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    October 31, 2014
    Terrifying Geeky Jack-O-Lanterns

    There are few things more terrifying than having a bunch of fun things scheduled to record only to discover that your capacity to record is rapidly ticking away.  My DVR seems camped between 30 and 40 percent remaining, no matter what I do.  However, when it gets further and further from 0 percent capacity and closer and closer to 100 percent capacity, that means it’s time to start worrying.  That’s one of the many fun, geeky jack-o-lantern cards at Some E-Cards.

    There are a lot of fun options for cards, including some personal horrors like the scale, the check engine light, no internet, and more.  Truly, it’s all the banes of modern existence given life in pumpkin form.  There is true terror in those funny little cards, you just have to look for it.  Or wait until it starts looking for you…

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    October 30, 2014
    MPAA And NATO Ban Google Glass

    Google Glass is the enemy of movie theaters, if certain industry groups are to be believed.  Just like once upon a time concert taping was going to kill live music, and VCRs were going to kill television, and the Internet was going to kill everything, Google Glass is now going to run your local multiplex conglomerate out of business.  At least, according to the Motion Picture Association of America and the National Association of Theater Owners.  The MPAA and NATO have teamed up to ban Google Glass and other wearables from your local theater.  If you refuse to doff your Google Glass (or you need it to see), they can throw you out of the theater or even call the cops.

    “If theater managers have indications that illegal recording activity is taking place, they will alert law enforcement authorities when appropriate, who will determine what further action should be taken,” says the joint statement.

    Given the proliferation of devices capable of recording movies at DVD quality, including most cell phones, it seems a bit silly to ban something as obvious as a wearable pair of computer eyeglasses or a smartwatch.  There are lots of other ways to make recordings that can actually be hidden, rather than worn openly.

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    October 29, 2014
    Wordless Wednesday: Tetrisween!

    Via: Reddit

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    October 29, 2014
    Wordless Wednesday: Mix Tape!

    Image:  HMV

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    October 27, 2014
    Amazon’s $39 Streaming Media Stick

    With HD TVs, the best feature is probably the HDMI ports that come with them.  All you have to do to get high definition picture and sound is just to hook up something like a Blu Ray player or, increasingly, a streaming media device.  Some of these are set-top boxes, but the real fun is in the tiny media stick category.  Amazon has quietly released a $39 streaming media stick called the Amazon Fire TV Stick.  It’s the price of its competitors, the Roku and the Google Chromecast, but it packs a lot of power in a chewing gum-sized frame.

    Says Amazon, ”Fire TV Stick has 50% more processing power and two times the memory of Chromecast; it has six times the processing power, two times the memory and 32 times the storage of Roku Streaming Stick.  This results in faster and more fluid navigation, plus more storage for apps and games.”

    The Fire TV Stick features most of the streaming features you’d expect, like Netflix and Hulu and (of course) Amazon Prime, but here’s the tipping point.  If you’re an Amazon Prime customer, and why aren’t you, then the Fire TV Stick is going to be an extra good bargain.  For the next two days, you can get Amazon’s Fire TV Stick for $19, half the price of the normal $39 pricepoint.  I’ve gone ahead and picked one up, if only because I couldn’t pass up something that cheap.

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    October 26, 2014
    Apple To Rebrand Beats Music As iTunes Feature

    Every year, it seems that music sales decrease.  Once upon a time, digital sales were supposed to keep the vultures at bay and prop up the music industry, but it seems that as prices rise on music–from 99 cents to $2.99 a track–consumer interest decreases similarly.  iTunes sales have dropped 14% since the beginning of the year, and while download sales are flat, physical media continues to disappear from sales sheets and streaming services appear to be on the rise.  Hence, Apple’s going to do something to the Beats Music streaming service they acquired in the purchase of the Beats franchise from Dr. Dre and company.  Apple is going to convert Beats Radio into an iTunes paid streaming service.

    For $10 a month, consumers can stream music from the Beats library, and before long, that same offer will be dangled out for iTunes users.  However, will users actually pay for streaming when there are so many free streaming options out there?  Color me doubtful.  Why pay for something when other people are giving it to you for free?  Or, perhaps, for the price of an Amazon Prime subscription that comes with a whole lot more fringe benefits than Apple typically offers.

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    October 24, 2014
    Securing Your New Phone

    I think if you’re going to update your phone, you will have done it by now.  Lots of folks rushed out to get new iPhones and new Android devices in recent months, so it’s not surprising that you’re going to have to get your new phones secure and locked down in proper modern defensive postures.  That’s where apps come in.  When I got my Kindle so many years ago, the first thing I did was go out and get a security app for it off Amazon’s store.  If you’re an iPhone or Android user, then there are lots of great ways to take the extra step of security you need in this day and age of smartphones.  Here are some great security apps for your iOS and Android devices.

    It’s pretty strange that we live in a world where you have to make sure viruses don’t get on your phone of all things.  Especially considering that 15 years ago, or even less, a portable phone was a phone that could barely make telephone calls.  Now they can’t make phone calls, but they can do pretty much everything else that you’d want online.  Anything involving the Internet means anti-virus software, and anything involving your phone means lock-down and remote-wiping capabilities, so make sure you keep both of those on your phone.

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    October 22, 2014
    Wordless Wednesday: iBend

    Via:  Macworld

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    October 20, 2014
    Google Tests Anti-Piracy Ads

    One of the easiest things to do online is to find sketchy content.  From movies to music, if you really want it, you can find it.  However, it might take more than a simple Google search in the future.  Google will be testing out anti-piracy search results, in which searchers are redirected (by ads) to legal ways to listen to their illegal music.  Provided those legal ways are free, I can see that initiative being very successful, like via Pandora or VEVO or whatever sort of ad-supported network you may choose.

    The new method is part of Google’s continuing fight against piracy, as first detailed in the 2013 report “How Google Fights Piracy.”  First they began to delist websites hosting stolen content.  Now they are turning your web searches against you, with terms like free and download and whatnot triggering the ad displays (and potentially skewing search results).

    “For example, the query ‘expendables download’ returns an ad format at the top of the page advertising Google Play, Vudu, and Amazon,” said the piracy report.  ”The same ad format triggers on queries for queries like ‘expendables torrent.’  While relatively few users search in this way compared to root queries like ‘expendables,’ we are happy that these new ad formats are driving traffic to legitimate sources of media.”

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    October 15, 2014
    It’s Rifftrax, Charlie Brown

    Tonight is a great night for television watching, because one of the most popular Halloween specials in the history of television will be airing.  That special is the classic It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and it’s a wonderful piece of entertaining nostalgia.  However, that can be improved upon, if you’re one of the witty minds behind Rifftrax.  Rifftrax makes comedy commentary tracks to be played along with whatever DVD you’re watching (or bought already synced up to the movie in question) and enjoyed for the laughs they provide.  The Rifftrax guys don’t shy away from classics like Casablanca, The Wizard of Oz, and now, this particular TV special.  Mashable has a sneak preview of Rifftrax’s take on Charlie Brown.

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    It’s not the full special, and it won’t happen during tonight’s special airing of the Charlie Brown Halloween special, but the whole short and commentary will be screened on 10/30 as Rifftrax Live takes on Anaconda in a nationwide (and Canadawide) simulcast event at selected theaters.  For more information and tickets, visit Fathom Events’ Rifftrax Live page.

     

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