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    February 3, 2016
    Wordless Wednesday: Contrast

    Via Reddit.

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    February 1, 2016
    Facebook Working On Ride Sharing Platform

    In a world where Uber and Lyft are available at the jingle of a phone call or the touching of a text message, it’s not surprising that these services are popular.  They’re cheaper than taxi cabs and the rider and driver experience is a lot more democratic.  When you hail a cab, you’re just rolling the dice, but a lot of ride-sharing platforms offer users a chance to look at their driver’s ratings and see if they’re worthy riders; the same thing applies to passengers, who are also rated by drivers.  Facebook might be looking to get in on the ride-sharing game.

    Facebook already has an arrangement with Uber, in which Facebook Message can be used to arrange an Uber pick-up.  Now it looks as though Facebook is going to allow users to sidestep Uber and just arrange rides directly.  If the technical offerings are to be believed, there are options for “going and driving” and “going but not driving” along with ways to select how many passengers you can take and what kind of financial compensation is expected for being able to ride along to events.

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    January 14, 2016
    Netflix To Clamp Down On Proxy Sneakers

    I have a lot of friends in the UK, and while I won’t name any names, they’re all quite good at using proxy servers and manipulating settings on their computers to get around blocks keeping them from streaming the Nextflix offerings viewed by users in the United States or Canada or one of the other countries where Netflix is currently operating.  Other users, in countries where Netflix has no official offering, also use proxy servers to get access to streaming movies.  All of these users pay Netflix subscription fees, so Netflix isn’t losing money, but content providers don’t like it, because having control is what Hollywood companies are all about.  So Netflix is going to play ball.

    Netflix is going to make it hard for users to get around regional distribution blocks.  Currently, a simple visit to a proxy server will allow you to, say, get to UK Netflix to watch something that isn’t offered on US Netflix or vice-versa.  It helps when you want to do things like watch British TV not available in the United States, but there’s a reason there aren’t a lot of region-free DVDs able to be played around the world.  Studios like to price things to market, and if you could buy a DVD from the US for $5 versus the Australian equivalent of $25 American dollars, you’d do that all day long.  I guess the fee for licensing Parks & Recreation in the UK versus a worldwide license fee makes someone more money.

    As it is, apparently Netflix has already started clamping down on proxies, so the fun won’t last for much longer if you’re currently a proxy user.

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    December 30, 2015
    The Lost Tech Of 2015

    Every year is the last year of something someone has fond memories of.  It seems that 2015 has been a particularly rough year for technology, as there’s been a pretty high rate of loss, closing down, and elimination of various loved and not loved services.  From the map service that predates Google to some spectacularly popular music services, lots of things have been removed from service, or are going to be removed from service.  Here’s a list of tech products that disappeared in 2015.

    A lot of these services I had no idea still existed.  Betamax, for example, was a surprise.  Others were surprises because they seemed pretty popular, like Rdio or Beats Music.  Not that I know anyone who used Beats Music, but I’m sure people did, and while the brand itself is going to live on in headphone form, the streaming services are drying up.  I guess that’s all part of industry consolidation, or just the fact that people are settled into their streaming services of choice, but still, someone’s going to be disappointed by that.

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    December 23, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Swayze Christmas

    Via The AV Club

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    December 21, 2015
    Russian Sues Bethesda Over Fallout 4 Addiction

    I really want to start playing Fallout 4.  I loved Fallout 1, 2, and 3, and while I haven’t played New Vegas, I would like to try it.  However, with the launch of the newest edition of the Fallout game, all I can think about is buying a new video game system or upgrading my laptop to play Fallout 4 in its full glory.  I don’t have the money, but the temptation is strong.  Apparently, for some people, it’s strong enough to ruin lives.  A 28-year-old Russian is suing Bethesda over Fallout 4, saying video game addiction ruined his life.

    The man, from Krasnoyarsk in Siberia, says a three-week video game binge has ruined his health (due to not eating or sleeping), his social life (he has stopped seeing his friends), his marriage (his wife left him), and his professional life (he was fired for missing work).  He’s asking both Bethesda and the Russian-language localization firm for $7000 US or about 500,000 rubles in damages.  This is the first lawsuit of its kind in Russia, and is seen as kind of a test case for future lawsuits in Russia and beyond.

    “If I knew that this game could have become so addictive, I would have become a lot more wary of it.  I would not have bought it, or I would have left it until I was on holiday or until the New Year holidays,” reads a statement issued by the man about his life-ruining video game.

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    December 16, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Where’s Luke?

    via Imgur

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    December 9, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Gizmonics

    Via Reddit

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    December 8, 2015
    Winter Kills Electric Cars

    I don’t know if you’ve been outside lately, but if it’s anywhere like where I live, the weather is changing.  It’s getting dark at 5 PM and it’s getting colder and colder with every passing day.  Winter is here, and the night is dark and full of terrors, if you own a battery-powered car, that is.  Electric car batteries don’t power as efficiently in cold weather.

    Fortunately, most of the electric cars in the United States are sold in more temperate climates, like California and the American South, and less in the places where it gets really cold, but for vast swaths of the middle of the country, ice-skating around in an electric car with a lower-powered battery seems like a bad idea.  After all, it’s not like a normal car in the sense that you can just pump gas into it, or keep the power on for longer by leaning on the battery.  When that battery dies, the whole thing dies, and it becomes a very heavy sled.

    There are two big blocks stopping the advancement, and the weather is definitely a big one (alongside limited range for battery power and limited charging stations).  If they can improve the battery and solve that problem, then maybe electric cars will become universal.  Until then, maybe stick with something that fits your climate.

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    December 3, 2015
    Super Mario Goes Designer

    Nintendo isn’t know for its clothing so much.  I mean, there have been tee-shirts and pants and hats and all that kind of stuff, particularly back in the glory days of the company, but there’s never been much in the way of expensive offerings for the card company turned video game designer and billion-dollar business. Now Nintendo is entering the clothing game:  Italian designer Moschino is partnering with Nintendo to launch some designer clothing.

    Now it seems strange that an Italian clothing company is reaching out to Nintendo for this, but it’s not when you consider the other companies involved in the Moschino line.  Namely, Looney Tunes.  That’s right, this company sells $900 shirts with Looney Tunes characters on them, and now they’re going to bring Mario, Peach, Luigi, and the rest to the world of designer clothing.  The Mario line debuts on December 5 at Moschino’s Milan, Rome, Paris, New York, and Los Angeles boutiques, plus other retailers that feature the Italian clothier.

    Hope you saved your gold coins!

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