Thursday, June 06, 2013


I am amazed that in today's world there are still people who totally don't get dogs. I'm not talking about the evil people who hurt them (that's an issue that is so disturbing to me that I can't even talk about it) but people who try to "train" their dog without even understanding how a dog thinks.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm no dog trainer. My dogs know how to sit and lay down and not much else. My goal with them is companionship, period. Still, if I wanted to train them further I definitely wouldn't treat them as a beneath me being, like so many try to do.

Granted, they are canids and there is a pack instinct in dogs but their similarity to wolves ends there. We have domesticated and bred dogs for thousands upon thousands of years. In fact, cavemen domesticated them and think about it like this: if humans have evolved then how can we deny that dogs haven't evolved?

My point is that dogs haven't been wolves for thousands of years so naturally the old wolf instincts are extinct, so to speak. Their behaviors and health issues are the result of human interference. Period.

Dogs are supposed to be our friends and companions. They are not to be treated as wild animals nor as anything less than how you would treat your friends. If you don't feel a friend to them, then please find your dog a better home where they will be appreciated. It is unfair to keep a dog if you cannot treat it the way it should be treated.

When I see dogs chained up outside, or literally living in the backyard, I am incensed and disgusted. There is no reason to keep a dog if that's how you're going to treat it. Obviously working dogs have a job to do and there are some that have to remain outdoors because they were bred for a certain task, such as the sheep dogs that live with the flock (who I might add uses the flock as his pack), but those are few and far between.

I cannot say this loudly enough:


For those of you who are interested in training your dog in any way, shape or form, you should try watching any of the videos by Emily Larlham known on youtube as Kikopup.

Positive training gives positive results and brings you closer to your dog a a relationship.

I'm reminded of something I heard the late Roger Caras say in a TV interview. It was an old Native American legend (I believe Native American, it could have been some other culture). I don't remember the exact legend but basically man and all animals of the world were standing in a field and the earth began to split apart, making a great divide, when all of a sudden, before the divide was too far, dog jumped over to man's side. That is why the dog is our friend.

It is a moving myth and even demonstrates the devotion our dogs have for us. Man didn't jump to animal's side, but dogs came to man.

For this reason, why doesn't all man return that devotion?

Please share this with your friends. It's not so I can get hits or whatever, because you can just copy and paste this in an email, without any acknowledgement of me whatsoever. I just want this to spread this word, so that people will learn.

If you know someone who chains up their dog or leaves them in the yard, send this to them so that they can learn why it's wrong. Please!

Thank you readers for listening. I just had to get this off my chest.

Cheers to you all!

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Swiftkey Vs. Go Keyboard: A Review

The first thing I did when I got a new phone was change the keyboard. I don't like the default Android keyboard. It's very limited.

My needs for a keyboard are simple. I need a keyboard that....
  • Allows swiping for words.
  • Has a good predictive text
  • Is easy to use
  • Works fast
  • Is bug free

Now there are a couple of things that I didn't list as a need, which I really, REALLY want. I didn't list them because there isn't a keyboard on the planet that freaking does these minor things; that I know of anyway. My wishlist items are...
  • A keyboard that let's me customize it with - what I call - a macro button. I want a button that I can place my own text in and that will enter the text I want by selecting it. For that matter, a whole new button row would be ideal, but one button is the absolute minimum needed.
  • My email address in predictive text. I cannot tell you how freaking often I have to enter my email address and there isn't one single predictive text on the planet that has ever popped my email address up there. I don't have several email addresses. I have one. ONE!!! Why can't they figure that out?!
  • A .com/.net/.org/.gov button/prediction. Sure, some have .com but not all sites use .com.
Now there are basically 3 popular keyboards that people use. One is swipe, but swipe is only special in the swipe department, so I am not going to include it in my comparison. The other two are Swiftkey (which has a huge following) and Go Keyboard that is very similar.

I started out with Go Keyboard. I really liked it too because (sometimes) it includes the .com button and it has a keyboard minimize button. There is also an extensive emoji plugin as well. That's helpful at times and I imagine kids love it.

The main problem I have is that its predictive text isn't as accurate as I want it to be. In fact, it consistently selects words that make absolutely no sense at all. In addition to which, its outer keys are too close to the screen edges as well as other keys, so there are a ton of mistakes that require correcting. I spend more time using the back button to delete things than I do typing.

I decided to try out swiftkey and I was wowed by its predictive text. I had heard about it but I hear about a lot of things and then when I try it, it isn't all that. A great example is Instagram. I'm still not understanding the love behind Instagram, but that's another post. The primary thing is that I normally don't agree with everyone else.

Swiftkey however surprised me. In its settings you sign into all the things that you use for text such as Facebook, Twitter, your cell texting and so forth. It looks at what words, acronyms, etc., that you normally use and it inserts them as you write.

My son is a WOW player and texts his friends frequently about the game. As a test he wrote out a text message using the WOW acronyms he often uses and it nailed it each and every time.

Another thing I like is the keyboard layout. There is more space along the edges and Swiftkey even has an option to use a separated keyboard when you're typing in landscape mode. The end result is that their layout is truly amazing. 

That said, Swiftkey is still far from perfect. To begin with Swiftkey developers say that you can use a gesture to minimize the screen, but it doesn't work on my phone. None of their gestures do. Which brings me to my biggest irration...

This probably isn't fair to mention because I didn't have a need to contact Go Keyboard, but as far as I understand you're only allowed to seek Swiftkey support nine times total.

Granted, it would be a rare occasion that you would need to seek support for more than that. However, as a paid user I expect to get free near-instant support, like what Evernote offers its paid users. It's unlikely that I'll actually get any help at all on my problem, but we'll see (if you see no updates, then you'll know that I never heard from them). My support question is about the issue with gestures. I put in a request yesterday and we'll see how long it takes for them to get back with me, if ever.

Both are offered for free but I personally paid for Swiftkey because I liked it so much. Gestures aside, it really is great at knowing what I'm going to write and the keyboard layout is much more intuitive. For me, Swiftkey wins over Go Keyboard, even though both were fails on my wishlist.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Dipping my toe into the smartphone world.

Recently I decided to finally upgrade to a smartphone. There is a lot you can do with a smartphone that you cannot do otherwise. One small example is coupons. There are a lot of coupons you can use by having it available on your smartphone and them scanning. Even shopper discount card/tags can now be stored on your phone and scanned.

Then just about everywhere you look are scan boxes, which have another name I'm sure. You can just scan one of those boxes and poof, you're at the website page.

Really though, I don't much care about those. I'm sure kids love them, but I'm more old fashioned and have only a few needs. The primary reason I've actually upgraded is that I live in a first strike hurricane zone. I really need to be able to communicate with my family and check weather reports as well as other things.

My move into the phone arena is new and I'm still learning, but I'm very pleased. Still, I have downloaded apps and I like to play around with them so I'll be posting reviews every now and then.