Android Apps – An End User Perspective

Android Apps

Before we get into the meat of this post, I do realize this has nothing to do with what Political Realities was founded on. This post will contain no news or politics, but it is a subject my twin brother and I have discussed at length. Maybe you will have some thoughts on it as well.

I suppose I could be described as a technology junkie. No, I’m not a programmer and wouldn’t know one end of a line of code from another, but I do enjoy technology. I have a computer that I can use with some proficiency. A Samsung Galaxy tablet goes with me whenever I go to church to play my bass guitar, as it contains the lead sheets I → Read More

Stop Spammers – A WordPress Blogger’s Best Friend

Stop Spam Comments

If there is one thing I hate, it is spam. I hate spam email, spam snail mail, and most of all, spam comments on my blog. I take great pains to keep spam comments off Political Realities. At the same time, I want to make it easy for normal commenters to leave their thoughts on the blog, even if I disagree with what they have to say. That said, this post may only be of interest to those of you who operate WordPress blogs, but it is important enough for me to share in a post of its own.

Every installation of WordPress comes with the Akismet spam plugin already installed. It does a fantastic job of catching most spam, but it leaves me with → Read More

NewsBlur – Replacement For Google Reader


When Google first announced it would be shutting down Google Reader, I was very disappointed. I had come to rely on Google Reader to keep up with my favorite blogs. I went about trying to find a replacement RSS reader and had settled on The Old Reader. I really didn’t like it as well as Google Reader, but it worked. Then, I came across NewsBlur. I couldn’t use it at first because the free account signup had been disabled. This was mainly due to the sudden onslaught of former users of Google Reader. When the growing pains were finally worked out, I could import my feeds and it has worked flawlessly ever since.

As with any good RSS reader, it has options to share what → Read More

Goodbye Google Reader, Hello The Old Reader

Google Reader

I’m not saying my Internet habits are indicative of the normal person, but there are a few services I depend on to keep up with the news that is important to me. Facebook isn’t at the top, ranking well below other services, such as the National Weather Service and Google Reader. I am sure many of my readers are familiar with Google Reader. I use it to keep up with the blogs and news services that help keep me informed on the news of the day. Via RSS feeds, it was a simple thing to load one page and see as much news and information as I wanted to see. You can imagine my disappointment when I loaded Google Reader in Firefox a couple of → Read More

More erosion of personal rights in America

Loss of privacy in the cloud

Privacy is a hot topic, especially among netsec (Network Security) circles.

It’s 2012. Most of your bills probably get delivered via email. You communicate with family using email. It’s nearly completely replaced “snail mail” in my generation. Snail mail is protected by law; that simple paper envelope with a tacky strip keeping it closed protects any document you want to send. Federal law clearly marks First Class mail as protected; it cannot be opened without a clear warrant. Gaining a warrant requires someone to actually have a very good reason for gaining access, so that protects most communication.

Cut-away to email. Our federal laws simply aren’t cut out to protect us online. I’m not a proponent of regulation, but quite frankly, we don’t have any → Read More

The Apps Of The Android

Android Market

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to bring you this update! Warning, this has nothing to do with news, politics, or anything else of a serious nature.

Those of you who have been reading my ramblings for a while know that I sometimes write about technology and some of the issues that surrounds that subject. More than once, I have written about the use of cell phones and how they have progressed from a basic handset to multitasking smart phones. I wrote a post last year, asking the question What’s In A Cell Phone? In it, I explained how I had came to the decision of purchasing my first smart phone, the HTC Aria, which uses the Android operating system. I have been nothing → Read More

Space Shuttle Discovery – Her Final Flight

Space Shuttle Discovery

I would be seriously amiss if I did not write about a topic that may very well be overshadowed by the events in Wisconsin, Indiana, and Libya. While so many are focused on the protests centered around union rights and the battle to balance state budgets, as well as watching the unrest unfold in the Middle East, we should take time out to note that the Space Shuttle Discovery will be making her final flight this afternoon. If the countdown goes as planned, Discovery should lift off at 4:50 PM EST. According to NASA, fueling of Discovery and her external fuel tank should begin around 7:25 AM EST and the launch crew is not working on any problems that should delay the launch. I am → Read More

What’s in a cell phone?


I think I have asked this question before, but let’s give it a go again, shall we? How many of my readers use a cell phone? I know, it seems like more and more people are calling them personal devices, but they are still cell phones to me. Personally, I use one every day. It is my alarm clock in the morning, my connection to the Internet, if in a pinch, and my calendar, but above and beyond everything else, it is a phone. With my parents getting elderly and a new granddaughter having arrived on March 26th of this year, it is more important than ever that I can be reached at all times. Updating my Facebook or Twitter status doesn’t count. One thing → Read More

Google – YouTube defeats Viacom


Everyone knows about YouTube. That’s the nifty little website that allows it’s registered users to post short videos that may or may not be of interest to other users. It was created in February 2005 and in November 2006, was purchased by online giant Google, with a whopping price tag of $1.65 billion. Folks, that is no small chump change, so you know Google, with it’s razor sharp focus on making money, felt it would be a profitable deal for them. They would not have been willing to lay down that much cash or capital otherwise.

YouTube really came into it’s own during the 2008 campaign for the White House. Many, many videos were distributed through their site, some of them political ads and some → Read More

iDroid on the iPod Touch 1G


A couple years ago, I stumbled upon the Linux on iPhone blog. I was really quite intrigued by it… An open OS on Apple hardware? Perfect! Open software plus beautiful hardware. Awesome. So I followed it… Kept the site in my RSS reader… And nothing. No updates for the longest time. I was getting discouraged, thinking that my only way of getting Android was to buy a smartphone. Then, I got an update. Planetbeing had done it! He’d quietly reverse engineered the drivers for the iPhone 2G, and got Android actually working on it! I was thrilled, and anxiously followed his updates. When he got Android working on the iPhone 3G, I rejoiced, knowing the iPod Touch 1G would surely come soon. It took a → Read More

Online Privacy… is there such a thing?


As I’m sure you are all well aware, Facebook has been getting a lot of criticism about their privacy settings. I’m sure we all agree that the company, and it’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg, truly deserves all of it. They share/sell our information, all the while giving us new “privacy settings” in order to appease us. However, if one takes a close look at these settings, a person would quickly realize that they’re being “Zuckered”. That’s right, you are losing your privacy online!

Now, that brings to mind an important question: Can you have true “online privacy”?

My answer is a resounding NO!

How do I come to that conclusion? After all, we do have things like SSL and HTTPS to keep sites we access → Read More

Space Shuttle Atlantis – Last trip to space

Atlantis' Last Launch

Atlantis' Last Launch

I would be severely amiss if I failed to mention the milestone that is scheduled to take place later this afternoon. Conditions at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida look favorable for the Space Shuttle Atlantis to lift off on her final voyage to space. After she flies, there will be two remaining shuttle missions, both taking place before the end of the year.

I will write more about this later, probably on the date of the last shuttle flight, but it is with great regret and disappointment that I watch the shuttle fleet in it’s last days. I have always been a fan of the program and I never fail to be in awe as I watch them rise from → Read More