Some thoughts about Facebook, Google and privacy. And Apple?

Since the Facebook scandal regarding Cambridge Analytica came out, I’ve started more and more to think about stuff that bugs me. It has to do with ads and feeling targeted. The crazy thing about this is that this used to NOT be a problem at all – for years. But now it has started to grow on me, and I’d like to know why.

The Facebook scandal was really not a shock for me. I’ve known this for years, and like so many others have said, I sort of known when I signed up for an account with FB that I’d be targeted and followed across the web. That used to be fine and dandy. Why? Because I did not feel targeted. For years and years I haven’t seen a single ad on Facebook. All these ads people keep talking about? What the F is that? I’ve never seen it. And then they came. I do not really remember when it happened, but probably somewhere during 2017, the ads started popping up. It also probably started with Google as well, but I’ll try and keep this separated. If I can that is.

I have been a daily, and active Google and social media user since it was created. Or something like that. I created my first Google account in 2009, and my first FB account probably during 2008 when it started to become popular in Sweden. I’ve had (and still do with basically all of them) Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr and many other social media profiles and it is a daily routine to check Facebook whenever possible, watch a bunch of YouTube videos, make a blog post and look at images on several platforms. However, I tend to use Twitter and Instagram very rarely these days. Basically every day, I do at least one Google search for various things that are on my mind and everything has been pretty good. For years. What I feel about all of this right now is a bit mixed, but I’m guessing that not much will change.

I’m a huge Google fan as well. I know a lot about their products and I teach many on how to use them. I also trust Google’s products a lot. I don’t really think they’re spying on me while I write on a Google docs document… Regarding the other end of the Spectrum, Apple that is, I’ve basically forgotten all my knowledge about them. Until recently when I started to become obsessed with having reliable technical devices in my possession in stead of crappy and unreliable ones. All I knew until then was that Apple sucks. IOS is crappy and unusable and their products are way to expensive for anybody who are not willing to sell their soul for an iMac. Besides having a 3GS for like 4 months up to a year or something in 2009 and using an Apple computer in high school – that’s all I knew about Apple. The only “positive” thing I can remember about Apple is that I desperately wanted an iMac when it was first released, because they looked so cool! Back then I didn’t even realize that there were different kind of operating systems either. To me, Windows and MacOS was exactly the same. Since learning more about them and their products, my views on technology have vastly changed. It has really opened my eyes and I think that’s an important change. But I’m too poor to do anything about it, I guess. Or maybe unwilling. I don’t know, really. Haven’t decided. All I know is that I can’t talk crap about Apple that much anymore… No matter what they did to Linus Tech Tips. I just can’t do it. Watch the channel Tailosive Tech if you’d like to know a whole lot more on why I can’t laugh at so called Apple sheep anymore. It’s a great channel, even if you hate Apple. He’s taught me a lot.

The thing is that Apple as a company have a huge privacy policy standard. You are not their product. That is why they do not care about spying on you, target you with ads, and why they make products that potentially lasts for years without hiccups. With Google and Facebook – you are the product and therefore they keep track on you to try and sell you more garbage (or change the way you feel about stuff) without you knowing it until it’s probably to late. Apple has made it clear that  you can feel safe while browsing the web using their products. You will not be followed in the same way that Google/Android and Windows users are. They’ve even gone to a greater strength to try and prevent Facebook ads on the web and them spying on your Google searches so you’ll se less ads etc. I think that’s pretty cool, but I do not know if that is true. More information in the video below:

This post, however is not about me getting an iPhone again. It has more to do with priorities I guess. I still plan on buying a OnePlus 6 if I believe I can afford it when it gets released in a few weeks, but I really have to rant about the thoughts I’ve started to have regarding privacy and those goddamn ads that I see everywhere these days. I also still hope that whenever I get a OP6, I’ll drop the “wanting an iPhone” crap i’ve dealt with for so long… It’s annoying, especially when there’s no real need to make the switch. More about that later.

Just like in the video above, I have searched for stuff I’d like to buy or know more about. Then, hours later I see ads for those products in my Facebook feed. The weird thing is that it especially keeps happening  AFTER I’ve bought something. Why would I be interested in buying the exact same thing again after I just bought one? Whatever that product may be? Then the ad is useless. It might be more useful if it’s another model, taste, color or whatever else, but it’s been shown to me in another few weeks or months when it’s due time to buy another one of those products again? I mean, I might be interested in buying a new bottle of shampoo in another month, but not a new car or whatever else that’s expensive.

Also my Youtube feed has been garbage lately. I mainly use and watch YouTube via the Playstation 4 app or the app for Android TV. I sometimes watch videos on my phone or on my computer, but I mainly use the TV versions of the YouTube app. In those apps there are several categories to choose from. I mainly watch videos from the recommended, technology, food and entertainment categories. It usually works fine, but for the past months or so I’m basically shown videos I do not like to watch. Also if I watch one single video about technology, or mainly about smartphones, then 90% of my feed is about iPhones or Apple products. Even if the video I just watched had nothing to do with iPhones or Apple in general. It’s like automatically and magically Apple for some strange reason… Instead of videos about Great Danes or veganism that I’d really like to watch!

Now, I do admit that i still watch videos about various Apple products on YouTube sometimes, because I like it. I like watching videos about smartphones, and I’d like to know more about why every programmer uses a mac instead of windows computer and how users feel about iOS vs Android. I do that because I’d like know the likelihood of me being somewhat “forced” to buy a Macbook when I go back to college sometime in the future. I think that is fun, because I also like to hear people’s opinions about stuff. Even if that includes iPhones, and I currently do not plan on buying one. I’m really fricking curious though, so if I get the chance, I might still make the switch and try it out once more. But we’ll see what happens. I’ll try out a One Plus device first, and then we’ll see. Unless someone buys me an iPhone 8 plus/X that is. Then I’d gladly take it! I’m not willing to buy one myself in any shape or form (like on contract) and the iPhone SE is to small for my liking. If the iPhone SE would be all screen like the X and have all the features of the X, then sure but as of now? No, not unless I’d get it as a gift. Then I’d be happier. Because then I did not have to pay for it.

I still however feel somewhat ashamed of me “liking” to watch videos about various Apple products, because I know I can’t/don’t/want/have to buy their stuff. My Lenovo P2 works fine. So does my desktop computer. And the windows laptop. But oh, if I could, I’d really like to try it out… I am still hoping that my future employer will let me use both Apple and Windows products whenever I’m an educated programmer of some sorts. I even hope that the school I’ll go to will make me try it out, just for fun, but also for reals. I mean, what’s the harm, besides how much it will hurt my tiny wallet?

Ok, enough about Apple and potentially getting their products. I have other feelings regarding Apple products and that is just the privacy concerns I’ve started to have as an active Facebook and Google user. I’m so sick of those ads! I do not wish to see videos that I’ve disliked or removed from my YouTube watch history. I do not want to see ads about a career I’m not yet able to achieve until after I’ve finished a degree in computer science. I’m betting you don’t know what I’m referring to there, so let me tell you.

About a year ago I made up my mind to go back to school and become a developer of some sorts. Ever since then I have googled sometimes for the salary etc. of people working as developers. That’s because I’d like to know as much as possible of what it’s like to work and live as a developer. What it’s like to know and breathe code and the benefits from that. Being able to use and work on both a Mac and a Windows computer is awesome in my book, and if I might have to do that in the future, why is there harm to know more about it now? Better to know all the platforms than only one of them, right? Better to know both Swift, C#, C++, Javascript, Java and PHP, Google and all the CMS platforms than nothing, right?

Anyway, since then I’ve also continuously seen ads on Facebook of recruiting firms for developing jobs. Before I realized that they were ads, I clicked on them to learn more, but now I just find all of it so annoying. That’s because I am not a developer of any sorts today and totally unable to look for that kind of work. So stop showing me ads for my dream job, please…

It’s almost to the point that I again feel like I should stop using Google, delete my Facebook account but I know why I won’t do it. Without it, life would be horrible and so boring that I’d most likely kill myself or something. I need Facebook and Google in my life, and I just hope that there are solutions to these feelings and experiences I have regarding me feeling so followed whilst online.

Well. I guess that’s it. If you have anything to say about it, leave a comment below. I’d love to know your thoughts about this.

Advertisements

My wishlist for my next phone (OnePlus6)

Yeah, I’ve talked a lot about phones lately, but I have a very short wish list regarding my next phone, that’ll probably be the OnePlus 6, and not 5T, since I’ve decided to keep the Lenovo P2 for a bit longer. It’s a decision I feel somewhat comfortable with, since the Lenovo P2 is slowly growing on me.

Another macro shot of some sushi. Taken with a Lenovo P2. The images keep getting better!

Specs & shit…

Like I said in an earlier post, I’d like to have smooth and reliable phone that I don’t want to upgrade soon after I’ve gotten it. It has to last me like 2 years or so before I feel I want another phone. It’s pretty much always been like that for me before and I like to continue that trend. Of course it has to be as close to (if not actually) stock android as possible. The only choices I have there are the Pixel phones (which do not sell officially in Sweden, and probably never will do), maybe the Essential phone or the OnePlus phones. From what I’ve learned, I would really like to try out the OP family and hope it will be to my satisfaction. OP phones are not expensive either, so that’s good. In Swedish money, the current OP5T is like at just the right price point I think. It’s about a $100 more expensive in Europe than in the U.S, but for me it really is an ok price for the specs you get.

I really do not care that much about chipsets, RAM or storage, but it would be nice to try OP’s gigantic 6 or 8 GB RAM models, just to see if it makes a difference in the android experience. Some have said that more RAM helps with typing, and apps not reloading if you leave it. Like if you click on an article you’d like to read in your Facebook feed, and when you return to Facebook, you’ll have to start at the beginning again, because FB has very much conveniently forgotten where it was that you left. I hate that! One huge minus on the Lenovo is that it keeps happening over and over again, so reading articles on FB is something I take huge risks on every time I’d like to read something that has been linked to a blog or website.

The only two things I’d like.

Let’s play and say that the OP5T is the perfect phone. Or at least almost the perfect phone. At least we have something to start with here… Without having to tried it, held it or played around with it, the only thing I’d like to add to the OP5T’s features are OIS (with EIS also) and stereo front speakers. At least that is what I’d like to have right now. Huge bonuses would also be if the phone would come in more really colorful colors. The Lava Red version will soon be released in China. That gave me an idea that I’d like the OP phones to come (even if it’s limited edition versions) in a lot more colors – or if it was a lot easier to find colorful cases for the phones. I’m talking Hot Pink, Midnight Blue, Really Green, Purple Poison etc. Not my choice of names. They’re just to give you an idea on what type of colors I’d like the OP line of future phones to have. I’d love to have a truly pink phone, or a really pink/Magenta case, but if I’d have a Samsung or an iPhone – that problem would be solved ages ago. Unfortunately, OP or the Lenovo are not that big, so finding the perfect cases for those phones is pretty hard. I’d also would love to be able to print my own case. There are a lot of places that offer that service, but only to Samsung or Apple products, and that also sucks.

The camera question

Lots of people say that the only thing letting the OP family of phones down is the camera. I don’t know what I think about that. I’ve probably seen every available video about the 5T these past few weeks, and I’ve seen my share of photos and videos. Sometimes the photos look bland, terrible, blurry and oily. Other times they look absolutely stunning! Same for the video. Then I saw this video (seen below) of the OnePlus 5 (not the 5T!) and my mind was blown. It probably has a perfect camera, at least for me. When I take photos I basically take macro shots of my food or selfies. When I record video, at least videos that are meant to be shared, I use a tripod or something like that. In the future, when I actually have a Great Dane, I might buy a Gimble or something to go along with it. I basically never take photos in HDR mode. Some people in the OP forums have mentioned that if you turn of HDR, the photos will improve a whole lot and that’s good news. I really do hope that in time I’ll buy my next phone, whether it will be the OP6 or perhaps even OP6T (if I really can last that long), that the camera will be absolutely amazing. If the camera is basically anything like the video below, it is really good enough for me.

Conclusion.

Well, only time will tell when I’ll get my next phone and hopefully it will be sometime next year. I like the Lenovo P2. It’s a good phone. The battery is the nicest feature about it. The performance is ok, but I do not hate the phone. I would never go back to the Blackberry, unless the Lenovo really breaks really bad in the future long before I can get a OP phone.

Let’s just say that 2017 has been a really strange year… Smartphones included.

A Lenovo P2 to the rescue?

Yes. And I’m staying with Android. Confused? You probably should be, but that’s just me.

The same day as I wrote my last post, I got to borrow my boyfriend’s phone that he bought in spring of 2017. It’s a Lenovo P2, and he bought it only because of the battery life. It was only supposed to be a phone he was gonna use temporarily until he himself got a Blackberry Keyone. He liked the phone and it lasted for like 3 days with normal to heavy usage. Plus it’s an Android phone and that is also important.

Now I’m using it and how do I like it? Well. I like it a whole lot better than the Blackberry. That’s for sure. There are,  however some things I do not like. It stutters and lags a lot and it also has a lot of bloatware and apps I do not care for. Thankfully you can easily disable most of them, and so I have.  I prefer a clean android experience, and the Lenovo is like only half way there. The camera is ok as well. A real downgrade from the BB phone or any of my previous Nexus devices, but it works.

Closeup macro of some veggie sushi. Ok, image quality but not as much bokeh as I’m normally used to.

It also did not remember where all my apps were when I was setting it up, so, even though I got the Google Now Launcher, I had to reinstall all my apps the way I remember them. Hopefully, when I buy another phone later (android of course), I hope it will remember all my apps and layout from the Google Now Launcher. It’s not a biggie, but I’d sure appreciate it.

So my next phone will be a…?

Instead of keeping on watching a bunch of YouTube videos about Apple products, I’ve changed my focus to Android instead. It only took me hours to let go of the feelings of me wanting an Apple product and an iPhone after I got the Lenovo P2, and that felt wonderful. However, I like technology and my YouTube feed is pretty much dead, so then I started thinking about what my next Android phone could be. I kept thinking the same thoughts as before:

  • I want a smooth and fast, reliable phone that potentially could last at least 2 years without any hiccups.
  • Preferably as pure to stock android as possible without buying an old phone, like the Pixel 1 XL, that actually just came to Sweden – 1 year later after its release!
  • I don’t want to pay to much for the phone. My limit is at $780 at the moment, but since I “just got” the BB phone 6 months ago, and now a P2, I’d prefer if I get a new phone “soon” that it would cost a lot less than that. Preferably below $600 and still be a great phone.
  • I want great a great camera, and preferably with portrait mode features. Autofocus while filming videos would also be great.

So, how can I manage this? Well. I will probably get a OnePlus 5T. Or perhaps the OnePlus 6, if I wait longer.

The OnePlus hype I failed to notice…

It’s pretty amazing that, even though I really have heard a lot about this brand of smartphone manufacturer, I still did not know how this phone would basically solve everything. I would get the best of both worlds – if what people say are true. The OnePlus has really gotten great reviews, all of them, really and even though they are not perfect – I feel like this is what I’ve been searching for since the Nexus line ended and Pixel came alive.

I surely do miss the pure Android experience and I love the customization of it. Yes. I know I said that iOS is also more customizable than you might think and that’s true, but Android wins the race by far in that department. With android it is also so much easier to change the push notifications alerts. I do not need iTunes to do that. Yes. Android is not perfect either, but I love it more than I do iOS. That is true. And I would also not be sad or upset if I got to work or use iOS or other Apple products in the future, but for now, I’ll happily stay with Android.

The typing experience.

The big deal with having a Blackberry Keyone is the typing. Even though my fingers had trouble with that, due to my Fibromyalgia, it still perhaps was a better experience all together. But far from perfect. I’ve actually noticed that typing on a touch screen is really not that bad. Gboard has also learned a lot from only the 6 months or so I’ve been away from it. I have noticed several changes in Gboard that makes typing a breeze, and that’s awesome. The biggest change is that some words that are usually always together, even if they are spelled wrong, Gboard changes them afterwords into the correct sentence. That is great! I have also tried to type without the vibrations and it seems to generally work better.

Yesterday, I was riding the bus for a very long while and a friend of mine wrote to me. At first I felt a little bit of anxiety. Like, OMG, how am I supposed to type and chat with this person? All of the misspelled words etc. It will be a complete horror I thought. And then I started to type and we chatted for like at least 20 minutes. In that time, I’m guessing only a handful of words ended up misspelled. All the others were corrected by Gboard. It was amazing. Also, I’ve heard people saying that have been reviewing the OnePlus 5, that typing on that phone is even better. Something to do with more RAM? I have no idea. It is simply just better. Well, as long as I can use Gboard – I’m fine.

The money issue and the future of being a poor student…

Like I said in my last post, I cannot afford a new phone. I basically can’t afford a new OnePlus, even if it is a lot cheaper than most great smartphones out there. However, I could wish for one for Christmas, wait a little and buy one in a few months, or wait even a bit longer and buy one in spring or when the OnePlus 6 comes out in June or so in 2018. I do not know how my financial situation will be next year, or even the upcoming years. I just hope that it will not be as terrible as I once thought. It could be, but not necessarily. Also, basically all my saved up money will go to the apartment for new appliances and such, but that does not mean I can’t afford a new phone later on. With the OnePlus regime of things, or something like that – I am definitely a lot more confident that all will work itself out soon enough. The Lenovo P2 works fine as of now, but I’d like a more pure Android experience and less stutter and lag if I could. Until I know what will happen with my next phone, I can gladly keep this one and be satisfied. It’s not that bad of a phone and I actually do recommend you buy it – if you can find it and you want a phone with a better battery life.

The big battery question…

Battery life for me in general does not matter that much. I generally get somewhere between 2½ – 4 hours of screen time with my usage, and I usually never end up with less than 70% battery – no matter what phone I’ve used. Unless I’ve been traveling a lot and I’ve used my phone pretty much all the time during the train ride. During travels I easily get below 50%, and that is when I start to panic. My usage basically consists of a lot of scrolling through social media accounts, a little bit of gaming and sometimes I take some photos or record a video. I usually rarely get phone calls, but I call my family about once a week and talk for maybe 20-30 minutes or so.

So, basically I could get 2-3 days worth of battery life with any smartphone I think, and I really do not have any problems with carrying a charger with me when I go travel, since all trains in Sweden now have a lot of charging ports (or whatever they are called). Usually one for every 2-4 seats, depending on the train type.

I guess this smartphone rant is over, and I personally feel a lot happier now and I’m looking forward to my next android phone, and I hope that experience will make everything even more amazing.

If you have a OnePlus, please leave a comment below and share your experience with me. Thanks!

The Blackberry KeyOne makes me want an iPhone. Seriously.

This is a post about Android vs. iOS. And how much I have come to realize that I may want to try the dark side once more. First a bit of history.

iPhone 3GS and following nightmares of smartphones…

Back in 2009, me and the BF ordered ourselves an iPhone 3GS. It was our first real smartphone. My boyfriend, Henrik got it first. I had to wait for another couple of months until I could afford it. Until I got mine, I played around a lot with his and I think I liked it. I mainly used it to record videos and I started my first YouTube channel. At least until I got my own. Then I got bored so fast I don’t even remember what hit me. I remember the typing experience most, and how ridiculous it was that it was impossible to create custom ringtones for calls and texts. So we jailbreaked them. To type on the phone was the worst. Basically every word was misspelled. It was a huge nightmare. Back then, Android was simply the best operating system for smartphones. Maybe it still is? And Android phones also had physical keyboards. Just a couple of months later, after I got my iPhone 3GS, we bought the Milestone 2, I think it was called. That one sucked balls! I could type. Yes. That worked wonders, but the camera was crap (as pretty much all smartphone cameras was back then), but it really was not a good camera. Henrik’s Milestone worked ok. My was in the shop more than I had it in my hands. It was really awful.

I don’t remember as of now what phone we got next, but we sometime later got the HTC Desire Z. That one was absolutely amazing! It also lasted a pretty long time for a phone. After that, we bought into the Google Nexus line, and we started with the Nexus 4. That was even more amazing! Things had really changed with that phone, and typing on a non-physical keyboard was great. Of course words were misspelled, but it was not as horrible as the iPhone 3GS. I think we kept that phone for over 2 years. When Nexus 6 came out and it turned out to be a phablet, be bought the previous years model, the Nexus 5. I first thought I’d regret that, since it was an older phone, but it turned out to be an even better phone than the Nexus 4. I was amazed at everything. That phone worked for almost 2 years as well I think and then we bought the Nexus 6P. Yeah. We actually bought a phablet. But it worked.

The end of a beatiful Nexus era…

My 6P worked so beautifully, that I had planned to keep it for as long as possible. It was a bit of a challenge, getting such a huge phone to fit comfortably in pockets and in the hands, but for the most part it worked. During this time, I gained some more weight and for a time during spring of 2017 I had huge troubles finding pants to wear which resulted in destroyed pockets and me buying pants at least once a month, because my huge phone was simply to big for those pockets and badly sewn pants from H&M. At that time, those were the only type of pants I could wear, since my butt was to big for men’s pants, but finally I could fit into a pair and the pant problems have been gone ever since. I’ve even lost weight since then and I’m down a size in pants as well.

Also during that time, the rumors of the Blackberry Keyone started to emerge, and my BF was really keen on getting a phone again with a physical keyboard. I was not that interested, for good reasons, but then something happened with my 6P. All of a sudden it started to act weird and typing was a mess. Maybe this was something unconscious that I did, knowing that I might be able to type on a physical keyboard again, but none the less – my 6P started showing off many other types of problems as well. The battery life on that phone was ok. Not great and amazing. Especially not while traveling, but luckily Androids often have fast charging and I got pretty used to carrying my charger with me if I was gonna travel by train for a day.

During the fall of 2016, the Nexus era had officially ended and Google came up with their own kind of iPhone. The Google Pixel. At first I was sort of excited, but when I started to realize that this phone was NOT gonna be released globally (I live in Sweden), I was horrified and that set of something I probably still have not settled with, or something. Can’t really find the correct words for my feelings here. I hated the fact that it was not gonna be released globally and also that the price had risen from pretty cheap to “holy-crap-that’s-expensive!” price. iPhones are expensive, but now Android phones are that expensive too? What’s happening with the world?! That year, Google also became boring when they spent all of I/O with releasing a gaziliion messaging apps, when they could just upgrade Hangouts and make sure more people would use that platform more. I am still disappointed with Google for all their crap they keep doing. If Gmail wasn’t so amazing and I did not have a YouTube channel, I’d probably delete my Google accounts, because I’m getting so bored with Google these days. Ok, I admit – Google Drive and Google Photos are still amazing, but you get the point. I am not that huge of a Google fan that I used to be. And that is so sad. And boring. And no, I will never delete my Google accounts, because that would be stupid.

The physical keyboard experience was not what I expected.

In may I got the Blackberry Keyone as a birthday gift from my BF. At first I loved it, but it was a bit of a hassle of typing on it. Due to my fibromyalgia, my fingers really don’t like to type on hard surfaces. The keys on the Keyone are pretty soft, but my fingers hate it. I haven’t had this much issues with my fingers since I started using the Keyone. During the summer it also started having several bugs with push notifications and other problems emerged as well. I don’t remember all of them, but let’s say that this reminds me a lot of when I had the Milestone 2. This phone I do not like and I now regret deeply of getting one. I’d rather have kept my 6P. I still have it, but due to the battery life being better on the BB, I’ve chosen to keep it anyways. For now. The only thing that I genuinely like with the BB is the camera. It has the same camera as the Google Pixel, and it shows. The image quality is amazing! Just look at the sushi photo below

Closeup of sushi. I love the blurry effect with the Blackberry Keyone. And that’s basically all I like with this phone.

Every fall I temporarily turn into a somewhat of an iSheep…

When Apple releases a new iPhone, at least ever since they finally changed the look of the phone with the iPhone 6 lineup with bigger screens – I get so curious about iPhone that I basically decide to switch over again. But, a few weeks later I get the latest Nexus phone and problem is solved and last year, my 6P was still so amazing that Apple really couldn’t sway me that much over to the dark side. Except for the 7 plus and portrait mode! But I got over it. The 6P rocked! And kicked ass!

This year, everything is different. This year I might actually switch over to the dark side. And perhaps stay there.

This is due to several reasons. This year has officially been the year of emotions or something like that. I have moved two times in less than 8 months. I have said goodbye to several of my “friends” and I’ve been generally alone a lot of the time this year as well. I almost hit the wall, working my ass off with crappy crap stuff at work and I was really close to getting burned out. I have decided to be a programmer and I have spent pretty much every waking hour (when I do not think of Great Danes, Apple products or like when I’m doing the dishes) looking for educations and how I best can be a developer of some sorts in the future. All this with a stupid Blackberry phone that does not work properly. Not to mention the really frickin’ awful reception we have in our new apartment! It is truly horrifying!!! We can only use it for calls if we’re on the balcony. Fucking crap! Switching over to the dark side might not help with reception, but our building is lots of concrete and metal, and the phone is basically just all metal. The iPhone has a glass back that will probably help a lot with reception is my guess.

I have spent a lot of time recently looking for information on Apple products. I also have an old iPad Mini 2 that I’ve been playing around with, to explore iOS more and I’ve found that I actually can live with the “limitations” of that OS. The iPhone 8 plus (or X if I could afford it) has really caught my eye, and if I could get one – I definitely would. Problem is even though I technically can afford it (I have the money to buy it), I also made the decision that every bit of money I can spend – will go to our new apartment. Getting new appliances such as washing machines, dryers, dish washer, stove and freezer a fridge. Also we are planning on changing the floors and perhaps to a little bit of painting as well. All my money will go to that, and that’s fine and dandy. Really! Also I will lose maybe half of my current income for the upcoming years due to me going back to school. This is if worse comes to worse. It might not be that bad. Therefor I can’t afford an iPhone as of now. Not unless a miracle happens and get a lot of money from nowhere or my BF says it’s okay to spend my money on a new phone (even though he hates iOS!).  And I refuse buying one with a payment plan of some sorts either way, just so you know.

iOS is really not that bad. At least not on an iPad…

I have discovered that iOS is really more customizable than one might think.  For starters – just think of all the cases you can have!!! You can have custom ringtones for calls, texts (iMessage), mail, reminders, calendars and a few more. You can have a custom background for your homescreen. You can put apps in folders and place them in the dock if you want, and clear up your homescreen if you want. You can have like one app on your homescreen and 25 or something on the 2nd screen and so forth. You don’t have to have Apples default apps installed. You can delete them. The only downside I’ve noticed is that with iOS 11, you’re not able to customize ringtones (alerts) for all apps. If the app itself, like Viber have builtin alert tones, you can change those, but Facebook, Messenger and Twitter do not (at least that I’ve found out) have the option as of now to customize the alerts for push notifications. And you also can’t set the “do not disturb” feature to be different on weekdays and weekends. It’s the same for all days. However, there’s a physical mute button that silence your phone if you’d like not to be disturbed, so I guess that’s something you’d get used to.

The Apple ecosystem.

iOS works a whole lot better if you have more Apple products to sync your stuff with. If you have a Mac, either laptop or PC you could use AirDrop to send videos to easily edit videos for YouTube without loosing image quality or waiting for cloud services to upload and sync stuff for you. The list goes on and on, and from what I have learned I hope that I’ll be able to work with Apple products when I get my first real job as a programmer/developer. I think it would be good to be able to work and use multiple platforms and be flexible.

The conclusion.

I could basically say; Give me an iPhone 8 plus, and I’d could move on. I’m getting pretty sick and tired of me getting obsessed with tiny crap, just because of logic stuff that has happened to me lately.

Basically it comes down to me wanting a phone that works. That does what it should and would last for a long time if I want it to. Every person I know that has an iPhone uses them for like 3-4 years without any problems. If you have an Android, you’re basically forced to buy a new phone almost every year, because of lag and other issues. Only really “poorly technical” people keep their android phones for longer than they should, and I’m sick of that. I want something that works perfectly.

Yes. Iphones are more expensive, but people also have told me, if you pay more for a phone and it lasts at least 1 or 2 years longer, doesn’t that make it better, or perhaps even cheaper? Also the resell value of an iPhone is a lot higher than for Androids. My Blackberry Keyone is only worth a fifth of the price – 6 months later, if I’d use it to get a discount on an iPhone 8 plus. That is ridiculous! I bought it for ~$780 from the UK and now it’s worth like $140. Blargh! An iPhone 7 plus from last year is worth at least $530 if you’d use it in Apple’s renew program. That makes me angry! And hopeful. If I hate the iOS experience if I decide to get an iOS device, I could easily sell it or use it to buy another phone a lot cheaper.

My brain decided a few months back that I should learn about Apple, instead of reading manga, books or learn C# at a slow pace which would be a lot better, but no. Let’s focus on expensive stuff I probably do not need anyways. Yeah. That’s how my brain works. Isn’t it wonderful?

I am seriously thinking of switching over, and if I could get a green light for this – I’d walk over to the Apple store now and buy one. I live 10 minutes away from one! And then I’d hopefully brag and teach people that iOS is not that bad (or perhaps it is?) and make people become more open about different platforms. There are cons with iOS and there are cons with Android. If I would buy a new Android phone, or like get one as a gift, I’d probably also “forget” a lot of my thoughts I currently have about Apple, but I do not see why that would happen. Therefor I really do think that within a couple of months, weeks or even days – I might sit here with an iPhone 8 plus in my hands and I will then have joined the dark side. Until then. I’ll sit happily and continue to be displeased with a phone I do not like and dream of the days when I can afford everything I want and use both platforms in some way and be happy about that.

Sometimes I just feel really, frickin’ stupid… 💩

I’ve kept a tiny secret from my boyfriend, and basically everybody else as well, but I had to change hosts. Again. I said I was going to a while back, because the web host I chose during the early spring sucked balls and I got really so annoyed with them that I started looking for another one practically immediately. I found a new one, they’re called “Egensajt” which basically means “Your own site” or “your website” cramped into one word. They are also very cheap, they provide SSL easily with let’s encrypt and also provide a bunch of other useful stuff I plan on starting using later, WP-cli, SSH and git.

WTF is going on in my mind lately? Well, (not)learning to code and shitty web hosts and the struggles to find the energy to focus on the right thing!

However, my trip over here hasn’t been the greatest either, due to me being an idiot, but I guess everything is fine now at least. I’ve spammed the support a gazillion times for the past weeks since I started my account there, because I’ve struggled a bit with the move of other domains, the obligate down time while moving a website, installations of Drupal, WordPress Multisite and Limesurvey and a few other things.

The good things are though that, except for the Drupal problems(I’ll get to that one later), all the other issues are fixed and were basically down to two things; Me, having a brain that requires that everything should happen in an instant and me being (yet again) a complete, uneducated n00b regarding techie stuff.

All of this have just taught me that I really need to learn how to code, so I can understand all of this fun stuff for real, but I haven’t been able to find the energy for that all spring, basically. I’ll explain a bit more below, but I have my reasons for doing all this, even though it’s practically unnecessary…

I realized that you can’t have folder listing or anti-hotlink (or whatever it’s called) activated if you want to install php applications with your web host. I had no idea about that! Folder listings make php apps to not activate, and anti hotlink makes you get broken images if you’ve got SSL activated.

I also had the problem with WordPress. Like I’ve mentioned before my setup is basically this:

  • I have a multisite install where all my public blogs and websites live, except for this one at the moment.
  • I have another WP multisite on a separate subdomain where I do all the testing for the main site.
  • I have this install for this single domain, that has moved around a bit, but will probably stay as a single install and separate from the others just because it’s for the best. I think.
  • I create other various subdomains and use other domains from other web hosts I’ve registered that I use for testing purposes. Most of them are WP related, but some are for other PHP clients, like Drupal and Limesurvey.

Since moving to yet another host, I’ve tried to have my normal setup and I finally got everything to work, but Drupal did not work like it should for some strange reason. The reason I wanted to play around with Drupal is due to a thing at work. I got an idea and figured out that Drupal can basically solve everything, but sadly my proposal was denied for now which basically just made me more upset 😦 . I did most of the Drupal testing at my previous host (Inleed) while I was waiting for the main domain to move over to the new host. Then, as I got to the new host, Drupal did not work. It was practically impossible to install it, because I fell into the classic Drupal trap where I got access denied, even though I was the admin and everything. In the end I had to ask the web host to install it for me, but it was to no avail.

During all of this I had also installed Limesurvey and the test sites, but no matter what I did the templates from the clients, aka the text inside the php files where showing when I visited the url and I could not install, or login. Turned out, like I mentioned above that this was due to the folder listing being activated. When I turned it off I could install the applications. Then the other issues came up…

First of all I noticed that the clients had broken images when I viewed the sites with SSL. After a bit of googling again, I discovered that it was due to the anti-hotlinking was activated. Also I had problems with wildcard…

Yesterday I noticed that my testing site did not have an .htaccess any longer and the network settings had vanished. This I have no idea why it happens, but as I’ll explain what happened below, maybe these two are related?

In order to use WordPress Multisite you have to setup a wildcard A record in your dns setting. The thing is, I’ve done that like a billion times and I know what it is. The difference is that with this new host, I thought I’d done that correctly, but I had not. I did not set the wildcard as a dns record. Instead my web host turned the wildcard as an alias for my main domain. I also had no idea there was a difference! When I changed it from an alias to a proper A record wildcard dns, I could access my sites again. The old problem of the redirect thing happened again until this was changed and I felt depressed and like a total idiot while I couldn’t figure this out. I also decided I did not want to bother the support again either, even though they get paid to help me out. I just want stuff to work!

The only problem I have now is that WordpPress – all of my installs are incredibly slow when it comes to updating plugins, the core and saving post and other changes. Otherwise it’s pretty fast and works well. I upgraded the PHP memory to 256 MB, and I’ve also activated the Memcached that this web host has. I also turned on Varnish Cache that’s also an option here. So far it has helped a little, but it’s still extremely slow when I want to install or upgrade something. I just hope that this post will publish as usual to social media as well. Maybe it’ll work properly in a day or two…

An important note!

The reason for me switching host once again is due to several reasons. I said that I’d probably do this in a couple of months and that was the truth. I’ve had a really painful spring at work and also in my private life and playing around with php clients, like WordPress and my newly found interest in learning code really helps with not feeling bored and/or restless as fuck.

I still should point out, that me wanting to learn code has turned into crap, basically which is not surprising due to all my illnesses and how my mind works. I have made up my mind that I’m gonna finish the C# class I started a while back, but I’ve been way to tired to focus on that, due to a gazillion other stuff going on that steals my thunder. I really hate it, because I’m so into this. It feels like the right time is now to start a new beginning, but I guess I won’t be able to until I’m not this tired anymore and there are no other problems lurking around the corner… I can’t really explain this tiredness either. I just feel it and the only thing that helps are shitty crap-stuff with the usual stuff. Aka, playing around with code and knowing nothing with WP, Drupal and Limesurvey being the test subjects as of today.

I’d like to learn as much as possible, but everywhere I turn – there’s trouble for some reason – because I don’t understand code! I’ll probably blog a bit more about it later, and for those who understand Swedish, I’ll make a post soon as well to explain myself a bit more. Basically, I’m stuck in a circle and I’m doing what I can to keep up and not lose my mind, but no matter what I do, I feel bored, lost or angry and disappointed.

In less than a few weeks, me and the BF will move to another apartment that’s closer to everything and I bet that after having a long vacation from work, I’ll find my strength somehow. I think living right where we live now is one small contributing factor to why I feel like i have these past months. I really thought it was gonna be a life changer, but all the move to this exact place was, was nothing but meh. Besides living more to the south in Sweden and having the luxuries of living so close to Malmö, it’s not been that great. After the move I hope I’ll learn to code a bit more and hopefully I can focus more on blogging instead of struggling like I have AND need to in order to feel a little like myself these days.

Thanks for reading this far!

I really do not recommend DirectAdmin as a control panel

If you’re like me and you’re pretty much obsessed with blogging, (and really lousy at coding), you know that a proper web host is a must for hosting applications such as WordPress. There are tons out there to choose from and I think I’ve tried nearly all of them. At least it really does feel like I have during my years of blogging and being present online.

Oh, the struggles I’ve been having with my current web host and Direct Admin as a control panel… Oh, the horrors…

I started blogging for real with WP in the beginning of 2009. Since then I’ve changed web hosts and blogging platforms as often as a parent would change their kid’s diapers or something. I really do not know why I’ve done this so much, but now that I am more experienced and know a little bit more about what I personally need – I do not recommend switching hosts every so often. Do your research and stick with a great host to begin with.

A proper web host should have this:

  • cPanel as their choice of control panels. DirectAdmin works, but it effin’ sucks for various reasons. It could also be my web host’s fault, but I do not know.
  • Offer WP as both single installs and multisite with wildcards (*). As a user, a wildcard being added to your dns settings is all you should ever have to care about.
  • be able to point a domain to a folder of your choice; I.E point sub.example.com to user/domains/example.com/public_html/sub without any hassle.  This also includes add-on domains and aliases.
  • Free SSL support that works for both subdomains and top level domains.
  • Full access to the database. With this I mean so you can change the table prefix etc. Also one login to rule them all or something. Not one user AND a database for every frickin’ login.
  • Being able to install WP (for example) manually, like the famous 5 minute install, as well ass offer a 1 click service.
  • Backups that do not drain your space every 5 minutes or something.

There are many, many other things as well that a proper web host should offer and the things mentioned above is what I personally need and prefer.

My struggle…

Like I mentioned before, I’ve struggled for various reasons with my web hosts of choice. In the beginning I changed hosts basically because I thought I had to or I did it for some other stupid reason. When I got to know WP for what an awesome thing it really is and when Multisite was introduced, I changed web hosts for other reasons and always thought that “this would be the final one”. Eh… that only lasted for so long…

All that finally changed, when I partly quit being an idiot and stuck with WP for ever and discovered a Swedish web host that almost did it’s job perfectly. I stayed with them for nearly 3 years. They were called Binero. Then, a few months back I started noticing that my blogs in my WP installations did not have SSL. I basically thought they did, but it was probably a Chrome extension that fooled me, because I started noticing this when that extension stopped working. It became a big deal to change hosts, and I finally switched to another Swedish based host. They’re called Inleed and they are almost illegally cheap, but you get what you pay for…

The move went fine, but almost from the start I’ve had problems and they haven’t gone away completely yet.

The issues

This is what I’ve had to deal with so far. A real pain in the butt…

  • Not being able to install anything on general subdomains, especially with SSL.
  • I’ve added subdomains as i.e sub.example.com but not been able to access the subdomain at that level, only at domain.com/sub which effin’ sucks balls! However, if I do this – everything works as it should, I get SSL etc but it’s not a pretty sight and makes subdomains completely useless.
  • Redirection issues to my main WP install if I have installed something on SSL. Even though I have separate installs this happens! For example; my main WP install is a multisite at domain.com and I created a WP multisite install for testing purposes at test.domain.com. If this test install is installed on SSL, it redirects or is not found at test.domain.com and it redirects to domain.com to the signup page or whatever other page I’ve set NOBLOGREDIRECT to. So frustrating!
  • I had to contact support in order to get WP multisite to work – which in part also created all the other issues I’ve been having.
  • The support have been struggling as well with my domains and subdomains, not answered all of my questions as far as I can tell, because I felt somewhat ignored sometimes. They may have read it all, but have chosen to only answer one question in a long email.
  • I do not have complete access either to my files, since I’m “only” a user. I do not know if it’s possible to upgrade, since I’ve asked about this and did not get an answer. Every time I need to “fix” something, I have to ask the support to edit the httpd.conf files etc and I do not like that.

After weeks of struggling I finally got proper help and I got my main installs I want to function properly, but I still can’t install anything properly on SSL, even though I finally can use real subdomains like you should always be able to. I will be contacting the support soon, after I’ve done some more testing.

The Conclusion:

Well, basically I’m getting tired of this shit and a couple of weeks ago I decided that I will be downsizing my web hosting affairs a bit, which means I shall stick to simple blogging instead and I will start to learn to code for real. Don’t worry, I sticking to WP! What I mean is that I shall try and not hassle that much with my blogs and instead I’ll keep on writing good posts.

I’ve started to learn C# in order to give me something I really can use, and when I’m done with that I shall try to create games for both desktop and android using Unity. After that I shall also try and learn C++ and maybe .NET as well. All done in my spare-time of course, but if I succeed with this I might start to work with it later on in a few years. Who knows? All I know is – choose your web host carefully and stick to WP whenever possible if you’re a blogger like me and like control over your shit.

 

Stuff I’ve learned this week…

It’s been a “shitty week” or something, due to me having to change web hosts and struggling with getting everything to work properly. I had to change places because I noticed that my WP installs did not have SSL on them. I was so sure that they did but apparently not. Any who… This is what I’ve learned(in no particular order):

  • Don’t get angry (if you can help it) if it does not work the way it’s supposed to. Just call the support, and they’ll help out.
  • It’s okay to get upset if all questions are not answered. Just keep nagging the support until you do. That’s what they get paid for.
  • If you use DirectAdmin with your web host and cannot install applications on a subdomain, add the subdomain as a regular domain instead, wait for it to resolve with the dns & shit and then install as usual. However, if it still does not work after 24-72 hours – contact the support! I’m not even sure that it works for me yet 😦
  • If you can’t connect the amazing WordPress plugin called Jetpack’s sharing module to a Facebook page – make sure that your FB page is published! If it is not, publish it, reconnect and then it’s okay to make it unpublished – the connection will still work.
  • It’s really not worth paying nearly $9/month for a web host, when you can get a better one (hopefully) for like $2/month.

I’ve also learned a bunch of other stuff as well, but I’m to tired to think of all of them now. I’m sorry if you’ve tried to access my site these past couple of days and I’m even more sorry if you’ll see troubles here in the future.

Please leave a comment below if you’ve noticed i.e. security warnings (due to SSL not being properly setup etc) or photos or other images not loading.

Now – I’m off to bed. Tomorrow I’m gonna sleep in. It’s finally the weekend again!

What bugs me about YouTube these days…

Well. First of all – a lot of things. YouTube itself is awesome and I use it daily to watch videos and learn new stuff about the topics I care about. Also, of course I’m trying to make something out of myself as well on that platform and after years of doing nothing but mistakes, I think I’m finally starting to learn and accept things. Or if not, they bug the hell out of me, som now it’s time for some ranting again about the biggest and most annoying things about YouTube that I’d really like to change. Or make Google change, at least. Most of this stuff is out of my hands completely.

No.1 – Moving videos between channels

I recently created a new channel, made for vlogs and video games mainly. Or basically any other type of video that is not about Great Danes. It’s sort of a “my other channel”, so it’s not my main one. The one about dogs is. The big problem I have there is compiled of different sets of issues that no matter what I do about it – I’ll lose a lot. I’ll fill you in below.

The history

My channel, “In the mind of a Great Dane maniac” was before connected to another G+ page and had the name “Aimee Vlogs”. Before that it was called “Aimee Vlogs (in English & Swedish). It’s had a lot of names and had the tagline – “Shitty vlogging at its best!”, because I really was a shitty vlogger. Nobody cared – until I finally got my teeth fixed with the Inman Aligner dental braces treatment. Then my subscribers, viewers and comments grew like hell. Especially the views. That’s awesome. Thanks to that success, I finally got brave enough to move the channel into the direction I’ve wanted all these years – into having a channel all about Great Danes. So far, so good?

Keeping it relevant for everybody

Now, I’d like to move all my former videos to my other channel, since those videos have nothing to do with Great Danes. None whatsoever. How can I do this? By losing. Either views or subscribers. Perhaps both. It makes sense to have themed channels on YouTube. That is how you succeed. I’ve also overcomed my “fear” of having multiple channels. The reason I feared it before was due to struggles with getting notifications properly and getting subscribers. The subs part is always a struggle though, as long as you’re boring. The notifications part I fixed a while back. I’d just like to have the best of both worlds. People interested in Great Danes to be subscribed to this channel, and people more interested in my life in general or other vlogs and videos to be subscribed to that channel. It’s better that way.

The struggles, besides getting noticed

Ok, so how do I fix this issue? Like I’ve said before. By losing. As long as YouTube does not let you move videos properly between channels that you own, this is a struggle we all face who owns several channels, where one is more popular than the other. This is how you’ll fix it today, by doing one of these 3 options below:

  1. Download all your videos that you’d like to move, re-upload them to the channel you want. Lose all the views, comments and other shit that came with it and hope people will keep watching and commenting. If you have many videos this will also be a very time consuming challenge as well.
  2. Start another channel and do everything you can to notify your subscribers and let them know you’re moving. Hope that all of them follows you. In my case they’d probably not. I’m to scared to even try.
  3. Wait and ignore all the subscribers waiting for Inman Aligner vlogs when all you’ll upload are Great Dane related videos. If I’d take a guess, 99% of all my current subscribers are there due to the Inman Aligner videos, or because they’re friends of mine and care enough either way to watch what I’ll upload.

No.2 – Why you can’t move videos, when you can move entire channels?!

Since over a year ago, moving a channel to either a G+ profile (now, really to your Google account) or a G+ page was made possible. And it should only be a matter of time before YouTube lets you move videos and let you keep all the views, comments and all that other shit that came with it. The question is – can we wait that long? Or really, can I wait that long? I’m struggling each day I sit in front of my YouTube channel to think – should I do it anyway – move all the videos and lose all the views, comments and other stuff? For now I’ve managed to wait and that’s probably good. I have notified my subscribers that I’ve got a new channel, but basically none have cared. Still I try not to be bothered with it. It’s really frickin’ hard, but I’m doing my best to not obsess with getting views and subscribers.

No. 3 – The disconnection between Google+ and YouTube

In July last year, YouTube and Google announced that connecting G+ with YouTube was a massive failure and that they’ve listened to our feedback. Soon you’d be able to disconnect and remove your G+ profile and YouTube would return to what it was before. Ok, some stuff has remained – the good stuff we liked. Me, on the other hand absolutely loved the G+/YouTube integration, but right now and since this news, I’ve been waiting for the disconnection to happen. And what Google means by “Soon” is more like = “This is gonna take forever”.

I love Google+, I really, really do. It’s awesome, but recently it’s become boring since people are fleeing the place like crazy, or at least just the Swedes… That makes me sad. However. The reason I’m waiting for the disconnection to happen, for pages now, since the G+ profiles have disconnected is… I have no idea. I’m just really frickin’ curios as to what will happen to my channel when it does. What I’d like to see is this:

  1. The Legacy url system coming back. I really dislike the way you claim a custom url today. It’s like either have a gazillion subscribers or buy a url that you might not need. What kind of logic is that? And a gazillion subs is actually 100, but if I would ever make that mark – I’d be the happiest person on the planet, since I’ve struggled for years to get a decent channel. I haven’t even reached that yet…
  2. My G+ page that is connected to my GD channel, can go back and act as a page for my blog in Swedish again. That means with the new translations features I can change the name of the channel as often as I’d like and the G+ page won’t be bothered.
  3. Some other amazing thing I haven’t thought about yet.

Now, how do you feel about this? I know I’m not the only one asking for the moving of videos feature on YouTube. A lot of people have been asking this over the years and all the videos claiming moving videos is possible (like the way it should be handled) are lying. It’s basically only downloading, re-uploading and losing all the stuff that came with the video. The video below has probably the best “today” solution for this. It adds something to the original videos, where she shortens them and ads a message that the full video can be seen “over there” instead of here. That would take a lot of time, but if YouTube never lets us have the option to move entire videos with all the analytics attached to it – then this is certainly the way to go.

Another video on YouTube talks about this as well. It’s a fairly new channel on YouTube called Idea of the day. Check out his video below:

So… What’s your idea about all of this? Let me know in a comment below and keep a look out for new videos coming up on both my channels.