If you are looking to understand what Bitcoin is I though this video was a good explanation.
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If you are looking to understand what Bitcoin is I though this video was a good explanation.
Everyone loves Free products, but just look at the last few weeks/months here is a list of services or apps I use(d) that are going away
Tweetdeck (Air version)
There are others like Otixo which I used which transitioned from Freemium to paid, at which point I made a value judgement that it was not worth it to me to pay for that service. Ultimately you get what you pay for, and when you are not paying, you are simply hoping the free service you are using continues to be there or can even financially remain viable.
Google Reader is obviously the one that hurts I have been using it since its inception back on 2005, and it us a big part of my daily workflow. I get a lot of information in Google Reader, and its ability to sync with mobile clients for reading on the go is valuable. Rather than dwell on this I am sure a suitable replacement will appear, there is clearly a need for a quality RSS reader with all the syncing, and someone will fill the void.
The bigger lesson here is I am going to have to take a look at the services/apps I use and assign them value, which are nice to have and if they go away so be it, which are important and if I am paying for or willing to pay for? I think of things like the Free edition of Google Apps which Google no longer offers. How long will it be before Google pulls the plug on that and tells me to pay or get out?
So over the next month or so I will try to better catalog what I use, and what value they have, and determine if my data or apps are right for me. That is the real lesson here you should do the same.
I have had my Roku box for a little over a year now, I mainly use it to connect to Amazon Prime Instant Video, Netflix, and occasionally Pandora. I have always known there is more to do with a Roku but never took the time to explore.
Plex took 5 minutes to install on a machine at home, and less time to configure and point to my media library. For the most part Plex figured out what was what and displayed the right metadata, on a few items I had to perform some file name cleanup to get them to display properly.
Next up install the iPad app (or Android), and the Plex Channel on the Roku box and like magic I can access my library from anywhere. The performance on both the TV and the iPad has been excellent so far.
Plex also offers Premium features, which I have not tried, though the upcoming Dropbox integration looks interesting.
Plex Media Server (Available for Windows, Mac and Linux)
See the famous Turkey Drop clip here, not surprisingly I got 100% on this one.
Part 2 of some of the more humorous moments from the past week, this one is about a simple task we all take for granted, filling our gas tanks.
Before the hurricane hit I had filled both of our cars with gas, which turned out to be a good thing. I knew that stations might be without power and unable to pump gas, but had no idea how bad the search for gas would be after the storm passed.
New Jersey instituted an odd/even gas system reminiscent of the early 1970 gas crisis in the US. The rationing certainly seems to have eased the lines a bit, though people are still lining up and waiting to fill their tanks.
We have two cars one ‘odd’ and one ‘even’. The minivan which we had driven to Brooklyn is the ‘even’ car. On Sunday the gas lines in Brooklyn (which is in NY and not subject to the odd/even system) stretched for blocks and blocks. Walking around I even saw a couple of people pushing their car along the line. I decided the best thing to do was to simply preserve the half of tank of gas I had in the van, so it sat parked, and waiting. It was enough to get us back home, and a little further, but sooner or later we were going to need to fill it up.
On Monday (an odd day) I woke up at 4:45 AM, and set out to find gas which happily I did only waiting in line about 30 minutes. We wanted to go home on Monday, but once home could not get gas in the ‘even’ van on an odd day. I briefly considered the option of putting the cars plates on the van just to fill up, but decided the risk was to great if anything happened between my house and the gas station.
So here I was on this gas line at 5:00 in the morning, chatting with a NYC cop.
Cop: I see you are from NJ
Me: Yep, and I am hoping to get back there today, but I can’t fill up in NJ today because it is an odd day
Cop: You could always trade license plates with someone
Me: My other car has an odd plate, I thought about switching plates, but if I met any of your friends along the way I might be in a bit of trouble
Cop: They would just issue you a summons
Me: I think i will just wait in line here and fill up
Needless to say I did not follow the cops advice, in fact I was a bit surprised he suggested it. So I waited a relatively short 30 minutes and since I was in NY (not NJ and it’s absurd full service only law) I filled the tank myself, squeezing every last drop of gas that the tank would hold. Both cars now have enough gas to get us into next week when the lines will hopefully have eased out.
(Thanks to Rabbi B for finding the clip, it was on my mind but with power outages and no internet I had forgotten about it)
I am going to attempt to share some of the funnier moments from the past week while we were without power and displaced from our home. Here is the first installment.
On Tuesday when We realized we would be without power for a while, we packed up our refrigerator and freezer, grabbed some clothes and headed to my parents in Brooklyn who fortunately had power.
We consider ourselves very lucky to have a place to go, not everyone without power is so lucky, but apparently the accommodations were not quite good enough for everyone.
At bedtime on Tuesday Abe, age 4 1/2 was not happy. You see the last time we slept away from home was our family vacation last August. In the hotel Abe, and his twin brother Jack shared a bedroom which had a TV and bathroom, things they don’t have in their room at home.
So here we are away from home and what is Abe upset about? He wanted a TV and bathroom in his room. Twenty minutes of tears and somehow we resolved his problem.
We asked my parents to consider adding on a bathroom before the next blackout…. Don’t hold your breath.
For the second time in a year we find ourselves with out power for an exteneded period of time. Last year after escaping hurricane Irene with no issues at all in August, we lost power for a week in the crazy October snowstorm. Ironically one year later to the date hurricane Sandy blew through and knocked out our power, to be restored who knows when (Best Estimate is at least a week).
We are very lucky for a number of reasons
1. No one in our family was hurt in the storm
2. We did not suffer any any real property damage
3. We have family with power nearby we are able to go stay with
So while we are frustrated to be out of our house again, we are clearly better off than people who lost homes, property, or even loved ones in the storm. If you know a hurricane is headed your way by all means take care to prepare for the storm, put away loose items around your home, stock up on drinking water and other necessities, gas up your cars. When all the real prep is done turn your attention to the more geeky preparations, here are mine.
1. Charge up your phones, and have a plan to recharge them. On Monday when the storm was coming I kept my phone and iPad plugged in all day just so they would be topped off when the inevitable power loss came. I also have a number of batteries that can charge devices which I had plugged in and ready to go as seen here
Those are a few New Trent Devices, 2 of which can also charge iPads, and the every geeky wrist charger from ThinkGeek. While we can charge our phones in our cars, the car needs to be running, which means opening the garage door, not necessarily a good idea in a hurricane, and would also waste gas which has become a precious commodity in the days following the storm.
2. Stretch your battery life. Once the power goes out you want to get the most you can out of your batteries. Without power your Wifi is dead, turn off wifi on your devices, turn off bluetooth, lower your screen resolution, enable battery saving mode if you have one. Basically do whatever you can to get the most out of your precious battery life.
3. Text instead of calling – it is both easier in the days after a storm when phones were not working too well, and easier on your battery. (A plain old cell phone is also an excellent option if you need to make calls, I keep one around for such occasions and can route my incoming calls to it using Google Voice)
4. Load up your iPad for entertainment, sure you have Amazon Instant Video, Netflix and Hulu installed, that won’t do you any good without power and wifi (or will be too expensive on your battery if you have a data plan on your iPad). I always keep my iPad loaded up with TV and Movies I can watch in a power outage. Since I am an old fashioned book reader not an e-reader I have that option too with a flashlight, but it is nice to have options.
5. Have a wifi plan – Last year when we lost power we moved in to my in-laws house for the better part of a week, sure they had heat, and power but no wifi, it took me a couple of days until I had a chance to pick up a router. Fortunately for my brother-in-law, sister-in-law and niece and nephews I left that router in place as they are now staying at my in-laws until they get power back. A couple of weeks ago I ordered one of these (Chris has a review of it here)to keep in my bag, it is now functioning as a repeater in my parents house giving us Wifi where we need it.
That is all I have, it is never fun to be in a hurricane or any other natural disaster, we know what is really important but after that a little geek never hurt.
I wish I could get through the Lincoln Tunnel that quickly.
Copyright © 2013 CuriousMitch