Hi! I’m Felipe, and I’m an addict

ALL TOGETHER NOW: Hi, Felipe!

Thank you. To cut straight to the chase, I’m an addict of YouTube. This is a relatively new addiction that only began in the last year. Before then, like so many others, I was a casual user, but now it’s affecting my life, a classic sign of addiction.

Before, I just smoked it. Now I inject it.

acastro_180403_1777_youtube_0001.0What makes YouTube so compelling is that it’s visual, and you can find virtually everything on the website. While the internet as a whole is the Library of the World, YouTube is the Library of the Visual World.

Want to watch last night’s Tucker Carlson show? Want to watch everyday people walking the streets of London in 1901? With original sound?

Want to watch Hermann Göring in full Nazi regalia, including a swagger stick, shortly after being captured and strolling a sidewalk on a sunny afternoon in Germany and chatting amiably with a U.S. Army officer?

A young Tom Cruise channeling Bob Seegar in Risky Business? Or the real answer to why there is no Palestinian state? Scientists explaining why there is no cause for climate alarmism? Jesse Pinkman’s first shot of heroin in Breaking Bad? (The best drug depiction I’ve ever seen.) Or Jax Teller’s death ride in Sons of Anarchy?

Concerts, travel, history, it’s all there to see in color or black & white.

I’m glued to my desk, which is why I’m here today. I need help! I suppose the first step is to find a sponsor. Who will hold my hand?

Sadly, YouTube is owned by Google, a thuggish arm of the political left. Dodging anything related to Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc., is an endless goal of mine on general principles. But my addiction has kept me hooked on YouTube. Addictions do that.

Ask Jesse Pinkman.

Let’s look at browsers. Google’s Chrome is the world’s most popular browser, and there is a reason for that. It is very, very good. But the principled among us know it should be avoided. Doing so can be darn difficult.

Over the past few years, I’ve tried scads of alternatives. Firefox (not much better if you want to dodge the thuggish left), Opera, Vivaldi, Edge (meh), Yandex, Maxthon, Comodo Dragon, Comodo IceDragon, SeaMonkey, Avant, Midori, Puffin, Pale Moon, even Dissenter.

They work to varying degrees. Sometimes they work fine, and then they don’t. None work as well as Chrome. However, recently I found this:

Brave: a better mousetrap

Brave was born in 2015, the brainchild of Brandon Eich, one of the founders of Mozilla (Firefox). In 2014, he was the CEO of Mozilla, and then he did something politically incorrect. He let it be known he opposes gay marriage.* Oh, dear!

Adiós, Eich! Don’t let the door smack you on your way out, you Nazi homophobe. And we don’t want to hear any of your mea culpas! Will people never learn apologizing to the left not only does not work, it is counterproductive? It digs your hole deeper.

New ImageFirefox’s loss was our gain. He co-founded Brave. I tried Brave a couple of years ago, and found it lame, not ready for prime time, and it wasn’t. I never returned till a few weeks ago, and what a surprise. It’s Chrome-like, and you can use Chrome extensions. It’s also easy to import Chrome bookmarks, etc.

It’s very much like Chrome, but better. Better than Firefox too.

So, at least in this, I have freed myself from Google. One small step for a Gringo, one giant leap, yada, yada. Brave rightly brags that it’s “safer, faster and ad-free.”

I remain hooked on YouTube, however. I need help! Sad.

* * * *

* So do I, by the way. Let’s stick to civil unions. All the legal rights but without the “marriage” word, which makes many people cringe. Just dodge the word.

Full circle to Chrome

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I AM VERY ideological, and I give moral, sometimes even financial, support to the good folks who share my sharp view of things.

An organization that does not share my sharp view, to state it mildly, is Google, which is a cauldron of leftist and PC — redundancy, I know — nonsense, and they wear their views right out in the open, shamelessly.

To this end, I try to steer my tiny corner of cyberspace away from Google to the extent it is possible to do so, which sometimes it is not.

Alas, Google owns YouTube, which I love.

I do not use Google Search, and I do not say or write “Google something.” I say “internet search,” and I use one of the many fine alternatives.

Years ago, when Google debuted Gmail, I was one of the first to sign on, and Gmail was my primary email for a long time. Google did not appear so blatantly leftist in those days, and perhaps I was a tad calmer too. That was before the Western World turned into the sorry thing it is today.

About three years ago, wanting to dump Gmail, I went on an email safari, and found Fastmail, an excellent, inexpensive, paid service from Australia.

At the same time, I was using Google’s Chrome browser, but a year or so later I dumped it too, for ideological reasons, and I’ve tested and used a number of alternatives like Opera, Maxthon, Vivaldi, Brave, Sea Monkey and Pale Moon.

I also used Firefox for a long time in the distant past before switching to Chrome. Buggy Firefox has gone downhill if you didn’t know.

The best of the above-mentioned lot is Opera, which consistently gets high marks from people who know about such stuff. I used Opera until recently. It has a few things I dislike, mostly its Bookmark design.

On a lark a few days ago, I downloaded Chrome to take a look. Damn, but it’s good! So I’m back. I’ve gone full circle. Sometimes comfort trumps ideology.

In any event, a good number of the other browsers appear to be built on a Chrome foundation, so why not go to the source?

But I still don’t use Gmail, but if you send something to my Gmail address, it will be forwarded to Fastmail.

Don’t be a stranger.

Evening on the veranda

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THIS EVENING I sat atop a rocker just after sunset, alone, inhaling the night air, something I did more often years ago before they invented Netflix and the internet.

This photo was shot 14 years ago, but it hasn’t changed to any appreciable degree.

It was fairly quiet, and there was a slight breeze which excited a couple of the wind chimes, so I had musical accompaniment, a fine thing especially when it’s soft.

It was the hour of bats, but I saw none. Maybe I had sat too late, or maybe it’s just not that time of year. I lose track, as I lose track of lots of things.

It’s a good place to sit at all hours, but especially evenings or nights. If there are bats heading out for their nocturnal meal, that’s just gravy for me or a dessert of sorts.

I should do this more often. That’s what I said to myself.

I hope I remember.

My smartphone’s not too swift

I TOTE a smartphone, but it’s not the brightest bulb in the pack.

It’s the only one I’ve owned, and I’ve had it about four years. I bought it “pre-owned” on MercadoLibre for 1,000 pesos, which is about $53 U.S. today, but it was a bit more when I bought it.

It’s a Sony Xperia, and it’s so small that when I use my bank app to get a 12-digit code to use at an ATM when I don’t have my debit card, the phone cuts off the final digit of the code, making it useless. If only the screen were wider.

My phone is never connected to the internet except in my house where it uses my WiFi, and the only thing I do online is check balances at my two banks. I don’t do email or Google or anything of that sort. The primary reason is that my fingers are large, and the phone’s keyboard is small.

I use it 98 percent to send text messages to my wife and, occasionally, call someone, usually my wife. It’s a phone, fer crissakes.

I’m not averse to technology, but phones are too small for me. My child bride has a larger Samsung Galaxy, but I still find the keyboard annoying. I don’t like to be annoyed.

Some people type fast on a phone, and they do it with their thumbs, which is my biggest finger. Anyway, I don’t want to learn that because it would confuse my typing on my Hewlitt Packard All-in-One desktop machine.

I type 100 words per minute on that baby, something I learned in typing class in high school where I was the sole boy in a sea of girls.

Not only is my Sony keyboard small, the phone has limited storage. Usually, if I want to add a new app, it tells me that I first have to delete some other apps, just not enough room for a new one.

I don’t use many apps. I have the obligatory call blocker, a flashlight, a bluetooth skimmer to use around ATMs. You know about that? That pretty much sums up my phone apps. I’m a simple fellow. The Hacienda has no landline.

One might think, hey, he’s an old guy, so he cannot grasp high technology, but lots of people my age, probably most, carry high-tech phones. But not me.

Maybe one day, and I prefer “pre-owned.”