My Favourite Gadgets

an old gadget I’m not really much of a gadget person – I used to work with someone that seemed to have a new gadget every week. I think a lot of people get fooled into thinking that a gadget might help them with productivity – but in the end, productivity is really dependent on your work ethic and how badly you want to get something done.

There are all sorts of things sold today that promise to enrich our lives, increase productivity, and give us more fun – but I’ve found that most gadgets really don’t do much of anything except offer a bit of fun or interest for a few hours or a few days, and then get relegated to some drawer. So I don’t own too many of them.

I recall when Palm Pilots became all the rage. Up to that point, I had been using a Franklin Day Planner for planning my days, weeks, months and year… and thought that maybe a Palm Pilot would make things more efficient. I could write out a to-do list, and only write it once! With a Franklin Day Planner, I was writing out my to-do list on a daily basis – often many to-do items aren’t completed but are still priorities and would become an item the next day.

So it seemed that not having to write out a “Daily Task List,” as Franklin terms it, every single day, might be much more efficient. But in the end, I did not find that. There is something about actually physically writing things out that seems to have an impression on the brain that is more effective than glancing at or reading over a To-Do list that might have been created days previously.

I ended up going back to my paper based Franklin Day planner – and still use it to this day, in 2016. But there are some gadgets I love:

My Mobile Phone

I have a Samsung Galaxy S5. And it’s loaded with apps. Apps like:

  • Snapchat
  • FB Messenger
  • Personal Banking Apps
  • Yahoo Messenger
  • Skype
  • A multitude of web browsers
  • May My Ride cycling app
  • Flipboard
  • Evernote
  • SHealth

And so many more!

But you know what? I hardly ever use any of them. When I’m away from my office, I will use a browser from time to time to find some vital information I might need. Sometimes, I’ll use FB Messenger but it’s rare; when I am away from the office I don’t really want to be on Facebook or responding to FB messages. I’m usually busy with other things. SHealth looks interesting, but I don’t need an app to tell me I need to walk more.

Basically, I use my phone to make calls and send and receive the odd text message. I don’t even text that much. I really find texting annoying for the most part, and good communications cannot be carried out via texts. I also don’t like the keyboard emulation of any small device.

But I’m never without my cell phone; being able to be in touch with my kids or clients while away from my office land line is very important to me – but I still prefer to talk on a “real phone” though.

But it is a gadget that is important to me.

Lightning Detector

“A lightning detector??” you ask. I know, eh? Who would think about a lightning detector as a favourite gadget? Well, I love to do a lot of fly fishing and spend a great deal of time outdoors, and often this time is spent during hot and humid weather here in my part of the world, when thunderstorms can sometimes blow in pretty quickly. And believe me – waving a graphite fishing rod around during times of electrical atmospheric activity is probably not the safest thing to do.

But not even fly fishing, but even out hiking on nearby trails, it’s good to know when thunderstorms might be close by. Obviously, the weather reports will often provide a forecast that includes “risk of a thunderstorm,” but that may or may not occur. A simple risk of one is not always good enough to keep me from going outdoors – but if that risk becomes high when I’m out there, I want to know. So… a personal lightning detector is something that gives me some comfort. I love to watch lightning, but I don’t want to be watching it from the bank of the lake or the river! I’d prefer to watch it from a place that is safe and that I can take cover in.

My Canon Camera

I’ve always had a fascination with photography ever since I was a kid. Do you remember the old Pentax Spotmatics? I had one! I loved it! I used it.. a LOT. When I started high school, I was so happy there was a “camera club” and the school had a dark room, where I learned to develop 35 mm film and then print to photo paper. Eventually, I sold the Pentax and moved on to a Yashica, which I also liked – and still have rolls of undeveloped 35 mm film around that I wonder what is on them. I’m not even sure it would be worthwhile these days to try to find a developer of the old films I have.

In about 1999, my business had need for a digital camera and I picked up a Nikon Cool Pix – one of the best available at the time. Indeed, I still think of how awesome that camera was and the fact that it had a tilt mechanism built into it. That was actually a pretty cool feature, and my business partner and I at the time, used that camera for some product photography and put together a large print brochure for a client. And since about 1999, I’ve not ever used my Yashica, although I still have it along with a bag of lenses, filters, and other things I used to use.

Today, I have a Canon that is not the best in the world, but it’s better than the the camera in my Galaxy phone. At least I think so.. the Galaxy thinks my eyes are brown, whereas the Canon knows they are blue.

It’s not the best camera in the world, and maybe one of these days I’ll upgrade, but for my purposes, it does just fine.

And you know what? That is about all the gadgets I own. I do have a remote for my TV, and my Android box.. but I hardly ever use them. So they’re not really worth much of a mention.

What about you? What are your must have gadgets and what gadgets could you do without?

The Rot Isn’t In The McDonald’s…It’s In The Education

mcdonaldsYesterday, I noticed that many of my friends and associates on Facebook where sharing some post by the owner of a Chiropractic clinic in Alaska, a Jennifer Lovdahl. Ms Jennifer Lovdahl is listed as a doctor on their chiropractic clinic website – http://www.movewellalaska.com/ and apparently graduated from the Palmer College of Chiropractic in Iowa.

The post by Dr. Lovdahl that so many of my Facebook associates were sharing contained a photo of a meal apparently purchased six years ago from McDonald’s, containing Chicken McNuggets and french fries. Dr. Lovdahl wrote in her post:

“It’s been 6 years since I bought this “Happy Meal” at McDonald’s. It’s been sitting at our office this whole time and has not rotted, molded, or decomposed at all!!! It smells only of cardboard. We did this experiment to show our patients how unhealthy this “food” is. Especially for our growing children!! There are so many chemicals in this food! Choose real food! Apples, bananas, carrots, celery….those are real fast food.”
~ Source

I am astonished that a so-called “doctor” would publish such tripe. You would think that anyone today that is a graduate of a college that bestows the degree of Doctor, and that college is involved in human sciences, would have at least taught their students some basic chemistry as well as The Scientific Method.

Or perhaps Dr. Lovdahl is aware of The Scientific Method and some basic chemistry, but chooses to promote her own biases using the respect that most people would give a person with the degree of Doctor bestowed upon them. Whatever the case may be, this is where the rot is, and I can tell you why Dr. Lovdahl observed no rot in the McDonald’s food.

Let’s look at Dr. Lovdahl’s original post: “We did this experiment to show our patients how unhealthy this “food” is.”

How does this experiment show any such thing? It doesn’t show that it is “unhealthy” nor does it show, as Dr. Lovdahl claims that “there are so many chemicals in this food.” There likely ARE many chemicals in the food; but not in the way Dr. Lovdahl is trying to suggest. Everything that exists has a chemical makeup. Even apples. There is nothing sinister going on here whatsoever.

Now, if Dr. Lovdahl truly respected science (and apparently, the college she graduated from claims to hold integrity and science as high values), she would have conducted her experiment using multiple meals, as well as control subjects. For example, she might have made up some french fried potatoes at home, reduced their moisture level through freezing or refrigeration, (using only organic potatoes, of course!), deep fried them without the addition of any other chemicals but for a sprinkling of salt, put it in a bag and stuck in a dry cupboard for six years along with her McDonald’s purchased meal.

Now there’s an experiment that’s closer to reality.

Or, if she wants to compare apples, bananas, and carrots, she could have also dehydrated those, deep fried them, stuck them in a cupboard for six years, and checked to see if she found rot.

I suggest you try it at home before you go believing Dr. Lovdahl. Here’s some facts for you:

Food preservation can be done by reducing moisture and adding salt. Anything deep fried would have a lot of water moisture driven out of it, and replaced by oil. Now, the oil could go rancid if left for six years, open to the air, but you would not see this. But you would probably have food that appeared to have withstood the element of time, and showed little or no rot.

This experiment does not prove that this is not “healthy food,” nor does it prove that lots of chemicals were added to the food by McDonald’s. It is shameful that a person with the title “Doctor” would try to persuade you that her experiment was somehow a valid experiment. It’s not. It’s actually.. anti-science.

Food rot depends on a number of different things, including levels of moisture. Foods that have low to no water moisture and that are kept in a dry place, will not rot at the same rate as high moisture foods and in fact, can withstand against rot for a very long time depending on the conditions they are kept in. Does a doctor involved in human health not know this very basic fact?? It does not require the addition of any sinister chemicals to keep food from rotting.

Dr. Lovdahl owes her fans an apology for attempting to show something in a non-scientific manner, but present it to novices in such a way that it may be a valid experiment.

Or perhaps Dr. Lovdahl was never taught the scientific method. In that case, any person who has graduated from the Palmer College of Chiropractic is suspect, and I would not want to be treated by any graduate of theirs.

I have some challenges for Dr. Lovdahl:

Challenge 1:

Purchase the finest organic potatoes you can find. Cut them into “chip” (as called in the UK) or “french fry” shapes. Freeze them.

Heat up the finest healthiest oil in a deep fryer. Take frozen raw french fries and deep fry them until they are cooked. Remove french fries, allow oil to drain, sprinkle with salt, place in a paper bag, put in a cupboard in a dry place.

Come back and tell us what you see.

Challenge 2:

Dr. Lovdahl compares the McDonald’s meal to “real food” such as “apples, bananas and carrots.”

Okay, apples have a higher level of moisture than potatoes; if left out of some preserving condition, they will rot in a short amount of time, definitely less than six years. But here’s what I want you to do: Dehydrate the apples to the same moisture level as potatoes after cutting them into chip shapes. Freeze them. Then take them out of the freezer and deep fry them. Remove from the deep fryer, sprinkle some salt, put in a bag, and leave in a dry place for six years. Tell me what you see. Tell me if you will conclude the apples must have had chemicals added to them.

I doubt Dr. Lovdahl will take up the challenge. But if the good doctor wants to have some semblance of scientific credibility, the good doctor ought to take up the challenge, along with having some control subjects, as a proper scientific experiment would have.

I am sure Dr. Lovdahl means well, but pushing pseudo-science onto people, and pushing it in such a way that it apparently proves or shows something, is utterly irresponsible. I would hope that any regulatory agency or the good doctor’s school that apparently values integrity will have a little chat with the doctor about scientific integrity, and making false claims while using the title of Doctor, as apparently happened at the Chiropractic clinic.

The rot is not in the McDonald’s food; the rot is in the critical thinking skills that seem to be no longer taught these days.

I actually do quite of food preservation with my son – including dehydrating, fermentation, and canning – perhaps Dr. Lovdahl might be interested in learning more, and about food chemistry.