science in schools and developing countries.[6][7][8] The original Raspberry Pi and Raspberry Pi 2 are manufactured in several board configurations through licensed manufacturing agreements with Newark element14 (Premier Farnell), RS Components and Egoman.[9] The hardware is the same across all manufacturers.”

What’s it good for? Lots of stuff. People use this little computer for all sorts of real life applications, as media servers, as controllers for home  heating and lighting, for controlling surveillance cameras, the list is endless.

What am I going to do with it? I’ll let you know tomorrow, when hopefully I’ve succeeded with implementing it.

Rollercoaster Ride

No,  I didn’t fall off of the face of the earth, we just had a very bad scare with Tobi which started with diarrhea on Friday that began to turn bloody in the evening, and culminated with him furiously vomiting partially digested blood on Saturday morning and seizuring.

On our way to the 3rd vet visit on Saturday noon, when the vet suspected there was a ruptured tumor involved, we thought we were taking our last trip in the car with Tobi. Luckily and surprisingly the very thorough ultrasound examination of his organs revealed no tumors at all. It turns out he has a severe stomach/intestinal infection and is being treated with a special diet of lots of chicken and rice and lots of meds and appears to be well on the mend.

I know we’ll be losing him at some point, he is 15 years old. But this was not his time to go, and I’m thankful for that.

I am also thankful for the recent nights I’ve spent on the convertible sofa to watch over him, as he has finally taken to lying next to me and snuggling up.

Happiness is

….discovering that there is finally a 2TB internal 2,5 HDD on the market that measures a mere 9 cm in terms of height, making it suitable for replacing HDDs in laptops and MacBooks. And because SSD drives are pushing down the prices of conventional HDDs, it costs only about 100 $. Thank you Samsung.

Happiness is also discovering bookkeeping software for Linux/Mac that only needs to be purchased once for 80 €, and not every year for 130 €. I’ve said goodbye to my Pay-TV provider and am now saying goodbye to my old bookkeeping software.

And with this goodbye, finally in 2016, there is no longer a reason to run even a virtual Windows machine in this household. That is a true milestone.

Hobgoblins

I really don’t believe in them, you see, but I strongly suspect that they are amongst us, Hobgoblins who prefer Gauloises.

Previously, I’ve written about things that have disappeared in the recent past in my house, and the trend continues. In the night from Christmas Eve to Christmas morning, the almost full pack of Gauloises that I left on the dining room table vanished without a trace, never to be seen again (and yes, I searched the whole house for them).

In the same night, the Hobgoblins struck next door at my folks’ house, my father’s prescription reading glasses vanished forever and despite intense searching, have failed to be recovered.

I wonder what the Hobgoblins are reading. Maybe I should take stock and inventory of my books and see what is missing.