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    July 31, 2015
    The Oldest Phone In San Francisco

    I was a hold-out on upgrading from a dumbphone to a smartphone for the longest time, digging my heels in and refusing to bend to modern times until I finally got tired of everyone else having the internet in their pocket and the ability to look anything up at any time.  It wasn’t the peer pressure so much as a desire to finally be unencumbered from having to ask other people to do things for me that I couldn’t do, like buy concert tickets online from a coffee shop without a computer or look up the number of things I wanted to call while driving.  However, I eventually caved in.  I just wonder if the writer of “What It’s Like to Have the Oldest Phone in San Francisco” is going to do the same.

    I really have to admire her dedication to her candy bar phone.  Even though I held off on smartening up for a long time, I still got the occasional upgrade.  Eventually it just seemed like too much hassle to keep a dumbphone, when for basically the same price package I could upgrade and get a smartphone (the lack of physical keyboard on every available dumbphone didn’t help).  One thing in her favor:  you can’t argue with buying that many minutes for $100.  That’s pretty amazing, especially these days.

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    July 22, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Drone Wednesday

    Via Reddit.

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    July 21, 2015
    Reasons to Upgrade To Windows 10

    Every time I get on my computer, at the bottom of my screen on the right, I see a little window icon that reminds me daily that I will soon be able to upgrade to Windows 10 for absolutely nothing.  Part of me is interested, of course, but part of me is also afraid because, well, upgrading can be dangerous, particularly when you’re running a lot of older games and software like I do.  Still, Microsoft is pushing hard to get people to upgrade with a full-court press of information on Win 10. They’ve also made a video.

    YouTube Preview Image

    I’m not entirely put at ease by the update offer, because I just have one laptop and once that goes, I’ll have no computers so I need to protect it as best I can, and installing a buggy launch day version of a new OS isn’t the best way to do that.  Still, it’s very tempting.  If I could find the money for a new computer between now and when the free upgrade offer goes away, then I’d probably take the plunge, if only because it’s free.

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    July 14, 2015
    Mozilla Disables “Too Dangerous” Flash

    One of the cornerstones of the Internet is being chipped away.  Once upon a time, if you wanted to have animation or online videos, you needed to know Flash to make that happen, or use a site that uses Flash.  Now, it looks like the software of choice for Newgrounds and other fun games is getting removed from circulation.  Mozilla has disabled Adobe Flash on all Firefox browsers.  Mozilla was one of the last companies who still supported Flash, and now it’s officially getting the boot until Adobe gets it repaired and secure.

    It’s a very rare step for Mozilla to make a universal decision, but the company has decided that Adobe’s Flash product is too unsafe to run on their browsers, as hackers routinely use it to gain access to computers and it’s renowned for being full of exploits.  Google moved to disable Flash on its browsers earlier this year, and even Adobe has stopped developing Flash for mobile phones back in 2011.  Now, hopefully, the rest of the world will follow Adobe’s lead and Flash will finally get replaced by something safe to run on browsers, like HTML5.

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    July 10, 2015
    Senators Ask FCC To Investigate Cable Companies

    It seems that every week, another cable company is forming from the merged bodies of two formerly separate entities.  That’s been the case for awhile, but these days, it seems like it’s reaching a peak.  The sort of peak that attracts the interest of federal regulators and, in the case of the newest round of possible cable mergers, four United States Senators.  Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Edward Markey, and Al Franken have thrown their considerable weight behind a letter to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, asking him to take a look at cable pricing.

    Writes Sanders, “With increasing concentration in the industry, there are now de facto telecommunications monopolies throughout the united states.  for example, just 37 percent of Americans have more than one option for high-speed broadband providers.  Given the lack of incentives for companies to provide better quality service and competitive prices, it is no surprise that individuals rank cable and Internet providers last in customer satisfaction when compared to other companies in other industries.”

    Sanders isn’t asking the Federal Communications Commission to do any investigation, just do a pricing survey and keep an eye on things.  Given the amount of hidden fees and taxes and other things put in, it makes sense to have someone keeping an eye on things, since most of us consumers don’t have an option outside of the local cable monopoly or, in my case, a subpar DSL provider and the local cable monopoly.  Neither of which is a great option, since I don’t like my local cable company since they got bought out by a large provider.

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    July 8, 2015
    Logitech Drops the Tech

    Everything changes.  Apple Computers is now just Apple.  Windows is still Windows, even if all the Xbox products are changing their names.  Now, a company best known for its computer mice is looking to put focus on its other products, and with that new focus comes a new name.  Something sleek, something modern, something that doesn’t sound like the 1980′s.  Logitech is changing its name to Logi.

    “If we look out five or ten years, it’s going to seem odd for a company to call itself ‘something-tech,’” said CEO Bracken Darrell.  ”There will be tech in your clothing, in your shoes, in your tires.  To be Logitech at that point will seem awfully 1980s.”

    Logitech… excuse me, Logi, has been shifting its markets quite well recently.  They no longer just make the best computer mouse on the market, but they also make great iPad keyboards and television remotes, among other peripherals.  If Logitech/Logi has its name on it, it’s going to be a good product, and hopefully a new logo and a new product line will help smooth this transition into the company’s expected future.

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    July 8, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: We Don’t Talk About Fast Internet

    Via Jermaine Clement on Twitter.

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    July 6, 2015
    Groove: Microsoft Rebrands Xbox Music

    With every new operating system, something changes.  Microsoft is a big fan of rebranding, making name changes to try and show off some changed aspect of their service while shaking off the ghosts of the older services.  Hence the jump to Microsoft 10, which is a big part of Microsoft’s new rebranding efforts.  Even the venerable Xbox isn’t immune to the changes.  Xbox Music will now be called Groove.

    That’s not all Xbox is rebranding in the run-up to the release of Windows 10. Xbox Video is now called Movies & TV.  Simple, to the point, hard to mess up, and all part of a plan to make the Xbox just one way in which you can get to all your purchased music, videos, streaming content, and goodies.

    “Our fans asked for faster ways to access the music they love – quickly, efficiently, and on their favorite devices. And for that, we’re proud to introduce the evolution of our current Xbox Music experience, now titled Groove, with new features we think you’re going to love. Groove describes what people feel and do with music, and is more intuitive for our Windows 10 customers on what they’ll find with the app,” says a Microsoft blog post from Brandon LeBlanc.

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    June 20, 2015
    Twitter Wants To Be Your Shopping List

    Sometimes you see something very cool and you want to get it for yourself.  For example, someone’s reading a book and raving about it on Twitter.  Sure, you can go hunt it down and look it up on a retailer website, or you can click a link and boom, book on its way.  Twitter is launching product pages and collections that allow companies to organize their products and consumers to buy them.  In addition to the dedicated product pages being set up for companies, trend-makers and celebrities are also being invited to set up collection pages featuring their favorite things for their customers to purchase.

    Pinterest and Facebook already have simliar features, so it makes sense that Twitter adds it, too.  There have been hashtags that have been used to place products into shopping carts on Amazon, and now it’s going to be even easier to make that purchase when the time comes.  Since Twitter doesn’t do a lot of ads, it only makes sense that they look for ways to help brands engage with customers on a way other than simply through conversations.

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    June 18, 2015
    YouTube’s New News Channel

    The future of news is online.  There’s just something about immediacy that even cable news can’t match, in spite of millions of dollars to spend and 24 hours of coverage to fill.  When you get something cool on video, it goes straight to YouTube, and now, that cool video just might make up the future of news.  YouTube is launching YouTube Newswire, a new news service focused on eye-witness video.

    Of course, YouTube isn’t just plucking videos at random.  Newswire will be sourced and organized by Storyful, who promise to find the best news, weather, and political videos and bring them to the world’s attention in a way that the average “man getting hit by football” video can’t.  All the videos will be able to be embedded, provided credit to the original uploader and YouTube is provided.  They’ll even license the videos for the local news, which should make finding great videos and using them that much easier for the local morning show that needs a few minutes of time killed.

    If you’re curious, head over to YouTube Newswire to find out more.

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