Technobabble


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Blu-ray

blu-ray logo
I decided to buy a blu-ray player about a year ago, just before HD-DVD had lost the game. I did it at the right time I think because it ended up being much cheaper and they gave me 10 blu-ray disks for free. Yeah competition! Then, I finally broke down and purchased a high def TV earlier this year to actually see movies in high def. I have to say, the visual experience is amazing. Nature shows like Planet Earth, Blue Planet, and Galapagos are stunning.

Anyway, to the point. I recently purchased “Heroes: Season 1” on blu-ray and it did not play. Most of them blu-ray disks come with a little insert that says you may need to upgrade your firmware for proper viewing. Low and behold, I did need to do just that. In my quick web search I found the following site:
http://www.blu-ray.com/firmware/

It contains step by step instructions on how to upgrade firmware/software for blu-ray players of all types. I followed the instructions and it worked like a charm.  Happy viewing.

Also check out Amazon Prime. They are offering a free 30 trial that gives you free 2 day shipping. I love this program.
Amazon Prime


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Extremist are the bane of society

Divided We Fail
Political season is in full effect and I can’t help but wonder about the differences that divide our thinking as a country. Sometime we just seem so polarized.

Growing up my friend Justin said something profound to me extremists are the bane of society. I don’t know that I believed him at that time. I was quite the conservative and had very strong moral values; I had embraced my “righteous mind”. I believed in absolutes. I believed in good and evil, right and wrong, back and white.  But he made a very strong argument that we all actually live in the grey regardless of our beliefs and desires. And over the past 16 years, extremists (the righteous) on both sides of the policitical specrum have proven to me that they do cause more harm than good. Some great examples would be 9/11, the arsonists whom burned down the animal testing labs at Michigan State University or the people that blew up a family planning clinic because it performed abortions. I now, more than ever believe that the ends shouldn’t just justify the means because the “means” are where we all live.

It is easy to dismiss these extremist as just plain crazy. But no one is born an extremist. These people were someone’s brother or sister, neighbor, coworker, family, and friend before we classified them as an extremist. We all likely have what someone would consider “extreme” views but why is it that some people feel the need to go to such extremes to perform acts of violence and what could only be categorized as antisocial behavior?

I believe as a people, we are prone to marginalize and condemn those whom hold different and sometimes extreme views because it allows us to form a tribe. This in no uncertain terms makes those who are included feel special and others feel like an outsider. When we get the “us vs. them” attitude it can blind us to the truth and wisdom the others have to offer. I am definitely guilty of this attitude and certainly have been on the other side of the equation more than once. I can understand why the disenfranchised feel the need to go to extremes to have their voice heard and their plight understood.

So this election season, before I start to feel superior to those who believe in a different ideology, I am going to try to put myself in their shoes and try to better understand why they think and believe the things they do. It is our diversity that makes us strong as a nation. And the problems we face as a country can’t be resolved without everyone helping to make it better; which means inclusion of those who are different. So when I talk to my neighbors, family, friends and coworkers about this election, I will do it with an open mind. I would also like to challenge you to find out what issues are really important to you and I encourage you all to do the same. And who knows, we all may find that our views are not all that different (or extreme) after all.

Know the true: http://www.factcheck.org/


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BlackBerry Apps

I know how unbelievably uncool I am for using a BlackBerry vs. an iPhone or maybe even a G1 but frankly, since I reloaded it, it works like the business tool that I need it to. And it still supports a huge amount of apps. I ran across one that I thought was exceptional. myBoxTone Insite is an application for BlackBerry phones that gives real time and tracks trending on Signal Strength, RAM, Flash, Battery, Call and Minutes used. I just started using it and It is a great little tool to get stats on the performance and function of your BlackBerry.

http://my.boxtone.com/

My other favorite apps:
gmail
Facebook
Google Search (includes news, local and mail through the mobile browser) m.google.com

Favorite mobile websites:
m.twitter.com
m.amazon.com
m.flickr.com
mobile.fandango.com
mobile.opentable.com
m.facebook.com


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Net Neutrality or just Neutered

Net neutrality or just neutered
It really is looking like the big ISP’s are winning the battle with Comcast announcing that it will put give equal access to all website by now penalizing the heavy bandwidth users vs. the prioritizing on the type of data they are using. Isn’t this just shifting focus of the real problem at hand. The big ISP’s don’t have enough bandwidth to support their service level agreements with their paying customers so they are now finding another way to prioritize traffic.

Check out some site to find out more details:
http://www.openinternetcoalition.com
http://www.savetheinternet.com
http://www.google.com/help/netneutrality.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_neutrality


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iPhone Jailbreak

iPhone Hacked by Dennis Mueller, on Flickr
A dear friend of mine is moving to Canada for 6 months and she bought a Gen 1 iPhone. Unfortunately AT&T is not in Canada and the Canadian alternative would require her to purchase a long contract with a huge monthly fee. I offered to try to jailbreak her phone. Never having done it before I started doing research. I found a huge amount of sites and information out there some free, some simple, some by people who should never be allowed to publish on the internet.

I ended up being successful with ZiPhone:
http://download.ziphone.org/ the site has binaries for both windows and mac.

It worked flawlessly, withing 20 minites the phone was up and running.  I would highly recommend the product.

He does have a donation site.  Keep software free, please remember to donate if it works for you.  I dontated €5.00 EUR to the cause which came out to be like $7.40. Damn, the US economy sucks.


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RSS Feeds

rss icon
I wrote this email for work and thought I would share…
Here is a great article about RSS feeds.  
http://www.masternewmedia.org/

Here is a pretty comprehensive list of readers & aggregators:
http://dir.yahoo.com/Computers_and_Internet/Data_Formats/XML__eXtensible_Markup_Language_/RSS/RSS_Readers_and_Aggregators/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_feed_aggregators

Most major portals have feed readers like:
http://my.yahoo.com/
http://www.google.com/reader/

Also some web mail clients do too like:
http://mail.yahoo.com

If you prefer the desktop variety try these out:
http://blogspace.com/rss/readers

If you happen to prefer it through Outlook, this is probably the app for you:
http://www.newsgator.com/Individuals/NewsGatorInbox/Default.aspx

But what ever you do, don’t have them emailed to you. It will spam your inbox and make your life hellish. Hope that helps.