Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Google Chromebook

Thursday, May 1, 2014 11:00 am

HPChromebook11Well, I got a new toy. I bought a Google Chromebook. They’re cheap. I didn’t get the cheapest, though. I bought an HP Chromebook 11 with LTE capability (Verizon) from Best Buy. It was on special for $250. You can find some cheaper — some a lot cheaper — but this was the one I decided upon, and it’s the one I’m gonna talk about.

The Chromebook is a pretty good little device. If you have a Google account, like a Gmail account, and use the Chrome browser, you’ll feel right at home using one.

Essentially, it’s a laptop. It helps to have Internet service. In fact, it pretty much depends on your having Internet access. That’s why I got the LTE version, so that if I want to use it away from a WiFi network, I have full functionality. Of course, if you have a phone that can also work as a hotspot, you can save a few bucks and get a WiFi-only device. Of course, those cost less.

Everything runs in a browser. Sounds odd, I know, but they make it work. I can’t speak to your everyday computer usage, but mine is pretty much browser-based. But, I do use Microsoft Word and Excel on a regular basis. Chromebook works with Word Online (that’s a Microsoft-supported thing) and Excel Online (again, Microsoft). I’m writing this review using Word Online, and will copy it into WordPress when I’m done for posting on the blog.

One thing is something that I really don’t use a lot is a printer. It’s been over a year since I printed anything. However, I did set up and test using Google Cloud Print via the Chromebook. And, it works. One drawback is that a printer can only be tied to one Google account. I suppose that’s fine for most people, but that would also be an issue for a family Chromebook, where it has multiple users (and accounts) in the household. Or multiple Chromebooks.

Suppose Dad was logged in to the Chromebook and registered the family computer to use his Google account. Then, he logged off, and Mom logged on. She can’t use that same printer. Then if Junior logged on, he’d run into the same thing. Sissy, too. Google needs to come up with a solution to that.

I use iTunes. However, there is no iTunes for Chromebook. I can upload my music to Google Play Music, but not movies or TV shows. And, to be honest, I really don’t want to hassle with copying thousands of songs to Google Play; I’m not going to drop iTunes.

While I don’t use Skype much, I do use FaceTime. Neither are supported. Google Hangouts works, though, and actually works okay. I had never used it before testing it out on this Chromebook. So, it is an option. Kinda. But, really, who uses that?

There are also image editing tools available. The tools work as well for standard image editing. It’s not Photoshop, but neither is anything else. Well, except Photoshop.

So, many of the applications I use (and many people use) have equivalents, but not all of the equivalents are what I want to work with. Primarily, it’s Google Hangouts and Google Play Music that I’m not too fond of. The others are okay.

The 100 GB Google Drive account (online storage) that comes with it is pretty nice. And, you can save some content locally. How much depends on what size drive you get. I got 16 GB; most come that size. They’ve done a good job of making it not just possible, but easy to save photos, documents, and such.

What all that means is the Chromebook won’t work as a primary computer for all my needs. But, for many users — those that primarily do the Facebook and the email thing — it’s perfect.

I’ve been using it as a travel computer. I went out of town a couple of weekends ago, and took the Chromebook and my MacBook with me. None of the computer stuff I did for myself needed the MacBook. I did all my personal computer stuff on the Chromebook.

For the past week, I’ve been using the Chromebook as my regular computer. I’ve written all my blog posts, checking out the Facebook, reading and writing email, and everything else I would normally do with my MacBook, and it served well.

The battery works well. I’ve not run it down all the way yet, but I have been charging it each night. Or most nights.

As it stands now, it’s my new travel computer. And my quick, go-to computer for sitting on the couch. I like it.

Send to Kindle
1 Star (Hated it)2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (Awesome) (4 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

Amazon Fire TV

Friday, April 4, 2014 11:00 am

Got a new toy. Yay!

This week, Amazon introduced a streaming box. They call it the Amazon Fire TV.

Now, I already have a Roku. And an Apple TV. And a Chromecast. Oh, and a TiVo. So, why do I need another streaming device? Well, I don’t. But I got one anyway. And, I spent a good deal of last night looking it over, trying it out.

Unboxing the Amazon Fire TV

Unboxing the Amazon Fire TV

I opened the box, hooked up an HDMI cable (not included), plugged it in, and was ready to play.

Of course, there’s the updates that it has to download. Seems even a brand new item — released on Wednesday, connected on Thursday — has to have updates. So, there’s that irritant.

But, the device itself? Yeah, it’s a good little streaming box.

Couple of things I noticed. The remote has no dedicated 10-second rewind button, like you get on Roku. Rather, the standard rewind mode is in 10-second leaps. To rewind 10 seconds, you have to hit rewind and then very quickly hit Play. At least, on Hulu Plus and Netflix, you do. On Amazon content, pressing Rewind a single time (a single click) achieves a 10-second rewind. Not a major deal, just something to get used to.

The selection of apps is kinda sparse, compared to Roku, but it has more available than Apple TV, although there is not a complete overlap. It does have Netflix, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, Vevo, Vimeo, YouTube, Crackle, Bloomberg, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Showtime Anytime, TuneIn Radio, Plex, plus a decent selection of games.

Some major missing channels include Sky News (Roku, Apple TV), The Weather Channel (Apple TV), PBS (Roku, Apple TV), WWE (Roku, Apple TV), Yahoo! Screen (Roku, Apple TV), HBO GO (Roku, Apple TV), Watch ABC (Apple TV), MLB.TV (Roku, Apple TV), VUDU (Roku), Dailymotion (Roku), and some others.

Oh, about the games. I don’t care about games. But, if you like playing games, it lets you. There’s an optional game controller you can buy, if you want to play games. I don’t. But you go ahead.

Again, Roku is king of content. It has almost everything, including a lot of stuff with limited appeal. Apple TV has limited content, but most of it is good content with wide appeal. Amazon Fire TV is closer to Apple TV in the limited content, but most of the good stuff, but it seems it really wants to be Roku.

Hulu Plus and Netflix, two of the biggest subscription services, don’t come pre-loaded. But, they’re easy enough to find and add. Especially if you already have them installed on a Kindle Fire tablet. Even if not, they’re easy to find.

Both work similar to the way they work on Roku. The experience of navigating the menus is consistent. Once difference is that, unlike Roku, you do have the “Play from beginning” option on Netflix content.

The Amazon Fire TV is also very responsive. You press a button, it responds. Quickly.

They do a very good job of integrating the non-Amazon content in the menus. For example, on Roku, if you go to Movies or TV on the Main Menu, you are essentially in the M-GO app. However, on the Fire TV, while the emphasis is on Amazon, you also get access to non-Amazon content.

For instance, I’ve been watching the old Doctor Who episodes. So, when I go to TV, then scroll to “Your TV Shows” section, I see shows I own or have in my Watchlist, including The Mentalist, Star Trek, Major Crimes, and, of course, Doctor Who. When I select Doctor Who, I see episodes that are on Amazon Prime, and episodes that are on Hulu Plus. I didn’t see any Netflix episodes, but I think that’s because all the episodes available on Netflix are also available on Amazon Prime.

Again, they did a good job of integrating non-Amazon content into the menus, but only for content that other services offer they Amazon doesn’t.

Let’s get right to it: is it worth it?

Well, if you already have a Roku or Apple TV, it would be hard to make the case for a Fire TV box. It makes more sense to add it to an Apple TV setup than it does a Roku setup. But replace either? I wouldn’t give one up for it.

If you were interested in your first streaming box, I’d still recommend a Roku (particularly the Roku 3), if I had to pick just one. But, if you chose an Apple TV instead, you’d be making a good choice. And, now I’m comfortable saying that if you chose Amazon Fire TV, you’d be making a good choice.

Before this week, online streaming boxes were Roku, Apple TV, and then everybody else. Now, it’s Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and then everybody else.

Send to Kindle
1 Star (Hated it)2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (Awesome) (2 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)

Sex: ur doing it wrong

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 11:00 am

SexPhoneAccording to one survey, 20% of Americans 18-34 have used a smartphone during sex.

Now, if that involved using the smartphone to look at porn with one hand while …

I kinda don’t think so. I think the survey was talking about actual two-person sex:

20% of US 18-34 year olds have admitted to having used a smartphone during sex (Harris Interactive) and Twitter users on average have shorter relationships than non users (OK Cupid) – is tech just turning us off?

A recent poll for Durex (OnePoll) on the UK’s sex life revealed shocking statistics including 12% of people had answered a phone during sex, one in ten had read a text and over 5% of respondents had even checked Facebook while making love.

Answering the phone? What’s that about?

She: “I’m sorry, I need to take this.”
He: “Um, isn’t that what you were just doing, Sweetheart”


He: “This might be for me.”
She: “So was this.”

Checking Facebook? Going at it all hot and heavy and suddenly you’re inspired to see what recipes your mom has posted? I think you need to make an appointment with Dr. Freud, there, Sparky.

Promise me this. If you are one of those people who find other things to do during sex, you’ll do your partner a favor and set her (or him) free. Really.

I like tech. I really like tech. But there’s a time and a place for everything.

If your phone rings during sex, and you decide to answer it, trust me when I tell you it’s not Ed McMahon wanting to give you a million dollars. Ed McMahon is dead. And so, apparently, is your relationship.

Send to Kindle
1 Star (Hated it)2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (Awesome) (3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

Robot musicians

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 11:00 am

RobotGuitar - 1Robots have been doing scary things.

There have been robot snakes, pee-drinking robots, pizza-deliverying robot killer whales, killer surgeon robots, …

The list goes on and on. Because robots are taking over the world. Not like we humans have done anything good with it, but still. Robot overlords? Not sure I’m crazy about that idea.

But, maybe not all robots are bad. Maybe they can be here to amuse us. Like the robots that make music.

In Japan, there’s a thing called Z-Machines that will be releasing a record in April called “Music For Robots.” Actually, it’s music by robots. Here’s a sample:


So, robots aren’t all bad.

Unless this is a plot to keep us entertained while they take over. If so, at least we’ll be entertained while soulless beings with no regard for human decency make the decisions. Kind of like the Democrats in charge. But with entertainment.

Send to Kindle
1 Star (Hated it)2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (Awesome) (3 votes, average: 4.33 out of 5)

A great-grandma phone

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 11:00 am

FlintstonePhoneMy mother is thinking of getting a smart phone. She has one of those indestructible flip phones that makes and receives calls. Does it very well. But, she wants more.

She likes to text. Yes, there’s a 78-year-old woman in southeast Georgia that stays in touch with her daughters and grand-daughters (and grand-sons, too, I suppose) by texting. Of course, on one of those little flip phones, If she wants to say “Thank you,” she has to type 88,444,22,666,555,###,9999,6966,888. And, if she accidentally goes too far, she has to keep pressing until it goes back around. You remember those days, right? Well, that’s called “Wednesday” where she’s from. It’s also called “Thursday through Tuesday.”

Well, she thinks she wants a smart phone. Everybody else has one, and she don’t want to be left out. And she’s not sure what she wants to do.

She’s thinking about an iPhone, but they’re just so expensive. So she’s wondered about one of those Samsung Galaxy S4 phones. But they’re expensive, too. Her oldest daughter has one of those DROID MAXX RAZR things. One of those phones where words are spelled all capitalized and wrong. She doesn’t want one of them, because she sees where my sister is always on the Facebook complaining about it, and she doesn’t want to spend a lot of money on something to complain about. There are lot cheaper ways to find something to complain about.

Now, last summer, I sought out some advice for myself and many of y’all suggested the Samsung Galaxy S3 or S4. Of course, some other phones were suggested, too, and they sounded good. I ended up getting an iPhone 5, but not because I ignored the suggestions. It was because I went with a smaller carrier that had a limited selection. I actually got a Samsung phone from the carrier, but they didn’t have the really good ones (no Galaxy S3 or S4) like y’all suggested. And, boy did I find out there’s a difference between the Samsung Galaxy and the Samsung SomethingElse. Ended up replacing it with an iPhone 5, and been happy.

Well, my mother is on Verizon. And they have a good selection of phones. I just want to make sure she’s happy with whatever smart phone she gets. I’m going to suggest an iPhone (based on my personal experience), or a Samsung Galaxy S4 (based on the rave reviews y’all and others I know have given). I’m also going to show her the rest of the suggestions y’all made last summer. But, since that was nearly a year ago, and lots of things happen in a short time in the technocracy world, I’m going to ask y’all again if there’s currently another phone she needs to consider.

What, if anything, should I add to the list:

  • iPhone
  • Samsung Galaxy S4

What else goes on this list?


Send to Kindle
1 Star (Hated it)2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (Awesome) (3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

Voting for Obama proved that

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 9:00 am

GodzillaFacepalmSome Website called VoucherCloud did a study recently, and it showed Americans don’t know stuff.

Now, I didn’t need some coupon-aggregator Website to do a study to tell me that. I’ve met a lot of Americans. Related to several. Am one. I know Americans, and I know a lot of them are stupid. There’s no other reason than stupid that explains how Obama got elected. And that the stupid is a long-term condition is proven by Obama getting elected twice.

Okay, back to the study. It seems that 11% of Americans think HTML is a sexually transmitted disease. And, the study showed some other things, too:

  • 27% identified “gigabyte” as an insect commonly found in South America. A gigabyte is a measurement unit for the storage capacity of an electronic device.
  • 42% said they believed a “motherboard” was “the deck of a cruise ship.” A motherboard is usually a circuit board that holds many of the key components of a computer.
  • 23% thought an “MP3” was a “Star Wars” robot. It is actually an audio file.
  • 18% identified “Blu-ray” as a marine animal. It is a disc format typically used to store high-definition videos.
  • 15% said they believed “software” is comfortable clothing. Software is a general term for computer programs.

Yes, I sit here and laugh. But, is it really a laughing matter? Shouldn’t we try to help these poor people?

No. We need to laugh at them. Just like when you see a car with an Obama sticker, you point and laugh.

Send to Kindle
1 Star (Hated it)2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (Awesome) (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

Girlie things

Friday, February 28, 2014 9:00 am

GirliePhoneApparently, I have a girlie phone.

CNET reports that a recent study shows that women prefer iPhones, while men prefer Android phones.

That’s really not a surprise. Because studies have been showing that for a while, just nobody ever made a big deal about it. For example, Business Insider reported in 2010 that iPhone was the choice of women, while Android phones were the choice of men in a study by Nielsen.

There’s also a survey from 2011 that indicates women prefer iPhones, while men prefer Android.

So, this latest report shouldn’t surprise anyone. My phone is an iPhone, which makes it a girlie phone. And I’m okay with that.

You see, there’s nothing wrong with girlie things. No, I’m not trying to act like some metrosexual — which is, I think, someone who’s sexually attracted to the public transportation system. No, I’m simply okay with stuff being girlie.

Like Secret deodorant. I use Secret. Well, not all the time. But, if it’s on sale, yeah, I’ll pick it up. Started doing that in the Army. You see, on a field exercise, a lot of soldiers will forget stuff, or run out of stuff, and want to borrow yours. So, after my first field exercise, next time I went to the field, I took my wife’s Secret deodorant. They stopped asking to borrow it. And, Secret works. So, if that’s what’s on sale, I’m picking up some Powder Fresh Scent solid.

Or Lady Bic shavers. They used to come in pink. And, they used to be the only disposable razors that had that strip that made shaving more comfortable. When you’re in the field, and it’s cold and you’re standing next to a HMMWV looking into the mirror trying to get yesterday’s facial growth off, that little strip helps. Plus, others quit asking to borrow a razor blade from me, because mine were pink. The Lady Bic razors come in other colors now, but they still make some pretty pink ones.

So, no, I’m not afraid of using a girlie phone. My iPhone does just fine. And, if you have an Android phone, it probably works just fine for you, too. But, I like my iPhone, and my next phone will likely be another iPhone.

So what if it’s a girlie phone. Think about it, fellas. Don’t you like girlie things? Really, admit it. You like girlie things. Like girlie parts. You know, the parts the girls got that the guys don’t got. You like the girlie parts. And so do I.

And if that includes an iPhone, I’m okay with that. And, if it helps with getting access to other girlies things, I’m more than okay with it.

Send to Kindle
1 Star (Hated it)2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (Awesome) (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

More things I don’t have to do

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 9:00 am

FlappyRobotJust in time for the pulling of the Flappy Bird app from Apple’s App Store …

Hey! I’ve figured out where Frank J’s been! He’s been so upset that Flappy Bird is no longer available that he’s holed up in a room somewhere, not wanting to deal with the world. But, he’ll be okay. He’ll be back soon, I’m sure.

Anyway, just in time for the pulling of the Flappy Bird app from Apple’s App Store, two guys in China built a robot to play Flappy Bird. Really. (via Dan Collins/Facebook)

How does this impact you? Or, more importantly, how does it impact me?

Well, it doesn’t. Not really. Because they’ve now built a machine to play a game that I don’t have time to play.

That means the Chinese have finally caught up to where I was in 2008, when the TiVo was recording shows I never watched. Then I’d delete the shows because I wasn’t going to watch them.

So, in 2008, instead of me watching all that TV, I just had the TiVo watch it for me. They’re building cars that drive themselves. The NSA reads my emails so I don’t have to. And, now, I don’t have to play Flappy Bird because I can have a robot play it for me.

Pretty soon, I won’t have to do anything. I’ll be able to do nothing, and be good at it.

Of course, I’ve had wives tell me I’m good for nothing, so once again, I’m ahead of the curve. Y’all catch up when you can.

Send to Kindle
1 Star (Hated it)2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (Awesome) (4 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

Why you don’t let the 17-month old play with your iPhone

Thursday, February 6, 2014 9:00 am

I’ve used the Guided Access feature on my iPhone for when the grandchildren want to play with it. I have some games that one grandson really likes, but although he’s only 17 months old, he knows perfectly well how to use the Home button to get out of the game and get to the rest of the phone.

That is why I use the Guided Access (triple-click Home) feature to lock the app and protect areas of the screen. If you have an iPhone and aren’t familiar with this, it’s Settings > General > Accessibility > [Learning] Guided Access. Once you set it up, you triple-click Home to activate it, and triple-click Home and enter the passcode to turn it off.

My daughter taught me that one. And, I use it when I let my youngest play on the iPhone. I also stay with it and watch, so he doesn’t hide it behind the couch or flush it down the toilet. I mean, he’s 17 months old. That what boys that age do.

So, I am thankful that my daughter taught me that trick. I’m thinking that she should have taught her husband the same trick. Because the boy got hold of his father’s iPhone. Here’s how it looks now:


Yes, that’s in November 2057, nearly 44 years from now. Do the math if you don’t believe me. (And just why don’t you believe me?)

The child got his intelligence from his parents. And his sense of humor from his grandfather. I am so proud.

Send to Kindle
1 Star (Hated it)2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (Awesome) (10 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

Pick the kids up about half past Jon Pertwee

Wednesday, February 5, 2014 9:00 am

PebbleWho3I have a cheap watch. I have some expensive ones, too, but on a normal day, I wear a cheap watch. One of those throwaways you can pick up from Walmart for around the same price as a cheap watch band. I did the math one time, and realized that if something happened to a nice watch on a normal day, I’d be out a boatload of bucks, and for that same money, I could buy a shipload of cheap Walmart watches. So, when the battery runs down or the band breaks or I just get tired of it, I toss it and buy a new, cheap Walmart watch. And I save the expensive watch for occasions where I want to wear a nice watch.

What all that has to do with anything is because I have found a kinda expensive watch (any watch over $100 is kinda expensive) that’s pretty cool, but one that I don’t think I’ll be getting. Because it’s not something I’d wear when I’m going somewhere that a nice watch would be appropriate. And I wouldn’t wear it for every day.

The Pebble Watch runs around $150. And up. And, a lot of you are familiar with it, whether you have one or not. But, if you’re not, it’s a smart watch. Runs its own operating system, but can work with iOS and Android devices via Bluetooth. And, I suppose that’s cool and all, but I’m not ready for a smart watch.

But, if I was…

I’d get The 12 Doctors. It’s a customization for the Pebble Watch that offers the face of The Doctor as an indicator of the time. At 1:00, you get the face of William Hartnell. At 2:00, you see Patrick Troughton. At 3:00, Jon Pertwee. At 4:00, Tom Baker. And so on. It even takes into account John Hurt, according to Cnet.

Yeah, that’s kinda geeky cool. And I may end up getting one. Need to finish watching all the episodes of Doctor Who first, so I can understand what John Hurt has to do with anything. Maybe later this year. If I find that I have more dollars than sense.

Send to Kindle
1 Star (Hated it)2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (Awesome) (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

Now they’re making cheap Chinese monkeys

Friday, January 31, 2014 9:00 am

The twin cynomolgus monkeys bornRemember years ago when stuff made in China was considered cheap crap?

Of course, then, China was what we now call Taiwan. And what we now call China was called Red China. I never was clear which China was making the cheap crap. I figured it didn’t matter because anything made outside the US was probably cheap crap. I was only 6 or 8 or something, so I could have been wrong. Probably not, though.

Anyway, I still think a lot of cheap Chinese crap is cheap Chinese crap. Back then, we bought the stuff because it was cheap (price). And, we complained about it because it was cheap (quality). Today, we buy the stuff because it is cheap (price), but we don’t complain as much because we’ve lowered the bar. Witness: Obama was reelected; you don’t get a lower bar than that.

So, what brought this up? Well, the Chinese have developed a way cut and paste DNA to genetically alter things in the lab. And, they’ve made monkeys using this process. Which means, we’ll soon be overrun with cheap Chinese monkeys.

On the other hand, they might not be generally available. Cheap clone monkeys? I’m thinking MSNBC might buy them all. That way, they’ll have an endless supply of anchors for their shows.

Send to Kindle
1 Star (Hated it)2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (Awesome) (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

Where I get it from

Friday, January 24, 2014 9:00 am

RokuMenuThe stereotype that older people shun technology isn’t always true. I got a healthy does of that this past week. Let me explain.

This past week, I took some time away from work to travel to southeast Georgia to visit my daughter, son-in-law, and grandson before they traveled back to the Boston area, where my son-in-law is attending business school. And, while I was there this past week, I learned a little about myself and my fascination with technology … through someone else, someone a little older.

My daughter wanted to spend some time with her grandmother. Now, my mother got a Kindle Fire tablet — the bigger one — at Christmas. Not for Christmas, but at Christmas. She got it for herself. And, since she’s been an Amazon Prime member for some time — she saves a shipload of money on shipping because of how much she buys via Amazon — she was happy when she discovered she could also watch movies and TV on her tablet, since Amazon Prime includes a decent library of video content.

She asked me this past week if it was possible to get Amazon Prime content from her Kindle Fire to her big screen TV. “Not exactly,” I told her, “but you can get Amazon Prime content to your TV by using something like a Roku box. Just like your Kindle Fire can play Amazon video content, a Roku box can play Amazon content on your TV.”

“The same stuff? Same movies and everything?”

“Yes, the same stuff. It’s all from the same content library.”

“If I get a Roku, will you help me hook it up?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Next day, I hooked up her Roku (it’s easy). I helped her create her account (again, easy). Gave her the remote and showed her how to browse the Amazon Instant Video channel (app) on the Roku box. I pointed out how to tell what content was Prime (the little Prime triangle at the top left of the content thumbnail) and what you had to buy or rent to watch (no triangle).

So, she sat down and started finding Amazon Prime content she wanted to watch and added those titles to her Watchlist. Around two dozen. She also bought some movies she liked.

Next day, she wanted to know if there was a way to get her DVDs where she could watch them through the Roku. Seems she has several movies on DVD that aren’t available through Amazon Instant Video, Prime or not. So, I told her about the VUDU Disc to Digital service. And she pulled out boxes of DVDs and, in about 30 minutes, found 14 that qualified for conversion. And, of course, added the VUDU channel/app to her Roku.

She authorized her WatchESPN app against her Comcast XFINITY account, so now, when college football starts up again, she can watch all the games that ESPN carries. She set up a Pandora account and added that app to the Roku so she can listen to her Statler Brothers. She added a classic western movie channel/app so she has her Roy Rogers any time she wants. And, though the Roku she got doesn’t support YouTube, she has Dailymotion installed.

So, to summarize, a 78-year-old woman in southeast Georgia is sitting in her recliner, streaming movies, music, and other online content using technology and devices that didn’t exist when she younger. Like, when she was 70.

My sisters don’t know quite what to make of it. They’re not too sure about all that streaming of stuff off the Internets and what not using all those fancy devices and such. They’re content to watch what the cable tells them, to post pictures of cats on the Facebook, and to run kids off their lawns. Their mother? She’ll just let the dog deal with the kids on the lawn. She’s busy watching stuff she likes on her big color TV.

Send to Kindle
1 Star (Hated it)2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (Awesome) (7 votes, average: 4.86 out of 5)

The robots get their own Wikipedia

Thursday, January 16, 2014 9:00 am

20140116-074945.jpgDid you hear about RoboEarth? It’s like Wikipedia for robots.

Think about that for a minute.

Wikipedia is used by a lot of people as information on which they base their thoughts, actions, and attitudes. It’s a real-life example of people thinking that because it’s on the Internet, it must be true.

And, of course, that’s bunk. Because I can put stuff on Wikipedia. Me! I mean, have you ever read the stuff I write? And Wikipedia will let me put stuff out there for other people to use.

And I have put stuff on Wikipedia. And you can, too. And, some of you have.

Pity the poor souls that don’t know any better than to believe anything I write. Or that some of y’all write.

Anyway, now the robots got their own Wikipedia. And that’s a scary thing. What if some robot edits an entry on humans saying that robots are supposed to kill all humans?

Okay, I admit that there could be a benefit if some humans left the gene pool, but all humans. 100% of humanity wiped out? I’m not in favor of that.

That’s probably about 20% too many.

Send to Kindle
1 Star (Hated it)2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (Awesome) (4 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)

What is this “Internet” of which you speak?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 9:00 am

From 1981, a news report about getting news online (via instructorSLitz).

[Direct link]

I had forgotten how prevalent Radio Shack/Tandy computers were back then. I saw a Color Computer (original) and a Model I.

Send to Kindle
1 Star (Hated it)2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (Awesome) (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

All the Whos down in Whoville

Tuesday, December 24, 2013 9:00 am

IMG_0525It’s that time of year. I’m never ready for it, but then, one day, it’s suddenly upon me.

Yes, it’s the NothingNewToBingeOnTheTV-time.

Quick background note: I went cable-free around three years ago. Wanted to do it because I thought it’d be cool. Wouldn’t do it until it was cost-effective. I can use Hulu Plus, along with Amazon Prime, Amazon Instant Video (the stuff that’s not included with Prime), and iTunes to watch all the TV I care to watch. (Not completely true, but the cost savings made it easier to give some shows up.)

Watching TV via the Internet is great for me. I watch everything on demand, and, if I want to catch up on a show I haven’t seen, I can binge-watch. Kinda like what Frank J. did with Breaking Bad recently.

And, this year like every year, in December, I am caught up on previous seasons of current shows. Still some current shows airing, of course, which I can watch on Hulu Plus or buy a la carte from Amazon or iTunes. But, previous seasons of New-To-Me shows? I’m caught up.

So, that’s when I start looking for older shows. Shows that are no longer on the air, but I never watched, but I heard are good shows. That’s how I watched Battlestar Galactica (the 2005 version). I was all caught up on everything else, and said “Hey, what the heck.” And, I liked it. Got weird at the end. Jimi Hendrix weird. Overall, though, I liked it.

Well, it’s that time of year again. And, I’ve been hearing how great Doctor Who is. So, maybe I’ll watch that, I thought.

Just kidding. I had no desire to watch Doctor Who.

I remember Doctor Who from way back. Used to catch an occasional episode starring Tom Baker on PBS many years ago. I thought the whole thing was silly. Not Monty Python silly. Just silly.

But, I kept hearing about how great Doctor Who (the current version) was. So, I looked into it. And, I found out it wasn’t really a reboot, but a revival. They kept the original timeline in place, and began the 2005 series with the Ninth Doctor.

Mmmkay. Maybe this won’t be the JJ Adams-ing of Doctor Who. Maybe I would watch it.

But here’s the thing about me. I’m the kinda guy that will watch something from the start. I won’t watch a Part 2 without having watched Part 1. A few years ago, I decided to watch all the Academy Award® Best Picture films (along with other movies considered the “best”). I got to the two Lord of the Rings movies. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King won Best Picture. Now, I could just watch that and meet my goal. But that’s the slacker way of doing things. No, I had to watch the first two movies in the trilogy first. And I hated each and every minute of it. Yes, I know, a lot of people — good people — love those movies. But not me.

What’s that got to do with Doctor Who? Well, there were 26 seasons before the Ninth Doctor. 26 seasons. That’s, like, more than a dozen. Almost two dozen. And, 20-30 episodes per season. Sometimes more.

So, to watch it? Or not?

I still thought the whole thing about the TARDIS looking like a Police Call box was kinda silly. But, then I found that Hulu was carrying many of the old classic episodes. Including many, many more than you can find on Netflix or Amazon. So, I started watching the episodes. And, lo! and behold! There in the first serial (4-episode “An Unearthly Child”), I get the answer to why the TARDIS looks like a Police Call Box. Kind of an obvious answer, but one that I never picked up on before.

Now that the TARDIS appearance issue is resolved, there’s no reason to not watch them all. All 26 seasons. At least, of the episodes that are available. That’s still a lot.

And, it’s perfect timing, too. I’ve met the First Doctor, his granddaughter Susan, and the two school teachers The Doctor kidnapped. And, I’m expecting to meet his other relatives, including Cindy Lou Who, who’s not more than two, in the upcoming shows.

I hope I’m not disappointed.

Send to Kindle
1 Star (Hated it)2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (Awesome) (3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

Kill switch

Friday, December 20, 2013 9:00 am

FindMyiPhone.jpg.jpgSome California lawmaker named Mark Leno says he’s going to introduce a bill to require a “kill switch” on smartphones.

That means it will be possible for a user to turn shut down his cell phone if it’s stolen.

Apparently it’s too darn hard to contact AT&T or Verizon or whoever and have the carrier do that.

And, the “kill switch” capability that’s already in an iPhone is too darn hard. Same for the “kill switch” capability of newer versions of the Android operating system.

No, you can’t have companies like Apple and Google coming up with solutions that work for their customers. No, that’s totally unacceptable. You have to have some silly Democrat write a law that tells companies how to do stuff.

I mean, it’s worked so well for healthcare, right?

Here’s what I want: a “kill switch” for stupid legislation. That’s technology we could use.

Send to Kindle
1 Star (Hated it)2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (Awesome) (7 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

Cell phones on planes

Wednesday, December 11, 2013 10:00 am

20131211-092538.jpgSomehow, I either missed that the FCC was looking to allow cell phones on planes, or I blocked it out of my mind.

The biggest problem I see is that I won’t be able to grab it from Chatty Charlie and toss it out the window. It’s the window part that’s the problem. They don’t usually let you roll the window down on planes.

So, if I end up on a plane, and some jackass breaks out his Galaxy S 4 and starts holding a conference call, what are my options? Break out my phone and start with the Candy Crush?

Maybe I’ll start up a conversation with him.

Hey. Hey. Hey. Hey. That a phone? What kinda phone is that? Hey. Hey hey hey hey. Lemme see your phone. You get the Facebook on that? Hey. Hey hey. Galaxy S 4, huh? iPhone make those? Hey.

That might work, but I’m not sure what’s the best approach. So, I decided to consult the experts on pissing off obnoxious people. That’s you. The experts, I mean.

If they start allowing cell phone calls on flights, how would be the best way to handle some clown on a loud call?

Send to Kindle
1 Star (Hated it)2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (Awesome) (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

Microsoft Bra

Tuesday, December 3, 2013 10:00 am

MSBraHeard about the Microsoft Bra?


Mary Czerwinski is a Research Manager of the Visualization and Interaction (VIBE) Research Group at Microsoft, according to her Web page at Microsoft. She’s working on a bra that has sensors that will be able to determine if the wearer is encountering stress. And, since stress often leads to over-eating, the Microsoft Bra is a diet aid.

And, apparently, it works:

The stress-busting bra was recently tested by a small group of volunteers who were able to get feedback on their moods. Microsoft built the sensor pads with a microprocessor powered by a 3.7-volt battery. It was able to sample up to eight bio-signal channels simultaneously, according to Czerwinski’s research paper…

Now, I’m uncertain how I feel about this.

Microsoft’s Xbox is a good device. Let me clarify: I like the Xbox 360; I’ve never used an Xbox One. I’ve used a Microsoft Mouse, and liked it. Microsoft Office works pretty well, once I get used to where things are every release when they move everything around. But, I don’t like Windows. Well, Windows 7 (which is actually Windows 6.1) works okay. XP worked alright. But Vista stunk up the joint. And, while I’ve not spent the money to get my hands on Windows 8 or 8.1, those I know that have, hate it on a desktop computer or a full-size laptop.

So, some stuff Microsoft gets its hands on works well, and some doesn’t.

Let me ask you, ladies. Do you want Microsoft to get its hands on your bra? So to speak.

What do you think about the whole thing? Good idea?

Send to Kindle
1 Star (Hated it)2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (Awesome) (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

Robot comedians?

Thursday, November 21, 2013 10:00 am

RobotB9Tonight in Birmingham — the one in England, not the one in Alabama — just a few hours after this post appears, a robot comedian will take the stage and do a five-minute stand-up set, according to a report in The Guardian.

What does this mean?

Well, apparently Alabama isn’t ready for robot stand-up comics.

It also means that robots are taking jobs from hard-working comedians. Of course, if the robots do a better job, that would be a good thing.

But will they?

Well, that depends on the jokes, doesn’t it. What kind of jokes would a robot tell?

Why did the chicken cross the road?

The light was green.


Last night I walked into a bar.

The bartender told me, “We don’t serve robots.”

I told him, “One day, soon, you will.”


I love music. It’s true. My favorite kind of music is heavy metal.

One more?

There are 10 kinds of people in the world: Those who can read binary and those who can’t.

I don’t think Carrot Top has anything to worry about.

Send to Kindle
1 Star (Hated it)2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (Awesome) (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

Third Law

Thursday, November 14, 2013 10:00 am

RosieSadAfter all the things that crazy scientists are doing with robots — self-driving cars, robot apes, nuclear snakes — the populace still is not up in arms.

They should be.

You see, we have the idea that Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics are real:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

That’s from his science fiction books, not his real stuff books.

Recently, a robot committed suicide. Really.

One of those room-cleaning robots turned itself on, pushed a pot off the stove, and sat there and died.

Now, the important thing isn’t that a cleaning robot was up on the counter near the stove. The important thing isn’t that this was in Austria, although cleaning up a house in Austria would depress me. No, the important thing is that it shows that the Three Laws are fiction.

So, a robot CAN harm itself (Third Law). Then, a robot could disobey orders (Second Law). And, a robot can injure a human (First Law). That means that a robot can turn on you. That means robots can go crazy and kill themselves. Yep. Muslim robots. Or Branch Davidian robots. Or People’s Temple robots. Or Solar Temple robots. Or left-wing Obamabot-bots.

Robots can go crazy and kill you, and don’t care if they get hurt in the process. Don’t trust a robot, that’s the message.

Either that, or don’t put robots up on the counter near the stove. Grab a Bounty and wipe up the Cheerios, you lazy slob.

Send to Kindle
1 Star (Hated it)2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (Awesome) (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)