Posted by : Patrick | On : October 26, 2014

So I keep seeing debates online regarding Android vs. iOS, and I just shake my head.

They’re both capable mobile operating systems, but I would never, ever advise anyone without technical expertise and an IT background to use Android. Ever.

Several reasons for that.

1. Android is a Linux computer. Beyond that, it is quite vulnerable to virus infection, via certain websites (rare), the Google Play Store (less rare) and 3rd party app stores (quite likely).

2. As a computer, it requires regular updates to avoid said virus infections, and other security issues. Non technical users don’t think about updates. Odds are they’re still running the exact OS that came with the phone 3 years in. That’s not safe, smart, or something they should even have to worry about. Also, there was a lovely article recently detailing how antivirus apps for Android are mostly fake, and don’t actually do anything.

3. For some odd reason, when you look at benchmarks and performance, an android handset requires more than double the processing power to achieve similar results to competing platforms – a quad core, 3.0 GHz Android handset with 2gb of RAM will compare pretty evenly with a dual core, 1.6 GHz Apple device with 1gb of RAM.

4. Android is just barely getting to the polish level of iOS – if you can install the latest version, which you probably can’t. If your device isn’t supported, you can always go with an alternate OS build, but that falls into the realm of developers and technical users. Your average user wouldn’t have a clue how to do that.

5. Updates. If a security flaw is found, once Google issues a patch, it takes vendors MONTHS to release them. They have to test and make sure it doesn’t cause issues with their custom skins, apps and modifications. Nexus devices are the exception to this, since Google supports them directly – if you bought it from Google. if you buy it somewhere else, well, some of those are still supported by the manufacturer, and still get delayed. Also, a non technical user probably won’t install them anyways.

A technical user – a Linux aficionado, a hacker, a geek… Users like that will probably enjoy having an open source OS phone that they can hack and modify and play with, and users like that are well set with Android. Your uncle who doesn’t know how to log on to a computer, grandmother, or other non technical relatives, friends and colleagues? They should be in a walled garden. They’re much better off with iOS, Windows, Blackberry or (shockingly) a feature phone. They don’t know that it’s a computer that needs attention on a regular basis to keep them safe.

Plus there was that whole incident where google’s lawyers said that no Google user had any right to expect privacy. While I doubt anyone really can, saying that the way they did is just rude and uncalled for. Even without that, the whole Android ecosystem is broken badly, and just not a good environment to be stuck in.

I don’t know what you want out of your phone, but I know why I’d never recommend Android to anyone, ever. And I’d absolutely advise against it for anyone who isn’t a computer geek willing to keep on top of updates. Along with that, I’d definitely say avoid any device that isn’t a Nexus device, because most of the rest can’t even be updated anyways, and remain insecure and dangerous to use, even if you know what you’re doing.

On the bright side, you can stare at your pretty weather widget while your phone is participating in a DDOS attack on some random web server as part of a global botnet, all in the background that you’ll never know about, or sending your personal data via premium text messages to random numbers around the world.

There are plenty of other options that are high quality and secure. Android is not either. It was just free for the manufacturer to install, and has a lot of features the average user would never even use, think of, or care about.



Posted by : Patrick | On : October 21, 2014

So I decided to give that a try… McDonalds used to have some of the most rancid, heavily caffeinated, in dire need of cream and sugar to make it barely tolerable crud anywhere in the world (or at least, anywhere I tried it, which was mostly western Canada.)

Awful, but effective.

Over the last few years, they’ve embraced coffee as something more than just a quick and nasty method of staying awake – they’ve improved their brew to the point where it’s actually one of the best you can get from a chain store that isn’t focused on coffee, and better than some of those too. It’s smooth, rich, and tasty. Puts Tim Hortons to shame at the very least (Tim’s is better known for speed and consistency than quality anyways)

So I was walking through Safeway, and I saw some McCafe K-Cups. Since i have a Keurig brewer, I thought what the heck, let’s see how it measures up

So yeah.

McCafe from a Keurig is good – but. Rather than a standard k-cup, they’ve put a plastic and fabric cup inside a plastic wrapped container with a peel off top – Keurig is already bad for waste, and they went and doubled it. That’s disheartening, because it’s actually very decent coffee. Most of what you can get for a single serve brewer is passable, but very few options are delicious. McCafe is.

Sadly, I won’t be venturing down that road again. It’s not worth the extra waste – for a similar price I can get a less wasteful brew from Marley Coffee (outstanding even from a k-cup) that’s even better. I’d highly recommend their “Lively Up” blend, which is dark and rich without being bitter. It stands up well to most coffee house brews, although if you want a decent latte, you still have to leave the house if you want the best. Or invest a couple grand in a proper espresso rig with a well constructed built in steamer (think $2500 rather than $250). For single cup home coffee lovers, Marley is an excellent choice.  McCafe could have been too, but sadly their over-packaging makes them a poor choice even if it tastes great.



Posted by : Patrick | On : September 5, 2014

So after my weekly leg stabbing incident (Interferon Beta injector pen for MS) I’m contemplating switching to another drug.

The one I’m most seriously considering is a new pill, one taken daily – annual cost is $33,000, which is roughly $90.42 per day. about $170 a week more than the injection, and about $10 a week more than I make. (good health insurance is good and very important kids, never forget that.)

Also, the first dose can slow your heart to a dangerous level (side effect that apparently only happens on the first pill), and 2 people have died from severe reactions due to herpes infection. Since I had the chicken pox when I was a kid, and chicken pox is a form of herpes, there’s always that chance. If I switch, despite all the odds, I’ll still have to make sure my dog can go to a good home should it kill me. Anyone who will provide a good home for a gorgeous little pug who loves everyone? If you’ve met her but not spent time you’ll think she’s nuts, but I you know her you’ll know how calm and sweet she is most of the time. She LOVES people and dogs, and barks at birds and squirrels. Not sure if she likes them or wants to kill them, not going to find out if I can avoid it. Anyways, let me know. She’s good with everyone, doesn’t bite hard (she’ll play nip, but never broken skin or left a bruise), and cuddles with people while they sleep. Recent picture at the end of this post.

If it doesn’t kill me (most likely scenario), the efficacy is 50% – so in a year of no attacks, the risk is for nothing. In a year of one attack, there’s a 50% chance it won’t happen (damned good odds, compared to 30% for stabbing myself weekly)

Honestly, I haven’t decided for sure yet. But I’m leaning towards yes – the no stabby part is pretty stellar in my books, I like that idea.

potential hair loss and liver damage aside, it’s a pretty appealing idea. Oh yeah, back to monthly blood tests, and an EKG (not sure how many of those, or how often, at least one at the start), instead of a blood test every 6 months on the Interferon.

Everything is a trade-off – Interferon, as a side effect, leaves you feeling flu symptoms for a day or so after an injection… life of the party and all that. This would no longer be an issue, assuming I survived it. I could end up bald, or with perpetual runs (might be worse than feeling like I have the flu to be completely honest), but if the symptoms are mild, I’d get my Friday nights back.

Anyways, here’s a picture of Kaia – I’m off to cuddle her and watch “You’re the Worst”, my new favourite TV show.

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Posted by : Patrick | On : June 9, 2014

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So I have a new apartment, yay!

I’ve been slowly working on putting it all together, and it’s getting closer every day – I still have a lot of stuff to sort and organize and figure out, but there are places to sit, and eat and everything is kind of here now, so that part is done. The “living alone for the first time” thing is off too a pretty good start.

Other than finding out the elevator will be going down for a month in less than a month. Living on the 6th floor and having issues with fatigue could make that an unpleasant experience… but at least it’ll get me into better condition I suppose. Have to minimize the number of heavy loads over that month.



Posted by : Patrick | On : May 24, 2014

So 3freaks.net will be experiencing an outage later this coming week – taking the server down to move it to a new location.

it’s going in a whizzy new apartment, which will in fact be the first time I’ve ever had my very own apartment/hosting venue… seems odd, I’ve wanted to live on my own for ages, but I’ve always had roommates, or a girlfriend living with me. As of next Saturday, nope, just me, all by my lonesome. I’m pretty excited!

Also, starting a new job on Wednesday, so there’s that. I guess I’ll only 1/2 be alone, since this little one will be moving with me as well

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