Archive for the 'Web' Category


A fond farewell to Netflix

200px-netflix_logosvgI finally canceled Netflix.  The reason is simple: even with the one-out-at-a-time plan we just weren’t watching the movies.  Our consumption rate has slowed to near zero, and lately we’ve been more likely to be pulled in to pay $1 at a Redbox outside our grocery store than open the red envelope sitting on the counter.  We have used the Roku box attached to our TV to watch some on-demand stuff via Netflix, but that box doesn’t go away and other services are starting to support it.

What surprised me was how difficult it was to cancel–and I mean personally (the process was straightforward).  I’ve been procrastinating for months.  Maybe it’s because I tried Netflix when it first started and have been an advocate ever since (to the point of owning their stock for a while), as I do think their service is great.  It could also be something of a hard reality to accept that I really don’t watch movies any more, and don’t much like to.  For a long time I considered myself a movie buff and watched lots of movies and knew lots of movie trivia.  I enjoyed it too, and had ambitions of building up a nice HD home theater with all the A/V gadgetry one might want.  Well, my Netflix and theater-going history over the past year is telling me loud and clear that those days are Gone.  We’re watching little TV and few movies.  My purely discretionary time is going to different things, and I don’t see that changing soon.

Netflix has done a good job staying on top of new technology trends and their company is still growing.  I think they will continue to do well.  In the event that I catch the movie bug once again, will be my first stop.


Reading with RSS

Erin left a comment that others may have:  how do you “subscribe” to this or other blogs?  One of the most common ways is with a newsreader, such as Google Reader.  Here is a screen snap showing my Google Reader page (click to zoom):


All of the blogs that I’m interested in are in one place, and I can easily see which ones have new posts.

There are a lot of web-based and standalone news readers.  I’ve been using Google Reader for a few years and it has worked just fine.  Check out Google Reader for Beginners for a good introduction and getting-started video.  You don’t have to use Google Reader though–any newsreader will work with any blog.

As mentioned yesterday, the Garden page is a separate blog and feed, so you’ll have two addresses in your reader:                 (this blog)               (garden blog)


Worst Google Logo Ever

I have always enjoyed the Google holiday/event logos.  Not only are they often very creative and artistic, but they highlight a wide variety of notable dates beyond usual holidays:  birthday/anniversary days of significant people, and landmark events of all types ranging from the well known to very geeky.  Some of my favorites appeared just last year:

Earth Day:

Large Hadron Collider activation (and the potential end of Earth):

Election Day:

Their artistic ability (or standards, for guest artists) has greatly improved over the years.  Here is their 2008 Halloween logo:

Compare that to their less impressive, cut-and-paste clip art effort from 1999:

They’ve definitely raised the bar, and I’ve come to expect high quality, clever logos from Google.  Which brings us to today, Valentine’s Day 2009:

Boy, they really spared no expense on this one!  Font-color = Red.  Wow.  And the kisses and hugs…  well my first reaction when I saw the logo was that had been hacked.  The X and O look like something found at a crime scene in “CSI”.  Not well done, especially for Valentine’s day.

Oh well, maybe next year.  I still like the holiday logo concept and Google’s minimalist style (as opposed to the fancy animations over at, but they showed their slack side today.


Triple a-ha

A neighbor blog, The Peoria Chronicle, had a post today with little more than an a-ha video in it (yes, that one).  Ah nostalgia.  But the comments linked to a few different takes on the video.  I watched them all, laughed hard, and it was a nice 10 minute reprieve.  So now I’m shamelessly stealing the idea for all to enjoy.  So enjoy (and quit worrying about the US auto industry).

The pristine original:


Brilliantly mocked:

I’m something of a political junkie and have overdosed on McBama news recently.  I definitely know them, and the sophistication of their campaigns is largely transparent.

On the way home from work, listening to Fox on XM, a heard a brief ad for a write-in candidate named Ron Hobbs.  The ad caught me off guard, and all I noted was some stuff about pro-life, $1.50 gas, and that I should go to “Hobbs for Hope” on the web.  It must have been an inexpensive spot.

Go to and enjoy.  It’s like taking the Wayback machine to a late 90′s personal homepage, except it’s for a presidential campaign.  My favorite parts of his platform are:

  • “Jobs Subsidize small businesses with monies saved from the Iraq War.”
  • Veterans – A fund for Veterans who are down and out.”
  • “No weigh stations in Rest Areas.” (Truckers Agenda)
  • “Traffic lights will be delayed for more time to drive through lights.” (Truckers Agenda)
  • “All public businesses will have public rest rooms.” (Truckers Agenda)
  • …the 18 other items on the Truckers Agenda
  • “Keep American food for Americans.”  (Farmers Agenda)
  • “Hobbs will make mandates on the food quota from China.”  (Farmers Agenda)

A number of times during the campaign, some unknown “regular guy” figure catches the spotlight for a few days and explains his “common sense” way to fix the country.  I actually quite like that phenomenon.  But while I’m sure Mr. Hobbs means well, I don’t think I’ll be writing his name in next Tuesday.


Laugh! (the Dow is down again)

This skit is about a year old but is all too relevant today.  Though your 401(k) may make you cry, this will hopefully make you laugh.


Great Idea [Fitbit]

I just heard about a new company and product that will be coming out later this year, and I think it will be huge. The company is called Fitbit, and they’ve developed a small pedometer-like device that tracks your motion and automatically syncs with your computer and uploads the results. On their website you can view reports and otherwise manage the data.

The idea of automatically syncing when you’re within 50ft of your computer sounds good. Seeing activity graphs by hours is cool. Getting an analysis of your sleep patterns (you can wear it on a wrist clip) sounds really novel. All for a one time $99, and no monthly fee.

Maybe it will be vaporware, but if not I bet this takes off. Check it out.



The world is apparently in crisis, with wars and high energy prices, the stock market is falling and so is the sky.  So, given this, what guidance might people be searching for–on Google?  Google moved their  “Suggest” feature to the main page a few weeks ago, as you’ve undoubtedly seen as it tries to complete your queries.  I was starting to type in a question tonight, beginning with “what to do when…”, and was met with this hilarous suggestion set:

So the world is really just a bunch of rich, bored, pregnant stoners with broken ipods.  Not nearly as bad as how I’d imagined things!


The Pickens Plan

If you live in the US, you’ve no doubt seen seen one or more T. Boone Pickens’ ads pushing his energy plan. Yesterday we headed to Tanner’s Orchard to pick apples (something of an annual tradition for us), and I was struck by the large number of wind turbines in the area (Speer, IL). I’d heard that they were putting in additional capacity in that area, and had seen the blades being transported (quite an impressive feat), but I didn’t realize until yesterday just how many turbines they’d installed. The slowly-rotating propellers dotted the horizon looking north.

I came home interested in some of the details of wind power and found many links ended up on The Pickens Plan. While I don’t know enough to push this plan, I did find the lecture format introduction very effective, and have included it below. Whether or not this is the right plan I don’t know, but it is certainly encouraging to finally see a lot of attention being paid to energy policy.

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