Thank you for reading DVD Catalyst Newsletter 112.
I'm on vacation. Camping.
I am currently typing this on a Surface Pro, with a cellphone internet connection (3G, 1 bar).
In previous jobs, I always had some vacation-days that enabled me to go somewhere for a couple of days/weeks, but ever since I started doing what I do now, vacation has been impossible. I had a few trips here and there (2) in the last decade or so, but those were family visits, and while it is great to be able to see your parents again after a couple of years, it is a bit different than sitting outside with a good book.
With my wife's health issues fluctuating as they are, especially after 2 week-stays in the hospital for her earlier this year, we figured it was about time for us to go out on the road for a bit.
More about that later. Let me start with this weeks tech news:
Big Brother Glass:
With more and more "explorers" and developers getting their eyes on with Google Glass, concerns about the device are growing more and more.
Earlier this week, someone posted up the first recording of a police arrest:
Of course more and more of these types of videos will pop up from now on, it shows that Google Glass is treading into risky terrority. Unknowingly, people are recorded on video and audio, and, especially in locations sych as the one above, chances are that these recordings display them in less than appropriate behavior.
This might even prove risky for anyone actually wearing a device, because if the device is actually identified by someone, it will likely be targetted by the mob.
It will also affect the way the population as a whole behaves.
Maybe the closest thing to compare it to would be the classic Running Man movie, where people are promised wealth by turning in people that are doing something wrong (with a bonus if they turn in family).
Knowing that anyone around you could be wearing a camera and recording your every move (stalking would be considerably different with Google Glass), makes anyone feel uneasy and behave differently. Outside people will watch every step they make, or not even go outside at all anymore, scared of being recorded.
Of course a device such as Google Glass was bound to happen, but, like Asimov did with his 3 rules for robots (Three Laws of Robotics - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia), some rules might have to be applied to these types of wearable recording devices as well.
Ultimate Virus Removal Solution:
A government agency figured out the best way to get rid of malware infections. Putting our tax-dollars at work, they decided that in order to make sure that malware found on the computers they used was best eliminated by actually destroying the equipment.
With a past working in computer stores, I've seen my fair share of people who ran into computer issues and decided to throw their equipment through a door (and even one from a second-floor window at the feet of a cheating spouse), but for a government agency turning off an email server because some emails were infected is a new one for me.
The sad thing is, the hard drives found in these systems, likely still infected, probably found their way onto eBay, filled with 1000's of social security numbers.
It seems that Nintendo is following Sega's footsteps when it comes to consoles.
Nintendo's latest console, the Wii-U just isn't able to gain momentum. Sales are low, and even top-rated games are 8unable to actually generate profit.
Electronic Arts decided that one of its anual top-sellers will not make it to the Wii-U:
and now Ubisoft is ruling out a sequal to its Wii-U only Zombie-U game:
Of course Nintendo continues to support the console, and it has a line-up of its own Mario, Zelda and Donkey Kong material scheduled for release for it, but is it enough?
While Nintendo does have a fair amount of different, exclusive brands to use, without any 3rd party publishers releasing games for it, there is no way the Wii-U will last long, especially not with the new Playstation and XBOX systems around the corner.
Maybe because I don't see 3D properly due to an eye operation when I was a child, but I think that 3D movies are getting to an end.
I don't see the big 3D TV setup at Best Buy anymore, and while there are a fair share of 3D TV's still on display, the majority is still 2D.
A few years ago, 2 3D phones were released, but since then, none.
With movies it is the same. There are some big movies released in Bluray combo bundles and feature a 3D version, and of course in theater there is a fair share of 3D movies, but usually the 3D effect is limited to a few battle scenes where something is thrown towards the camera, and that is it.
iTunes 5-year Top Apps:
With the Appstore turning 5 years old, Apple has released a list of the top apps of "all time":
Motorola Droid 1:
The one that kicked Android in overdrive : Droid 1 can now be picked up for $40
A lot has changed since its release almost 4 years ago, but the Droid 1 is the smartphone that put Android on the map. There were ones before it that tried, but it wasn't until the Droid 1 was released that Android started to turn mainstream.
While it has been surpassed in performance and functionality, even to this day, it still holds up, thanks to an active modding community. It even runs Android JellyBean
Someone managed to get a hold of a large amount of refurbished ones, and is selling them for $40:
Google's Augmented Reality game, Ingress, received a pretty big update this week:
I don't get out much, so I never got into the game itself, however, I do love the concept. Placing virtual objects placed in a real world view by means of location is used by a variety of different apps already, making landmarks with arrows, showing ratings of restaurants, directions that lead you directly to where you need to go, as an overlay on a camera-view and much more. Using the same idea in a gaming experience is also not that ground-breaking, considering that both the Nintendo 3DS and the Playstation Vita include that ability as well, however, using this technology on a global scale and with millions of players is quite a feat.
I mentioned already that I never played it myself, but I'd love to hear about it from people who actually play it. If you do, please be so kind to share some of your experiences.
Not a typo. It seems that Blackberry doesn't stand behind its BB10 operating system as much as it should. Initially it promised an update for the Playbook, but this got canceled, and now, it is set to release a brand new phone, using its previous operating system:
This can tie into the ultimate virus removal part I mentioned above I guess. Earlier this week, I had to fix some computer issues for family. During the anniversary party this weekend, things came to talk, and my wife was "kind" enough to volunteer me for doing some computer repair work.
During the talk, things were a bit confusing. They mentioned they had some company that they paid for to do online support, and I gathered that it was some firm that was connected to their internet company.
When I got to their place and made my way into their computer-space, I noticed some service-contract-looking paper laying on the keyboard. Some online technicians company. I asked, and it was from the company they hired to do the computer work.
Last year, in Newsletter 84, I wrote about technical support scams, and looking through the "service contract", it looked like this was one as well.
A quick Google for the company name brought up a nice collection of reviews, confirming my suspicion.
The thing started with the discontinuation of their existing email service. The company they were using was pulling the plug on their email servers, so they had to look into getting a different email address.
The notification email they received, which was legit, included instructions on how to setup a gmail account, so they did. While easy to use through a browser, these people were used to using Outlook Express for years, so they wanted to be able to continue to use that for their emails.
With the help of Bing, they stumbled upon an ad that would do all that for them at a modest fee of course.
The initial charge for doing the email setup, remotely, was $125. Aside from just doing the email setup in outlook express, they installed, aside from TeamViewer (remote access) some additional apps. Chrome, I guess to make things look interesting, and apps like "Live Antivirus" and "Live Anti-Malware", and some app called "DockRemote"
After the email setup was done, they were convincing enough (likely with the help of the installed apps) to scare the people who contacted them into purchasing a 3 year service contract, $289.
I never did look at the actual functionality of the apps they installed, but considering that they also installed Malware Bytes, one of the best malware-removal apps available, I didn't see a need for leaving those on there. The DockRemote app was using a password-protection during the uninstall, so I had to remove it the harder way.
The service contract itself, reading through the different paragraphs looked like a PS3 End User Agreement. By signing it, you basically waive any rights you might have, and give them all the power in the world. No refunds, no charge backs, and they can change the contract without notification at any time, or even cancel it if they see fit.
The contract is also set to renew, and thus charge on the card used every 3 years, unless you call a certain phone number, which happen to lead to nothing.
At the moment, my wife and I are on the road, camping.
My first real "vacation" in about 14 years. I have had a few trips visiting family overseas, however, those trips are more about socializing and catching up with the family, rather than an actual vacation.
Of course my work continues, so in order to be able to answer questions, and, possibly, do some software development, I brought along my Surface Pro, and by means of thethering with my Galaxy Nexus, I have internet access.
I've had some battles with the keyboards I have for the Surface Pro, both a touch and a type cover, and while I did bring the type-cover, I am currently using a full-size USB keyboard, and typing is a lot easier.
Before I left, I transferred all the settings and bookmarks from Chrome on my "daily" computer over to the Surface Pro, so that part works just like it does at home.
The Surface Pro is doing quite well for answering emails, except while typing this newsletter, a right click resulted in a couple of Chrome crashes, so that is a bit of a pain.
While I am on vacation, I will obviously not be sitting behind a screen as I do normally, however, the promise of support within 24 hours stands firm, and will remain.
Camping itself is still something of getting used to for me. The last time I camped was back in 1995, when I spent, after college, about a year in Australia travelling. My wife always enjoyed caming, but after being stuck in a tent for so long, I didn't have much interest in doing it again.
But, with my wife's health becoming a factor, it was time to do something different. We both wanted to do a bit of travelling, but with her oxygen equipment, going in and out of hotels is a nightmare. Even for a single night, we end up having to load up the car completely in order to fit all her equipment in, and that is not even counting the clothes.
So to make things easier for both her (and me, considering I'm the one who has to load up) we got ourselves a camper. It enables us to put her equipment in, ready to go where-ever we stop, and for me, I have enough room in order to be able to do my work.
I'll be posting more about my road-experiences in next weeks newsletter, as well as some possible recommendations for people interested in going on the road themselves while being able to work.
And that is it for this week's newsletter.
Depending on how things go on the road, I might be posting up some things on Facebook/Google Plus, so if you are interested, keep an eye out there, or just wait for next week's newsletter.
Thanks for reading, and see you next week.
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