Back to Mars Edit

It’s been several years since I’ve used MarsEdit for my blog writing. I discovered that I posted more when using blogging software to create my posts. I’m guessing it’s because, at that time, I had several websites, and for myself, it was convenient to have all the websites in one place. Now that I think about it, I still have several websites, although admittedly, I have not been as active with my posts as I used to be. However, since my health has improved, I’m slowly starting to do things I enjoy. A quick search showed me MarsEdit is still around, so I promptly purchased the software.

I’m sitting at my dining room table, writing this blog post from MarsEdit using my MacBook Pro. It brings back a feeling of nostalgia, and I must say that it’s a good feeling.

In other news…

I have a plumber fixing a leaky faucet and replacing my bathroom sink, all being done as I create this post. Later today, I’ll be taking my daughter to hang out with a friend. I do believe it’s a date. The young man is in college just like herself. On their first outing, I briefly chatted with the young man. I’d initially talked to him on the phone. She’s in the bathroom getting ready, and I’m sure she’s wondering when the plumber will leave.

Oura Ring: Tracking my Sleep

Recently, I learned about the Oura ring. Since it’s supposed to track the different phases of sleep you are getting through the night, I was interested. I typically get about four hours of sleep nightly, and while I do feel great when I awaken in the morning, part of me thinks that my body would benefit from more rest. So, since my interest was piqued, I did a bit of digging to see if this would be something I’d be interested in purchasing. It’s a smart ring that uses sensors that can track various metrics which gives you feedback on your fitness, stress, sleep, and health.

From the Oura website…

Sleep, Readiness, and Activity. Your scores tell you how your body feels and what your body needs, every second of every day. You’ll know when you need more sleep, when you might be getting sick, when it’s time to push yourself — and more — with a personalized experience on the Oura App.

I don’t need it for fitness, stress, or health. I track that with my Apple Watch. It’s why I purchased that device, and I must say the feedback I got from the apps on the watch has helped me tremendously! I could effectively lower my heart rate to the number it used to be before my world turned hectic. If the Apple watch could help me stay on top of those things, perhaps the Oura ring can help me do the same thing.

I chose the Oura Smart Ring 3 and select rose gold. I love rose gold. My iPad, Apple watch cover, and writing pens are all that color. The ring arrived this afternoon. Initially, I was unsure how I liked the ring with my complexion; however, it’s growing on me, and it does match my Apple watch. I noticed it tracking my steps and knew I was engaged in some outdoor activity. We took the dogs for a walk this evening; however, when I took an hour’s nap this afternoon, it did not give me feedback. I’ll have to do more research to see how it tracks naps. Finally, I got a notification on my iPhone that told me I should think about going to bed soon. I never go to bed at this time; however, perhaps my sleep schedule will change. We’ll see!


Eye strain and blue light

Two Saturdays ago, I wasn’t feeling good at all. I felt so bad that I actually went to bed early (around 9:00 PM) that night. I’d planned to stay up late with my daughter; however,  that wasn’t happening. I had just finished installing The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim and had started playing/looking around within the game when I was hit with a quest stomach/nausea. I promptly logged off. Since I continued, my stomach was still doing somersaults after I logged off, I decided to go to bed early.

Initially, I attributed my reaction to the laptop computer and game. The opening scene is barren, and the graphics/contrast is harsh for my sensitive eyes, and even though I had played less than 15 minutes the night before, I figured the game that was causing the issue. I was on my laptop a lot on Sunday. However, I was online completing an insurance course.  Nausea and the stomach queasiness became so bad that I thought I might experience all the lovely things that go along with an upset stomach. Once again, I lay down so that the nauseous feeling I was experiencing would go away. I was disappointed since I’d planned to complete many of my online coursework on Sunday, but that wasn’t happening. A few hours later, I felt slightly better, and I decided to do an online search about eye strain, nausea, and computers. From my readings, the blue light from computer monitors can cause this issue. My daughter told me that I most likely was one of the people susceptible to this sort of thing. After I did some more research, I changed the blue light settings on my computer by permanently changing the Acer Blue Light Shield settings, and guess what? I no longer feel nauseous, which is excellent news for me. I could have also changed the settings from the Windows operating system.

No more queasiness

The next day, I’m happy to say that I no longer had any issues when doing my coursework online, which is excellent news for me since I’m spending more “downtime” on the computer when I’m not working; I’m preparing for a few online certifications, which has increased my computer time (when not at work) tremendously. I still might purchase a blue light screen filter for this laptop computer. I’m currently researching those to see what’s the best option.

Although I’ve installed The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, I most likely won’t have the chance to play it too much. Priorities, ya know? Last evening, per my daughter’s request, I also installed (or should I say that I’m currently installing Genshin Impact. It’s a game that she plays on her PlayStation 4 and is something she would like me to play or at least checkout.



More listening than reading…

I’ve always enjoyed reading a good book, and I read daily. However, in the past few years, I’ve found myself listening to audiobooks more than I read them. Years ago, I was resistant to listening to books this way. However, I’ve come to appreciate that I can still fill the desire to have book content daily; I’m just using a different medium. Looking back at my younger self, I’m amused that I was so resistant. But at times, we can be resistant to certain changes, right? Since I got over my hang-ups about physically holding a book, it’s opened up an entirely new level of “reading” that wasn’t available to me before. Besides listening to books at work (at times, I can listen to my audiobooks eight hours daily), I can now listen to books while I’m cooking, riding in the car, sewing, or knitting. Awesome!

Audible has been my “go-to” source for reading books. For myself, it made sense to choose Audible. I’m an Amazon Prime member, and the same company owns Audible. A few weeks ago, I finished the Demon Cycle series by Peter V. Brett. There were five books total, and the sixth should be available sometime in May. The last few books, I didn’t like as much as the first two books. The characters were made softer, than how they appeared in the first few books. However, I still enjoyed the listen. I’m currently downloading, Theft of Swords: Riyria Revelations, Volume 1 by Michael J. Sullivan. It’s my first time hearing of the series or the author. However, since I’ve listened to the Demon Cycle series, it was on my recommended list. I checked out a sample reading and it seems interesting.

Here’s the summary…

Publisher’s Summary

Audie Award Nominee, Fantasy, 2013

Acclaimed author Michael J. Sullivan created instant best sellers with his spellbinding Riyria Revelations series. This first volume introduces Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater, two enterprising thieves who end up running for their lives when they’re framed for the death of the king. Trapped in a conspiracy bigger than they can imagine, their only hope is unraveling an ancient mystery – before it’s too late.

Theft of Swords contains The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha, books 1 and 2 of Riyria Revelations.
©2011 Michael J. Sullivan (P)2012 Recorded Books, LLC

With audible books, for myself, I also am more inclined to listen to a book, if I like the narrator’s voice. Listening to Tim Gerard Reynolds voice from the audio sample, I know I won’t be disappointed with the narrator.

Outlook maintenance, Claims adjuster studies, and bread-baking

My goodness, has it been busy!

Yesterday, I spent a good part of my morning trying to get Microsoft Outlook to play nice with my Google email. Why? I’d decided to use Microsoft Outlook as my default email platform. I haven’t used Outlook in years. I’ve just navigated to Gmail online or used the app on my mobile devices, iPhone, and iPad. However, I started using Microsoft 365, and I’ve always liked Microsoft Outlook, so I figured… why not? Accessing Gmail via Outlook was easy, however, when it came to sending emails. MS Outlook was not cooperating. Initially, I thought it might have to do with my Antivirus Software (Norton); however, I tried everything else before addressing that issue. A few hours later, I decided to disable Norton when it came to scanning outgoing emails, and guess what? I no longer have any issues with MS Outlook sending my emails.

I’m making advancing with Adjuster’s Pro, and the processes are becoming easier to understand the more I delve into the course. The past reviews/quizzes I’ve been receiving 100% my first time taking them. If my understanding of this course continues, as it has over the past few weeks, I’d be willing to take the exam within a few months.

Later today, I believe I will hop on my exercise bike while I knock out a few modules within the online class. Last evening, I attempted to play Skyrim on my computer. However, that didn’t go too well. The settings within the game were actually making me nauseous. My daughter explained to me it had to do with the harshness of the landscape within the game. She also mentioned that they have mods that address this. Perhaps I’ll try to install the game again. Hopefully, I won’t have the same issue.

In other news…

Amazon offers updated delivery options

Did you know that Amazon has delivery within a few hours? It’s different than the two-hour delivery which has been active for at least a few years. With this new feature, you can order at night, and get your order delivered in the wee hours of the morning. Or… if you order during the day, you have a few choices of when you get your order later that day. It’s gradually becoming available in more areas. This feature was available in my area a few weeks before Christmas. It was my first time hearing about it when I received the offer with an order that I’d placed. Granted, you need to have an Amazon facility near your location in order to take advantage of this feature. Updated to add graphic and to differentiate between the two-hour delivery that’s already in place. 

Iron Flask Water Bottle

Iron Flask Water Bottle

About two hours ago, I purchased this 64 oz Iron Flask water bottle. I have several steel water bottles. However, not all of them are insulated. This one will keep drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot liquids for up to 12 hours. I should receive it sometime today between 5:00 PM and 10:00 PM. hopefully; it will arrive in the early evening since evenings before work, I’m usually in bed by 9:30 PM.

Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Japanese Milk Bread
Japanese Milk Bread
Japanese Milk Bread in a Pullman Pan
Japanese Milk Bread in a Pullman Pan

Fresh Baked Bread

Later today, I’m thinking of baking bread. Although I don’t eat too much bread, I enjoy baking it and sharing it with others. My daughter is very fond of my home-baked bread also, and so I do my best to keep it on hand. A household favorite is Japanese Milk Bread and Fluffy dinner rolls; both recipes are from America’s Test Kitchen.

Why do the weekends seem to fly by so quickly? Sighs…





I purchased a Playstation 4 Pro: It was hard to find locally

It’s here! My daughter now has the Playstation 4 Pro! For years, she’s been following Youtube play through of various video games. The games she watches are adventure-based, and over the past year,  the one that she’s talked about the most is Detroit Become Human. This game mainly focuses on androids and whether they should be recognized as sentient beings because their artificial intelligence is so detailed.

For years, I’ve asked her if she wanted a gaming console, and she’s always told me no. But, I know my daughter, I didn’t believe her. When she was a toddler, she would play games on my Xbox 360. Fast forward to today, and she still plays a few games: Minecraft and World of Warcraft. Nope, I wasn’t buying that she didn’t want the console. I figured she felt terrible about me spending the money to purchase one for her. That’s my daughter; her wants are minimal, and she rarely asks for anything. Last week, I told her I was getting her a gaming console, and so last Wednesday we went out looking for a Play Station 4 at Target. According to my online research, that was seemingly the only place that had them in stock locally. Best Buy, Wal Mart, GameStop were all sold out! Wow! I guess it makes sense, quarantine has people inside, and certain items (like the exercise bike that I finally received) are hard to find. We hit two Target stores that were about 40 minutes one way from our home, and even though they showed, there were a few available online. When we arrived at the store, they were gone. No complaints, though, although I didn’t leave with a gaming console for her. We enjoyed our car ride.

After that experience, I realized that the only way I’d be able to snag a gaming console was to snap it up as soon as they hit the stores. Thursday morning, I awoke at my standard time (3:30 AM). After my devotions, I logged onto Target, and I saw they had PlayStation 4’s available, including the PlayStation Pro! I quickly purchased the Pro for my daughter, and later that morning, it was processed, shipped, and she received her own PS 4 this past Sunday. Since purchasing the gaming system was leading us to a dead-end, last Thursday morning, around 3:30 AM, I went online and saw that Target just received some in stock. I immediately purchased the PlayStation 4 Pro. Perfect! Later that morning, it processed, and I received an update that stated it would arrive on Saturday. Even better! When my daughter awoke, I told her daughter that I’d purchased the gaming console for her. She confided that she was looking forward to receiving the gaming console. And now that it’s here? She’s enjoying it immensely. She plays in the evenings for a few hours.

Updates on my Brydge wireless bluetooth keyboard and can I use my iPad 10.2 as a laptop?

I never thought that I’d be using my iPad as a laptop, however, when I think back over the years, that’s how I used it (sort of) did with my old iPad. I just didn’t purchase a keyboard. However, now that I’m typing this post on my Brydge Wireless Bluetooth keyboard, I’m left wondering why did I take so long to make the switch? I blame it on stubbornness. These days, I’ve been using my iPad for everything, and the Bridge wireless keyboard stays attached to my iPad. A few people have mistaken for a small laptop. It’s not. However, I used it exactly like my MacBook Pro laptop that I have. The only reason I have been logging onto my desktop computer is to rename pictures that my daughter or I take. However, I’m sure there’s an app available that will allow me to change the names of the images stored on my device. I just haven’t taken the time to look, but I will.

Perks of my Brydge Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard for the iPad

Pairing is a non-issue

You pair the Brydge to the iPad by Bluetooth. I must say, the pairing is seamless. It’s only disconnected a few times, in the months that I’ve had it and it was simply a matter of reconnecting.

Battery life is amazing

I use my device often throughout each day and I only have to charge the keyboard every two weeks.

Ipad + Brydge – I’m using it as a laptop

Initially, when I wrote this post (several months ago) I wasn’t planning on keeping my iPad for that much longer. I had every intention of giving it to my daughter and purchasing the iPad pro for myself, buying the Brydge keyboard and using that as my “laptop.” However, I’ve had more time to think about it and have decided to gift her with the iPad Pro. She has much more use for it than I do since she could use it for drawing. I do have a desktop computer, however, I still will purchase a laptop at some point for myself.

Dislikes with the Brydge Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard

There is no trackpad with the Brydge for the iPad. It’s there for the iPad Pro. I’ve been actively using it for a few weeks, and I’m getting accustomed to still swipe the iPad screen (for certain functions) instead of using a trackpad. Since I was using a keyboard, I was treating it like one, so initially, I was still going through the motions of using the trackpad. However, when I swiped, the only thing I was touching was keys! Fast forward until now? Gone are the days when I was catching myself “swiping,” the nonexistent trackpad. As mentioned the iPad Pro’s keyboard (step up from my iPad) made by Brydge does have that function. However,  other than that, thus far, I’m happy that I finally decided to purchase a keyboard for my iPad.