Archive for the 'Technology' Category

Jul 16 2013

Acceptable Substitutes

Published by under Technology

I am a big fan of IGoogle. Its a great way to put the content of your favorite news sites and blogs all together in one place-and then make it your default home page when you fire up the browser. It makes a great aggregator and allows me quickly browse for headlines-then click on links to read in greater detail.

Which is what a real news hound should do. Its a better alternative than using Drudge, which has mostly made up headlines anyway. (Friends don't let friends use Drudge!).

So of course, Google being Google, is getting rid of IGoogle on the first of November this year. Just like Google Reader and many other useful apps-they are getting rid of. Google's explanation? Not a good one.

We originally launched iGoogle in 2005 before anyone could fully imagine the ways that today's web and mobile apps would put personalized, real-time information at your fingertips. With modern apps that run on platforms like Chrome and Android, the need for something like iGoogle has eroded over time, so we’ll be winding down iGoogle on November 1, 2013, giving you a full 16 months from the announcement to adjust or easily export your iGoogle data.

That's fine I guess, if you live and breathe with an I-Pad or your smart phone, but some of us still have use for a desktop or a laptop. The recommend solution by Google, customizing Chrome, doesn't really work very well. I've been casting around for a new aggregator that has the look and feel of IGoogle.

And I finally think I found it.

It's called Ig Home (www.ighome.com). It looks remarkably like I-Google, you can customize it and it has tabs you add-so you can have one tab for news, another for blogs, another for sports etc. I have been using it more and more-both at work and at home. ( The IT Nazis at work won't let me set my own home page-so I have to go to Ig Home as soon as I log in).

It takes a little time to set up-but now after 2 weeks, I have it just about the way I want it.

So if you are an IGoogle fan like I am-this a very acceptable alternative.

7 responses so far

Jan 01 2013

Not boding well for the new year

Published by under Technology

Well we rang in the new year in fine -well, sort of fine fashion. Went over to our neighbors house and watched all the fireworks, drank champagne and beer and came home about 3 AM. S.O. fell into bed-without even so much as a "Happy New Year" handshake. I'm taking it as a good sign she is not getting the fucking point here.

Then I wake up this morning to find my Samsung Galaxy S3 phone-dead. Completely. Won't charge, I have changed the battery ( well took it out and put it back in) and can't even get it to do a hard reset. It is now just a slim, black, paperweight. So on top of dealing with the car tomorrow-on top of having to go to work, I have to get to a store and see if they will swap out this phone for a new one. Yea I am liking that. :-(

And to add insult to injury, I was awake when the booze wore off-while the S.O. is still sleeping, now 4 hours past.

The neighbors were talking about 2013 being an un-lucky year. I wonder if they were right.

No responses yet

Jul 28 2012

Feel the power of the dark side!

Published by under Technology

Rick Blaine:  "So how we doing tonight?"

Croupier: "A couple of thousand less than I thought there would be…….."

 

And why is that exactly?

Because yours truly just bought a Mac Book Pro with a Retina display!

After hearing Spike loft its praises-I decided to take the plunge-aided in part by the urgings of my sister and the fact that I have gotten the "Blue Screen of Death" on my old laptop twice this trip. And it took more than a little effort to get back to the old restore point.

So after all the years of decrying Mac's-now I are a member of the dark side. What is your bidding my master?

7 responses so far

Jul 18 2012

The cycle is in the middle

In the middle of a hectic work / travel schedule. Have a trip to elsewhere in Deutschland on the horizon, immediately followed by a trip back to the Whining States of America. Part business-part familial pilgrimage.

In the interim-between going back and forth to both work and the doctor-I got a new toy:

I finally got tired of my non smart, pre-paid,  German cell phone. Perhaps not the smartest idea I have ever had-especially since I hope to be on my way back to Asia in the next year and a half, but my I-phone will not be able to be unlocked till next winter. I miss my smart phone. ( I use the I-phone now as an American cell when back in the US and this one over here-since one way or another, I would have to pay ATT.)

As an I-Phone aficionado, it was a little hard to make "the switch"-but I find that on the whole I am liking the phone. For one thing-it was cheaper than a new I-phone ( when you included the service contract). Since European phones are sold unlocked-I can use it in my travels which is nice-especially when I go to Israel and back to Asia.

Things I like: The screen is bigger than the I-Phone and the image is just about the same as that of a I-POD with retina screen. I like being able to move files via Windows to the SD card. I like being able to change the SIM card easily. I have figured out how to replicate my apps-so I have most of the ones I used on the I-phone.

I think I-tunes has a better way to present Music-but as for Video-I call it for the Samsung. The other definite advantage of the Samsung is the thinness of the body.

Downside of the Samsung-you have to be careful not to scratch the screen. I bought a case with a flap that covers the screen and is insulated. Problem is-it folds the wrong way, in relation to the buttons that move me through the menus. I am getting used to it however.

Bottom line? I like it as much or more than my I-phone. Sad news for Apple-of which I am a shareholder. I'm still sold on the IPad though.

One response so far

Jan 16 2011

In the command center…….

Published by under Technology

I might be overdoing it-just a bit.

While I was working on the project which will come to fruition one way or another by mid week- I pushed back from the “L” shaped desk that the S.O. gave me-which is the heart of Far East Cynic HQ- to marvel at my set up:

Monitor connected to my desktop Dell 530-which is connected to two external hard drives and a printer as well as some kick ass speakers. ( Safety tip number one-always put the “video” library under ‘lock and key’).

To my left the lap top is set up so I can look at other things via the wonders of the wireless router.

To its left, the I-pad is propped up on its keyboard charging dock-also connected via wireless to the web.

Sitting in front of me are a Blackberry and an I-phone.

Plus I have a big desk phone with a great set up for hands free speaker phone-for those annoyingly timed conference calls from our masters in DC.

I think we can…. officially ……call…….it…….. overkill ………………

5 responses so far

Jan 10 2011

It is a blessing

Published by under Freelancers,Technology

To be holed up inside the house because of this:

I needed the time to get caught up on this project. I spent most of the weekend holed up in my “man cave” writing draft after draft of a proposal and taking the occasional break to bang my head against the wall.

It is not that the work is that hard-but it is quite serious. In a lot of ways, the defense contracting business is similar to the world’s oldest profession. How to figure out how to get as much ass in your service-for the lowest possible price the market will bear.

Except, these are real people we are talking about here-and no matter how this turns out, real people are going to get screwed. People I know personally ( and possibly myself), and don’t deserve this kind of disrespect.

So this project weighs on me a lot. I know we have to get it right-and in a normal world we would have well over 60 days to so. With that kind of time this would be a relatively straightforward task and the weekends would be free.

But not our erstwhile task master. Who thinks its a good idea to staff a multi million dollar project in less than two weeks? I don’t-and I don’t know anyone else in the trenches who thinks it is either.

But such is the world we live in.

Snow keeps the phone from ringing-and that’s a good thing. Back to the salt mine……………

6 responses so far

Dec 22 2010

Once again-with feeling.

Published by under Blogging,Technology

Why you should be concerned about the upcoming Comcast NBC merger, and why Net Neutrality is important to you.

A free and open internet is the single greatest technology of our culture, and control should not be at the mercy of corporations.

  • 2 .A free and open internet stimulates competition.
  • 3. A free and open internet helps prevent unfair pricing practices.
  • 4. A free and open internet promotes innovation.
  • 5.  A free and open internet is more trustworthy and honest.
  • 6.  A free and open internet drives businesses.
  • 7. A free and open internet protects the freedom of speech.

Without network neutrality, big corporations can control what, where, and when we access the internet. Please do your part to help keep the internet a cornerstone of American freedom and potential.

6 responses so far

Oct 30 2010

But are they anatomically correct?

Published by under Technology

Cause if they are-I might have to buy one. “By your command“.

AIST’s HRP-4C Cybernetic Human took the stage for “Dance Robot LIVE!” — a song-and-dance routine choreographed by Sam of the J-pop group TRF.

Caprica may be closer to reality than we care to admit.

No responses yet

Oct 01 2010

Sometimes-Bigger IS better

Published by under Technology

At least when it comes to TV’s.

I saved some of my money from time in Romania this summer for the express purpose of buying a bigger and better TV. A SAMSUNG 55″ HD LED TV. I wish I had bought one sooner.

I got the internet connection with it-and hooked it up to my wireless network. Now I can stream porn Netflix to the TV.

I may never leave the couch again.

One response so far

Sep 15 2010

The stalkers…….

Published by under Technology

Thinking about posting a Tweet or a picture to your Facebook page?

You might want to check your settings on your phone first. Otherwise you might find out the hard way that your phone is sending out messages you would rather not.

A Tweet, like this one, is actually saying this. The Web site I Can Stalk You has some great advice on how to avoid this.

2 responses so far

Aug 22 2010

Net Neutrality

Published by under Technology

I am a strong supporter of Net Neutrality-and for that reason I continue to view the Verizon-Google deal as a bad thing for all of the rest of us. Spike found a good primer that explains why:

Online MBA Rankings
[Via: Online MBA Programs]

14 responses so far

Jul 24 2010

Aftermaths……..

Published by under Technology

The big dogs are finally out of here! As a result, it made me think of this post I wrote up a few years ago-that is worth reviewing again. It’s review of Slogans and cliches is probably worth looking at again:

The high muckety mucks are outta here!!!!!!! They are on the train to Narita, meeting is over, so now:

Like making sausage, getting to the end product is immensely painful, nobody wants to see how its made , but everyone wants a piece of the end product. And, if I do say so myself, we produced a good product this week, even if I did have to corner a couple of people at the bar and threaten to break out the naked pictures of their wives to get the job done…….

For a meeting like this one it seems to me that the movie Casablanca is very instructive of the types of discussion that is generated. At any meeting in which the military is involved there are basically 3 types of people:

1) There are the Capt Renault types: ” I blow with the wind and today the prevailing wind happens to be from Vichy (Airspeed, Cost Wise Readiness, Five Vector Model, MCPON, CNO’s goals or any other trite phrase, fill in the blank as needed).

These are the folks who say one thing in the worker bee sessions and then totally change their opinion when they hear a flag officer say that he thinks that so and so would probably be a “real good idea“. Then just like Capt Renault, they are shocked, shocked I say, to find out that it :a) will not work or b) is going to cost them a lot of money.

Usually at that point the croupier comes along and says, “Your winnings , sir!”……..

2) The second type are the Rick Blaine’s of the world. “I stick my neck out for nobody. ” These guys are usually very skilled at showing up, eating the donuts, and flipping slides, talking in side conversations, and leaving as soon as they can. When pressed for an answer to a direct question they usually call a lateral and redirect the question or information to someone else. However when cornered or they have to, they can get something done:


If you think I’m staying late tonight, think again!

3) Finally, there are the idealists, the Victor Lazlo’s of the world:


It’s a heck of a way to run a railroad!

These guys are the ones who want to make a difference and have either not yet been chewed up by the reality of bureaucratic indifference or have been through the wringer a couple of times and now know where are all the skeletons are buried. They argue the day forcefully and are either cut off at the knees, or sometimes, on those rare occasions when the moon and the stars align, are able to carry the day and have their idea heard, and more importantly have their ideas accepted. Of course there is a cost, by then the Rick’s and Capt Renault’s have run off with their girl………….


How extravagant you are, throwing away women like that. Some day they may be scarce.

Life is tough for Victor and those like him. To tell the truth these days, in the days of corporate groupthink, is a personally hazardous undertaking. Yet without the Victor Lazlo’s nothing important would get done. There used to be a lot more of them. However, 5 years of this guy, all but killed the breed. Hopefully with careful management, the species can make a comeback. Unfortunately, all of his clones are still out there………


The flags Vorta serve the Founders, in all things!

Still, its a living. And right now its paying the bills so I guess I just have to deal with it. Someday however, Someday…………..

Speaking of learning about cliches, it seems Dick Cheney has learned the old one about “bad news, unlike wine, does not get better with age!”


I told you, its rabbit season!

Murphy wins again!

2 responses so far

Jun 20 2010

Caprica

When I was a young man, I was a fan of the short lived TV show, Battlestar Galatica. I was going through flight school, there had been only one Star Wars movie and the Galatica seemed like an aircraft carrier. Besides-the chicks on the show were pretty hot.

When its reimagined version came out a few years ago- I did not follow it much-I was living in Japan and had other things to do, like go to Tokyo for my Japanese classes and find new and better bars on the way home. I did watch the final episodes of the series when it closed-but I found the ending, and the changes from the original series-to be dissapointing. For the record, Starbuck is supposed to be a man. And second, when you come upon a young planet earth wth nothing but natives for the conquering, you don’t just toss your technology aside and live like the natives.

So I was curious what was going to happen when Sy Fy developed the prequel series Caprica. Caprica is set 58 years before the Cylons destroyed the 12 colonies and launched the “rag tag, fugitive fleet” on its lonely quest for Earth.

The first time through- I did not warm to the series so much. I could not get it. Here was a world that had developed spaceflight, yet still had people dressing like they lived in the 1950′s-complete with fedora hats for the men. And while there was lots of new technology-it seemed odd to me that so much of the world looked and seemed like the current world we live in now. After all we don’t have interplanetary travel yet-much to my chagrin.

Then, quite by accident, I stumbled upon the first 12 episodes available for down load on I-Tunes. I down loaded and loaded all of them up to my I-Phone. While I was on this recent series of international travel I watched the series again. The light bulb finally came on -and now I can truly say I am hooked. I can’t wait till the series resumes again in October.

Science Fiction has always been a clever way to provide interesting commentary on current events and I realized that Caprica was following this old SciFi tradition very well. The plot line of  Caprica tells the story of how Colonial humanity first created the robotic cylons, who would later plot to destroy humans in retaliation for their enslavement.  I always hate it when they use that term-they are machines, they are meant to be used and abused. That is not enslavement. People are enslaved. Machines are used.

Nonetheless, it is the interesting story of how the first Cylon robot becomes self aware. I also find the technology of the show fascinating-especially the Virtual world that creates the vehicle to make the first Cylon self aware. ( Plot spoiler follows). The virtual world is the ultimate of electronic gaming-enabled by “holobands” that allow you to assume the form of an avatar and navigate through a world where any thing is possible. ( Pioneered by the porn industry of course).

The central characters, the Graystone family includes the father Daniel and mother Amanda, a computer scientist and surgeon respectively. When their daughter Zoe dies due to the religious fanaticism of her boyfriend, Ben Stark, her father manages to resurrect her — after a fashion. Already having acquired a digital clone of her personality developed by Zoe herself, he uses stolen technology to create a robotic version of his daughter, the first step towards creating the Cylon race.

In the worlds of the colonies, polytheism is the religion. Try to imagine Greece-with 21st century  technology. Monotheism-the belief in the one true god-is the Caprican version of Islam in this series. Ben Stark is the modern day Islamic terrprist. Or is he a Christianist? It is never really clear.  In one of the early shows, this line is spoken: ” Don’t you realize how dangerous this is? A belief in one all knowing, infallible god, with which there is no disagreement-and in whose name unspeakable acts of violence can be committed.”  I found that particularly interesting and it provokes interesting parallels with our own age and history.

And that is what Science fiction is supposed to do. Provide a vehicle through which clever commentary on our own society can be expressed. In Caprica, its about a   a world intoxicated by success. And technology. It opens a lot of ideas for discussion-since the virtual world featured in the series can be likened to some of the video games of today.

The second  half of the series airs in October-I can’t wait. If you have not watched the first episodes-buy it or down load it.

6 responses so far

Jun 03 2010

This is why I support net neutrality…

Published by under Technology

Because companies should not tell you how much data you can use.

I consider myself virtually addicted to my iPhone. I obsessively check my e-mail on it (4 accounts!); I listen to streaming music as I type on my computer at work; I surf the Internet fairly often; and I’ve got dozens of data-driven apps. Unlimted data for a fee seemed like a good deal. Now the cocksuckers folks at ATT have the balls to restrict how much data you can get in a month.

AT&T*, the U.S. smartphone leader, today introduced new wireless data plans that make it more affordable for more people to enjoy the benefits of the mobile Internet. Customers can pick the new data plan that best meets their needs – either a $15 per month entry plan or a $25 per month plan with 10 times more data. Current smartphone customers are not required to switch to the new plans, but can choose to do so without a contract extension.

Well, thank God for that. And please don’t call me a “data hog”. That’s exactly the point.  I’m paying for them to provide the service-its up to me how much I use it. I worry that the next step will be ISP’s wanting to penalize users like me who like to download high quality movies with quality graphics. ISP’s and cable providers are fighting to be able to ration data-at exactly the same time is moving to make more and more data stored out there in the “cloud”.

And that’s why the FCC should have authority to regulate companies like AT&T and enforce net neutrality.

6 responses so far

Apr 21 2010

5-4-3-2-1

Published by under Technology

The countdown begins till Uncle Dumbo’s, Michelle Malkin’s, Rush Limbaugh’s and Sean Hannity’s heads explode:

Officials from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the United States Secret Service unveiled the new design for the $100 note. Complete with advanced technology to combat counterfeiting, the new design for the $100 note retains the traditional look of U.S. currency.

“As with previous U.S. currency redesigns, this note incorporates the best technology available to ensure we’re staying ahead of counterfeiters,” said Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner.

“When the new design $100 note is issued on February 10, 2011, the approximately 6.5 billion older design $100s already in circulation will remain legal tender,” said Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board Ben S. Bernanke. “U.S. currency users should know they will not have to trade in their older design $100 notes when the new ones begin circulating.”

I’m with John Cole on this one-by the end of the week we will be hearing yet another litany about how America is becoming like Europe. This, in spite of the fact  that it has been proven again and again, multi-colored money is harder to counterfeit.

Of course there is no real impact on me-the only time I see a 100 dollar bill is when I am in the act of passing it from a casino ATM to a lady blackjack dealer with large tits. After that-its all chips and twenty’s baby…………..

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