Thoughts on Subscription Services

Everyone hates paying high cable bills, or monthly satellite service fees, cable cutters have caused a market shift. I do not feel this shift is for the better. Personally I hated paying over $100.00 a month to my cable company, so I switched to satellite, saving almost $25 a month. Now people are giving ride of both services and just using HDTV (over the air services) which in my area are VERY VERY LIMITED, or subscripting to an online service such as Sling or TubeTV. These offer many of the same nation wide services found on cable and satellite.

Hulu And Netflix enter the mix. There are times you want to watch movies or newly released shows and movies not found on the big streaming services. So you start to add on more subscription services..

There is also a HBO and CBS streaming services… And NOW there are a rash of new “+” services coming to market….

In my opinion this is just going to cause a rash of add ons and force consumers to pay even more than they would with cable, who is now raising their rates to cover the losses (smart!!?? <really>)..


LiveCode Project

Got a job writing a program to track a client’s, client’s. Can’t go into do much detail. But it is reawakened the joy of Programming in LiveCode again. LiveCode is up to version 9 now, haven’t done any major projects in it since version 6. SO, lots of new features and changes. Having to relearn a few things. This project will be using SQLite, which I haven’t used in a LONG time, but so far going fairly well.

Low cost Ham Radio’s

Baofeng UV-5R for less than $25

Having been a Ham for awhile, I lost track of my radio. Finally dug it up and of course it was dead. Out of date and no updates, so worthless. Heard about Baofeng handhelds, and they were programable. Found a couple for less than $22 each, in different colors. I tried to program one using “CHIRP” and a low cost cable, never got it to work. Ordered another, hopefully better cable and will try again.

It all looks good. Low cost. Small and fairly easy to use. Programming however is another story.

Hopefully new cable resolves my issues.

UPDATE:

Yes using a BoaFeng Labled cable worked the first time every time. So I do not recommend buying or trying to use a knock off. My two cents!

RapidWeaver

Got my first real job in web development in over a year, which was good. Had to spend a few days attempting to fix a coding issues that ended up being a hosting issue. It is all good now, finished way ahead of due date. Added lots of features the client didn’t expect. All and all, RapidWeaver is a time saver and great tool for both big and small jobs.

Computer History – Pricing

Having been into computers for decades the one thing I’ve noticed is the normal price brake for a USEABLE base model computer.  Since my Atari and  Apple II days, the high end, or best computer models always ran about $1200.00. To this day, this price point has continued to hold true.

If you want a computer that will be functional and not go obsolete in a couple of years, expect to pay around $1200. This does not include printers and other peripherals and add ons..

Cheaper options include upgrading an older computer.  You can upgrade RAM and Hard drives that’ll help but most of the time only a stop gap solution.  Giving you a year or so of usability.

This price does not include extended warranties. Plus just because you spend $1200 doesn’t mean you will get a good computer. If I recall IBM and Coleco produced computers that were just junk at any price. Again, just my thoughts.

3D Printing, at last.

For years I’ve been trying to find a 3d printer that works reliably and has good support. Started off with a Makerbot kit, which worked well, for awhile. Then Makerbot went crazy with the pricing and went private, so I lost heart in the company.

From there we switched to Solidoodle 3, Supported Solidoodle Press though a kickstarter, took almost two years to receive and NEVER got a good print out of the unit. The unit looked great though. Back and forth with tech support to the point that they wanted me to send back unit for repair. Which I never did, thank goodness. They were out of business weeks later.

A few weeks ago I received notice from Robo, that they were discounting remaining R1+ units, I jumped at it. So far the unit has printed everything I’ve requested, even prints that took 8 hours. A total first.

The units LEDs stopped working, so I contacted Robo, after a few trouble shooting emails, I have new Lights and a have received answers to all my issues quickly and without a lot of template replies. Fantastic printer at low cost.

FlightAware – PiAware

FlightAware was easy to setup and great fun to use. Can track flights flying over your head leaving contrails spoiling your beautiful blue sky. Get the story about a plane and its current flight. Sharing your data with FlightAware gives you free access to their Enterprise plan, well worth it.

Basically you setup a Raspberry Pi, with a ADS receiver which monitors the airwaves for ADS data from flights within range. The area I live in is rather hilly, so at first I wasn’t happy with the units range so I added an external antenna which dramatically increased my systems range. All and all the system cost about $150. You leave it running, then can remotely monitor you PiAware unit over your network through a browser. Plus you can access your data directly from FlightAware’s site, well your data anyway.

Was able to monitor flights in real time.

You can overlay current weather. You can also spend more for better antennas and higher antenna mounting, which would improve your stations reception.

All and all, great fun, nice use of a Raspberry Pi.

Observation – Video

For the last few days I’ve been converting old 8mm film to digital and I’ve made some observations. The first is the ‘video’s are short, like old YouTube Videos, only 2 or 3 minutes long. Second, people didn’t know how to focus which  I am sure this was caused by the technology itself not really allowing much ‘reviewing while recording’.  What you shot was what you got, in most cases it was garbage. And people paid lots of money for it, film, developing, etc. And sadly I haven’t found a cheap reliable way to convert film to digital. But haven’t given up hope.

There was no sound either. I had to edit the videos and remove the sounds made by the converting process.

In the end I was able to covert 22 8mm files and a Hi8 tape to MKV and MOV. Taking about 5 gb of space of a total of 16 gb thumb drive. I also provided copies of media players and instructions for use on the thumb drive.