Monday, February 11, 2008

Well, I love my Xbox360 HD-DVD drive, and watching full 1080p HD-DVD movies on the Elite model. I've bought about 10 or so HD-DVDs and have rented a few from NetFlix recently. But, in what is looking more and more like an inevitably certain format death, Netflix announced today that it will no longer be stocking new HD-DVD releases, and they'll eventually phase out the current titles from their stock.

In fact, as I was writing this post an email from Netflix just arrived that explains the change:

netflix We're Going Blu-ray

Dear Greg,

You're receiving this email because you have asked to receive high-definition movies in the HD DVD format. As you may have heard, most of the major movie studios have recently decided to release their high-definition movies exclusively in the Blu-ray format. In order to provide the best selection of high-definition titles for our members, we have decided to go exclusively with Blu-ray as well.

blu-ray While we will continue to make our current selection of HD DVD titles available to you for the next several months, we will not be adding additional HD DVD titles or reordering replacements.

Toward the end of February, HD DVDs in your Saved Queue will automatically be changed to standard definition DVDs. Then toward the end of this year, all HD DVDs in your Queue will be changed to standard definition DVDs. Don't worry, we will contact you before this happens.

You can click here to change your format preferences.

We're sorry for any inconvenience. If you have any questions or need further assistance, please call us at 1 (888) 638-3549.

-The Netflix Team

Well, sometimes you make a bet and you lose.

So, my (our) options at this point appear to be...

    1. Wait around, hope against hope, and pray that HD-DVD miraculously sees a resurgence (umm, yeah...)
    2. Hope someone builds a dual-format drive for the Xbox360 that can replace the one I have now (not likely)
    3. Buy one of the new dual-format/combo drives that you can put in a PC and go that route (possibility, depending on what they end up costing, and I have to think about how and where I want to play movies)
    4. Buy a PS3 (ouch, in so many ways)
    5. Just give in and buy a Blu-ray stand-alone player (but I wonder if I should wait til they drop in price some more, they ain't cheap)

Any other ideas? Let me know!



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Movies | Tech
Monday, February 11, 2008 12:52:32 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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I've been a monthly customer of T-Mobile's hotspot service for a few years. I used the service almost exclusively at Starbucks stores. So, with the new announcement that AT&T and Starbucks will be offering two-hour chunks of use for free if you have a Starbucks card (the refillable type) as well as a $20 per month unlimited use option. It looks like I will no longer need the more-expensive T-Mobile account. The only time I've ever used it outside of Starbucks was at airport locations (Red Carpet Club), and I'm not flying as much as I used to (thank goodness).

You can't really beat free WiFi, and it's everywhere these days (except Starbucks), so this is a smart move in my mind.

From BetaNews:

While final pricing structures could change, some details have come out: the service will cost $3.99 for two hours of Internet access. But those customers who register and use their Starbucks card will receive two hours of free access per day. An unlimited plan is available for $19.99, which includes access to over 70,000 AT&T hotspots worldwide.

Existing T-Mobile HotSpot customers aren't being left out in the cold; thanks to an agreement with AT&T, they can continue to access the Wi-Fi at Starbucks without paying extra.

(full story)

Also, see the ars techncia coverage at this link.



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Mobile | Tech
Monday, February 11, 2008 12:10:33 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Saturday, February 09, 2008

I don't think I have actually mentioned it here before (oops), but I use Twitter on a semi-regular basis to jot down PocketTweets Screenshot (click for the site)thoughts, post my "status" and keep an eye on what some other people are doing. My Twitter name is greghughes (go figure), so feel free to add me to your follow list, or whatever. :)

Twitter has a mobile client (at m.twitter.com, but note that it only works on a mobile device) that works, but it's pretty basic and feature-incomplete. So, since I had some time this evening I decided to look around for software (to run on the PC) and web-based (for the iPhone) clients.

I found a few options, including a really nice web-based client specifically made for the iPhone (or the iPod Touch) called PocketTweets, which is clean in appearance and includes pretty much all the Twitter functionality. I can post my own Twitter updates (called "Tweets"), send replies to others, or anything else on Twitter I might want. It's certainly better than any of the other clients I found. Very cool.

Next I need to find a good Windows client that won't crash when run on a 64-bit OS. I've been using Snitter, which is pretty okay but doesn't quite work (update) reliably enough in my experience and I'm not much of a fan of bright and contrasty color schemes. Any ideas?



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Blogging | Mobile | Tech
Saturday, February 09, 2008 8:12:38 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Wednesday, February 06, 2008

WTFs/m - that's perfect! I think my good QA friend Brent would probably agree (and laugh out loud)... Mild cartoon language follows, but the humor is worth it.

WTFs/m.

(discovered via Robert Hensing's blog)



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Humor | Tech
Wednesday, February 06, 2008 7:05:25 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Richard and I spent about 30 minutes the other day chatting with Bil Simser, all-around good guy and MS SharePoint MVP since 2004. SharePoint is a set of technologies I have been involved with since before day one, if that's even possible. I remember vividly deploying SharePoint Portal Server 2001 as a secure extranet site (something it really wasn't intended to do) before it was even released. SharePoint's come a long, long way since then for sure!

It's common for IT professionals to have SharePoint shoved into their laps unsuspectingly by users or prospective users as a platform for business intelligence or document management or collaboration, so it's a good idea to be aware, try it out, see what you can do with it (and what you can't), and what it takes to properly design, build, deploy and manage in the environment.

Listen to the show for analogies, buzz words, licensing, planning, components and other important things to think about when you find yourself in the world of SharePoint.

Bil Simser On Managing Sharepoint (MP3 link)
from RunAs Radio podcast

Richard and Greg talk to Bil Simser about the challenges of managing Sharepoint 2007. Bil points us to the SharePoint Capacity Tool (www.shrinkster.com/uhw) and comparisons between Windows SharePoint Services and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (www.shrinkster.com/ui1). Check out Bil's blog at www.shrinkster.com/uhv.



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RunAs Radio | SharePoint | Tech
Wednesday, February 06, 2008 4:33:21 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Awesome. Another Improv Everywhere "mission," everyone frozen in place in Grand Central Station at precisely the same time. No need to say more, really - just watch, it's great.

 

Story and some cool pictures here, and other missions are listed here. Thanks to Jake (once again) for pointing to something cool.



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Humor | Random Stuff
Wednesday, February 06, 2008 2:05:53 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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