For quite awhile, I have been thinking that Google’s Play Store is broken. It is the same for Amazon’s app store as well. The basic model for acquiring apps for android is broken. I imagine it is for Apple products as well but I have zero experience that model.

Every time I download an app to install, it gives me a list of “needs”. I have the option of installing the app or not.  I do not get detailed information about why the App “needs” these things.  I receive zero information about the use to which this permissions will be put.  I get no option to select some and not all of its needs.

A few days back, I had an app saying it required access to all of my GMail addresses.  I suspect that it wants access to identify “friends”. It probably did not want to sell them to spammers. However, I have no idea since it does not state a rationale. It would not allow me to exit. I’d try and it would pop right back up again. I finally killed it with another app. Needless to say, I uninstalled that app.

The app stores permissions need better descriptions or lists of bounding parameters. If I download the fubar app and choose not to let it access my camera, then I should be able to un-check that item. If it says it needs to access to my contacts list, then I should be presented with a rationale or list of uses. It would be perfectly fine if the App wants to squawk when I deny access and tell me what features I would lose without that permission. However, so far this is not an option. It is all or nothing. I find this an obnoxious, though quite not toxic, form of extortion Especially if the need is not an initial requirement but then is required for subsequent installs.  Funny how often upgrades come along not long after the app is initially installed.  I’ve seen where if the update with new permission requests is not granted, the older version ceases to work (because there is an upgrade available).

If you were unaware…I read a lot.  This has led me into an ethical quandary of sorts. The quandary derives with the request to rate everything. How many stars it should get.  The problem? I feel forced into developing two scales: one for Professionals and one for Amateurs.

If you have read an E-Book lately (I assume it holds for all of them), you will find a plea from the author to give them 5-stars so that they get good placement from the book-seller (Amazon, …). This will enable them to keep writing (and, hopefully, improving). I’d love to help them out. I may have really enjoyed their book. The dichotomy comes from using the same scale to rate books of brilliance and books that are entertaining.

If I give the master a 5, where does it leave an amateur? A 1?  That would be sheer death.  Even giving them a 4 could tank them, submerging them under even lesser works that happen to get one more 5. I suppose I could rate everything 5 that did not completely suck.

I’m still flummoxed over this mess. If you have an interesting solution, feel free to respond.

News Apps

My phone and tablet are Android devices.  My interests include reading a lot of News. Despite the dwindling number of foreign correspondents, I like to stay up on events all around the world and not just local. So I have had a number of News apps on both devices to keep me in touch with events.

There appears to be a trend in these apps toward prettifying.  The process includes adding a lot of white space and plopping in a lot of over-sized and different sized photos, Making the News apps more like Pinterest.  They are also hiding the sections (US, Local, World, Business, Politics, etc), eliminating them entirely or placing them off into a sub-menu.  This sucks.

ABC News was the first to become less than functional.  From a simple functional list, they introduced a tone of white space and buried their sections.

NBC  was my favorite app because it would come up in the section I had last visited, so I always exited out from the World News section.  Now it is a Pinterest looking app with sections all jumbled and not even findable (so far) on a sub-menu.

BBC News is usable. Not quite as accessible as the old versions of NBC and ABC which were originally tight lists of headlines under sections. Similarly Pulse.

CNN is the last bastion of functional News apps. I expect it will also disintegrate.

CBS is not too bad other than they keep popping-up annoying video adverts and moving the close button to unlikely places so I must watch at least the first 400 milliseconds.  Their Breaking News service is pretty good, although this wire-feed includes many topics I could care less about.

Hey News folks!  Pretty is fine but on a small screen, limited time and bandwidth, functional wins hands down. If I want to look at pretty pictures, I’ll go to Pinterest.

Cougar Dating

Spam is fascinating. It is so often way off the mark. It seems like spammers really ought to learn about Market Research and target their markets more effectively.

I keep getting weird spam. Tonight was another one offering me Cougar Dating.  So just what does this mean to me?  I am 60 years old (or nearly). So are the Cougars 80+ and looking for a younger man? Or is this the 30 to 40 year-old that is willing to relinquish their quest for 18 to 28 year-olds? Or what?  I wonder….


Several years ago, the radio station I listened to here in Salt Lake was devoted to 24 hours of BBC News.  Although they repeated frequently, that was a far better station than most. They under went a format change and disappeared. Whatever the case, BBC News ceased to be 24 hours and appears to only be on from midnight to five am via KCPW and KUER.

24/7 News Radio suits me perfectly. I will gladly even endure them repeating the same half hour cycles over and over, although it would be far better if they were live and non-repeating.

My idea of radio is one of immediacy.  Turn on the radio…Bam! You know exactly what is going on in the world.  I appreciate in-depth, informed analysis by experts or pundits. I realize the economics of that may require some repetition. That is fine.  I can live with that.  Just don’t take call-in questions. Concisely formulated questions by experienced interviewers are far better than those random questions phoned in by random listeners. I think Radio is best when it gives me up to the minute news and very current analysis from all sides of whatever equation.

News radio appears to be dead. That is a sad state. My option to stay informed is via my phone. I read news when I have Wi-Fi access. Radio has a wasted opportunity. I sincerely doubt that I am unique in my interest. For some reason, this market is overlooked or ignored. That seems really odd to me.  I presume I must purchase digital radio in order to get some semblance of what I desire. There appears to be no way to get it here otherwise.

I could listen to a music station. But I really do not care for commercial radio.  I mostly listen to radio in my automobile. I tend to listen to independent artists via my computer when I am not in my car.  I could listen to talk shows but I find it difficult to not think of the host as a complete idiot after a few minutes.  I have converging-on-zero interest in people that call in to talk shows. Their only qualification is that they appear to like calling in and hearing themselves on talk radio.  Blech.

Put the talk shows with callers on another channel. It isn’t news. It is reaction to news. Let them talk and listen (or not) to their hearts content.
Game shows should be on their own station or on a podcast. There is no urgency in a game show.
Humor really needs to be separate. It is not particularly immediate even when it is current.  If I need cheering up, I can easily hit a button on the radio to go to some other station that specializes in humor.
Story programs (or drama) should be on some other channel or in podcasts. These are perfectly suited to an audio book format but not on my radio.

As for news, I am far more interested in National and International News than I am in listening to local politician’s harangues about how many liquor licenses are being added to this years quota.  I also do not consider Canadian News to be all that relevant, although one of the local public radio stations buys many Canadian programs. Listening to things relevant in Canada just does not seem as relevant in Utah.  If I lived in Canada I would be far more interested but I do not. Colorado news would be more relevant. The other public radio station broadcasts only Jazz (music, not the team) from 8pm to midnight.  That works out just fine if I am in the mood for jazz but that does not happen all that often and, again, it has the same problems as my comment above above music stations. Recently, I was listening to news about a senator but didn’t recognize his name at all. Suddenly it occurs to me this was some Canadian Senator. Oops.

Weekends on public radio are by far the worst. News, apparently, does not happen on the weekends. That is when they air the most non-immediate shows (as listed above). Weekends, I feel deprived. Radio becomes an information vacuum. There is stuff to know, facts to learn, debates to be had but they are not on the radio on the weekend,  I find tonight’s fare intolerable. So I’ll forgo the facts and listen to music. But not on the radio.

Facebook Part Two

So Facebook sent me a message asking me to check my stats.

Ok. So I clicked on the included link. It said I should respond to the same Pop Quiz that it had given me the other day when I was trying to like a band page. I had copied the quiz to my clipboard so I could include it here but my computer crashed, leaving the clipboard empty.  (You’d think that by 2013, Windows would have a persistent clipboard, no?) The three choices presented to me were to toss outstanding Friend invites, toss those that Facebook deemed scurrilous and to do nothing.  I picked the third option (do nothing) earlier because I thought it had something to do with the Like I was trying to click. So this time, I picked the first choice: toss them all.  Then Facebook asked why I had requested those Friends from people who did not accept.  This may be out of order. They may have asked me why I had requested Friends prior to the three choice quiz.  With this question, Facebook gave me five possible answers. Of the five choices available, only Other (the 5th choice) seemed to fit.  I was hoping Other would also give me a chance to explain. Of course it did not. That would be too meaningful.

I am still thinking that the primary reason people do not accept my Friend requests is because they do not associate Bob Pope with Higher Than Pope. Had Facebook not forced me into using Bob Pope instead of Higher Than Pope, the people would have accepted the requests.  For the most part, I tend to mostly request Friends with bands with whom I have some interaction with at other sites (reverbnation.com primarily but also soundclick.com and soundcloud.com).  I do not just go randomly through Facebook people, clicking on bands. So many of those pending requests were with Bands or musos of some sort or another.

Facebook informed me that I was not to add any friends for seven days.  That was that.  I will not add any friends period but will still accept friend requests from those asking for such (assuming I have some inkling of who they are). I will ignore all friend recommendations going forward.

I will probably spend even less time on Facebook.  Each time they kick me off, I have lost more and more interest in participating with anything Facebook.  At this point, I am more interested in being able to login to sites that require a facebook login. I vote on artistsignal.com for friends (and I’ve only seen a FB login on that site). Clicking links in email about friends posting stuff to fandalism.com also requires facebook.  The latter is excruciatingly annoying because the links contain a login via facebook and a destination into Fandalism that is hashed and therefore not easily human readable.  Getting there without facebook is painful.

Personally, I think FB died back before their IPO and that they are basically a headless chicken.

I have spent more time on +Google these past several days and it seems far more amenable, although I really dislike GMail. Myspace is a fairly strong contender since I spend a lot of time nose buried in music up to my ears. However, it is severely limited in several ways that hamper its utility. Last.fm used to be sort of cool before they started requiring a fee.  Reverbnation spent a lot of time reconfiguring their software so that it was almost nearly useless. Soundclick expended the least effort and it pretty much looks like it was when it first released, except for one big revision that happened back around 2006 or 2007.

Facebook and Me

It would appear that I am currently banned from Facebook. It wants me to login when I try to go to my page.  It tells me that the content is not available and it offers me a chance to sign up.  Facebook and I have a long history with this issue.

Although I am not 100% certain, I believe I started on Facebook in 2006. My initial account was Higher Than Pope.  I was kicked off after a while because I thought the goal was much like it had been on myspace: add friends. Facebook told me that I was adding friends too fast. After awhile, they let me back on…it was only some temporary ban.  I slowed down adding friends. It was not slow enough apparently because they kicked me off again. After the second or third time, they told me that they would not let me back on until I used a “human name”, Higher Than Pope was not a real name. They wanted my real name. No human name, no account.

In the United States you are allowed to go by any name you choose as long as it is not to hide from wrong doing or to commit crimes. If you want that name legally recognized, such as with the IRS or other, then you have to get it legally changed. But for two hundred dollars or so, you can file the paperwork and change your name to anything you would like.  Once upon a time, it only cost $50 but the price has gone up a bit. Legally, I could change my name to Higher Than Pope.  I considered it.I looked into it.  It has become a little more complicated than it used to be, as there is a clause entered in the statues here that says something about the name being reasonable. So it would seem more subjective than it was once, someone would have to make a value judgement somewhere in the chain of the process about the reasonableness of the request.

I am one of those people who are somewhat rebellious. I dislike people or organizations telling me what to do. I particularly dislike what I see is an invasion of privacy and essentially stealing my content, i.e., I am no longer allowed to access my content but Facebook not only can access it, they can determine its longevity and use.  To heck with that.  So I became Bob Pope. That came from the band members section off Reverbnation. Everywhere else on the net, I’m just Higher Than Pope unless it is a site that assumes my Facebook identity.  I have a problem with that as well. If I didn’t enter it as data into a form on the site, then I don’t think they should be using it. However, it would seem that if you login using a Facebook ID, then some information is automagically transferred without explicit consent. Now I understand that you have to copy a legal picture ID (a state issued Driver License or ID card) to them before they will reinstate you.  I find that completely repellant. If they want access to my details, they should pay me. The fb software/hardware platform is just not that compelling. I look forward to their tanking.

Why Facebook has chosen to kick me off again is a mystery. I suppose it is because of friends I added. Except that one,  I am seldom on facebook at all any more and two, I rarely add anyone as friend. Earlier today I was asked to login and FB gave me a pop quiz. I was trying to Like a band from reverbnation and when I clicked Like, FB blocked it and told me to login. The pop quiz was something about did I want to cancel friends requests or risk getting them annoyed. The statement (as I have found all Facebook communiques to be) completely ambiguous and lacking in context. Apparently I chose the wrong answer. I found it very confusing that they were complaining about me “adding” when I was in the middle of “liking” and not adding. I also could not think who I might have added recently, although I think Andrea Charls may have had a Profile link to FB on her reverbnation page instead of a Page. I believe I did decide to friend her a couple three days ago. I further suspect that some people I friend do not accept that friend request because they know me as Higher Than Pope and not as Bob Pope. That is because almost every where on the internet, I am known as Higher Than Pope and not as Bob Pope. If enough people do not accept my friend request, I suspect FB decides I am fallaciously adding friends, etc, so that is equivalent to adding too fast.

Or about a week ago, I noticed that I had three friend requests waiting. I added the first ones and saw the last one was a friend recommend and so added them too, since that is pretty much how one makes new friends (through recommendations from other friends). I figured it was fine since I had not added anyone that I recall in the last several weeks. Perhaps that was the cause of my fall from grace.

Maybe, FB sent me messages warning me about my violations. But I gave up reading messages a long time ago because I have no interest any longer in Farmville or its ilk. Who wants to build up a lot of points in something if one is going to be booted off on whim.  Not me.

I suspect they also do not like it that I do not respond to “how do you know this person” quiz they give me sometimes when I accept friend requests. I figure it is none of their business. They think it is.

Possibly it’s because they don’t like the fact that I have not entered the High School I attended. But I am not really interested in chatting up old high school chums, so why would I want that listed?  It is irrelevant.

Hence I am no longer on FB.

I lost interest in FB when they kicked me off the second time, killing all my game scores and interrupting the flirting I was doing at the time. That forced hiatus meant I would never go back to FB as I had before. I used to be social on FB. But threaten me with the possibility of taking that away without fair warning or explanation and I will not participate.  There are just too many reasonable alternatives that are not so dictatorial.  I do not do edicts well.

Facebook is a bully. If you do not participate under our strictures, then we will cut you off from your friends.

Facebook want all of your information so they can sell it for adverts. Never mind that they are not able to use it effectively or correctly.

Those that know me also know that I get a kick out of the misdirected spam I receive. For instance, online I am listed as single. So much of the spam I get through facebook ads is from dating sites. However, I do not respond to that spam. So after a while, the spam starts to rotate through other possibilities since I do not seem interested. It starts out straight, typically local. After awhile it starts to rotate through a selection of alternatives: gay, ethnic and faith-based. Although this is pretty standard now, once in a great while they come up with a combination that amuses me. Their egos assume I lack a content interest when I only lack an interest in advertisements. Or perhaps they consider it being thorough…no stone unturned.

One time I mentioned as much when I was getting Kotex adverts from multiple sources one evening.  Note that this latter ad set appear to be generated by Google. I am not always able to tell where the initial data comes from. For instance, my being single is widely known since it seems a constant question on every sites sign up forms.  Of course, my being male is widely known as well through the same source. Although I might use a gender role, I am (in fact) male. Minimal data cross-correlation would bear this out. Yet for some reason, I get ads for high heels (lately) and kotex. Perhaps I could buy the high heels for a friend or perhaps I could take up cross dressing.  I suspect it has more to do with an inability to use the quantity of data in an effective manner.

Where this leads is to privacy. Currently there is so much data and so much of it is partial that the analysts (or analyst programs) have not quite figured out what to do with it all. In many cases, they key off a single key word or phrase (really a fragment) and assume from that point. This leads to the tired old saw: ass-u-me. etc.  So Instead of a privacy issue, we have a rumor mill. Companies that buy this data about possible employees are fed a bunch of assumptions…rumors. Anyone using this available data is sad. If ones premise is false, anything that follows is meaningless. Socrates knew it (so says Plato). De Morgan knew it (implication). Advertisers appear oblivious and prefer the shotgun approach.

If I view a product online it is either to buy it right then or look at its specs and price. Showing me the same product or service an hour later is not effective. I already own it. It is doubtful that the specs changed in the last hour. It is not likely the price changed.  If an hour ago it did not have the right specs or price, then it still does not.

Primarily my interest in facebook, since they decided to boot me off that second time (I am either at three or four now) was in promoting Indie Music. 90% of that promotion was for others and not for Higher Than Pope. Note that I promote others because I want to support others. I do not get paid for promotion.  I do it because I like the music or because I like the artistic temperament or because I think it is important.  That also may have rankled the great wizard behind the curtain. I am not getting paid to do it so there is no way I am going to pay to do it.  I do not have enough money to pay for ads. I saw a message some months back that disappeared before I could read much of it but I think Facebook were telling me that they might kick me off if I used my account to advertise.  I never saw it again so I still have no idea if that was what it said.  It appeared at the top of my page briefly as if it were a mouse over, then it was gone.  But is liking a band or a song an advert? Or a statement about my interests and taste?  I wasn’t asking anyone to buy anything.

The corollary to a lot of this is that I will also fall off sites that require a FB ID and or membership. I may fall off suddenly as these sites require me to login again or revalidate my Facebook ID.  Currently I am in the middle of trying to promote three friends on artistsignal.com (http://artistsignal.com/joegande http://artistsignal.com/bobfindlay http://artistsignal.com/merryellenkirk) and they use an FB ID to login. I do not even know if I can log into that site without a FB ID. So I may suddenly have no more access to it. So I apologize in advance if that happens.


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