I received a WD TV Live, TVL, for Christmas to replace my aging MediaGate MG35 network media player. The MG35 is still working and has a nice GUI, but doesn’t support many of the newer media file formats like x264, mkv or high definition content. Also, the MG35 requires anonymous access via samba to the media. I’ve locked it down by IP, but would rather have userid/password controls.
Install miniDLNA instructions below.
Well, I’ve arrived. Seems besides winning the European, Spanish, Hong Kong, Singapore, and world wide lotteries, I’ve also won 10% cash back from VISA every month. I just need to enroll by clicking on a web link. Sweet!
WOW! That’s a deal!
Except it is a scam.
So whenever it snows here, even flurries, almost everything public closes down. Stores stay open, but with highly reduced staff.
On Friday, 1/8/10, the Atlanta area had a snow event. It began on Thursday evening and dropped less than 1 inch of snow as far as I could see.
Here’s a photo of my back yard 3 days later. Not much melt has happened due to daily hi temperatures of less than 30degs.
Roads were closed in Atlanta and so were churches, schools, and many workers telecommuted to their office jobs.
We’ve all heard of the RIAA and MPAA, but what about laws being enacted in South Korea to prevent online storage? Here are a few articles about Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA):
These are being added to international agreements, since they cannot pass in representative government legislatures. International pressure to sign treaties bypasses representatives in the USA. The House has no say in treaty approval, only the Senate.
So, laws that cannot be passed still become law, and by treaty, must be enforced both locally and internationally.
INAL, but as I read the draft treaty text, I see protections for artist, producers and owners to use ineffective DRM, yet anyone who may circumvent the DRM for practical reasons
- player isn’t available
- player broke
- DRM doesn’t work on a computer
- you don’t like DRM,
is now automatically a criminal. Yes, criminal penalties, not just civil. There are no protections for consumers or end users who purchase a product with a reasonable expectation of lifetime use to be able to use that product for life. We’ve already seen DRM protected purchases fail. Did you buy any Microsoft PlaysForSure crap? The Zune cannot play PlaysForSure music purchased from the MSN Music Store. Nice. If you remove the DRM from our purchase so you can listen, you are a criminal under this treaty.* There is no protection for you.
Pharmaceuticals and agriculture products are included in the protections.
What I see is an agreement written by big business to ensure their current method of profit generation continues for 70 years after the death of the inventor, artist, actor, or producer. For example, you create a song at age 25 and die at age 75. Then it is another 70 years (at least, longer periods in law is ok too), before it falls into public domain.
There’s a provision for Three Strikes for alleged infringement without any legal proceeding. Three allegations and you are out is more like it. What is out? Your internet connectivity is canceled and that action is shared with other internet providers. I didn’t see a time limit on the disconnection or an appeal process included. Parents, watch your teens closely. Their actions could get you disconnected from the internet for life!
Here is an ACTA summary- written by the EFF.
How does this all track back to the prevention of internet storage in South Korea?
Time to write your senators. and have public debates over this treaty. We don’t want any back room agreements where consumers are locked out.
I like copyright, patents, and trademarks where they protect businesses for a reasonable amount of time. What is reasonable? That’s the real question. 10 years, 20, 50, 70, 170 years? That’s the issue. My understanding of the intent for copyright and patents is to allow a reasonable period of time for the creator to make a profit, but not an unlimited time to lock out all competition. I believe Disney has abused both copyright and trademark protections to save Micky Mouse from outside abuse. Trademarks last in perpetuity as long as it continues to be used commercially by its owner. Boo.
Often, the best implementations of new technologies is performed by the 2nd and 3rd to market, not the inventor. We’re trying to help all mankind, not just those who have lawyers to file for copyright, patent and trademarks.
That is just crap. Do we want a treaty forced on us that may be amended in perpetuity too?
I love gummi candy. LOVE IT.
Recipe for homemade gummi candy
I’ll post the outcome here after trying it.
The last few years, companies have added customer loyalty programs to their marketing. Most of these fail for a number of reasons.
Which companies have the highest customer loyalty and why? Which have failed, at least for me?
Coke – People like to drink Coke everywhere in the world. When Coke changed their flavoring based on taste testing, the world cried out to put back the old flavor almost like an addict would. Flavored sugar water doesn’t mean much to me.
Apple – Apple fans go crazy about their products and will tell EVERYONE how great each is. Apple product cost between 20% and 100% more than similar products that aren’t as easy to use. People are willing to pay more for that. I’m not a fan of Apple – mostly because they charge more and their fans are obnoxious.
I did get a phone call from Apple last year because someone was trying to use a credit card with my name on it to buy an iPhone and iTunes stuff. This call was from Apple, not my credit card company. I became hostile towards to nice man on the phone immediately, before I gave him a chance to explain the issue. He never wavered and was always polite and professional – without any accent in his speech. While this hasn’t changed my negative opinion of Apple product pricing, it hasn’t added any more negative thoughts either.
Apple, when will your customers be able to multi-task on an iphone? When will they be allowed to change the battery? When will they be allowed to select from any application that can run on the device?
Google – Google does most things they do VERY WELL and don’t ask me directly for anything in return. They make their money by correlating all my web data together, building a profile about me and selling ads around that data. Most of us don’t really know what this means and we don’t care. I avoid google without filtering personal connection, use, computer data. Further, I avoid sending email to gmail addresses.
Airlines – Delta and United FF programs. They aren’t really that useful to me anymore. I’ve used Continental and AA FF programs in the past but never used an award ticket from them. Which FF program works best for you depends on where you live and where you travel. I have turned in some Delta points for a $1400 international ticket, which made it completely worth while. My United miles expired before I could use them, so I transferred them to a charity.
McDonald’s – Kids, advertising, convenience. I don’t get it at all. I haven’t eaten at McD’s in perhaps 2.5 years. It was an emergency the last time I did because I needed something to eat, quick, on the way to a once in a lifetime event. The closest restaurant to my home is a McDonald’s. I could walk there. I have never been to that store.
Twitter – You love it or your don’t care. I don’t care. Why didn’t AIM or gTalk or MSN setup interfaces with SMS texts? Maybe they did, but I just didn’t know about it?
Customer loyalty needs to feel like a friend telling another friend about something great that they know is likely to be relevant to them them, not just something good. My friends know the types of things I’m interested in based on prior communications. They contact me when they see something really interesting to me. When was the last time you got any great insight from a customer loyalty communication. Seriously? Most of these communications are a list of 50 things on sale and none are of interest. None. The same old marketing like newspaper inserts. It needs to be targeted and on point for my needs.
Acura – I’ve owned two Acura vehicles and I’m mostly pleased. My interactions with most Acura dealers has been pleasant enough too. When I purchased my last Acura, my last name was misspelled on all the documents and on the title. Boo. A single attempt to correct that through Acura failed, so I gave up. When my annual registration comes due, I initially tried to correct it, but that failed too. My name gets misspelled a lot, so this isn’t a big deal. At least the Acura misspelling result isn’t offensive. Every quarter, an Acura magazine arrives with stories, lifestyle articles, travel hints and offers – Free Augusta National Golf tickets and the like. I don’t golf, but the offer is appreciated. Some of the other deals are interesting and generally leave a favorable impression of Acura.
My next vehicle will probably be another Acura in a few years. The last purchase occurred without visiting the dealership. The papers were signed on my kitchen table on the day the vehicle was delivered to my home. That impression is hard to beat even with the misspelled name.
TiVo – These guys are similar to Apple, except I like them. Their product works better than any alternative, but it costs more than any alternative. I dislike that a monthly plan is even offered and I wish the lifetime plans weren’t so expensive. I’ve been a tivo owner since 2003. That same device is working. I swapped the disk drive a few years ago to get more storage. It is about time to swap the drive again to further increase the lifetime. I don’t use any of the paid add-on options, but I do have it download free internet content like Tekzilla and hak5 weekly shows. Convenience rules.
Hilton Hotels – I signed up for a Hilton awards program a few years ago due to conference attendance. I tied my room reservation to it, then attended. After my visit, I checked that it was recorded to my HH program, it wasn’t so I sent the information about my stay to the feedback link on the program site. A few days later, I started receiving emails from the hotel manager asking how my stay was. I provided good feedback and explained that the program hadn’t connected my stay with the frequent stay program ID. I attempted to connect it once more. No joy. It has been a year and still isn’t connected. I get monthly emails from Hilton which reminds me they don’t follow through. Attempts to leave their email marketing list have failed too, which frustrate me even more, every month. I’m at the point where I avoid staying at Hilton Hotels or any of their 10 other names. FAIL.
Microsoft – The two most common communications I get from Microsoft is patch your PC and your antivirus is out of date. Is that really the message they want to send weekly? Microsoft has lost my trust. Every time they create something new, I immediately wonder how it will prevent me from using anyone elses’ stuff or how much it will cost me. exFAT file system is their latest push for memory cards to support large media files. I don’t understand why all the memory manufacturers don’t just use the FOSS ext2 file systems instead? Oh – because Microsoft doesn’t (and won’t) support ext2. OTOH, WinXP and earlier OSes don’t support exFAT either.
Linux / Ubuntu – This isn’t really fair. Linux isn’t a company and has no advertising budget. Ubuntu doesn’t seem to have much advertising budget either, at least for the masses. What can Linux do better? Well, they can show 30 second clips of people using the software to solve a real problem with FOSS. It would be best of the problem highlighted something that Windows or Macs don’t do well at all. #1 – every time should show price followed by system maintenance and upgrade processes (click the red triangle in the corner). Currently, failing. Yes, I know that Linux is just the kernel and that no users actually use it directly. We all use some higher level tool created by GNU or Ubuntu or Red Hat or SuSE or Mandrake or some developer in his basement.
Amazon – I shop on Amazon for price and convenience. I maintain a wish list of things to make gifts easier and as reminders for things to purchase later. I don’t think I’ve ever purchased anything recommended for me from Amazon. They know the types of things I buy with over 200 purchases. If I bought a router, I probably don’t need another. 3 months later, I don’t need to see CAT5e cables or a switch either. I’ve had a few issues with Amazon product shipments over the years, but Amazon has always made me whole again, always. Their customer service does a good job. Their product suggestions, not so much.
Travelocity – They know where I’ve traveled, how long I’ve stayed and when I tend to go. They also know my searches for destinations. Yet, they don’t send deals for those destinations or worse, keep sending them when I’m already back home. I want international travel deals. I doubt I’ll ever take a vacation to Los Vegas or fly to Ashville, NC. STOP OFFERING THOSE DEALS, Travelocity. Offering a flight from Atlanta to Savannah is a waste of your time too. I’d end up spending more time dealing with airport garbage than a simple drive there. I’m not going to fly commercially to Savannah, ever. I’ve routinely searched for flights to Bali, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, London, Europe, Chili, and Peru. Get the hint and target those deals, please?
My Senators – About once a year, I get an email from my senators claiming to have stopped some bill that is bad for the country. I wrote to them a few years ago about some of my concerns which they responded to by a carefully copy/pasted paragraph about each of my concerns. Most recently, it was about the health care bill, which I’ve never written to them about. Nice. Fail.
Grocery Stores – They give small discounts for the cost of you letting them see what you purchase. I’ve never had a grocery store loyalty card. My privacy is worth more than $100/yr. When my local Kroger started pushing them, I spoke with the store manager about my displeasure. He wasn’t helpful, I stopped shopping at Kroger. Publix is a local competitor where I started stopping. They also had a discount card, but if I didn’t have one, the cashier always scanned hers so I got the discount. Kroger – FAIL, Publix – Success. I suppose manufacturers would be snail-mailing coupons to me if I had a card? That local Kroger went out of business. I doubt I had anything to do with that, but the store manager definitely did. Good Bye.
Customer Loyalty Programs
Which programs work for you and which have failed? Why?
Sometimes you don’t realize what a great day you had until later.
Over Thanksgiving, I spent a day near Tallassee, Alabama hiking on the Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail.
Finding the trail head from the parking lot wasn’t as easy as it should have been and later I ended up taking a turn that shortened by hike by 2 miles due to poor signage. The fallen leaves everywhere made it difficult to stay on parts of the trail. The trail was still enjoyable with ups and down parts. I rate it moderate overall with a few short difficult sections. Along the way, I saw wild turkey, deer and an interesting spider that I’d never seen before along with the normal squirrel and bird life.
According the the Bugfinder site I saw a Spiny Backed Orb Weaver in the center of its normal web. It was a little over 1cm in diameter.
Anyway, it was a nice few hours spent hiking in nature next to Martin Lake with a few overlooks.
I’m easily amused. You know that by now.
In a quest for great homemade curry recipes without too much difficulty, I’ve tried a few. Yesterday, I found the best mix.
The key was the curry – Kitchens of India is imported from, er, India. It is a curry paste and comes in a sealed foil package. A 6 pack runs $12 from amazon – ouch. It is worth it.
Follow the last curry chicken crock pot recipe I posted here, just use the Kitchens of India curry instead. Here’s the result
Breakfasts around the world vary greatly in my limited experience. There are differences based on eating at home, eating out, eating with friends and on holidays, in my experience. Obviously, everyone eats just a little differently at breakfast based on family, culture, and available foods in season.
I’m American and have lived all over the USA. I’ve found there are regional differences based on family location. Southern families might have grits with their breakfast and norther families might have oatmeal. I’ve had both, but tend towards my norther family/culture a dozen times a year or so. Most of the time breakfast at home is much simpler.
I’d guess over 30% of Americans just have something to drink for breakfast whether it is coffee of milk or juice.
Cereal plus whatever else Mother can get them to eat and drink. Milk and juice and fruit, but only if cut up and put on cereal. The cereal usually has tons of sugar – Captain Crunch was my favorite as a child, but Cocoa Krispies and Life were fine. The bowl was always more than 1 cup, usually 2-3 cups. Raisin Bran became a staple after age 16 thru to my mid-30s.
Coffee, juice, some kind of fruit and a fairly small bowl of grainy cereal.
An alternative is tea/coffee, fruit, and some protein like an egg / bacon / sausage. I’m a protein, fruit, tea guy.
When out with family or friends, going to a restaurant for breakfast usually means a waffle/pancake, eggs, and sausage/bacon ordeal. I usually get an omelet with almost every type of veggie and ham.
For holidays, my family has old German recipes that mix eggs, bacon, bread, and cheese all together and bake it. The sodium level will give anyone a heart attack, but it is sooooo good. About once a year, I’ll make gooey cinnamon rolls. There are also the odd times when donuts are purchased.
I’ve heard the normal Japanese breakfast is a raw egg over a small, cold bowl of rice with green tea. I’ve tried this and found it unsatisfying. I suspect the Egg McMuffin is popular in Tokyo.
On multiple occasions while in China, I’ve eaten breakfast out with the locals. Cantonese breakfast tends to be a hearty bowl of soup with veggies and meat. Of course, a western-style breakfast is available too, but 80% of the diners that I saw were having that big bowl of soup. Even the American chain, KFC, sells the potato + sausage soup in China. Further, it is really tasty.
Of course, if you go to a place known for dim sum, you’ll see that instead. It is definitely popular with a huge list of options on the ordering pad you will be provided with. Just check the boxes and enter the number you’d like for each available type. Ask for the English menu if it isn’t automatically provided.
Varied just like in America – French toast some days, but there’s always, always fresh fruit – papaya, cantaloupe, banana, and varied juices with coffee. Hash brown potatoes or other locally fried starches (banana) were also provided a few times. I’ve never eaten so much and so many varied fruits in a single meal, yet it probably had only 200 calories.
Coffee and a small scone. I don’t know if this is typical, but while in BsAs for a few weeks, every corner had a coffee cafe that provides this. Seeing a Starbucks here is odd since the locals have known excellent coffee for their entire lives and laugh at people going to Starbucks. Starbucks is losing money, big time.
The oddest thing I found here was that carbonated water was often provided with coffee. Agua con gas or agua sin gas_. Interesting. Argentina has some specialized menus that make ordering breakfast a challenge.menus I guess the good news is that you were probably out until 3-4am drinking after eating dinner around 11pm, so breakfast isn’t really that important.
Coffee and croissant. My experience was on my first trip to Tokyo while spending a few weeks in a French hotel. The first week there, the company CEO and I met for breakfast in the main lobby and he loved it. On subsequent trips I stayed in the same hotel, but discovered a different breakfast was available downstairs for the same cost – about US$23. Good thing the client was paying for everything.
I’ve never been to Britain, but I have seen their influence in China and Japan. Thank GOD for the Brits, or I would have starved in Japan. A proper British breakfast was provided in every hotel I’ve stayed at in either place. It was usually buffet style with bangers, bacon, eggs (3 styles), fruit, and pastries.
Eating Bangers and Mash for breakfast in Hong Kong Central while watching an American Football Superbowl at 7am is a trip highlight that I’ll never forget. Since football was on TV and the expat pub, Bulldogs, was full of Americans (overflowing), Budweiser and Coors beer was available too, but paying import prices for bad beer doesn’t make sense when Carlsberg is available cheap.
Away from Home
When I’m away from home, I tend to relish in the differences and take a little of the best things back home. These turn into habits. Breakfast was some of the best experiences that I’ve had every where in the world.
Whether in an MTR station Le Madelene’s in Kowloon eating sausage soup with veggies or on Macau Island having 20 different dim sum portions or a simple home made French toast in a mountain-side home in the Monteverde Rain Forest or a Café Doblo con leche in a Buenos Aires corner Cafe, any of these experiences beats standing in my kitchen chowing on a hard boiled egg and banana as I wait for coffee or tea to steep.
When away from home, breakfast is usually a meal you can find something tasty, yet local, that will get you going for the rest of the busy day. Breakfast doesn’t usually come with the unusual-to-me or you want me to eat what concerns either.
What have been your experiences with breakfast around the world?