Thursday, December 22, 2022

In Case You Missed Them: My Best Articles of 2022

Here are five articles that I spent a lot of time researching and writing in 2022. They are all loaded with links that will take you even deeper into the topics presented. I'm proud of these and I hope you find them informative. Happy New Year! 🎉 🎆 😁


Replacing Google Play Music: How I Store & Stream 22 GB of My Own Music (MP3s) for a One-Time Cost of $7.99

[excerpt] "Here are the key components of my Google Play Music replacement:

Using the components above, I am able to do pretty much everything I was able to do with Google Play Music, including casting music to any cast-enabled device...."


Become an armchair expatriate with these 55 video series that'll take you out of the U.S. & around the world!

[excerpt] "Below is a list of 55 fictional series we have seen and recommend, categorized by the part of the world to which they will take you. The majority of these are from two low-cost sources: Acorn TV ($5.99/month) and PBS Passport ($5/month). A few are from Hulu and Netflix. ..." 


Music to Get Lost In: A Brief Introduction to Jam Bands

[excerpt] "I like all kinds of music: blues, rock, psychedelic, R&B, jazz and occasionally even folk/bluegrass and their offshoots. And I especially like long, well-developed performances that I can get lost in -- the kind of music that musicians love playing as they engage a melody and soar side by side like the Blue Angels in tight formation and then diverge into solo musical loops and barrel rolls, eventually converging back at the melody where they started. This kind of musical aerobatics is the domain of the jam band..."  NOTE: Article includes links to 9 full-length pieces of music from my favorite jam bands. 

[Read the full article here.] 


Secure, Fast & Customizable: Why I Ditched My Windows PC for a Hot Rod Chromebook

[excerpt] "[In this comprehensive article] can skim through the stuff in bold to find the big ideas. Or you can just scroll down to one of these main sections:
  • After 30 years, enough with Windows, already!
  • Chromebooks dominate in education because they're powerful & easy to use.
  • Chromebooks are REALLY secure.
  • Chromebooks are fast! (Thanks to the ChromeOS.)
  • Chromebooks are customizable.
  • Buyer beware! It may be cheap, but when does that low-cost Chromebook expire?
  • My Chromebook: Part of a Powerful Ecosystem of Google Tools
  • Final Thoughts: How 40 Years of Personal Computing Has Led Me to a Chromebook
  • Bonus Tip: Don't throw away that old Windows PC or Mac. You might be able to make it a Chromebook!
[FYI: This article contains over 60 links to references for further research. Enjoy!]"

 [Read the full article here.] 


Stuck waiting? Doing mindless chores? Don't be frustrated or bored: Fire up a podcast & learn or just be entertained.

[excerpt] "... Podcasts are the answer to dealing with mental "downtime." They give you your own custom-tailored content stream which you can access at your own pace and on your own schedule. Specifically: 
  • You can pause them when you need to switch your attention to your otherwise boring chore and then pick them up later. 
  • If you miss something because your chore needs you for a few minutes, you can easily "rewind" the podcast and go back and repeat what you missed.
  • You can listen to them at high speed, without chipmunk voices, but with the pauses and spaces squeezed out. (See the settings in your podcast player or this on Google Podcasts' "Podcast Controls" from PC Mag, for details.)
  • You can save them for later and even binge listen to a whole series you may have missed.  
  • With today's smart speakers (Google Home, Amazon Echo, etc.) you can do all of the above completely hands free while you move around your house. 
  • Using Android Auto or Apple CarPlay you can start or continue listening to your Google Podcasts (and most other podcast apps) while you drive. 

How to Get Started 

Are you new to podcasts? Here's an easy way to get started... "

 [Read the full article here.] 


See also:

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Why It's Pointless to Argue about Politics or Religion

"My experience tells me... You're wrong!"

I used to argue a lot, especially in The Before Times.. before Trump... before Covid... before the January 6th Insurrection. I'm ashamed to say I disrupted many a dinner or visit with extended family and friends by holding forth with my rants and my "well thought out" positions on the political issues of the day. And worse, sometimes these drifted into my noisily defending my half-baked religious philosophy. 

Predictably, this left a trail of broken, or at least slightly dented, relationships. After a while I realized that I came away from these confrontations not feeling better but worse, having stubbornly held my ground and made my points come hell or high water. When the dust settled, I felt a little sad and sometimes ashamed that I was leaving behind post-brawl wounds that might never fully heal. 

Like most writers, I sometimes write to figure out what I'm really thinking. That was the case when I created the rather lengthy essay "Why Its Pointless To Argue About Politics Or Religion."  I decided to revive it from the archives at this time when we are so very fractured as a nation. And I'm also sharing this just in time for the holidays. Maybe it can help you avoid inflicting scars on relationships that are important to you. 

Related Articles: