Chromed.

I’ve never really been a fan of Google’s Chrome browser. There’s just something odd of trusting all of your browsing activity to a browser made by a company that relies on user data and ad revenue as its primary revenue source. Here’s an excellent article that recently appeared in The Washington Post that explains many of my concerns without getting too lost in the technobabble.

What was a little surprising to me was that organizations like health insurance companies and school loan facilitators are also in on the tracking business.

My tests of Chrome vs. Firefox unearthed a personal data caper of absurd proportions. In a week of Web surfing on my desktop, I discovered 11,189 requests for tracker “cookies” that Chrome would have ushered right onto my computer but were automatically blocked by Firefox. These little files are the hooks that data firms, including Google itself, use to follow what websites you visit so they can build profiles of your interests, income and personality.

Chrome welcomed trackers even at websites you would think would be private. I watched Aetna and the Federal Student Aid website set cookies for Facebook and Google. They surreptitiously told the data giants every time I pulled up the insurance and loan service’s log-in pages

That’s just creepy.

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Cashless.

So this afternoon I stopped at a chain restaurant called Veggie Grill. This particular location is located on the Loop in Chicago. I’ve never been to one of these restaurants before, but the selection was good, I was able to make a healthy choice for my lunch, and the service staff was pleasant.

As I walked into the restaurant the first thing I noticed was all of the signs proclaiming that this particular location did not accept cash. They accept credit and debit cards only. The tech head in me assumed this also meant they accepted Apple Pay and the other contactless payment methods, but there were no payment terminals to be found; I had to pay with my credit card, and their point of sale system relied on the mag stripe on the back of the card.

A restaurant going cashless relying on 1950s technology seemed rather odd to me; especially when mag stripes have pretty much gone away everywhere else in the world and over the past few years the United States has been glacially moving forward to adopt better, more secure technology.

This cashless payment requirement got me wondering, why is this particular location cashless? The signs all over the store seem to indicate other locations in the chain accept cash. What made this store unique?

The location doesn’t seem to be in a particularly dangerous area of Chicago, after all, it’s on the Loop, and ultimately anything can happen anywhere, I can’t imagine that a restaurant proclaiming themselves as “Veggie Grill” would choose to locate in an undesired socioeconomic climate. Yeah, there’s always a chance someone is going to try to grab cash from the cash register, but it doesn’t seem to be anymore likely here versus other places I’ve been in Chicago.

Then I got to wondering if this was a way to keep homeless people out of the restaurant. A homeless person, if they’re able to purchase a meal to begin with, is most likely going to purchase a meal with cash. Those looking for handouts are going to look for handouts regardless of what the signs on the door say. Yet, I can’t help but think the cashless approach is a deterrent to receiving visits from homeless folks.

Maybe I should start handing out gift cards instead of packs of peanut butter crackers wrapped in dollar bills.

I’m the first person to want technology to take us forward in any way that it can, as long as for it’s for the good of the people, all the people. Technological advancements that are designed to segregate the haves from the have nots are rarely advancements in good faith.

I look forward to the day when we have replicators producing whatever we need for whomever needs it. In the meantime, let’s keep advancing technology to make it safe, secure, and convenient.

For everyone!

Neighbors.

The lights and ambience of the rooftop patio across the alley from us. The Sears Tower in the distance.

Missions.

My dreams are usually very vivid. Over the 23+ years we’ve been together Earl has been repeatedly surprised that I can recall my dreams upon waking in the morning. I have many, many pages of journals where I’ve written things down. Often my dreams linger with me throughout the day, but like any experience in life, some have more of an impact than others.

Apparently I’ve been watching too much “Star Trek: Voyager” (though I am really enjoying watching the entire series again). Last night I was assuming command of a brand new Intrepid-class starship under the leadership of Admiral Janeway herself. She was pleased to see the launch of another ship like Voyager, though this ship would have improved technology based on the enhancements and data gathered while Voyager was in the Delta Quadrant. I’d be taking the ship and her crew to the Gamma Quadrant. We had a very nice launch party with music playing, Starfleet officers milling about, and family and friends wishing us well. My dream even included use of the transporter as seen from my vantage point as I was beamed upon the new ship.

I woke up feeling energized (ha!) and wonderful. Thank the stars for my ability to recall and enjoy my dreams.

It’s just as fun as the Holodeck.

Leaped.

So the longest day of this year is Friday, June 21. Regardless of what the clock says, we will have the most time between sunrise and sunset. I’ve griped plenty about Daylight Saving Time and my disdain for it, but this is the time of year when I really feel the effects of it.

I strive to get up early in the morning and get some exercise in before starting the workday. It’s remarkably easy for me to do this during standard time because I feel like my body is in sync with the planet’s “clock”, even though I know that time is really a human construct. Getting up at 6:00 a.m., when my body screams it’s 5:00 a.m., is a struggle for me. Going to be at 10:00 p.m., when my body screams it’s 9:00 p.m., is even harder for me. I end up taking a nap during my lunch break, which slows down my metabolism.

I finally gave in and slept until 7:00 a.m. and did my workout in the evening while Earl was at work. I’ll do the same tomorrow. Today was the most productive day I’ve had this month, and there wasn’t anything remarkable about my work day or my meeting calendar or my workload, other than the fact that I had shifted my exercise from morning to evening.

I know I’m not a morning person. I’ve never been a morning person. But Daylight Saving Time exacerbates that fact and I’m tired of trying to play the game. Mind you, I like it when it’s light outside in the evening, but I don’t like it light outside when I’m going to bed, especially when it doesn’t have to be.

With the insanity that has gripped this country Daylight Saving Time will probably defended as have been documented in the Bible before the end of This Age of Insanity comes to a close.

In the meanwhile, I’ll just do the best I can.

Video.

So I’m thinking of starting to make flight videos again. I love sharing my enthusiasm of aviation in any way possible, and since I’m actively learning new skills as a pilot this year, it might be fun to share the experience through video again.

I’ve spent the past two hours building a new version of my “Intro Sequence”. There’s a little bit of old and a little bit of new in this clip, but I’m happy with the way it turned out.

Final Cut Pro X has some bugs in it, though. You have to cajole the application to add simple transitions at random times. I don’t know why that remains a difficulty in video editing software in 2019.

Perhaps I like quick transitions too much.

You Need To Calm Down.

I’m haven’t really been fan of Taylor Swift, but this song is catchy, has a positive message, and a groovy video. We need more people like her in the world.

Flying.

Messing around with the camera, a flight suit, and an airplane back in 2017.

I’ve already flown more hours in 2019 than I did in all of 2018 but I’m not flying enough. I’m finding the time. We thankfully have the funds. The availability of the airplanes is decent.

It’s Mother Nature that’s being a bit of a problem this year.

I hope this trend of cloudy skies, passing storms, crazy winds, and Low IFR conditions comes to a halt soon. I’m ready for summer. I’m ready for blue skies, clear conditions, and puffy clouds.

I’m ready to defy gravity on a much more regular basis. Flying affects my mood. Flying affects my focus. Flying affects my demeanor.

Tuesday after work looks promising. Let’s hope Mother Nature keeps up her end of the bargain.

Chicago Ribfest 2019.

When we made an offer on our condo in 2017, Ribfest was taking place in the neighborhood. This yearly event solidified our love of the neighborhood here on the North Side of Chicago. There so much to do throughout the entire city, especially during the summer months, but Ribfest will always hold a special place in our heart.

This weekend is Ribfest 2019, just down the street from us. It’s been rainy thus far this weekend, but we went down and ventured about. Good food, some good beer, and good times. Hopefully the weather will be more cooperative tomorrow.

This is the band Case. They were very good.