Category Archives: GeekStuff

Dave Winer: Never The Same Ass Twice

Gizmodo on the closure of Google Reader: I won’t miss it. Never used the damn thing. Didn’t trust the idea of a big company like Google’s interests being so aligned with mine that I could trust them to get all my news. And besides, I didn’t think the mailbox approach to news was right. Who cares how many unread items there are. I like the river of news approach and I have a very fine set of rivers that keep me well supplied with news and podcasts. …Next time, please pay a fair price for the services you depend on. Those have a better chance of surviving the bubbles.

Nice quote, you jack ass. You completely miss the fact that Google Reader was more than a reader: it was the RSS backbone for a number of products and projects… maybe if you co-built RSS a little better – and remember, you didn’t do it alone so you can shove that “creator” title out the window – then we wouldn’t need a sync engine and clients could inherently know how many things are unread. Unlike you and your “endless river of news” some of us work for a living and don’t have the time to twittle OPML files or jump between rivers.

As to “please pay a fair price” how exactly should we do that for Google Reader when Google didn’t offer a paid for option? I paid for FeedDemon years ago and now – with Google Reader closing – I will lose some of the key functionality that made the app great. I paid for the app because of the feature and now you’re going to tell me that I should pay for services? Or are you still saying that we should have paid you for defining an XML schema?

You, sir, continue to be a waste of bandwidth and close to a waste of oxygen.

Dollar Shave Club

Earlier this month I saw an ad campaign go viral across Facebook: a guy claiming that they could best Gillette in terms of razors. Something Schick has been trying to do for years and continuously coming up short… Bic? Does Bic still make razors? Anyway, I LOL’d: Gillette has been at the top of the food chain for years and for someone to bump the king off the throne… would take more than Ned Stark.

I’ve been using Gillette “advanced” razors from around 1990. I don’t remember what I used before the original Gillette Sensor but I’ve been with them through the Sensor straight through to the Power Fusion ProGlide line… I have not looked into the 3-in-1 styler because… well, that just looks too big or silly, but the rest of it I’ve been using for years. Decades, even.

Now I’m a member of the Dollar Shave Club – what the hell happened?
Continue reading Dollar Shave Club

Uh… What?

Petition: No Netflix Parties, No Way.

Target: Petition for Microsoft to bring back Netflix Parties.

Sponsored by: The Community.

On December 6th, 2011, Microsoft updated its dashboard to the metro style look. With this update came a new and “improved” Netflix app. For us Xbox Love members paying $65 a year for Xbox Live and ~$100 for Instant Streaming Netflix we deserve the right to watch movies with our friends in a simple and easy way. Sign this petition to convince Microsoft to give us back our original Netflix App’s functionality with Xbox Live Parties. For more information follow @NetflixParties.

Uh… what?
Continue reading Uh… What?

Unsung iOS5 Features

In the interest of recycling bits, some random observations about iOS5… some of which have been a long time coming for the iPhone:

  • Ringtones are now supported for alerts: you can finally use your own m4r files for reminder tones
  • Syncing over Wifi: great to have, but slower than the cable. Also of note: turn off the “start iTunes when you connect a device” option if you don’t want iTunes to pop up on your desktop just because your iPhone is charging
  • Emoji enabled: I’m not sure if this is available without the old hack, but it’s still in my available keyboards, so it might be… either way, good to still see it supported
  • Quick camera: even with my lock screen requirements due to my IT department, I find it great that I can double-click the home button and have access to the camera without having to unlock the thing
  • You can now manually refresh the calendar! At least I think you can… while looking at your calendar, hit the Calendars button on the upper left and you’ll be shown a list of available calendars. In the lower left, there’s a refresh icon, that seems to refresh the data of all the calendars. If you only have one calendar installed, I don’t know if this is available… maybe the “Calendar” button becomes “Refresh”.

And in the still needs improvement area – maybe for iOS6:

  • Shuffle by Album: still missing since the release of the iPhone
  • Video App: I still don’t understand why (or how) to turn on Series names in the TV Show section of the video application

More as it is discovered.

And Now It’s Time for an Apple PSA

Yes, I’m alive. Long story short: I’ve been too busy at work to be pissed off by anything that I couldn’t unload on Facebook… Go figure.

That aside, I thought I’d offer a small Public Service Announcement around the release of iPhone 4S: if you have a Bumper from your AT&T iPhone 4, go buy a new one.

Go on – I’ll wait until you’re back from the Apple Store before explaining why.
Continue reading And Now It’s Time for an Apple PSA

Shuffle By Album – Windows Phone 7 Edition

Guess I can start talking about this finally: Windows Phone 7 launches today in Europe and the application is in the Zune Marketplace already:

Shuffle By Album is a simple application that randomly selects an album, plays the entire album, and then randomly selects another album to play.

Why? Because I have a very eclectic music collection, ranging from modern rock to ancient art rock to classical to soundtracks… ever jump from Vivaldi to Green Day? Randomly get dropped into one piece of 2112 after listening to an Elvis track, without warning? Realize that all of your music has been recorded at different volume or bass levels that keep you adjusting levels between songs, rather than albums? That’s why I love this app: by playing through an entire album at a time, all of these issues are naturally dealt with.

If you have Zune already installed you’ll find it here: Zune Marketplace – and FAQ is posted below.
Continue reading Shuffle By Album – Windows Phone 7 Edition

QuickTime in IE

Mostly a note for myself, but something to share – for a couple of years now, whenever I went to http://www.apple.com with Internet Explorer, I found that the majority of the site was painfully slow. And by slow I mean that I thought I was on a modem. Over the last twelve months I tracked the problem down to QuickTime and Apple.com. No other site and no other plug-in caused these issues. Disabling QuickTime in the Manage Add-on dialog didn’t help but uninstalling did. Over the last six months, I’ve attempted different things – like the freakin’ search box being the thing that blocks the longest – but the safest bet was to just keep QT off my box.

Making an even longer story a little shorter, I found that QuickTimeCheck.ocx is cause of all the issues. I have no idea what it does or why it’s useful to anything on Apple.com but if you unregister this piece of shit control, Apple.com speeds back up to, well, usable speeds.

Adding to my list of tweaks for every new PC install: regsvr32 /u “C:\Program Files (x86)\QuickTime\QTSystem\QuickTimeCheck.ocx”

And before anyone jumps on the “Just use a Mac” or “Just use [insert browser that’s not IE here]” the problem was reported on Firefox as well – if you wanted to offer either of those pieces of feedback, please use the time to: ask Apple why they continue to say they support PC’s with such crappy support – do it right or get off the platform.

MultiFilez 2.1

Got an email the other day for a couple of new features for MultiFilez. In all honesty, I always thought of MultiFilez as “done.” I wrote it in Visual Studio 6.0 using MFC for a class library (and string class). Over the years, I found that I didn’t use it as much, especially since I don’t work with web pages anymore and Visual Studio has its own capacity for multi-find/replace. The feature request email mentioned that MultiFilez could handle far more files than the VS Find/Replace did and he had some modest asks, so I thought that maybe it was time to give it an update.

MultiFilez 2.1 doesn’t add many new features but it does now open to a larger dialog now. It made sense to me, since 640 x 480 isn’t the “default” size of most monitors, as it was when I first wrote it. I also tweaked some of the UI so it would support the latest common UI controls from Windows 7 and I cleaned up a couple of UI things. With this change, though, support for earlier versions of Windows has been dropped – because of this I’ve left the 2.0 version online as well as adding the new 2.1 version. After all, it could be another eight or so years for me to get out a new version!

Download: MultiFilez 2.1 | MultiFilez 2.0

Screenshots: MultiFilez 2.1 | MultiFilez 2.0

Avatar Marketplace: Open 24/7

Xbox Engineering Blog: “Wait a Minute. Are You Telling Me that My Avatar Gets to Wear Halo Armor and I Don’t?” I actually had this conversation with one of our Program Managers, when I heard about Avatar Marketplace for the first time. Avatar Marketplace — known as AMP to the internal team — was something that had been talked about for a while but hadn’t really started to take form until the summer of 2009. By that point, Xbox already offered multiple forms of downloadable content through the Marketplace — Games, Themes, Gamerpics, videos, and so on — and there was a full closet of existing clothing for Avatars, but we really wanted to make Avatars as customizable as the users who created them. Basically, we wanted a full marketplace.

Just a little cross-post of something I wrote up for the Xbox Engineering Blog a little while ago and just hit the website… some “behind the scenes” views on how the Avatar Marketplace got to where it is today.

Some day soon, I hope to have a little something more on where it goes tomorrow …or more accurately, November 4th.

iTunes 10: One Welcomed Feature

I don’t care about Ping and I’m not sure about the “new” interface. I like that they dropped the CD on the icon and all, but the only other UI difference I’ve noticed is that they now selectively show album art in the default view… so selectively, I had to go check to see if I lost album art when I brought over my library. I didn’t but it’s just a difference from iTunes 9 to 10.

One welcome feature, however, is the ability to play content right off a docked device even if the computer you’ve connected to isn’t the Sync’ing computer. For example, I plugged my iPhone 4 into a PC that has none of my content. In the past, iTunes would have tried to take over the phone and eventually tell me to piss off; most I could do was take photos off the thing using Windows Explorer. Now, with iTunes 10, I can browse all of the content that’s on my iPhone. Went to the movies section, played one, and it even started when I had last left off.

No matter what else iTunes does to me this release, this one little perk is worth it.