Damn you Apple !

Sad-Apple-Logo-FrownYou really don’t make things the way you used to.

I tried to install Catalina on my MacBook Pro but I got a message telling me there was not enough space and got stuck in a restart loop after that. I found some suggestions on how to resolve this on the web (apparently it is a common problem). I had to wipe my drive and re-install everything from the Time Machine backup. Then I erased some (backed-up) stuff and tried re-installing Catalina again. That took me an entire evening!

And that’s only the first computer… I also have an iMac to update.

Then I kept getting an alert message saying to “Update AppleID Settings” again and again despite me updating the said settings! I tried a few remedies found on the web (apparently I am not alone with that problem) but only turning iCloud off, restarting and resigning in, worked. (Same problem with the iMac!)

And that’s without saying that there’s now so much security and passwords that it’s hard to get anything done!

And with Catalina I am losing Microsoft Office (and a few other older utilities, mostly for video conversion) that were never updated to 64-bit. I will have to get used to LibreOffice

All in all, I wasted nearly two days with this installation… Very disappointed !

That’s all f***ing annoying !

At the same time I keep having wi-fi problems. Apparently I have too many devices using the wi-fi (about seventeen) and some of the Nest Cam don’t work most of the time. I also need to reset the Home Hub 3000 once in a while. I tried adding four of Bell wi-fi pods but it didn’t really improve anything… A tech at Bell suggested to also increase internet speed (strangely, at Bell, their solution is always to PAY MORE money). So I went from 300 to 500 Mbit/s but it didn’t change a thing. No improvement at all. Now I am considering going to 1 Gbit/s. We’ll see if it improves anything.

On the positive side, I am quite happy with my iPhone 11 Pro. I don’t use much the phone. For me it is mostly a universal internet device (like Star Trek’s tricorder) and an excellent camera. I am really satisfied with this new camera. If it wasn’t for the zoom I don’t think I would use my Nikon anymore… (yet again, the iPhone zoom pretty well but there is too much quality loss…)

Now that I made my civic duty and voted by anticipation in the Federal Elections, I can go back to solving computer problems (and hopefully, before the end of the day, be able to resume writing book comments — which is, after all, the main purpose of this blog !)…

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Flickr F*ck

It’s the Dropbox rip-off all over again!

I’ve just been reminded today that my picture albums are about to be taken hostage. Not long after Yahoo had sold Flickr to SmugMug, they announced drastic changes in their policy. Their offering was too good and not profitable enough so they decided to jack up their price and radically reduce the advantages of free accounts. By doing so they are seriously screwing up their existing customers in what amounts to nothing less than corporate highway robbery!

The free accounts will be reduced to 1,000 photos and videos (instead of 1 Tb). Customers can update to Flickr Pro to have unlimited storage for C$65.88 (C$5.49 / mo) in a scheme that is basically upgrade or die! We have until January 8th to decide, after that our accounts will be frozen until February 5th, when the excess pictures will be DELETED! That’s outrageous!

This puts me in quite a dilemma. Since it has been one of the best sharing photos sites, I’ve been using the Flickr free account a lot for a while—although I’ve almost stopped using it since I upgraded to MacOS Mojave because the Photos app doesn’t allow us to easily upload to Flickr anymore. However, I still have 57 photo albums on it, which contains over 3000 pictures (0.6% of 1 Tb). 

So, should I upgrade or not? If I don’t I will lose my albums—but it doesn’t really matter since all those pictures are still in my Photos libraries anyway. It is just that there, I cannot share those pictures. And I don’t really want to pay yet another subscription service (I am already paying for several of them) and I am already using other services that could serve as Flickr alternative — although not as good… What are the photo sharing options that I already have?

  • Adobe Portfolio included with my Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan (US$137.83 for 20 Gb, Photoshop, Lightroom) but seems to double the use of WordPress. Although the whole Adobe Creative Cloud offers A LOT of potential that I still have to explore…
  • Amazon Photo unlimited photo storage (plus 5 Gb for video and files) already included with my Amazon Prime subscription (C$79), but you can share only links and is not web-based like Flickr was… (Ex.: Cats 2017-18) 
  • Dropbox free (using 37% of 6.8 Gb) but not able to easily share files anymore (unless I pay C$129 for 1 Tb or C$279 for 2 Tb & Showcase)
  • Facebook free, but not very practical (any limits?)
  • Google Photo free (using 6.3% of 15 Gb) but not practical because you can share only links (ex: Blogger album or Flower 2018 [from Flickr])
  • iCloud I am already paying $3.99 for 200 Gb (so far using only 40%) to host my pictures, but there’s no real option to share pictures or albums…
  • Imgurfree, no limit (sounds great! But doesn’t look very elegant)
  • Instagram free & cute, but again not very practical for photo albums
  • Photobucketfree, slow, offers only 2.5 Gb (2% used) with very intrusive ads (or pay $48.36 for 25 Gb)
  • Pinterest free, but not very practical for photo albums (good to pins pics from other sites though)
  • Vimeo250 Gb included with my Plus subscription ($108), but it’s for video only and would be superfluous and redundant if I go with WordPress Premium…
  • WordPress included with my Personal hosting ($48) I already have 6 Gb (using only 48%), but I am considering upgrading to Premium for 13 Gb ($96 but it also includes advanced social media, simple payments, site monetization and video support), but no nice way to share large albums. But I am sure I could work out something… (there are widgets for Gallery or Instagram)

After testing (again) all those alternatives (wasting an entire afternoon of writing doing so) I sadly report that none of them seems totally satisfactory. However, I refuse to pay the ransom that Flicker is asking for my picture albumsF*ck you Flickr !

I’ll probably workout something on WordPress, either directly or create a page that forward to a subsidiary site (Amazon, Google or Imgur) through links… We’ll see.

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Mars S02

Mars-TV-posterI just finished watching the second season (and the end) of Mars, a National Geographic docudrama about what the colonisation of the red planet could look like. It’s based on a book by Stephen Petranek, How We’ll Live on Mars Amazon / Biblio ]The series has 13 episodes (two seasons of six episodes, plus a prequel).

It offers a fictitious story intertwined with interviews of real scientists and personalities (such has Elon Musk, Susan Wise Bauer, Andy Weir, Antonia Juhasz, Neil deGrass Tyson, Adam Frank, Stephen Petranek, Bill Nye, Kim Stanley Robinson, Robert Zubrin, Ann Druyan, etc.) to discuss the feasibility and necessity of exploring and colonizing Mars. It shows not only the scientific aspects of such endeavour, but also its human side. It is filmed in a very realistic way and the acting is good (although there’s no known actors in this international cast). A companion book was created to go along the TV series: Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet [ Amazon / Biblio ].

It is really interesting, particularly if you like hard science-fiction (series like The Expanse), but I would rather see a TV series adaptation of Kim Stanley Robinson Mars trilogy… I am disappointed that it lasted only two seasons as it could have been so much more. The constant interruption of the storytelling with interviews can be annoying sometimes, but it gives the story more realism and makes the series not only entertaining but also educative. However, considering how slow space exploration is going right now, I think that starting the story in 2033 is a bit too optimistic. It was relatively well received by viewers and critics (ratings of 61% / 66% on Rotten Tomatoes and 7.5 on IMDb) and it is worth watching if you like space exploration. stars-3-5

To learn more about this title you can consult the following web sites:

[ AmazonGoogleIMdBOfficialWikipediaYoutube ]

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Capsules

Pictorial chronicle

Déroutante erreur / Baffling system error

Baffling error message

“Une exception non gérée s’est produite dans un composant de votre application. Si vous cliquez sur Continuer, votre application va ignorer cette erreur et essayer de continuer. La collection a été modifiée; l’opération d’énumération peut ne pas s’exécuter.”

Voici un étrange message d’erreur apparu sur un poste au travail aujourd’hui. Le libellé en français ne fait guère de sens… mais, bon, nous n’en sommes pas à une absurdité près…

[ Translate ]

Notable News (w32-w41)

Since our previous status report, nearly three months ago, a lot has happened. On the domestic front, I am happy to say that I have felt improvement at work. I guess I found better ways to deal with all the irritant “mammoths” (a plethora of usual absurdities, incompetence, and running arounds that made me crazy and drained my energy). However, following the “heat episode” I mentioned earlier, I complained to the union. The union director for the borough came to the workplace and said he could not do anything. A few weeks later he submitted his report to the employers. His conclusion? The section head and the three employees who left early because the excessive heat made them sick … should have stayed at work to show solidarity with their colleagues! Who needs a heartless employer when you have a union of traitors and assholes like that! A real nest of collusion. Madness!

As I keep saying, library work can be quite physical and exhausting (who knew!). I remember someone saying that, at my age, “if you don’t feel pain somewhere when you get up in the morning, it means that you’re dead!” Well, I can say that I feel quite alive. Pain is good. It certainly makes me feel I am there.

What has probably helped is that it has been a very good time for writing. My mind felt clear, I’ve been producing a lot, and everything was doing so well that I could only fear that it would all crash down soon. Maybe it’s the Algernon’s syndrome  or, to paraphrase Nelligan, “I am happy, so happy, that I am afraid to burst into tears!” Hopefully not… It is true that I wrote a lot, mostly about movies (Winchester, The Guernsay Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Isle of Dogs, Ready Player One, Mary and the Witch’s Flower, Ex-Libris: The New York Public Library), particularly with the coverage of the World Film Festival (list of Japanese films, red carpet, Samurai’s Promise, Zone Out, Life in overtime, Think again, Junpei, The Miracle of Crybaby Shottan, wrap-up). After a while I had enough of movies and it felt like I should go back to comment on books and manga—which I did with The Ghost in the Shell 1.5: [Human Error Processer], Un siècle d’Animation Japonaise, Souvenirs d’Emanon, Le Guide du Mauvais Père 4 and The Little Broomstick. I also wrote a suggestion list of adult manga. With all this the blog’s stats have soared!

I kept busy. I took walks in the park or visited the museum, a farm fair or the Italian week. I also reflected on the electoral conundrum (before accomplishing my citizen’s duty —in anticipation— with disappointing results), against Facebook, about writing (1, 2, 3) and about reading (or not). 

Eventually, by mid-September, everything started to slow down again and I wrote less. So many things to do. I feel that I cannot accomplish anything. What I need is more time! Time… Time is the enemy. We fight it to do more. We fight it hoping not to get old too fast and still have a little time left to do more. I wrote a haiku.

I started writing in a new notebook. The thirty-fifth. Some could be surprised that, in this digital age, one would still use a paper notebook. However, I find this physical form strangely reassuring. After all, electronic information can be so vulnerable. The good old notebook doesn’t need any batteries and fears only fire and water. Its sequential way of working—to write, read (or re-read)—is so much more appropriate for the human brain capacity. It is easier to get an overview of the text, to positioned yourself in the three dimensions of the writing. It’s more confortable for me. Of course, most of the time, it is just a glorified to-do or grocery list, but it serves as backup for my capricious memory. That way, in a few scribbles, I can preserves ideas that would otherwise be too fleeting to be useful. It is also the witness of my daily life.

I’ve watched a few interesting TV series. First, The Miniaturist mini-series. It is good and yet disappointing. It looks similar to the Girl with a Pearl Earring. It’s another show about the powerlessness of women in the end of the Middle Age (or early Enlightment). It concludes with an open-ending. “I can do this”, she says… I also binge-watched the first season of the Jack Ryan TV series on Amazon Prime (a thriller similar to 24), the new seasons of Walking Dead, Doctor Who and also the very good Press TV series. 

Apple has announced new products (iPhone and watch) and released new operating systems. How come, when you do a software upgrade, you always loose something you like? Why is removing something cool and useful is considered an upgrade? New operating systems always offer a basket of frustration…

I am trying to improve my reading habits by reading more, more often and better literature than just manga. I started with The Little Broomstick by Mary Stewart and I am currently reading the first novel of the Poldark series by Winston Graham. But it is hard. In the olden days, I could read about sixty pages in an hour. Now, I read only a few hours per week, before going to bed, and barely thirty pages per hour. After two or three days of starting a new book, I am barely at page fifty! What’s happened to me? Fortunately, as I go forward, it is starting to get better… However, manga are pilling up on my nightstand, so I will soon have to pay attention to them…

“Summer is officially dead. It smells like Fall outside and I heard a flight of geese passing over the house”. Then, Fall officially came. It got colder and rainy. We even had some light snow. It became a little warmer for a while, but now we can feel that Winter is around the corner. Flowers and plants are shrivelling, twisting and taking the brownish colour of death. Winter is coming…

The lights have started to flicker again. Same time than last year…

On the world stage, we find the usual disasters (increasing numbers of earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and volcanoes) but my attention had been particularly focused on the trumpian saga of corruption scandals (Stormy Daniels, the Mueller’s investigation, of course, but particularly the Kavanaugh confirmation) growing in a crescendo as the midterm elections are closing by. Such craziness! (For all the details see the 2018 events for the months of August, September and October as well as the links bellow).

Despite all this, I surprisingly succeeded to stay acquainted with the affairs of the world and gathered over two-hundred notable news & links — which I now share with you (in both french or english, slightly categorized, but in no particular order; please note that, to save on coding time, the links will NOT open in a new window as usual) after the jump.

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The Ghost in the Shell 1.5: [Human Error Processer]

GitS-1-5-hummanErrorProcesser-cov“La section 9 est sur les dents ! Il faut dire que les enquêtes s’enchaînent pour la section d’élite et que Kusanagi et Batou n’ont guère le temps de chômer…”

“Découvrez enfin dans sa version perfect ce volume phare de la saga, qui vous éclairera sur la vie quotidienne de la section 9, ses difficultés et ses tensions. Un tome qui conclut à merveille le triptyque de The Ghost in the Shell Perfect Edition.”

[ Texte du site de l’éditeur ]

ATTENTION: Peut contenir des traces de divulgâcheur (i.e. “spoilers”)! Les personnes allergiques à toutes discussions d’une intrigue avant d’en avoir elle-même prit connaissance sont vivement conseillées de prendre les précautions nécessaires pour leur sécurité et ne devraient poursuivre la lecture qu’avec circonspection.

La description ci-haut (qui provient du site de Glénat) est totalement erronée! C’est bien la première fois que je vois ça: un éditeur qui ne connait pas son produit ou qui s’en fout! Le Major Kusanagi fait certes une brève apparition mais elle ne fait plus partie de la section 9! Quant à éclairer la vie quotidienne de la section 9, pas vraiment: on y apprends quelques détails nouveaux sur son fonctionnement mais sans plus. Par contre, il est vrai que l’histoire se concentre sur le travail journalier d’enquête de cette force militaro-policière qu’est la section 9.

Si Ghost in the Shell (攻殻機動隊 / Kōkaku kidōtai / lit. “Police anti-émeute blindée mobile”) est mon manga préféré, étrangement, je n’en ai jamais vraiment parlé dans ce blogue (à part brièvement lorsque j’ai commenté le film en live-action et l’animation). Je me dois donc d’abord de donner un aperçu de l’oeuvre en général.

Poursuivre la lecture après le saut de page >>

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