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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Star Trek: Picard S01E01

with 17 comments

So far so good, I can’t wait to watch the next episode.

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PrinzEugen writes in a comment:

Needless to say it’s not Deep Space Nine, but I’m pleasantly surprised that it didn’t suck outright. I even found it quite enjoyable. So far it’s definitely not Discovery-level trash, and the left-wing commentary is not “in your face”, but more subdued like it was in TNG.

The Romulan Refugee Crisis, notably, is NOT equivalent to any current real-world refugee crisis, since the Romulans are a high-IQ, adaptable and resourceful race (although the leftist writers would probably never admit this).

Actually, the acting and production values are way better than Deep Space Nine. And as good as DS9 was compared to other Star Trek series, it still had a lot of dumb Klingon and Ferengi stuff.

Also, Picard being disgustingly sanctimonious is consistent with his character from TNG. Remember that Picard was pretty far down on my list of best starship captains.

This is what I previously wrote:

Patrick Stewart himself may be a better actor than William Shatner, but Stewart is miscast as a starship captain. Stewart is unable to play Picard without giving off the vibe that he thinks the role is beneath him. Shatner, on the other hand, never thought it was beneath him to play Captain Kirk.

In addition to the acting, the character of Picard created by the writers turns me off. Why does an allegedly French guy have a British accent? His constantly ordering “Tea! Earl Gray! Hot!” grates on me. I can’t stand his moral smugness and unquestioning adherence to the Prime Directive. That’s why The Inner Light is the best episode of TNG, because Stewart was great as a guy living out his life on a doomed planet, but he sucks as a starship captain.

However, in a nod to Stewart’s acting ability as well as an acknowledgement that Picard is the second Star Trek captain, I still place him ahead of many other starship captains, including Janeway and Archer. I liked the Enterprise series, but Bakula just didn’t have any gravitas as a starship captain. Putting Quark (the garbage scow captain, not the Ferengi) ahead of Janeway is my comic way of pointing out how much I can’t stand Janeway. (Regarding the other Quark: the episode where Quark assembles an all-Ferengi commando team to rescue his mother who’s being held captive by the dominion is the funniest of all Star Trek episodes.)

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 25, 2020 at EST pm

Posted in Star Trek, Technology

Social media platform of the decade

Out of the running

Google+ Abandoned by Google. This goes to show you that even the most powerful internet company can’t compete against an established platform like Facebook.

Blogs Blogs are dead. So sad.

Tumblr Isn’t that kind of like a lightweight blog without comments?

Flickr and all other photo-sharing platforms that are not Instagram (does anyone remember Webshots?) All dead.

Pinterest I can’t even look at this site without creating an account, and nothing about this site had made me want to create an account.

Honorable mention

Reddit It’s kind of useful, but run by SJWs. If you write a post that’s interesting or unique because it disagrees with the crowd, it will get massively downvoted. And also, the site has peaked.

PornHub It ought to get a mention, at least. It’s certainly not dead.

#6 Facebook

Facebook has too many users to ignore, but I don’t find it fun, and more importantly, young people no longer find it fun. Facebook usage among teenagers has plummeted, and probably less than a third of teens use it with any regularity. Facebook is the social media platform for Generation X, and as much as I may stick up for my generation, my generation as a whole isn’t a trendsetter.

#5 Twitch

Twitch is still up and coming, the place where people stream themselves playing videogames. Before the start it the decade, the very idea of this seemed strange and nonsensical, so Twitch deserves a place on this list for moving the culture forward.

#4 TikTok

TikTok is on an upwards trend. A big upwards trend. It can’t be ignored. Although I don’t think this platform has any appeal to old people (old being anyone old enough to have graduated college). Unless you enjoy looking at pictures of beautiful blonde slutty girls, many of them under the age of 18, bopping around for 15 seconds at a time. In which case you can enjoy TikTok as a spectator. Jeffrey Epstein surely would have enjoyed this app if he knew about it.

#3 YouTube

YouTube is the most useful social media platform. There is so much to watch here, it’s not just morons trying to become social media influencers. I use it to watch music videos, and Critical Role where “nerdy-ass” voice actors play Dungeons & Dragons. If there’s something you want information about, you can usually find it on YouTube. Often, the video you find is actually useful.

#2 Twitter

Without Twitter, Trump wouldn’t be President.

#1 Instagram

Instagram has gone from practically nothing in 2010 to being the world’s most influential app. Instagram has changed photography, and changed the way we see the world. People may argue in ways not for the best. Instagram has caused overtourism, and changed food from being about the taste to being about the presentation, has changed pretty much everything to being about the presentation.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 7, 2020 at EST pm

Posted in Technology

What happened to the cent (¢) symbol?

The cent symbol was on all U.S. typewriters. But when the ASCII committee got together (all of them nerdy computer engineering types), they dropped the cent symbol in favor of what they thought of as more important characters like the pipe (|), tilde (~), caret (^) and curly brackets {}. And thus the cent symbol was dropped from computer keyboards because there was no matching ASCII character. (It used to be above the 6, but now a caret is there.)

Once upon a time, it was standard to type $0.43 as 43¢, but that time was so long ago that people forgot about it because they are so used to seeing $0.43.

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Will manual typewriters ever make a comeback like vinyl records? Not very likely. Vinyl records can play music almost as well as an iPhone hooked up to external speakers. But manual typewriters are pretty useless for getting words into an electronic format, which is the main reason why people would type something. Old typewriters will only be collected as curios.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 6, 2020 at EST am

Posted in Technology

Vinyl records to outsell CDs in 2020

The resurgence of vinyl is interesting, but in reality listening to vinyl records is a niche hobby, just a more popular niche hobby than it was ten years ago. The bigger story is the total collapse of CD sales (which unlike vinyl has no romance associated with it). We are reaching the end of buying music to own it. Spotify has more revenue per year than CD, Vinyl and MP3 download purchases combined.

Now what do I do with all those useless CDs I have that I spent in total about two thousand dollars on? (I’ve thrown a lot in the garbage after “ripping” them to mp3 files, but that’s actually kind of time consuming. Probably, anything I haven’t listened to in more than 10 years is a CD I don’t really need to rip, I should just throw it out.)

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 27, 2019 at EST am

Posted in Technology

Chuck Peddle, unsung hero of the computer age, dies at 82

Intel shut his project down because they thought it would lower their profits, so he skipped town, taking seven engineers with him, and joined a small chip company in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, where they completed the 6502 microprocessor, the chip that made computers like the Apple II and the Atari 800 possible, as well as the unfortunate Commodore PET. And the related, but lower-cost, less-featured 6507 microprocessor powered the Atari 2600 gaming console.

In those days, it only took 8 people to design a major computer chip, but today it surely takes hundreds, and maybe into the thousands. (For example, it is reported that Apple has 1000 to 1200 engineers working on a 5g modem chip. Also, I bet that all seven of the engineers that Chuck Peddle took with him were white men born in America.

The obit at the NY Times also contains the interesting tidbit that Jobs and the Woz wanted to sell Apple to Commodore, but Commodore wasn’t interested. How would technology have evolved differently if that sale happened? Would there be a Commodore smartphone? Or would we still be using Blackberries?

Note that the New York Times obituary is nine days late, Chuck died on December 15th.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 25, 2019 at EST am

Posted in Technology

Decluttr?

Based on this review, it sounds like I would make less money per hour scanning and packing my crap than I make per hour at my crappy job, so maybe it’s more efficient to just throw all of those old CDs into the garbage.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 3, 2019 at EST am

Posted in Technology

How to watch YouTube on iOS without ads

When I watch YouTube on my computer web browser, it’s a totally ad-free experience because I use uBlock Origin which blocks those annoying ads.

But then when I used the YouTube app on iOS, I was forced to waste mucho time watching ads before the actual content I wanted to watch would load.

The solution is to watch YouTube on the Safari mobile browser and NOT in the app. And then you have to install an effective adblocker. AdGuard is the best ad blocker on iOS, and it’s free. But it doesn’t work automatically like uBlock Origin. You have to enable AdGuard in your Safari settings, and then you have to open AdGuard as an app in order to enable additional ad blocking lists. EasyList and EasyPrivacy are the lists used by uBlock Origin, and you can enable them in AdGuard. I also enabled the AdGuard Mobile Ads Filter even though I don’t know exactly what that does, but it sounds good.

Now I can watch YouTube on my iPhone and iPad and not have my time wasted by ads!

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You could also pay $11.99/month for YouTube premium, but Google already has enough money, in my opinion. Why should we give Google more money when they have been de-monetizing right-wing content creators?

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 5, 2019 at EST am

Posted in Technology

Review of Amino app

You probably never heard of Amino. I didn’t until recently when I accidentally came across an article about it. In one sentence, Amino can best be described as Reddit for children.

Just like Reddit, people can create their own communities, which are then managed and censored (or not) by the person who created it and his or her delegates. Also, like Reddit, people post anonymously.

Unlike Reddit, the Amino website has limited functionality and you have to use the app to get the full experience. (Instagram is also like that.) Amino gives users more options for creating hideously ugly posts, but kids seem to like that, and indeed that’s what really defines it as a kid’s app and not something that would appeal to many adults.

The most popular two topics are anime and kpop (that is Korean pop music, mostly featuring effeminate-looking young men). The LGBT+ board is also very popular. Yeah, there’s a huge LGBTQ presence on Amino. What’s not popular on Amino are topics that cool popular kids would be into, like sports (for boys) or cheerleading (for girls). Even Fortnite (massively popular videogame among young people) isn’t especially popular on Amino. “College Advice,” which you think would be a valuable and popular topic for young people, has only a meager 12,196 members compared to 860,284 members for “LGBT+.”

So it’s obviously only being used by kids with certain overlapping geeky interests, with a very significant percentage of kids who are into those things not being heterosexual. Although the feeling I get is that girls in these interest groups feel pressured to call themselves “bisexual” or “pansexual” even if it’s not what they really are. And I have no idea what the boys are thinking, because I can’t imagine ever wanting to be thought of as being a homo.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

October 25, 2019 at EDT pm

Posted in Technology

Why is Zuck suddenly pro free-speech?

Zuck now says he supports free speech.

Where does that come from? Obviously he realizes how impossible it is to censor speech in a way that makes everyone happy and doesn’t create the risk of even more liability for censoring the wrong way. Plus how hugely expensive it is to censor speech, given the massive amount of content posted on Facebook every day, and the current lack of AI technology that’s up to the task.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

October 18, 2019 at EDT am

Posted in Technology

Major differences between the 1970s and 2019

1. In the 1970s, you’d watch whatever was on TV. And it was crappy and low res, often had bad reception. But you watched anyway. At least it was in color. Today, you can watch exactly what you want, in high resolution.

2. In the 1970s, if someone wasn’t home to pick up the phone, you couldn’t reach them. There weren’t even answering machines. And forget about text messages or email. Today, everyone is reachable all the time.

3. In the 1970s, writing meant using a pen and paper. Today, writing means using a computer.

4. In the 1970s, buying something meant you had to find a store and then drive there. Today, you can buy whatever you want online.

Minor differences

1. In the 1970s, you read the news from a daily paper, and you didn’t spend much time worrying that it was 24 hours out of date. Or you watched the early-evening network news broadcast. (Although, of course, I personally did neither of those things in the 1970s because kids don’t consume news.) This is minor because the freshness of news actually has no impact on your daily life.

2. In the 1970s, you could read periodicals you subscribed to, or books you bought or borrowed from a library. Today, you can read anything you want (including this blog) whenever you want to. This is minor because there’s only so much you can read, and books were just as good back then if not better.

3. In the 1970s, people were unaware that there were homosexuals and other sexually strange people all over the place. Today, you can’t turn on a screen without seeing all manner of sexually weird.

4. In the 1970s, men traveled to the moon. Today, the farthest people can travel to is low orbit.

No differences

We had cars. Air travel. Air conditioning. Washers and dryers. Electricity. Drinkable running water. Flush toilets.

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Major difference: In the 1970s, porn was totally unavailable to children. Today, all kids have seen porn. Serious hardcore porn.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

October 17, 2019 at EDT pm

Posted in Technology

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