Category Archives: Tech & People

It’s not the thing, but what the thing does

On the Subject of Hulu

Just put my Hulu Plus account on hold after six months or so. I was going to cancel outright, but their repeated suggestions that I give myself some time to think about it exhausted me into submission. I will probably cancel anyway, simply because the service doesn’t cater specifically enough to my viewing tastes to justify keeping it–even at a measly $7.99 per month.

It’s not the expense; I certainly don’t think $7.99 is an outrageous cost to watch what I want, when I want. The problem is actually twofold: I don’t watch a lot of TV to begin with, and Hulu Plus doesn’t have what I want to see. It was nice to catch up on Community and Parks & Recreation, but once caught up, the DVR does fine for catching the new episodes I miss. It was also nice to gorge on The X-Files and Lost and Battlestar Galactica, but Netflix offers all those back series, as well as movies. (Not enough new movies, of course, but that’s a rant for another occasion.) No new-new eps of Fringe. No Justified. No full eps of Top Chef. No Primeval. Not even any Friends!

The problem is, networks have not yet accepted the inevitable. They refuse to go all in on a la carte TV viewing until they figure out a way to monetize it as lucratively as before, even though there’s just no way that’s going to happen. And I’m not going all in until I can cut the cable and be assured I can watch what I want without having to torrent tons of stuff. (I have mixed feelings on torrenting, but again, that’s for some other time.)

I’m willing to pay for comprehensive on-demand service, and I think a lot of other people are, too. You make it easy, you put it all in one place, you keep it priced reasonably, and it’ll happen. How much longer that remains an option for entertainment providers, however, is uncertain. Once whatever remaining stigma surrounding “piracy” erodes, it may be too late for them to make any money at all.

Dell Ultrabook with Ubuntu Linux OS Costs More Than Dell Ultrabook with Windows, Which is Stupid

For those who don’t know, Ubuntu is the most popular and pedestrian-friendly version of the free, open-source Linux operating system–it’s basically the version of Linux with the UI easiest to use for folks more familiar with Windows. Except it’s a million times cooler than Windows, because it’s run by a community of passionate nerds for the good of the world, and it’s free.


Dell’s XPS 13 “Developer Edition” ultrabook comes loaded with Ubuntu’s current Precise Pangolin iteration, rather than Windows and all the bloated crapware that usually comes pre-loaded on any commercial Windows machine. This means the laptop is loaded with less software, and the software on it is FREE.

Yet, at $1550, the “Developer Edition” costs $50 more than the usual Windows-laden model.

Why? Because software companies subsidize hardware companies’ offerings. That’s why 99% of all machines out there have Windows, and some lame antivirus program, and 200 other things you don’t want or need–because Microsoft and these other companies pay firms like Dell to put their stuff on the computers. So, eventually, we get to a place where you have to pay more for a machine with not only less software, but free software to boot.

I understand completely the mechanics and economics at work here.

That it’s easy to understand doesn’t make it any less jacked up and wrong. Actually, it makes it more so.

(via Gizmodo)

Tampa Stereo Shop The First To Put An Ipad Mini In a Car’s Dashboard, Or At Least the First to Crow About It Online

The aces at Tampa’s Soundwaves created a dashboard frame sized to fit the new iPad Mini before the hot little gadget was released this morning, and so were the first folks to proudly shove the fruits of their labors on to the net.

Here’s the story, via Engadget. (Though, what’s above is basically it. iPad Mini in car. First. Maybe.)

My Top 10 Android Apps*

As previously noted, my phone is a Samsung Nexus S 4G running the Ice Cream Sandwich iteration of Android. (You can probably guess the carrier by the model.) Since I spend the majority of my time at my day gig, I’m sure I use it less than many full-time freelancers or fictionauts. It has become the lifeline for all of my side and personal work, however, as well as my social connectivity. Still, as I have less time to dick around with the thing, it might be hard for me to even come up with 10 apps I’m really using all the time.

*In no particular order and subject to change without notice.

Let’s see …

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On the Subject of Gear Acquisition Syndrome

So yeah, I’ve got the wandering envious eye for a new laptop again.

As I’ve said before, I’m not a hardcore “tech guy.” My interest in gadgets is mainly rooted in their ability to make lives (read: my life) easier, more convenient and productive. That said, just because I can’t root a phone doesn’t mean I’m immune to the siren song of really cool new shit simply for really cool new shit’s sake. But at the end of the day, I just want my tech to suit my needs and my aesthetic.

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