A theory about Google Opinion Rewards

I used to assume the Google Opinion Rewards question “which of the following places have you visited recently” was largely about refining their mapping data, since they regularly assume I’m in a place that I’m just walking past.

But what if it’s about testing how good your memory is? They know the last time I was at Canadian Tire, so what if this is not just about refining location mapping, but about how long it takes me to forget about a place I’ve spent money at visit to a potential advertiser.

Feed that back into the advertising profile they have of me, and Google could start suggesting to advertisers how soon after a visit to their store I should be targeted with an ad to reinforce their brand.

Bald speculation is not analysys

From Fortune.com’s “Jeff Bezos Sold $1.1 Billion Worth of His Amazon Stock”:

From one angle, Bezos’ steady selloff of Amazon stock could simply be seen as part of the same sort of diversification strategy a typical investor might pursue, since the company is performing well. But the sales could also reflect caution about the future of the broader stock market

The analysis is sorely lacking in this piece, as it doesn’t even consider the fact that Bezos announced just a few months ago that he would sell $1 Billion worth of his Amazon shares per year, to fund Blue Origin.

using rsync over SSH from osx to windows

If you are using rsync to backup to a remote server, you nee rsync installed on both systems.

That’s what nothing I read said for at least the first four hours of trying to get a mac-to-windows rsync backup setup over ssh.

It’s still not working properly, even with rsync installed twice on the Windows machine — one via cygwin, the other via DeltaCopy. I keep ending up with rsync error 127.

The ssh server I’m using on win is Bitvise.

If anyone has experience with this, let me know. I’ll outline how I got it working if that ever happens — I expect it’ll be by installing linux on a vm in Windows, but I’d like it to be simpler than that.

Whispersync issue: Audible to Kindle on iOS

I upgraded a Kindle book by buying the Whispersync For Voice enabled Audible book. I did this through Audible’s matchmaker service.

The problem: Kindle will not update with the last location heard on the Audible app. The Kindle iOS and web apps will sync with each other, and Audible will always recognize the last position read in Kindle (iOS and web) and ask if I want to continue from that location.

Environment: 

  • iPhone 5, running iOS 9.3.4
  • iOS Audible app, version 2.14 (416)
  • Kindle for iPhone, version 5.1
  • Kindle web app (read.amazon.com)

Attempted solutions:

  • Delete and re-download book in both Audible and Kindle apps.
  • Delete and reinstall Kindle and Audible apps.  
  • Reboot phone. 
  • Manually hit the sync button in both Kindle and Audible.
  • In Amazon account, manually re-deliver book to Kindle app. 

Audible tech support suggested deleting/reinstalling the app and rebooting the phone.

The eventual (and accidental) solution: for unrelated reasons I restored my phone from a backup, which forced me to re-download the book. I was then having issues playing the book at all, so in desperation I changed the Audible setting for “Download by part” to Single-Part from Multi-Part, and downloaded the book again. 

Something I hadn’t seen before–when you change that setting to Multi-Part, a message pops up warning you that keeping audiobooks as a single file is better for syncing across devices. I do not remember seeing this when I originally changed it to Multi-Part. I also don’t know why I assumed at the time that Multi-Part must be better…probably because of the way Kindle books are broken up into locations.

don’t choose multi-part
Syncing now works both ways.

restoring an iPhone to create space removes data you probably want

I have an iPhone 5 that is perpetually hovering near capacity. I came across a tutorial online suggesting backing up then restoring your iPhone to free up all the “Other” space being taken up on the phone — in my case, around 2 GB.

Don’t do it. What that author failed to understand/mention is that the Other space includes all the files cached by your apps. So it’s a space gain only until you realize you’re missing all your podcasts, books, etc. and have to download them all again.

Specifically I noticed losing all my local data in Overcast (podcasts), Audible, Kindle, NewsBlur (RSS reader), and my various email and calendar apps…so pretty much everything I use regularly. After opening them up again, I’m back to square one in terms of lack of space.

Galaxy S7 & Edge thoughts

After trying-before-I-buy with both models side by side in two different Best Buys, some thoughts:

  • Edge has a wider/better viewing angle — the S7 gets much darker than the Edge when the screen is not exactly straight on. Also much darker than my current iPhone 5.
  • At first store, the Edge gave whites a yellowed tone compared to the S7. At second store, Edge had a pinkish tone on whites compared to S7. Both had same settings, and tested on all screen profiles. 
  • Even straight on, and with the S7 showing better whites, there was a dullness I the S7 that could be annoying over long term use. 
  • The main value I see in the novelty of the edge menu is in taking quick actions on open articles, which will actually be immensely useful for taking notes when reading, or sharing articles. Any other use as a launcher is probably beat by the ease of keeping those apps on the home screen. 

I am really interested in why I’m seeing colour differences between these two models. I’m leaning toward buying the S7, largely due to the wider viewing angle, and the slight ease of use I think the edge will give me in my phone-based activity (reading). But I’m a little uncomfortable with the colour (quality?) inconsistency I’m seeing in the Edge screens.

The closest I’ve come to finding a review that goes beyond comparing just the published specs of the screens (resolution and ppi) and actually looking at the quality of the displays is at DisplayMate, but even though they pride themselves on measuring the color accuracy of the screens, they still only measure the S7’s colors and assume the two screens will be the same.  The two screens are different sizes and are made of different components, so I don’t know why nobody is looking at the non-PR-kit differences between them.