Google problems

Seems like we’ve had more problems with Google stuff recently.

We can cast to Google Home about 1 in 10 times.

There are many apps for messaging and many apps for tracking your TO-DO list. Which is the right one? Who can say?

Trying to use the Google Backup and Sync program on your Windows to back up your photos to Google Photos is a mystery. It wants to go to your tiny Google Drive, which is only 15 GB. How to get it to go to Google Photos without going through Google Drive? Can you determine that from these preferences?

No matter what combination you pick, you’ll be wrong.

Fun with Chrome Certificate Transparency errors

If you’re renewing an SSL certificate and there’s a checkbox to use certificate transparency, CHECK THAT BOX! Otherwise, the certificate will be fine in all browsers, but Chrome will give a panicking error about “this site being unsafe.” The issue is that there was no entry in the internet-wide certificate transparency logs and Chrome doesn’t trust it. You’ll have to reissue the certificate with that box checked.

street ball?

I just went to the basketball court at the park with my son, Sean. He’s now 6′ 7″ and 210 at 15. So he has 40 pounds on me. Anyway, just to give him some good practice I was having to do a lot of pushing and fouling. If I was on the Harlem Globetrotters, I’d be the guy with the mask, I guess. It didn’t matter, though. I could do very little to stop him from scoring!

Don’t look up!

I was talking to a coworker who’s a pilot and he was telling me about the instruments-only test that pilots can take where they prove that they can fly by instruments alone. They have to wear some odd IFR glasses that block their sight out of the windows so that they can only see their instruments.


I was watching an old Orson Welles movie from 1958 called Touch of Evil. It featured the famous Mexican actor, Charlton Heston.

That reminds me of a funny thing I see…towns where the official town name pronunciation is incorrect.

  • Salida (pronounced Sahl-I-duh)
  • Pueblo (pronounced Pee-EB-lo)
  • Buena Vista County (pronounced BEW-nuh)
  • Madrid (pronounced MAD-rid). Reminds me of Google Maps pronouncing Montaño (a road) without the tilde.
  • Del Norte, Colorado (pronounced Del Nort)

Virtual Reality on the Cheap

I found a refurbished HP Windows Mixed Reality headset for $160.  It’s the cheapest way to do virtual reality.  It does 95% of what the fancy/expensive HTC Vive does.  They keep the cost down by using cameras on the headset to sense the controller position instead of external sensors.  We cleared out a bunch of space in the living room and I temporarily moved my computer into there.  The more space you can clear, the better.  But being tethered to the computer with a cable is a pain.  You almost need to play barefoot so that you can feel the cable with your feet avoid getting tangled.

Anyway, it’s a lot of fun!  It really does a great job of tricking your brain into feeling that it’s real.  The Lab is an awesome free game where you walk around a lab and play a variety of mini-games…some of them hilarious.  Picking up objects and looking at them closely with even the light glinting off of them is really convincing.  Putting your head into physical objects is a weird thing to do because you’re thinking “collision”!
Google Earth VR is fun.  You’re like a giant walking around Paris or wherever you are.
Beat Saber is a music game that’s a big workout.  You use light sabers to cut through music blocks as they fly at you.  You also have to doge moving walls…kind of like a virtual reality Dance Dance Revolution.  You really feel the music.  Exercise with VR goggles and headphones is very sweaty, though.
Windows has their “virtual house” and Steam has theirs.  The Windows portal prefers everything to be Windows apps.  You can paste a giant Netflix app on your fake living room wall.  (Everything is houses instead of desktops.)  So it’s funny starting out in the Windows house and then loading the desktop as a big screen floating in the backyard.
I recommend going cheap on these things because electronics devalue so quickly.  I recommend a GTX 1070 videocard or better because some of the games got laggy on an AMD RX 580.
Sometimes, games are made with Vive/Oculus Rift in mind and the WMR controllers work by emulation or something.  Google Earth VR, for example, shows a virtual Vive controller with a button in a totally different position than the Windows controller.  It can be confusing when you look down at your hand and see a controller you’re not really holding.  Of course, your controller can look like anything.  In Minecraft, it’s a blocky arm.  (The Windows 10 Minecraft app didn’t use the normal teleport movement, so it borders on nausea as you move, but your real body remains still.)  In the Windows house, your controller is a realistic looking Windows controller with an added bonus of a virtual battery indicator on the underside.  In The Lab, your controller changes to whatever contraption you pick up.

After playing VR for a while, you can get a weird disembodied feeling with your hands…almost as if you’re wondering whether they’re really your hands.

Other US political parties

You may have heard of the Whigs, but what about other political parties in the history of the US?  To be fair, some of these were pretty out there and unpopular, but the names are interesting anyway.  Surprisingly, there’s no Pity Party.


“Bank” does not have a long A sound as in “plane”? Are you kidding me?  I pronounce it “baynk”.  And yet, look at the dictionary and there’s no line over the a.  It’s a short a as in “cat”. Either I’m mispronouncing the word or English is unreasonable. If English were a programming language, it would be JavaScript.