A good question to ask to start off the New Year.

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Syncing third-party calendars from Google to iOS

I center my email and calendar activities around Gmail and Google Calendar. They feed the Mail and Calendar programs and apps I use on my iMac, iPhone, and iPad.

I’ve encountered the following issue a few times: a new calendar I’ve added or imported into Google Calendar does not appear on my iOS/iPadOS calendars.

Most recently, it was importing the ICS link from my workplace’s Outlook Web app into GCal. I could see my workplace schedule on my Google Calendar but not on my other devices.

Troubleshooting this was maddening. I’ve selected the right calendars in Google, the calendar connections to my iMac and iDevices look fine – why am I not seeing what I KNOW should be there?

I found the answer in this 2015 blog post from Online Tech Tips. The writer correctly pinpoints the problem to third-party calendars that show up under Other calendars.

And he identifies the solution – a specific link that “for some ridiculous reason…does not appear anywhere on any page while in Google Calendar…However, this page is key to getting those other calendars to show up in the Apple calendar app.”:

https://calendar.google.com/calendar/syncselect

Google calendar sync

And indeed – my workplace calendar was unselected in the list. Ticking the box, clicking Save, and checking my iPhone later showed that the new calendar was now there.

File this under “yet another 20-second solution that took two hours to find.”

WEIRD - An acronym used in academic literature to identify possibly biased results:

Western, educated, industrialized, rich, democratic

What acronym could accommodate those + “young” and “male”? Thinking here of diet and exercise studies, or studies of online behavior, where the results are hard to generalize due to the limited demographics of the study population.

John Simon, R.I.P.

John Simon was a critic I read voraciously for many years, mainly in my 20s when I reviewed movies and theater as a reporter for a small-town newspaper. Simon’s breadth of material was astonishing; his movie and theater criticism were expert, though as my friend Scott observed, he seemed to have no feel for American artforms like the cartoon or slapstick.

I found Simon’s opera and poetry criticism more interesting because those topics were more unfamiliar to me; I could feel his love for those artforms shine through. I think he loved them more than theater.

Simon was a relic of a different, lost world of print and publishing, the way George Jean Nathan represented the sort of Broadway reviewer represented by George Sanders in All About Eve. I subscribed to New York magazine solely for his theater reviews and Peter Davis’s music reviews. And yes, I subscribed because Simon’s takedowns and insults were so entertaining. But when Simon loved a work – and his collected reviews tended to finish with an unalloyed positive appraisal of a book, movie, or play – his writing would soar and it made me want to see or read the work that elicited such praise.

Forbes's "Should You Upgrade iOS" column

If one lesson can be learnt by all this it is to stop blindly leaping to every new iOS release.

Gordon Kelly is a frequent critic of Apple so I have always taken his iOS update reports with a grain or three of salt. But with the recent 13.x releases, I now wish I’d listened to him and held fast to iOS 12.

My SE, which usually held a good battery charge all day, drains down to 5% within an hour simply sitting on my desk.

My SE is 2+ years old so, on the off-chance, I’m having a new battery installed this week. If I still see a drain, I’ll know it’s iOS.

I have turned off automatic updates and am holding fast, for better and worse, at 13.2.1.

Update, 2019-11-13: Took my iPhone to an Apple certified service shop. The repair guy hooked my phone up to his diagnostic computer and it said the battery had gone through 600 recharge cycles; Apple says the battery has a lifetime of 500 cycles. So yeah, the battery was shot. The Battery Health setting is an OK criteria (mine was at 88%) but not the decisive one; it’s the number of cycles that is decisive. But the user cannot see the number of recharge cycles a battery has gone through, only a technician. Charging the phone up now; hoping for good times ahead.

Best fun Halloween movie for all ages has to be Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein: a great send-up of the grand old Universal monsters, whose great days had sadly passed by this time.

Overcast’s File Uploads came back online, all of a sudden. The file I’d been in the middle of listening to reappeared, ready to pick up where it left off. All other uploads are there too. But I’ve already moved to Castro and am liking its Sideload feature. But then I have 20 GB of backlogged podcasts in Overcast (shut up) so I may just work away at that for a while and let Castro manage the ‘real-time’ podcasts.

One advantage of getting a new credit card: getting reminders of all the services I subscribe to when “that time of the subscription month” arrives. Gives me the opportunity to assess if I want to continue subscribing; also reminds me of how many friggin’ subs I have.

"Art is what gets away with you"

Art isn’t what you can get away with … Art is what gets away with you. Every encounter with a work of art is an elopement. The seduction of the self, the abandonment of the self to a different kind of experience, is what art offers. Every renewal of the artistic method and process is an attempt to wrestle art out of the marriage and into the love-affair. By which I mean the Keep Out signs of convention, respectability, familiarity, jargon. The high priest cult of ‘art’ is a lie about what art is. Art is feeling and experience and excitement before it hardens into meaning.

Jeanette Winterson

"Individually tailored care"

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, Hendrik Groen, Hester Velmans (Translator)

After a while, the phrase old-age home began making people feel uneasy. It was replaced with retirement home and then assisted-living facility. The nursing home became a “care center.” And in the latest version, it seems I am enrolled in a “market-oriented health-services organization providing individually tailored care.” I now understand why health-care costs keep skyrocketing.

From Overcast to Castro

Overcast’s Upload Files function was removed with the most recent update to iOS 13, I think; the option is disabled in its settings and the uploads page is gone from the website. I could not find any info about this change online. What annoyed me was that this capability was removed while I was in the middle of listening to an uploaded audiobook file.

So am reluctantly moving my podcast listening to Castro, which has most of the functionality I use plus lets me add audio files more easily.

I will miss the custom playlists feature of Overcast; I divvy all my Sleep With Me and ambient music podcasts into their own playlists, for example.

I was so comfortable in my technological rut! But am making the best of it. I’ve stopped most all the feeds in Overcast and am starting fresh in Castro. I have a huge backlog of audiofiles in Overcast anyway, so maybe I can whittle them down while keeping up with my current diet of audio snack foods.

A software engineer posted all the Google searches she made during a week of work:

What I’m trying to show with all this is that you can do something 100 times but still not remember how to do it off the top of your head. Never be ashamed of googling, even if it seems like the most basic thing you’re looking up.

Google doesn’t know everything, of course. An engineer I work with spent an hour using Google searches to find a specific mathematical formula. He found a book on his shelf that gave him his answer in 3 minutes.

Still, I hardly ever bookmark pages anymore because…why create another junk drawer to lose stuff in and rummage through? Just search – Google, DuckDuckGo, Bing – whatever your pleasure.

A stupid text message I got today from a stupid spammer.

Uncle Terrance | Eruditorum Press

There are countless figures who made Doctor Who what it is. Indeed, there’re countless figures who made it great. But Terrance Dicks is the man who made it a show that thrills and vexes me enough to pen a million words analyzing it and still not feel done with it. He made it at once inscrutable and approachable, simple and fun yet endlessly thorny. He’s not why Doctor Who is good. But he is why generations love it, and why generations more will. There will never be anyone like him again on the program. There never could be. People like him don’t happen twice. They scarcely happen once. Thank the gods they did.

And the latest update. I have Downlink set to update my desktop every 20 minutes today. Not sure of the lag time between the satellite snapping the image and the app processing it, but it’s effectively real-time for my needs.

Working at home today, awaiting the rains from Hurricane Dorian here in central NC. The coast has been evacuated. This screenshot is of my desktop; the photo is NASA satellite imagery from a Mac program called Downlink.