Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

What the Heck eHarmony?

Monday, February 8th, 2016

Somewhere around 10 years ago I joined eHarmony for the first time. With their matching metrics, I didn’t do well as I was overweight. I had a couple of conversations with men, but even more who had in their profile that they were intolerant of anyone overweight. I quit after a few months, matches had dwindled to a few a week. In the three month period I recall just one phone date.
More recently, I talked to a number of people who had met and been happy with the service. So I tried it for a month, costing almost $50.

What the Heck eHarmony?

In that month I was “matched” with almost 650 men. The four or five that seemed interesting never responded to my first steps to connect. Nearly all of the matches were with men with less than college. Ah, I didn’t complete college myself. Although I teach at the University level and pursued an alternative education that I’m very proud of, not a college graduate. So I apparently was matched with mostly no college graduates.

Most of the matches (I’m thinking 75% at least) were somewhat or very conservative. Not a match.

About half the matches were “a good match outside of my settings”. Not one of those seemed like a good match.

eHarmony used to be known for their very careful, scientifically based formulas for success. 650 men in four weeks isn’t showing a lot of discrimination or filtering.

I responded to two men who contacted me, both seemed wildly inappropriate. The first “moved on” after getting my email. The second one said nothing, but eHarmony contacted me a few minutes later saying the account was likely hacked, I should stop contact with him, and to be safe. Well that was uncomfortable.

One man followed through after contacting me, and we are looking for a time for dinner. He was able to find me online based on the information I provided. So he bypassed the eHarmony structure in the end. Not as creepy as it sounds.

Today I’ve canceled my account, pulled photo and all the other written information from my profile, and stopped notifications. I do hope that is enough to get out of this wacky system.

I feel I’ve wasted a bit of money and a lot fo time for a service that is not what it seems.

Love for the Ebike

Monday, October 5th, 2015

A few months ago I had my bike converted to an ebike. After waiting and saving my money for a number of years, I finally made the jump. I wish I had borrowed the money and done it years ago.

This conversion has changed my bicycling world. It turns out I had a lot more anxiety about biking than I knew. This may have been related to a previously undiagnosed genetic heart defect. I had a great bike, could make it up most hills with some effort, and enjoyed using it as much as possible. But the ease and comfort and hill climbing ability of the converted bike is just stunning. And thrilling. And exciting. And fun. And so very easy.

I have a version with a nice small but effective lithium battery. It is 350 watts, and 10 amp hourly load. Am I saying that right? About a 15 mile range when you are not pedaling, and it can power the bike to just over 20 MPH on a flat with no pedaling. My first charge was after about 35 miles, I did pedal nearly the whole time. And was mostly cruising around at about 14 MPH most times I checked.

The version I have has “pedal assist” technology, which is much more effective and wonderful that I ever imagined possible. When you start to pedal, the motor turns on, and then you can choose a 1-5 level of assist – from a little to a lot. Mostly then I leave the gearing set to pretty hard, and so when I do pedal I’m going much faster than I would be without the assist. The whole assist thing can be turned off, but then you also don’t have access to the throttle.

The throttle is also there, so at any time you can rev up the motor and in a burst or slow gain have more power added to your pedaling or stop pedaling altogether. I was surprised to find out that one of the ways I use the throttle the most is to make my starts smoother. If I am at a full stop, and crank the pedals around so I can start with my right foot (I just can’t do it with the left) a little throttle added makes the transition to get the bike going much easier. Especially when at a full stop going up hill. This maneuver has often caused me to nearly fall over or at least look really awkward.

I hadn’t realized how much space in my brain was being taken up with thinking of hills, planning on hills, preparing to charge hills, and worrying about making it up hills. Maybe because I’m older. Maybe because of the heart condition. But now, all of that is over.

I also have found that the ability to pick up speed makes it safer to ride with traffic. I have more options, and also more maneuverability. That keeps me safer.

Nearly all of my in city small errands or travel trips have now been by bike, so my car sits out even more than before. Once I get my trailer working I’ll need the car even less. Because I can go further, carry more weight, and enjoy the convenience of being on bike. I just need the car for bad weather, if I’m taking the dog, and for awkward purchases. Even though it’s close, carrying home a bale of straw by bike wasn’t doable. But I’ll work on that.

jim heh bike

This is Jim, who owns Human Electric Hybrids and he did the conversion. I found his work to be excellent, he made it convenient for me, followed up when I asked questions, and just provided excellent service in every respect. I love his passion for the bikes, and the extras that he did – putting on my old bike rack, adding a kickstand, and his care in all the wiring and whatnot associated with the conversion.

Everyone who has tried out the bike returns with a smile on their face. I’ve been biking enough extra now that it has become clear I need a new seat. That’s great! I don’t know how much of a winter rider I’ll be – but I hope for many days of riding in the next few months.

I do love my ebike, and can imagine it will be welcomed by aging bikers like myself as well as anyone who wants to make biking safer and more enjoyable. Especially as the price comes down – the only real downside to this adventure. But so far worth every penny.

Preserving the Past

Monday, November 24th, 2014

Long long ago I created a lecture series and a newsletter called “Contributions to Wisdom”. The lecture series was originally every Friday night, and then every other Friday. The lecture series and the 10 times annually publication lasted from 1986 to 1993.

I videotaped most of the lectures. The small ($3) donations that people made for each lecture covered the cost of tea, a blank videotape, and over time part of the cost of purchasing a video camera.

Some of the videos were available for rent at Crazy Wisdom, I lent out a number of them as well. Mostly they have sat in plastic tubs for almost 30 years, waiting for something to happen.

A couple of people that I videoed are famous – Patch Adams, Susun Weed, and Larry Brilliant. Most of the local practitioners remain well known. A few have died, many have moved.

Those VHS tapes are slowly losing quality and ability to be played. I’d like to preserve them. Transferring them to Quicktime and DVD has to be done in real time. And it uses huge amounts of computer storage space, which does get cheaper every year – even every month it seems. But it is a very large project. It can also be done professionally, for about $20 for each 2 hour VHS. I have 33 tapes of local practitioners, 16 of Susun Weed, and 8 of Patch Adams. Preserving all 60 tapes professionally would cost over $1,000.

If each local presenter could be found and sponsored their own preservation, I could start by saving those tapes. For about $25 I could have the tape transferred to quick time and DVD, put it up on YouTube, and also create a collection that might be of interest to the Bentley Library, The UM Integrative Medicine Center, and maybe Crazy Wisdom might make them available again.

Here is a list of some of the lectures – some have the title of the lecture, but most only have the name.

Jay Sandweiss intro to osteopathy
Larry Brilliant Karma yoga Apr 87
Cheryl Newel
Bonnie Breidenbach
Bernie coyne rubenfeld synergy
Leigh Daniels
Bronwen gates
Aura Glaser
Phil Rogers Amazon toucan Native American chants
John Friedlander
Brian odonnel
Don Mathis therapy
Emily Socha past life fact or fiction
Brenda Morgan
Manny Schrieber making relationships work
Wasentha Young the tau chi symbol
Patricia Current
Marsha Traxler homeopathy
Barb Brodsky
Bob bedard
Leigh Daniels magic and the qubalah
Catherine Lilly MyersBbrigs
Jonathan Ellis
Pat Kramer with Bronwen gates herbs and childbirth
Steve Bhaerman Swami Beyondananda
Leah song
Leigh Daniels Saturn and Neptune
Bernie coyne 4-5-91
Michael Vincent acupuncture
Judy stone

I do believe this is a valuable part of Ann Arbor’s early history of alternative healing and the practitioners who were the pioneers of integrative medicine, spiritual development and alternative therapies. I would welcome your ideas, response, and financial support for the project. You can contact me at
holistic – at – lindadianefeldt.com

Loud Music Interferes With Community Building

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

I’m frightened and also tired of being bombarded with loud music in restaurants, festivals, parties, and other places where people are gathered for more than just listening to music. Although even in concerts where everyone is there to hear great music, I usually whip out my ear plugs that I keep on my key chain. I’ve left plenty of events earlier than planned just because it is too hard to talk, I’m tired of yelling, or the loud music is just so uncomfortable. I also know that listening to any noise above 85 decibels for an extended period of time can cause permanent damage to my ears.
Early_vacuum_tube_public_address_system
Amplified music has always been a part of your life if you are under under 60 or 70. The dangers of load noises has been known for decades, but we haven’t done nearly enough to make people aware of it or taken measures to protect our easily damaged ears. Almost 20% of middle aged Americans have some degree of hearing loss, and by age 75 the number is almost half. “Of the roughly 40 million Americans suffering from hearing loss, 10 million can be attributed to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).”

This is no small issue. This profound quote is attributed to Helen Keller:

“Blindness cuts us off from things, but deafness cuts us off from people.”

Loud music in social settings cuts people off from being able to talk and interact comfortably. Too much noise makes it hard to be part of and support the building of community.

And then, exposure from noise and loud music (above 85 decibels) causes hearing loss, and even greater potential social isolation.

I recommend that everyone carry ear plugs at all times, and use them. Specialized versions are available that decrease sound, without distortion. They are inexpensive, under $15.

Get a decibel meter for your phone. I’ve been using dB Meter Pro for my Iphone and it works very well. There are also plenty of free apps.

Ask restaurants and other venues to turn down the music. Ask restaurant reviewers to give a rating for sound quality with their review. Use your smart phone meter, and if it’s too loud move or leave. And tell them why.

Consider buying stock in Costco (which has some of the best and cheapest hearing aids) or other hearing aid companies and those who make cochlear implants. Because this is an industry that is certain to grow as baby boomers raised on loud rock and roll grow older. I’m only guessing, but it seems like a reasonable projection.

I’m partially sensitive to this topic as I’ve watched my dad struggle with his profound level of hearing loss. It has caused him to be more isolated, and less willing to be with old friends and his family. His hearing loss makes communication more difficult when interacting with health care workers, law enforcement, and in other critical situations. He has recently published a short book to help others cope with hearing loss – “Adapting to Hearing Loss”. It is an inexpensive and practical guide from the perspective of someone directly affected. These are not the kind of tips an audiologist would give you.

Building community is important. Let’s turn down the volume so that it is easier and less stressful to connect. And so that we’ll be still able to share stories and words in the years to come.

Reporting in Ann Arbor

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

The Ann Arbor Chronicle ends next week. One of the more successful – by some definitions – news publications in a long while. After six years the Editor and Publisher are calling it quits. David Askins and Mary Morgan have gone above and beyond the call of duty, and apparently that is not a sustainable business model, or lifestyle.

There have always been an odd assortment of publications in Ann Arbor, and I’m thankful that I have written for a number of them. Two special pieces in the Chronicle on people important to our community – Ken King and Dick Siegel. I also posted very frequent “Stopped Watched” short reports, on many natural and unnatural events I observed mostly while just walking around.

As a digression, I started by helping to create and write for “Yenta” – a student publication at Community High School in the ’70s. Our motton was “Chicken Soup for the Mind”. I wrote a few pieces for the Ann Arbor Alchemist, one I story in particular really enjoyed on the underground vaulted sidewalks downtown. I’ve written for The Ann Arbor News (guest editorials), The Crazy Wisdom Journal, I started and wrote many years formy own nearly monthly newsletter called “Contributions to Wisdom”. The best part of that newsletter was the monthly interviews of people who I found interesting, generous, and doing important work. I also wrote a few pieces for “The Ann Arbor Observer”. The first was on capturing a swarm of bees, then on the death of my odd neighbor, and most recently on a trip down the Huron River. I was also asked to blog for The reinvented Ann Arbor News – annarbor.com.

The Ann Arbor Chronicle had, from the start, a very clear mission. My interpretation of that is striving for very high standards of writing and reporting, an obligation to report for the community and provide an accessible record of public and especially governmental events. It turned into a forum for thoughtful and mostly kind commentary and additional contributions form readers. Something that informed readers in Ann Arbor no longer take for granted. David and Mary also became frightfully informed sources able to quickly reference and make sensible previous decisions, and related actions. Their ability to provide deep background and useful explanations became more and more awesome the longer The Chronicle went on.

The current version of The Ann Arbor News (reinvented yet again from annarbor.com reinvented from the The Ann Arbor News) continues to provide much of the important day to day “hey there was an accident”, this is happening or has happened, breaking stories, informing us of crime and mayhem. Some good recipes, access to restaurant inspections, and some good news as well. It is a quicker, simpler, more basic kind of news without the context and linking that The Chronicle excelled at. The “news” also has its moments of awfulness, I agree. A running joke around here is in any breaking news event waiting for the story of how people feel about what happened rather than actual reporting on what happened. The recent ferris wheel mishap seemed especially heavy on reporting if people would still go on the ride. This is not news reporting.

The comment section of the Ann Arbor News is especially painful as nearly all the comments actually add nothing of any substance, but are quick conclusions, strongly stated opinions without a lot of substance attached, and often confusion and misinformation. It often destroys any positive reaction I have to a story, and leaves me wondering about the fate of humanity. Signed and verified comments would improve things I believe. The accusation is that it isn’t done because comments increase clicks which increase ad revenue. Yikes. This is no way to get good content.

The Ann Arbor Chronicle ended up relying heavily on voluntary paid subscriptions. Mary tells me I may be the longest subscriber they had. I would be very proud of that if it is true. I believe in these alternative funding models, and while my support was never in large amounts of money, the persistent confidence and trust that a regular payment portrays is also a very vital part of supporting a venture I truly believe in.

I will miss reporting for the Chronicle’s Stopped Watched column. I’ll try and do more of that in my blog. Short, interesting posts that are image heavy. I will miss The Ann Arbor Chronicle as a resource. But I trust other venues will emerge. There is a very funny group of people who tweet city council meetings, #a2council They may become the public record of actions taken within city hall. That would be funny, and not all bad. But a little weird, like the fact that so many now rely on Jon Stewart to get the world news.

It matters a lot to me that Mary and Dave stick around, even that they are in my neighborhood. I hope their next adventures will include my selfish need to have people as funny, talented, creative and with such enormous integrity near by. I’m not the only one who feels that way.

Local reporting can be done so much more on an individual basis. Blogs, facebook, twitter, are three dominant methods. Relying a bit on larger corporations that are in it for the money isn’t all bad. They do employ some talented, creative, and caring people. I know many at The Ann Arbor News, and respect those individuals. I refuse to be bitter or absolute in my critique of that news source. A broad brush does not meaningfully describe what they are contributing.

The best thing that can happen next is creative, interesting ideas for local news and information. The largest hole that will need to be quickly addressed is the need for eyes on government. Openness and transparency in public work requires good and extensive press coverage. Dave and Mary set a new much higher standard, and proved how important this is. How do we meet it now?

Arbor Wiki – an underutilized resource for Ann Arbor

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Maybe you’ve checked it out for birthday specials. Maybe you’ve enjoyed the page I created on fountains and water features in Ann Arbor. Maybe you can add to it? That’s what a wiki is all about, and this one is special for Ann Arbor. Do you want to add your name and accomplishments? Check out a events? Wonder what restaurants have closed?

Like any wiki there is straight up practical information, as well as obscure and yet helpful stuff.

We can make this more of a treasure the more people participate. I learned about it from Ed Vielmetti who hosts editing parties and encourages contributors.

I’ve just made small contributions, but try and remember to add to it with useful bits of miscellaneous stuff form time to time.

Arborwiki.org

The Thrill of a Bidet

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

In-toilet bidets are cheap and very easy to install. They start at about $50 more or less, and if your plumbing is already in good order (shut off valve works, nut to the tank is hand-tightened only) about 10 minutes or less to install. Here is a link to the one I got from Amazon.

That is for a cold water version. If you need heat or other features, expect to pay hundreds for the unit and even more to install.

But the cold isn’t as bad as it sounds. Especially in the summer. All winter I get a few moments of warmth as my cold water line runs near the radiator pipes. I also ignored the instructions to cut the tubing from the bidet control to the toilet short – so that is warmed by contact with the rooms warmth. A friend who installed it in his home with a slab and no heat nearby – yow. That is a shock in the winter.

The advantages? Much of the rest of the world uses water to cleanse after toileting. They consider toilet paper a poor choice. They’re right. It is an odd and far less efficient and effective method. Environmentally, toilet paper use plummets. I’m already using recycled non-chlorine bleached paper, but it still eliminates most of that use.

It is fabulous for anyone sensitive down there – post birth, episodes of hemorrhoids, vulva sensitivity brought on by allergies or menopause, or most any other irritation. Water soothes, toilet paper scrubs and abrades.

On my advice, a person (who will remain anonymous) bought the in toilet bidet and loved it. But he bought one with a lift up sort of switch – not a flat dial one. Guests to his house didn’t know what it was and apparently there was some strange funny and also embarrassing accidents. He had to take it out. So if there are people using your toilet who you can’t pre-brief (pun intended) stick with a dial control rather than the fancier lever option.

I really hope these catch on.

advice

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

Being in the start up phase of this new project, I need this sort of clear crisp clean advice. Guy Kawasaki talking about startups. A fellow MAC nut, with a great speaking style, and good ideas. Hi one slide explanation of marketing is worth the 40 minutes spent listening.

I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. Off to remove more roadblocks now…

One less boat

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

My friend Joanne has been complaining about the pontoon boat, for a couple of years now. It has been tied to the dock, used as an extension of that dock. Before that we used it to swim. The lake is weedy, so we rowed the boat out, anchored it, and then had a ladder to get on and off. With a marvelous plastic swim platform, no need to that!

The pontoon boat has been slowly sinking, as a leak in the starboard pontoon got worse and worse. Since it was too much work to pull it out with all that water I also left it in for two winters. That didn’t help. But with a few chairs set up, it was a perfect place to watch meteor showers. In the evening, to see the sun go down. I lit off fireworks on the boat last summer. And a lot of kids have fished from it. I made a dog ramp so the dog could come and go easily, although none of mine ever used it.

It has been a boat worth remembering, worth appreciating. I’ve owned it for over 20 years! It was named Satva, although we somehow never got around to painting that Sanscrit name on it. The first thing I did after poling it home from it’s home up the lake was remove the motor. I traded it for help getting rid of two riding mowers that didn’t work, as well as removing the steering assembly and all the mechanicals. From then on, we rowed it, we poled it, and also had a few trolling motors to move it.

It wasn’t easy to move it by hand, but with at least one other person, and favorable wind, it was worth it. We had contraptions for the sun, so the dogs could have shade. Nearly every thing we did to that boat made it uglier and funnier. It was utilitarian, never beautiful.

Friday and Saturday the impulse was there, Joanne complained again, and her father and I (and later joined by her husband), we took the boat apart. Beginning with a screw driver, then a hammer, sawsall, hatchet, and finally an ax. It is now in pieces, some for recycling, some for reuse, and some for the trash. In just a few hours, it was no longer a boat.

The dock that is there has heaved and shifted and is uneven and also pretty much no longer needed now that there is a beach. It is also pretty ugly, and not really safe with splintered and uneven wood, cleats to tie boats to (or trip over) and so narrow that a chair is a barrier unsafe to squeeze by. There is just one spot to sit actually on the dock even mildly comfortably, and two people would be a little crowded.

A cantelievered deck would be pleasant, a floating dock with room for a few chairs and a table even better. It has become a high priority on the list. I hope we have it found and in place before the Persiod meteor showers.

A pontoon boat is really designed as the lazy person’s boat. A drinking barge – as it is sometimes called – for trolling around a lake with your drinking buddies. i won’t miss having to haul it out of the lake each year with my pick up truck or the come along. Simple boats, boats one person can carry. That seems like a good direction.

twitter

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

I’m on twitter in case anyone wants to follow me. I promise to only talk about what I’m about to eat if it is somehow educational. Eventually I’ll have a couple of accounts so one will be personal stuff, one for herbal holistic stuff, one just for the web project, and ?? I’m still defining the categories of my life, so for now it is all

lindadianefeldt

you can find me on twitter with that name. Not sure how I feel about the technology yet, but it has actually already been helpful in learning a few things.

The odd thing is people who are looking for keywords to follow. I’ve been picked up and then dropped. But I said something critical of match.com and they are now following me. That’s creepy.interesting.