Archive for February, 2013

life: Blockbuster video on-demand

Back in the day, there was a Blockbuster store right down the street from my house. My family would go in on the weekends and pick on a DVD to rent. That Blockbuster store is now gone. And so are many others. Now the closest store is a 15 minute drive away. Since I’ve had Netflix, I haven’t thought about Blockbuster. And if something wasn’t available on Netflix, I’d look at Amazon streaming rentals. Literally a couple of windows away from that old Blockbuster store is a Redbox kiosk.

So when I was in the mood for a movie yesterday, I couldn’t find what I was looking for on Netflix. Or Redbox. Or Amazon. So on a whim I looked at blockbuster.com and found their streaming rental service, Blockbuster On Demand. Instead of running a monthly subscription, it is on a per-rental basis (pay for what you use). So I can keep an account there for occasional use without hitting recurring charges. When streaming, it doesn’t play in your browser like Netflix, they have a standalone app for Mac, PC, and Android (curiously, not for iOS). I watched an old 80’s movie, so I can’t speak much to the picture quality due to the master, but it did stream flawlessly. I found a movie to watch, and nobody else had it.

So it’s worth giving Blockbuster a shot. Will this be enough to help them survive as a company? Looks like they are playing their cards right from and end user’s perspective, but it won’t be the same Blockbuster store down the street – those are likely gone forever.

cool stuff that doesn't cost much &life tips marcelk 28 Feb 2013 No Comments

tech: O’Reilly webcasts

A coworker pointed out to me today that O’Reilly media has ongoing webcasts on a number of current technical topics. After browsing through the very interesting slides for optimization of mobile web sites, I was impressed and will be going back often to see what is coming up. Nice job, Tim, you may convince me to buy some more books.

tech tips marcelk 25 Feb 2013 No Comments

life: art of manliness

Today’s society seems adrift in its definition of what it means to be a man. A good man, and one who has confidence, serves others, and grows. My hip brother-in-law got me connected to the newsletter from The Art Of Manliness. I don’t necessarily agree with absolutely everything they say, but I do like most of it. It’s got good advice for someone who is refining their character, even at an advanced age like me. ;-)

life tips marcelk 25 Feb 2013 No Comments

tech: installing Couchdb on RHEL the easy way

Thinking of installing Couchdb on Linux using the source? You’ll be at it for a while, there are lots of dependencies. And if you don’t do it right, couchdb doesn’t have great debug info that helps you find what went wrong.

If you have RHEL / CentOS / Fedora, I came across this great set of instructions that uses Fedora’s EPEL repository to make installing couchdb a simple single invocation of yum. Yup, no compilations of source, and the pre-reqs are taken care of for you. It’s definitely the way to go.

It won’t install the bleeding edge version. But for my purposes, I’m OK with that.

tech tips marcelk 22 Feb 2013 No Comments

life: a flashlight

Every person needs a good small flashlight. I used to think that a Maglite Mini was the reference. Well built, but bright? But then I found the Ultrafire WF-502B. It uses a Cree LED rated at 900 lumens, which is way brighter than anything else I’ve found. It also uses an Ultrafire 18650 battery, which is not a typical AA battery. That battery is slightly larger than an AA, but outputs 3.7 volts at 3000mAh. At Amazon I got the flashlight (no battery) for $11 and two batteries and a charger for $13. I carry it in my laptop bag. I really like the brightness, it’s amazing compared to other flashlights I’ve owned, even ones that take D cell batteries.

Disclaimer: I do own Cree stock.

life tips marcelk 17 Feb 2013 No Comments