Android apps on Chrome

I’ve long been a proponent of Chromebooks. When they hit the market, Microsoft openly mocked the devices, but have since released the Surface as something of a response. Chromebooks have continued to thrive taking a big chunk of the education market while still getting criticized as just a web browser.

I’ve commented numerous times that the addition of Android apps would be monumental to Chrome OS. This Wired.com review of the Pixelbook, however, has given me pause. As a Chromebook fan I’m used to people saying how great they are with extended battery life, ridiculously fast boot time, and low price tag (with the exception of the primo Pixelbook starting at $999). David Pierce at Wired used the Pixelbook over a couple of weeks and has a lot of typical positive things to say about the versatility and its specs. Unfortunately he says Android apps suck on the Pixelbook. Wait, you mean the Pixelbook isn’t infalliable?

Of course Chromebooks aren’t perfect, but adding Android apps was supposed to be a game changer. If apps suck on the top-of-the-line Pixelbook, that doesn’t bode well for all the other Chromebooks on the market. Basically, apps open as small, cell-phone sized rectangles. Trying to resize them to fit the 12.3″ Pixelbook screen causes chaos. Pierce concedes this is the first time apps are officially available out of beta on Chrome. He mentions that Evernote runs smoothly as an app, but they also got a three year head start as one of the very first apps available for Chrome. So millions of Android apps are available but developers need to work on making them more compatible with Chrome OS.

I haven’t used a Chromebook since my HP died on me. I haven’t had much need for one anyway now that I’m finished with school, although it would be nice to write these blog posts with a laptop rather than on my phone. It’s too much work getting out the Windows laptop that inevitably needs to be updated every time I turn it on. I’ve had my eye on the Asus Chromebook Flip. I like that it’s a convertible with a touch screen. It’s a little disappointing that the addition of Android apps aren’t making a bigger splash. Despite Android apps not being entirely stable yet, that won’t stop me from eventually getting another Chromebook.

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Foo’s in Des Moines

When I bought the tickets I had no idea it was the Foo Fighters’ first time playing in Des Moines. I chose the date because it was one of the closest shows and the date worked out well even though it was also my daughter’s birthday. I mean, she had plans anyway and wasn’t even home. Plus I asked her permission.

It was a good show despite Dave’s voice not sounding great. They opened the show with “Run” from the new album and you could tell right away it didn’t sound quite right. I don’t think it bothered anyone too much. Dave was apologetic about it and Taylor stepped up and sang back up on every song. I think fans are more appreciative that he battled through it rather than canceled the show and hope they reschedule.

I realized not only was it my fourth time seeing the band, but it was also the fourth different city I’ve seen them. I saw them the first time in ’96 at the American Theatre in St. Louis. I remember this guy getting into my face because I was saving seats for my friends while they went downstairs for a smoke. Even the people the guy was with tried to get him to move but he was adamant about taking the seat. When my friends came back I’m pretty sure we found somewhere else to sit and enjoyed the show.

Then it was Columbia, MO in 2000 at the Hearnes Center. I was working in radio at the time and a friend in the biz got me and my future wife passes to watch the show from the side of the stage. I was supposed to go backstage after and meet the band, but it never happened. I waited the ten or fifteen minutes after they played and went to the backstage entrance with There is Nothing Left to Lose in my back pocket, a sharpie, and no idea what to do next. But, the security guard wouldn’t let us go. He said we didn’t have the right pass to go backstage unaccompanied. I was pretty disappointed and honestly don’t remember much about the Chili Peppers performance after that. The next day the friend that got me the passes asked how the show was. I explained what happened and the next thing I know the band’s tour manager, Gus Brandt, was calling me from the road to apologize. I appreciated the call, but it wasn’t his fault. The time I almost met the Foo Fighters probably makes for a better story anyway.

It wasn’t until August of 2015 that I saw them again at the Sprint Center in Kansas City on what became the broken leg tour. Having kids probably had a lot to do with the concert hiatus. I wanted to see them on the Wasted Light tour in 2011, but it didn’t pan out with my work schedule and my youngest was barely a month old when the band played in St. Louis and KC. Seeing them again after 15 years made it that much more enjoyable.

And finally 2017 in Des Moines. The one where Dave had laryngitis and the super boring drive to Iowa. I feel like I need to continue the trend and see them somewhere completely different next time.

Fans

I recently joined a closed group on Facebook dedicated to St. Louis Cardinals fans.  I feel like a well-informed fan, but thought I’d give this a try to see what other fans are discussing.

Giancarlo Stanton has been a big topic going into this off-season.  The Marlins reportedly want to decrease the team payroll significantly and with 10 years and $295 million remaining on his contract, Stanton seems like the prime candidate to put on the trading block.  The question is, how much of that contract will the Marlins eat in order to make a trade more appealing.  The Cardinals are certainly in need of a big bat in the lineup and Cardinal Nation seems to be frothing at the mouth at the idea of signing Stanton.

There was a post in this closed group about how great it would be to get Stanton and I decided to join in the discussion.  I disagreed.  Stanton has only played at least 125 games in only 3 of his 8 seasons.  My point was that the Cardinals could potentially get a few MVP-type seasons out of him, if he stays healthy, but paying him $30 million when he reaches his mid to late 30’s doesn’t make sense when his production is likely to decrease.  The other Miami outfielders Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna would be more attractive acquisitions in my opinion.  Yelich is cheaper than Stanton with 4 years and $43 million remaining on his contract and Ozuna is controllable for 2 more seasons at only about $11 million.

There were some thoughtful responses to my post.  One guy made the point that having Stanton in the lineup would elevate other players like Pham and DeJong, which I agree with completely.  That is what having a big bat in the lineup does.  However, the most common criticism to my post was that, “it isn’t your money” or “the Cardinals are swimming in cash and can afford him.”

The Cardinals are cashing in on a big TV contract and have money so why not just spend it all, right?  Who cares if it makes sense or if it’s a good business move.  Forget that the Marlins haven’t finished above .500 in 8 seasons.  We accuse professional athletes of being privileged cry baby millionaires when they say or do anything that we may disagree with, then get mad when our favorite team doesn’t spend a ridiculous amount of money to sign or trade for the high-profile player that we think the team needs.

You can’t argue with irrational people.  I really should stay away from glorified message boards on Facebook.

Sexual Assault

It seems like every day there are new allegations of sexual assault.  I get that one person coming forward may give another victim the courage to also step forward and that is wonderful, but I wonder if we’re throwing around the word assault too casually.

For example the headline in the New York Times says “Kevin Spacey to Seek Treatment as Assault Accusations Grow.”  The second sentence says, “More men have come forward accusing Mr. Spacey of behaving inappropriately toward them.”  Acting inappropriately doesn’t necessarily mean he assaulted these men, or does it?

According to justice.org the definition of sexual assault is as follows:

Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.

I think of a physical attack when I think of the word assault, but the definition above includes behavior as well.  I feel like this is a common misconception when it comes to sexual assault.  Sexual assault is an umbrella term that includes not only unwanted or forced physical contact, but behaviors such as harassment, verbal abuse, exploitation, and unwanted exposure.

Laws vary from state to state so the definition also varies, unfortunately.  While some call it sexual misconduct and others say sexual assault, it is important to understand what it means.  It does not have to be aggressive physical contact for it to be wrong.

 

 

Candy

I caught an article from Vox ranking the top Halloween candy best to worst and I have some issues with the list. 

Obviously tootsie rolls are the worst candy on the planet and the little turds belong at the bottom of any list. However the next three, Mike & Ike, Twizzlers, and Almond Joy should be outraged at being placed so low on the list.  Okay, I get the comment that Twizzlers are “the perfect candy for someone who would like to feel the thrill of chewing on a candle.”  Touche, but I still love them. Except, of course, black licorice. Those should be banned from existence. It’s what I imagine death tastes like. 

Athough the list already lost all credibility by placing Twizzlers and Mike & Ike’s so low, I felt I needed to press on to find out what candy outranked a couple of my personal favorites   

The best comment in the article is about Mounds coming in at 22, comparing them to Barb from Stranger Things. 

And no one’s mother would really notice if Mounds were teleported to another dimension, because they are aggressively uninteresting

The author must have been smoking candy crack to have placed candy corn and Butterfinger essentially in the middle of the list. Butterfingers are great if you want an instaneous cavity or want your mouth glued shut. M&M’s are highly underrated at 14 on the list. 

Adding to my aggravation is Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups at number 10. I was hoping the list would redeem itself by ranking Reese’s at number one where it obviously belongs, but I was sorely mistaken. Instead KitKat takes the top honor.  KitKat is easily a top 10 Halloween candy, but how can you possibly rank Skittles, gummy bears or Twix higher than Reese’s?  What a terrible list!  

Of course I realize this all personal preference. Except for Reese’s. There is nothing better in the world than peanut butter and chocolate mixed together in perfect harmony. My top 5 would be as follows;

  1. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  2. M&M’s (it’s a toss up between regular and peanut. Plain is probably more standard when it comes to Halloween)
  3. Twizzlers 
  4. KitKat
  5. Mike & Ike 

I just realized Hot Tamales aren’t on the list! I wouldn’t consider them a big Halloween candy so I’ll let that one slide, but I’d rank them 6th on my list. Can you tell I have a sweet tooth or maybe a dozen?  Hard to believe I’ve never had a cavity. 

Happy Halloween!

You know you’re getting old when…

A sure sign you’re  getting old is when you’re excited about the band playing at the local 4th of July celebration.  Most of the time I have no idea who the main act is or it’s a country artist that I have zero interest in, but this year the Gin Blossoms are performing.  To be fair when New Miserable Experience came out when I was in junior high so I’m really not that old.

The Gin Blossoms were a departure from the gritty Seattle grunge sound at the time.  They are more light alternative pop with dark themes often mixed in with the pop melodies written by their troubled guitarist, Doug Hopkins.  While recording New Miserable Experience, Hopkins’ alcoholism got so bad the band was forced to replace him.  Hopkins later committed suicide while the song he wrote, “Hey Jealousy,” was climbing the charts.  “Found Out About You” was another hit single for the band written by Hopkins.

The band had more hit singles with “Til I hear It From You” on the Empire Records soundtrack and “Follow You Down” on the follow up album, Congratulations I’m Sorry, but they eventually broke up in 1997. Singer, Robin Wilson, and drummer, Phillip Rhodes, started another band, Gas Giants.  By the time they released their album, From Beyond the Back Burner, in 1999, I was working in radio.  We played the only single from the album, “Quitter,” and the band came to town for a concert.  But because of confusion between the label, the venue, and the radio station it turned out to be quite the cluster.  Okay, maybe I’m being a bit diplomatic about it. The station really had nothing to do with it. The band showed up unannounced thinking arrangements had been made such as, you know, hotel rooms and a venue to play. They hadn’t. Wilson wasn’t happy and let people know it, not that I could blame him.  I was frustrated by it all and didn’t bother going to the show.

The Gin Blossoms reunited and released albums in 2006 and 2010 with another new album rumored to be released soon.  Still, it’s those early songs that have become staples of the 90’s and remain relevant today.  I’ll have to check out the newer albums, but I’m definitely looking forward to seeing them live on the 4th.

Image result for gin blossoms

New Foo’s!

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard some new music from the Fighters of Foo.  Sonic Highways came out in 2014 followed by the St. Cecilia EP in 2015.  Dave and Taylor debuted a new acoustic song, “The Sky is a Neighborhood” a couple of weeks ago at a benefit show.  And now “Run.”  The vocals remind me a bit of “Weenie Beenie” from the first album mixed with the melodies the band has come to be known for.

Also known for their wacky videos, this one is no exception.  It was even directed by Dave.