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    November 18, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Wordless Of The Year

    via PC Word.

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    October 31, 2015
    Jones Soda And Target Bring Nuka-Cola To Life

    When it comes to weird flavors, nobody tops Jones.  Sure they’ll put out a turkey and gravy soda, but will they put out a radioactive one?  Fallout the video game series is known for its immersive play, its clever construction, and a great vision of a retro future where it’s permanently 1950′s suburbia.  One of the most fun things in Fallout is Nuka-Cola.  Brown cola or glowing blue radioactive cola, Nuka-Cola is the official drink of the wastelands, where its caps are used as money and the drink itself is chock full of regenerative properties (and radiation).  Jones Soda will be releasing a Nuka-Cola Quantum bottle!

    Of course, Jones’ Nuka-Cola won’t be radioactive.  Instead, it’ll probably be some sort of berry flavor (it’s suspected to be Berry Lemonade).  Nuka-Cola will be available in four packs at Target on 11/10/2015, which is the release date for Fallout 4.  Given the other fun collectibles coming out, like the real-life Pip Boy, this is a great addition to the growing Fallout collection.  Plus, of course, there’s the game.

    I just hope people don’t buy these just to horde them, but actually drink them.  Have a little fun with it, then maybe rinse out and save the bottle for future collecting?  I mean, I probably wouldn’t open mine, either, but… maybe buy two, one to drink and one to hang onto in case someone wants expired mutant soda in the future?

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    October 27, 2015
    Facebook’s 2G Tuesdays

    Bigger, better, faster, more… that’s the law when it comes to Internet surfing, apps, and all the rest of the technology at use in the world.  However, if you don’t have the technology to make those kind of connections, the whole modern world is just going to be an excruciating experience.  Even on my current connection, I have problems due to things not being fast enough, and if you live in China or India or Africa, the modern Internet is just a constant irritation because it’s designed for first world users.  Facebook is having some employees browse on 2G internet connections.

    There’s a very good reason for that.  Facebook wants employees to feel what it’s like to browse the web on the type of connection most common in the developing world, where Facebook (and the global Internet) has a new frontier.  The employees connect to a simulated 2G network via their phones and feel how the other half lives.  That’s one of the reasons behind Facebook’s Lite app, and one of the reasons behind this experiment.

    “People are coming online at a staggering rate in emerging markets and, in most cases, are doing so on mobile via 2G connections,” says a Facebook statement.  ”On the lower end of 2G networks, it can take about two minutes to download a webpage.  We hope this will help us understand how people are using Facebook on slower connections, so we can build a better product for all of the people using it.”

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    October 26, 2015
    iPhone Owners Sue Apple Over Data Fees

    Smart phones are great, but they’re only as good as your willingness to pay for them.  After all, if there’s no wireless connection available, the phones will tend to default to cellular service.  If there’s a weak wi-fi signal, sometimes it’s better to use cellular, but that’s only if you choose it to be so.  Two iPhone owners are suing Apple over iOS9′s new Wi-Fi Assist feature, which caused massive data overages.

    Wi-Fi Assist is a service in which the iPhone automatically turns on cellular connectivity in places with weak or no wireless internet.  This happens by default, without users even realizing that they’re being charged data when they might be under the assumption that they’re using their home wi-fi or the wi-fi of some business or another.  As you might imagine, this can rack up the fees, and that’s what the lawsuit is over.

    “Defendant failed to disclose to consumers that this automatic switch to cellular data caused by an activated Wi-Fi Assist (the default setting) may result in exceeding the data capacity allowed under their phone plans,” reads part of the lawsuit from William and Suzanne Phillips.  ”This is especially true as there is no warning or disclosure when the phone switches from Wi-Fi to cellular data.”

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    October 23, 2015
    Bing Turns A Profitable Corner

    It’s been a long, hard road for Microsoft lately.  Sure, the company is still a very profitable company, raking in billions of dollars, but it’s also facing something of a crisis.  They’re trying to move from a product company to a service company, and one of the services they decided to do was internet browsing.  In 2009, Steve Ballmer announced Bing, Microsoft’s new search engine platform.  It took the place of a bunch of different things, MSN Search, Windows Live Search, and Live Search, and it’s also taken its sweet time to make some money.  Bing has finally made Microsoft a profit.

    Bing recently passed 20 percent market share, and it seems to only be gaining strength.  Revenues might be down, but profits are up, and that’s crucial in any company with a lot of shareholders to keep happy.  Bing making some money is good news, and the fact that Bing is built into a lot of Windows 10 devices is even better news.  I’ve been using Bing at work, and I have to admit to actually kind of liking the service.  It’s not as good as Google, but it beats the pants of anything not Google.

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    October 21, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Back In Time

    Via /film

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    October 19, 2015
    Facebook Launches “State-Sponsored” Hacker Warning

    Hackers are everywhere, working to get access to information.  That’s why you always hear about online security.  Even if it’s security theater, the important thing is companies seem like they’re trying, but Facebook has launched something called Login Approvals.  Basically, it’s one of the only ways to keep government-sponsored hackers out of your account.  Facebook now has a warning about state-sponsored hackers.

    “While we have always taken steps to secure accounts that we believe to have been compromised, we decided to show this additional warning if we have a strong suspicion that an attack could be government-sponsored. We do this because these types of attacks tend to be more advanced and dangerous than others, and we strongly encourage affected people to take the actions necessary to secure all of their online accounts,” writes Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos. “It’s important to understand that this warning is not related to any compromise of Facebook’s platform or systems, and that having an account compromised in this manner may indicate that your computer or mobile device has been infected with malware. Ideally, people who see this message should take care to rebuild or replace these systems if possible.”

    How Login Approvals works is that when someone tries to log into your account, your phone is pinged with a notification that someone’s trying to log into your account, which gives you the option to approve or deny it.  It seems like a bold step to actively stand in the way of rogue government agents, but if anyone’s got the clout to do so, it’s got to be Facebook.

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    October 14, 2015
    Buy Fall Leaves Online

    For someone with a full-time job, Kyle Waring has great hustle.  You have to respect hustle, even if it’s for something most people would consider, frankly, dumb.  Kyle Waring sells yard waste online, and makes great money doing it.  Those of us who are about to start raking up their first leaves of the season might be jealous, but apparently there’s a market out there for New England’s most beautiful fall leaves, and Waring is going to fill that market with his online business.  He’s already shipped 50 orders for the season, which is kind of amazing.

    The business is called Ship Foliage, and it’s pretty genius.  For only $19.99, you get three leaves, chosen to be the most perfect leaves found by Waring on his hikes around New England.  The leaves are all uniform in color and size and shape, and they’re preserved with glycerin to keep them safe and to ensure they last somewhere between three and five years.  If you’re a New Englander who has moved to the deep South, well… this might be what you need to make your home feel like fall.

    Waring previously had a business selling, of all things, winter snow.  He sold 700 pounds of Boston snow using a business called ShipSnow, Yo!  He plans to do that again this winter, gathering snow in 12 and 22 packages.

    Image: Kyle Waring on Twitter.

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    October 12, 2015
    Student Buys For $12

    Sanmay Ved is a college student at Babson College in Massachusetts.  He’s got a history with Google, working for the company from 2007-12, and he’s kept an eye on things.  Like a lot of people, he likes to check for the availability of website names.  One of his regular peeks is at, the most valuable and most famous website on the Internet and the centerpiece of a billion-dollar company.  Turns out someone recently must have dropped the ball over there, because Sanmay Ved bought for $12.

    After buying the URL, Ved notified Google’s security team, and for a few short hours, he was on top of the world.  However, it didn’t last, and before long Google had restored ownership of its name.  As for Sanmay, the company offered him a $10,000 reward through the Google Security Rewards Program, which awards bug-hunters money for breaking their products.  Rather than taking the cash, Ved asked them to donate the money to the Art of Living India Foundation.  Rather than just giving the money over, Google doubled the reward and gave $20,000 to charity.  Not too shabby, huh?

    “I still love the company, and what it does and stand[s] for,” said Ved.  ”It was very kind of them to offer double the reward since it was going to charity.”

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    October 9, 2015
    Google Drive Out For Two Hours!

    Everyone seems to love cloud storage.  It’s the wave of the future, it’s the reason why we don’t need CDs or actual MP3 players anymore, and it’s just the bee’s knees, when it works.  Key phrase: when it works.  When the cloud leaves you in the dust, you’re in for a bad time.  At my workplace, we’ve had file servers for years, and for the most part it’s been okay, except for when the server went down every two weeks and when a database error wiped out a decade’s worth of confidential files.  We’ve also got a bunch of virtual desktops and terminals connected to central servers to service the place, and when the Internet goes down, those become very expensive paperweights.  When that happens to millions of people at once, that’s a disaster.

    Google Drive spent two hours down today, and people absolutely freaked out.  Apparently, everyone uses Google Drive, and for a lot of folks in a lot of workplaces, it’s THE way to transfer files and collaborate on stuff.  Cue the wailing and grinding of teeth, cue the frantic communications via Twitter and Facebook about the status of Google Drive.  The outage was only a few hours, but boy, it seemed to alarm a whole lot of otherwise reasonable people.  No word from Google on what caused it or how they fixed it, but… the important thing is it’s fixed.

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