Most of what you’re reading is not useful

Most of what passes for news is not useful; it’s meant to get you to consume advertising.  And really, how many times do you need to read that Trump has said something stupid?

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I learned this lesson in a time management course at HP decades ago, but was reminded last year when taking care of my dad’s funeral and estate details.  I was too busy doing useful stuff to read about the Kardashians.  It’s nice to see someone writing about this.

I spend less time reading about the latest warehouse fire in Oakland, politician lies, and other things that don’t mean anything to my life, than I used to.  Frees up time, our most precious commodity.

Bose Hearphones Review

I’m generally a fan of Bose equipment; I’m very satisfied with Bose QC headphones and a wireless speaker, and recommend them highly.  But I’m writing this somewhat negative review of the Hearphones because as I write this, it’s hard to find reviews.

If you are looking for ‘phones that amplify all the sounds around you, these are great.  But my application is different.

It’s hard for me to pick out a companion’s conversation in a crowded venue, like a restaurant or trade show.  The Hearphones have a feature that’s supposed to only amplify a focused area in front of you, using directional microphones.  It did not work for me.  This setting did indeed knock down a lot of the background sound, but replaced it with an irritating low-medium frequency hiss and did nothing to amplify the sound in front of me.  In fact, it was startling just how bad this worked.  There was SOME amplification of sounds 15 feet in front of me, but not of someone 2 feet in front of me.  I really wanted these to work and I tried all adjustments.

Lest you think this is purely a negative review, it is not.  There are two great things about the Hearphones.  First, if you want all sounds to be amplified in a 360 degree arc, they work great.  Second, Bose offers a 30-day hassle free money back guarantee.  I returned mine and it indeed was no hassle.  Your results might be different than mine. There’s a video review on YouTube from a lady who likes these ‘phones.

Truly Great Book about drugs

“Licit and Illicit Drugs”.  I read this book while in college and when thinking back about the best books I’ve read, this is in the top 3.   It is an outstanding source for historical information about the development of our attitudes towards drugs, the role they play in our society, a straightforward, non-technical presentation of the psychological and biological actions of various drugs, and the effects of our current drug policies.  You will be stunned at the destructive role of our government and certain individuals have played on society through misinformation and just plain bad laws.

Sadly, it is out of print, but you can read it on-line at: http://druglibrary.org/schaffer/Library/studies/cu/cumenu.htm

Good reading.

Great app for testing USB charging

Ever wonder why it’s taking so long for your phone/tablet to charge?  I highly recommend “Ampere”.  I used it to test the quality of various chargers and USB cables.  The best cables enabled 1060mA, the worst, 460mA.  I wound up tossing the cables that did less than 860mA.  Ampere is a free download, or pay $1.13 for the Pro version.

Rating charities

You get reviews on cars before you buy one, why not do the same thing before giving to charities?  There are agencies which rate charities.  I was solicited by a veteran’s charity and it seemed worthwhile and it is, but I checked and there are veteran’s charities with better ratings.  Ratings are based on several criteria and the one I care a lot about is the percent spent on the charitable purpose.  Check out: http://www.charitywatch.org/toprated.html and http://www.charitywatch.org/ .  An article in the 12/14 issue of Money Magazine mentions charitynavigator.org, give.org, guidestar.org and impact.upenn.edu. BTW, I found that there are nearly 100 veterans charities in the U.S.  And depending on how you define “charity”, there are well over a million in the U.S. alone.  Happy giving!