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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The 7 Weirdest Things That Happened in Tech in 2013

Last day of 2013 y'all!  I for one am glad to see this one go.  To commemorate the end of the year, I've compiled a list of the strangest things that happened in technology this year.  Ready, set, go.

1.  People actually started to care about coding

Did you hear about the Hour of Code 2013?  It was a huge online event that aimed to teach basic computer coding to all age groups.  Surprisingly there was a fair amount of star power backing this and it was pretty successful!  Heck, even I took part to get a brush-up on my skills (it took me way less than an hour).

2.  Mobile apps started producing TV commercials

I'm serious!  It all started with King (makers of Candy Crush Saga) and everyone else went nuts with it.




3. Galaxy Gear

The jury is still out on this (it's already being called a flop) but Samsung is betting that everyone has been waiting for wrist communicators for years.



4.  Amazon thinks they can use drones to deliver their goods.

I'm totally not making this up.  The idea is to use drones to deliver stuff weighing up to 5 lbs.  Amazon claims that's roughly 86% of the stuff they deliver.  Now this could be revolutionary or it could turn out to be a dud.  The news is still pretty fresh on this.

5.  Apple makes the iPhone in different colors and thinks no one will notice it's the same damn phone.

This year, Apple had a super hyped release of the iPhone 5c.  The difference from the iPhone 5 they released last year: it comes in fun new colors.  We miss you, Steve Jobs.

6.  Facebook got sued over their "Like" button

Facebook didn't like this.  The battle is still raging on in the courts.

7.  Web hoaxes took on new life.

There were so many this year they're hard to count.  What makes 2013 special though is how many of these hoaxes got covered by actual news.  I think the best one was this:



News stories really went wild with this one. It was later revealed that this was staged by late night talk show host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel (who shall be forever know as King of the Trolls).



So that's my list.  Any more weird stuff happen in tech this year that I missed?  Let me know in the comments.  See you all in 2014!

Friday, December 20, 2013

ABC Changes Their Online Viewing

See that image.  That's me at the moment.  I just found out that come January 6, 2014 "you must sign in with a participating TV service provider account to view the most recent episode of your favorite ABC shows."

So what does that mean for us.  Well if you're a subscriber to any of the following cable companies you're fine:
  • AT&T U-verse
  • Cablevision Optimum
  • Charter
  • Comcast XFINITY
  • Cox Communications
  • Google Fiber
  • Midcontinent
  • Verizon FiOS
Otherwise, you're like me: out in the cold.  We're not completely cut off though.  We can still watch the shows online.  Unfortunately we wouldn't be able to get access to the episodes until a week after they air.  Yes, and ENTIRE week.  What's their excuse?  See if you can make sense of this gobbledygook:

Pay TV service providers are a key part of the television industry in delivering broadcast content through new technology platforms. Now, with the support of participating pay TV service providers, the ABC network is able to continue to bring live entertainment, news and sports programming on a national and local level as well as the latest on-demand episodes on new, emerging digital platforms at no additional cost to their subscribers. This approach also allows ABC to offer several on-demand episodes that are available to everyone.
I have no idea what that means.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Any of my fellow geeks been watching Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?  Well I have and I love it!  Unfortunately, there isn't consensus on this.  I'm going to point to this article real quick.  Take a minute, read that and come back.  Go ahead.  I'll wait.

Ok, you're back. Good.  What did you think?  Well despite the gloom and doom, turns out M.A.O.S. isn't doing all that bad. It kinda stings to lose to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer though.

So here's my defense of the show.  M.A.O.S. joins a long list of TV shows that feature clandestine government agencies dedicated to investigating "strange" things.  What a lot of people don't realize is that S.H.I.E.L.D. in its comic form predated them all...by a lot.  Like try 1965.  Yes, it was that long ago that S.H.I.E.L.D. first appeared in the Marvel Comic's Universe.  So to make the comparison to shows like The X-Files, Fringe and Warehouse 13 are fair.  The difference here is in the Marvel universe it's a confirmed fact that there are strange things going on, that magic exists, that aliens exist, that people with extraordinary abilities exist.  The threats are real and everybody knows it.  S.H..I.E.L.D. isn't quite as clandestine as the other guys.  They operate freely while in other shows of this kin there's usually a massive coverup involved.  Not to say that S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn't have secrets, but it's well known in the Marvel universe that if something strange happens S.H.I.E.L.D. is on it.

I want to go through Leo Sun's 3 points for fixing Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Mistake #1: Built on faulty 1990s logic

 I don't get this point.  How does he look back at other Whedon shows and says that style of storytelling is dated?  I see a number of shows today that operate the same way and are successful.  As for comparing this to other shows, I've already covered that.

Mistake #2: Not "Marvelous" enough

Ok, this is probably the one that has all the people you jumped ship from this show nodding.  To this I say these people never understood exactly what S.H.I.E.L.D. is about and what they do.  If you were expecting Marvel Heroes and Villains to show up left and right (we actually did see a few) then you were going to be disappointed from the jump.  Granted there are super powered individuals who work with S.H.I.E.L.D. and are agents but the list is pretty short (Captain America has been introduced as a S.H.I.E.L.D. asset but isn't officially an agent).  Knowing Joss Whedon, he wanted to spend time developing the characters before he starts introducing limelight stealing supers.  The fans have a wishlist of characters we'd like to see in the future though.

Mistake #3: Lack of compelling story arcs or backstories

There he goes again.  Right now, 9 episodes in, huge story arcs aren't going to happen.  Anyone who has watched Whedon's previous works knows that.  We're going to get one pretty soon though.  In the meantime: Coulsen's resurrection is still haunting us, we have a pending backstory that just has to be told for Melinda May, the mystery of Skye's parents also lingers, watching Fitz and Simmons grow into their roles as field agents remains endearing, and Ward's mentoring of Skye is also fun to watch.  I really feel like I've finally gotten a hold of these characters, what drives them and what motivates them.

Here's my prediction:  This show is about to shift from good to epic really soon.  Either way, I'm enjoying the ride.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Game: Facebook Edition

Remember that movie that came out in '97 called The Game?  Some of my younger readers may not but it's worth checking out.  The appeal of the movie was that it blurred the lines of reality and fiction so much you weren't really sure what you were experiencing at any given time.  Is what's going on real (of course it's not, it's a move; work with me here though) or was it staged by the "CRS".

Facebook has been feeling a lot like The Game recently.  Sometimes you look at a friend's posts and wonder if they're being serious or playing some kinda game.  The number game has been permeating over the last week.  The premise is simple:  The initiator posts a stated number of facts about themselves.  Anyone who likes the post is challenged to post their own with a specified number from the originator.  At least that's how I think the game works because that's how it happened to me.  You might also be familiar with the "I'm going to Mexico for 18 months!" type statuses as well.  It was a no-so-closely guarded secret that those were related to Breast Cancer Awareness Week.

The newest one I've seen though is kinda cute.  I don't think I'll give away the details here but if you follow this link it should spoil it for you.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sprint Galaxy Tab 3: Welcome to The Family

Ok, Sprint managed to snag me on this because I think it's a great deal.  Meet my new tablet:

Yo dawg!  We heard you liked tablets so we took a picture of your tablet with a tablet!
That's the Galaxy Tab 3 and I only dropped $50 on it.  I got a 2 GB data plan and we're gonna see how long that lasts me (I've already used 220 MB...that's what I get for showing off how fast it can download apps).  Fortunately it's WiFi enabled so I don't always have to burn my own juice.  So far I'm rather enjoying it.  I love my Asus Transformer, but honestly sometimes I feel like kind of a douche using.  It's great for e-reading and games but for just browsing around or even playing a little music it's too much.  I've honestly been jealous of the smaller tablets for a while now.  I love how they're so compact and discrete.  I'm still going to use my Asus but it's good to have another option...especially since we're finally rolling out 4G for Sprint here. 

My Coby?  Yeah, I've still got that.  Let's just say for now it's semi-retired and teaching old ladies *snicker*.

Monday, October 7, 2013

TV To Go

In my last entry, I geeked out about all the new stuff coming out on Netflix.  Now I still love Netflix but I hate how long it takes to get content.  Then, only because I wanted to check out Once Upon A Time (you guys know what I do on Sunday nights), I stumbled on something: TV apps for my tablet!

It started with the Watch ABC app, the main reason being that our local ABC affiliate is crap.  I had to sideload it.  Then I got the CW app (our local CW affiliate is also crap) to check out Arrow.  Unfortunately they only carry the last three episodes at any given time (and Arrow is coming to Netflix anyway).  I got the CBS app so I could catch up on How I Met Your Mother's final season.  Turns out Netflix has good timing because we're only 2 episodes in.  I just downloaded the Fox Now app (had to sideload that too) so I can check out Sleepy Hollow.  I downloaded the NBC app just because.  Gotta wonder which other TV networks have viewing apps.  If you hear anything let me know.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Netflix Overload!

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment.  Apparently Netflix releases new content the beginning of every month.  There is soooo much stuff coming out that I want to see.  Here's the list if you didn't follow that link:

New seasons of:Parks and Recreation (season 5) (YAY!)
The Office (final season)
30 Rock (final season) (YAY!)
Parenthood (season 4)
How I Met Your Mother (Season 8) (TRIPLE YAY!)
Louie (season 3)
The Walking Dead (season 3)
Saturday Night Live (season 38)
Hart of Dixie (season 2, available October 2)
The Vampire Diaries (season 4, available October 3)
Supernatural
(season 8, available October 3)
Bones (season 8, available October 8)
The Following (season 1, available October 8)
Gossip Girl
(season 6, available October 8)
Arrow (season 1, available October 9) (I've been looking forward to watching this!)
Damages (season 5, available October 14)

This is just the TV series.  They're adding more movies too (looking forward to finally being able to watch Fargo).  So much stuff to watch!  Looks like I picked a bad time to commit to watching Breaking Bad.

It might have bad in the title, but so far it's pretty good.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Responsible WiFi

It's come to my attention that there are a lot of people who don't understand the responsibility that comes with owning a WiFi connection.  I know, it's all shiny and new when you attach that wired Internet service to a wireless router and now you can surf the web from your front porch.  However, if you don't secure it then so can everyone else.

Here are just a few reasons why you need to secure your WiFi:

1.  Everyone who uses it is essentially you

That's right.  You are ultimately responsible for every person you allow to use your WiFi connection.  All activity that occurs on your WiFi will trace back to you.  Illegal music downloads, child pornography, missile launch codes...all YOU.  Trust me when I say you don't want to be responsible for what so random Joe downloads using your wide open WiFi connection.

2.  It's easy to steal from you

Someone with full access to your computer network can walk right in and just take whatever is flying around on it.  A script kiddie with your run of the mill packet sniffer (I'm not explaining all that) can pick up your email password, your Facebook password, your Apple ID, and even your bank transactions.

3.  If you're a business it could end up costing you

There's nothing wrong with business wanting to provide free WiFi.  Unless of course that free, open WiFi is a full fledged member of the business' internal network.  If you do any sort of file sharing you're putting your company secrets at risk and comprising the security of every computer on your network.

If you plugged in a router right out the the box or your simply reset one then chances are you're WiFi is unsecured and open to all.  If I've made my case, here's what you need to do to secure your WiFi.

  • Put a passkey on the wireless connection.  Modern routers make it easy to turn this option on.  Once a passkey has been set no one can connect to your wireless network without it.
  • Change the login username and password for your router.  It's simple to located and log in to the router once it's been located on your network.  Finding the default username and password for the router is a Google search away.
  • Make sure your passkey is strong (using combinations of uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers should accomplish this) and don't hand that passkey out to just anyone.  You should be in control of who you let access your wireless connection.
  • If your router is equipped with a firewall make sure you turn it on.
There are a lot more things you can do to keep your wireless network secure, but these few steps are the basics.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Upgrade!

Yesterday I seized an opportunity to secure a better tablet.  If you've read my blog in the past you know I've been busy with my previous tablet.  Truth be told, it wasn't the tablet I really wanted but I picked it up because I got a good deal on it.  I had to root it immediately because it wasn't a Google approved device (that means no Google Play Market or GMail apps).  It's served me well but lately it's been giving me trouble (e.g. slow with certain apps, phantom touches) so I think an upgrade is appropriate.  Was a not offered this deal I was really looking to just buy a new one off market, but when I checked the specs I decided to go for it.  Meet my new tablet:

Don't get all excited about the colors or the keyboard.  I have neither (yeah, it's black; the website says it only comes in three colors so maybe this one's royal blue).  The ASUS Transformer 300t though boasts a number of features that make it clearly superior to the Coby Kyros.  Well, just one really: the quad core CPU!  I've got the 10.1" back and the same amount of RAM, but just by using it you can tell that quad core CPU really makes a difference.

So how about a short list of stuff I like about this one compared to my old one:
  1. It's not so finicky about the external microSD card.  My Kyros almost always required me to restart the entire tablet if I took out the card or attached a USB drive.
  2. Apps start much faster and give me much less grief.
  3. I thought the sound on the Kyros good, but the sound on the Transformer is AMAZING!
  4. No phantom presses.  That was really getting annoying on the Kyros.
  5. Vine works now!
  6. Updated Android OS.
Ok, that's just a short list.  I'm still transferring my apps.  The hardest transfer is going to be my old manga list for MangaSearcher (over to 2gigs!).  The question remains what am I going to do with the Kyros once I'm finished?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I've Got The Answers



Lately I've rediscovered Yahoo! Answers.  No kidding, I joined the Answers community a full 7 years ago.  I took a 2 year hiatus and now I'm back answering questions again.  When I initially joined it was mainly to answer questions about the Virgin Islands (seriously we have a category in there).  I get a weird sense of satisfaction from answering really difficult questions.  I estimate that I can spend around a half hour doing research for just one question if I was committed enough to finding an answer.

Now that I'm back though I'm mostly answering questions about movies.  You'd think I'd be answering more tech stuff.  I just kinda jumps on whatever grabs me.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Got To Give It Up vs Blurred Lines

This one is for my music buffs out there.  Let's not forget that I'm also a karaoke geek so this is well within my jurisdiction.  Unless you've been living under a rock this Summer, you've heard Robin Thicke, T.I. and Pharrell's hit single "Blurred Lines".  I don't see how you couldn't have heard it since as I'm writing this it's been on the Billboard Hot 100 for 17 weeks and is currently #1.  If you haven't you can just follow that first link I provided.

Well the big news now is that Robin Thicke and company has filed a preemptive lawsuit against the family of Marvin Gaye and Bridgeport Music to protect "Blurred Lines".  I urge you to follow that link where both songs are embedded via YouTube.  Listen to them both and them come back here.


This post was inspired by a Facebook post a friend of mine posted.  He feels that they're exactly the same.  Me, I'm not too certain about that.  So as a source of perspective I went straight to the karaoke versions of the songs.  Now those I will embed here.

First here's Got To Give It Up:



Now here's "Blurred Lines":




Try them side by side if you like.  Ok, now that you've listened to them both I've attached below my first ever Renegade Geek poll!  Yay!  Feel the excitement!  Looking forward to your input.



********UPDATE*********
Just noticed there's no link available if you just want to see the poll results. Click here to view.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Perils of Island Living

I dropped some bad news for my fellow geeks yesterday on Facebook, but I felt this deserved a blog post too.

If you guys didn't already know, I live in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands.  It has pros and cons.  One big con is that we only have one movie theater.  Yes...just ONE.  To their credit though it's got about 6 screens, can squeeze in about 9 movies if they really try, run at least one 3-D movie a week and still costs less than it does on the US mainland. 

At this point you're wondering why I'm complaining.  Well, you don't get all that without it costing something.  For one thing movies have an incredibly short shelf life.  Only if a movie is really raking it in does it stay here about 3 weeks.  Also, movies that have limited releases never get here.  Doesn't matter how popular they get, we're not getting it.  This is all digression though as what this post is really all about:  Even some big budget movies never get here.  One such movie that I have been waiting for all summer isn't coming.  It's Kick-Ass 2.

Le sigh
Thanks to Caribbean Cinemas very reliable Coming Soon section I was able to confirm this movie isn't coming to St. Thomas at all (St. Croix isn't getting it either).  This is indeed sucky news.  I don't know why it isn't coming here (probably something prudish), but it stinks.  What can you do right?  Hop over to Puerto Rico and watch it there? Hmmm....

Thursday, August 1, 2013

How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Terabyte

I'm ready to tell you my story now.  The last few days have been....well, it's hard to explain them.  It's a mixture of fright, disappointment, excitement, sadness and happiness.  A real emotional roller coaster.  This story starts on Sunday so natural karaoke is involved.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

I'm setting up for my show as usual.  I noticed my computer took a little longer to start than average but I know to just let it do its thing and it'll eventually come up.  However, after like just 10 minutes of use I get this:

At this point I'm saying things to myself like "this better be temporary", "this better be a glitch", "why do things like this happen when I'm in the middle of something", etc.  It was a pretty stressful night.  I fought the urge to just turn it off and on again and hope the error would disappear.  I played through the popups and made it through the whole night.  Before I shut the computer down I scheduled a chkdsk, hoping it would clear up whatever issue my computer was having.  I pack up, leave the club, unwind a bit at another one, went home and went to sleep.

Monday, July 29, 2013

I head straight home so I can work on my laptop.  When I start it up it starts trying to boot from network.  My heart sank.  I know what this means.  It means that somehow the computer can't see the hard drive.  Good thing I fought my turn-it-off-and-on-again instinct on Sunday night.  I start to panic a little.  You see, I've been kinda naughty.  As much as I preach of backing stuff up, it had actually been quite some time since I've backed up my music collection.  I used to keep my main laptop synced with my mini, but since it's all but mom's now making that backup kinda slipped my mind.  Oddly enough I did have media to back it up to...I just didn't do it.

Recomposing myself, I set upon to take the hard drive out of the computer and stick it in one of my external SATA cases.  I recommissioned the mini and plugged it in.  I could literally hear the Hallelujah chorus when it worked.  I grabbed one of my least used drives and immediately start backing up the My Music directory.  It was honestly the only thing on there I really cared about.  I've bought a lot of music on eMusic.  It took me a good two hours.  After all that drama I needed a beer so I packed everything up for the night and went out.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Ok, time to work.  I traveled with my laptop so I could experiment and see what went wrong with the drive.  I spent the larger part of the day letting my work PC do a disk check on the external containing my pulled hard drive.  While doing that I asked some online colleagues for second opinions because the situation was pretty weird.  It's rare for a hard drive to work perfectly on an external but be invisible on the computer.  I always get the weird problems.  That online discussion proved to be pretty useful.  Anyway, 5 hours later the check is complete.  I pull the drive out of the case and stick it back into my laptop where...nothing.  Still busted.

It's at this point I resolve to put a new hard drive and I had to buy one TODAY.  Ordering was not an option.  No way I was going to get anything shipped to me by the weekend without costing me an arm and a leg.  I need my computer to be operational by next Sunday.  After work I head straight to OfficeMax.  Wouldn't you know they were out of stock on all their external drives.  I posted my dismay in the online thread I started earlier then went to K-mart on the off chance (REALLY off chance) that they sell hard drives.  It was there I saw the response to my thread that changed the game for me.

I'm a dumbass for not think of that.  Seriously.

I head back to OfficeMax where, fortunately for me, there were external drives on sale.  I picked up a 1 terabyte Touro Mobile for $80.  Yes, I overpaid for it even though it was on sale but this is the US Virgin Islands.  You gotta expect that markup.  When the cashier slapped that 14-day return sticker on it I had to stifle a chuckle.  They had no idea what I had planned for this bad boy.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Time for the nitty gritty. First thing was a Google search on cracking open the Touro Mobile.  This video I found was oddly useful:


Empowered by the knowledge that breaking that thing open was even possible I get to work downloading software to do what I wanted.

The plan at this point was to clone my old drive to the Touro, break it open and stick it in my laptop.  I'm not going to tell you exactly what software I used.  I'm just going to give you a link to some freeware for cloning your hard drive. Keep in mind why this isn't really an accepted solution: Because I'm pretty much pissing away my warranty by breaking open the Touro case.  So 4 hours of cloning and about 15-20 minutes of prying open the Touro case and here we are:

Just call me: The Breaker!
I pull the drive, stick it into my computer, press the power button and cross my fingers.  Yes!  YES!  The operation was a SUCCESS!  The only thing the computer had to do was install the drivers for the new hard drive.  Other than that, my computer operated like nothing bad had ever happened to it.

The Lesson:

Even I learn lessons in this journey.  The lesson I learned is to keep a backup.  What happened to me can happen to anyone.  And it does.  I've seen it time and again.  And I STILL didn't get it.  I guess I needed this wake up call to stop being lazy about my backups and do them at least once a month.  In the meantime I've got an extra 600 gigs to play with and yet another external hard drive that I'll probably keep specifically for the purpose of imaging the current configuration of my computer.

Another lesson I learned: weird problems come to me to die.  You know how they say for every problem that exists there's someone who's had it and solved it (they don't really say that, but work with me here).  Well I couldn't find one bleeding instance of this happening to anyone.  Maybe my search terms are rusty.  I don't know.  Still, couldn't find anything out there in the ether.  I'm not complaining though.  I actually caught a break on this one.

Friday, July 26, 2013

This Is More For Me Than You

I got this laptop today with a really weird problem.  No matter what wireless network it connected to it would always get a 169 address.  Usually when a computer gets a 169 address it means it's having trouble communicating with the network's DHCP service (that stands for Dynamic Host Control Protocol).  I tried all the usual tricks.  First checking for malware.  Then releasing and renewing the IP address.  Then uninstalling the wireless network driver and letting it reinstall.  Then assigning a static address.  That last step is where it got weird and lead me to the answer I was looking for.  You see even with all those tricks I tried assigning a static address is supposed to at least grant me Internet access regardless of the "outside influences".

Finally I stumbled on to a solution for the problem and it was this.  I needed to open up an elevated CMD shell and enter the following:

netsh winsock reset catalog

Winsock (an abbreviation for Windows Sockets API) controls how Windows network software should access network services.  In short, it was broken so I reset it.  Good to know if it happens again in the future.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Budget WebSite

In another life I used to be a web designer.  I was decent enough at it, but the business was changing rapidly and I found that I didn't have the artistic skills to keep up with it.  That and it proved to be high maintenance and low yield.  I did learn a whole lot in my tenure though.  About what makes a good website, what they should include, how they should fit the business, and the basics.

This entry is about the basics.  You need three things to build a website on your own.

1.  Designing Skills

HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language.  It used to be back in the day you needed to know the basics of how this language worked to design a basic site.  It's still good to know but it's 2013, there are easier ways now.  There are a number of free web design programs out there to help you out.  Personally I'm a fan of WYSIWYG editors (that's What You See Is What You Get) and one that I've recommended time and again is Coffeecup HTML Editor.  It used to be totally free, but you can still get the trial (good for 28 days).

2.  A Domain Name

This part can actually be pretty fun.  I don't want to get into the complexities of what a domain name actually is, but it's simply the site address.  Like Google.com or Blogger.com.  There are ton of sites out there where you can search for and purchase a domain name.  Another thing that might surprise you: you're not limited to .com.  You can get .net, .org, .info, .xxx (3 guess what that's for), and even ones that represent the state (in the US) or the country you live in.  You should probably stick with the basics though because when you start going into state and country domains things can get pricey. 

The trick to shopping for domain names is all about timing.  Typically you can get a .com for maybe $10 - $20 a year.  Godaddy.com, one of the biggest web retailers, currently lists their .com's for $10.99.  If you're willing to wait though that price can go way down and some retailers will lower the prices if you bundle it with hosting.  That brings me to...

3.  A Web Host
Forgive me.  I'm currently watching Buffy and Angel on Netflix.  I really like this guy. :)

Ignore the pic.  That's The Host and if you never watched Angel you have no idea who he is.  I just thought I'd stick in some geek humor.  A web host is where your website is physically located.  You could be your own host with your own computer and Internet service, but trust me you don't want the hassle.  We're talking about companies that keep their computers on all day everyday while guaranteeing your website will stay up most of the time (the best offer 99.99% uptime, but lower isn't so bad for a casual site).  The good news is hosting these days is remarkably inexpensive.  You can expect around $10 a month for some pretty decent bells and whistles.  I find most people don't need to invest that much into hosting.  Fortunately for them, there are actually hosts that will charge you nothing.  One that I recommend is AtSpace.com.  1 gig of storage, unlimited traffic and even an email address; you can't go wrong with that.

But If You're Willing To Spend A Few Bucks...

Now that we've covered the 3 basics this is where I ask you if you really want to do all this on the cheap.  I'm going to go back to Godaddy on this one as an example but if you're willing to spend a little time on Google you'll find more online companies that offer this service: Website Builders.  What these guys do is basically lay out thousands of templates for you to use and you just customize.  It's really easy and it gives you a professional feel.  The only really danger is uniqueness.  Chances are you'll stumble on a page where someone is using the exact same template as you.  But he with thousands to choose from the changes are small.  I figure if you invest in a builder along with hosting and a domain name  you wouldn't spend more that $50 to get your site rolling.

Monday, July 15, 2013

No Business Like Show Business

It's been a while since I did a karaoke-esque post.  My experiences last night led me to reflect on some of the special circumstances that folks in the entertainment business have to deal with that would really be considered unusual or a double standard if applied elsewhere.  So I'm working on a Top list.  Let's see how far I get.

5 Annoying Personalities You Meet In Show Business

1.  The Spokesman/Spokeswoman

Think lawyer...just not as adept at lying.

Where he/she appears: Anywhere there's music being played.

The Spokesman/Spokeswoman is a person people like me are very familiar with.  I'm going to shift into DJ mode for this one.  I'm playing a set when out of nowhere Spokesman/Spokeswoman appears and tries to convince you to play a certain song or even switch your genre.

Typical lines: "Everybody in hear wants to hear this.", "All my friends are here and they'd go NUTS if you played this.", "The girls in here would go crazy if you played this." (You get the picture by now)

Why they're lame: Because they have absolutely NO idea how to read a crowd and see where the music takes them.  Give them what they want and they'll be the only person jamming in the middle of the dance floor while a confused crowd stares at you wondering exactly what just happened.  Also because they put forth no effort to get such song played (i.e. bribery).  And if the crowd is really hype it's going to take a damn good bribe to put that song up.

2.  The Creep

Where he/she appears: Typically the owner or the manager of the establishment

When I say 'creep' I'm actually referring to scope creep.  But yeah, given what The Creep does the definition you were thinking of works too.  Everyone in the business has had to deal with The Creep at one point or another.  What The Creep does is attempt to change the scope of your agreement  based on what events transpired over the night.  It usually results in them trying to pay you less for the gig.  It's a weird double standard because The Creep treats live entertainment like an odd job.  It's like hiring security for a night and deciding  you shouldn't pay them because nobody showed up.

Typical lines: "If I paid what you asked for you'd be making more than I made tonight.", "You brought in less people than you said you would."

Why they're lame: Because they want the big score but they aren't willing to pay for it.  Live entertainment is not cheap to provide.  People who do live entertainment generally make very little for their services.  What's more, The Creep eventually gets blackballed by the rest of the local entertainment so he/she has to start bringing in more out of town acts eventually costing THEM more.

3.  The Memory Hog
C'mon, you know you were thinking it.

Where he/she appears:  Mostly at karaoke, but may also appear at live bands

I have a confession to make. I'm horrible with names.  I recognize faces very well but names come and go.  Hey I have to work with dozens of people a night for karaoke.  Just gimme a break and I'll get your name right all night long.  The Memory Hog doesn't like to play this.  They expect me to remember who they are every time they see me...and are genuinely offended if I don't.  Even worse some of them want me to remember what they sing.  Yeah, good luck with that buddy. 

Typical lines: "I was here last week!", "I was here last month!", "I was here last year!".

Why they're lame: Because they expect me to have eidetic memory.  True some singers stand out more than others.  True I do remember some names to a T.  But I'm only human and if you're the average visitor to karaoke I have very little incentive to remember who you are beyond the night you actually visit.  Maybe if you dropped something into my tip jar every now and again I'd have an easier time remember you. ;)

4.  The Backup or The Collaborator

Where he/she appears: Anywhere there's access to a microphone

So you've got your formula for how things should progress for the night when into your life walks The Backup (or The Collaborator...pick your favorite).  What this person wants is to do what you do without actually knowing any of the technical particulars.  If you have a spare microphone, you'll be forced to hide it or turn it off because this person will insist on being your frontman/frontwoman ALL NIGHT LONG.

Typical lines: "Let me get on the mic man, I'll hype up this crowd for you!", "Yo, just let me hold on to this mic.  I'll blow you up!"

Why they're lame: Because you're not part of the show.  You'll never be part of the show.  In fact, with you as part of the show now you're not part of the show.  What you are is annoying and killing my timetable.  Now I'm not a dick.  I'll humor you for a couple sets.  But a back and forth dynamic doesn't just happen.  It takes practice and seeing as you're not here every night and I won't be paying you to maybe you should just go practice and home.

5.  The Fifth Wheel
Some kinds of trucks are referred to as fifth wheel trucks.  This is absolutely useless trivia that I stuck in here so I could put in a picture.

Where he/she appears: Mostly at band events, but can also show up at karaoke

From what I hear this rides a fine line between awesome and lame.  We're going with the lame angle here.  The Fifth Wheel  is the aspiring musician who inexplicably produces and instrument during your event and insists and playing with you.  The key word here is 'aspiring'.

Typical lines: "Hey, I brought my *instrument*.  Can I jam with you?", *says nothing and starts playing on the side*

Why they're lame: Because they're horning in on your paying gig to express what for them at this point is a hobby.  Not to mention it's kinda rude.  If you want to jam with the band, ask them if you can come over to their studio when they're practicing.  And for pete's sake don't bring an instrument to karaoke.  It makes you look like a douche and you're taking time from people who want to sing badly.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Good Thing I Did Research

Guys, I'm a sucker for a good deal.  So when I stopped into RadioShack this afternoon and saw the big CLEARANCE sign that's where I made my beeline.  One item in particular drew my attention.  This thing:
That's the Ion Discover DJ.  I'm not going to tell you how much it was going for, but I will tell you I held that thing in my hands for a good 10 minutes contemplating buying it.  I even ran the UPC using Price Rhythm.  Technically for a retail sale the price was good (even though I saw it for $20 less on eBay).

After arguing with the angel and devil on my shoulder I finally put it down and decided I'd go do some research first and if I like it I'll go back on the way home.  Good thing I did.  I found this handy video on YouTube that pretty much confirmed the one thing I was worried about in buying this.  Here's the video:



Did you catch it?  My problem was did it have a headphone port so I could listen to cued songs.  The answer was no.  I could have easily made that assumption because the freakin' thing has a crossfader but thanks to the video it pretty much confirmed that I'd have to add another sound card to do that...and that's way too much work when there's already units that do that for me.  Guess I'll be sticking with my Numark DJ IO for a while.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Time To Move On

Way back in October of last year, I decided to convert my old HTC Hero into a standalone media player.  I went with Cyanogenmod as my new ROM and I admit it was a fun ride...until about a week ago.  The first warning sign had to be the loss of the Play Store.  I couldn't load it no matter how many times I tried and it didn't matter where my Internet source was.  It was minor and ignorable.  Then last night hit.  My HTC froze and didn't come back.  It spent over 2 hours on the loading screen.  I didn't watch it; I just left it running to reload in the car while I was in the bar.  Imagine my surprise when I came back and the damn thing was still running.

Fast forward to today.  I've returned the HTC to factory settings (for Cyanogenmod) 4 times already.  The first time I did it, no GAPPS.  I actually downloaded and installed the GAPPS package again.  It seemed good until I tried to sign in.  Alas the keyboard would show up.  I did a factory resent 2 more times to no avail.

That's why I decided it's time to break up with Cyanogenmod and start dating other Hero ROMs.  I've found just the site to get me back on the right track.  I'll keep you guys posted on what I go with.

Those cell phones get so clingy.

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Hashtags Are Here

Hey, notice something new about Facebook today?  You know those meaningless hashtags that people have been using like crazy all over the place.  Well they're not meaningless anymore.


If you've ever used Twitter or Instagram, hashtags are commonplace and actually mean something.  It's a way for people to share interests on trending topics.  Naturally though The Renegade Geek has a couple concerns.  I'm sure it'll be organized chaos for a couple months while Facebook denizens get used to the new structure.  Meanwhile the Twitter folks will have a field day with it.

Something not addressed in any of the articles I've though is privacy.  The use of a hashtag on Facebook could bring instant fame to someone's usually quiet Facebook page...if your permissions aren't set to Friends Only.  That's kind of the bad that comes with the good.  You'll now be part of a greater conversation but there's a chance you attract conversations you don't want to be a part of.

So this feature went live today.  Let's watch as the drama unfolds...or doesn't unfold.  I still expect to see some backlash by the time the day is out.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Screw U

If there really was a Screw U. then Sony would have definitely flunked out.  At least that's my take on the ordeal this Sony Viao put me through.  I've been seeing a fair amount of laptop computers lately that have just arrived at the end of their useful life (aka the motherboard died).  Laptop motherboards are kinda like broke parts in printers.  Once they go bad, you're better off just replacing the whole thing.  Seriously, replacing a motherboard in a laptop is not worth the stress; especially if the laptop is over 5 years old.

So, me, ever being the Guardian of Data (trademarked, patent pending) figured I should at least pull the hard drive and check if it's still usable and the data on it is ok.  So I grab my trusty Phillips screwdriver, essentially the only tool you should ever need working on any computer, and I see this when I open the hard drive bay.

You're going to have to click on the image to really see it, but that little screw is locking the hard drive in place.  Now I'm only doing the whole so-I-grab-my-screwdriver thing to be dramatic.  I actually knew in advance that that little screw was not coming out with my Phillips.  In the upper right you'll see the screwdriver I thought would have worked.  It's also a Phillips but trimmer than my main screwdriver.  That was also a no go.  I had to break out the screwdriver I use to fix my eyeglasses to get it out (it's in the bottom right).  Oh, but it wasn't as easy as all that.  It felt like Sony drove that screw in with the same kind of device they use to put bolts on cars.  It was TIGHT!  I was fortunate though.  Luckily there was a toolkit around and I found this bad boy.

I HAVE THE POWEEEEEERRRRRRRR!!!!
Yes folks, I needed pliers just to twist that screw.  Tested the drive, the data was good and we all live happily ever after...well, except for the laptop...it's still dead.  Oh, and Sony, you need remedial classes at Screw U.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Blocking Facebook Game Requests

I can't tell you how often I see people posting on their Facebook wall screaming at their friends for sending them game requests.  Well guess what?  In a way that's like being upset at someone handing you a flyer because your friend took one.  Here's the skinny on Facebook games.  In order to play you have to hand over certain permissions; one of which is having access to all your friends.  The game itself will spam your friends.  You really have little control over it.  In some cases you can deny a game access to your account but it'll result in you actively hunting down friends to add rather than casting a big net and hoping to get a few fish.  I said in some cases.  Some games just won't let you play (I'm looking at you Bejeweled Blitz!).

A friend asked about this last night and I fell asleep before I could come up with a detailed answer.  So consider this the detailed answer.  I don't know how long it'll be good for because Facebook changes stuff all the time.  But today (as in June 5, 2013) it'll work.

Step 1:

Go to your main newsfeed (sorry mobile users, this guide's for working on a computer) and look for the Apps section.  It looks like this:

Click on App Center.

Step 2:

When your App Center opens look for this menu on the left:

The amount of game requests you've currently received are listed under Requests.  I've got 143.  You can tell I pretty much ignore 'em.  Go ahead and click on Requests.

Step 3:

This is where it gets fun.  You'll get a list of games you've gotten requests for in little boxes.  Here's a closeup of mine:



As you can see, names and pics have been blurred to protect the innocent (tee hee).  In the first box is an untouched request.  If you click the X next to Play Now you'll get the options in the second box.  The X only hides the request though.  You get two more options once the request is hidden.  You want the first one, which in this case says Block Farm Heroes Saga.  The second option allows you to ignore all requests from the person who initially sent it.  It doesn't matter how many people sent you a request for that one game.  You only get the option to ignore requests from the first person who sent it.  Yeah, I don't get the logic in that either.  Anyhoo, go ahead, use that Block option (make sure your press Confirm when you get the confirmation screen) and go live happy happy lives forever.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Netflix: What I've Been Watching

I have sort of a love/hate relationship with Netflix.  One one hand, I love having access to all this great streaming content.  But on the other, I hate falling love with great series only to find that either a) The series has been canceled and has been for quite some time or b) The series is still in production and Netflix is like two seasons behind.  It's tragic.  TRAGIC I TELL YA!
They think they know me sooooo well.

*sigh* Well, while I'm waiting for some of the stuff I've already watched to catch up I thought I'd share some of the shows I've watched and caught up on thus far.

  • The Walking Dead (Waiting for more episodes)
  • How I Met Your Mother (Waiting for more episodes)
  • Justice League Unlimited
  • Ben 10: Ultimate Alien
  • Ugly Betty
  • No Ordinary Family
  • Better Off Ted
  • Parks and Recreation (Waiting for more episodes)
  • 30 Rock (Waiting for more episodes)
  • Wilfred (Waiting for season 2)
  • Mad Men (Waiting for more episodes)
  • Metalocalypse
  • Children's Hospital
  • Frasier
  • The Tick
  • The Venture Bros.
  • Code Monkey
  • House of Cards (A must-see on Netflix)
  • Firefly
  • Sliders (I watch this on an off)
  • The Guild (I hope they do another season; had to watch the last one on YouTube)
  • Being Human (US) (Waiting for more episodes)
  • Soul Eater (Still can't get into the manga but the anime was cool)
  • D. Gray Man (The manga got kinda hard to follow)
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple (Good anime; still following the manga)
  • Dr. Who (The most recent series, not the one from the 60s and 70s.  I'm almost finished.)
Don't get me wrong though, I do occasionally watch a movie but for me the biggest draw is watching the TV shows. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Your Business and Social Media

I just read this great article on PCWorld that outlines mistakes you need to avoid regarding your business and social media and I felt the need to bring attention to it because I've seen many, many local examples of just doing social media wrong.  I really want you to read the original article, but if you're as lazy as I am you're probably staying here for my summary...which I was planning to give you anyway.

1.  Hand the keys to someone who isn't ready to drive.

While the article goes in about giving the job to an outsource or a low level staffer I think they left someone out: Media Relations.  I have to agree, letting someone who doesn't know how much their words can impact a business run social media is a huge mistake.  Outsources aren't on the ground and when they do post it's boilerplate.  Low level staffers...well they just don't care.  Media relations should be able to effectively handle this just.  Problem is social media isn't particularly part of the media relations course load (I really hope it is these days though).  I find that in most organizations media relations don't know how to use it, aren't empowered to use it, or never heard of it.

2.  Fire the person in charge of social media

This is right up there with replacing any IT specialist.  Make sure if you're going to fire them that you take away their "keys".  I put that in quotes because physically locking out your displaced IT guy doesn't mean he can't access your network.  Most IT specialists have too much respect for the craft to use your (now unguarded) infrastructure against you, but for many the temptation is too great.

3.  Confuse a reply with a direct message on Twitter

With email, it's easy.  You press reply and you can send a message to someone who sent a message to you.  Twitter doesn't work like that.  When you hit reply EVERYONE can see your reply.  If you want to reply to someone directly on Twitter you have to use direct messaging. A reply on Twitter is essentially the same as reply all in email...but with a much bigger audience.

4.  Commit rank insensitivity

This one is simple but it's easy to see how people would not see how wrong this is.  Don't use a hashtag to exploit any trending topic rooted in human suffering.  It's bad for business and makes you look like a jerk.

5.  Fail to understand corporate confidentiality

Simply put, be mindful of what you share.  Trade secrets, meeting information, etc. can land you in hot water.

6.  Ask for potentially hostile users to chime in

Once you let people post to your feed, that's it.  You will occasionally get negative feedback.  The only way I see around this is to maintain total control is not to allow anyone but you to post.

7.  Get political

Chick Fil A.  Nuff said.

8.  Fail to understand the mechanics of social media

This harkens back to #4.

9.  Neglect social media security

Guard your password.

Really though, read the article.  Good stuff.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Latest Innovation in BS

If it's one thing all my Facebook friends know about me is that I'm an unofficial Mythbuster.  I'm not as extreme as Adam and Jamie are, I just like keeping people in the know regarding the mountains upon mountains of BS floating around the Internet.  This is a service I provide solely to my friends and for anyone else lucky enough to be linked to my blog.  How do I do it?  Simple really.  I pretty don't trust anything I hear right off the bat and I do research.

But yeah, you're probably wondering why I've started yet another blog entry related to busting myths.  It's because I've notice a new innovation recently.  Some of these bogus stories have been bounce around the Internet for like 10 years now so it's not surprising that the people who purvey this crap have switched things up a bit.

Here's the latest trend in BS: Combining two or more untruths.  I think this was done with the intention of throwing off fact checkers.  See there used to be just one source per untruth but if you combine 2 or more you have to isolate and look up each individual part.  Here's an example I saw today (and I really hate to use it because it involves the ever hot button topic of politics):

FINALLY SOMEONE ASKED HIM THE QUESTION!
ON "ABC-TV" DURING THE "NETWORK SPECIAL ON HEALTH CARE".... OBAMA WAS ASKED:
"MR. PRESIDENT WILL YOU AND YOUR FAMILY GIVE UP YOUR CURRENT HEALTH CARE PROGRAM
AND JOIN THE NEW 'UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE PROGRAM' THAT THE REST OF US WILL BE ON ????"
THERE WAS A STONEY SILENCE AS <>OBAMA IGNORED THE QUESTION AND CHOSE NOT TO ANSWER IT !!!
IN ADDITION, A NUMBER OF SENATORS WERE ASKED THE SAME QUESTION AND THEIR RESPONSE WAS."WE WILL THINK ABOUT IT."
AND THEY DID. IT WAS ANNOUNCED TODAY ON THE NEWS THAT THE "KENNEDY HEALTH CARE BILL" WAS WRITTEN INTO THE NEW HEALTH CARE REFORM INITIATIVE ENSURING THAT THAT CONGRESS WILL BE 100% EXEMPT !
SO, THIS GREAT NEW HEALTH CARE PLAN THAT IS GOOD FOR YOU AND I... IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR OBAMA, HIS FAMILY OR CONGRESS...??
WE (THE AMERICAN PUBLIC) NEED TO STOP THIS PROPOSED DEBACLE ASAP !!!! THIS IS TOTALLY WRONG !!!!!
PERSONALLY, I CAN ONLY ACCEPT A UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE OVERHAUL THAT EXTENDS TO EVERYONE... NOT JUST US LOWLY CITIZENS.... WHILE THE WASHINGTON "ELITE" KEEP RIGHT ON WITH THEIR GOLD-PLATED HEALTH CARE COVERAGES.
If you don't pass this around, may you enjoy his Plan!

WHAT???
The Republic has a CONSTITUTION???

Amendment 28

Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators or Representatives, and Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States .

Imagine what we could do if everybody passed this around.
Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators or Representatives, and Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States .

Imagine what we could do if everybody passed this around.
 I imagine we could fool a lot of people which is exactly what this is intended for.  Now part one of this ends at "If you don't pass this around, may you enjoy his Plan!".  It turns out that that part is Mostly False. I can only assume it's "mostly" because Barack Obama did indeed appear on an ABC special...but the name and what transpired are wildly distorted.

Part 2  involves the 28th Amendment.and it's a shorter version of what I've seen running around.  There is no 28th Amendment.  The US Constitution is currently at 27.  Congress did not try to exempt themselves from the Health Care Law and yes, they have to follow it too.

So I say this again as warning: Check everything your receive and check everything people share with you.  I'm trying to get everyone in the habit of being their own mythbuster.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Pretty Sneaky, Malwarebytes

I don't think a month goes by when at some point I don't extoll the virtues of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.  With all the crazy programs running around telling you you have nonexistent infections it's a necessity.  Sure some of the big guns in the Antivirus field are bundling in anti-malware into their programs but Malwarebytes is still the best (in my humble opinion that is; there's still that flap about them flagging important Windows files as malicious a month ago...but I forgive them).

Well today I learned they have a new offering that makes fighting malware a little bit easier.  It's called Chameleon.

More like a Blue Shrimp...
Chameleon does something that the malware busting community has needed for some time: A way to install Malwarebytes on computers that have already been infected and are blocking the regular Malwarebytes installation.  See the one critical flaw of Malwarebytes is that most users don't look to it until they've already been infected.  And most of these malware creators know how effective Malwarebytes is and taking their stuff to the cleaners so they make sure you can't install ANYTHING once you've been infected.  Norton used to have a similar problem back in the day when viruses targeted outdated Norton installations as soon as it infected a system.

With Chameleon you can load your computer in Safe Mode With Networking and, using a conspicuously named svchost.exe file, install Malwarebytes with the latest database update using a MSDOS command shell.  This little peach has earned a place in my USB drive archives.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Happy Birthday World Wide Web!

April 30, 2013 marks the 20th birthday for the World Wide Web.  You've come a long way.  You'd think for something that's been around for 20 years people would have a pretty good idea of how to use you. :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Top 10 Funniest Lines I've Heard in DCUO

In my defense though, I think it's been a while and I've had this one on my mind for a while.  Collected below are my top 10 funniest lines from DC Universe Online.  Without further ado.

10. "Tell Penguin to unleash da boids!"

You get this line while running the Old Gotham Subway Instance.  For some reason all of Penguin's lackeys talk like they're gangsters straight out of the 1920s.  One of the female lackeys says this while you're beating the tar out of them.

9. "Kneel before Grood!  Get on your knees you savages!  ON YOUR KNEES!"

Gorilla Grood says this at the end of the Stryker Island alert.  It's epic, but still fun.  I laugh every time.

8.  Anything Ambush Bug says.

It's the voice.  He sounds like the Noid from the old Domino's commercials.  I especially find what he says in the OMAC base amusing.

7. "The juice is LOOSE!"

Fighting Bane's thugs near the Cape Carmine Lighthouse.  Some of these guys shout this when you "enrage" them and they start pumping Venom.

6.  "Marco!  Polo!"

Dr. Psycho plays hide and seek with you in your first encounter with him in the Meta Research Facility.  What makes it funny is how much he openly mocks you in the process.  It makes it really satisfying to put a hurting on him when you actually find him.

5.  "You...left you DOG to defend the Fortress against Brainiac?  Oh, THIS should be good."

Luthor's such a dick. Lex says this when Superman tells him he left Krypto to guard the main entrance during the Fortress of Solitude Chasm raid.

4.  "Get back in the basement, Harvey!  I'm in control!  I'm...unstoppable!"

This is one of Two Face's rants in Legends PvP.

3. "Yoohoooo!  Riddler old bean!  Come out and let us beat...er I mean MEET yoouuuu!"

One of Joker's clown says this during the Monarch Card Company Instance just before you complete Riddler's third clue.  The fake English accent does it for me every time.

2.  "What are YOU doing here?  I don't recall sending out invitations.  My hair is a wreck.  This place is a mess.  I'm at a crucial stage of creating the life of tomorrow.  I don't have the time to kill you right now!  I'll just have to enjoy your demise from the safety of my lab.  Security!"

That's T.O. Morrow's rant from the Ace Chemicals alert.  Such tough talk for a guy who doesn't even come out to fight you himself.  He has a few other choice lines now that the Home Turf DLC is out.

1.  Anything the Joker says.

The Joker really has too many funny lines to count.  Everything he says is hilarious.  Here's a whole video worth of them.



LOL!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Manga List #5

It's been a while since I did this and not much has really changed but I wanted to post an update anyway.


Naruto Bleach Beelzebub The World God Only Knows History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi Ratman
Cage of Eden (Finished) Fairy Tail Noblesse Bartender Holyland (Finished) The Breaker: New Waves
Hajime no Ippo Hunter X Hunter Mangaka-san to Assistant-san to Karate Shoukoushi Konihata Minoru Medaka Box Toriko
Freezing Sekirei Gamble Fish Liar Game Zen Martial Arts Academy (Finished) The God of High School
Rave Master (Finished) Eyeshield 21 (Finished) The Breaker (Finished) Veritas (Finished) Defense Devil (Finished)  RRR (Finished)
Katekyo Hitman Reborn! (Finished) My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute Simon Sues
Girls of the Wild's Gintama Detective Conan
Konjiko No Gash Bell (Finished) Yu Yu Hakusho (Finished)





I figured since I haven't really added any new manga to my roster I'll give a brief description of where everything is.

Naruto - We're in the middle of a ninja war.  While everyone else is on the battlefield, Sasuke is getting the dirt on what really went down in Village Hidden In The Leaves.  He's decided to join the fight against Madara.

Bleach - Currently we're in an arc going over the history of Ichigo's parents.

Beelzebub - The gang's back at their old high school, but what's up with all these demon contractors?

The World God Only Knows - Keima's gone back in time (actually his spirit switched places with his younger self) on a mission to fix the present.

History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi - The gang is in the middle of an all out assault by Yomi while they were enjoying a day at the water park.  Surprise, surprise: Odin..er Ryuto teams up with Kenichi to battle Kensei.

Ratman - Been on hiatus for a while now and I'm hoping it hasn't been dropped.  We were in the middle of the Iska arc.

Cage of Eden - The series concluded with what I think was a rushed ending.  Turns out everyone was in the future.  The island wasn't on the map because it was man-made about 200 years prior as memorial/potential landing spot for them.  Roughly a couple years after making this final discovery the gang has crafted a boat capable of getting them off the island and back to Japan.  They are apprehensive though because no one has come to the island at all in that time and they wonder if there is really a civilization left to get back to.

Fairy Tail - Fairy Tail wins the game!  But what's all this about dragons coming to kill everyone and opening a magic gate?

Noblesse - This series could possible be concluding soon.  Master Rai is using what may be the last of his power against 3 three union members gone wild.  He's won the fight, put at what price?

Bartender - The stories are too random to really break it down.  There is an ongoing (but rarely utilized) arc where the hotel manager and Ryu are having a kind of father/son relationship and his granddaughter has a thing for Ryu.

The Breaker: New Waves - After watching Shioon being manhandled for most of the series it's kind of good that his ki center has (kinda, sorta) healed and he's kicking all kinds of ass.  But where is he and why are these people trying to take him captive?

Hajime no Ippo - Vorg has taken the US Championship!  So when's Ippo gonna fight again?

Hunter X Hunter - So far the series is on (ANOTHER) hiatus with the ending of the last arc showing Gon finally meeting his dad at the top of the World Tree.  Besides that there's a Kuparika flashback arc but the main story is on hiatus.

Mangaka-san to Asistant-san to - Another series that's way to random to describe.  Still incredibly funny for 8 page stories.

Karate Shoukushi Konihata Minoru - It's been a full year since both Minoru and Mutou lost the karate championships.  Minoru and the gang (minus Mutou who's gone abroad to study) are currently in the middle of a mixed martial arts battle.

Medaka Box - Another series that appears to be closing soon.  Medaka has decided to leave the academy and fulfill here familial duties.  In what appears to be the final arc, Zenkichi has arranged for her to contest with everyone at the academy before she leaves.

Toriko - The Bishokukai is raiding the Cooking Festival and their targets are apparently all the world class chefs.

Freezing - Currently on hiatus (happens a lot, I know), the new arc follows the introduction of Team 13 Valkyries.

Sekirei - Also looks like it's close to the end.  The final "game" in the Sekirei Plan has started.

Gamble Fish - After a long hiatus only 2 issues has come out.  Tomu bets his life for 30 million yen.  We're pretty sure he's going to make it.

Liar Game - Akiyama wins Bid Poker and Team Harimoto is withdrawing from the game completely.  But Yokoya is still out there and he's cleaning up.

Zen Martial Arts Academy - Alas this series was cancelled.  It was fun while it lasted.

The God of High School - Remember that world security plot that showed up in the first issue and we never saw again.  Well it's back.  What's the deal with The Key?

My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute - On hiatus for a looooong time.  It might have been dropped.

Simon Sues - ditto

Girls of the Wild's - It's Dal Dal vs. Lee Moon Young!  Song didn't know it but he was coaching them to fight each other.

I'm going to stop there.  I haven't really been keeping up with Gintama or Conan as I said I would.  Maybe some other time.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Final Countdown

The say that celebrities all pass away in 3s.  Today we lost Margaret Thatcher and Annette Funicello.  I guess they're the pair that goes away with Roger Ebert.  (All three will be missed, BTW; may they rest in peace.). But before this post gets all morbid, there was another celebrity slated to die today. 
Ha! You wish!

Microsoft has officially announced that support for Windows XP will expire one year from today.  As popular as Windows XP still is today, the old girl is turning 12 this year.  Given the shorter lifespans of the previous versions of Windows, that XP has been this popular for this long is nothing short of a miracle.  Guess what?  This is a really big deal.  Take a look at this chart:


Here's the good news:  currently only 38.73% of users are still using XP.  The bad news is that's still a pretty good chuck of people.

Ok, by now you're thinking "So what if I'm still using XP?  It still works right?".  Yeah, it does.  The problem here is what comes from lack of support.  If you're a savvy user you've got your antivirus/anti-malware working and you're getting regular updates from Microsoft.  Well next year those updates go bye-bye and if someone comes up with an XP exploit after that time you'll be vulnerable whether you have antivirus/anti-malware or not.

If you don't have a current OS, you officially have 1 year to upgrade.  I know it's rough.  I was there when XP replaced 2000.  But it's time to put this classic to bed.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Screenshots

These days with all the newfangled operating systems like Windows 7 and 8 it's super easy to do a screenshot. That's because when Microsoft pushed out 7 they included a Snipping Tool.  But old habits die hard and believe it or not a lot of you out there are still using older operating systems (like I have to tell you). 

Before I begin, why do a screenshot anyway?  Screenshots are useful for a lot of reasons.  Imagine you're on the phone with a guy like me.  You're trying to tell me what's showing up on your screen but it requires quite a bit of imagination on my part.  You can take a screenshot and send me an image.  That's just one thing but once you know how to do this on your own I'm sure you'll find more uses.

Let's being.  First I want you to download and install Irfanview.  You don't need to, but it will make your life easy with this.

Now locate and press the Print Screen button.

It's riiiiight THERE!
That's it.  Your screenshot is now ready to paste into any application that allows you to paste images.  You can do it in Word, Publisher, Excel, OpenOffice and yes, Irfanview.  The cool thing about Irfanview is that you can "finish" your screenshot by cropping, changing colors, etc.  Oh, and if you're feeling particularly lazy you can just press Ctrl+V to paste (it's in the menu somewhere but meh).