Monday, June 24, 2013


A word of advice for those many, many companies whose automated message systems advise us that "This message may be recorded for quality purposes." I suggest a rewording:

"This message may be recorded for quality purposes. And it may be recorded in any case. You know what we mean."

My diet hit a serious blip over the weekend, after I attended a happy wedding. Weight: 222.2 pounds and, I sincerely hope, going back down again...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Fitbit Company says I can wear my new Fitbit Flex while swimming

There is a lot of speculation on the web about whether it is all right to wear the Fitbit Flex while swimming. I thought, why not ask? I sent the following question to the Fitbit Support line:
I lap-swim for one hour, three times a week. The pool that I swim in is at most 7 feet deep. I do not dive. I just bought my fitbit flex. Is it okay to wear it all the time that I swim?
Thanks in advance for your info.

I received the following reply (I’ve removed the polite beginning and ending of their response):

We'll be happy to assist you with your inquiry regarding your Flex water resistance. Flex is the most water-resistant Fitbit device yet. It can be worn in the shower, sauna or steam room. Flex will hold up against sweat, splashes, rain, soapy water and hand washing.
Flex can be worn swimming in pools and salt water, but is not designed to accurately track the distance you travel while you're in the water.
If you're a scuba diver, you'll want to leave your Flex at home, as it's only water resistant to 10 meters, as long as you don't go below 10 meters your tracker should be working properly.
Thank you for being part of the Fitbit family.

Thank goodness I can wear my new Flex while I swim. It is not that hard to take it off, but it is very hard to put it back on. I did not expect it to track my distance while swimming. In any case, I consider 100 yards of swimming to be equivalent to more than 300 yards of walking.

Shameless advt:  If you like to read fantasy novels, please consider my own: Raven’s Gift, an inexpensive eBook. (It’s also available at Amazon as a paperback.)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Who Lost the Internet?

Nothing new today, but I wish to add my voice to others who are stating the obvious: For years, The USA has controlled the jewels of the Internet, keeping its overall mechanism safe for democracy. Many other countries have complained, and there have been proposals to make the controlling bodies more international, but we have resisted them, until now.

Since the NSA’s meddling with Internet traffic, websites and phone calls is known, other countries will not stand for US control of the Internet. The NSA’s insistence that they are targeting foreigners may make US citizens feel calmer, but it roils the rest of the world. We can look forward to actual splits in the world Internet, or perhaps we can look forward to an Internet where the NSA’s involvement is relatively small, and all we have to worry about is monitoring and surveillance from China, Russia, North Korea, powerful criminal organizations, hackers from Greece, and Ecuador.

The NSA might have caught an occasional terrorist with its monitoring, but the longterm damage will be much worse.

On a much lighter note: I gained a pound on vacation, gained another at home, and then dropped back into my current “safe zone” at 218.8 pounds. I want to lose more weight, and soon.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Crossing the Hudson River, free:

My wife and I have just returned from a lovely vacation in Montreal, Quebec, and Massachusetts. One aspect of our trip fascinated me today.

We drove up the Northway to Montreal. We stayed on the west side of the Hudson river, eventually traveling north of the river's source.

Driving from Montreal to greater Boston, we crossed over to the east of the Hudson, north of its source.

Driving home, we crossed the Hudson in the Greater NYC area. There is no toll for crossing the Hudson East-to-West. By driving north of the Hudson during our trip, we avoided having to pay the double toll for crossing West-to-East.

I must say that ever since the NYC Metropolitan area adopted the system of one-way double tolls for crossing the mighty Hudson, I've wanted to find a way cross the Hudson free. And now, I've done it.

Tomorrow morning, I'll discover what this vacation has done to my diet.