Roku Express - My Two Small Reservations

The inexpensive Roku Express almost appears to be a no-brainer as either a cheap intro to the world of streaming video, or as a sweet addition for that second TV that you have been meaning to hook up.

At around $30, that is a great price point - I would try almost anything for $30! It even comes with an HDMI cable. My only two (slight) reservations are that it connects via Wi-Fi only, and it has an infrared remote (rather than the Bluetooth one).

I personally have a thing against streaming video over Wi-Fi, and we have a Roku model that has an IR remote. That is about the only thing I dislike about our Roku; you have to be a bit of a sharpshooter to use that thing.

Still, a very well-priced product for most of us.


Windows 10 Hard-Coded Edge Redirects

See, this kind of stuff is the reason I quit using Windows 10 on my laptop again. Windows 10 is actually a nice operating system in most regards. The thing that keeps alienating me is the "we know best" attitude from Microsoft. I am old enough and stubborn enough for that to bother me.

We already had the "telemetry" (spying) debacle, then Windows 10 kept resetting configuration settings during major updates (and removingsoftware that Microsoft did not consider compatible).

The latest twist (one that I sort of suspected, but had not really proven to my self) is that Windows 10 generates some hard-code links that only open in Microsoft Edge, regardless of what your default browser is set too. 

I'm sorry, that just sticks in my craw. There is something you can do about it through some 3rd party software (which Microsoft will probably list for forced removal in the future), but why??


Yet More Star Wars To Come

A Star Wars live-action TV show, and a new Star Wars movie trilogy after the current trilogy finishes - that's what has been announced in the last couple of days. Pretty exiting stuff.

Too much Star Wars? Nah, you can never have too much Star Wars - unless of course the quality starts to drop, and the current leadership at Disney seem to be running a pretty tight ship in that regard (see the "Solo" movie debacle).

I confess that while I have enjoyed the ride so far via the theatrical movies, I have not read any of the novelizations, nor have I watched the "Rebels" animated series (I may in the future, I just have not done so up till now).

I could handle a TV show between movies. My only concern would be needing to sign up for Disney's streaming service to be able to see it...


Tolkien May Come To TV

The news that Warner Brothers and the estate of JRR Tolkien are in talks concerning a possible TV series is an interesting and perhaps inevitable turn in the days of lavish TV productions. 

It appears talks are involving Netflix, Amazon and HBO,  and the asking price for the rights to the properties alone are pretty impressive - a couple of hundred million dollars.

Q4OS Linux On An Old Windows Laptop

Windows XP and Windows Vista are not truly dead, they continue to linger on in older computers, yet they are both obsolete, unsupported operating systems. What options are available to users of older desktops and laptops "Designed for Windows XP"? 

Most reasonably-informed people might suggest installing a lightweight Linux distro, since this older hardware would be rendered pretty much unusable by Windows 10 (if it would even load properly). But which distro?

A "new" one came to my attention the other day from Techsupport Alert (aka Gizmo's Freeware) in the form of Q4OS, a Debian-based distro that looks a lot like Windows XP and runs on older hardware. 


Audacity 2.2.0 - Sounds Good!

Audacity is a rather wonderful free, open source and cross-platform audio editor and recorder, and the development team have announced a new release featuring some themes, support for Midi files, full support for macOS 10.12 (sierra) and a raft of bug fixes.

Love this software! The release notes are here.

iPhone X Musings

From the Rambling Comments Department - so, the iPhone X is out; you can tell from the glut of unboxing videos on YouTube. Is there anything that screams "first world" more than an unboxing video, other than perhaps gold-plated toilets?

Regardless, the iPhone X is out in the wild, and I am still not too sure what all the fuss is about. Now, I should confess upfront that I am pretty tight with a buck, and even if I had a grand to spend freely I doubt I would spend it on a smartphone. Any smartphone.

To me the new model is another incremental improvement, not the paradigm-shifting marvel that CEO Tim Cook proclaimed it to be at the launch event. What's he going to say, though? 

I realize Apple still makes cool, good looking stuff, but I think it's less cool of late and I feel they are starting to bang up against the law of diminishing returns. How much longer will Apple customers demand a new iPhone model every year? 

I guess we are not at a turning point yet, but I do detect not a little of the "Ah, but next years model will be so-and-so..." already lurking among some of the online crowing? 

Kinda like us Cleveland Indians fans: "That was a fun season, but next year we will win it all...".