Installing Audacity without (Ubuntu) Snap packages and Error -9985

TL;DR Answer was found here. https://askubuntu.com/questions/1426476/ubuntu-22-04-audacity-does-not-show-up-in-pulseaudio-recording-tab

sudo apt install audacity -y

Admittedly, the process of trying to lay down and run Audacity initially gave me a bit of grief.

Wanted to install Audacity on my freshly laid down copy of Ubuntu 22.04 and all the references I could find of Audacity was to either install using “Snap” or “Flatpak”. Was apprehensive about Snap versions of any software and recall having grief with Audacity Snap before on my older machine giving me vague errors (e.g error -9985) about being unable to save or being unable to listen to a particular recording device. “Going Transport” –> “Rescan Audio Devices” did absolutely squat.

Even went back into Ubuntu Store and enabled all permissions on Audacity with again, nil effect. Appears nothing has changed (at the time of writing this post) two years on. As a Ubuntu user, I don’t have an overall very good impression of Snap at all having had issues with other Snap packages including with Flameshot (a screenshot tool) being unable to save to the Picture directory.

 

Installing Audacity without (Ubuntu) Snap packages and Error -9985

GMail’s Spam Filter failing to stop obvious spam

Very perplexed that Google’s GMail Spam Filter is failing to pick up and stop very obvious Spam Mails in recent months. The spam Emails are usually titled with the subject Confirmation! Or ConfirmationReceipt! (no space in between) and 4 numbers behind that.

While I know this is unlikely, It almost as if it feels like that Google / GMail is deliberately letting these through because no amount of mashing the “This is spam” button on such Emails with in GMail’s interface appears to have any effect and these Emails continue to land in my GMail account’s inbox.

What is even more perplexing is that my Main domain Email account (Hosted with another Email provider) which I forward all my incoming GMail Emails to is able to recognize these as Spam and file it in the Spam Folder.

Regardless, am gradually moving to “De-Google” as much as possible over the coming year or two.

GMail’s Spam Filter failing to stop obvious spam

Desire to Travel is in a lull

Admittedly, my desire to travel anywhere is in a definite lull at the moment. I’m anticipating it will come back at some point, but I ain’t going to try and force it back. May be accommodation and general travel costs is impacting this a bit.

Might do some day or short overnight trips somewhere these Holidays depending on availability of accommodation / tent sites and depending on how I feel. Again, I’m not going to force it. Will spend my holidays how I see fit.

Desire to Travel is in a lull

Google reviews being hidden from public view (Shadow-banned)

There’s been a bit of an issue in more recent months where Reviews posted to Google Maps aren’t being made public. They appear for the review’s author while they are logged in, but if you log out or view the same business listings in incognito mode, the reviews aren’t displayed. This appears to go regardless for reviews that are either positive, neutral or negative.

Got someone at Google to investigate, but it feels like I’m being strung along. Appears Google deployed some rather crude and improperly set up Artificial Inteligence (AI) / Machine learning (ML) Algorithm (which is rather imprecise and inaccurate) in a botched attempt to moderate their review platform and battle fake reviews which has resulted in swaves of legitimate reviews also getting nuked.

Unfortunately, for affected reviewers, there is no way to either appeal or upload eveidence to support the authenticity of one’s experience. At the same, if you discover fake reviews, there is no way to upload evidence of such, only simply flag them which is frankly and utterly useless.

In the meantime, I’m encouraging people not to bother lending too much weight towards Google Reviews for any purchasing decisions going forward. Their automated vetting processes haven’t left me with confidence in it’s accuracy because pragmatically there aren’t enough inputs nor data points for such a system to make a sound enough decision on the authenticity of reviews.

Google reviews being hidden from public view (Shadow-banned)

Warning regarding “3M Command” type hanging hooks

Please be aware the use of M3 Command or similar picture hooks can still cause damage to walls when one attempts to take them off. Had a case where a tenant (who has otherwise been excellent) while vacating a property tried to remove one of the hooks and ended up taking some paint with it. The property manager got their nominated handy man in to address it but saw in the property owner’s transaction statement I received later in the month that the cost of repair came to almost $300 (from looking at a copy of the Tradie’s invoice). Whether the charge is reasonable or not, I wouldn’t know as I’m not a tradie.

I now learn that other property owners on various private forums have suggested to their tenants to avoid the use of 3M Command type hooks as they can ultimately cause more damage than regular Picture Hanging hooks if they aren’t removed “correctly” which by itself seems rather subjective.

If you do a search for reviews regarding 3M Command hooks, it appears there’s a few repeating anecdotes suggesting that they may not be all they are cracked up to be so if you do choose to still use them for hanging stuff around the house (be it for your own home or a rental), do so with due care and awareness that the risk of damage is still present.

Warning regarding “3M Command” type hanging hooks

Smile Dental Ormiston Auckland – Patient Review

After Hill Park Dental East Tamaki and Panmure both closed unbeknownst to me, ran around looking for a new dentist to regularly visit. Have decided to settle on using Smile Dental Ormiston for ongoing teeth cleaning and periodontal monitoring and already been to this practice a number of times now.

Pricing I feel is quite reasonable. 200 to 250 for teeth cleaning. Gum pockets appear to be slowly reducing.

May Yee Sim is the dentist I usually see, having originally seen her at the Smile Dental – Sylvia Park Branch. Also saw Karis Ho for sore gum condition. Appreciate both their positive and friendly attitude.

One advantage with Smile Dental over other Dental practices is that they are open on the weekends without surcharge. This is immensely handy as it means I don’t have to arrange time out of my busy work week to go see the dentist.

Was originally a little bit concern regarding Smile Dental being a chain, but experiences appear to have been fine so far with nothing reasonable to fault about any of my experiences themselves to date.

The only thing that can really be pointed out is their Group wide website has a few spelling mistakes and may need a bit of proof reading. Statements such as “Your dental specialist may prescribe you see a periodontitis” did give me a little bit of a quiet chuckle.

 

Smile Dental Ormiston Auckland – Patient Review

Who are “Restore Passenger Rail” anyway?

Keep hearing in the news this Wellington area based group of activists named “Restore Passenger Rail” gluing themselves to Roading infrastructure and being militant in their climate change activism.

From what I’ve seen, it appears they are more about climate change in general rather than solely focussed on bringing back our passenger train network. I think they need to rename their group to reflect their current end aims.

To be honest, if Climate change is their concern and while I do support increasing our use of Rail, I’m thinking there are other issues and aspects of living that can be considered for example continuing to encourage flexi-working from home. Taking an interest in urban planning (may be promote more highrise apartment living?), reducing mindless consumption (buying) of material goods that people don’t need (e.g needless replacing their clothing / outfit every few months) in a reduce, reuse, and recycling fashion among other possible initiatives to name a few.

Who are “Restore Passenger Rail” anyway?

Reducing reliance on Google Further

Admittedly, my view of Google / Alphabet’s conduct in general is dimming and quickly headed towards the same level of regard I hold of Facebook / Meta.

Current Google products that I still use and rely on in some capacity include…

  • Android O/S
  • Google Play Store.
  • Google Keep
  • Google Maps (Please avoid allowing Google Reviews to influence purchasing decisions)
  • Google Translate.
  • YouTube (occasionally consumption only – with Ad blocking)
  • Google Search (increasingly been replaced with a combination of Brave Search and DuckDuckGo)

Will be looking to ditch Google Keep over the Christmas break. Other services I will look to phase out over the coming years in favour of alternatives should those alternatives become viable. I acknowledge it may not be possible to ditch Google entirely and at best, simply restrain or limit where practical the usage of Google’s services.

Google Workspace (including Gmail, Calendar), Google Chrome Browser (All platforms), Google Drive, Google Photos, Google Chromecast and Google Chat products have already been largely ditched

Google Reviews should no longer be trusted in any capacity and should be best avoided in basing any purchasing decisions off. When looking up any given business on Google, pay little regard to it’s star rating or reviews as I’ve found Google reviews completely flooded out with Review fraud and manipulation. Please use other sources.

Reducing reliance on Google Further

Raspberry Pi controversy on Twitter, Mastodon

Appears they’ve hired some ex-surveilience / police guy and people are none too happy with this. See here for tweets and here for toots. Appears whoever looks after the Raspberry Pi Social media accounts are blocking people for voicing any criticism and people are none to happy with the snarky replies from the Raspberry Pi account.

Will circle back and have a read into it further later on and then consider my position.

Raspberry Pi controversy on Twitter, Mastodon

DJR Pumbling Auckland Client Review – High quality, Responsive, More expensive.

Used DJR Plumbing / David Roche to Install a new Rheem Stellar 160 replacing the old Vulcan Freeloader 300 back in June 2022. including new slab, external piping, fittings and connections. New water cylinder so far working great.

Total price paid $4038 (Includes gas certificate)

DJR may not be the cheapest, but did appreciate the professional, approachable and can do attitude throughout. Very responsive to communication, probably the best I’ve seen from any tradesperson. Punctual, arrived to do the job on time at the times he stated the following day.

There was a minor leak to the existing distribution pipe discovered afterwards, David very obligingly came back that same morning (after notifying him) where he resolved it without fuss. The Owner’s manual was found soiled in the bin, looks like it got accidentally stepped on, however was able to eventually find a copy online.

Overall, reasonably happy with the job done and happy to consider using DJR again for any gas fitting and plumbing be it for my own place or for a rental property.

DJR Pumbling Auckland Client Review – High quality, Responsive, More expensive.

Edwards and Hardy Auckland Customer review

Update 26th January 2023: They eventually were able to get their guys to come around and do the job in the end. Updated the review accordingly.

Used this company before many years ago and called upon them again last year to conduct a moss spray treatment on my concrete tile roof.

After 3 false starts / no shows along with a price quote irregularity, 2 of their roofers eventually came along and did a good job with moss spraying on the roof. It appears Edwards and Hardy introduced a new job booking/scheduling system which has resulted in some frustrations to both customers (such as myself) and their own front line staff in the last year or so. This resulted in me having to repeatedly chase up via Email, texts and phone calls as to the status of the job and when they could expect to come around.

Job was completed within an hour. No issue whatsoever with their front line staff who diligently got to the job, were pleasant to deal with and answered any questions I had. The company in general terms however will need to sort their back end systems and work on their communication as according their own field staff, they’ve had multiple complaints of the same issues from other customers.

Edwards and Hardy Auckland Customer review