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2022 brings me deteriorating eyesight!

2022 brings me deteriorating eyesight

Ten days into 2022, I wake up, sit at my computer, and I can’t read anything on my 1440p ultrawide monitor at the native resolution. I immediately put in some Refresh Optive MEGA 3 eye drops, thinking that my eyes were dry. This was not the situation, my eyesight remained blurry throughout this week.

My vision has been deteriorating for years, slowly but surely, but to see my vision drop to a level where I cannot work effectively, nor drive safely overnight is very, very scary. I have my desktop scaling set to 150%, and my Firefox browser scaling set to 120% to even be able to write this blog about my vision.

I’ve been working on getting my diabetes under control in an effort to save what vision I have left, prior to this sudden drop in visual acuity. My A1C has dropped from 10.5 to 6.7 in just 3 months, after finding a good combination of medications, which makes my sudden degradation in vision all the more frustrating.

I had stopped driving at night before the new year, as I did not feel safe on the road, even before this recent change in vision. Everything felt so dark, almost like my headlights were not on, they were, of course, it was my eyes that were not adjusting to the darkness allowing me to see better in dark conditions. And in bright daylight conditions, sometimes, it’s blindingly bright causing my eyes to water.

I was thinking that it was cataracts, as my optometrist had previously mentioned it, but when I visited her office yesterday for my regular appointment, I found this was not the case. I have fluid on my right eye, potentially caused by Retinal Vein Occlusion, which is the preferred diagnosis, or it could be a significant advancement of my glaucoma, which I hope it is not. I have been referred to a specialist to have an injection in my eye to hopefully roll back the recent and sudden change to my vision.

My vision is currently at 20/60, which means I am barely able to drive in daylight, and not at all allowed to drive at night. And even after this injection, it’s unlikely to bring my vision back to a point where I can drive at night, meaning that at best, I will have a restricted driver’s license, or at worst I won’t be able to drive at all, come October 2022, which is problematic given I need to drive to properties to take photos for work.

I’m super freaked out by, firstly, an injection in my eye, secondly, the possibility that I will not be able to work. My job requires me to drive and to be able to use a computer competently, which right now is not possible. For example, when I process photos; because I am losing light; when the histogram shows the photo is correctly exposed, it looks 1 – 2 stops underexposed, that’s a lot of light into my eyes being lost.

At this point, I cannot read anything, other than the time, on my Pixel 4 XL phone, which has a 6.3in screen, and I have my computer resolution set to an equivalent of 720p, on a 34in 1440p panel, and that is not clear at all, but I can extrapolate what is on screen well enough to get my work done.

My biggest fear is that I will not be able to provide for my family. So much so, that I am considering moving back to the UK, as my wife and kids would have access to financial assistance to help them out, and I would be able to claim disability, which is not an option for me in the US, not being a US citizen, and would not be a drain on Erin’s resources. Obviously, it’s not my preferred option, but I have to do what is best for my family. I hope that I am able to regain my vision enough to be able to see my phone and computer screen at their native resolution and be able to at least drive in daylight conditions.


#WeStandWithLewisHamilton social media sour grapes

#WeStandWithLewisHamilton Social Media Sour Grapes

The 2021 Formula 1 season ended in contentious circumstances with a last lap reversal of position to give Max Verstappen his first F1 world drivers championship. And ever since, Lewis Hamilton fans and Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has been bleating on about how Hamilton was cheated, calling for the head of Formula 1 race director Michael Masi, while Hamilton has been publicly silent on the subject.

On the day of the FIA Prize Giving Ceremony officially crowning the world drivers and constructors champions, Hamilton and Wolff both boycotted the event. Wolff did however put out a statement saying that Hamilton is “disillusioned” and there is a possibility that the Briton would not return to F1 next season, suggesting Hamilton “will never overcome the pain and the distress that was caused on Sunday”.

My take is that this is all bullshit media propaganda from Wolff, to make their feelings about what happened at the final race in Abu Dhabi clear, to enrage the Hamilton fans into what we are seeing on social media with the #WeStandWithLewisHamilton hashtag that has been trending for the last four days.

Mercedes had their initial protest thrown out by the Abu Dhabi race stewards, and despite declaring their intention to lodge an appeal, Mercedes decided to withdraw that appeal a few days later, reportedly at the request of Lewis Hamilton himself, which from what I can see, has not been confirmed.

If Hamilton does not return to F1 because he did not win the title, after half a dozen easy drivers titles during the Hybrid F1 era, that’ll show what a sore loser he is. If he is as great as his fans claim him to be, he’ll come back and fight for that eighth world title, and although I am not a Hamilton fan, I hope that he does come back, as he and Max Verstappen are on a different level to the rest of the current F1 field.

On balance, I think Max deserved to be the 2021 champion more than Lewis, both drivers had brilliant performances throughout the season, but Max had the thick end of the punishment stick. Even at the final race in Abu Dhabi, on lap 1, Lewis went off track, to retain the lead, gaining a clear advantage, the steward’s decision to claim that Hamilton had yielded back the time gained by the end of lap 1 is ludicrous, Max was ahead at turn six, where the Briton went off track, cutting turn seven completely.

Mercedes have to take a good portion of the blame for the WDC loss, they screwed up their strategy, they could have pitted Hamilton for new tires. Mercedes must have known that Red Bull was going to try a hail mary strategy, why did they not immediately pit Hamilton under the safety car? which might have put him behind Verstappen on the track, but with fresh tires to be able to battle for the lead on the restart.

But, no it’s all Michael Masi’s fault, he F1xed the race for the Dutchman to win his maiden world drivers title. And based on the hopelessly partisan comments from so many Hamilton fans on social media throughout the whole season, if the situation were reversed, with Hamilton benefitting from the race director’s decision, it would have been a monumental drive to clinch the world drivers title.

Personally, I am not a fan of any single current driver, I am a fan of motor racing, and for the first season since 2016, there was actual competition for the drivers and constructors championships.

So, a few reasons I believe that Verstappen is a worthy champion, let’s start with Silverstone, where the two drivers came together at Copse, with Verstappen heading into the barrier at high speed. The stewards squarely put the blame on Hamilton, handing him a 10 second time penalty, which given the speed of the Mercedes in the hands of Hamilton, was not a penalty at all, an easy victory for Hamilton.

Another reason, moving forward two weeks to the Hungarian Grand Prix, where Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas took out both Red Bull’s, Verstappen continued, but with a damaged car, could only manage ninth place while Hamilton claimed victory. Even assuming that Verstappen finished in second or third with Hamilton winning in both races, that’s still a net points loss of 28 points, enough for Verstappen to have already won the title by Abu Dhabi, making the events of the final race irrelevant.

Furthermore, if Verstappen had not had a tire blowout while leading in Azerbaijan, he would have gained a further seven to 10 points over Hamilton, as the Briton was running third at the time of the incident. It was only because of Hamilton’s brain fade, forgetting to switch his rear brakes back on after switching them off to heat his tires on the grid for the restart. This mistake caused him to lock up and go down the escape road at turn 1, which stopped Hamilton from scoring 18 points to Verstappen’s zero.

And there’s more, at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Hamilton got real lucky, losing a lap recovering from the gravel after he slid off the track all by himself, his teammate, Bottas, and future teammate, George Russell driving a Williams, collided causing a red flag to be thrown, which allowed Hamilton to get back on the lead lap, taking the rolling restart in 8th place,, to recover to finish second to Verstappen.

My point is that there were so many pivotal moments throughout the season and on balance, Lewis had more decisions go his way, keeping him in the title race until the very end of the season.


Christmas 2021!

Christmas 2021

Christmas 2021 has been a pleasant experience, and of course, the kids cleaned up with presents, it’s always nice when family comes home for the holidays, which was not the case in 2020 because of COVID-19, which is sadly still with us, but with many people now vaccinated, we can at least travel in relative safety, allowing my brother in law to come home for the holidays for the first time in 2 years.

Of course, it wouldn’t be  Christmas without me getting sick, but I persevered with the help of some Mucinex DM to keep the symptoms at bay, to be able to spend Christmas day and subsequent days at my mother-in-law’s house with family, and enjoy some of my mother-in-law’s delicious cooking!!!

Personally, I don’t worry about receiving gifts for Christmas, my family is all I need, but I do enjoy seeing everyone else opening their gifts, although my wife went against my wishes and bought me a gift anyway.

Our 17-year-old son, Conner got an Oculus Quest 2, a selection of new clothes from his grandmother, and $200 in spending money, which he promptly spent on video games from STEAM. Our 12-year-old daughter, Alya got an Asui Tsuyu (Froppy) costume from My Hero Academia, an indoor play tent, a Barbie Dreamtopia Sparkle Lights Mermaid Doll, a charm bracelet making set, and a bunch of clothes.

We bought my mother-in-law, Billye a Williams Sonoma 14-inch Sauté Pan, she wanted the 12-inch, but I was unable to get the 12-inch in time for Christmas, so I upgraded her. Which turned out to be a bad idea, as she had already bought herself the 14-inch Sauté Pan in the summer, so we had to return the 14-inch Sauté Pan and order the 12-inch Sauté Pan today, so OOPS! but she’ll get her desired size next week!

My wife, Erin got a Photography Hair Blower fan from me, a Bissell upright vacuum cleaner from her mother, plus clothes. We got my brother-in-law, Michael, a Buddha statue, which he loved, and finally, I received a pair of Adidas shoes from my mother-in-law and a Toastmaster oil fryer from my wife.

While my brother-in-law was in town, I upgraded his 6th generation i7 laptop to SSD storage, installing a 1TB Samsung 870 EVO, replacing his 1TB spinning rust hard disk, vastly speeding up his system. We were also going to upgrade him to 32GB of RAM but decided against it as we’d have to replace both 8GB sticks installed with two 16GB sticks, which were kinda expensive, $350+tax, as his laptop uses DDR3L 1600mhz RAM, which is sold at a premium as we are two generations on, with DDR5 recently being released.

I really look forward to Christmas, when the family gets together, the holiday itself I can take or leave, but family is extremely important to me, which makes Christmas a good time of year for me personally.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to one and all!


Build, Back, Better… dead in the water!

Build Back Better, dead in the water!

Who would have predicted that the Build Back Better bill would be killed off after the bipartisan ‘corporate’ bill passed the house, senate, and was signed into law by President Biden? //sarcasm

Originally, the infrastructure bill was supposed to be a single bill that incorporates physical infrastructure and social infrastructure, but that was broken up into two distinct bills, the bipartisan bill and the Build Back Better bill that would have been passed by reconciliation, as it’s clear that no Republicans would vote for the social infrastructure bill, which was no surprise to anyone given the GOP’s recent history.

After splitting the bills, President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi signaled that the Build Back Better bill would have to pass before they’d vote on the bipartisan bill, which we now know was a complete and utter lie, as the bipartisan bill passed both houses and was signed by the President. All this was orchestrated by shadow president Manchin, who forced a vote in the house by saying he would not vote for the BBB bill while the bipartisan bill was being held hostage by House Democrats.

Five weeks after the bipartisan bill passed, the Build Back Better bill has been shelved, with no new deadline set, which means it’s dead, never to see the light of day again. Even more so with Joe Manchin now wanting even more removed from the Build Back Better bill before he’ll commit to voting for it, removing the child tax credit, which has helped so many families survive in these uncertain times.

The Build Back Better bill in its current form is already half of the original $3.5 trillion bill, removing many of the most popular parts of the bill to get down to a cost of $1.75 trillion, and now Senator Manchin wants to cut that even further before he’d even consider voting for it. Senators Manchin and Sinema don’t give a flying !@#$ about everyday Americans, they are corrupt, more concerned with lining their own pockets, especially Manchin, who is voting against the climate change parts of the bill, which would be personally detrimental to him, Manchin owns a coal company, talk about a conflict of interest.

I keep on hearing from Democratic Senators that it’s two senators holding up the will of the other 48 senators, but I think that’s a bullshit excuse. I don’t hear many senators or the president calling out Joe Manchin or Kyrsten Sinema, putting pressure on them, having rallies in West Virginia and Arizona respectively. Telling their constituents how their working against their best interests, to either get them to vote for Biden’s signature agenda or get them voted out the next time their up for reelection.

Joe Biden said to donors before he was elected to the office of President of the United States that nothing will fundamentally change if he becomes president and he has kept his word to his donors. I don’t think that he, Speaker Pelosi, and other corporate, moderate Democrats really wanted this bill to pass. It’s been known for quite some time now that congress doesn’t represent the interests of Americans, they represent the interests of big businesses, who happen to be their donors. Most Senators and Representatives are super rich and cannot relate to the struggles of everyday Americans. There are a few progressive Democrats in Congress, but sadly nowhere near enough to be effective, and some of those progressives are progressive light, towing the Democratic party line when push comes to shove.

The bottom line is that Biden has failed to deliver on his election promises, and Democrats will pay for it in the midterms. It’s extremely likely that Democrats will lose the House of Representatives and the Senate, which means, Biden is done. Senator Mitch McConnell will be back as Senate Majority Leader, and he has made it clear that he will not allow passage of any bills that come from the White House.

IF YOU’RE NOT ANGRY, YOU’RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION!

Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2021

Max Verstappen - 2021 F1 World Drivers Champion

After a season of thrills and spills over the course of 21 races, it comes down to the 22nd and final race in Abu Dhabi, with title contenders, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen level on 369.5 points, meaning the 2021 driver’s title comes down to whoever finishes ahead when the chequered flag falls on Sunday.

The 2021 season has been one that reminds me of great seasons of old, the rivalries like Ayrton Senna Vs Alain Prost, and Michael Schumacher Vs Damon Hill, and I have thoroughly enjoyed this season. Last season I was all ready to give up on F1 with seven years of Mercedes dominance and four years of Red Bull dominance before that, but this season has rejuvenated my love for F1, and I really could not think of a better situation of “winner takes all” to end the season, it’s almost like the FIA scripted it that way!

Ahead of the F1 finale, race director Michael Masi has said that points could be deducted if any driver plays dirty. Which, I believe is definitely aimed at Verstappen, who has everything to gain from taking out Hamilton, with a 9 to 8 race win advantage going into Abu Dhabi, claiming the title on race wins.

The 2021 season has been a season that will be remembered for penalties as much as the action on the track. I would say, as an F1 fan who wants to see wheel-to-wheel action, that it was hard racing, which sometimes ended in contact, ending one or both driver’s races. Penalties and off-track politics have tainted the season, I’m a firm believer in a “let them race” philosophy, not off-track political nonsense.

QUALIFYING

Red Bull pulled a strategic masterstroke in their first run in qualifying, Verstappen fully utilizing the tow from Sergio Perez down the back straight with a perfect entry into turn 9 to set a time that Hamilton could not beat. Hamilton or Mercedes elected to not take advantage of the tow, on both Q3 runs, Hamilton led teammate Valtteri Bottas on track, which in hindsight, probably cost Hamilton pole position.

I think Red Bull will be the happier, with Verstappen on pole and Perez in fourth place, immediately behind Hamilton, while Bottas will start behind Perez in sixth place. Lando Norris qualified his McLaren in third place just 0.016 seconds ahead of Perez, and crucially two places ahead of Carlos Sainz’ Ferrari.

Now, that said, Red Bull took a gamble, Verstappen doing a second, faster run in Q2 on the red marked soft tires after he locked up and flat-spotted his yellow marked medium tires in his first Q2 run. This means that it’s crucial that Verstappen can stay ahead of, and build a gap to Hamilton, who starts on the more durable medium tires, whereas Verstappen starts on the quicker, but faster degrading soft tires.

RACE

What a race, what a season, Max Verstappen is the 2021 world drivers champion, denying Lewis Hamilton a record-breaking 8th title, pending the result of the Mercedes post-race appeals.

Back to the start of the race, Max Verstappen, despite being on soft tires on pole position, lost out to Lewis Hamilton off the line, but came back at Hamilton into turn 6, diving up the inside, pushing Hamilton wide, the Briton made zero effort to rejoin before turn seven, staying on the throttle and rejoining on the straight on the run down to turn 9, while Verstappen stayed on track. The race stewards did not punish Hamilton for gaining a lasting advantage by going off track, they claimed that Hamilton had ceded the time he gained back by the end of the first lap, which I say is bullshit. Verstappen was not 1.1 seconds adrift going into turn six, and was ahead of Hamilton at the apex of turn six, leaving me baffled.

Losing time to Hamilton, Red Bull pitted Verstappen for hard tires on lap 12, Mercedes reacted and pitted Hamilton on lap 13, for the same hard tires. Meanwhile Red Bull left out Sergio Perez to slow down Hamilton, and what an amazing job he did, defending like a lion to get Verstappen within 1.5 seconds of the back of Hamilton. But ultimately it was all for nothing, the Mercedes was just too quick for Red Bull on the same compound and age of tires, Verstappen was losing 0.2 to 0.3 seconds a lap to Hamilton.

Both Hamilton and Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff complained about Perez’s dangerous driving, which I believe stinks of Mercedes privilege, not being challenged for seven years prior to 2021. Race director Michael Masi told Wolff it was hard racing, which it was, and what us racing fans like to see.

On lap 35, Antonio Giovinazzi, in his last race, stopped on track, which caused a virtual safety car, and Red Bull took the opportunity to bring in Verstappen for a second set of hard tires, while Mercedes kept Hamilton out on track. Despite having fresher tires, Hamilton was able to limit the amount of time Verstappen could gain each lap, looking good for an eighth world title, pending any last-minute drama.

And boy, did that last-minute drama come, six laps from the end of the race when Nicholas Latifi put his Williams in the wall, which resulted in a full safety car being deployed. Red Bull rolled the dice one last time, pitting Verstappen for soft tires, putting the Dutchman seventh car on the road, with five lapped cars between him and Hamilton. Initially, the FIA announced that lapped cars cannot pass the safety car, handing Hamilton the driver’s title. But, on the penultimate lap, the FIA reversed that decision, allowing lapped cars to unlap themselves. which put Max immediately behind Lewis as the safety car peeled off into the pits, and Toto Wolff lost his mind, screaming at race director Michael Masi over the radio.

At this point, all the eggs were in Verstappen’s basket, new soft tires, versus 40 lap old hard tires on Hamilton’s car, and Max did not wait long, making the move for the lead at turn 5, and made it stick, Lewis came back at the Dutchman in the run down to turn 9, but could not pass being on the outside of the long left-hander, giving Max his first drivers title, after a hard-fought battle with Hamilton all season.

All credit to Lewis Hamilton, immediately congratulating Max on his maiden world title, and for his words in the post-race interviews. Despite all the team radio words spoken, Lewis was gracious in defeat.

Mercedes’ post-race protest was thrown out by the FIA, of course, Mercedes will appeal. I just hope that after such an amazing season, this is not decided in the courtroom, making a mockery of the sport.


F1: the last few races prove how important the car is for wins!

The last few races prove how important the car is

Following up on my previous post explaining my reasons for believing that Lewis Hamilton is not the GOAT, this post is about how the car is more important than driver skill, based on the last 3 races.

I’m going to start by saying that I believe that Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton are equally matched, and given an equal car would be trading wins back and forth. Sadly, the partisan nature of Hamilton and Verstappen fans means that neither side can acknowledge this, believing their chosen one to be the clearly superior driver. As a neutral, I can acknowledge this and I am enjoying the battle for the title, the first ‘real’ title battle since 2016 when then Mercedes teammate, Rosberg pipped Hamilton to the title.

Going back three races to Mexico, Max Verstappen was dominant and took victory ahead of Hamilton, to extend his World Drivers Championship lead, with Hamilton taking a dig at Sergio Perez saying “When you’ve got Checo on your tail, then you know the car is quick..” in post-race interviews, clearly proving that at the time of the Mexican Grand Prix, Red Bull Racing had a clear advantage in terms of machinery.

Roll forward a week to the Brazilian Grand Prix, now called the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, it was flipped on its head after Hamilton took a fresh internal combustion engine (ICE). Suddenly, Hamilton’s Mercedes was 1/2 second faster than Red Bull, we know that Hamilton did not suddenly become a half-second a lap faster driver than Verstappen, so it has to be down to the fresh ICE in the back of his Mercedes.

Not to take away from Hamilton’s performance, driving from 20th to fifth place in the sprint qualifying on Saturday, after a rear wing DRS infringement sent him to the back of the grid. Then, starting from 10th place in the race on Sunday, after serving a five-place grid penalty for the ICE change, to win the race. But, without a vastly superior car underneath him, even Hamilton would not have made up 25 places over the weekend, basically passing everyone but driver’s title rival Verstappen with relative ease.

Moving forward another week to this weekend’s race in Qatar, another 1/2 second gap in qualifying, Mercedes with a clear car advantage over Red Bull. Verstappen qualified second to Hamilton with a 0.455 of a second advantage, which was compounded by Verstappen’s penalty for not slowing enough for waved yellow flags. The way that Verstappen stormed from seventh to second in a matter of laps, and the way teammate Perez was making overtake after overtake shows how much difference the car makes.

Meanwhile, Hamilton, starting from pole position, was easily out front, carrying over the Brazil performance, and teammate Valtteri Bottas was running in third place after dropping to 11th from sixth on the grid before a tire blowout ultimately caused him to retire. Literally, every other car that is not a Red Bull or Mercedes pales in comparison. The only reason Fernando Alonso claimed a podium finish is the late virtual safety car, neutralizing Perez’s charge back to third place after his final pitstop.

Former F1 driver and commentator Martin Brundle suggested that Mercedes should change Hamilton’s ICE again; if it will give the Briton a boost like Brazil for the final two races. This is because Mercedes ICE has a flaw that causes significant degradation with mileage unlike the Honda engine in the back of the Red Bull, which has little degradation, only having to take an extra ICE due to the Silverstone damage.

In my opinion, the penalty system for engine changes is a joke, if a new ICE can allow a driver to make up 25 positions over the course of a weekend, the five-place grid penalty is a complete and utter joke. In Brazil, former F1 driver and world champion Jenson Button said on Sky Sports practice commentary that it’s the wrong way around, a 10 place drop for the first extra ICE, then a five-place drop for additional extra ICE used incentivizes teams to change ICE simply because the benefit far outweighs the penalty.

The bottom line is that we cannot compare drivers in different chassis and engine combos because performance can fluctuate based on the type of track, aero package, or even the newness of power unit components. This is why I would love to see Formula 1 become a spec series, where the difference maker is car setup and driver skill, not who has the best combination of chassis, aero, and power unit.


Lewis Hamilton: is he the GOAT? I don’t think so!

 Lewis Hamilton: is he the GOAT? I don’t think so!

Lewis Hamilton recently passed 100 race victories, in addition to his seven world drivers titles, which is some feat, I will not deny that he is one of the best drivers, but unlike so many Lewis Hamilton fanatics, I do not think he is the Greatest Of All Time. The argument I always get from Hamilton fans is he is the GOAT because he has the most wins and most titles, making the assumption title #8 is coming soon.

The reason I say he is not the GOAT is that ever since 2014, with the exception of 2016, where his teammate Nico Rosberg narrowly beat him to the title, he has had little to no competition because in the new hybrid V6 turbo era, before 2021, Mercedes were a country mile ahead of the rest of the field in terms of speed and reliability. To be called the GOAT, a driver needs to compete on a level playing field.

in 2014, the first year of the new hybrid V6 turbo era, Hamilton won the title by 67 points from his teammate, Rosberg, and 146 points clear of the 3rd placed driver.  In 2015, it was a similar story, 59 points ahead of his teammate, and 103 points ahead of #3 in the driver’s championship.

In 2017, Valtteri Bottas replaced Rosberg, who retired after winning his only WDC title; as Hamilton’s teammate and Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari finished 2nd to Hamilton, trailing by 46 points. 2018 was another easy win for Hamilton, finishing a massive 88 points ahead of Vettel, that’s a gap of more than 3 race wins. In 2019, Hamilton beat Bottas by 87 points, and in 2020 beat Bottas by a ridiculous 124 points.

Hamilton amassed all these wins and titles thanks to a dominant car, and with respect to Bottas, a lesser teammate. I’m not at all saying that Hamilton is not one of the greats, but put Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, or Max Verstappen in Hamilton’s position at Mercedes and they could have matched Hamilton’s achievement. This is the problem with F1 in my opinion, often you have one team dominant for a number of seasons, before Mercedes, it was Red Bull, and before that it was Ferrari, it’s not necessarily the best driver that wins multiple races and world drivers championships.

The amount of times I have been accused by commenters online of being a racist, because I don’t believe that Hamilton is as great as they do, is insane. Anyone that knows me, knows I’m not racist, if I am, I am doing it really, really wrong, given that my wife of 13 years is black and my kids are mixed race.

I would prefer for every driver to pilot a spec car, where all cars are equal, then we will see who is truly the best. Additionally, I find using pure numbers to crown the GOAT flawed, as over the years, seasons have gotten longer, and the points scoring system has changed significantly. If we went back and worked out title winners based on the old 10, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1 for first through sixth, we’d have different outcomes.

If you are a Lewis Hamilton fan and cannot understand how the Mercedes chassis and engine package has contributed to his huge success, I guess there is nothing I can say or do that will change your mindset. Hamilton could potentially be the GOAT, but given the significant car advantage he has been blessed with from 2014 thru 2020, for me, it’s hard to justify the use of GOAT in regard to Hamilton, when the majority of his peers were not afforded the same Mercedes advantages for the best part of a decade.


COVID-19: Public health should ALWAYS trump personal liberty

COVID-19: Public health should ALWAYS trump personal liberty

Last night I was at the emergency room with my wife, Erin, suffering from another lupus flare, an exceptionally bad one, so much so that Erin was in tears, desperate to stop the pain. This was made worse by the fact that I could not stay with her, to comfort her because of active COVID-19 cases, which statistically are 90%+ unvaccinated, leaving me very frustrated by the selfishness of some people.

The latest in a long line of nonsense is Chicago police unions pushing for their members to refuse to comply with local city mandates regarding reporting of officers’ vaccination status. We can safely assume that if any officer is not willing to divulge their vaccination status privately to superiors, that they are unvaccinated. When an officer accepts their badge, they take a pledge to protect and serve, which, if you are unvaccinated, you cannot abide by, potentially passing on COVID-19 to people they interact with.

Red states like Texas and Florida are the worse perpetrators of COVID-19 misinformation, which has had a knock-on effect of increasing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations more than any other state. Going as far as to actively fight vaccine mandates, and suing school districts if they require a mask to be worn.

I’m reading plenty of stories of people complaining about being fired for refusing to get the vaccine. A surprisingly high number of these people are healthcare workers, who you would think would be the first in line to get vaccinated, seeing the reality of COVID-19 first hand, but it seems common sense is in short supply at this time. I would love to be able to get back to normal, but that will never happen when more than 25% of Americans are anti-vaccination/mask, due to the politicization of vaccines and mask-wearing.

I’m certainly not a particular fan of Joe Biden and his administration, I think he has been ineffective in general, but I 100% support his stance on COVID-19 and vaccine mandates, or regular testing to remain employed by the government, healthcare providers, and within larger private companies.

The double standard among Republicans is astounding, they scream liberty, my body, my choice when it comes to vaccine mandates and wearing a mask inside school buildings, while simultaneously passing laws that control a women’s right to autonomy over her own body, passing ‘heartbeat’ legislation that bans abortion from six weeks, often before a woman knows she’s even pregnant.

I heard an argument in Facebook comments on a news article about the TX heartbeat abortion ban, that you cannot compare abortion to vaccine mandates, as being unvaccinated effects just one person, whereas abortion affects two people. In my view, that is the most uneducated comment that could be made. In the simplest terms, if you are unvaccinated, you are 70-80% more likely to be infected with COVID, and pass it onto family members, including grandparents, who are more likely to be hospitalized or die from Coronavirus. Remember at the start of this pandemic, 20 months ago, when Republicans wanted the older generation to sacrifice themselves to save the economy, very pro-life arent they?

Going back to the first paragraph that inspired this blog, refusing to get vaccinated affects so many more people than YOU, the person who screams my body, my choice. My wife is immunocompromised due to her Fibromyalgia, Lupus, and the drugs she has to take to control these medical conditions, so a visit to the ER can potentially be deadly, especially if medical staff treating COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated. Being sat in the waiting room for 90 minutes, knowing my wife was back there in tears gave me plenty of time to stew in my own thoughts about the selfishness of people, unnecessarily extending this pandemic.

My thoughts during those 90 minutes were most definitely dark, thinking if you refuse to get vaccinated, and you get Coronavirus, hospitals should turn you away, telling you to go home and lay in your bed, which you made, take some Ivermectin, and inject some bleach. Now I have calmed down, obviously, I feel differently, I value life and I want people to live, regardless of their political and ideological views.


Google my Business: what exactly is the point of verification?

Google my Business, what is the point of being verified when your edits are immediately rejected?

I have to deal with Google much more often than I would like as part of my work as an online marketing specialist, and I have expressed frustration on many occasions with Google’s practices including how their review system works, and their canned responses, seemingly not at all reading the support request, in that case, in regard to verifying a property without an onsite mailing address, which is still unresolved.

In this situation, I really question the point of verifying ownership of a business. I have been having issues with changing office hours for a single property, I have been verified and authorized to represent the property for seven weeks, but I am unable to change the office hours, from no hours to the actual hours.

I log into my account, select the property I want to edit, edit the office hours, click apply, and it shows as “Under review“, but when I return to the Google my Business dashboard for the property five minutes later, I see the changes have been rejected, highlighted in orange, and at the top of the page, it reads “This location has updated information from Google users or other sources. Review these published updates to make sure that they’re accurate“, and my only option is “Accept all for this location“.

Google my Business rejected hours

I used the GMB support page to send a message detailing the issues I was having including screenshots, and after days of waiting, a canned response comes back, which is available on their self-service help website. I reply to this email, reiterating the issues I am having, and that the canned response does not help. I wait another couple of days, and another canned response arrives, which, of course, does not help, as I am unable to reject the Google updates, only edit again, which gets rejected minutes later.

I sent a reply to the second canned response, further expanding on the issues I am having. This time including that I am having the same issue with another recently verified property, asserting that this is a system problem, as I doubt that a human has reviewed and rejected my office hours change in a matter of minutes. Today, I received a third message, saying that my case has been escalated to a specialist, let’s see where this goes, it should not be this difficult to make a simple change to a verified business profile.

For me, the point of being verified is that you can make instant changes to your Google presence as required, not having to jump through the hoops of simply suggesting an edit, which can be done by anyone. You would think that Google would want accurate information on their search and maps websites, yet, on two properties, information is far from correct, and I cannot believe that I’m the only person having this issue. How many people edited their hours and didn’t go back to check that those edits had been applied, assuming that being verified would mean edits would automatically go live.

UPDATE (NOV, 2 2021): STILL BROKEN!

I left off by saying that my case had been escalated, and a few days later, I got an email saying;

Please be apprised that I had raised this issue to the specialist team and as per the suggestion from the relevant team, the issue has been resolved and the changes might take 24-48 hours to go live on Google Maps. Please allow that much time for the changes to appear on Google Maps. ”

It is now 12 days later and yep, you guessed it, the hours edits are still being rejected within five minutes. The weird thing is that I can change anything else on this affected business profile, but not the hours. So, it’s time to write another response to support, explaining that their fix does literally nothing.

UPDATE (NOV, 9 2021): BULLSHIT EXCUSES, GOOGLE WON’T HELP!

Another week has passed, and I got a final response, which in the simplest of terms says “your business cannot set hours”, which makes zero sense, read on after the quoted text for why I believe this is true.

November 9, 2021, final response from Google my Business

“Please be apprised that business hours for certain types of businesses, including those with varied hours (like schedules for different types of activities, including showtimes, worship services, or classes) and those that operate only by appointment may not be displayed on some of the platforms even though you have entered hours on your Google Business Profile dashboard. Examples of business that may not display business hours include, but are not limited to: hotels and motels, apartment buildings/complexes, movie theaters, emergency rooms, schools and universities, transportation services, airports, event venues, and natural features.

Why do I believe it’s a bullshit excuse? well, there is a sister property with a Google business profile, 1 mile away, and I have zero issues updating those hours. This screams of “we can’t find the problem, so we are going to blame your business type”. But what can I do? I can edit every other aspect of the profile, just not the opening hours. The hours are static, Monday thru Friday, 9:00am to 12:00pm, 1:00pm to 4:00pm, which is not varied, or by appointment. If it were consistent, where none of our properties could set hours, I’d not have an issue, but that is not the case, it affects two specific properties only!

This is exactly why I hate using 3rd party websites, where I have no control over how information is displayed, or not, or even removed without notice, it’s their sandbox, they choose who can play in it!


Windows 11, why not support 4+ year old CPUs?

Windows 11, why not support 4+ year old CPUs

Windows 11 was officially released on October 5, 2021, but many people will be disappointed that only AMD Ryzen ZEN+ (2000 series), or Intel 8th generation or newer processors will be actively supported. Not to say you cannot do a clean install of Windows 11 from USB on older hardware, but Microsoft is unlikely to provide updates for people running Ryzen 1000 or Intel 7th generation CPUs.

These CPU compatibility recommendations confuse me as Microsoft’s official system requirements for Windows 11 is 1Ghz+ 64-bit dual-core processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB, or larger storage, DX12 compatible graphics, and a 720p display, in addition to UEFI secure boot and TPM (trusted platform module) 2.0.

Windows 11 minimum specifications

All AMD and Intel Core CPUs made in the past 10 years exceed this specification, the only issue I see is that motherboards that support older processors may not support TPM 2.0. In my case, my Asus ROG Crosshair VI Hero motherboard does support secure boot and TPM 2.0, yet my Ryzen 1800X is not supported despite exceeding the minimum specification by 3.6 times based on the base clock speed.

Anyone with experience with new Windows releases knows that the first few iterations of the operating system have stability and functionality issues, knowing it’s best to wait for six to twelve months before upgrading. I would not recommend installing Windows 11 on unsupported processors IF Microsoft will not allow for security, stability, and functionality updates, as you’ll be stuck with a dodgy build of the OS.

I think this is a mistake on the part of Microsoft, as people are not upgrading to newer hardware as frequently as they used to because CPU improvements have been incremental, giving minimal improvements in performance over several generations. My 4 ½ year old Ryzen 1800X is still more than meeting my needs, even with the latest Adobe updates, I see zero slowdowns or problems.

The question I ask Microsoft is what is in the Ryzen 2700X that is not in my Ryzen 1800X that might cause damage to my system? the Ryzen 2000 series is evolved ZEN architecture with a 2nm die shrink.

However, this has got me thinking, maybe I should upgrade to a Zen 2 based processor, the 3000 series. I can buy a Ryzen 3800X (8 core, 16 thread) for around $320, or a Ryzen 3900X (12 core, 24 thread) for $430. It would be great to be able to upgrade to a Zen 3 (5000 series) processor, but that would require a motherboard upgrade too, my ROG Crosshair VI Hero board only supports up to Zen 2 processors.

I will still not be installing Windows 11 even if I do upgrade to ZEN 2, I use this machine to earn a living so I cannot be taking a risk on an unproven operating system when Windows 10 has been very solid.