Lies, lies, lies (at least the MSM is finally starting to wake up)
The Obamacare website has 500 million lines of code, yet just 50 thousand simultaneous users crashes the system.
It has been estimated that only 60% of the entire system has been completed (there is no back-end).
The unfinished Obamacare website codebase is 5x larger than Windows 8 and Facebook combined!
The seminal book on IT productivity The Mythical Man-Month claims that on average a programmer can create as many as 6 lines of code per day.
How did they get this much code? An Obamacare website programmer would have to write thousands per day.
Here are some other large websites for comparison –
7 million simultaneous users
80 million lines of code
20 million lines of code
727 million daily users
1.2 billion monthly users
10 million concurrent users
20 million daily users
55 million unique monthly users
85 million unique monthly users
On December 1, 2013 the Obamacare website was declared completed
Update – On January 1 the HHS claimed that there were around 2 million people who signed up for Obamacare. I’ll skip over all of the arguments that these ‘official’ numbers are vastly inflated and just do some simple math. 5 million people were forced out of their existing policies in 2013. 2 million are now insured through Obamacare. This results in a net loss of 3 million insured Americans. Good work!
Moving the Goalpost
The Empire State Building looks done to me
The Hindenberg completed 80% of it’s landing
People often comment on my photographs. It usually goes something like this – “What camera do you have?” or “Wow, you must have a nice camera!”
No tool can replace the photographer’s eye.
This brings me to the leftovers – A-1 body, 50mm lens, and the winder. I have a lot of toys on my desk and the old A-1 seems to fit right in. I like just looking at it and picking it up every once in a while. I think it’s found a new home…….
Shot with my Canon 7D]]>
If your new SSD is smaller than your old drive you will first need to shrink the old drive to an equal or lesser size. I’m assuming you will be replacing your old C: drive (boot volume).
You should be noticing some speed improvements around now. This is not a magic bullet. It will not turn an old dog of a PC into a speed demon. The PC won’t actually run faster but programs will now load very quickly.]]>
As much as I Dislike Apple, I’m very glad to have the opportunity to play with an iPhone without a huge commitment on my part. It’s great when the company pays. Here are my thoughts on this device after a few month of using it in a corporate environment.
The built-in Safari Browser is great, it’s miles beyond BB, WinMo and other older mobile browsers
The device itself is fast enough (hard to quantify, but I know what is too slow and this is OK)
There are some very good apps (the BB in particular sucks in this regard)
The on-screen keyboard is at least as good/easy as the BB (I have big hands -the Torch is even tinier)
The predictive text is really bad – so bad it becomes an amusement
The display is excellent
There are a few interface annoyances that seem poorly thought out, particularly in the browser
The main interface is simple and becomes uninteresting quickly compared to say Android
iTunes is horrible
iTunes App Store is horrible – only way to find something is to know its name
It’s not great for Mail when compared to the BB
Contacts are handled oddly (multiple books, one way sync with Outlook: desktop –> phone)
It looks gorgeous – design is great, but…..
Manual sync of email password is required when it expires (corporate policies)
The phone experience is poor (this is the main purpose no?)
The seamless Wifi integration is good
Only a single 15minute meeting warning alarm (meetings – you know for work)
The auto-correct feature is hilarious, but possibly the most irritating feature of iOS. If you decide to turn it off you also lose spelling correction.
No way to copy music to the device or download updates without iTunes
The battery life is a small fraction of the BB (BB easily 3-4 days, iPhone lucky if you get 24 hours)
The tiny Apple white cube charger is very slow (not as strong as other larger USB chargers)
Lately I have been experiencing a rapid discharge of the battery (~8 hours sitting idle) – something is wrong
The iPhone is less business-like than the BB (more fun = less time on work)
Over 1/3 of folks here who initially got an iPhone have traded them in for a BB Torch. This amazes me. Given a choice, people wanted the iPhone. After using it, they wanted to go back to the BB.
The iPhone is a much better smartphone than my 4 year old Winmo or any of the current BBs, but there are other choices that can more than compete in this arena. It’s good, but no longer reigns supreme. It has a lot of small deficiencies in the corporate environment, but I won’t be trading it in for a BB. Perhaps things will be fixed and become less boring with the iPhone5. Is this the phone for me? I have a really hard time with such a complete sell-out to the Apple walled garden ecosystem, so the answer is No. My next personal cell phone will not be an iPhone. I’ll use my company iPhone whenever I need some slacker cred, but it’s not really me!
These Media Streaming boxes all offer similar types of network services – NetFlix, Hulu Pro, Flickr, Amazon Streaming, YouTube, and Web Channels. Read the reviews carefully to ensure that your intended use is available. I went with the WDTV because it was so highly rated for it’s ability to stream content from my LAN (NAS Storage).
WD TV Live Plus
They will need either a Streaming box (from the previous suggestion) or a component already in the Home Theater that can handle this so check first. They now offer both ‘Disk & Streaming’ and ‘Streaming Only’ packages. My BluRay Player can handle NetFlix, but many TVs can do this now too.
This tiny keyboard can really make using online services like YouTube a breeze. It’s such a pain to type with just a D-Pad. Make sure your gear can use this before purchasing. It works fine with the WDTV box.
My sub-woofer is powered On all the time unless I manually switch it off. My receiver had no powered outlet to handle this task. This special outlet strip was the perfect solution for me – saves electricity too!
This is a great way to improve the bottom end.
The Harmony One is the heart and soul of my Home Theater system. Read my review HERE.
Can’t go wrong here! My suggestion – lots of exploding helicopters….. (c8
How about upgrading the TV Package to the next level? They already have ‘America’s Top 100’? Get them the ‘Top 250’ package. See if they have or would desire the local network programming (same as you get with an antenna).
Most providers ‘rent’ their DVR. Pay for a years worth. Check with the provider carefully as they sometimes have small additional costs besides the hardware rental.
Do they have an HD TV and no BluRay Player? Prices have Really come down recently. Read the reviews and pay particular attention to the startup time. Don’t forget a disk or two (one of the best BluRay players is the Sony Play Station 3, but it’s on the more costly side)
Nerd Alert – This Suggestion is only for the nerdliest recipients (see if they have a smartphone).
THIS is what I’m adding to my system (special DVR model required).
Nothing reduces cable clutter quite like having cables that are made to the exact length you need. No loops or tangles. I can hear you now – the Monster Cable I bought cost $250….. Check MonoPrice out. They have such great prices you have to buy extras just to get your order to be more than the shipping!
This is a great way to organize that nest of cables behind your Home Theater cabinet. This gift would work perfectly in combination with the previous one. Oh and don’t forget the labor.
A properly calibrated system can make a huge difference in how your system looks and sounds. These DIY Calibration Systems are not perfect, but they do a decent job. Depending on how nerdly the recipient is, either just offer to do it (keep the disk for yourself) or let them have the disk and do it themselves.
So much of our Home Theater gear requires a network connection. This would be a nice gift for the unwired home that still needs network connectivity for the Home Theater. These are necessarily manufacturer dependent (check what the manufacturer offers first, but also see if something more generic will work).
Try Home Depot for some pre-finished shelves and mounting hardware. Think about future growth of the collection as you plan. Don’t forget to offer your labor to install them.
I have a large collection of disks and these Inexpensive Dividers add such a polished touch. Enjoy that link. I searched a coons age for these.
This Software is great for large collection. It can output a web page so your collection can be online. If you have a lot of movies, consider buying or borrowing a barcode reader. It will save you hours when you are doing the initial data entry. You simply scan the barcode (or type it in) and the software fills in all of the details for each movie (similar to IMDB). An inexpensive barcode scanner makes short work of the initial data entry.
These Stands and Supports are a really nice finishing touch – don’t forget to offer the labor.
This is receiver dependent. Figure if your target receiver can use one. They are usually made by the receiver manufacturer.
B&H Photo & Video
You may find cheaper prices elsewhere, but always start here. The sweetness of a low price is short lived, while the bitter aftertaste of poor service can last a long time.
Google ‘flash modifier’ or ‘flash diffuser’ and check out the many different designs that are available. Stofen, Gary Fong, Harbour Digital are brands worth checking out. You can even DIY. I’m looking for this one in my stocking this year.
Geotagging your Photos is loads of fun. Sites like Flickr and Picassa will place your tagged photos on a map. It’s really fun to see who else took photos nearby. Lots of choices here too – check the selection at Semsons. My personal favorite is the AMOD AGL 3080. You can read my thoughts about it HERE. Don’t forget the software you’ll need (it’s free) – GeoSetter
Just a block of plastic with 2 or 3 spirit levels in it. Just slide it into your hotshoe for level shots. Photo Jojo has them.
In my experience with Canon DSLRs and Battery Packs, 2 batteries are enough. If the camera uses AA batteries you might think about a rechargeable kit like the Sanyo Eneloop. These new batteries have one outstanding feature – they don’t discharge when you aren’t using them. They even come fully charged!
A fast memory card is really nice when you are downloading images to your PC. I really like the Sandisk Extreme series. Stick with the name brand here – it matters. If your camera uses SD cards you may be interested in a Eye-Fi card. It’s a combination memory card and Wifi Adapter.
I got one of these earlier this year and I love it. They come in Canon or Nikon models and look like the real thing. Available at Photo JoJo (check out their store for other great Photo Toys)
Gorilla Pods come in a great variety of styles that will work for a Compact P&S or a full sized DSLR. They have magnetic models and even one that is designed to support a flash.
Upgrade your photog’s favorite Photo Mangler to the latest version
The Flickr Pro membership allows you to have unlimited photo storage.
A small, bright flashlight is a requirement IMHO. Try to get a split ring and attach a snap hook so it’s always available clipped to your bag.
A basic version (even the name brands) are just a switch on a short wire. There are also a wide range of inexpensive wireless models too as well as some that can shoot at intervals (for time-lapse).
This is a great upgrade for any camera rig. I love my Optech strap.
An 18% grey card is the perfect tool for determining the correct exposure in difficult situations.
A reflective surface supported by a springy metal ring. A hand held reflector can give your shots that professional look. These often serve double duty by acting as a manual white balance target.
Look at LowePro Bags for ideas. Lots of other brands are equally nice.
The current thought about using UV filters on your lenses for protection is – Don’t! There are some good reasons for this, but you do lose a measure of protection. A stiff lens hood makes a decent substitute as it fulfills its real purpose. I have one for each of my lenses (every lens has a different model hood). You store them by reversing the hood and leaving it on the lens.
This is not for the faint of heart. Much research is needed before this should be attempted. They come in different sizes that match your camera’s sensor. I’ve used ones from American Recorder with some success.
It looks like something from Buck Rodgers, but is really a simple blower for removing dust.
These are special cloths that are designed to remove foreign material from your lenses with scratch the glass or coatings. Avoid the ‘kits’ with lots of useless junk and fluids. You might want to look at a Lenspen for something a bit more high tech that accomplishes the same thing.
How about a set of replacement Ink Cartridges? Shop around for a set (all colors in a pack) as they are a bit cheaper than individual cartridges (NewEgg offers these). Alternatively how about some nice paper stock? I love the heavy papers from Red River, but there other choices like card stock or even a few reams of regular inkjet paper.
The components were all connected with a ‘network cable’ that allowed them to talk to each other. To listen to a CD you only had to turn on the CD player and it would switch on all of the other components and set up the inputs to play the CD. If you switched on the Turntable, it would switch everything over to that input automatically. I used it a lot for around 20 years. I used it to educate my children with the Beatles, Beach Boys, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and Jazz. Over the last ten years I’ve hardly used it at all. Now I listen to music on portable systems (Zune with Etymotics ER4 ear buds), very nice audio systems in my cars, and on my computer. For critical listening on my computer I start with a high end Creative X-Fi sound card, into a wonderful little T-Amp that I built (modded), and finally drive a pair of Klipsch RB35 reference speakers. Since I installed my new HT System in the living room, my Kenwood HiFi has been sitting in the basement covered in plastic.
You can read about my T-AMP project here – http://hugger.us/?p=27
I still believe there is a value in high quality audio. My listening habits have changed over the years, but I still hate compromising on audio quality. I’ll get to my point now. I love quality electronic gear and my home theater reflects this –
I rarely use this system to listen to music except as background (with Pandora). This system is mainly for watching video. I didn’t mention the speakers and here is where I differ from the popular, expert opinions I often hear. I can possibly see a value in spending more for a good Center Channel speaker and a good Sub-Woofer. Installing huge floor standing stereo speakers for the L&R front channels seems like a waste to me. This also applies to any other channels you may have (5.1, 7.1, Height, etc). I’ve heard it stated that 90% of the audio from a movie comes out of the Center channel. I just can’t see spending thousands on the L&R fronts when they are of such minor importance to cinematic sound. I ‘need’ my speakers to sound OK for video and also take up little space (small living room). I have found that these Yamaha speakers fill my needs very well –
I understand that these small speakers are full of compromises. I also trust that some engineer at Yamaha designed them to sound as good as possible within the capabilities of the receiver and design constraints. My HT is not a dedicated room where I could hide the speaker so smaller satellite style speakers were a definite plus. I have the three identical front speakers flush mounted on the wall*** and the two rears are on adjustable wall mounts. For my needs and budget they are fine. My speakers are in phase and balanced. TV and even cinematic audio rarely involve a pure stereo musical listening experience (the exception being the big soundtrack movies like Top Gun). Most of the time the music is in the background with effects and dialog on top. This argument is similar to one I remember from years ago – high end audio in your car is dumb. The car is so noisy to begin with, high end audio is wasted. Yes, there are minimum quality levels that are acceptable. I simply believe that above those minimum levels the benefits drop off exponentially as cost increases. My HTIB audio system is not the best, it is good, perhaps even very good and doesn’t deserve the harsh opinions that systems of this type often receive. There are two major shortcomings of this HTIB that require some minor work to overcome. The Yamaha remote is simply horrible. This is easily overcome with the Harmony One. The second shortcoming is how power to the Subwoofer is controlled. It’s always powered on. There is no audio sensing circuitry that will turn it on when needed. The receiver has no switched power outlet on the back (no non-switched either). This was solved with a current sensing power strip. When the power strip senses the receiver power on, it turn on the subwoofer.
I was listening to the Home Theater Geeks podcast by Scott Wilkinson this week. He is a true audiophile at heart and firmly believes in all that label entails. His guest this week was very interesting if you can get past his personality – Jeff Rona. Jeff is a musician and makes a living scoring movies. He uses top-of-the-line Pro Audio gear in calibrated environments all day for his work. His home theater is much more modest. His reasons for this were music to my ears. The last 20 minutes of the interview is where he describes his home system.
Home theater Geeks interview with Jeff Rona – http://twit.tv/htg36
I have my TV wall mounted on an articulated Sanus mount. I have a window in the center of the wall and love the ability to move the TV over to the side when not in use (doesn’t block the window). Sometime I just watch it from the side. The wall mounted center speaker was sometimes several feet away from the TV. I recently found a center speaker mount from Sanus that securely holds the center speaker just below the TV. Now it’s perfectly placed no matter where the TV is positioned.