Why I’m Going Back to iOS

I used the iPhone 3, 4, and 5 before jumping to Android. I had the Nexus 4 and 6P, the Pixel XL, and the OnePlus 7Pro. But now I have jumped back over to iOS and the iPhone 13. This was not a light decision, but rather one that I struggled with for several weeks of research and weighing pros and cons.

As I have gotten older, I realized that for all the convenience of big brother Google watching me…I just didn’t want to be surveilled by an advertising company every minute of every day. I became far less enamored with the conveniences as I came to better understand how Google was making billions in profit on everyone’s data and giving them a pittance of services. Services, I might add, that they are notorious for discontinuing at the drop of a hat. I’ve had a number of conversations with people that tell me I’m getting email/calendar/maps/etc for free, so I am being compensated for my data. And if it were anywhere near equitable, they wouldn’t be clearing the amount of profit they do every year.

Which led me to my decision a few weeks ago. I decided that there was not an Android-based phone out there that would meet my personal and professional needs without sacrificing my every movement and interaction to the Great Google Data Machine ready to be sold off to every random advertiser with a few cents to spare. This left me with the only other viable choice of iOS. I know, there are options like the PinePhone and Librem 5, but I cannot install my company’s required security software on anything but Android and iOS. So if Android is out, iOS it is.

I have been running the iPhone 13 since the launch day and it has been pretty good. The widget options are not quite as robust as the ones on Android, but they also have not been available nearly as long. I really do like the Focus feature. And as much as I wanted to dislike Face ID, it is much faster and more reliable than my OnePlus’s in-screen fingerprint reader.

I am also planning on pickup up the Apple Watch to replace my Samsung Gear Fit 2. Not that I can complain about the Gear, it has served me well for several years. But it does not integrate well into the Apple ecosystem and the battery has gotten very flaky in the past 8-12 months. The Apple Watch does a lot more than the Gear, though it is also bulkier. So I will have to give it a try and hope that I find it at least as useful and convenient as I have found the Gear to be.

This, again, feeds into my desire to get away from technology that is tightly coupled with a massive machine solely designed to gather as much data about me as possible so it can conduct more effective psychological warfare against me. Yes, this is a dramatic way of saying I do not like advertising and I do not want to help an advertising company market to me more effectively. If I decide there is something that I want or need, I will do my own research at that time and make my own informed decision of which one to get, if any.

And honestly, that is the crux of the entire decision. I have spent the last 15 years diligently removing as many forms of advertising from my life as I could reasonably accomplish. I started by getting rid of cable television and going with streaming services and purchasing seasons of shows that I want to watch. I use ad blockers in my browsers. I have a pi-hole at my house to prevent my computers from being able to reach known tracking and advertising systems. I have also been moving into services that I pay for up front or host myself such as email hosting with MXroute or file hosting on my personal server with Nextcloud. So while I know the iPhone is also keeping up with where I go and what I do, I have opted to go with what I feel is the lesser of two evils. I am not foolish enough to believe that Apple truly values every customer’s personal privacy over profit. But I think they care about it more than Google as their entire business model is not solely based on being an advertiser. Apple would rather see how many of my dollars they can get from me up front, and I am okay with this arrangement. I know who all is involved in the transaction before I make it. And that matters to me.

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A Lack of Spirit

It’s not that I’m a grinch; I just don’t have that “holiday spirit” this year. I suppose it was inevitable. My daughter typically spends Christmas with her mother and I’m not all that much of a Christian (that’s a whole other story much too long for this post). So I usually find myself alone and occasionally visiting one of my parents for a few hours. It isn’t exactly an ideal situation to nurture joyous effervescence.

Add to this my ever-growing disgust at the blatant over commercialization of the holiday season and sooner or later you end up with a total lack of enthusiasm for the season. Nobody seems to remember the purpose of Christmas (or Winter Solstice or Yule or whatever else you happen to observe). I can tell you it has nothing to do with Black Friday or the receiving of things from others. It’s not even about the giving of things.

Every year stores push the “Christmas Season” on us earlier and earlier. I remember when I was younger that we didn’t see stores put out the Christmas stuff until after Thanksgiving. Now we see it out before Halloween has past. It’s become nothing more than a money grab for stores and a financial obligation to each other. This is not what it’s about and I’m really just tired of it all.

This holiday is a celebration. Depending on your particular beliefs, it can represent the birth of Christ or the continuation of life or a myriad of other joyful things that have nothing to do with buying things to give to people. Sure, gifts being exchanged are a part of many…perhaps even most of these traditions. But it was never meant to be the centerpiece of the holiday. At least, until the corporations got involved.

I won’t get into a big rant. It’s late and I have a family gathering I want to attend in a few hours. But I will say that regardless of your religious views and affiliation, please take some time to remember the real meaning of the season. Spend some time with your loved ones and just enjoy their company. Remind yourself that simple fellowship can be one of the most wonderful gifts you can give…or receive.

Happy Holidays to all of you and yours.

My Uncle Paul

…passed away last night. He was only 69, which is not that old these days. I really wish I had words to explain how I feel, but I just don’t. I am upset but at the same time I am not. He was a good man and always enjoyed the times we spent visiting or chatting on the phone. I guess, really, nothing more needs to be said.

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Still Alive

No, I haven’t abandoned SBR.Net. I’m still here but life has been busy and I’ve been considering whether or not I want to continue technology commentary here. There are already a ridiculous number of tech sites out there but not so many that cover humanology as my occasional rants do. So that’s why I’ve been so quiet. I am deciding the future direction for my site and don’t want to clutter it up until I have made a firm decision.

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Lifehacker – A Wil Wheaton Moment

[aka Revenge of the Sixth]

I dropped in a blurb yesterday about how Gina of Lifehacker met Wil Wheaton. She had a great picture of how he signed her book and had many nice things to say about the little bit of time she got to spend with him. While browsing around last night I decided to drop in on his blog (which I hate to admit…I haven’t been to in a while) and found that he had nothing but “the nicest thing in the universe” to say about Gina and Lifehacker (It’s about halfway down the post).

It’s like a mutual adoration club and that’s wonderful in my book. From the way Wil describes it, you would be hard pressed to decide who is the bigger fan of whom. We’ve always known Wil to be a geek’s geek and to just be a really nice and down to earth guy. But it really is great when you can see how true that statement is through things like this. And Wil, I wasn’t sure you could earn any more geek points, but that Portal reference just gave you double.

Wil Wheaton – A Lifehacker Moment

So I stumbled over this post at Lifehacker. Seems Gina got to meet Wil Wheaton…and he’s a huge fan. It just goes to show that not only is Wil a great guy and truly a geek’s geek, but the guy’s got taste. Lifehacker is probably one of my favorite sites in the internet and is so chocked full of information that I sometimes fear permanently fusing all of my synapses into a solid mass from the informational overload. And yet I cannot stop reading every new post like a kid with the latest issue of his favorite comic.

Swing by Lifehacker and check out the post if you are curious about what computers and software Wil uses on a regular basis. Oh…and don’t forget to look at how he signed Gina’s book, because the cake is a lie.


I have a thing for dark winged angels. To me, it seems a white winged angel believes they are pure and practically flawless. A black winged angel knows this to be silly. We all have flaws. Those of dark wings accept their flaws. If I have wings of my own, I know they are the color of shadows. Flaws have a way of enhancing one’s beauty…I’m not speaking physically, though that can certainly be part of it. I mean a person who accepts their own…dents, if you will…to be much more attractive.

Elements and energies

If you don’t normally get a chance to commune with nature, find a way to make time. It’s nothing short of a small miracle the way some well spent time among the elements can bring things back into alignment…back into focus. It doesn’t matter if it’s only for five or ten minutes, every little bit makes things vastly different. No special rituals are required, just sit/stand/lay there and feel the life force of mother earth and her children.

The real trick is to find a suitable place. Everyone has their own mixture of elements that strike a chord with them…resonates with them. That’s what you have to find. When you do, try to get around to spending a little quality time there at least once a year, more often if you can manage it.