I heard about there being coyotes in the neighborhood a couple of years ago and there are reports on the local bulletin board from time to time, along with missing cats, which seems to be the biggest problem they cause. They only come out at night. So tonight I was walking the dogs and I heard something rustling in the leaves. The dogs stopped to look and I saw a loose dog. I shined my flashlight over there and it was obviously a coyote. Not too far away was another one, a little smaller, maybe walking with a limp. Both were smaller than my dogs, plus with me and the flashlight I think we were pretty intimidating. But they didn’t run away, getting as close as maybe 50 feet. I think they were on their way and were kind of in the way. So we turned the corner and they started walking past us on the other side of the street. The smaller one headed into the backyard of a house, but then came back down to the sidewalk to join the other one. Surprisingly, although my dogs were watching them closely, they didn’t bark or even whimper which Austin does when he wants to bark at another dog. I kept the flashlight on the coyotes a lot, but they would still look in my direction, their eyes lighting up yellow. Eventually they moved pretty well beyond us, so I took the dogs over to where they had been so they could sniff around. People get up in arms about coyotes in the neighborhood, but honestly I’m not seeing a problem, and the only thing they do is kill cats which should be inside anyway.

Debt Free

I have had some money building up and didn’t want to invest it in stocks given the upcoming downfall of civilization (and that the stock market had done pretty well already and might be due for some turbulence). With less than $20,000 left to pay on my mortgage, I thought I could maybe pay it off instead of dragging it out until August 2014. I called Bank of America on Tuesday to find out what I needed to do. They said I could do it that day over the phone! I said I couldn’t quite do that because the money wasn’t in my checking account (also Bank of America) yet. They said they could mail me a pay off statement and I could mail in certified funds, but I figured I would just sell some mutual funds and put the money in the checking account and call them back when it cleared.
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Yesterday I got a call on my cell phone from a restricted number. Sometimes I don’t answer those calls, but maybe I was bored, so I answered anyway. It was someone from a company that said they were doing a poll for NBC and the Wall Street Journal. I was suspicious and asked how I knew they were doing this (they can’t really prove they are legitimate), how they picked my number (randomly selected phone number), and how long the poll would take (7 minutes). What is interesting is that I get very, very few telemarketing calls because the phone isn’t even in my name officially. And I try not to give out the number (usually I give companies my old land line number).

Anyway, they proceeded to ask me demographic questions like my race, whether I had any other phones, my age, plus a bunch of questions about whether I had voted in the past, if I had voted early, and how likely I was to vote on Tuesday (definitely). They also asked me general opinion questions on what I thought of Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. They asked me which one I thought could get things done if elected and I said neither. I just don’t think it’s possible right now. They also asked who I had voted for in 2008 and who I would vote for this year. At the end they asked me for my initials “for verification” and I gave them TC as the most likely answer, though they might have the answer as EC, JC, or DC depending on how they got the number and what name is listed.

Today I saw an article about NBC and Wall Street Journal’s final election poll of the year, surveying 1,475 likely voters, including 443 cell phone only respondents (me). Obama has a slight edge of 48% to 47% compared to the last poll which was tied at 47%, but the margin of error is 2.55%.

I think it is interesting that some people are saying the polls aren’t accurate because they are calling people on land lines and hardly anyone has those. But they called me on a cell phone, so I think they have it worked out.

Nexus 7

I got the 32 GB Nexus 7 today from J&R Electronics. I had been tracking the package online and I knew it would show up this morning with the mail. It came in a bigger box than I thought, but the box inside was smaller, about the size of a big paperback book. Good unpacking experience with a black cardboard box inside a sleeve with bright colors on a charcoal background. Not many pack-ins: just a small AC adapter and a micro-USB cord which is used with the AC adapter or to connect to a computer. It came with about a 50% charge and they recommended charging it right away. Very small instruction book and warranty info included as well.

Nexus 7 Box

I found a web page with 23 “essential tweaks” for the Nexus 7 and did a few of them including unlock the automatic screen rotation, set a special swipe gesture to unlock the device when it is turned on, signed up for Google Plus, downloaded the entire Google Map of metro Atlanta (62 MB), set up owner information in case I misplace it and someone wants to return it to me (also stuck a label on the back with my name and phone number), and turned off the keyboard sounds.
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Retina Display

A few years ago, Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone 4 with a “retina display” which was so sharp that the human eye couldn’t see make out the pixels. There were no jaggy edges, everything looked like it would in a photograph, a book, or the real world. What they did was cram 960 pixels across a screen that was only about 3 inches across, for a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch (ppi). Later on they introduced a retina display on the iPad and a notebook computer, but there were not as many pixels per inch as the iPhone. The justification for this was that people would hold the iPhone closer to their eyes and the added distance for the iPad and notebook would make the pixels seem just as dense. So in addition to pixels per inch, you also have to take into account the distance to the screen. The Wikipedia article on retina displays say that Apple calls this figure pixels per degree, or PPD (although the article said the PPD does not have a linear relationship with the distance from the eye to the screen, it has since been corrected). Anything with a PPD of 53 or above is considered a retina display.
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