Monday, February 8, 2016

The winning team

Greetings!  Reporting from inside (thank goodness) here in central Kentucky, where we're receiving an unusual mixture of rain, sleet, hail and snow today.  This is predicted to last until sometime tomorrow, which should make things interesting tomorrow, to say the least.

We joined with most of America and watched Super Bowl 50 yesterday (no, I don't usually use the "number" of the game, but this one is a nice round figure).  We had too many snacks of varying types, prepared a very loosely structured taco bar, and had a good time.  And that was made better by a win by the Denver Broncos, who just two years ago had a terrible time of it against the Seattle Seahawks.

This time the Broncos were the dominant team, smothering Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers and containing their very potent offense.  The Denver defense was so dominant, in fact, that the game's Most Valuable Player was a defensive player, havoc-creating linebacker Von Miller.  Peyton Manning played well enough, although was forced into an interception and a fumble or two by Carolina's solid defense, too, but his errors did not really have a direct impact on the game's outcome.

Now the guessing game begins---will Manning ride off into the sunset, having equalled little brother Eli's output of two Super Bowl rings?  Or will he try valiantly to keep playing, against the advice of his own body and about anyone whom he might ask?  Time will tell.

The commercials were lackluster for a second consecutive year.  Nothing really stands out, except for a couple of previews for movies that I imagine my wife and I will want to see, particularly "Jason Bourne," starring Matt Damon in the title role for the fourth time.  Ironic that we just rewatched "The Martian" over the weekend.

I have a rather funny story to tell about computer connectivity.  As I believe I've mentioned here, I am such a fan of my Apple Macintosh computers that I make a point to use them for work, even though I am provided a computer (of sorts) by my employer.  In any case, I lost connectivity to our client's operations system on first one, then the other Mac, last week.  Tried a few things, then finally called the client's IT helpdesk.  This helpdesk, incidentally, is housed offshore and staffed by folks with ordinary names like "Pat" and "Betty."  The agent took down my information, apologized, and said that they would have someone get back with me with a possible resolution soon.

The next day I received an automated message from this helpdesk saying that they "hoped that your issue is now resolved."  No mention of having done anything to fix it.  I ignored that but realized I was on my own.  When a second instance of the same message arrived, I dug in my heels and went to work, and finally figured out that the company was supporting this application through a different Web address access point.  When I tried the other access point, it began to work again.  It's funny now, I suppose, but really way to symptomatic of how these help functions usually work.

Which brings me to my final thought.  About a week ago, we bought my wife an Apple Watch.  Not a heavily planned purchase, but one that already has paid dividends.  Saturday we were out and bought one for me as well.  And I must tell you, as someone who usually figures things out on his own, I was most impressed with the Apple Store's newly-purchased-product setup process, which I had never used.  A knowledgeable super-user named Matt introduced himself and went to work setting up my new device.  Once it paired with my phone, it pretty much did everything itself, and I did a few things  myself shortly thereafter.  But the ease with which Matt worked with me and others around the table (there were probably four or five people getting various new products up and running) was impressive indeed.

So far I have the Watch functioning as I would like.  "Taptic" but silent notifications of incoming messages, calendar appointments, etc.  Activity tracking is set up but I won't be able to use that during exercise until my sweatproof sport band arrives (due to sizing issues I had to order from the online Apple Store), but it already reminds me not to sit for too long without moving around.  And I dictated a series of text messages this morning using the Watch and Siri.  Pretty slick.  Or, as a friend of mine said, "you're really Dick Tracy now (a reference restricted to those of us over a certain age)!"

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