Look What Google Did With My Photos

vegas skyline

I consider myself a good editor, but it’s so much easier to let Google do it for you. I had no idea this could be done. This was culled from our trip to Vegas.

Of course Google knew when I left and returned. That’s not creepy yet simultaneously useful?

The original had a little sideways video. Tweaking to remove those clips was my only input.

From Las Vegas

looking north from the rio las vegas

Not a good poker trip for me. Helaine much better.

We drove here from Orange County. It took around four hours for the 260 miles. There was traffic all the way. I-15 needs more lanes. I shudder to think what construction would bring.

Last night we took a drive down the Strip. With the top down (a rare honor accorded by Helaine) we drove north on Las Vegas Boulevard. Caesar’s, Mirage, Treasure Island on the left. On the right The Linq, Harrahs, Venetian, Palazzo, Wynn and Encore.

The real estate gets cheaper as you head toward Downtown. Downtown is the Vegas of Elvis movies. It’s where you can still find neon.

We drove as far as the Stratosphere, made a u-turn and headed back. The neighborhood around the Stratosphere is very sad. Drunk, stoned, just out-of-it people walking as best they could. It’s like the waiting room for hell.

It’s not often I top off the tank, but we’re heading home soon. Nine gallons.

The top’s back up. The car is parked.

A Little Fox Fantasy

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Both Helaine and I play poker a little. We thought it would be fun to take the plunge again at the World Series of Poker. Some people never learn.

We’ll be playing in one of the smaller events. Seniors only. I’ve gotten a fake ID for Helaine.

Helaine prefers to fly, but she’s acquiesced and we will motor our way through the desert. The Goog sez at our departure time “3 h 40 min – 4 h 30 min.” Door-to-door 261 miles. No fill-up. Easy-peasy.

Hold on. Driving music.

OK. Better.

Last year 4,000 50+ year old’s played. It starts Friday and continues Saturday and Sunday. Of course along the way players get tapped out. Tables consolidate until there is one left.

Three full days of poker is grueling. It’s a strategic game. Lots to consider. More than likely we’ll have to read about it after-the-fact.

Only the final 10% get paid. The earliest out get less than double their buy-in back. The Seniors big winner last year won over $600,000. Oh, you also get a bracelet. It’s the poker equivalent of a wrestling belt.

Don’t hold your breath.

Stef will be wrangling Doppler.

Hold it. One more song.

Pact With The Devil

tech-details._CB318422491_If you’re wondering what’s hot in tech it’s voice controlled AI (artificial intelligence). The latest incarnations from Google, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon are beginning to understand sentences spoken casually.

Amazon’s standalone Echo (4.4 stars) has a seven microphone array. Through complex math Echo isolates sound from any specific spot in a room. Normal voice, noisy room: Echo should hear you.

Whatever Google calls their voice thing, Microsoft Cortana and Apple Siri still only live on phones, tablets and computers. All of these share one thing. In order to respond they must always listen.

Think about that. They must always listen.

I’m already using “OK Google” a little. It’s an easy way to set an alarm if I’m taking a nap or need to be somewhere. It’s how I set my GPS. I’ve sent a few texts by voice. I’m not sure it’s faster than my swiping.

I just went to Google so you could hear this:

That was recorded Saturday evening.

Think they know a lot now? Google saves voice commands. I’m not sure how long, but forever is certainly possible.

They know what you said. They’re still saving the voice. Will they find a use for it later?

This brings up an interesting and creepy point. If anyone, Google and other huge collectors of raw data are probably better equipped than the FBI to find a domestic terrorist.

We tell our secrets to Google. They see when you go to WebMD. They know if you’re happy or sad, rich or poor, young or old. They know when you’re speeding.

We trust Google and the others to be protective stewards of our entire life. Can they be trusted? Will they always be trustworthy?

I kvetch, but I too will make this pact with the Devil. It’s tough not to.

The Modern Farmer

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As a kid I often woke up early Saturday morning to watch The Modern Farmer. Farming on Channel 4 New York. Weird.

Living on the 5th floor with a northern exposure we had no direct sun. Trudi reminds me my mom grew spider plants. That was the extent of our flora, a spider plant.

In Connecticut I gardened on-and-off. We had a professional who wrangled our lawn and bushes (thank you Frank).

Now in California I’ve graduated to the big leagues… well in our small space. I think it’s cool there are grapefruit and sickly looking oranges growing in large pots under my care. Nearly all the plants are healthy.

Now my repertoire expands. I am told (after watching a few videos) pineapples are super easy to grow. We’ll see.

Helaine cut the pineapple for fruit salad and left me the leaves. I peeled a few layers down exposing stringy roots. I’ll give it a few days in water for the roots to get going, then plant it in a pot.

The first pineapple should be here before the 4th of July, right?

This climate is very conducive to growing. Many of the new housing developments displaced strawberry fields and other small fruit and vegetable farms. Avocados grew where I’m sitting.

I’ll try and make up for all that on the patio.

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