Thursday, June 25, 2015

Microsoft will not get a billion people to get Windows 10

Let me just start off by saying I'm very much a fan of Microsoft. That doesn't mean I adore everything they do, I just think a lot of what they do is really cool. One of the things I like is the upcoming Windows 10. It's what Windows 8 painfully attempted to do, but they've finally figured out a way to get the same experience across every device. However, one of their goals just doesn't seem realistic. Microsoft's whole reasoning in making Windows 10 free for every Windows 7 and 8 user is to achieve the magic number of a billion users, however the way they've set off to make it happen just seems like an ordinary Microsoft mess, and here's why they won't crack that billion number:

  1. To reserve your copy of Windows 10, you have to have your computer COMPLETELY up to date to get the software to install Windows 10 when it's released. I've only encountered on my computers that this was the case. Very few ordinary people understand what an update is, and just straight up don't do them. Plus, automatic updates don't always seem to work for some reason, so a lot of users don't have the necessary update to begin with. Plus, sometimes it's just difficult to get it to show up, even when the software is already on the computer. I had a fresh install of Windows 7 that I wanted to get reserved so I didn't have to worry about it later, and it took HOURS to get everything all set up. The only way I could get it to work is with a registry hack I found on a Microsoft forum, where you'll find a lot of frustrated people trying to get this update to work.
  2. For those who are completely updated, the software to get Windows 10 reserved on your computers looks incredibly shady. The first time I saw it pop up in the taskbar, I honestly thought it was some weird virus. It would've made sense if they implemented it with the Windows Update window, where it would look legitimate, but for some reason they had to make an IE frame, where it looks like every anti-virus program asking you to buy a year subscription.
  3. People hate change, even when they hated the the last thing that changed. Microsoft has such a poor track record, why should anyone believe this change is better? Sure, on paper, this is a change that people want: familiarity. They want the start menu back, they want a better designed UI, and they want it for free. Unfortunately, telling people to do this they need to upgrade their computer sounds scary and threatening, even when the computer will "reserve" it for you. And what does "reverse" mean? It's that kind of wording that makes it sound less appealing.
As a power user, I am very excited for the release of Windows 10, and will be quickly installing it on all my computers, but I am a very small minority compared to the regular person. Microsoft will get a lot of people to jump on the Windows 10 band wagon for sure, but I doubt as high as they're shooting for.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Goodbye TWiT Live

It's disappointing when the trolls win. Diehard fans get what they loved about a product taken away because some assholes had to ruin it for everyone. TWiT was unique. There was the direct interaction between the fans and the host live. Now, that's all gone. Fortunately, this isn't unique to TWiT anymore, Brian Brushwood's might just be my go-to place when I just want something to listen to. Hell, everyone I loved at TWiT is pretty much all over there anyway, so it makes sense.

What made TWiT great wasn't a million dollar studio, or intensive news coverage, it was the personalities. Same thing with TechTV; people tuned in because these hosts look like they really cared about what they were talking about, and they looked like they were having fun. It seems since the move to the TWiT Brick House, the fun was left behind at the Cottage. What was once a fun place where great netcasts were being made has now become really mundane. It just feels like there's no effort going on whatsoever.

I remember one of the first times I tuned into TWiT Live, it was during an NSFW episode, and I was laughing my ass off. I remember watching all these great shows from the Cottage where they seemed to care about making a great show. I remember watching the parade to the new Brick House, and feeling excited about the possibilities with the new studio. I remember seeing "Game On!", a show about a topic I really didn't care about, but was so impressed at what looked to be a TV show, hoping more shows would look like that. I remember hoping TWiT Live would become the CNN of tech Leo always said it would be, a live online 24/7 channel. I've lost hope in that last one. It's been four years since they moved in the Brick House, and when there's no show being recorded, it's still just a VLC Player playlist. Shows still look barely produced, and there's only a handful of in-studio hosts that seem to care. There was, however, one thing I really liked: the New Years special they did. I thought it was very well produced and very fun, but now that's gone too.

It's all been one big downward spiral since Tom Merritt left. Leo's on-air attitude has soured tremendously. If you need any proof, has a pretty big archive of it. Sure, a lot of it is linkbait, but there's a good chunk that is an angry and creepy Laporte. It's upsetting to see someone who pretty much invented the tech podcast and created a network devoted to it be revealed to be an asshole. And now with the return of a fan favorite: "The New Screen Savers," it just feels like a last resort to help bring people back to the network. Even this show, designed to be the flagship show, feels completely under-produced, especially when compared to "Game On!". It's just sad. I had such high hopes for this show, and I'm getting nothing but disappointment.

If you visit, you'll find a bunch of shows either produced or syndicated in the live stream channels, similar to, where podcasts that are fan funded showcase hosts that may not be seated in a million dollar studio, but at least look like they want to do the show. For those looking for what TWiT was, is your new home, with a community that is ready to help you transition. Independence is key, it's what Leo used to care about.

Oh, and by the way, Leo thinks the diehard fans are weirdos who have no lives, and that the chat was never of value, so... there's that.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Piratz Tavern has Closed, and I'm Glad

If you've ever seen the show Bar Rescue, you know that in most episodes, bar owners are decently pleased with the renovations that happen at the end of the episode. Understandably, some of the owners aren't pleased because they loved the bar they had, they just wanted it to be successful. To those owners who quietly took down the updates, or even kept them, that's cool. It's your business, do what you gotta do. One episode in particular did more than just some updates, however.

In the episode, a pirate bar in a corporate part of town in a state without an ocean called for help to Jon Taffer. Apparently, a bar with a pirate theme and a complete staff of costumed pirates in a state not known for pirates doesn't work very well, and the owner was over $900,000 in debt. Taffer found the usual mistakes: bland drinks, bad food, and cocky owners. When Taffer suggested to move away from a pirate theme to the owners and bartenders, it was like he suggested they cut their arms off. In most episodes, the owners get a little upset, but nothing major, but these guys were furious. One bartender in particular, a man who lost his eye in an accident, felt that because he had to wear a patch on his eye, he couldn't do anything else, and there he fit in. It makes sense that he wouldn't want the place to change, but I can't understand why the rest of them were so gung ho on the pirate theme. Eventually, they caved in, and Taffer changed the bar to a corporate themed bar called Corporate Bar and Grill, oddly enough. It was clear they weren't happy. They then decided after the episode aired that they wanted to change back to their roots, not by just silently switching it back, but by burning the new sign the show made, putting the footage online, and arrogantly calling Taffer an idiot for even thinking of making changes to the bar. Uhh, what? And these people can't figure out why people mock them online?

Here are a couple reasons why the people of Piratz Tavern are douchebags:

  1. They called for the help. If the show told the truth, the owners were $900,000 in debt. It's not like they could've survived without the show; they needed the help desperately, and that's why they called for it. If they weren't ready to accept the changes to make them bland enough for everyone, they really shouldn't have asked for help from a reality show.
  2. They were a pirate bar in a state with no fucking ocean. That makes no sense. If that was their thing, fine. But they act like it made so much sense and that people respected it and how dare Bar Rescue change this.
  3. If a "rescued" bar wants to take down the changes made, like I said before, fine. If they found it really doesn't help, who cares. It just all depends on how you deal with removing the changes. You can just do it, and not tell anyone, which is cool. You can tell people, but just as a heads-up, or just because you politely disagree, which is fine. Or, you can tell newspapers that you did it because Bar Rescue sucks, and that's not cool. You instantly turn into unappreciative assholes. Now, if this were just some regular bar that took down some signs, or something like that, whatever, but they took down all the corporate stuff, and put back the pirate decor that no one liked. They were publicly cocky about putting back the things that helped them fail.
  4. This whole thing just feels like one big publicity stunt. You can't tell me they honestly thought they could survive and still be pirate themed. They did this so they could get the name out there, and hopefully get people on board with the idea of a pirate bar. Brilliant.
On the Piratz Tavern Facebook page, I read a post discussing a fan's disappointment with the bar closing because it was a different bar. Not because pirates served you booze, but because all other bars are the same, but this one welcomed misfits. It was a bar for nerds, where nerds could feel less alone, and be together. Now that is something I can get behind. Anytime misfits, like myself, can find a place that they call home, that makes me happy. There's not a lot of places nerds like me fit in, so if that was the honest appeal of Piratz Tavern, I respect that. It's unfortunate that they had to be cocky about the whole thing and ruin it for the rest of the fans. From what I understand, the bar closed because the owners were sick of the trolls mocking them online and prank calling them at the bar. Sure, the episode does stand out by itself, but the actions taken by the owners certainly made things a lot worse.

Morals of the story: 
  1. If you ask for help knowing shit is going to happen that you won't like, you get what you deserve. 
  2. If what you're doing is failing and when you ask for help, you get all arrogant about how great it was before and you do this in public and can't understand why people hate you, you need to remove your head from your ass, and stop being stupid.
  3. Don't ruin things for nerds, we're very cranky people who don't like change.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Life Lessons Through Technology

I'm in college currently to be a Computer Information Systems major, or something like that. Basically, computer guy. You'd think that I must be amazing at computers to want to go into this field. Well, I'm really not. Most of the time, I'm just really good at guessing which buttons to press. Some of the time, I'm really not. I was trying to get this old Hi8 camcorder to turn on, and it just wasn't working. I couldn't figure it out. I tried making sure the connections were all solid, I tried turning it on and off, I even tried turning the power switch half-way on thinking the connection inside the switch was broken. I gave up. It simply cannot be turned on. That is until I put it down and my girlfriend picked it up, and immediately realized the hold switch on. Oh.

Even just now, I couldn't understand how my i7 laptop with 8 GB of memory could be so ridiculously slow. I yelled to the world "What is wrong with Windows 7?!" Then for some reason I thought to open the battery menu and noticed it was on power saver, with the "high performance" option just not on below it. Ah.

So the moral of the story is there's always something new to learn, and you're not always as smart as you think you are. And sometimes you really need to stop and just read what is in front of your face. Otherwise known as patience. I really need that.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I switched back to an iPhone... again.

You can go through the archives of this site of mine and find that, through the years, I've changed my mind quite a bit. Particularly on phones. My first smartphone was an iPhone 3G. After I had gotten angry at the slowness of said 3G, I decided to make a bold move and just switch over to Windows Phone, and purchased a Samsung Focus on Amazon for a penny. At the time, it was the current generation Windows Phone, it's just no one was buying them so they lowered the price, and for the first couple months, I couldn't understand why no one gave Windows Phone a chance. I still believe that Windows Phone is the most stable mobile OS out there; apps just don't crash, and the device never slows down. Fluid animations every time you enter or leave an app. It was great in a design point of view, but there were a very limited selections of apps. While everyone had Instagram and Draw Something, I had Angry Sharks and other alternatives to games and social networks. I got used to seeing the "no apps found" message while trying to search for something in the Marketplace. Angry, again, I switched back to an iPhone, this time a 3GS. By this time, the 3GS was beginning to show its age, and I was beginning to be annoyed by it. So I made another bold choice, and switched back to Windows Phone with a Nokia Lumia 920. I said "I don't need apps, I need a great device with design and user experience in mind." Not that I was wrong about some of what I said, but I frequently peaked over the fence to see that the iPhone still had apps that just didn't show up on Windows Phone. The only thing I could really brag about was the camera, which even by today's standards is fantastic. Luckily I still had my old 3GS if I really needed to use Snapchat or whatever I didn't have, until Rudy Hyun came along and brought over some fantastic third-party apps so us poor, desperate Windows Phone users could finally have access to Instagram, Vine, and Snapchat, in a really well designed app. It was great! Then after my replacement 920 started to crap out, AT&T graciously sent me a free Lumia 1520 with a two-year contract, of course. Now I had an even better camera, a better screen, and some of the apps. But I became unhappy, again, with Windows Phone. I had the Windows Phone 8.1 preview, so I had Cortana, and other stuff, but it just felt that Microsoft was slacking. They were making promises that things would get better with Windows Phone 10, but that didn't help today. So I decided, coincidentally around the same time as Ed Bott on ZDNet, that I was done. I was tired of being a guinea pig on a platform that no one else seemed to care about. I went to Best Buy and bought myself a Motorola Moto G 2014. I read reviews online that said it didn't feel like a budget smartphone, and that is was fast. I fell for it, and for a couple months, I was an Android guy. Now I don't know what these people classify "fast" as, but this thing was far from fast. The phone froze up CONSTANTLY. I had been used to waiting a second or two from my older phones, but this thing would more often than not take over 15 seconds to reload the fucking home screen. And it's not like I had a shitload of widgets, just a clock, and news and weather widget, and a bunch of folders. Not to mention if you kept apps open in the background, the whole thing would slow right down. What pissed me off to no end was when I was driving with the GPS on, and music playing. It simply couldn't do those two things at the same time. Music would stop playing, so I'd leave the Maps app, and reopen music. Then it seemed I was waiting an abnormal amount of time for some direction to be given to me, so I reopen the Maps app, and IT FORGOT THAT I SET A DESTINATION. There's nothing better than going 50 MPH and fighting with a phone that just doesn't want to work. I had the phone for maybe two or three months, and already I hated it. So for my sanity, I saved up money from work, and from Christmas and my birthday, and paid the price for a gold iPhone 6 Plus 64 GB. Sure, it cost almost as much as my Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro when it was brand new because I bought it unlocked, but goddamn it, it was worth it.

I can't tell you how much I don't think about using the iPhone. It just works. I do miss some things from Android and Windows Phone, like the keyboard shortcuts without needing to open a second menu, and the dedicated back button, plus the fact that iOS still feels a bit stale, but it just works. And to my surprise, iTunes has gotten a lot better. It's not great, and I'd much rather drag-and-drop in an Explorer window, but it gets the job done. Maybe sometime down the line I'll go back to Windows Phone, but for now, life's pretty good right now. I have a phone that can handle playing music and telling me which turn to take, and I don't feel like smashing it on the ground every time I use it.

Oh, and for a brief time I tried using a Mac. My reactions to it are similar to LinusTechTips: it's oddly harder to use, and it's on par to the performance of Windows 8. In fact, a lot of animations and other system tasks take longer on a Mac. So, I'm a PC.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

It's a Sad Day For America, Everybody: Goodbye Late Late Show

I'm a big fan of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. I always loved how it was the anti-talk show. Although every night would open with a cold open, a monologue, viewer mail, interviews, and a "what did we learn on the show tonight, Craig" 30 second closer, you really didn't know what was going to happen next. The show was always hilarious, fresh, and, most importantly, smart. He didn't treat you like you were an idiot, and he certainly didn't do stupid shit which featured [insert celebrity, meme, or nostalgic thing]. I think you can figure out who I don't like all that much. What matters is that Craig Ferguson has just completed his last Late Late Show, and the entire time I was watching it, I legitimately felt upset. Craig Ferguson is just such a natural at what he does. Sure, in the beginning he was a bit rusty, but so was Conan O'Brien and look where he is now. The great thing about Ferguson is he has instant replay value. He is a fantastic story teller. Just look up his past monologues and watch the ones where he talks about the passing of his parents, how he almost committed suicide, and even him pleading to the public to leave Britney alone. You know what he's talking about, but you have no idea what he's going to say next, and he does it in the best way possible. He's even a natural at interviews. Even if you don't know the guest, his casual attitude and ability to not ass-kiss keeps you entertained and laughing the entire time. Not to mention his gay robot skeleton sidekick Geoff Peterson. That alone is fucking brilliant. I'm really going to miss this show. Much like when David Letterman left Late Night, there's really never going to be anything on television quite like that show. Watching the last monologue of Craig Ferguson really genuinely made me sad. There's not many Carson-like hosts on TV anymore, and we're losing one of the best right now. Well, he did hint that this isn't the last time we'll see him, but it definitely won't be the same. All I can say is James Corden, you've got some big shoes to fill, but make the show your own. Do what you think is the best for late night, not what everyone else is doing. That's why I loved Ferguson, and why I hate NBC's late night lineup.

I really don't know how Jimmy Fallon has been as successful as he has been. It's a genuine mystery and concern to me. Are people really this dumb? And yes, that is a bit harsh, but honestly. Watch Jimmy Fallon's "Best Of" DVD, and I put quotations marks around the words "Best Of" because it's really the only salvageable sketches he was in. Sure, he did some funny things, but he's really not that funny. He's a wonderful impressionist, but lacks comedic abilities. Watch him laugh the only line he had in the "Cowbell" sketch, in fact, watch him laugh in pretty much every sketch. Before Fallon, laughing in a sketch was hilarious, because when a cast member did it, you knew it was hilarious, and it was just funny to see them react to it. Then came Fallon, and it became a regular shtick of his. He left to pursue a movie career which went nowhere. Watch the trailer for the movie "Taxi," and that will sum it up pretty well. Then, Conan decided he wanted to leave Late Night and take over The Tonight Show. Who would take over Late Night? Could it be the talented and admirable Carson Daly, who hosted Last Call at 1:35 AM? Nope, SNL creator and crazy-man Lorne Michaels opted for Jimmy Fallon, because he's got nothing else to do. Now, okay, Lorne also chose Conan to take over Late Night, maybe Fallon's better at talking than he is at being funny. Nope. Even today, you can still see a very nervous and sweaty Fallon stammer his way through an interview while ass kissing the guest. I mean honestly, every sketch on Late Night and The Tonight Show is chuckle-worthy at best, and he still isn't funny. He has no idea how to say a joke, and every funny thing that gets viral on YouTube is a guest rapping to something from the '90s or playing some stupid party game. It's not so much funny, but nostalgic, so long as you're young enough to get the "joke." Plus, he's tame enough that old people will tune in. On paper for NBC, it's a no-brainer. Fallon is as vanilla as you get. He's a corporate puppet. It makes me crazy how people would rag on Leno for being a team player for NBC, but they don't give a fuck if the spinless Fallon does it because all the cool kids love him. If you can say anything good about Fallon, he's great at bringing young internet-savvy people to television by frequently referencing social media and nostalgic bullshit. All things the internet loves. Jimmy Fallon is the human version of Buzzfeed. Even his band The Roots can't understand how the show is still on the air. It's insane. And Late Night with Seth Meyers is just Weekend Update every weeknight. Stale shit that people will tune in for because it's familiar.
Unfortunately, Letterman has lost his touch. It's sad to watch him now, especially when you watch clips from when he hosted Late Night, the show was groundbreaking. Now, it's like listening to an old man talk about things he doesn't like, such as politics and sports. At least Alan Kalter is funny. Honestly, the only late night hosts worth watching now are Jimmy Kimmel and Conan O'Brien. Jimmy Kimmel's dry humor is similar to Ferguson's, but very much unique. And Conan is still as funny as he was on Late Night. I don't care for political humor, it's just biased unfair bashing towards a party, so if you're into that, watch Jon Stewart and/or Stephen Colbert. But don't watch Bill Maher, he's a pompous douche. Oh and if you can get AXS TV, watch Tom Green Live, he's a surprisingly great interviewer.

Speaking of Colbert, what the hell was CBS thinking? They've immediately turned off anyone who didn't find his character funny on The Colbert Report, and we really don't know anything about the guy. And who the hell is James Corden? Now this could be another Conan O'Brien, but seriously. CBS late night is dead. All I can hope for is Fallon dips in the ratings, and Jimmy Kimmel or Conan reign as number one late night show. But that will never happen. People would rather watch Jimmy Fallon play Catchphrases with Jennifer Garner than genuinely laugh.
Craig, thank you for making the Late Late Show your own thing. You've proven that smart humor still exists, just not everyone appreciates it. You made it a great day for America, everybody. I'll still tune in to Celebrity Name Game, and whatever you end up doing in the future. Thank you, and balls.