Google Helpouts – A Help Provider’s Review

Google has recently started offering a new service called Helpouts for connecting consultants for various  disciplines with people wanting help via video conferencing / IM in a sort of app-like marketplace online.  This is a great use of their Hangouts platform to connect everyday people with other small business providers to provide a variety of consultation services.  I received an early access invite to set up my own Helpouts listing, and thought I’d share my thoughts on it from a provider’s viewpoint. Continue reading “Google Helpouts – A Help Provider’s Review” »

How Much Water Should I Drink Every Day?

Just saw one of those articles about “you should drink 2 litres of water a day if you’re a woman, 3 litres if you’re a man”.  Amazing to see this debunked bit of misinterpretation of hydration needs is still around!  How much water should you drink?   Short answer: if you pee is clear rather than yellow by dinner time, you’ve had enough water for the day.

How did people latch on to the ridiculous idea you should drink so much water every day? Continue reading “How Much Water Should I Drink Every Day?” »

Category: Health | LEAVE A COMMENT

Installing Google Wallet on Android Outside the United States

Google Wallet is a nice little service / app for making purchases or sending money to friends via your Android device or online via your browser.  However if you’re unlucky enough to be a snow bird like myself and so are abroad and want to install the app for whatever reason, odds are good that Google Play won’t even show it in the App Store if you search for it.  This doesn’t mean you can’t install it… it just means it’s a pain.  The steps to install the Google Wallet APK are actually pretty simple: Continue reading “Installing Google Wallet on Android Outside the United States” »

Q: Is Spirituality the Opposite of Science? A: Definitely not

Recently I was reading an article on io9 about this question, which to me shows the fundamental lack of understanding many people seem to have these days about what exactly science actually is.  Here’s the text of my comment on the posting (with a few minor edits) as to why science and religion are not opposites, with a TL;DR if you’re in a hurry: Continue reading “Q: Is Spirituality the Opposite of Science? A: Definitely not” »

How to Remove io9’s Space Wasting Sidebar

I like io9‘s articles, but this Gawker website’s latest redesign has one of the most obnoxiously space wasting sidebars I’ve ever seen.  I really don’t need the left hand third of the browser window dedicated to showing links to the most popular stories!  And it’s fixed in place, too – scrolling down doesn’t get rid of it, it’s always present.  Why io9 chose to use a big chunk of the most valuable visual real estate on the page to put something so large, pointless and annoying I’ll never know.  However, I do know how to get rid of the dratted thing – read on to find out  a couple of ways how to do it. Continue reading “How to Remove io9’s Space Wasting Sidebar” »

I’d be Leery of Google Keep, Google’s Evernote Competitor

Yesterday Google announced their new cloud notekeeping service, Keep.  While it’s nice to have this sort of thing integrated into one’s Google stack if one’s already part of of the ecosystem, I’d be very reluctant to rely on it.  The timing is certainly poor, as Google has retired a lot of products that it feels don’t fit in with it’s overall strategy or haven’t seen wide enough adoption and axed Google Reader just last week – which was both useful and has quite a devoted following.  It certainly raises long term reliability spectres in my mind.

It would really suck to have all one’s notes on there and have it be a part of one’s regular workflow, and then get a three month notice that it’s shutting down and have no good migration path… which is pretty much Google’s modus operandi.  I’d want some kind of assurance that this product was something Google had a long term commitment to before using it.  One way would be to integrate it into Google Apps, but that doesn’t seem to be in the offing although it’s encouraging that it seems to use Google Drive for it’s back end and has it’s own Android app.


FUD and Sensationalism from F-Secure on Android Malware Numbers

I came across a fluff piece on TechCrunch today titled “Android Accounted For 79% Of All Mobile Malware In 2012, 96% In Q4 Alone, Says F-Secure“.  Quite the sensationalist title, and a quick read of the actual “report” (PDF) shows that these are pretty dodgy statistics.  The “report” is more marketing material than anything else – it lots of pretty pictures of people using phones, low level language use and even an ad at the end of it for their mobile security suite.  I don’t know if the author didn’t thoroughly read the report and just copied and pasted the nicely coloured charts or if she just wanted to get the most eyeballs she could via sensationalism, but either way it’s some poor journalism.  There are some pretty blatant issues with the “report” that are completely ignored by the author: Continue reading “FUD and Sensationalism from F-Secure on Android Malware Numbers” »

Weight Loss Status Update, Day 120

Twas a wee bit of a bad month:  only lost 4 lbs, and my waist is about the same.  Had a terrible time when my swim goggles busted early on in the month, and no place in town (  I tried eight different shops!) bloody well sells anything except Speedo and Aquasphere brands.  And let me tell you, neither of those fit a big guy’s face.  They either aren’t large enough across the nose bridge (and none of which are sold with adjustable nose pieces anymore for some Hermes-forsaken reason), or the actual goggle eyepieces are so small they suction onto me bloody eyeballs instead of the sockets.  Faugh!

Worse, my old goggles had the logo worn off so I couldn’t even order a new pair from the same manufacturer.  And I wasn’t keen on ordering online, as I couldn’t easily return them (not that most stores in Edmonton took goggles back either – what’s up with THAT?).  Finally after doing a boatload of online searching, I gambled on ordering the Barracuda Predator.   Luckily for me, they turned out to be the same brand as my previous goggles.  Win!

So I had about two weeks with no swimming (aside from one day when I went and just did kicking).  Lazy me 🙂  However, this wasn’t all bad as I needed to rest up my elbows after pulling them too hard last month anyway.  I’m not doing any front crawl at all now, just back stroke – I’ll try front crawl again after November and see how that goes.

I also ate badly those two weeks – too much chocolate, and I splurged a couple times on big bags of chips (for some reason the lightly salted Ruffles aren’t in the stores often, so when I saw them I grabbed ’em).  I also did all you can eat sushi twice… NOM!  Good for protein, but bad for all that white rice.

So while I’m definitely getting more mass in my quads, pecs and shoulders I’m a bit unhappy about the lack of development in my biceps/triceps.  Given the elbow issue, this is hardly surprising.  Going to have to do some research to see if I can find something I can work my upper arms with that won’t damage me…otherwise I’m going to look awfully strange with such big legs and shoulders and teenie arms.

I also learned some interesting things about my metabolism and diet by trial and error as well.  For one, eating more than about a cup of anything (especially carbs) tends to trigger a sleep cycle – no matter what time of day I eat it (although it’s especially bad around lunch time).  However a liter or so of yogurt and strawberry smoothie doesn’t seem to have that effect.  I’m thinking that’ll be my go-to when I have daytime hunger; lots of protein, low carbs, heaps of delicious taste.

Strawberry Smoothie

  • 375 ml natural yoghurt (no pectin, etc)
  • 150 ml warm water
  • ¼ tsp pure stevia powder
  • 2 big handfuls of frozen strawberries

Blend together until smooth, adding water if necessary.  Makes about 1.25 l.

Dinner is usually yummie home made greek salad and/or baked chicken (marinated in garlic-paprika yoghurt).  The greek salad is a great mix of veggies and a little protein from the goat feta, and chicken is always a good protein source.

Not-Quite-Greek Salad

  • 3 green peppers, cubed
  • 3 red, orange or yellow peppers, cubed
  • 1 cucumber, cubed
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 250 g goat feta cheese,  well crumbled (cow feta is too mild for my tastes)
  • 1 dozen white mushrooms, cubed (I hate black olives! and these soak up flavour nicely)
  • 1 large yellow onion, cubed
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 tbsp (heaping) dried oregano
  • 3 tbsp (heaping) dried dill

I sauteé the onions and garlic for just a bit to take out the sharpness of the flavour – just til the edges of the onions start to become translucent.  Otherwise I find the onion tends to overwhelm everything else in it’s nasty strongness (which is also why I use a sweet onion instead of a purple one). Mix everything together thoroughly in a big bowl

I usually have about 1 ½ – 2 cups per meal, and this makes enough for a week (about 10 servings).  Make sure you keep it well refrigerated and drain it every time you grab some, or the vinegar will chemically cook the salad and make it mushy.

Sleep is much improved when I have my carbs about 90 minutes before bedtime.  A bowl of 1 ½ cups of Honey Nut Cheerios and a ½ cup Quaker Harvest Crunch Raisin & Date mixed together with a ½ cup 1% milk seems to be perfect.

I think I’m back on track now, so November should see some good progress.  I’m also bound and determined to integrate yoga back into my nightly routine as it definitely does help with sleep, and for some reason my flexibility seems to be decreasing as of late.   I also really must get my exercise bike seat properly modded so that it’s high enough up to be comfortable so that I can get in some cycling in the office.  I’ve been shamefully neglectful of that.

Off to bed – have to swim in the AM!

Category: Health | LEAVE A COMMENT