In liberfacies

Against Facebook

I am really getting fed up with Facebook. It is an exceedingly time-consuming activity (chronophagios) that really gives little rewards — I means besides watching cat videos and stalking (um, I means, keeping in contact with) friends. More and more it has become the kingdom of fake news, as people constantly pass their expressed opinions as news (or as news-worthy).

Not only Facebook is doing very little to prevent foreign agencies to try to influence our minds through fake posting or advertising but, at the same time, they block legitimate ads from museums around the world because it is deemed offensive or subversive ! Incredible! How comes a bunch a geeks who know so little about the world become arbiters of morality and political decency ? They’re such a great influence over our minds (and our children’s minds) and yet, there is no one to oversee their policies? Inacceptable!

Of course, I would not be so inflamed by their ignominious policies if I would not have been touched personally by it. I am busy and I don’t have time to post on my blog, on Facebook, on Tweeter, on Instagram, etc. So I concentrate on what’s the most important to me (the medium that I can control the most) — my blog — and I just automatically repeat each (or most) post on the other social media to increase diffusion of my art and thoughts. However, a recent change in policies brought by Facebook is blocking this automatic reposting! What? They let the Russian pass through but they block my book reviews and cats’ pictures?! That’s unconscionable !

That I learned recently from a WordPress email:

“Starting August 1, 2018, third-party tools can no longer share posts automatically to Facebook Profiles. This includes Publicize, the tool that connects your site to major social media platforms (like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook).”

They explain that if my content is linked to a Facebook Profile (a personal account), then Publicize will no longer be able to share my posts to Facebook, but it will still work if it’s a Facebook Page (public profiles allowing “artists, public figures, businesses, brands, organizations and nonprofits connect with their fans or customers”) that is connected to my site. I have only two options if I still want my Facebook followers to see my posts : create a link manually or convert my Facebook Profile to a Page ! They continue:

While Facebook says it is introducing this change to improve their platform and prevent the misuse of personal profiles, we believe that eliminating cross-posting from WordPress is another step back in Facebook’s support of the open web, especially since it affects people’s ability to interact with their network (unless they’re willing to pay for visibility) We know that this might cause a disruption in the way you and your Facebook followers interact, and if you’d like to share your concerns with Facebook, we urge you to head to their Help Community to speak out.

Damn you Facebook! Improving your platform? You means improving your profits by making changes that would favour the commercial use of your application! What about the users, the people who made your product famous (and create its value) ? Oh, yes, that’s true: since we know that WE are your product it is getting more difficult to fleece us, so you reorient your business model!

So, if you were wondering why I am posting very little on Facebook lately, well, that’s the reason. Now, I will probably share my posts manually for a while (for the most important entries) and maybe consider to eventually create a Page, but I am also quite seriously considering withdrawing completely from Facebook…

What do you think about that? (please comment)

And don’t hesitate to let Facebook know what I think of their stupid policies!

(note: the title is in latin)

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Notable News (w23-w31)

Since the last update, over two months ago, so much has happened. 

On the domestic front, it seems that I ran out of karma points because a series of unfortunate events kept happening to me, including frustratingly bad customer service experiences: I had trouble getting my bag of weekly flyers delivered, after eight long months the contractor finally came to finish the landscaping work in the backyard so I could work (hard) to set up the garden, and then the water heater broke down! Everything was just a big pain in the ass! I ended up so stressed and distressed by the whole ordeal that I forgot to do the accounting and pay the bills! This had never happened to me in fifteen years!


Out of energy !

However, that was not the end of it. Work is usually a real nut house where we have to run around like crazy, doing absurd stuff. Under normal circumstances it is already demoralizing and exhausting. But we had to go at it during a heat wave, for a whole week! We had a few days of respite and then, the air conditioning broke down—for another week! We were working at temperature between 27° C and 30° C, with relative humidity of 50-55% ! If you calculate the humidity factor (the way that it’s normally done on weather channels) it felt like working at temperature between 35° C and nearly 40° C ! (Of course, according to the charts used by management, it was barely over 33° C and we shouldn’t even brake a sweat! For them it was just uncomfortable conditions!). Damn it, we are working in a library, not a sweat shop! Management brought huge fans, but if you move hot air, it is still just hot air — in a very noisy environment. 

If it was just working at a desk with a fan in the face it would probably be tolerable, but we are standing up and moving around a lot to serve customers (lending, shelving and processing books, etc.) — contrary to what most people believe it is a very physical work. At my age and with my health I cannot work in such conditions for a long duration. One day, I was tired and feeling dizzy (the head-librarian had already left and a couple of colleagues were not feeling well either) so I decided to also leave work early. We were threatened of “consequences” (disciplinary measures) by management for doing so. We endured for the rest of the week, but, in the end, I couldn’t take it anymore, I was exhausted (completely out of energy), having sore throat, migraine and ear ache, so I took a day off.  I just don’t get it: why’s this obstinacy to force employees to work in unbearable conditions? Where is decency and respect of the workers? That’s what upsets me the most: absurd decisions and disrespect… I get it that there is nothing in the labor law (health & security) that prevent work in extreme heat conditions, but it is just common sense and thoughtfulness not to subject your employees to such suffering! Then again, why should I be surprised of such contempt for the workers?

At the same time, I had to deal with some garden theft which became “the sunflowers’ affair” and evolved into a real saga. Finally, as I was ready to blow a gasket, my blood pressure medication was recalled due to contamination with a potential carcinogen (the generic version is made in China, no wonder)! I had trouble at first to get the pharmacy to replace it for free, but now there is a class-action lawsuit being organized

Japon instantané

My mind elsewhere !

Thankfully, there was a few positive events to brighten my mood, like an occasional trip to the botanical garden or the park, Apple announcing their incoming new operating systems (iOS 12 and macOS 10.14 Mojave) or finally being able to finish watching the latest seasons of Poldark and McMafia. Strangely, as I handled all the bad karma with relatively great zen, I managed to write comments on quite a bunch of stuff (books, TV series and movies): The Dark Tower, The Terror, Crapule, American Made, Victoria & Abdul, Un simple monde, Le chat du louvre 1-2, Black Panther, Isabella Bird: femme exploratrice 1-2, Alien Resurrection & Alien: Covenant, Pline 5, Ad Astra 4-5, Justice League, Batman v Superman, Jumanji, Giacomo Foscari 1, Nos yeux fermés, Your name., In this corner of the world, and The Mummy. Fortunately, reading (or alternatively watching TV) and writing (comments, rants or even poetry) is a great help to bring my mind elsewhere!

On the world stage, we saw the usual fires, floods, volcanoes, storms, kids trapped in a cave, a couple of summits (G7 & North Korea), the World Cup, water was found on Mars and each day kept bringing more Trump insanities. If I wouldn’t know better I could think that Trump is the antechrist and that the end of the world is near! But, no, it’s just our daily lives in the 21st century… I just don’t understand: in 1953 the Rosenberg were tried and executed simply for spying for the Soviets; now, some politicians conspired with the Russians to interfere in the U.S. elections, make their own businesses profits, as well as contribute to undermine western democracies and absolutely NO uproar is being made about it? Delirant isti americani !

Through all this I did my best to stay (sane?) acquainted with the affairs of the world and gathered over two hundreds notable news & links — which I now share with you (in both french or english, slightly categorized, but in no particular order — note that, to save on coding time, the links will NOT open in a new window beyond this point), after the jump.

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The sunflowers saga / La saga des tournesols

The sunflower theft” and “The sunflower case” continue into a real saga… There was no theft on the third night but in the morning the suspect, while walking his dogs with his partner, strolled down the street to survey his future targets! Many sunflowers are about to bloom and I am afraid that he will be back soon! I don’t have much hope that the police will do anything soon, so what can we do to stop him ? (I mean beside welcoming him with a two by four — I know: we must not take justice into our own hands; maybe we could scare him by saying we are on to him?). We have a better view of him during daylight. It’s definitely the same miscreant. I noticed he had the right leg in a cast (no wonder he was walking funny). [la version française suit le vidéo]

My wife went to have a look near the lair of the suspect and positively recognized her flowers and pots. There is very little doubt in my mind now that he is the one who stole and vandalized our property. Here are pictures of his front and back yards and we can clearly see sunflowers and many flowers in pots (mostly in the backyard).

To be continued?

Le tournesol volé” et “L’affaire tournesol” se poursuivent en une véritable saga… Rien n’a été volé durant la troisième nuit, mais au matin le suspect, tout en promenant ses chiens avec sa conjointe, a descendu la rue pour repérer ses prochaines cibles! Plusieurs de nos tournesols sont sur le point de fleurir et je crains qu’il ne sévisse à nouveau très bientôt. Je n’ai pas grand espoir que la police fasse quoi que ce soit de sitôt alors que peut-on faire pour arrêter l’hécatombe dans notre jardin? ( à part, bien sûr, le surprendre avec un deux par quatre dans la face — je sais: ce n’est pas bien de se faire justice soi-même; peut-être que lui dire qu’on l’a à l’oeil lui ferait peur?). On le voit mieux durant le jour et c’est définitivement le même scélérat. A noter qu’il a la jambe droite dans le plâtre (ça explique sans doute sa démarche bizarre).

Ma femme est allé faire un tour l’autre soir près de l’antre du suspect et elle est positive qu’on y trouve ses fleurs et ses pots. Je n’ai plus beaucoup de doute qu’il s’agit bel et bien de la personne qui a volé et vandalisé notre propriété. Voici des photos de ses cours avant et arrière; on peut y voir clairement des tournesols et quelques fleurs en pots (principalement à l’arrière). 

À suivre?

The Sunflower case / L’affaire tournesol

Following “The sunflower thief”, this video shows security footage of the thief coming back the very next night (2018/07/14, 3:02 am) to steal more sunflowers! Two days in a row! What a real scoundrel! Nobody respects anything anymore, that’s sickening! [ la version française suit ]

This time, I noticed the rascal seems to have a slight beard and a man bun (also he sometimes walks funny). If you know this scumbag, please contact me or the police (a police report has already been filed at station 30 — although the clerk didn’t seem enthusiastic). The varmint is plaguing the whole neighbourhood and I am not the only victim (as seen on the video; I also heard some neighbours complained about it). This type of theft / vandalizing of our property (flower or vegetable gardens) MUST NOT be tolerated no matter how small it may seem! I also think I might have localized the bastard: a neighbour looks A LOT like him; more so he had yesterday a sunflower in his backyard in a pot that looked quite familiar and a few more pots and sunflowers appeared today… Citizens of the neighbourhood, lets act to protect not only our properties but also the greenery that embellishes our environment!

Suite à “Tournesol volé”, ce video montre une séquence de caméra de sécurité où le voleur revient la nuit suivante (2018/07/14, 3:02 am) pour voler plus de tournesols ! Deux jours de suite! Quel vilain gredin! Les gens ne respecte plus rien, c’est désespérant!


Disparu ! / Gone!

Cette fois, j’ai remarqué que le voyou semble avoir une légère barbe et un chignon (il a aussi une démarche bizarre). Si vous connaissez ce salaud, veuillez communiquer avec moi ou avec la police (un rapport de police a déjà été déposé au poste 30 — bien que le greffier n’ait pas semblé enthousiaste). Cette vermine sévit dans tout le quartier et je ne suis pas la seule victime (comme on peut le voir sur la vidéo, j’ai aussi entendu des voisins s’en plaindre). Ce type de vol / vandalisme de notre propriété (jardins de fleurs ou de légumes) NE DOIT PAS être toléré, peu importe son importance! Je pense aussi avoir localiser l’ostie d’BS: un voisin lui ressemble beaucoup; de plus il avait hier un tournesol dans sa cour arrière dans un pot qui avait l’air assez familier et quelques pots et des tournesols de plus sont apparus aujourd’hui … Citoyens du quartier, agissons pour protéger non seulement nos propriétés mais aussi la verdure qui embellie notre environment!

Sunflower theft / Tournesol volé

My wife finds solace in gardening. Last night (2018/07/13, 2:42 am), some miscreant stole her first blooming sunflower of the year from our front yard in St-Michel borough. It was about 1.3m / 50″ tall, in a 25cm / 10″ green pot. The suspect looks like a white male, skinny and medium height, smoker, waring baseball cap and shorts. If you have any information please contact me. It’s really a shame! People nowadays definitely have no scruples!

Ma femme trouve du réconfort dans le jardinage. La nuit dernière (2018/07/13, 2:42 am), un scélérat a volé son premier tournesol à fleurir cette année dans notre cour avant de l’arrondissement St-Michel. Il mesurait environ 1,3 m / 50 po de hauteur, dans un pot vert de 25 cm / 10 po. Le suspect ressemble à un homme blanc, mince et  de grandeur moyenne, fumeur, portant une casquette et un short. Si vous avez des informations s’il vous plaît me contactez. C’est vraiment une honte! Les gens de nos jours  n’ont décidément plus aucun scrupules!

Customer service is dead!

It seems that wherever we go these days companies don’t care about customer service. Either they have a quasi monopole and it’s irrelevant or, despite a competitive environment, nobody seems to pay attention to the need or satisfaction of the customer. It must be really bad in my area — or I am a VERY unlucky customer — because I keep having those horrible experiences with customer service.

Beside the notoriously bad customer service of telecom companies like Bell (about which I have talked many times — their Fibe TV is superb but their wi-fi is quite shitty and their tech service doesn’t seem to care — unless they can sell you extra service or device that supposedly would improve the situation) I can easily mention three or four companies that gave me bad service just in the last couple of weeks!

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I seems now, after nearly a week, I am finally done with the computer set ups. Of course, it wasn’t without pain and efforts.

First, despite the promises of the “Genius” that served me at the Apple Store, the technician had installed the *previous* macOS (10.12) instead of the latest one (10.13.3). It speaks volume on the heaviness of High Sierra when Apple’s own technicians want to save time (and cut corners) by avoiding its installation! Therefore I had to spent the first evening with my brand new/refurbished MacBook Pro (June 2017) updating the operating system. To add injury to the insult, Apple pushed the 10.13.4 update the *very* next day, so I had to go through the whole updating process AGAIN!

The next step was to order a stand, a bunch of cables and hard drives to install the MBP at my desk, with a larger monitor, wireless keyboard & mouse, as well as a Time Machine backup and a clone of the hard drive (just in case…). Finally, I had to install all the necessary software for my work (Norton Security, MS Office, LibreOffice, Photoshop, GIMP, VMware Fusion, DropBox, iMovie, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, etc.) and set up iCoud (because the 250 Gb SSD storage of the MBP is a little tight for me; from now on I will store all needed (texts, images) files in iCloud (200 Gb) and be able to access them from ANY devices!).

Then I moved the old iMac from my desk to the salon where it will become the new, more performing, media center. I needed a new HDMI cable to hook it up to the TV and had to install all the necessary software needed to perform that task (VLC, Kodi, Transmission, RipIt, Flixter, PopCorn, Toast, etc.).

The Mac-Mini was then moved from the salon to the bedroom to serve as secondary media center, along the Apple TV, for late night viewings. Not much install needed there besides hooking it up to the TV and to a wireless keyboard and trackpad (instead of a mouse).

It was a long process and I encountered only ONE major problem. At some point, and without any obvious reasons, all the pinned notes (the most important of course!) in the Notes app simply disappeared without a trace. They were not deleted. They just disappeared. And I couldn’t recover them. Very annoying! I had to performed a convoluted recovery process where I isolated the iMac from the internet (to prevent Notes from synching) and copied all the vanished notes into TextEdit in order to recreate them in Notes. Then the MBP Notes refused to synch with iCloud, so I had to turn it off and on, causing it to erase and re-download all the iCloud content again. Nothing more was lost and now everything seems to work (but, still, now I’ll maintain a backup of the notes, just to be sure).

And voilà! Now I can finally write.

Unfortunately (since I also tested my new media center by catching up on my viewings [The Walking Dead S08 eps 13-15, When calls the heart S05 eps 5-7, Homeland S07 eps 4-8, The Durrells S03 eps 3-4, Little Women eps 1-3 and The Terror ep 1], did the laundry and took at least one walk in the park) I don’t have much time left to write anything… As usual.

The next step: solving the damn weak and spotty wifi problem, do many projects around the house (spring cleaning, prepping the backyard for the summer, start gardening, etc.), read more, and, of course, try to catch up a little on my writing!

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Just to recapitulate: in the last month, I’ve been locked out of my blog a couple of times (it seems to have been a browser issue but a computer reboot solved the problem), fluctuation in the electricity made the lights flickers like all hell was breaking loose (called Hydro Q and so far it has stopped), the WiFi keeps being weak and spotty (it just Bell; I tried just about everything [like extenders and Bell’s pods] without success) and sometimes just stops completely (until I reset the marvellous Bell Home Hub 3000), my computer became slow and unresponsive until the hard drive completely died (I had the HD changed but nevertheless bought a MacBook Pro to replace my aging iMac), the toaster-oven caught in fire (had to replace it) and my absurd and insane work place is making me nuts (but I’m dealing better with it)!

As a result I’ve spent the last three week-ends trying to solve problems and not at all relaxing (like sleeping, writing or watching TV). I don’t sleep well, I have various digestion’s problems, it hurts all over (my back, my knee, my ankle — as well as in unmentionable places — as the stress piles up). I am exhausted, fed up, at my wits’ end… 

I need to rest!

Hopefully an extra day off spent doing a little writing, TV watching and tending of the yard will do the trick.

Happy Fish Day and Holy Rabbit to all!

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(The entry’s title is a quote from Charles Schulz’ Charlie Brown)

The lights keeps flickering… The WiFi is often spotty and unreliable… And now my iMac is a zombie! Isn’t there anything working properly anymore ?!!

Ever since the last major OS update, the iMac started freezing now and then. Actually : almost every hour! So, I was suspecting a problem with Time Machine (it was freezing just as TM was about to start an incremental backup). I turned TM off, which didn’t totally solved the problem but considerably reduced its frequency.

Then, yesterday night, out of the blue, the iMac started to freeze again every few minutes. It slowed down to a slow pace and all applications refused to start and giving a “this application is not responding” instead (well, Safari was painstakingly loading).

My computer is a late 2012 iMac, with a 21.5 inches screen, 2.9 GHz processor, 16 GB RAM, 1.12 TB Fusion Drive and it is running MacOS 10.13.3. I admit, it’s already more than five years old. Any suggestion to solve this problem?

I unplugged all peripherals and restarted several times with no change. Finally, I decided to restart in Safe Mode and ran a few diagnostics, repaired the drive, checked for virus with Norton Security, but everything seemed normal save that the problem was PERSISTING even in Safe Mode !

Therefore, could it means that’s an hardware problem rather than software? Maybe the last update didn’t play well with the Fusion Drive, like I’ve heard on some board?

Until I fix this (or replace my iMac with something new — not better, you can’t get that these days), I am stuck working on my even older Mac Mini (Mid 2010) or on my iPad ! I guess I know now where this year’s tax return will go…

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Un parc en hiver

C’était une belle journée pour prendre une marche dans le parc. Il ne faisait pas trop froid (un degré au dessus-de zéro) et le ciel était d’un riche bleu avec juste un peu de nuages. Cela faisait plusieurs semaines que je n’avais pas déambulé dans le parc, car avec la pluie (et le gel / dégel) les sentiers étaient trop glacés pour que la marche y soit reposante…

Je ne veux pas trop critiquer la nouvelle administration municipale (je suis de ceux qui croient que la hausse de taxes était nécessaire et qu’il faut donner à la nouvelle équipe le temps de faire ses preuves et d’apprendre de ses erreurs), toutefois je dois admettre que, comme les rues, les sentiers du parc étaient mieux déneigés par les années passées (du moins le sentier polyvalent et périphérique, puisque que les autres sentiers n’ont ouvert qu’à la fin d’août)… C’est sans doute excellent pour les raquetteurs et les skieurs de fond, mais un peu difficile pour les coureurs et les promeneurs du dimanche qui prennent une petite marche de santé en admirant la grandiose nature à laquelle nous sommes des plus reconnaissant d’enrichir notre urbanité.

J’ai tout de même hâte au printemps pour voir tout cela tapissé de fleurs et habité de criquets, bourdons, papillons et volatiles en tout genre! Pour l’instant ce n’est qu’un canevas blanc, un désert propre et javellisé, un écrin pour des boules de neige métallisées et un azur profond et inspirant, où l’on va pour purifier nos esprits citadins empesés par une vie à toute allure… Que c’est beau, toute de même, un parc en hiver.

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[iPhone 8+ avec Camera+ app, Parc Frédéric-Back, 2018-02-18]