Well, Dammit

I got a new Pebble back in September. LOVED it. Very happy.

It stopped charging about about a week and a half ago, so… two and half months?

Start the RMA/Support process. Things are progressing toward a replacement unit being sent.

And suddenly, about 4 days ago, nothing. No responses. No emails. Nothing.

And then I hear Fitbit bought Pebble.

Then I hear they bought pieces of Pebble.

Then this.

_ … that leaves Pebble’s loyal customers out in the cold. [T]hose customers are, in fact, royally screwed._

“One-to-one Pebble support is no longer available” and “any Pebble currently out in the wild is no longer covered by or eligible for warranty exchange.” This means, no matter when you purchased or received your Pebble device, you are on your own—and if your device dies, you’re simply out a device. Any warranty you might have been promised from Pebble directly is void.

So that's a fair bit of money for a device that worked for ten weeks, from a company that worked eleven.


Pebble Is Dead, and Its Customers Are Completely Screwed
Pebble, one of the best-known smartwatch brands, is dead. Rumors about the company’s demise have been swirling since The Information reported a potential Fitbit buyout last week. Today in a post on Kickstarter, Pebble confirmed that Fitbit was acquiring “key Pebble assets” and that Pebble would “no longer be operating as in independent company.”

When Fact Checking is Secondary

This relates back to a conversation I had with +Kate Testerman this weekend – about how people would get so wound up in fact-checking the Nazis in Germany in the early days, and missed that fact checking wasn't accomplishing anything.

What then, we'd ask, should we do. Fact check, sure, but more than that. But what?

I stumbled around that question for awhile, and my answer wasn't nearly as well-put as this: (emphasis mine)

I don’t think journalists should give up on, or refrain from, fact-checking when the president-elect of the United States says something that is false. It’s critical to set the record straight, especially when it’s about a consequential policy issue.

At the same time, journalists obviously run the risk of being manipulated to chase various shiny objects and steer the debate towards topics that the president-elect would like to focus on and away from ones he would like to avoid. Trump’s Twitter can’t become the assignment desk of the national media.

The burden of proof can’t be on the media to disprove every crazy claim that the president-elect makes. The story here is the president-elect yet again made a baseless claim. That is the story. The story is that the president-elect is more factually irresponsible than any political leader in the United States in memory. That’s the story. The details of exactly how this particular claim is false are really, at some point, a second-order concern.

These stories have to de-emphasize the claim itself, emphasize the president-elect being so widely irresponsible.

How Journalists Need to Go Beyond Fact Checking Trump
Podcast: We spoke with political science professor Brendan Nyhan about president-elect Donald Trump’s lies and how reporters should handle them.

I Had a Great Year – You May Have, Also – and 2016 Was Still Terrible

I posted on Facebook about the Standing Rock action by the Corps of Engineers and, as I did here, noted it as a sliver of good news in an otherwise shit year.

Someone commented:

“I know you are talking about the election when you say “shit year” – or at least I hope you are saying that just for dramatic affect. Because from my perspective- It isn’t a shit year- So… I get where you are coming from- but for me- in the entire grand scheme of things- any day that I have healthy kids, any day or year that my parents are still alive and any year that Bryan and I are healthy, alive and working at jobs we like- well- I call that a pretty damn good year!!

Here’s the thing: if you’re saying “based on my healthy kids, my still-living parents, and the health of my spouse and myself, it was a great year,” then by definition it is not “in the entire grand scheme of things.”

The Grand Scheme of things includes MORE than just you and your family.

2016, even without the election, is like the montage at the start of an apocalypse movie, explaining how things got as bad as they are when the movie opens. To pick only ONE topic, the backwards steps combating climate change and the accelerating heating trends at the poles, far ahead of predictions, mean we have a lifetime of work to give our GRANDkids even a moderate chance to turn things around.

Don’t get me wrong. I have lots of good days, and by any measure, every day has good things in it, even if it’s bad on-balance.

But when I say it’s a bad year, I mean more than just how the year itself turned out, from January 1 to December 31. I mean the impact the events in that year will have on our lives going forward. I look at lasting harm, and what I then need to do.

In other words, when I talk about the year, I’m not just talking about how things went inside my house, and with my immediate family. If I did that, then yeah, 2016 was a banner year. Of course it was. I’m a straight white dude and my family is financially well off. I’m great.

But that point of view is dangerously myopic, and makes it too easy to think everything is going to be fine.

When I have a good day with my daughters, I fight harder to have women’s rights and health defended.

When I have a good weekend with my son, I fight harder for fair and well-funded education systems, with counseling backed by science, led by people earning a good wage, who can help kids when they struggle to succeed (or even make it through a day).

If I have a great Thanksgiving with my family, it means I’m going to fight harder to ensure all of my family have the same rights, and the same protections, everywhere in the country.

Good things don’t make me say “Y’know, over all, I have my health, and things aren’t that bad, and hey WE are having a great year, so why worry about what’s going on over there?”

Good things strengthen my resolve.

One of the best parts of my weekend was when I saw the breaking news on Standing Rock while I was with Sean. Not because of the news itself (which was great), but because it gave me the chance to explain how someone can be happy and crying at the same time, even if they’re guys. Especially if.

I’m not an optimist. That’s established.

I plan for the worst, and most of the time, when it’s not THAT bad, I enjoy myself all the more because I’ve seriously considered how it might have turned out badly.

And when it is just as bad as I thought, I’m prepared.

This year, I’ve been adequately prepared far more than pleasantly surprised.

I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.

Like wearing a Hug

Our OT suggested a weighted pressure vest for Sean last week, as we start to get a handle on his SPD. The effect has been dramatic. The weekend was great, and even with only a day in the vest last week, his teachers already noticed improvements.

It just grounds him (which I suppose is funny, given what it is), but man what an effect; not a different kid, but him, at his best.

Most importantly, he likes it.

Why Weighted Sensory Pressure Vests Have a Calming Effect for Children – Day 2 Day Parenting
Sensory pressure vests provide constant, even deep pressure to children when their body is craving this important calming and organizing proprioceptive input. Pressure vests promote self-calming, balance, and increased body awareness by enhancing proprioceptive feedback. Children with proprioceptive and tactile integration dysfunction benefit from the sensory feedback they receive when wearing the vest, because it gives the child the input … R…

A New Arrival in the Testerman Tech Family

I've been very, very happy with my MacBook Air, which I picked up in 2013 and which sailed by its three-year milestone with flying colors, no less capable now than it was when I first got it. It is, without a doubt, the best all around computer I've ever bought. That's not to say it's the most powerful (it isn't, and never was) or best featured (though it might be, if I consider all the apps I use on it that simply don't exist for Windows or Linux). However, for writing and all but the most demanding video stuff I do with a computer, it is my preferred machine. (It's been so good I invested in additional desktop Macs that I otherwise wouldn't have looked at twice.)

With that said, I'm not sure it's the absolute best value-to-cost computer we have in the house. It's a near thing, because I do use use the heck out of the Air, but I think the award might have to go to the Chromebook we picked up a few years ago for Sean. Like the Air, it's been around for a few years, is aging gracefully, and gets more and more use as time goes on and Sean grows more adept with it (so its cost-to-value ratio grows ever more favorable). It cost us $150 bucks at the time (thanks to some Amex points we had stored up), and it's been great.

This Christmas will see a new contender for the Value-to-Cost throne in our house, as we're getting a new Chromebook. It just showed up today, I had a chance to play with it check it out and get it set up for its intended users.

The machine in question is an Acer R11 Convertible. It's a solid Chromebook (same brand as Sean's current machine, though smaller) with (basically) a 10-inch touchscreen that you can flip over and use as a tent display or a nice tablet, with 4GB of memory, and 32 gig drive, all for less than $300.

Two USB ports, HDMI mini out and SD card slot. Battery life is supposed to be in the 10 hour range (we'll see).

And, as a huge bonus, this is one of the models that can run Android apps natively, which means I can install stuff like Jotterpad, Firefox, Skype, Lightroom, and even some cool Android ports of games like Final Fantasy Tactics. (!!!)

All of which is to say that if you’ve been waiting for a perfectly good Chromebook that you can also use as a perfectly good tablet, for under $300, this thing looks pretty good.

Amazon.com: Acer Chromebook R 11 Convertible, 11.6-Inch HD Touch, Intel Celeron N3150, 4GB DDR3L, 32GB, Chrome, CB5-132T-C1LK: Computers & Accessories
Amazon.com: Acer Chromebook R 11 Convertible, 11.6-Inch HD Touch, Intel Celeron N3150, 4GB DDR3L, 32GB, Chrome, CB5-132T-C1LK: Computers & Accessories

The Fact They’re Surprised Says So Much

Trumpgrets (tagline: "suck it up, buttercups") is a tumblr collecting tweets from Trump voters who've started processing the fact their candidate is already breaking his campaign promises.

I have to confess there's more than a little schadenfreude involved in scrolling through the entries. That's mixed, equal parts, with anger at people whose votes have pulled the country down a dark four-year path (complaining Trump isn't being shitty and vindictive enough), and real sympathy for people who are in a place so bad they were willing to bet on anyone who seemed likely to change things; there is, simply put, wrong in America, right now, and we should have seen that and seen TO that without having a cheeto-colored racist dropped in the oval office as a wake-up call.


suck it up, buttercups

Let’s Get Familiar with the First Amendment Defense Act

The basics: The First Amendment Defense Act (often abbreviated FADA) is a bill introduced into the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate on June 17, 2015. The bill aims to prevent the federal government from taking action against people who discriminate against LGBTQ people for religious reasons.

In short, FADA would allow hospitals, universities, and businesses to ignore same-sex marriage, deny women health care, and fire gay people.

It is the nuclear version of the so-called “religious freedom” laws that have appeared across the country, most infamously in Mike Pence’s Indiana. The Republican House will surely pass it, the Senate will pass it unless it’s filibustered by Democrats, and the President-elect has promised to sign it.

To put it bluntly: If it becomes law, FADA will be the worst thing to happen to women and LGBT people in a generation.

FADA’s basic principle is that it’s not discrimination when businesses discriminate against LGBT people, if they claim a religious reason for doing so. The most famous situations have to do with marriage: wedding cake bakers who say that if they bake a cake, they’re violating their religion; Kim Davis, the government clerk who said that signing a secular marriage certificate was a religious act that she could not perform.

But the more important cases are ones like hospitals refusing to treat LGBT people (or their children), pharmacies refusing to fill birth control prescriptions, businesses refusing to offer health benefits to a same-sex partner, and state-funded adoption agencies refusing to place kids with gay families. That is what FADA is all about.

Any business, agency, or individual, including government employees, hospitals, or huge businesses like Hobby Lobby or Chick-Fil-A — covered.

Old-age homes and hospices that turn away gay people are covered.

Hospitals that refuse a same-sex partner visitation rights – covered.

National hotel chains that refuse to rent rooms to gay couples (or unmarried straight ones) – covered.

And finally, since “moral conviction” is written into the bill, no actual religious grounds are necessary; just some moral conviction that you are right and THEY are wrong.

Oh, and if a State has a law that prevents such discrimination? This is specifically written to supersede that, unless the state laws are written to be even more extreme than FADA… in that case, the state law supersedes.

FADA effectively overturns Obergefell without anyone having to file a lawsuit, because it creates a loophole as large as the right to marry itself. Any governor, mayor, or clerk could proffer a “moral objection” to same-sex marriage, and stop all employees under his or her authority from registering gay couples or certifying gay weddings. And even absent such action, any employer or business can act as though the marriage simply does not exist.

And it has the support of the republican House, Senate, and president-elect.

First Amendment Defense Act – Wikipedia

Trump is So Inspiring, Week 002

Last week, I was inspired to:

I also wrote a bunch of posts on political subjects, instead of writing stories, but that’s my new normal.