Being Able To Retire Versus Deciding To Retire: Either Way, Bravo

Here is an interesting article from CNN about a woman who is married, having saved up $2.25 million while her husband still works, decided to retire. Raise an family and in her own words, just "live" life for the rest of her time here.  Some thinks that's cool. Other do not.  No matter how you look at it, it's about choices and priorities. 

I think I like to explore more about life choices from here on out - after all, many of us share our life choices in social media like Twitter and Facebook as well as chat apps like Snapchat.  So we are constantly bombarded with choices, ones we make as well as those of our "friends", folks we follow, and those who follow us. 

Regardless of her circumstance and how she was able to make such a butt-load of money and retire at such a young age (some have argued she's not really tired since she still has a husband who is making money and has his own savings), she made a choice to save - might even say she made sacrifices to get there.  One reader remarked that she was spending money and partying when she was this woman's age.  Since then, the reader has also made her own choices to saving up her own $2 million for her own retirement.

But these can hardly be called sacrifices since choices we made move us in one direction, away from lives that we could have lived, for better or worse, and down a path that we will have to live with. 

So, this woman decided saving her income was the best use of her resources, forging parties, perhaps eating out, etc., and how she has the ability to to make some choices perhaps many of us cannot because we don't have two million bucks sitting in our checking account. 

Question now is should be brand new young retiree be looked up to.  Sure, I think so - up to this point.  What happens tomorrow and the choices are an entirely different circumstance.  It's unlikely she could move to Colorado and smoke marijuana for the rest of her life but, hey, that's her choice too.  Not one I'd make.  I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that she'll find a way to make her life more interesting than that.

So, bravo. 

Security: Prankster Got Senior Gov Officials To Reveal Personal Emails and Punked CEOs

Source:  CNN.

If President Donald Trump were to tweet about this, it'll be one word:  bad!

Apparently, a prankster going by @SINON_REBORN got White House officials into think he was the president's son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner.  And the person whom he got the personal e-mail from was none other than a Homeland Security advisor.  You can head to CNN to find out his name but, more importantly, these guys are clueless.

These guys are supposed to safeguard our homeland after all.  The thing is that this happens all the time to ordinary Americans.  Ordinary citizens of most countries I think.

But just to show how easily even educated men and women (in the CNN story, it's all men by the way) could be tricked into thinking they're talking to someone they know - keep reading the whole article.  It involves the chief of staff (fake one) and the communication director who got him fired and was later fired today and apparently, his e-mail exchange with the prankster had something to do with the level of tension in the White House staff.

Oh, and also involves a Trump getting pranked.

Here's the thing, be careful who you exchange messages and information with.  A lot of time, all it needs is a little common sense because this small amount of thinking could go far in safeguarding yourself against a phishing attempt or a benign prank like this one.

Here, I got the ball rolling and googled it for you.  It's worth it.  Today, cyber thieves are just a few clicks away from knowing a lot about you and with a little acting and experience, they can become you and do a lot far worse than this British prankster.

Twitter Might Not Be Growing In User Base But It's Importance Is Undeniable

In the latest financial quarter, Twitter reported earnings that most of us would think is pretty good.  Twitter made money (non-GAAP).  Yeah!  Right?  Well, apparently, in the financial world where metrics are created that most of us won't use or care about, it is not enough.  Sure, I would live to see Twitter at 1 billion users to rival Facebook but at least with its present business model, it's not to be the case.

Still, it's impact has not diminish or stagnanted since the 2016 US election.  If anything, it's impact on American politics continues to impressively be disproportionate to its size.  And it continues to grow with President Donald Trump in the White House.  Why just last week, Trump announced what sounded like policy when he "decreed" a ban on transgender military service.  Of course, while he tweeted it, it was not policy directed at the Pentagon.  Trump has yet to direct the Secretary of Defense to issue the order to the military.

Nevertheless, to millions and the media, it sounded liked official policy.

Of course, you still have celebrities, pundits, and still more politicians take to Twitter to let their thoughts and feelings be known.  The media is not reporting what is unveiled on Facebook, Goole+, or press releases.

And it's on Twitter where discussions from users are being tweeted and retweeted by its more than three hundred and twenty-five million users.  Eventually, it'll get to half a billion and on to a billion.

Once Twitter acknowledges that it should stop worrying about what Wall Street thinks and focus on its users, new users will come.

iPhone Plus Versus the iPad Mini - The iPhone Plus Ain't the Same As A Small iPad

Most who follow Apple closely will agree with me that it was disappointing Apple did not upgrade the iPad mini along with the rest of the iPad line.  Most predict that Apple will eventually let it go the way of the iPod now that the iPhone Plus screen is big enough that it may represent a good alternative for folks who want a bigger screen mobile device but doesn't want to go as big as the 9.7" iPad. 

Frankly, I think that's a pretty lame comparision and excuse.  First of all, the iPhone Plus is not a tablet.  I have the iPhone 7 Plus and I love it.  It's powerful, gets me through the day with no issue, and has the best camera as far as I can of any that I have ever owned.  But here is why I don't think it's a good replacement for the iPad mini.

The mini can do many things that the iPhone cannot do.  Split screen.  A little cramp but works well.  The iPhone doesn't do split screen.  Picture-in-picture is a feature that the iPad owns the iPhone.  The mini does that too but the iPhone doesn't.  I think it should and allow can easily allow it to do that but it doesn't.  It's obvious that Apple does want to keep some features that as exlcusive to the iPad. Which kinda says a lot about how Apple does not think the iPhone 7 Plus is a viable replacement for the mini.

Furthermore, the mini is more a productive device than the iPhone.  I've done my share of work on the iPhone but if you put the iPhone Plus and the iPad mini on a table and ask me to crank out a spreadsheet, drawing, or just about anything else, I'll reached for the mini every time.

So, it is perplexing that Apple decided to forgo upgrading the mini in 2017.  Perhaps, we might see an upgrade down the line, perhaps in time for the Holiday Seasons in 2017 or next spring when Apple may decide to use that time show off new iPads. 

The mini serves a need that the iPhone Plus can be a viable substitute for.  Reading, watching videos, or play games.  For other things that can offer greater productivity, the mini has the iPhone beat.  And let's face it, the iPhone Plus costs way more than the mini.  Some might say that's the reason Apple decided not to upgrade the mini and will eventually kill it off.  If so, it should have done that earlier this year.

My guess is that Apple does have plans for the iPad mini.  Maybe it'll get an biannual upgrade like the iPhone SE.  If it does, it makes sense.  The iPhone SE did not get an upgrade this year and if Apple does want to keep the mini in the lineup, upgrading the SE and the iPad mini at the same time next year would make a lot of sense.  That means I'l be more than willing to retire my current iPad mini and opt for the iPad mini 5.

iOS 11: Let Me Set Permanent Low Power Mode

Power.  Power. Power.  That is a mobile issue that has yet to be resolved since the beginning of time.  Well, sure, right?  And it is the most important issue that mobile warriors are plagued with. At times, we ration our power uses or, at worst, we end up with a device that we cannot use.  With iOS 10, Apple introduced the Low Power Mode that gives users the ability to toggle between regular power use by the iPhone and a lower power setting that temporarily turn some features.

Well, I'm an user of the Low Power Mode - and I toggle it on whenever I can.  But it's a daily exercise.  Sometimes, I go into the app to do it. Sometimes, I ask Siri to do it for me.  Instead of having to do it on such a regular basis, why don't Apple give us the option to keep it at the low power mode longer.

Of course, one work around is to go through settings and turn off these features that are turned off when you're in the low power mode. 

  • Background app refresh
  • Fetching mail
  • Hey, Siri
  • Automatic downloads
  • Visual effects
I've gone ahead and done most of that already.  I do have Hey, Siri on but I almost never use it unless my hands are tied and I needed Siri to do or look up something for me. 

So, in addition to be able to turn on low power mode on a more permanent basis, I would like to see further battery saving options in iOS 11.  I'm able to live with the battery life my iPhone provides but I still find myself compromising my experiences.  I'm still waiting for the day when power issue is no longer a concern but until that day comes, I like to save every last  ounce of power to make my iPhone last longer. 

Tablets Equal Today's Netbooks?

For many years after Apple introdued the iPad, sales were increasing at a rate that eclipsed even some of the best selling smartphones during their early days.  It was thought that the PC market would die of a quick death after the failure of the netbooks and there was no answer from the PC guys for tablets like the Galaxy.  Microsoft's own misguided attempt with the Windows RT versions seemed to have put to bed the dominance of the Android and iOS in the tablet market.  Windows was in trouble as PC sales slowed.

Well, not so fast.  The PC market did continue to decline for years but lately has shown some resilience and growth in some market even as the general world-wide sale has dropped.  It was mainly due to Asus (Gartner).

However, it doesn't seem like people who stopped buying PCs are replacing them with tablets either.  Hence, this is likely why the smartphone market continue to experience robust sales with annual upgrades. 

Now, the question is whether the tablet market is experiencing a netbook effect, albeit at a much slower place and likely won't go away entirely.  Tablets today a much cheaper than when they first came out and with better mobile and touch experiences.  And they are generally used for consuming media.  So, it is not as if upgrading tablets annually or even every 2-3 years is absolutely necessary. 

One could look it it this way:  either tablets are built to last longer than most companies expect or that there generally has been a lack of innovation in that market.  For instance, there is no reason why tablets with bigger form factors should not have just as good as cameras as their smartphone counter parts.  Go ahead, just charge more for it, Apple and Samsung.  And while Apple spent the last couple of years playing catch up with the pencil support with the iPad Pro, there has not been any notable innovation in the Android market either.  If anything, it's the integration of Google Play into Chrome OS that is most exciting but that had been anticipated for years. (Google)

So, there is still a chance that the tablet market can return to some growth but expericene has shown that it'll be overshadowed by smartphones and possibly gears that support augmented reality or virtual reality (unless tablet markers find a way to support AR/VR) and a PC market that just won't go away.  Growth will could come but slowly and the prominence of tablets of yesteryear will never return.  But hey, what company does not want to sell a few tens of millions of tablet each year?