1612 Blog December 2016

December 2016

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Sat 12/31/16 3:59pm # | tweet this

No large company really much cares about your data. They don't care what you do or what you've done. What they want to do is mash you up with 10K, 100K or 1M or more similar people and get you as a block to spend money on something. Individually you don't matter. But if you can perfectly fit into a 10K, 100K or 1M demographic of people that all have similar behaviors and buying patterns then they are interested in a 1/10K, 1/100K or 1/1M slice of you.

I want to hear your

Thu 12/29/16 10:56am # | tweet this

Finally watched the Doctor Who Christmas Special: Doctor Mysterio last night. It was a charming alternate Superman story. Worth watching. It was a completely stand alone self contained episode with no spoilers for anything else in the main series, so dont worry about watching it out of order if you arent caught up on the other episodes. Buy the digital episode on Amazon (cheaper) or Google Play. Fun stuff for superhero fans, and I'm looking forward to a Ghost action figure when they make one too.

I want to hear your

Tue 12/13/16 1:58pm # | tweet this

Hold on to something

There's lots of handwringing about the upcoming Orange-Elect taking office. Deservedly so. Obama's administration, while far from perfect, was largely rational, and on balance, tethered to reality. A government of laws, not men, not completely, but mostly, at least viewed from the distance of the people.

I think what we are in for next, is a flip of that script, something a little more like a government of men, not laws. Laws will be guidelines, but subject to heavy interpretation.

You are going to get a government that feels like a corporation. They will try to bend the nation in the same way that a CEO bends his employees.

The difference being, if you are an employee that doesn't bend, they fire you. I'm not sure what they plan to do with the citizens that won't bend or go along with a USA inc. direction. I imagine at this point they believe that the threat of economically excluding citizens that won't bend from the system itself will in itself bend those citizens. It's circular, but if Corps are all you know, it's the belief system you have. You can't bend everyone though, so I guess we'll see how it plays out.

I'm not sure they intend to bring the entire system crashing down, not yet anyway. That seems like it would be bad for their businesses.

They want power, they want respect, money is how they score that. And in Orange-elect's case, compliments and positive public talk go a long way too.

That said, they are going to take money from the masses, because there's a lot of money with the masses, and they don't care about the masses, so this isn't a moral problem for them.

Social Security, Medicare, there's a lot of money there, they'll work on getting it.

Education is mostly a local state level thing, but they'll probably loosen that up at the Federal level so that their State-level compatriots can loot that too.

They may try to take money out of average people's homes again, like in 2007, because for the average mass of people, that's where the money is.

They may try to crash the automotive industry again. That's likely the only way to fully kill the unions. But maybe they'll just weaken the Unions directly. They will likely raise gas prices again, to get a bigger part of every person's driving spend. Every trip to the store is a transaction, raising gas is one way to redistibute who benefits from that transportation transaction, more money to the drive, less to the store.

Maybe we'll get lucky and they'll redirect a lot of money out of military to other industries they favor. In that case, while the military may weaken, the average person, may not feel that immediately.

They'll also extract as much wealth as they can from federal lands, through pure federal giveaways or privatization, as well as externalize costs by dumping on the environment in general.

Every government provided service will be looked at through the lens of: How can they privatize it, or take a bigger slice of the pie on what is already privately contracted. Favored companies with "the right attitude" will do well for a time with this approach.

At a certain point, externalizing all these costs onto the masses and the environment will be a check that comes due. I think they are hoping to leave the party before that point. That check will be the next guy's problem.

The movers and shakers in this upcoming system are in their 60s, 70s and 80s, they ain't looking too much past 20 years out.

And while you can run a corporation off a cliff, extracting as much value for yourself as possible on your way out, I'm not sure what happens if you completely crash the USA.

Where do they jump off to when they crash the whole country? If they are 70 and planning to ride the train to their death, they probably don't much care if the train is eventually going off a cliff, as long as there is enough track for their part of the ride.

I want to hear your

Sun 12/11/16 8:41pm # | tweet this

Can you hear me now?

Last year, Black Friday 2015, I bought a cheap Amazon Fire tablet. It's been a cute little device to use ocassionally. And I mostly use it ocassionally, since my iPad 2 is still my main tablet. In anycase, I may be using it more now, as it got an OS update to include Alexa functionality. Now the cheap little tablet can do anything the Echo can do and ties into the same Alexa account. Which is helpful since the Echo is in the living room, and the Fire tablet usually lives in the bedroom.

After using Alexa on the Fire tablet, I'm even more excited for Alexa to come to my wearable Onyx Com Badge.

Speaking of voice, Google Home has rolled out some demos of their voice apps they call: Actions. Actions are their answer to Alexa's Skills. One nice improvement for Actions, you don't have to pre-install or activate them, as you have to with Alexa's Skills. You just ask Google to use them by speaking in the format: "Hey Google, talk to *action name*". This is very cool way to set up voice apps. Also cool, the different apps had different voices, so not every one sounds the same.

When you use Google Actions, it's easy to hear that there will be a whole new way to surf the web with your ears soon. The Star Trek voice computer is coming at us fast now.

I want to hear your

Mon 12/05/16 3:16pm # | tweet this

Random Non-sequiters

I feel like writing a rambling blog post. One of my long ones where I muse about a bunch of topics.

Maybe I have the desire to blog, but lack the muse.

Let's look at my tech blog like this, at this time last year.

We didn't quite get a Google Cardboard system with it's own built-in screen yet. Maybe next year.

Smartwatches did get pretty cheap. I'm not sure how many people are using them though.

There has been some good developments in Windows Tablets.

No decentralized competitor to Facebook. With almost no open source ethos in the mass culture at large any more, seems unlikely anytime soon either.

Cable isn't getting the hint. But many of the networks that matter can be watched without cable now, as long as you wait a day after broadcast.

There's VR hardware out there now, but not a very compelling reason for Joe Average to buy one. VR in the short term may be more akin to recent 3DTV hoopla. Long term maybe cool, but at the moment not very promising.

I didn't mention Voice Computing aka: Amazon Echo or Google Home last December (althought I did in Jan 2015). I'm a pretty solid believer in those now. Especially at Echo Dot 2's $50 pricepoint. for that price, you really should get one if you haven't yet.

3D printing has gotten reasonably priced, but the hype has died down over what the average user/hobbiest can really do with a consumer device at home.

Last year 8/20/15 I upgraded to Windows 10 on a secondary machine. I'm still happily on Windows 7 on my main desktop box though.

Still have the same Fitbit fitness tracker. It's useful even though since I've had it in daily use so long now, I generally can guess the number on it beforer I look at it.

Last year in a review of 2015 tech I said this:

"Internet of Things remains a mess". I'd sortof of agree, but I think the basics like the Nest Thermostat, and Hue Lightbulbs and outlets from WeMo etc., actually work pretty well and even as someone that is very interested in this space, there aren't that many more devices that I feel need to be connected to the internet.

Mostly still true. But Echo and Google Home really tie those things together nicely.

Maybe 2016 was just a crap year for tech, but I think most of my 2015 tech review probably still holds true.

Last year's picture's of StormTroopers flanking the White House press secretary were cute weren't they. Won't be as funny after 1/20/17 though.

I had a hot take on streaming last year that I still agree with myself on.

This general life overview from March still seems pretty true.

All for now, here's to 2017!

I want to hear your

Sun 12/04/16 11:03am # | tweet this

WilyKit and WilyKat

MattyCollector.com was blowing out a lot of merchandise over Black Friday. I picked up the 2016 SDCC exclusive Thunderkitten's 2 pack for 40% off and Free Shipping.

They are very nice figures, they come with alternate hands, hoverboards, and a really nice diorama backdrop of the Cat's Lair.

These Mattel Collector figures, while in 6" scale also work well with my 7" scale Bandai Lion-O. Unfortunately Mattel has discontinued their Collector figure lines and sales, and it's unknown at this time if this line will continue under Super7, the company that licensed Master of the Universe figures from them.

Hopefully the line does turn up at another licensee though, because they are nice figures and it'll be a shame if the core team doesn't get completed.

I want to hear your

Sun 12/04/16 10:46am # | tweet this

Onyx Com Badge

Played with the Onyx Com Badges yesterday when we were at the Museum.You can see one hanging from Jennifer's shirt in the pic at right. Orion Labs calls these the Onyx Smart Walkie Talkies, but anyone who has watched Star Trek would call them a Com Badge. Battery life was good. They mostly stayed connected, mine the whole time, Jenn's dropped connection a couple times, when Quinn bumped it, but reconnected quickly. They were fun.

It's limited in what you can say over them when you are out and about in public, since everyone around you can hear the responses. They do have earphone jacks so that the responses can be private, but then you're cosplaying more as a Secret Service agent instead of a Federation Starfleet officer, and who wants to do that? So I don't see using wired headphone jack very often.

Ultimately, I think a wireless in ear Blutooth earpiece unit, in the style of a Motorola Hint or the in ear computer from Her, placed in a walkie talkie mode will probably be more practical when out in public, but until those kindof devices arrive. These Onyx devices are fun for quick "we're over here", or "we're headed here" type location messages when in a public space.

I want to hear your

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