Dec 222017

Confirming suspicions long held by many, Apple this week acknowledged its practice of deliberately slowing down old iPhones. At least two class action suits are pending.

Apple’s stated reason for the practice is to prevent older devices with aging batteries from suddenly shutting off.’s stated opinion of this explanation is “that’s really, really thin.” Gee, I think instead, it might have been to push customers into more frequent upgrades than they really need.

Which scenario do you think is more likely?

Look, I get that none of the faceless megacorps are our buddies. They all want our data, because they all want to shake new ways to make money from it. But would you expect this sort of seething arrogance from anyone but Apple?

Apple seemed, until perhaps this week, to have perfected a ridiculous business model. It charged its paying fans—some of the most loyal in the world—large amounts of money to be treated with transparent hostility. From the pentalobe screw fiasco to the obscene-in-an-inherently-obscene space accessory prices—even to making its store visitors grovel at the Genius Bar for customer service—Apple has never hidden its contempt for its customers.

And still, many thousands of them will swallow this thoroughly absurd company line, pat their bellies, and say “mmm, yummy, Apple!” But maybe this will also be the first slip of the halo. Maybe this is the first little dribble of an antidote for Apple fanaticism.

Maybe, this time struck, Apple will bleed.

 Posted by at 3:24 pm
Dec 212017
  • When I got home from work last night, I turned the air conditioner on. Today is the first day of winter. Snow is semi-plausibly forecast for ten days from now.
  • It used to please me when the days started getting longer again. Now I’m ambivalent about it at best. I used to dislike winter a lot more than I do today. (But if we have an extended cold snap in March, ask me then.)
  • Dylan Moses broke his foot in practice? Seriously?
  • Alas, a long, satisfying, monogamous relationship is coming to an end. I must bid farewell to my remote control. Its IR database hasn’t been updated in several years, so it won’t operate my new TV. I may eventually explore a current URC offering, but inexpensive expedience wins for now.
  • Another strain of my technological conservatism is evident in my still using a dedicated alarm clock, which I learned reading Echo Spot reviews is an antiquated notion. (Evidently all y’all use your phones.) It’s a Boston Recepter, and still looks and works like new. Hey, it was killer kit 12 years ago. I have no plans to retire it.
  • Locals, remember that Fresh Market we were getting on 72 just east of Wall Triana? We’re not getting it anymore. Now it’s a Michael’s.
  • We have Star Wars tickets for this weekend. I hate having to see it so soon after release, but too many people are less than rigorous about spoilers.
 Posted by at 1:46 pm
Dec 192017

A colleague noticed that my old house at 117 Heatherwood Dr. is for sale. We moved into it on August 1, 1986. I think I remember the purchase price was $139,600. It’s a bit more now.

I was 15 when we moved in and 21 when I moved out, several months after finishing college. Despite those being some of the formativest of formative years, I feel little emotional connection to this house. There was enough turbulence there that I’m fine continuing to let it fade, my relative time spent there becoming shorter and shorter.

I have to say, it’s a pretty cool house though. There’s a ton of garage/shop space, and it looks like the bonus room over the garage is now mostly finished out. (We just used it for storage.) This was a graveyard of Apple /// computers, Mustang parts, and various less interesting bits of matter when we lived there. There was no drywall, and it was 417 degrees up there in the summertime.

Unfortunately it looks like the whirlpool tub in the master bath has been sacrificed to the gods of perceived currency. The heated tile floor is cool, however. It was carpeted 30 years ago.

My bedroom looks to be a hobby/sewing room now. And I’m pretty sure that ceiling fan is the same one I had (wow, what a lifespan for such a thing!).

It was kind of interesting to step through 50 photographs of this place, more than 24 years after I moved out. But there’s no real nostalgia. Sometimes I think it would be fun to buy my old house in Anniston, or Dottie and Bill’s house on Logan Martin Lake. I don’t have that even 1% for this place; not an ounce of tug.

But like I said, it’s a cool house.

(All photos above are from the Zillow listing for this house, and copyright is as noted on each photo.)

 Posted by at 11:34 am
Dec 172017

David and Allie Houle visited our church this morning to share about their upcoming work as missionaries. They’re going to spend five years in Thailand, helping to plant Christian churches and fight human trafficking.

I’m blown away. Two young professionals who would choose that life for those causes? Wow. They are instantly my heroes.

They’ll be spending most of their time in Pattaya, a resort city on the Gulf of Thailand and one of the largest sex trafficking “destinations” in the world. Every year, eight million Americans visit Pattaya to partake of sex with children, the drugs they sell (in exchange for food and shelter), or both. It is estimated that human trafficking constitutes fully 15% of Thailand’s GDP.

There are two primary components to the Thailand Methodist Mission.

Education is one of the largest weapons against losing Thai children to this hell, and David and Allie will support Blessing Home while they are in country. Combining educational and residential components, Blessing Home extends Christian love to significantly enhance the odds of the children in its care.

The other part of TMM is called Pioneer Pastors, which works with Thai pastors and Christian leaders to open self-sustaining churches in Thai regions that do not currently have one.

I will be following David and Allie’s work on their blog, and invite you to do the same. If you feel led to donate, you can do it on this page (and please select “David and Allie Houle” in the Designated Giving dropdown list). Or, to give by mail, you can make out a check to TMM, with “Houle” on the memo line, and send to TMM, PO Box 56, Mannsville, KY 42758.

Thank you for your service and for your example, David and Allie. God be with you.

 Posted by at 9:05 pm
Dec 132017

I mentioned in the previous post that no adults in my life were aware of the bullying I was doing. I did get in trouble for bullying once, though—only I had no idea that bullying was what I was doing!

I attended a K-8 Catholic school for three years. When I was in the seventh grade, the father of a first-grader called my mother. He said his son said he was being bullied, and he gave my name as one of the offenders.

When Mom told me who it was, I couldn’t believe it. I knew exactly who she was talking about. The little boy’s name was Jon, and a couple of my friends and I would find ourselves on the sidewalk with him when it was time for everyone to be picked up at the end of the day. We—all of us—would frequently speak to him. “Hey Jon, what’s up? Gimme 5! (slap) All right!” That kind of thing. You know what I mean? Maybe a little loudly; maybe a little animatedly? None of us thought we were doing anything but being a little guy’s buddy.

Well, turns out he was terrified. He didn’t understand why we were talking to him. The whole time he was interacting with us, he was apparently just trying to end the encounter before something bad happened. We were stressing him out big-time and had no idea.

I tried to explain this to Mom. She was having none of it. She wagged her finger at me and told me how disappointed she was, and she better never get another call of that nature. I had done nothing wrong, but there was little point in trying to argue.

So I stayed away from Jon from then on. I’d evidently been rather inept at communicating to that point, so I couldn’t reasonably risk an explanation or an apology.

Jon, on the off-chance you’re reading: I’m sorry I scared you. I really, truly didn’t mean to.

 Posted by at 10:08 am