The Happening: Google Domination

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With all of my doomsday blabbering about the rise of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and the certain extinction it will (probably) bring, I thought it was time to focus on some good things about AI that are right around the corner. After all, the AI future will be good – up until it starts going bad, and one of the things I’m most excited about is Google Duplex.

The Next Big Thing Is Here!

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Yes, folks, I’m talking about the Samsung Note 8. If you subscribe to our newsletter, you’ll know that I have been waiting on this since LAST YEAR, and finally got mine on September 7th. Originally, my attitude about the phone before I received it was mixed; I was excited to have a new Note, but a little disappointed that Samsung had omitted some of the features that would REALLY have knocked the iPhone out of the park – namely, the under-screen fingerprint reader and folding display. After watching a few Youtube pre-release reviews, I was feeling a bit less stoked…

Multiplicity: A Surprisingly Useful App

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My home media center setup seems to become more complicated by the week. The latest usability issue I’m looking to iron out is to automatically unlock my desktop to stream content to the laptop that is connected to the TV in our living room. Sure, I could walk the 30 ft to the office, unlock it as needed, and go on watching TV. But sometimes there isn’t sufficient time to mentally prepare for a journey of that magnitude. So, I did some digging, and came across a nifty little program known as Multiplicity.

Cutting the Cord: Better Living Through Streaming

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Back in my senior year of college, my roommate and I made a spur of the moment decision that ended up being a big part of my life. We were signing up for internet and needed to figure out whether to get cable or not. We looked at each other and said “Well, we don’t really use it, and it’s way cheaper without, so we’ll just get internet.” We knew we could always add cable if we were desperately bored. We never ended up adding it, and were quite happy without it. I already had Netflix, back when they mailed you actual DVDs. I spent several weeks building and setting up a fancy home theater PC that we could use to play those DVDs, as well as our completely-legally-acquired-through-legal-means other content. It was kludgey, hard to use, and broke often, but it was free, and that was way more important.

Smart Homes

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Do you want to turn your home or apartment into a fancy, voice-controlled “Smart Home” but don’t know where to start? If that’s sounds like you, or if you’re just curious as to what all the hype is about with Amazon Echo and Google Home, then follow me as I dig up the most versatile and cost-effective options on the market right now.

Note: all of the devices and systems that I will be detailing will have a focus on ease of setup and low cost, so that means wireless (mostly) and no subscription fees. Let’s dig!

GIMP and Paint.net – Attacking Adobe’s Pockets from the Shadows Since 1996

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One of the best things about the modern internet is its ability to take a good idea and immediately dilute it to the point of demonetization. I remember looking at Photoshop in High School and thinking “Wow, this looks really cool. I wish the home version didn’t cost $800.” In hindsight, it’s understandable; when you fill a specific niche and are perceived as uncontested, you have the freedom to charge what you want. Fast forward to the modern day and the picture is significantly altered (pause for yucks or maybe weak smiles). Photoshop now has to deal with some serious competitors, a number of which are completely free. Coincidentally, I have some (mild) experience with a couple of them! Lucky you, friend.

PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE

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As I’m walking home one day, my phone dies.  Then the anxiety sets in. Why did my phone just die? I swear my battery was at 25%. Is it broken? What if someone texts? These worries run through my head as I walk the next few quiet blocks home. As soon as I walk in the door I race to my charger to plug it in. My phone boots up, and I feel relief.  I immediately check twitter/Instagram/etc. to see what I’ve missed. This is my mindset these days. Why couldn’t I enjoy a walk home without distraction? Why couldn’t I remain unplugged, on a nice night? It’s because I have a problem.

Password Paranoia: Possibly Pertinent Pontifications Pertaining (to) Protection

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I like to browse the front page of Reddit in the morning. Robed in my finest silks, I kick up my heels, lean back, and find out what I should be afraid of this day. Granted it’s not all bad, but a headline about a bombing in France tends to imply more urgency than some Pikachu outfit made for a cat. That said, those sensationalist headlines are the ones I tend towards. The world’s problems don’t go away just because you can ignore them, and doing so just makes it easier to be blindsided.

My Personal Note-Taking Tool: Sublime Text 3

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If you’re anything like me, you have a terrible short term memory.  Over the years I’ve devised numerous systems for keeping track of notes, and I almost always have some sort of note-taking method on hand, be it a moleskin, a phone, or even the most trustworthy of applications: Notepad. Now, I love the handy Microsoft tool which has been with Windows since the beginning, but it certainly shows its age at times. I find it often doesn’t display special characters in files that I open (which as a SysAdmin makes editing configuration files often problematic). It also isn’t the best in terms of features.