Kyle Seth Gray

My blog on anything I find relevant, but leaning more and more towards health and fitness.

Healthcare Lol

Something I realized today:

My ankle has been hurting a lot over the past few days. I’ve taken ibuprofen, tried to not walk as much, and generally just been resting it, right?

Today it’s gotten a little bit worse, nothing major, just really really sore. And I just kinda figured out something:

I’m sitting here with who knows what wrong with me, searching the internet for my symptoms haphazardly, rather than going to a trained professional that would know what is wrong and be able to help me, if there is in fact something wrong.

Why?

I’m worried that if I did in fact go to a doctor/physical specialist, that either I would waste their time and nothing be wrong, or find out what is wrong, and have to pay a crazy fee for medicine, and the actual care, etc, etc.

And because of fees and other high costs, I would rather wait it out than have a doctor take a look at it. Simply because it does have the possibility of getting better, and not having to shell out $40, $80 for a one time checkup, when nothing might not even be wrong. Or being charged an even a crazier amount of money for a one time check up if I happen to stumble into the wrong physicians office, or even the same physician I've gone to before because they’re out of coverage by my health insurance. [This actually happened earlier this year, where a doctor I had gone to for a yearly checkup suddenly wasn’t covered under my insurance four months later.]

I try to stay away from negative posts, and I know this doesn’t seem to accomplish much to complain, but I couldn’t help but notice the issues in the incredibly screwed up American Healthcare system. Where some, and probably a lot of people, would find going to the doctor a waste of time and money. Where you have to best your luck if you don't want to go to the ER but feel really sick and have to find the right urgent care center that's 10 miles away, just so you don't end up with a hospital bill that is ran through a random number generator.

But by all means, thank goodness I'm insured. And thank goodness a lot of people are insured, despite the fact that it may do jack diddly when it comes to actually helping them be able to pay rent and live a healthy life.

Now I’m going to go back to icing my leg for reasons unknown and taking ibuprofen.

Apple Music - iCloud Music Library

In fun iTunes adventures, I’ve been having the joy of using Apple Music recently. One of the things that happens often is how confusingly iTunes seems to handle the whole iCloud Music Library merging, and making sure everything is in sync. And it seems to be the issue most people have with the service

The first issues I had with the service were it mismatching album art to albums, causing Michael Buble to have The Format artwork, and Nintendo to suddenly just have the most random art out there. I only had about 20 GB worth of music that was matched/uploaded, and most of that was in the iTunes Store. But regardless, the way Apple Music handled my iTunes Database seemed to just screw up the ordering of album art, and then sync all those errors to my devices.

The only way to fix this seemed to create a brand new iTunes library from scratch on my Mac. My normal, big iTunes libary is on my external harddrive, so I just made a brand new one on my actual Home Directory, and then the empty library seemed to kickstart iCloud in a way that allowed it to fix the issues it was having. I'm still not entirely sure how this worked, but it allows me to 1: use iTunes/Apple Music streaming without an external harddrive plugged in, which is nice. 2: edit directly what Apple Music has of my library in the cloud, since none of it is on the machine, and it's pulling all the data it has from iCloud.

This basically follows some of the steps Stephen had with Resetting iTunes Match. This is the way to go if you got data screwed up by iTunes. But the sad thing is it mainly works only if you have a backup. Which you really should. (One of the best backup services is Backblaze. I'll just leave my Backblaze Affiliate Link here)


Apple obviously wants to appeal to both main audiences that use iTunes: those that have had immense libraries built up over the years, with music that isn’t necessarily available in their store, and a lot of meta data additions, playlists, and customizations. And they want to appeal to those that just stream all of their music, and don’t worry about things like old CD imports or anything of that like. After all, Apple Music is a streaming service.

The only problem with all of this is there are going to be those that have an outlier that Apple couldn’t test for. With the millions of iTunes users, you can’t help but think there’s one guy out there who has one thing different in his library that screws everything up with iCloud.

I can’t help but think that maybe Apple should’ve pulled the Music App out, made it a separate app you download from the App Store, and kept that as the streaming service. At the very least, they should’ve had a matching service that simply scanned your library and uploaded to that app without touching your actual iTunes library. While I haven’t had any problems with how iCloud Music Library works, that seems to be the number one issue when it comes to people’s iTunes blowing up in their faces and either messing up album art, song order, or completely screwing over however you’ve organized your library over the years. Google Music works like this, Spotify even has a local music feature, and Amazon Cloud Library has that same feature.

It may cost extra bandwidth, or been slightly confusing, but it’s less confusing than canceling your subscription and worrying about whether or not that personal library you’ve made over the years suddenly has DRM hooked up with it.

The Verge and the "Mobile Web"

The Verge (Nilay) love doing negative, bashing, or downright complaining articles. And the latest addition to this collection is super fun.

Yesterday, the 'hot button' article of Nilay Patel bashing some product (which he enjoys way too much)[I still don't know how he found this tweet] was him stating how iOS's browser is slow, outdated, and more companies should "...push their browsers to perform better." And because Apple's platform is so closed down, no one can innovate and the web sucks.

What followed was a bunch of fun regarding how terrible the Verge's site is when it comes to loading on mobile devices.

For example:

Or my personal favorite, after turning off all the content blockers on my browser:

I think Joe Steel summed it up perfectly:

I am disappointed he spilled so much ink only to wind up holding these inconsistent thoughts together like two negative ends of magnets. His site is not remotely streamlined. This rant is 10 MB, kilobytes of which are the actual article, and it’s crammed full of JavaScript and iframes.

It's hilarious when sites like this make complaints about a platform they contribute to and provide content for, and do nothing on their end to help the users. And when you bitch about a problem that your product causes, and want someone to make a engine bigger and more powerful because you're adding on a ton of weight that isn't needed at all, you're the problem. Not WebKit, not the modern web, your crappy site with its 300 requests and 2 minute render time.

What a Week

I’ve always tried my best to stay out of politics. It is one of the discussion topics that can, for whatever reason, cause a lot of strife and immature discussions, full of logical fallacies or issues that don’t usually come up in other conversations. Especially when you may not have a strong opinion and are expected to do so.

But this week has been one hell of a week in America. From tragic, to celebratory, to outright amazing; the events that have happened this week will be in the history books.

And at the end of it all, after two landmark Supreme Court Cases, and a time of mourning for a state and community, we had a beautiful moment from our President.

Barack Obama singing at the funeral for Clementa Pinckney.

Now you can say what you want about religion, political sides, or belief. But with the events that transpired this week, if you can’t watch this video and smile at how lucky we are in this country. Yes, there are times that aren’t so great. There are tragedies and disparities, but I can’t help but feel that all of America smiled yesterday.

And I’m proud to be an American this week.

Google Photos

Since I bought my iPhone 6, I’ve been using Google+ as a bonus backup system. I had a free terabyte in Google Drive, so I thought I might as well put it to use. and Google’s photo features have always been super fun, with things such as Auto Awesome, and the stories and mini movies it creates. Being able to take a series of photos along a coastline or a big view and knowing Google+ will automatically stitch it into a huge panorama is also a big plus (ha) as well.

Google’s photo solution has also always, always, been faster and better than iCloud. I’ve had many times where I’ve taken a photo on my iPhone, and I want to do something with said photo on my Mac or a computer at school, and Google Photos has been way faster than waiting for Photos.app on the Mac or iCloud.com/photos to load.

Now, I am fully invested into Google’s new photo solution: Google Photos. After being renamed/revamped/remade for the umpteenth time, I really think Google has it down. And, since my 1 terabyte of storage has expired and I’m only on the 1.99/month 100 GB plan, I don’t have to worry about paying for more data, since Google is backing up photos up to 16 megapixels, which I think is plenty, for free.

Google Photos isn’t my only solution at the moment, as I use it alongside iCloud Photo Library. But the things Google does with your photos, and the amount of ‘machine learning’ features it has that allows it to do stuff on its own, such as tagging faces automatically, learning locations, making movies (all features of the apps formerly known as iLife, but without the part where you have to manually make them) make it a killer photo solution. And since its free, it’s a product I think a lot of people should use.

Complaints about Complaints: The Watch

It’s been two weeks since I got my Apple Watch, and although I don’t think I’ll be writing a review of it anytime soon, I felt like I should post some thoughts I have about the device.

The Apple Watch has been a great and fun device. It changes a lot of things, helps you manage notifications just a bit better, and the fitness tracking aspect of it is great. When I had my Fitbit, there were some of the same “goals” with the device: Move a certain amount every day, and make sure some of that amount is exercise. With the Fitbit, however, it seemed any consecutive activity over a few minutes was counted as exercise, whether it be walking for ten minutes, or actually running for twenty, either of these counted toward the “globally recommended 30 minutes per day”. To me, it just seemed too easy, and although it did encourage me to be more active over the two years I had the Fitbit, it seemed like I was able to make that goal every day.

Enter Apple Watch and an actual heart rate monitor. The Apple Watch does the usual ‘count your steps’, like every other fitness device, but it does it differently. It doesn’t focus on the 10,000 steps as a goal for you to obtain, rather, it focuses on your active calories, and your minutes spent actually exercising. These encourages me a lot more than the simplicity of gaining a certain amount of steps in a day. The best part is how the exercise ring actually challenges you. I think it calculates your VO2max from the personal data you enter, and uses that to estimate what your heart rate should be for exercise to actually count. Personally, I love this feature; it pushes me more than my Fitbit ever did.

This is where I’ve seen a bunch of complaints. A lot of people seem to think that anything like walking, jumping up and down, or putting a lower effort in should be exercise, or that the Apple Watch is inaccurate because it doesn’t count a long walk as exercise. These complaints, to me, seem unwarranted. I bought the Apple Watch so I could be more active, not drag along and think that the regular things I did every day would help count towards the exercise goal.

And yes, in this next little bit I’m going to complain about some other complaints people have had about the Apple Watch. Sure, I’m an “Apple Fan”, an apologist, and have no opinion. Cool.

But some of the complaints I’ve seen along twitter have just been ridiculous. I’ve seen people complain about the Stand function bugging them, when, it only bugs you if you haven’t stood, and you can easily prevent that, or turn it off. I’ve seen people complain that the Watch didn’t “automatically” track their run or bike ride, when it never said anywhere that it does so automatically. People complain about the straps, the small screen, or how there’s certain features that don’t seem to benefit them therefore shouldn’t exist at all. Or how the Apple Watch use/UI paradigm should be changed completely to fit their needs.

And the biggest thing I’ve seen is people complain how much the Watch isn’t like their phone. How buttons may be different, or the home screen isn’t a home screen, or the fact that the Human Interface Guidelines for a device that goes on your wrist aren’t similar to the Human Interface Guidelines to the pocket computer that has a ginormous screen.

It’s a different device. It’s a new platform. It’s not an iPhone on your wrist, it’s meant to be something different.

I am ok with the fact that it’s a different device. I knew when I bought it that it would take some getting used to. And I’m okay with that. It’s just such a weird thing to see people, and most of these people fans of technology like me, refuse to try and learn about a new platform, or think that it needs to change for them. (Spoiler: it probably won’t. I’m sure many people complained about the iPhone home screen layout, yet here we are.) Apple never forced you to buy this device, and if you won’t learn how to use it, or RTFM, Apple won’t care.

In conclusion, I get that it’s a new device, and Apple is some super amazing company that never does anything “Un-Apple Like” (Which they do, like all the time. Who even defined what is Apple-like and what isn’t anyway?) Things change, and just like the iPhone wasn’t similar to the Macintosh when it came to many of its features, the Watch is meant to be different than the iPhone, simply because it is a new, and completely different device. But just because a device doesn’t function how you want it to doesn’t mean the device is a failure, or that it’s “extremely difficult” or Un-Apple. It may just be the user.

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