July 17, 2014

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Linked:

But damn, the streaming media options are liquid garbage. All of the interesting YouTube videos are uploaded by users who have not made the video available in Canada. You want Hulu Plus? Well, fuck you.

And Netflix, as experienced by our neighbors to the north, is an anemic imitation that besmirches the brand. It shouldn’t even be called Netflix. Netflix Lite, maybe. Netflix Canada Trashcan, probably, although that might negatively impact subscription sales. It’s the same price as the U.S. version, too, which makes it even more insulting.

Canadian Netflix sounds awesome. Anyone else missing Blockbuster? Renting Blu-Ray videos with perfect sound and video quality, no buffering and no licensing restrictions is the way to go. Netflix still offers Blu-Rays…I think I’m going to join their program. The quality of optical media is still much better than streaming. Will save me some money in iTunes.

Update: Okay I joined netflix blu-ray for $9 a month. It was really hard to find the registration area…supposedly, you have to sign up for Netflix Blu-Ray @ http://dvd.netflix.com.

July 15, 2014

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Linked, Engadget regarding Netflix ceasing Saturday optical media deliveries:

A few customers have noticed it’ no longer processing shipments on Saturdays, opting for a five day schedule instead. Company spokesman Joris Evers tells Engadget that it’s been transitioning in that direction over the past year and ended Saturday processing (usually a low volume day) entirely in early June. 

Every Netflix streaming customer I’ve ever spoken to tells me the library available is pretty bad. I’ve been invited to someone’s house and watched as they painfully spent 30 minutes trying to find something to watch or “I added [title] to my queue last month and it’s gone.” Content deals, Netflix just being cheap and licensing restrictions make the streaming product a pile of crap. If you’re a big fan of Sharknado or only watching TV shows, maybe there’s something there for you.

I was a Netflix streaming customer for a month. That was 3 years ago. Prior to that, I was a customer of their DVD / Blu-Ray program and loved it. My queue was full of unreleased movies that would be sent out the week of release and I enjoyed the flexibility of the mailers and free return shipping. The latest blockbusters aren’t Netflix or might show up in a year for 2 weeks before they go away again. If you hate channel surfing like me, chances are you’ll hate Netflix.

I’m not even going to go into the fact that compression quality for Netflix is bad and only getting worse as ISPs fight the big-red over how much traffic can be spent during primetime hours. Verizon and Comcast are fighting Netflix daily over data caps. 

Despite dropping video quality and a terrible online selection, the Netflix Streaming customer base is very strong with only a tiny number of customers still doing Blu-Ray optical media (we don’t count the DVD people anymore because if your’e content with 640×480 resolution picture, that’s just depressing).

Why is Netflix so popular?

Well, it’s good enough. It’s cheaper than renting new movies on iTunes or Amazon or flat-out buying them. It’s easier and more legal than pirating films or TV shows and furthermore, it’s easy.

People don’t care about video quality and people just don’t care about having access to all of the latest films. Most of us are content to pay $8 a month to Netflix and another $8 to Hulu and call it a day. I haven’t used Hulu in years but I imagine they’re still putting ads in all of the TV shows. That’s why I stopped using them and won’t return.

Netflix is entertainment but if you’re truly passionate about a certain film, the chances are very low you won’t find it there. Look at the IMDB top 100. How many of those are on Netflix?

Look at the new movies added to Netflix in May and the subsequent comments - http://thebestofnetflix.com/list-of-new-movies-on-netflix-for-may-2014/

Customers hate the selection but don’t really want to do anything about it. The streaming options from Comcast are no better. If you want content now, you have to pay for it or be a computer wizard and break the law to pirate it. I rent a lot of films on iTunes. The quality is just OK, not perfect and the price is pretty good. My rule about iTunes rentals is that I rent movies I plan on watching that night, not tomorrow….then I put all of my devices away and just watch that movie with no interruptions or distractions. 

I do that because I just spent .99 – $2.99 on a film that will expire in 48 hours. The monetary amount is small but the commitment it forces me to have is paramount. The local movie rental store just closed or I’d give them my business instead. 

You can crap on Blu-Ray all you want but the sound and visual experience of Blu-Ray over online rental or (gasp) Netflix is just incredible. I may have access to less content than you but I don’t spend all day trying to find something to watch only to have it buffer and pixelate during primetime hours.

But again, ‘good enough’ is perfectly fine for people these days.

July 14, 2014

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Most of the time, I say I live in Vermont. 

On the days I actually go anywhere outside of work, it’s to the state of Vermont. Most of my friends are in VT, the beer I buy and drink is in VT and the scenic drives, photography and outdoor activities all take place in VT. If I go out for dinner, it’s to drive north to Montpelier or hit Worthy Burger in South Royalton and sometimes, to Essex Junction Vermont to watch a movie which is only IMAX movie theatre near me without driving to the most southern part of NH. Burlington VT is a lot more fun than Manchester / Concord NH and the distance driven is identical. I live exactly 6.5 miles from the Vermont border but my mailing address is New Hampshire. 

A lot of people don’t really understand the divide between southern and northern New Hampshire. The majority of the state’s population is concentrated on the border of Massachusetts. Here are a list of NH counties w/ populations based no most recent Census data

  • Belknap County 60,088 
  • Carroll County 47,818 
  • Cheshire County 77,117 
  • Coos County 33,055 
  • Grafton County 89,118 
  • Hillsborough County 400,721 
  • Merrimack County 146,445 
  • Rockingham County 295,223 
  • Strafford County123,143 
  • Sullivan County 43,742

I live in Grafton county and it’s the 2nd largest county right after Coos by 85 square miles. It’s a huge county at 1,714 square miles. When you look at the counties south of Grafton, the total population is 1,146,479. The total population of Grafton, Coos and Carroll equals 169,991. Only 14% of NH’s population live in the northern part of the state. If I were to move 60 miles north, I’d be living in a population that takes up only 2.8% of the state’s population. 

My point is, the state of NH’s population is heavily skewed toward the south as realy an extension of Boston/Mass. A large number of southern residents commute to Mass for work and the towns resemble Mass townships. Vermont’s population skews north so when I leave the house, I’m driven to head north where there’s less traffic, better food and a different mentality than head south into a density that resembles Boston.

My county is heavily populated but skewed by a Ivy League school (Dartmouth) and their ballooning DHMC Hospital. Both of these groups employ the majority of the county with some people commuting 120 minutes a day to work at a Dartmouth funded job. If Dartmouth wasn’t here, there would be very little economy or population in this area.

I don’t feel like a resident of NH. My proximity to the border, social situation & the merchants I frequent are all contributing factors to this feeling. Vermont is a beautiful state, very positive and green. I always look at Vermont rentals when it’s time to move to a new house. I end up finding NH places to be cheaper remain vigilant that one day, I’ll make the move to VT.

Friends say I can’t call myself a Vermonter and I get it but I live in a pretty remote area with the only ties to this state being a mailing address. guess I’ll just keep faking it until I get that pine green license plate on my car.

July 11, 2014

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Found this blog post today through a friend.

There are 4+ blog posts I can derive from this very easily. There’s modern dating, computers being dumbed down, the fact that everyone I know doesn’t know how to change their motor oil and finally there’s this idea that the car’s days are numbered.

Wat?

Let’s take this one step at a time. First of all, I’m 27 and was born in 1986. My parents don’t care about cars in a big way. They certainly liked having a car as self expression from my Mom’s Miata and Dad’s Dodge Ram to what they drive now, a bright yellow Nissan Xterra and a yellow Toyota FJ-Cruiser 4WD. We’ve always been a Japanese car family…i was scorn for buying a German car last year….in fact, the maintenance costs on the Golf R are killing me but it’s a wonderful vehicle and I’ll be getting whatever next Golf R / R400 comes out.

RE: Cars are a utility:

Cars appear easier now but they’re not. Cars are incredibly complicated. Modern cars are trying to be like the iPod…Great user interface, nice tech interior, safety features like blind-spot detection and rearview camera and a system so integrated, only the most up to date certified techs can work on them. But cars aren’t iPods. You don’t throw away a car and buy a new one every 12 months. Cars are expected to last 5-10 years for most people. The author’s argument is moot because all of these extra features increase the failure points and make repairs much more expensive. Cars appear to be much simpler but they’re not. The 2014 vehicle is a pain in the ass to maintain no matter how cheap or expensive it is. No car just turns on and goes even Tesla has moving parts.

RE: Driverless Cars:

I work for a mapping company so I’m going to tread lightly here. Driverless vehicles are incredibly hard. Very Very difficult to make work. Google’s product ONLY works in one square mile in Mountain View. Take it anywhere else in the country and the failure rate goes way up, next to impossible. The reason why it works only in one area is because Google did a level of mapping that would bankrupt almost any company to take on at a global scale (at this time). Globally making a map that is accurate to the centimeter with every street sigh, traffic light, turn restriction and speed limit and elevation changes with 100% accuracy is (at this time) impossible.

Car manufacturers are doing assisted driverless vehicles with the user of Radar and Cameras. They work okay but driver intervention is needed or driver must keep hands on the wheel and take up start / stop actions. We are a ways off from a driverless car to my knowledge. I’m not allowed in the R&D apartment at my company or car companies but what I’ve seen publicly is very immature. 

RE: Roadtrips and Connections in real life are over:

Wat? you’re telling me that people don’t meet up in person anymore? Why go to the mall? Just sexting is normal now. What? You’re high on something. Regarding Road Trips I take them maybe 4 times a year. In the last 12 months, I’ve been to Canada twice, Chicago, Albany twice, DC, New York, Philly and Boston a few times. I’ve flown to more places but I’ve driven 31,000 miles in my car in 13 months. I love driving and go on road trips often. A lot of my friends do as well. 

RE: The 0-60 and Specs Race:

I agree with the author’s sentiment here. Among the general populous, does a car look cool? Does it have cool technology? Does it fit my needs? Is the gas mileage good? That’s it. Some people like a solid get up and go when the light turns green but most don’t care. Only 1 person I know has ever seemed impressed when I said my Golf R’s 2L Turbo multi-injection engine does 0-60 in 5.1 seconds. The next question from most people is, “So how’s your gas mileage?”

RE: GM versus Tesla and Brand Loyaly:

I’m gonna need to lookup some market research here but I haven’t met a single person who doesn’t at least go back to the car company they bought from 5 years ago first when looking to buy a new car. They at least poke their head in Toyota again to see what’s new. Tesla has a good brand right now but I’m not sold on them for longevity. I’d look a VW, BMW and Ford before I started shopping elsewhere. Most people share that sentiment. 

RE: Today’s youth don’t care about Ferrari or luxury vehicles

Are you saying that people under 40 don’t buy car magazines anymore? Let’s be clear here that most people don’t buy cars to impress people. That might sound crazy and Ferrari still turns heads…everyone looks to see one pass by when they do. I’ve never seen someone openly point and laugh at a guy for driving one.

RE: Public Transit or car alternatives

Just a quick question. If cars are pointless…how are we going to get around? it’s hard to imagine life outside of San Francisco for most of my friends but let’s be honest, when it’s grocery day, you get a ZipCar or an Uber / Lyft. That’s still a car! Where I live it’s a 30 minute drive to the grocery store. There is no Uber or Lyft or Zip Car or ride-share program or bus or train or taxi…well there is one taxi guy in my entire county. I’ve used him once, it was atrocious.

I really don’t get why we’re talking about cars going away. It’s not feasible for people and no it’s not going to change. Cities do get bigger yes, but when I move to up-state Vermont, you let me know when we get a taxi service or bus service.

RE: Sound Quality & Media aren’t important anymore.

Amen to that one. I agree with that…I do also agree that cars are utilities to young people. I just think the author is going about it all wrong. He says Tesla is where it’s at and driverless is the future, etc. Furthermore, saying cars themselves are not really needed or a big deal to young people. My sister who just turned 18 literally could not get to work without a car. 

Anyway a blog post itself honestly but I have monitor earphones and speakers. I have all of my movies and TV shows digitized in 1080P at a high bit-rate. I don’t stream media cause it looks absolutely horrendous. I still use an iMac because I love big screens when working. I have a full-size laptop, a full-size iPad and I work out with an iPod Classic because my high-bit rate songs take up a lot of space. I use a real digital camera w/ lenses. I appreciate quality immensely and that goes for my car too. I don’t want to just get to work, I want to be a driver. 

And maybe one day all of that will go away..the writing is on the wall but at 27, aren’t I too young to feel that way? This guy’s article makes me feel like I’m 60 years old. 

There will still be people always who don’t want driverless cars. I LOVE driving. I’ll still clench to my iPod. I think Spotify sounds like crap. I’ll use my bulky headphones and actually cook meals at home. I’ve never been one of those Shampoo+Conditioner in one kind of guys and I’m not about to start.

There are things in this article that make sense but it’s being written in so many absolutes that I have a hard time really getting behind the author’s point.

===

A few of my friends have used my car from time to time. They see a VW, a practical Golf, something inexpensive and fun to drive. Then they get back from driving, their hair messed up, their eyes wide open, “That was the most fun grocery store run I’ve ever had” Exactly. Practicality is nice but at the end of the day, pressing the accelerator is the most fun we can have without going to some exotic location and standing over an active volcano. It’s a rush. 

July 8, 2014

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I was in DC this year for 4th of July. While the fanfare was minimal it was nice being in the capital for this celebration. I snapped some photos. Thanks!

U-Street Washington Metro Station

 

Chicago Cubs @ Nationals, July 4th 2014

 

Chicago Cubs @ Nationals, July 4th 2014

 

Fireworks, July 4th in Downtown Washington DC

 

Fireworks, July 4th in Downtown Washington DC

 

Fireworks, July 4th in Downtown Washington DC

 

Fireworks, July 4th in Downtown Washington DC

 

Fireworks, July 4th in Downtown Washington DC

 

Fireworks, July 4th in Downtown Washington DC

 

Fireworks, July 4th in Downtown Washington DC

 

Fireworks, July 4th in Downtown Washington DC

 

Fireworks, July 4th in Downtown Washington DC

 

Fireworks, July 4th in Downtown Washington DC

 

Fireworks, July 4th in Downtown Washington DC

 

Thomas Jefferson Memorial - Washington DC

 

BBQ - July 5th, Washington DC

 

BBQ - July 5th, Washington DC

 

BBQ - July 5th, Washington DC

 

Jack Rose Dining Saloon Whiskey / Bourbon

 

Jack Rose Dining Saloon Whiskey / Bourbon

 

July 5th in Washington DC

 

July 5th in Washington DC

 

July 5th in Washington DC

 

July 5th in Washington DC

 

July 5th in Washington DC

 

July 2, 2014

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Screen Shot 2014 07 02 at 2 24 53 PM

July 1, 2014

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via THE Loop:

“With the introduction of the new Photos app and iCloud Photo Library, enabling you to safely store all of your photos in iCloud and access them from anywhere, there will be no new development of Aperture,” said Apple in a statement provided to The Loop. “When Photos for OS X ships next year, users will be able to migrate their existing Aperture libraries to Photos for OS X.”

It’s difficult to be disappointed. The other day I was looking to see if there was an official Instagram client for Mac OS and then I tried to find Tinder for Mac OS and then I unsuccessfully concluded an attempt to find Flickr for Mac OS. Some of these websites are only accessible from Safari and don’t have ‘apps’ for my Mac. Flickr for iOS is gorgeous and Flickr.com via Mac Safari is not. In most cases large companies have abandoned their web sites for their mobile apps. It’s logical. 

I don’t care for mobile apps at least when I can help it. You’ll still see me at cafes and on my deck using my MacBook to write, edit photos, blog, read news and both create & consume content. Mobile phone / tablet computing is fantastic but I prefer desktop computing. 

I’m one of the very few (less than 1%?) of photographers who don’t use iCloud Photos. I don’t take photos with my iPhone unless I absolutely have to. Actually the only thing I use my iPhone camera for is Untappd (checking into beers I’m drinking). For everything else, I use my Olympus OM-D

My OM-D and Aperture played very well together and I hope Photos for Mac OS X can replace it. I’m happy to keep using Aperture and eventually, Photos but most of what Photos is promising us are features that I currently don’t have a use for. The future is mobile phone photography though so I guess it’s time to get on board.

June 27, 2014

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via Gizmodo: (god do I hate linking to them)

After an extremely close voting round, the Wusthof Classic Cooks Knife has cut through the competition as your choice for Best Chef’s Knife. You praised it specifically for its durability, hand-protecting shape, heft, balance, and of course, sharpness.

I picked one of these up 3 years ago in the 8” format. I’ve had it sharpened once just 3 months ago and I hone it usually once a week. I’ve de-boned over 30 chickens including removing feet, head, etc and I’ve broken down 2 whole hogs with it and a deer. i use it every day, I chop bone with it (although you’re not supposed to) and pretty much beat the shit out of this  knife. Best $150 I ever spent. Not a single ding or failure in the blade or handle. 

If you cook at home, this is the only knife you need and it’ll do 90% of what you need a knife for. Yes even as a steak knife, this thing works great.

June 25, 2014

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I used to ship things with my name on them. I haven’t done that in a while. Shipping was what got me up every morning, the ability to bring a product to the public. I’d like to do that again. I do it at my job. We ship very often and I’m always working on cool stuff but no one outside of our team knows who was involved. 

I have 3 unfinished books right now. I think finishing one of those would be a nice start. Getting that momentum back and shipping. It’ll take some lost weekends but I’m pretty excited to take it on. 

June 24, 2014

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This weekend is sort of the kick off for summer music festivals up here near the Canadian border. We’re still experiencing lows around 40 degrees at night so it’s just above the threshold for being able to camp comfortably. 

Unfortunately, Vermont is home to Phish and a ton of hippies who went north to Woodstock, got lost and ended up in Vermont on their way back to the cities. Hemp, Ska, psychedelics and one love go really well with the amount of people up here who actually still live off the grid.

This was a nice festival. We got to play in a river, drink, camp and listen to a very diverse selection of music. There was a definite hippy element and lots of drugs (which I don’t partake in) but it was still nice to go to a place with no cell service and also practice some photography on strangers.

Ziontific Summer Solstice Music Festival

Ziontific Summer Solstice Music Festival

Ziontific Summer Solstice Music Festival

Ziontific Summer Solstice Music Festival

Ziontific Summer Solstice Music Festival

Ziontific Summer Solstice Music Festival

Ziontific Summer Solstice Music Festival

Ziontific Summer Solstice Music Festival

Ziontific Summer Solstice Music Festival

Ziontific Summer Solstice Music Festival

Ziontific Summer Solstice Music Festival

Ziontific Summer Solstice Music Festival

Ziontific Summer Solstice Music Festival

Ziontific Summer Solstice Music Festival

Ziontific Summer Solstice Music Festival

Ziontific Summer Solstice Music Festival

Ziontific Summer Solstice Music Festival

Ziontific Summer Solstice Music Festival

Ziontific Summer Solstice Music Festival

Ziontific Summer Solstice Music Festival

Ziontific Summer Solstice Music Festival

Ziontific Summer Solstice Music Festival

Ziontific Summer Solstice Music Festival

Ziontific Summer Solstice Music Festival