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Messages - nosh [ switch to compact view ]

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G+ hate builds...

And then, this happened...  ;D

Google is today making a change to Gmail that will further bake in Google+ to its webmail product in a way that’s actually somewhat practical, though also potentially invasive. Going forward, you’ll now be able to directly email your Google+ contacts from Gmail, even if you don’t know their email address. And by default, anyone on Google+ will be able to email you as well, thanks to this new option, if you don’t adjust your settings.


Awww! My first MP3 player. Abandoned it what... a decade back? for Foobar. But I'll never forget you Winamp - you really kicked the llama's ass!

This guy makes a pretty valid rant about the Google+ - Youtube clusterfuck.

I wish IMDB would come up with their own apps for personal databases. I already use the site's watchlist and ratings features, and I'm way more particular about updating ratings there (effectively marking the movie as 'watched', for future reference) than I am in the Collectorz app.

I think Collectorz left IMDB to avoid paying royalties? Currently, they have a system whereby a user requests a missing movie (by specifying the IMDB ID) and they guarantee they'll add it to their database within 24 hours. I am almost certain they have an in-house version of the program which lets them tap into the IMDB database and import. It's hard to imagine someone on their staff entering the data for every requested movie manually. I'm satisfied with what Collectorz offer at the moment but at the end of the day IMDB is the holy grail and they're just middle-men.

Living Room / Re: Musician Lou Reed has died
« on: October 28, 2013, 01:51 AM »
I had never heard of the man until the news of his passing went viral yesterday.  :-[
Spotified a few of his songs and what do you know... he's responsible for writing one of my all time favorites...  

I still prefer the Duran Duran cover but am glad to finally discover his music! :up:

It almost seems like he's shooting himself in the foot.

What I thought too - and that's not considering coping with the backlash, clearing all the confusion and having some long term customers leave screaming, vowing never to return again. But Alwin says he's happy with the situation after considering the overall online feedback and _sales_. So if this works out from their perspective it's a pretty decent payment model for everyone concerned.

Their subscription plan doesn't tie you in in any way. As 40 mentioned, the programs run even if you're not subscribed. You can actually use the new plan like a tradition one-time purchase option, all you need to do is opt out of the plan after the purchase is made. The update model is way more flexible - it ends up being cheaper if you don't want every new feature the minute it's released and lets users with a smaller budget catch up to the latest versions for a nominal charge, if and when they find it worthwhile. I honestly don't see any pitfalls - which is why I posted about this here, to see if there's something I missed. :)

Collectorz have switched from a traditional update model to a new subscription based one. They're dealing with some pissed off customers while they try and clarify the new system.

The new plans give customers who've bought their program two options, a $2.50 monthly recurring plan or a $25 yearly prepaid plan.
The company claims that they plan to release smaller, more frequent updates instead of a big yearly update. If you're subscribed to the update plan, you can download the latest update. If you're satisfied with the current version you can keep using it, older versions will stay functional.

I've purchased Movie Collector Pro, when I heard they were going subscription-based my first thought was "this can't be good!". But there's a catch. You can join & cancel your monthly subscription at any time. If you cancel for 6 months and join on month 7 you don't have to pay for the six months you weren't subscribed. You can pay $2.50 for the current month, catch up to the latest version available and cancel again if you so wish. So someone who is satisfied with the program and willing to wait 6 months or a year to catch up to the newly introduced features can do so for as little as $5 or $2.50. Alwin has clarified that they will accommodate users when it comes to bug fixes so people don't have to shell out to get a bug fixed. There will be no major version upgrades with higher upgrade costs in the future.

The company could of course change something in the future (I'm unaware of the exact details but I'm aware of Collectorz pissing off lifetime(?) license holders in the past.) But without getting into hypotheticals, what do you think of these plans? I have to admit I actually like them. I had a hard time wrapping my head around how they expect the new plans to benefit the company, they just seem to have taken up a lot of pressure on themselves - people paying a monthly fee will expect to see regular results. And the yearly update fee is around the same ($20-25 range). I can't see a catch or some kind of hidden cost either.

The one aspect I see benefitting the company is that they may get more people updating - a user who didn't care to pay $25 at the year end will now have the flexibility to pay much less and still keep up with the program after waiting it out. And someone who doesn't mind spending more but cares about getting the latest features ASAP will be accommodated too.

I don't know what Alwin's reasoning was when he came up with the plans but I find the fact that they cater to both ends of the market very interesting.

I've always believed that having a uniform price for software has been partially responsible for piracy. A large number of people will refuse to pay even a cent when a software can be pirated but there are a lot of those who will pay when they believe they're getting a very good deal. And with digital distribution the overheads to the vendor are nominal. More revenue would ease the situation for everyone.

Collectorz software is not the best example since their entry price is reasonably high and they also have standard and pro versions (weaker/stronger), but their update model seems to be the least discriminatory. If ported to a software with a low entry point, it could be great for people on either end of the financial spectrum. It'll be interesting to see how things work out for them once the dust settles and the initial uproar dies down. 

Living Room / Re: Movies or films you've seen lately
« on: September 22, 2013, 12:58 AM »
I couldn't agree more. It explains why so many people were affected on a personal level by the recent passing away of James Gandolfini. A lot of us had got to know Tony Soprano better than any casual acquaintance in real life. :)  

Just my $0.02 - I obviously haven't thought this out in detail.  ;)
How about a board feature that just summarizes the links in a thread?

A list of links in the format (off the top of my head):

Author    Date     Description      Url       Jump to Post (url)     

It could be used in regular software threads too, if there's a 40 post thread with a link I'm looking for, I don't have to go scanning through everything. Just click the 'Links' button and scan through those. A lot of us have something similar installed in our browsers and my mail client summarizes message links too

Summarizing all the links would definitely help but if you think something like that would be overkill, create a custom [toplink] tag that users can use at their discretion. A user looking just for toplinks could generate those then. That way there are no mods involved, everyone does their own housekeeping and discussions aren't hampered by the fact that's there's going to be unnecessary housekeeping effort involved if one posts something.

Too crazy? Here's some more...

Users could choose to [toplink] plain text too. That way if there's an update or something the poster finds significant enough to go into the summary he could just [toplink][/toplink] it.

Living Room / Re: Movies or films you've seen lately
« on: September 10, 2013, 08:26 PM »
I've seen six films since my last post.  ;D  :-[

Demonlover (discussed above) - held me solidly for the most part, but the reveal didn't freak me out as much as I would have liked. I likened it to reading a Stephen King novel, enjoyable while everything's sane and normal and a slight letdown when the shit hits the fan... (I've always thought King writes brilliantly about normal life... too bad he has to live up to his reputation as a horror writer and is compelled to insert some 'crazy' in all his books.) Back to Demonlover: I loved the realistic vibe the film had - very subtle and believable performances throughout.

Star Trek Into Darkness - a fun ride but nothing to write home about. Hardcore Trekkies would appreciate it more, I suppose.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist: Deals with the problems faced by a young Muslim-American man post 9/11 and his subsequent (suspected) radicalisation. It makes some valid points but I found it a bit too left leaning for my taste... the message it tries to put out is not to see everything in black and white. Ironically, it comes across as exactly that... a B&W film that panders to bleeding hearts. A watchable film, nonetheless, provided the Qawwali music, so generously used throughout doesn't put you into a deep depression. ;D

La princesse de Montpensier: If you liked Dangerous Liaisons, this should be on your watch list. Les Françaises, la guerre, la passion! :)

Finally, two Stanley Kubrick masterpieces:

Paths of Glory - an anti-war drama. I'm not one for war flicks but this movie isn't so much about actual warfare. It's a cynical look at politics playing out within the army, with the soldiers/pawns sacrificed to facilitate their superiors' personal ambitions. I can't say I enjoyed it a lot but it's considered one of his masterpieces so YMW(probably)V!

Barry Lyndon: I saved the best for last. It's a period film that deals with an Irishman's rise to fortune. I found it a bit Forrest Gump-ish in the beginning, but it gets better and takes a darker path in its latter half. Probably the best movie I've seen all year. It runs slightly over three hours - beautifully paced, the time just flies by. I loved every minute of it. How can I put this gently?...:-[ If you don't watch this film, you lose! And little kids everywhere get to point their fingers in your direction and laugh.

Living Room / Re: Kiss Encryption Goodbye... :*
« on: September 06, 2013, 08:50 AM »
Hahaha! *shocker* :P

Living Room / Re: Kiss Encryption Goodbye... :*
« on: September 06, 2013, 08:33 AM »
State of the art privacy services... for those willing to pay.


I don't monitor CPU temps much these days but when I did I found it useful to take a screenshot of the window displaying all the temps esp. on a new (idling) machine. That way I could tell how things were holding up a few months down the line.

Living Room / Re: Movies or films you've seen lately
« on: August 24, 2013, 04:31 PM »
On my watchlist!  :up:

Living Room / Re: Movies or films you've seen lately
« on: August 24, 2013, 02:31 PM »
An interactive torture site. Very difficult to access. Very successful.

Sounds fascinating. I recall a movie with a similar theme with Diane Lane in it (IMDB to the rescue: Untraceable (2008)) - found it fairly average, IIRC - it didn't creep me out, but then I'm _extremely_ jaded.

Two movies that did creep me out:
8mm (1999) - which was about snuff films. Don't let the fact that it has Nic Cage in it discourage you. And Joaquin Phoenix was brilliant in it.

and Mulholland Dr. (2001) - This is one of a handful of movies I'll take to my grave. It had a huge impact on me, I'm certain I've mentioned it here before. I've lost quite a bit of sleep to it and I don't think it technically even falls under the horror genre.

Lynch has a way of getting into your sub-conscious and showing you the horrible things you didn't even know existed. If for some odd reason, you've never seen a David Lynch movie, Mulholland Dr. would be a great place to start.

I've seen three mostly average movies during these last few days.

Deadfall (2012) - Olivia Wilde, Eric Bana and a run-of-the-mill plot. Casino robbers on the lam end up at a family thanksgiving in the dead of winter. Yawwwn.

Ironman 3 (2013) - Ten million things being juggled all at once, trying to compensate for the lack of a solid, gripping storyline. There's only so much spectacular CGI can do to hold my interest. This movie's so long I swear I could hear the ironman suit creak during the last few scenes. :P

The Great Gatsby (2013) - I'd rate it higher than the other two. The visuals are typically 'Luhrmann' - the kind of visual assault I imagine a Mantis Shrimp

encounters on a day to day basis. Gatsby gets a  :up: from me.

Living Room / Re: *Email privacy and security survey*
« on: August 17, 2013, 01:54 PM »
I'm like a lot of you here. I know what it is but haven't really felt the need to use it. Besides, I know very few people who would be capable of doing so.

A couple of interesting & relevant passages from the NYT article: [emphasis mine]
How Laura Poitras Helped Snowden Spill His Secrets

Poitras had been working on a documentary about surveillance, and she occasionally received queries from strangers. She replied to this one and sent her public key — allowing him or her to send an encrypted e-mail that only Poitras could open, with her private key — but she didn’t think much would come of it.

The stranger responded with instructions for creating an even more secure system to protect their exchanges. Promising sensitive information, the stranger told Poitras to select long pass phrases that could withstand a brute-force attack by networked computers. “Assume that your adversary is capable of a trillion guesses per second,” the stranger wrote.

This bit sums up the average person's attitude when it comes to dealing with "complicated" software. I'd expect someone in Greenwald's position to have a bit more patience. Kinda funny if your sense of humour is twisted like mine...

Poitras was not Snowden’s first choice as the person to whom he wanted to leak thousands of N.S.A. documents. In fact, a month before contacting her, he reached out to Greenwald, who had written extensively and critically about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the erosion of civil liberties in the wake of 9/11. Snowden anonymously sent him an e-mail saying he had documents he wanted to share, and followed that up with a step-by-step guide on how to encrypt communications, which Greenwald ignored. Snowden then sent a link to an encryption video, also to no avail.

“It’s really annoying and complicated, the encryption software,” Greenwald said as we sat on his porch during a tropical drizzle. “He kept harassing me, but at some point he just got frustrated, so he went to Laura.”

Living Room / Re: Movies or films you've seen lately
« on: August 13, 2013, 01:38 PM »
Dario Argento's Tenebre - an old school slasher that I recalled liking from my teen years. It was still watchable, but didn't quite work its magic this time. I think I'll stick to watching his daughter's work from now on. ;D

The Gatekeepers
A documentary in which several ex-chiefs of Israel's Shin Bet were interviewed. An interesting peek into the minds of people combatting terror.

Living Room / Re: How to Use Your Computer Properly
« on: August 09, 2013, 11:25 AM »
In Soviet Russia, credit card pays YOU!  ;D

Living Room / Re: Where/how do you mostly watch movies/videos?
« on: August 05, 2013, 05:42 AM »
MacMini (running Plex) -> HDMI -> TV
iPad (Airplay) -> MacMini (AirServer) -> HDMI -> TV
I only watch the news and live sports broadcasts these days.

Living Room / Re: Movies or films you've seen lately
« on: July 26, 2013, 01:21 PM »
+1 to both the above. I've seen The Prestige at least thrice over the years.

Movies I've seen in the last two weeks or so-
Jack Reacher (better than expected, esp. considering just how mis-cast Cruise is for the role of Reacher)
Europa Report (somewhat eerie in parts, I love sci-fi/space flicks so I certainly wasn't bored but I wouldn't watch it again).
How To Make Money Selling Drugs - mostly boring and over-rated, IMO but it was made to do more than just entertain.
Evil Dead (2013) - 'meh!' - I can recall details from the 1981 version more vividly. :)
Spring Breakers - disturbing and over-the-top but this is the only one from the lot that left its mark on me. The last psychedelic night scene was something to behold. Best viewed late at night with the lights off.  8)

Living Room / Re: did you ever throw your back out?
« on: July 26, 2013, 12:51 PM »
8 months sounds insanely bad - I can't even imagine! I ripped a back muscle a couple of months back - it was excruciatingly painful the next day and to top it off I had a cough at the same time. Even if I coughed at half-strength it was like someone jabbing a thick needle up my spine... without a doubt, the worst pain I've experienced in my life (I've sprained both ankles several times and on one occasion, twisted my knee.) I was scared to go to sleep lest I coughed at full strength while asleep. I got through the thing relatively unscathed, considering everything that could have gone wrong.

I'd been told that back muscles heal quickly but was surprised to see just how quickly they did. I could do push-ups two weeks later... probably earlier, if I'd been foolish enough. Which is why eight months sounds super-serious! ... glad you're through that phase!  :up:

Living Room / Re: Google Reader gone
« on: June 26, 2013, 09:17 AM »
My pleasure! I love helping along lesser known but quality services like these. :Thmbsup:

Living Room / Re: Google Reader gone
« on: June 26, 2013, 06:37 AM »
I'm going with  (a 30 day trial after which you're charged $9, $19 or $29 a year for the same service, you get to decide what it's worth) over Feedly's freebie.

Note: My intent here isn't to trash Feedly. Despite my dislike for some things, I may end up using it if Bazqux throws a nasty surprise at me down the line. I may come across as a little enthusiastic in my praise for Bazqux - they're all valid points, but compounded by the fact that I'm justifying paying (albeit very little) for something when there's a free alternative available.

Here are my reasons for picking Bazqux over Feedly:

I love the aesthetics. Feedly's look (colors/ text spacing): not so much to my taste.

Bazqux has fewer options but just the essential ones, IMO - all placed neatly in a drop down menu on the main page. Feedly throws everything and the kitchen sink on a separate settings web page.

Bazqux has all its sharing options in a little dropdown menu, Feedly has some individual sharing icons and then an expanding menu with more options. There are some social media options in settings too, so I don't know how much of this can be customized but the point is: why unnecessarily complicate what should be straightforward functionality? I could probably delve deeper into the options and see if I can do something to fix things but there's a larger point to make here - it's design decisions like this that put me off a service. And it's the simplicity & functionality of the other service that makes one really love it.

Resize the browser beyond a certain point and Feedly loses the left hand feeds panel, not so with Bazqux.

Bazqux is snappier.

Feedly hasn't outlined a monetization plan - they're free, a double-edged sword. I'm not one to shun a free service but am gravitating towards the "you get what you pay for" camp these days.

Bazqux has an easily accessible OPML export function, it saves an .xml file to disk - nice and easy. As of now, Feedly doesn't seem to have any known way to export your data if you decide to switch services.

If you're looking for a Google Reader replacement, I would strongly recommend taking the Bazqux 30 day trial for a spin.

Edit: I'd mentioned in one of my earlier posts that Bazqux didn't have support for starred and tagged items. The developer's added that functionality now and it works well.  

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