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25th Anniversary: When the Berlin Wall Fell

mackil Re:Reminder of who not to credit (151 comments)

Excellent point. I often wondered to what extent the first Guld war played in stopping the Soviets from the "military" solution, once things began crumbling. When they saw some of their best hardware defeated so handily by the Coalition forces, did that keep them from launching a military strike to preserve the Soviet state? Interesting to think about.

about a month ago
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Amazon Instant Video Now Available On Android

mackil Re:Rather cumbersome (77 comments)

I'm guessing that if Amazon had added it to Google Play Store, rentals would have had to use Google payments where Google gets 30% instead of Amazon. That or it'd work only with Prime, not rentals.

That is an excellent point. I hadn't thought of that. Like Microsoft's fight with Apple over their IOS Office app.

about 3 months ago
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Amazon Instant Video Now Available On Android

mackil Re:Rather cumbersome (77 comments)

Amazon isn't making you change the "unknown store" setting--that would be Google. Android OS is set to only accept Play Store unless you deactivate that setting.

Actually they are since they could've added the app to Google Play like they do for all their others. Kindle is there, as is the main Amazon App.

about 3 months ago
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Amazon Instant Video Now Available On Android

mackil Rather cumbersome (77 comments)

It's rather cumbersome, but it works. You can't install it straight from Google Play. You have to install the Amazon app and install it inside of that. They make you change the "unknown store" security setting in order to do it. Curious strategy on Amazon's part.

Now if only they would add ChromeCast support... I know, we customers are never happy.

about 3 months ago
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Linux Format Magazine Team Quits, Launches New Profit-Donating Mag

mackil Afraid not (90 comments)

These days, all it takes to shake up the whole publishing industry is to be successful. The whole industry is in sharp decline and everyone knows it, especially those within.

I'd like to think they have a chance. Their goals are certainly noble. But I wouldn't be too optimistic.

about a year ago
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8 Users of Silk Road Arrested, 'Many More To Come'

mackil Re:I find it more interesting... (318 comments)

5532 south 43rd, isn't that Harry Buttle's place?

ohhhh big points for getting a Brazil reference in there!

about a year ago
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Google To Encrypt All Keyword Searches

mackil Re:Keyword$ on AdWords (224 comments)

The cynical amongst web analytics professionals accuse Google of hiding organic keyword searches from website operators in order to force them into paying for AdWords with its paid keywords.

I was wondering this myself, as someone who is very annoyed with the "(not provided)" entry in my Keywords list in Analytics. I know, hardly a big deal in the grand scheme. Call me selfish.

about a year ago
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Google Announces Android 4.3, Netflix, New Nexus 7, and Q Successor Chromecast

mackil Headset Jack? (244 comments)

I hope they replaced their stupid headphone jack with a headset jack. It is SO annoying to have to type in credit cards manually using Square's Credit Card Reader (not to mention the higher fee).

about a year ago
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Google Announces Android 4.3, Netflix, New Nexus 7, and Q Successor Chromecast

mackil Re:ChromeCast (244 comments)

Not to mention that if you have any video purchased from the Google Play store, you can now view it on your tv without a Google TV box.

We have a Roku, and we purchase a lot of videos off Amazon and view it on our tv. We also have a Nexus 7, but can't view our Amazon stuff on our tablet. We have a few movies on Google Play, which we can view on our tablet, BUT NOT our tv. It's been quite annoying. Looks like this will solve some of these problems. Now we just need Amazon Instant Video for Android.

about a year ago
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Knoppix 7.2 Released

mackil Re:Anybody use Knoppix today? Great stuff at one t (53 comments)

I use it all the time for recovering lost data on crashed windows machines. All my friends think I'm a genius, but no. I just boot into Knoppix and copy their "lost" data onto a thumb drive. Couldn't be easier. Thanks Knoppix!

about a year and a half ago
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Used Game To Survive? EA Plans To Drop Online Pass

mackil Re:DLC is more lucrative (74 comments)

Yeah I was that way too until I completed Mass Effect 2. Stay strong.

about a year and a half ago
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Used Game To Survive? EA Plans To Drop Online Pass

mackil Re:DLC is more lucrative (74 comments)

I think you're onto something there, with the DLC's being more lucrative.

I was one of the "suckers" who bought Mass Effect 1 & 2 when Steam had them on sale. And just like EA predicted, once I reached the end of 2, I wanted to know how it all ended. So not only did they get me as a very reluctant Origin user, but they also have me seriously considering purchasing the Mass Effect 3 DLC's (which are still full price). Much more profitable and it doesn't upset your customer base (well, as much).

Dammit EA.... well played.

about a year and a half ago
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Use Google's Nexus 7 Tablet As a VoIP Phone, For Free

mackil Nothing new... (91 comments)

This is hardly earth shattering news. A friend of mine uses his iPod Touch as a phone and has for over a year. Wi-fi when it's available, and a 4G hot spot when it's not. Works great and is a great deal cheaper for those who aren't heavy users.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Clean Up My Work Computer Before I Leave?

mackil Piece of Cake (547 comments)

Remove your files and profiles manually, then delete your windows user account. Create a new one, and use one of the many delete utilities (Like Hard Disk Scrupper) to wipe out the present free space so they cannot be recovered.

If you work for the NSA, that might not be good enough, but it should be for the majority of people.

more than 2 years ago
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Who Is Your Favorite Fictional Robot or Android?

mackil Re:Star Trek Did It Better (608 comments)

... all of the twins and triplet androids (Mudd's Women)

Actually the triplet androids are from "I, Mudd". The women in "Mudd's Women" were quite human.... too much perhaps.

Did I just let my "trekkie"-ness show?

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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Journals

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Texas Ranch House Musings

mackil mackil writes  |  more than 8 years ago I watched the Texas Ranch House on PBS this past week. I've been fan of the previous House shows, so I was looking forward to it. As a student and lover of history, these shows always offer a unique modern perspective on life in the past. I've always wanted to sign up for these shows, and after watching TRH, I've decided that that was the one for me. Who hasn't wanted to be a cowboy at some point in their lives? I mean honestly...

I think the person I can most identify with is Jared. Not only do we share the same profession, but his approach to the whole experience was always curiosity driven, something I would do myself. If you notice who has the most air time with the diary cams, Jared wins by a huge amount. Probably because he was the funniest.

There was a lot of drama/personal conflict on this show, compared to the others. Some personalities just didn't click. The cowboys didn't have much of a problem gelling, and of course the Cooke's got along fine amongst themselves and Maura, but they just couldn't work together. This was partly due to the somewhat failed leadership of Mr. Cooke.

Mr. Cooke seemed wildly unpredictable at times. He would tell the cowboys one thing, go to the ranch, talk with Mrs. Cooke, then go and tell the cowboys that things have changed. The cowboys seemed to think that Mrs. Cooke ran the roost, but I think its fair to say that it was very much a partnership. Mr. Cooke was trying really hard to be a fair man, but it just came down to a few bad decisions that sank the ship. The only thing that threw me was Mr. Cooke reneging on his deal with Jared over the sale of a horse. Why he decided to do that was totally beyond me. Perhaps he was starting to get vindictive over the cowboys lack of respect for him (though why he took it out on Jared, who seemed to show more respect than all the others, is beyond me). Who knows really.

I know a lot of the conflict is thrown to the forefront by the editor/director, to keep the show interesting. I read a web chat with some of the people, where it was stated that they thought their portrayal on the show was very unfair due to the editing. That is understandable considering they spent around 3 months on the ranch, while the show is only 8 hours long. Still, not all of it can be put down to editing.

In conclusion I thought that this was a masterful show. It showed that living in the past, while romantic and inviting, can be a grueling experience. It showed that a bunch of 21st century people can indeed live in 1867, even if the here and now is better overall. Now all I have to figure out is how can I get on the next House show...

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10th Anniversary of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

mackil mackil writes  |  more than 9 years ago October 24th marked the 10 year anniversary of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, one of the greatest rock records of my generation. It's hard to believe that this record is 10 years old. I still listen to it all the time and it never feels dated. It's one of those records where you don't have to be a fan of the Smashing Pumpkins to fully appreciate it.

With 2 discs (or 3 vinyl's, with 6 sides) and a running time of over 2 hours, Mellon Collie redefines the word epic. The songs are so varied when it comes to styles, there is really something for everyone (My wife hates the Pumpkins, but even she likes some of the slower, gentler songs on the record).

My favorite tracks include:
Tonight, Tonight
The best and the most surprising track on the record. Complete with full blown orchestra, drummer boy style drumming by Jimmy Chamberlin and crescendo style ending, this song is one of my all time favorites. I'm not a fan of music videos, but this video is the best I have ever seen.

Thirty-Three
A soft beautifully written song with an amazing video (and I typically hate music videos). Check out the lyrics to this song to fully appreciate it.

Here Is No Why
I love the guitars on this song. This song is a perfect example of the layering technique the Pumpkins used for their guitars.

Galapogos
One of the most touching songs on the entire record.
"I won't deny the pain
I won't deny the change
And should I fall from grace here with you
Would you leave me too?
"

Bullet with Butterfly Wings
The song everyone knows, even if they don't know the Pumpkins. This song makes me tingle every time I hear Billy Corgan scream "Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage".

If you haven't heard the Smashing Pumpkins before, or you have but you can't stand Billy Corgan's voice, just give this record a listen all the way through (a tough thing considering its length, but its worth it, honest). At most you'll love it, and at the least you'll respect it. In this day and age of copycats and generic rock bands who all sound the same, it can get depressing to a rock fan such as myself. If the Pumpkins do get back together, I shall rejoice... until then I'm "just a rat in a cage".

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Ads in the movie theater

mackil mackil writes  |  more than 9 years ago I recently attended a showing of the latest Batman movie at the local Regal Cinema. The movie was quite excellent, which is quite the compliment coming from me for I typically loathe comic book movies.

What was far from excellent was the endless advertisements masked as an entertainment feature labeled The Twenty. I won't deny that some of the segments they feature are rather interesting, however most are simply promotional ads for a movie or some new tv show (cable or otherwise).

I frequently find myself making rather sarcastic remarks at the theater (much to the chagrin of my fiancé) and sighing heavily as another bikini clad model guzzles down a bottle of diet Coke. I realize that the theater has to make money somehow since they have a rotten deal with the studios, but surely this is reaching the point of insanity.

Am I wrong to be responding this way? Perhaps I am, but I doubt that it will change my reaction when I see another Fandango ad (which seems to change about once a year). And for crying out loud, please destroy every single Fantana ad that is in existence. The world will be a far better place if at least that is accomplished.

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Asa Dotzler on Linux

mackil mackil writes  |  more than 9 years ago Asa Dotzler (of Firefox fame) recently posted on his blog his perceived problems with Linux. He said these things would have to be fixed if Linux was ever to become "mainstream". My question is, do we want Linux to become "mainstream"?

Asa's problems with Linux consist of the lack of migration tools (from Windows to Linux), too many unnecessary options, the complexity of Linux, and some of the stark differences in the Linux GUI compared to Windows.

There is not a single issue there that I can deny. Every single thing he talked about is something that would have to be changed if Linux was to become the dominant OS. The question I want to pose is, do we want Linux the dominant OS? Do we want to give up all the power that we have with Linux so that your typical computer user can use it?

I use both Windows (2000) and Linux (FC4) on my desktop. Would I like games to be developed for Linux so I can get rid of my partition? You bet I would. But if it means castrating a lot of what I love about Linux, is it truly worth it?

To be truthful, I do not know the answer. Merely asking the question. There is a way for Open Source Software to survive out there in the real world with real users. I just hope it doesn't have to be emasculated in order to do so.

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