Sunday, September 27, 2020

Day of Atonement



May I ask a small favor?

Please sit for ten minutes... that's all... just ten minutes on the day of Yom Kippur... and listen to this music.

It is the famous Kol Nidrei  piece played at just about every Jewish temple in the world after sundown on the evening before Yom Kippur, which translated to English means Day of Atonement.

There are a zillion recordings of this music... most often done with just a cello and piano... sometimes a violin as well. This version is nice because it is a full orchestra. It is a rather famous recording done in Rome in 1994 for the Pope. (More info is here:

Just about every temple will hire two or three musicians (if there are none in the congregation) to perform this short piece... played at the start of the evening ceremony. Everyone immediately quiets down when the first note is played and for that night and the next day everything is very, very somber and serious.

According to tradition, it is on Yom Kippur that God decides each person's fate, so Jews are encouraged to make amends and ask forgiveness for sins committed during the past year. The holiday is observed with a 24-hour fast and  several special religious services.

While there are six fasting days in Judaism, Yom Kippur is the one day that most (observant) Jews  fast for 24 hours (or attempt it... most don't make it!)... believing that  fasting is a vehicle for reflecting and repenting for one's sins. The other fasting days are considered minor and only the most devout do it.

Yom Kippur comes ten days after Rosh Hashanah, or the start of the Jewish new year. These are called the Days of Awe, where Jews ask God for forgiveness so their name can be enshrined in the book of life. There is nothing more serious in the entire Jewish year (or life) than Yom Kippur. No jokes, no comedy, this is major, major seriousness.

The evening service is a couple of hours. Everyone then goes home but comes back around 9 AM. There are a series of services during the day, each one usually 60 minutes long with a 15 or 20 minute break between them. This goes until about 5 PM when the final service ends and everyone goes into the social hall or outside to a courtyard for a lite meal, served buffet-style by the temple's sisterhood. Many people will skip that and simply go out for a lite dinner or often there are break-the-fast parties. These are not big feasts... because you can't cook (or do any work) over Yom Kippur so everything was made in advance... lots of veggie dishes or cold-cuts... usually still chilled from the fridge. There were always nice cookies and cakes as well.

At the break-the-fast people will walk up to others and say the traditional greeting of the holy days... "L'shanah tovah" (sha-nah toe-vah) ...  which means in English "May you have a good year." People shake hands or hug.

Judaism teaches that because humans have been given free will, they are responsible for their own actions. If they commit an action which is wrong, then they must seek forgiveness. Forgiveness can only be accepted from the victim. Jews place great emphasis on teshuva , meaning repentance.

So I ask you to please sit and listen to the music on Sunday and perhaps ask for your own entry into the Book of Life.

I want you all to live... and to have a 'good year.'

L'shanah tovah,


Alan N. Canton
8041 Sierra Street
Fair Oaks, CA 95628

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Brave: A Better and Safer Browser

Most people think there are only a few browsers around. The best known are Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and Google Chrome.

Google Chrome has about 60% of the browser install base. It is what I use… up to now.
Google put the basic 'engine' (named Chromium) of their browser in the public domain so that others could build browsers. Google probably didn't want to do it, but there were some political and (European) legal reasons why they did (or had to.)

I won't go into a long explanation about just how much personal data Google collects... but it is extensive... they see every site you go to as well as every search you make and every user/password you enter. They log all of this info on you into their database and sell it to the highest bidder... which is why you get a lot of junk mail and robo-calls, not to mention the potential of identity-theft.

In the past 24 months people have gotten 'sick and tired' of Google and as a result several new browsers have been developed that are based on privacy... they don't track you, they block ads, and they don't collect any data.

A very well-known programmer, actually a 'legend' in browser development... Brendan Eich,  put together a talented staff of developers (in 2017) and with some venture capital he created a browser called Brave that is based on privacy. They have released their new browser and it is now taking off in popularity.
(The browser also has a potentially revolutionary methodology to actually pay people to accept certain ads that Brave 'vets' but it is strictly voluntary and it is turned off by default. I didn’t turn it on… yet.)
You can read about and download the Brave browser here:

There are tons of review about Brave... just Google if you want to see them.

Here is a good one:

Here is another:

Of course the advantages of privacy goes without saying. But there is another feature. Because the browser blocks ads and does not write a zillion cookies that sites place on your computer, pages render much faster than when using Google Chrome. (Note: you won't see ads, just gray boxes where they would go… if they had been downloaded.) Thus, if you are on limited data or a slow connection, this is a big advantage.

Since Brave is built on the Chrome engine, it looks and feels EXACTLY like Google Chrome. You probably won't even know you are using Brave... except for its red lion-face logo.
Also, Brave easily imports all of your bookmarks and passwords that you saved in Google Chrome (or other browsers.) It works with most password managers (like 1Password.)

They are developing a way to ‘sync’ your bookmarks to your other devices and that should be released in a month or two.

Installation could not be easier. For Apple you download the .dmg file to Downloads (or wherever,) go to it in Finder (file manager) and dbl-click and you get a pop-up showing you to drag the lion-icon to the blue folder icon... that's it. 

There are a lot of “how-to” install Brave videos for both Windows and Mac on YouTube.
Brave also “lives” just fine with both Chrome and Safari and Firefox. You can have all four open at the same time if you wish!
You will have to set your home page in Brave Settings... simple to do... just like it is in Chrome,

The only two important differences I've found between Chrome and Brave is:

1. The default font size in Brave is a few pts. smaller than Chrome, but that is easily adjusted in Brave Settings.
2. When you create a new tab, you get a new screen/window with a random pix and a clock and other info.

With Chrome you just get a new Google Search page.

If you don't like the  'new page tab' picture page you can get an extension for Brave that will just give you a white screen. I like the picture-screen as the pictures it fetches are high quality and fun to see. (You can also delete any of the data on the screen or even hide the picture if you want.)

I don't know about you, but I'm tired of the junk mail and robo-calls I get as well as the liability of identity-theft, all of which is attributable to Chrome. I believe that Google has gone too far in its personal data-collection efforts.
Unless Google cleans up its act... and adopts a more privacy-centric approach, I don’t see myself going back to Chrome.
Feel free to contact me if you have questions.
Alan N. Canton, Managing Partner
NewMedia Create
Fair Oaks, CA

PS: I found out about Brave from a terrific listserv for Apple Macs. Mailing lists were eclipsed by web chat boards, but they are coming back into vogue now. You can join the Mac-L list by going to One of the contributors is  Randy B. Singer, Co-author of The Macintosh Bible. His site has lots of valuable info for Mac users of all levels Much of what you see above was borrowed or stolen from Randy and others on the listserv. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Who is the worst company in the world?

I'm so tired of Comcast raising my rates that I posted this in their forum.   Maybe someone at Comcast will read it and make some changes.

@ComcastChe wrote:
 I would be more than happy to assist you 

We have all been though this procedure where we contact the no-name "official employee" who claims they are from the 'retention department' and who tells us that our bill is going to be lowered or adjusted.

It is all a ruse.

Nothing happens. Our bills are adjusted and then quickly raised again via some bogus "line fee" or "sports fee" or "telecom fee." And it is great for Comcast because they have now locked us into a two-year contract.

It is ironic because "contracts" mean nothing to the company as their lawyers have written the document so that the company  can raise prices anytime they want and we can't get out of said contract without paying a exorbitant early-term fee. There is nothing in the contract that is in our interest or that protects us.

I won't contact whomever "ComcastChe" is because I've been down that road before.

I paid the Comcast bill and I will pay the next one and one after that. But in the interim I will study the web on how to cut the cord and about what services and equipment I need.

And in the next  few months I will also keep an eye out on how AT&T is doing with their new TV platform plus Internet in my area.

I'll either go with ATT or cut the cord. I don't want to do either but Comcast has reached my tipping point. (Actually $150 after tax, fees, etc. was my tipping point... and I'm just now realizing that I must do something because we all know that the increases will never end.)

I don't hate Comcast and I don't wish them any ill will. I do wish them better management that will be customer-centric (think Apple) but I don't see that happening any time soon.

After being a good customer with them for fifteen years,  I will stay with them for another fifteen WEEKS at which time I should know how to keep their Internet, put up an antenna for local stations, join some streaming services (we have Prime and Netflix already) and cut out their TV service and their constant price increases with no added value received.

It is sad. They were a great company when they first came to our part of the country. And their field people are quite good.  But it looks like their corporate culture has been dominated by a management team obsessed with greed, avarice, and arrogance.

Comcast is today what Microsoft was in the the 90s, an 00s. But in 2013 the Microsoft CEO stepped down (or was forced out) and a new management team came and that company changed so that today they are nothing like the company they were in the past. Maybe one day the same will happen with Comcast.

I hold a lot of Comcast stock (CMCSA)... so I'm 'working' on it, but no one in Philadelphia, PA listens.