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    August 7, 2015
    Five Windows 10 Secrets

    If you’re one of the people who took advantage of Microsoft’s offer to upgrade to Windows 10 without any cost, you’re braver than I am.  I considered it strongly, then backed out.  After all, I only have the one laptop, and without it I can’t do… well, anything, so I decided to err on the side of caution and to keep things in good working order until such time as I am able to experiment at my leisure or until my work upgrades to Windows 10.  However, some people didn’t wait, and perhaps they’re looking for some helpful tips on how to get the most out of Win10.  Here are 5 secrets to help you fall for Windows 10.

    Of the listed features, my favorite is the idea of the multiple desktops.  I use a virtual desktop at my work, in addition to my desktop computer.  Neither performs great, but one tends to degrade the other.  If I had a better computer, or when my computer worked better, I loved having a desktop for one set of job duties and one for the other set.  I would love to have a work desktop, a play desktop, and a gaming desktop on my current computer, if only to help me be more productive when I’m typing away at blog posts like this one.

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    August 6, 2015
    Legion: World Of Warcraft Expands Again

    World of Warcraft, once upon a time, had 12 million subscribers.  That number has halved, then dropped even lower, but just because the game is down doesn’t mean it’s out.  World of Warcraft has 5.6 million subscribers, making it by far the most popular subscription game in the world, even if it’s not the cultural touchpoint it once was.  Activision hopes that they can resurrect that Blizzard magic a little bit with their newest expansion.  Blizzard is bringing back the Burning Legion in World of Warcraft: Legion.  Here’s the trailer!

    YouTube Preview Image

    Of course, long timers like myself remember fighting the Burning Legion already, but they remain a popular enemy and Blizzard is apparently bringing the Legion to Azeroth proper this time.  They’re also raising the level cap to 110 (letting players boost one character to 100) and adding legacy artifact weapons that resemble the most famous weapon models in the game, like the famous sword Ashbringer.  They’re also revamping the PVP system and adding a new hero class, the Demon Hunter, which is a motion-based attack class.

    Will that be enough to bring back long-retired players like myself?  Eh, probably not.  I think my day is over; I can barely finish single-player games.  Still, I have to admit it’s tempting…

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    August 5, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: 3-D Pokemon

    Via Reddit.

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    August 5, 2015
    Puzzle Over Song Lyrics No Longer

    I dearly love my father, but he has an awful habit of singing songs with incorrect lyrics.  They may just only be slightly off, but… they’re off enough to bother me.  I do it to.  Everyone does it, truthfully.  You sing what you hear, even if that’s not what’s actually being sung at the time in the song.  That’s where the Genius family of websites come into play. T hey’re a crowd-sourced lyrics and explanations site and they have been slowly expanding their reach through app-based services.  The Genius app has made its debut on Android, with redesigns across iPhone and web versions to boot.

    Now I’ve only used the Genius stuff via the web, but I’m excited about the idea of it, because I’m tired of looking up song snippets via Google when I can turn to something with some serious source and the knowledge of the globe at large to get songs right.  If it works for Wikipedia, it could definitely work for “Rocky Mountain Way.”

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    August 3, 2015
    The Two-Faced Luxury Watch

    You’d think that these days you wouldn’t have a big audience for people wanting watches, but apparently that’s not the case.  I guess taking the phone out of the pocket is taking too much effort, at least as far as just looking down at your wrist.  But suppose you want luxury and the latest technology in one?  Well, there’s a solution, and it will only cost you several thousand dollars and months of wait time.  Luxury watchmaker Nico Gerard is making a two-faced luxury watch with an Apple Watch built in.

    The Sunrise Pinnacle watch is a bargain.  Only 88 of them will be made, and they’ll run about $154,000 per watch.  If that’s too rich for your pleb blood, then there are lower-priced options available from $12780 or $13000, depending on which watch you’re most interested in.  It’s an elegant watch, but an inelegant solution to the desire to have a great watch that’s also a smart watch.  Maybe next time just pop the Apple Watch out of its case and try to install it in a normal watch face?  Or just have your smartwatch on your opposite hand and wear two watches at once for maximum awesomeness!

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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 30, 2015
    Subscription YouTube?

    How much would you pay to look at videos online?  I don’t mean full-length movies or television shows, though you can certainly find those throughout YouTube’s murky depths, but normal, everyday viral videos.  Care to part with $5 a month?  Maybe $10?  Well, consider it, because you may be asked to do so in the very new future.  YouTube is going to launch a video subscription service that strips the ads from its videos.  That’s right, it’s going to be ad-free YouTube, but it’s going to cost you something.

    Of course, that’s going to be a hard sell.  The only thing I ever rented from YouTube’s On Demand service was “The Interview”, the Seth Rogen/James Franco movie at the center of the Sony hacking scandal.  I usually skip the ads when they give me the option to bypass them after 5 seconds.  Most of the things I end up watching on there are ad-free, or they only have the little pop-up ad at the bottom.  And like most folks, the reason why I use YouTube so much is because it’s free and supported by ads like broadcast television.

    So, long story short, I’m not going to be subscribing to YouTube unless it’s very, very cheap and they make the ads unskippable.

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    July 29, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Portable

    Via Reddit.

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    July 28, 2015
    Rare, Collector’s Edition… VHS Tapes?

    You’d think that, these days, everything you’d want to see exists in some form in which you can reach it.  If it’s not on DVD, then surely it’s online or uploaded digitally somewhere.  However, that’s not the case.  Before there was the digital revolution, there was the tape revolution, as VHS tapes and home video devices made it possible for movies to get made and get to the masses like never before.  Staggering, right?  Lots of little companies and independent folks were able to make a surprising amount of money filling video store shelves.

    Sadly, video stores are gone.  Even the hold-outs, like my beloved Wild and Woolly Video, have closed down.  The shelves are bare, and where there are still shelves, you won’t find very many VHS tapes.  Still, there are a lot of things out there where VHS is the only way you can see it, including the original versions of the Star Wars films.  There’s a collector’s market out there, and the weird and obscure are rewarded with some serious financial compensation.  Here are 9 rare and valuable types of collectible VHS tapes.

    It’s kind of amazing, really.  I’m a physical media collector, and I admit that I have boxes of VHS tapes that are (I assume) difficult to find on digital media.  I might actually see if some of my tapes are valuable, or I might just hold onto them and enjoy them until my VCR finally kicks the bucket.  We shall see just how deep the goldmine goes.

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    July 24, 2015
    Fallout Shelter Coming To Android August 13

    Call it a belated birthday present for me.  Two months ago, the Bethesda mobile game Fallout Shelter made its debut on iPhones, about the time Bethesda announced that Fallout 4 was going to be a thing that happens on PCs and consoles throughout the world.  Unfortunately, for whatever reason, it wasn’t immediately available for Android users, just Apple users.  That’s changing, thankfully.  Fallout Shelter is coming to Android on August 13.

    The good thing about the game is that it’s going to continue to be free to download, though users are still able to pay for helpful items within the game and various bonus boosts.  Of course, there will also be content updates to bring the game a little closer to Fallout 4′s content.  They’ll be adding the helpful Mr. Handy robot, as well as new enemies like the dreaded Deathclaw.  That’s very exciting stuff for Fallout nerds like myself.

    I just hope that the game is as fun as I’m hoping it is.  Even if it’s only half as fun as I’m expecting, it’s going to be fun.

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