Happy Birthday To Me, I’m 39

Another birthday in which I was too busy to write on my blog. This time busy with good things – my birthday was on Saturday and my girlfriend organized a great trip to the desert, which included a picnic on the edge of a rock with a great view to the dead sea.

As I traditionally do, here’s a short look back at the past year:

  • The previous romance ended and a new one started. I’m again very happy :)
  • I went to 4 Prodigy shows (#17 and #18, #19, #20.) Always a good thing. And I already booked the next one.
  • I made some changes to my diet. I actually made some more since. I should write about those too.
  • It’s also been one year working at E8 Storage (the website will be updated soon) and I’m very happy there. A job that you actually like cannot be overrated.

To sum up, life has been kind to me. The dreaded 40 is now less than a year away. I wonder what kind of a midlife crisis I will experience :)

Trying To Eat Slow

Following my so-far successful Diet Coke rehab, I decided to try another nutrition-related self improvement.

If you know me, you know that I eat very fast. I’m almost always the first to finish a meal, and not because I eat less than everyone else. So I decided to try and change that. This isn’t the first time I’ve tried this, but so far it’s the most successful attempt.

Over the past two weeks I started eating much slower. The first week was very tough – it required me to concentrate all my thoughts and will power whenever I ate, just to make sure I wasn’t stuffing food into my mouth without noticing. Also, my stomach had to adjust. At first it was aching to get more food faster, and it was extremely hard to resist its calling.

Eating slower is supposed to be healthier, more enjoyable and help with weight loss by allowing the stomach and the intestine to notify the brain about being full. I hope to be able to make this a habit that I don’t have to think about.

My 20th Prodigy Show – Hallenstadion Zürich, Switzerland, 14-Nov-2015

About a week ago I traveled to Switzerland for 24 hours to see The Prodigy for the 20th time. I went by myself, so this time I could go up front for a change. It was brutal. The youth in Zürich have a lot of pent up anger in them or something, because they created mosh pits throughout the entire show, even when it didn’t really make sense.

I enjoyed the enthusiasm – people were crashing into each other ans smiling, but obviously I’m not exactly at the age where this still appeals to me. So next time I think I’ll keep some distance from the front rows :)

I also got to see the rap/hip-hop legends Public Enemy, who were great at getting the crowd to jump and shout.

I couldn’t find a lot of great footage from this show, so here’s official footage from The Prodigy, filmed during a show in Russia.

Diet Coke Rehab

The 8 readers of this blog probably know that I drink a lot of Diet Coke. It’s been my main beverage for a few years now. I always said that I’m allowed one vice, and drinking Diet Coke isn’t so bad as such. But I knew that some day I would have to give it up.

So two weeks ago I quit drinking Diet Coke and switched to water. I did it after reading about some recent research regarding artificial sweeteners and specifically Aspartame. The research is still inconclusive, but it seems that people who drink artificially sweetened drinks tend to gain weight, and it has also been observed that most of the gained weight is in the form of abdominal fat, something I noticed was happening to me. My liver is probably also overworked from having to deal with the huge amounts of Aspartame I was letting it handle.

The first few days of recovery weren’t easy. My head hurt very badly on the first day, probably waiting for the usual dose of Aspartame or Caffeine. The week following that was also not great, but not nearly as bad. As far as I can tell, I don’t have any recovery symptoms at the moment.

Apart from water I also drink some milk with cereal and very rarely I would drink a freshly squeezed juice. But water is what I mostly drink, and I drink a lot of it. Right now it’s still hot, so drinking water is easy. I will consider myself recovered if a year passes and I haven’t had any sweetened drink (artificially or with sugar.)

My 19th Prodigy Show – Rockwave Festival, Athens, Greece, 4-Jul-2015

Amidst very tough times in Greece, The Prodigy came to headline Rockwave Festival on its 20th anniversary. My ticket was bought months in advance. I wonder whether I would have bought it, had I known this was going to be the situation over there.

I’m happy I went. A longtime online Greek friend of mine and a huge Prodigy fan himself, GL0WKiD met me as soon as I landed in Athens and showed me around the city, avoiding the police and army personnel and the protests, which had the potential of becoming violent.

The gig itself was intense. The Prodigy were the only non-metal band performing, which meant many metal heads were looking to enjoy The Prodigy’s show the only way they know how – aggressively. On the other hand, there was quite a lot of room to move around, so GL0WKiD, his friends and I really enjoyed it.

I Removed Dindy From The Play Store

Dindy was very useful to me and (probably) to a few hundreds of people around the world. I enjoyed mainly reading the good reviews it got and getting supportive emails from users. But the reality is that since Android 5 Google has been making its own steps into the Do Not Disturb game, and even more so in the next version, Android M.

The changes in Android 5 already made Dindy less useful, by not allowing developers to put the phone in real silent mode. If you weren’t careful about who you select as a favorite contact, that would clash with Dindy’s settings. Android 5.0 specifically has bugs that prevent Dindy from working properly at all, and I had to apologize for that to a couple of users. These bugs were fixed in 5.1.

In Android M, Google basically implemented Dindy, with the exception of automatic SMS replies and some extra customizations that I doubt anyone was using. That doesn’t seem to be enough to justify an investment for users in an app to manage Do Not Disturb modes, or for me to keep adapting the app to Google’s changes in every Android release.

The first version of Dindy worked on Android 1.5 and I’ve changed it continuously to work with newer versions of Android over the years. Recently, in its peak usage, Dindy had around 1200 installations globally. That’s a very low number. My guess is that only a few hundreds of those were actually using it.

Unfortunately, Google still doesn’t get phone volume controls right. One thing that is very unclear is that if you want to switch the phone to vibrate, you should not lower the volume until it reaches vibrate mode. The result of doing that is lowering the phones ring volume to the minimum and then telling the phone that it should be on vibrate. If you have anyone important that you’d like to get past vibrate and ring, now your phone will ring in a very low volume. The correct way to switch to vibrate mode in stock Android 5+ is to click the volume button to see the volume controls and then tap the bell icon to switch to vibrate.

Apple got that right in the iPhone, by the way. Maybe Google will get it right in Android N.