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    June 10, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Dinner And A Movie

    image: The Verge

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    June 10, 2015
    From Van To Mobile Office

    One of my favorite tropes from the 80′s was the awesome mobile laboratory.  It’s not necessarily a computer car like KITT, but there were cool trailers full of gear, customized computer vans, all kinds of crazy vehicles that were mobile bases of operation for various 80′s heroes.  Those never really took off in real life.  Sure you might get a van with a built-in DVD player, but it was more about entertaining kids than getting work done.  That seems to be changing.  The hottest tech accessory these days is the insane mobile office van.  A driver in the front, a CEO in the back, and that commute is now efficient.

    “Even in the first world, the major metropolitan areas are all behind in infrastructure,” says Howard Becker of LA-based Becker Auto Designs, a leading vehicle customizer. “What drives our business is the ability for our customers to get things done even when they’re driving, as opposed to sacrificing that time. The candy red Ferrari is still in the garage for fun at weekends, but they’re thinking, at least on weekdays, ‘I can’t afford to drive myself any more.’”

    These things have WiFi, custom touchscreens, the ability to watch television and video on demand, and even bathrooms in some cases.  Now that’s pretty cool.  If you could wedge a bathroom into a van for long trips, that’d make the pit-stop a thing of the past, and it’d be a great way to turn illegally overnighting in a van at the rest stop into something a little more restful and a little less “likely to be murdered on a late-night potty run”.

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    June 9, 2015
    Apple’s Key Changes For The iPad/iPhone

    Apple has a problem on its hands, and that problem is a lack of updaters.  Lots of product, but no real game-changing thing in the pipeline to pick up where the iPad, Apple Watch, and iPhone started.  With lots of popular products on the market, Apple’s looking more to encourage trading up than buying in, and that means you have to give people a reason to trade up.  New iPads don’t grow on trees, and people need a reason to buy a new iPad other than newness.  Here are three crucial changes Apple is making to its iPad and iPhone software in an attempt to goose sales.

    For me, the biggest feature for Apple is probably the updated iPad Air 2 software, which will support dual-booting apps.  No more will users be constrained by just one app at a time; now they’ll be able to play Candy Crush twice as fast!  Or, you know, actually do something productive.  Apple is hoping that this big feature will push laptop users to move to tablets, and push tablet owners to upgrade to a newer version of the tablet they already have.  As it turns out, simply forcing users to update by making certain tablets not work with new operating systems doesn’t work quite like they hoped; users just use their old tablet with its old OS for lack of any real good reason to upgrade (like every desktop owner).

    The other updates–a better version of Siri and more accurate Apple Maps transit options–are good, but not those aren’t going to push people to trade in their old iPad for a newer iPad.  Here’s hoping the bright minds at the Worldwide Developers Conference can come up with other killer features, or Apple might become a victim of its own success.

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    June 5, 2015
    Fun Friday Videos: Fallout 4 Edition

    I wrote earlier this week about Fallout 4, and how excited I was for the game, and the more I watch the trailer, the more excited I get.  There’s not a lot there to parse through, just a voiceover from Ron Perlman, some glimpses of ruined Boston, and some other fun bits of Fallout lore, but it doesn’t really matter.  The in-game trailer could have been nothing but a test pattern with The Ink Spots playing over it, and I’d be sold.  If you haven’t seen the video yet, do yourself a favor and feast your eyes on it.

    YouTube Preview Image

    There are all sorts of trailer examiners out there picking apart the trailer for the announced Bethesda Softworks game, and while I want to get into it here, I won’t.  Still, I’m very excited about it, and I love the fact that the trailer looks much more colorful (even after the bomb) than the previous Fallout games.  Very thrilling stuff, and I cannot wait for it to finally happen.

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    June 4, 2015
    Ads On Netflix?

    There’s a reason Hulu isn’t very popular, and it’s not their offerings.  There’s a distinct lack of commercial-free programming on the network, even for paying customers.  Even if you pay, you have to look at ads, and that’s too much like cable for the cord cutters out there.  Hence, Netflix is awesome and everyone seems to like it, but there’s something scaring devoted streaming addicts:  Netflix is testing ads in some markets.

    Now, before you start screaming and throw your Netflix subscription away, just take a deep breath and listen.  The ads aren’t for commercial services.  They’re for other Netflix shows.  Like how you get trailers for stuff between HBO shows, Netflix is just trying to get more eyes on its original programming, and testing the waters for self-serving ads for stuff the company thinks you might like.

    “For some time, we’ve teased Netflix originals with short trailers after a member finishes watching a show,” wrote Cliff Edwards, Netflix’s director of corporate communications, in an email to NBC News.  ”Some members in a limited test now are seeing teases before a show begins.”

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    June 3, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: End Labels

    Image via Imgur.

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    June 2, 2015
    Fallout 4 Is Coming

    It’s been five years since the last game in the Fallout world, and that’s been a long five years.  There’s a lot of rumors, teases, leaks, and all sorts of things that happened between then and now, and it’s all been a lot of nothing.  Until now.  Bethesda Softworks has put an interesting teasing clock on their website, and it’s counting down to one thing in particular.  Bethesda is going to announce something concerning Fallout 4 at 9 Central on Wednesday.

    It’s just a clock, a countdown clock, but it’s just enough (particularly when paired with the secret code on Bethesda’s website referencing a Fallout 3 character) to put everyone, myself in particular, in the mood to be transported back to my favorite post-apocalyptic world.  The rumors suggest there was a cinematic trailer in the works, and now, hopefully, we’ll all get to see it.  I just hope my computer runs well enough to play it; otherwise, I’ll have to buy a new video game system to play it on, and I can’t afford that, either.

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    June 1, 2015
    Windows 10 Is Coming, And It’s Going To Be Free

    There’s always a lot of interest around new operating systems, but like a lot of people, I’d never really go to the trouble of upgrading my OS to a new version since, due to the cost, I may as well just throw an extra $200 into the pot and buy a new computer.  That’s a fairly common reaction, but one Microsoft is working hard to correct in its push to get a billion computers running Windows 10 within the next three years.  To counterbalance that in an attempt to maintain its OS hegemony, Microsoft is giving the milk away for free.  Windows is offering free updates to Windows 10 for current owners of its OS.  The upgrading process will be available starting July 29.

    Of course, there’s a catch.  You’ll have a year in which to decide to upgrade.  Most importantly, you have to have Windows 7 or Windows 8 to upgrade.  Still, it’s a free upgrade, and there’s a lot to be said for that, since, y’know, it’s a $119 value if you bought it off the shelf.  Apparently it’s also a pretty good upgrade over the older versions of Windows, and since it’s free and you can choose when to download it and install it, there’s not a lot to lose there aside from all your data on your computer.

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    May 28, 2015
    Get Up And Still Work

    I’ve let myself get really out of shape over the past few years.  A combination of some nagging injuries, depression, marriage, job troubles, and so on have really put the pounds back onto me after I worked very hard to get them off.  I’ve recently started doing DDP Yoga and making myself get up from my desk every hour or so to walk around a bit, stretch, and generally get the blood out of my feet and back into the rest of my body.  So far so good; I haven’t noticed any weight difference, but I feel better and my life-long back problems have lessened quite a bit.  However, that said, it’s easy to forget just what I’m supposed to do and when I’m due to move about a bit, so it might be time to consult a gadget to get my fitness levels up.

    PC World has put together a slideshow of 10 gadgets to help you get fit at the workplace.  I really love the idea of a workplace cycle, and I’ve been really tempted to try the ball seat for myself.  A co-worker recently switched to a standing desk and he seems very pleased by that, but I don’t think I have that option since I’m not in the IT department.  Still, maybe a convertible desk is in my future?  That’d be fun.

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    May 27, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Game Of Towers

    Image via Reddit

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