Broken Stuff & Data Scavengers

Easy to find.

I’ll start today’s rant with the dumbest thing since Labor Day. No, I don’t mean to imply that Labor Day is a dumb thing – that’s a temporal reference – and yes, I’m using that term in an effort to make Mary think that I’m thinking of Star Trek, which I am. She probably won’t give me any bonus points, because I’m trolling for them, but it’s Monday and I hope she takes pity. So, the dumbest thing in the past six weeks??? Google. Gmail to be specific. What did Google do to Gmail? They “improved” it.

Since the folks at Google don’t know anything that isn’t on Google, they might not know this. When things are working fine, they don’t need to be fixed. I searched, and all Google could tell me is that I should have said “when things are working well, they don’t need to be fixed.” Fine! Have it your way Google, but please fix Gmail, because it was working well, and now it’s not.Gmail used to put a benign little message in a small yellow box above the tab area of Gmail in the browser whenever you did something to your mail. It was a harmless message. It would tell you that you deleted 23 messages, or that you moved 18 messages to your blog. When Google fixed Gmail, they made that message bigger – I think more than twice as big – and they made it black, and they positioned it over your folders and inbox, near but not at the bottom. In short (he says after 350 words) it’s in the way.

I’ve complained three times. Each time, Google sends me to a list of comments that “might help” and it’s a list as long as your arm of complaints by other people about the same thing. While it’s true that misery loves company, confirming that is not helping.

Oh, and while you’re at it Google, please make the “Compact” view (I’m sorry, ‘display density’) small again – like it was before you fixed it and made it small like a Golden Corral salad bar.

Now onto Facebook. I’ll try to use fewer words. See, ‘fewer’ – I got that right. Google might have told me, but the Editor has corrected ‘less words’ so many times, that I got it. It’s like when Joey said “there are two Ts in dessert so it’s better” – she meant Ss, but she wrote Ts and I haven’t made the dessert/desert error since. Anyway, Facebook used to let you choose which FB persona you were representing. I could be Dan, No Facilities, AIIM New England or my work account. Now, I can get to all those pages to manage them, but Facebook “intelligently” figures out who I am. Except it doesn’t. I can change who I am commenting as, but I seem to need to do that on a comment by comment basis, and when I do, Facebook gets stupid.

Recently, I replied to a comment a friend left on my No Facilities page. Facebook alerted me – “No Facilities” commented on your post. Then, Facebook told me that No Facilities and I have a friend in common. Really? That’s awesome, Facebook. Please, tell me more. Better yet, remember that I’m always Dan, so that when I reference ‘Faith,’ you realize that I mean my daughter Faith…which you don’t when I comment as No Facilities, which, ironically, has no facilities with which to comment without, you know, Dan.

My last gripe for today, newsletters and mailing lists:

I recently googled a specific car model’s length (research for my garage renovation). I got the length, but I also saw an ad from a local dealer. I clicked on that and immediately was asked for my street address so they “could better serve me.” What the front-bumper? If I am interested in stuff you have for sale, it’s only necessary that I know your street address.

I see a lot of offers to sign up for newsletters. I’m not going to.

I follow links to websites that plaster a “Don’t miss a single story – sign up for email notifications” banner across the screen as soon as the page opens. I’m fine missing most of your stories. I only came here because my friend recommended this article. It’s the only one I want to see. My friend knows this. This is what social media is good at. Thank my friend for recommending you today and leave me alone.

It’s all about data. Social media platforms, search engines, bloggers and people who sell stuff all want more data. The problem is, they only want that data so they can sell you stuff, or so they can sell the data they’ve collected about you. They really don’t care about providing better service.

Rant over – for now.

The images in today’s gallery wer borrowed from the Editor’s camera. There are quite a few pictures of one or more of five monarch butterflies visiting the Tithonia in her garden. None of these have been edited, although I did slap my copyright on them (it’s automatic unless I turn it off, and I forgot).


  1. I love all of the pictures! A lot! Monarchs…so beautiful. Next Spring I’m planting Cone Flowers. The butterflies LOVE them. And the bunnyas are so cute. Okay the squirrel in the tarp cover got me. 🙄 I feel your pain. I hate when I go to a site to read a quick post and the “sign up for email to follow all the great posts here” thingy pops up and won’t let me scroll or read until I answer. If I don’t readon how will I know if I like your blog enough to want more? You know G+ is going away right? My favorite little ‘c,ean’ place to place is dissolving because they are embarrassed, afraid, feel threatened, ashamed….what exactly is the reason? Anyway, have a great week Dan. Meanwhile the hubs had to buy a new phone and didn’t want to make Apple richer so got an inexpensive Go Phone which is rapidly driving him insane, just trying to set it up. Stay tuned….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good luck to hubs with the phone. I wonder how much longer I can afford to keep making Apple richer. It’s a tough choice, but I don’t like the security of Android devices (we can’t put them on our network at work) but that requirement ends in about a year.

      The ads and offers are getting insane. I wish people would realize that they are driving people away from the content they are trying to share.

      I hope you have a great week.


  2. Like you, Dan, I am wary of any message that begins with the words “for your convenience…” and I am usually frustrated by be releases of software that make in almost impossible to do the things I used to be able to do easily. Regarding “your” photos, those are some wonderful shots of Monarchs and such cute rodents too. Is that a squirrel or a chipmunk living in the woodpile?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Mike. Again, the credit for all of these goes to my wife. The little guy in the log rack is a chipmunk. I’m not sure how happy he’s going to be when we start using the firewood in that rack. It’s goinf to be like Urban Renewal was in the 60s.

      And you’re right, when they say it’s for “your convenience” it’s usually going to cost something or be a worse experience.


  3. Rants and butterflies … an interesting combination to start a Monday morning 🙂 The Editor took some great photos!

    I too have noticed each of these 3 irritants and the last one about asking for my location is particularly annoying. However I’m currently reserving all my frustration right now for WP and the fact they still have not implemented a solution to this widespread inability to ‘like’ and comment on posts without REPEATEDLY signing in each. and. every. time. Sometimes even that doesn’t work and I have to resign myself to being a ghost on some blog posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Joanne. I would have added WP to the list of rants and woes, but I feel I may have worn that thread out, at least for a while. I am still suffering from that problem on my phone, and that’s where I do a lot of blog reading. It’s also where it’s the hardest to login multiple times.

      The location question really bothers me. First off, they know my location (well enough) from the IP address, so they are simply lying to me and building a database. Basically, they are saying that I can’t browse their website unless I tell them who I am and where live. That’s OK, there’s another dealer in the other direction.


  4. The photos from The Editor are marvelous. I could have commented on all of them – they are a huge bright spot and smile-inducing this Monday morning. Please give her my two thumbs up!

    As for Gmail, yes I’ve noticed the changes, but I don’t believe I am as annoyed by them as you. Outlook (, my blogging email, made visual changes recently that threw me for a while. However, I love the fact that they updated the deletion process so that it takes less time to delete the 500 emails that I wasn’t able to read in the past week. Your issue with FB hasn’t been mine as I only have one account. That’s enough to drive me insane at times, but I understand your frustration. I don’t always appreciate the upgrades and I’m currently concerned about what WordPress is going to look like when they effect the next big change. I might be muttering curse words under my breath. ;-)

    Dan, bonus points are always in play with Star Trek mentions and links to MJM. Thank you! You get 2421.5 points today in accordance with a thrown-out-there star date. Happy Monday, live long and prosper.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw, thank you Mary. The bonus points will come in handy. I’ll share them with the photographer, since she provided the bright spot in this post. Don’t get me started on Outlook &, or WP’s planned switch to Gutenberg. I am counting on the fact that they say we can continue to use the old editor, but I’m guessing that might only be true if we can use plugins, which means a more costly plan. I’m pretty sure it will be a mess for a while, and I worry about previous posts, since you can only have one theme in use at a time. Each time I’ve changed themes, the new theme has messed up old posts. I don’t even try to use pull-quotes anymore, because every theme implements them differently.

      I’m sure I’ll get used to Gmail’s interface, I just wish they wouldn’t destroy options that people liked, and then ignore the fact that people don’t seem to like the new stuff nearly as much. That’s the subject for another Monday (but I’ll hold off for a while).

      I hope you have a great week!


  5. A+ to the Editor for her photography skills and plant choices. :-) I will try to keep this short because I could go into specifics and you’d have another rant. I have to head to the local computer repair store today with my Apple phone and laptop. They both need to be looked at because each has a list of issues. The phone right now is a paperweight, and the laptop is only a little better. Yes, why didn’t they leave Gmail alone, and I’d be off Facebook in the time it took to hit ‘delete’ account if only I didn’t manage pages as well. Besides all the electronic spam, I am also fighting a losing battle with paper catalogs. Someone must have sold my name, and every day I get a couple of new catalogs, and then I have to attempt to get off their mailing list. It makes you understand why some folks don’t order on line. Okay, enough – have a great Monday, and I hope the traffic going in was light. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry to hear that this list hits close to home, Judy. Catalogs are another matter, but at least they provide the necessary ballast to the recycle bin. Good luck getting the phone and laptop back into the land of the useful.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The photos are great–especially the little mouse and the squirrel. Look how he’s cradling that nut! What a cutie. New and improved–gotta love those words. Hope it all works out for you, but it is frustrating as all get out when they do this…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. When I first saw that photo of the squirrel on the fence, I thought maybe you or someone had come to my house to take the picture. It looks just like my fence (except yours has green wire, but that could’ve been just the light), looks just like my car, and looks just like the front base of my garage. Even the squirrel looks like the ones I see here (don’t start, I know they all look alike).

    Anyway, what I find scary about modern technology is all the targeted ads. I can understand that if I look up something on the internet, a million ads will suddenly appear for that exact same object. But what scares me is that sometimes it seems I merely THINK about a product, without actually looking it up, and those ads appear anyway. Spooky!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m not deeply imbedded in the Internet like you and your readers so I don’t experience these technology problems. Yaaaaay! Sometimes I get asked for my location but I don’t give it.

    What a wonderful way to start a dreary, rainy, cold Monday ….. seeing the Editor’s photos. Fabulous!! The chipmunk peeking out of the woodpile and the squirrel sitting on your fence looking like he’s holding on to his nut (hmmmm, that doesn’t sound right, does it?!! Lol) are adorable.

    But the butterflies win. The shot angled up that catches the butterfly on the flower and the blue sky/clouds as background is great. My absolute favorite is the last one. It doesn’t look like a photo. It looks like a professionally done oil painting. I would frame that one.

    Please thank the Editor for sharing her talent with us. And I wrote down the name of the flower so I can look for it next spring and plant it.
    🔹 Ginger 🔹

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks Ginger. The critters around here are comical little guys and gals. They know we have food for them, so they try to anticipate where we’re going to be. We joke that we have to pay a toll to get out f the driveway and later, to get back in the house. But, it’s been cold, so I think they are gearing up for winter.

    The butterflies were a real treat. She stayed out there a long time, looking and snagging some beautiful photos. I had a hard time whittling the pile down to the ones I included.

    I hope you have a great week!


  10. Me: If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
    New Guy: If that was true, we would all still be driving Model T’s.
    Me: You do realize that when Ford came out with the Model A, everyone who owned a Model T was still able to use it.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Can I ever relate to this, Dan! It seems that at the same time your Gmail was getting “fixed”, my Outlook email was going through similar “upgrades”. It’s beyond maddening. The worst change is that they reordered all the functions, moving the “new message” button off to the side, and putting the “reply” button where the “new message” button used to be. Nearly every day I accidentally click the wrong thing, and then have to wait and delete a reply that I never intended to make.

    All the platforms are so bad for these “improvements” that are nothing more than regressions. Pinterest is the worst offender for me. Every change makes it LESS user friendly and harder to use. I often just sit back and wonder just who the morons are that are sitting behind THEIR computers saying, “Ooo, let’s change THIS! Let’s hide all the functions! Oh, it takes only a single step to do this? Hmm… I know! Let’s make it THREE steps to do it now!” Oh, and don’t get me started on SKYPE.

    Really, I’m not bitter. Okay, maybe a little.

    And you’re so right about data collection. You have to be SO careful when you click “I agree”, or what plugins you download, etc. A while back, Britannica launched a Chrome extension that would automatically show you any search results from Britannica at the top of your browser. I still use my paper Encyclopedia Britannicas, so when I do any web searches, I always look for the Britannica links first because it’s a source I trust. When I first saw it, I was beyond excited. But then I started thinking about what this extension was actually doing. After spending 30 minutes reading the extension’s own “fine print”, I realized that basically by installing it, you were giving Britannica permission to track and record ALL of your browsing history. In the Play Store, the extension had a spot where I was able to ask a question of one of the engineers. I asked if this is basically what the extension does… and he reluctantly confirmed it. So no new extension for me! I don’t need Britannica (or anyone) watching everything I do online and spying on me, thank you very much.

    I bought a new laptop this summer, and on the first power-up, it took 45 minutes to even get to the desktop. And the thing is, the “setup” that I had to go through wasn’t even setting up the computer to work: Every single screen that popped up was basically about sharing my information and usage of the laptop with every Tom, Dick and Harry on the planet. I’m not joking, I opted OUT of all but ONE of the setup specifications. Because no, I don’t want to give permission to this company to view my browsing history, or send my reports of my computer habits to that guy over there. I’m sure that most people wouldn’t even bother reading any of those setup questions, reasoning that it was all perfectly normal and necessary stuff. But it’s NOT. You HAVE to read everything today, because these outfits are preying on people’s laziness and ignorance. They tell you right there in black and white what they’re doing, what you’re consenting to, and so many people are just not even paying attention.

    (Sorry, this is the last point, I promise. :P) I really wanted to take one of those Ancestry DNA tests last year. My father didn’t think it was a good idea. I decided that I was going to read every last word of their Terms of Use, etc., and 90 minutes later, I was ranting at top volume to my dad about how I couldn’t understand how this was even legal. Ancestry ADMITS, in their own writings, that by taking one of their tests you are consenting to them storing and potentially USING your DNA — indefinitely. They make it very clear that there is no time limit for this. But I mean, STORE my DNA, and use it for whatever future purposes might arise, and you need no further permission from me to do it? I’m sorry, but THAT is something that no one should do. That is insane, and frankly, I think it should be illegal. In fact, I think ALL of this data collecting should be illegal.

    Please, people, pay attention to the things you’re agreeing to, because I guarantee you’re signing away more than you realize.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Wendy. Anytime you want to add this much value to my rant, feel free to rant on. You really do have to ask why people need what they are asking for, why they need it for the period they want it and then, why are you paying them?!? Ancestry should be paying you!

      I don’t even have to faintest desire to have my DNA scanned and stored by a third-party player so they can tell me what I already know.

      Setting up a new computer should start with a yes/no question: “Do you want a bunch of crap on your brand new computer that is going to slow it down and potentially compromise your security and identity?”

      You are very smart to read that fine print. Thanks again.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi Dan – oooh ‘what’s mine is mine’ Mrs Squirrel seems to be saying! Gmail has changed … I’ve tried to ignore it and haven’t altered it otherwise … I agree way too many non helpful things. I keep everything simple … thankfully started that way and continue on. The Editor has some good shots of the Monarchs calling in … take care and have a good week – cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Hilary. The squirrel seems to remind us of the “arrangements” we’ve made to feed her and hers. It’s OK, we do like seeing them.

      The butterfly photos are the best, I couldn’t pass them up.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Great photos of the Monarchs. I also hate the newsletter thing. In fact, I took my pop up off my blog. I don’t have many newsletter followers but should get busy and send out a letter. At least it will be a reminder for them to unsubscribe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks John. I even stopped reminding people about my Facebook page. I figure, if they’re here, that’s good enough for me. Why nag them, unless I can add some content over there that isn’t found over here. So far, I haven’t been able to find the time to do that.

      I should set up a mailing list for people who want to follow Maddie, but I think I’d lose too many followers ;-)

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Hey! I’m glad my mistake made you remember! :D
    I HATE the new gmail. Just, ugh.
    Even when I subscribe to the newsletter, I am annoyed when I am asked every time I visit.
    I removed faith as a tag on my blog. I was getting too many true believers, ie: zealots. Took hope down too, just in case.
    Good post. Good vent.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s funny with ‘dessert’ – I always struggled with that. Now I just remember that it has two Ts, and I’m good. I chuckle each time. I can’t figure out why they thought Gmail needed a face lift. A few more features, better font control, an ability to mark-up when replying to mail – there are things they could improve, but making the interface ugly wasn’t on my wishlist – yikes, I’m still venting.

      Sad that you have to remove faith and hope, but I get it.

      I hope you’re having a good week.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I noticed the change in Gmail app. I never knew there was a problem with the previous version to begin with. I thought it was fine. I heard Google wants to shut down Google+ due to data breach issues. Apparently some or all data were stolen. Google didn’t disclose the breach to the public, although they discovered it about the time Mr. Zuckerberg was being questioned by the US gov’t about FB data misuse. I had a feeling that we may never know again of any data theftsk on social media. Other companies might follow Google’s trend and fail to disclose.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wasn’t a heavy user of G+ – At first, I thought it had a good chance, it did have some good features, but I don’t think they put enough into it to support it. I don’t understand them not reporting. There are so many states, including California, where reporting breaches is the law. If it did happen, I hope they get caught.

      Thanks for stopping by, Peter – I hope you’re having a good week,

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Try getting google to rectify in Google maps. Each time I put in the address it automatically re-directs to a different address.. with a similar name. Big deal right? A bit different if you’re running a holiday home and you want people to find it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I just experienced that, yesterday. I was trying to find a place, and it changed to a similar place in a different state! Sometimes I wonder if the people who write these applications ever try to use them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • They even have a report page .. filled in said exactly what happens .. then again after a few weeks, gave up. From what you say it may be a wider glitch… Perhaps a Russian hack :) everybody gets lost..

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Ok, I feel your pain, but like I keep saying and have been saying for about five years now, LEAVE FACEBOOK. It won’t solve all your problems, but it’s a good start. I left, deleted it all, and have never regretted it. Just saying, no disrespect intended…

    Liked by 1 person

    • None taken, Ally. I know I could leave. I maintain the Facebook page for No Facilities, because, is I don’t, someone else can. We learned this lesson at work. We didn’t want a Facebook page, but someone set one up, acting like us. It took several months to get the page under our control.

      My time on Facebook is short and my contact is limited to keeping up with a few close friends.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I don’t like anything about the “fixed” Gmail site either. It even takes longer to open with that big ugly envelope on the transitional page. The only thing that makes me stay with it is it catches more of the spam than any of the other email sites.

    I don’t have anything to do with Facebook anymore. Too many security issues and nasty comments floating around in that site.

    As for the popup promotions people have on their sites… That will make me leave quicker than anything else. With that said though, I am subscribed to two blogs that have this annoyance but I liked and signed up for updates on those blogs before the owners put the popup in.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Gmail is pretty good with catching spam, Glynis, but this update has me wondering who is in charge of design.

      I’m spending less and less time on Facebook. I have a few friends where that is the best place to stay in touch, but I limit my time to those people.

      The pop-up ads do make me want to leave. If I see them before signing-up, I don’t.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Your editor can take pictures any day. As for the software enhancements I agree. Most of them don’t fix anything because it was not broken. Often the enhancement is so convenient that it gets in the way. I have been putting off the new Guttenberg on WP. I can hardly wait until it is forced on us. The same designer who coded the ‘click here’ home page ‘to enter the website’ seems to be in charge of a lot of these enhancements.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been avoiding Guttenberg as well, John. I know the day is coming, but I can wait. The aggravating thing (well, one of them)is that there is no need for the inconvenient screens, buttons and banners. The worst are the ones that keep flashing the banner, even though you’ve signed up!

      I’ll pass your comments along to the Editor.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Great photos. Good job by The Editor. This is exactly what I don’t like with Windows, Google and whatever technology companies are in the market. They bring in something better to make our work easier and just when you think you have a lifesaver, BOOM, another update ruins that experience. Somebody needs to tell them that they don’t have to fix something that ain’t broken.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Love, love the butterfly photos. I was lucky to get similar ones on the playground. Amen to Google and gmail. This year teachers have set up these accounts to correspond with families. I hate it. Thank you for doing the ranting for me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Wonderful pictures, and a right-on rant. It’s bad enough when sellers are all in your face trying to sell you something; it’s adding insult to injury when they pretend they’re trying “to serve you better.” Trying to serve you UP AS SOMEBODY ELSE’S MEAT, is more like it. Yeah, you know the reference.

    Liked by 1 person

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