Locking Down Facebook...

I’ve been seeing many articles about “how to lockdown the privacy on your Facebook profile” after the Cambridge Analytica story. I’ve already done most of what these articles recommend, except I haven’t deleted my “advertising interests.” These “interests” are what Facebook records about users as they interact with the app. My interests ranged from beer (duh), to Progressivism, to the color purple. Facebook say they build these profiles about users to better serve advertising to their interests, but we all know that this is all about collecting as much data about their users as possible to offer to advertisers. I’m not completely against this, but there was a lot of detail about what I liked and disliked (outside of pages I actually clicked “like”), and that kind of creeped me out.

So, this morning I decided to delete every interest point, one-by-one, which was quite the tedious task. There were around 600 different things of “interest to me” and I deleted them all.

Honestly, I enjoy the convenience of Facebook, especially for planning events, using Messenger, and just keeping up with friends. I really don’t want to delete my profile, even though I know my profile exists on Facebook to ultimately allow them to extract data about me for advertisers. I don’t mind giving Facebook some of that data, but it’s a hell of a lot of information they’re giving to advertisers if someone has their privacy settings for everything on Facebook set to default.

Since I stopped making my posts public and un-friending toxic people, Facebook has been OK for me. Would I like an alternative? Sure I would. But, for now, I’m keeping Facebook locked down as much as I can until the time comes where Facebook is no longer relevant, if that time ever comes at all...

Weight Loss, Plateaus, and The Magic Number.

Today, I hit 65 pounds of total weight loss since beginning in October of 2017. But for the past couple of weeks, I've been holding steady at 193-197 pounds. While 191 is a mere two pounds less than 193, I'm stoked about it!

But now, I feel like I've plateaued a bit. I believe this is for a couple of reasons:

First, I started having beers during the week again, and I've brought dessert back into my life. When I began my weight loss regiment, I wanted to hit an ideal weight and then start incorporating "normals" back into my diet, while still eating healthy and running at least 20 miles per week. Beer was something I cut out entirely on weekdays and I now know that doing this was a big contributor to my weight loss. I've now hit my "goal," so the beer and desserts are back (Yay!). I'm not going overboard with it, limiting my intake to two or so beers every other day. I'm loose with it, but I'm still monitoring and logging the calories and carbs I drink (the best I can).

Second, I've been steadily running around 23 miles per week. At this point, it isn't difficult for me to hit this goal, but I'm starting to feel like I need to run more and step up the cardio a bit.

While I'm happy with my weight loss thus far, I'd really like to be in the 180's, which means I need to effectively lose just seven to ten more pounds.

My weight spiked a few pounds last week when I was sick and couldn't exercise, and the outdoor runs I did after the sickness were slower and shorter than usual, which I expected. The "spike" was just normal weight fluctuation as far as I can tell, but it caused me to start the week at a higher weight than I would have preferred.

Now, to address this plateau...

My new goal is to run 30-35 miles per week while still drinking beer during the week and tweaking my diet to bring in even more calories. I feel that running more and eating more will lead to a slower, more gradual weight loss, and I won't have an exercise/calorie/nutrition imbalance. (But, I'm no expert...)

With my new work schedule, I'm getting more sleep during the week (two hours more per night, Monday through Friday), waking up early enough to run three miles before work while still allowing me to do a faster two mile sprint/run after work, totaling five miles per day. I plan to keep the weekend to 3-5 miles of running. I've been doing this for the last week or so and I love it. The runs after work are great and take about 17 minutes.

So, that's where I am. I'm hoping to crack the 180's in a week or so, and maybe maintain 185 in 3-5 weeks. I'm feeling great and running strong!

Speakers On/In Your Ears

I bought some new headphones. But before I get into that, let's take a step back...

The first expensive pair of Bluetooth headphones I purchased were the Beats by Dre Solo3 on-ear headphones, mainly because I like the way the headphones sound, and because these were the first Apple headphones to ship with the magical W1 chip. Overall, they're great! Connectivity is reliable between multiple devices and I love the sound. What I don't like is that the Solo3s are on-ear headphones that literally rest on my ears instead of around them. Over time, I've learned that this style of headphone isn't comfortable for me, mainly because I wear eye glasses. After about 20 minutes, my ears start to hurt where the cup of the headphone meet the top of my ear where the frame of glasses lay behind my ear. Unfortunately, I rarely wear these headphones anymore for this reason alone.

Next up, Apple AirPods. I love them! They are great for general use and for exercising, although if you expose them to sweat, over time the metal mesh on the microphones tend to corrode due to the way they charge in their handy, petite case. I've also experienced some general connectivity issues and problems connecting to different Apple devices on the fly. I generally don't experience this with the Solo3 headphones. The AirPods are also having issues making contact with the electrodes in the case after I wear them. Remember when you used to blow into a Nintendo cartridge to make it work when inserted into the console? Yeah--I need to do the same to my AirPods case. I need to blow into it to make the headphones charge. Perhaps this, in combination with residual sweat, is causing the corrosion on the microphone mesh, but it's all I can do to get the individual AirPods to successfully charge. Outside of these issues, I really like the AirPods, both in terms of portability and overall functionality.


Enter the Bose QC 35 II Bluetooth over-the-ear headphones. After watching many YouTube headphone reviews, I decided to drop the $350 (ouch) and try them out.

They're comfortable. They're very comfortable. The pressure felt on my ears from the Solo3 headphones is gone since the QC 35 II headphones are over-the-ear instead of on-the-ear. They're also pleasantly light weight.

Bluetooth pairing is straightforward and they quickly connect to all paired devices almost immediately after they're powered on. The range on these headphones is just alright. The AirPods actually have great range, while the Bose leave a bit to be desired.

Battery life seems solid. I've been using them every day in the evening for an hour or so for the last week (after a full initial charge) and they're currently at 75% charge.

Sound quality is fantastic when the noise cancellation is on high, which I guess makes sense, but I didn't expect the low end quality to take such a hit when the noise cancellation is off. The volume and play/pause controls are easy to get to and have good tactility, and the dedicated noise cancellation button is fine. The button can also be mapped to work with Google Assistant on both Android and iOS, but I found that I never really used it and it's easier to just long-press on the play/pause button to initiate Siri. Using your voice to initiate Siri also works well. The noise cancellation is really good. Noise cancellation wasn't a priority for me when I decided to buy these, but it's a luxurious bonus.

All this being said, I feel like $350 is a lot for these headphones. Sure, they're at the same price point as Beats and Sony offerings, but I also think those are too expensive! That being said, I'm very happy with them and really enjoy them.