The Other 2013 Obituaries

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Forget about those who died in 2013.

 

This blog posting is all about those other things that died in 2013.  Some you recognize, some you may never have heard of, but to me they all had some social attachment.

 

So here we go:

 

First up we lost Newsweek from the print universe at the first of the year.  As some of you who follow this blog know that I had a subscription to this magazine and had many problems to get a substitute magazine sent to me.  Unfortunately, I lost about 4 months of my subscription because of these idiots.  The digital version never worked for me on either of my computers.  Rumor is now that the company has been sold that the print version is returning back in the near future.  I really am not looking forward to this.

 

We also lost 2 computer magazines this year.  One was the popular PCWorld magazine.  It published its last issue back in August.  It is now just a digital only magazine.  I enjoyed this magazine much more since the departure of PCMagazine a few years ago, which also went digital.  PCWorld was the last U.S. based general purpose magazine dedicated to the general computer user.  Yes, I know that Maximum PC still exists, but it is more of an advanced magazine, not one catering to all user levels.  Maybe someday one of these 2 magazines will be resurrected in print someday.  Ironically, MACWorld, the company’s companion magazine still exists in a print format.  This is funny because Apple is so much into the iPad devices that still having a print publication seems backward for a company that believes in going so deep into being digital.

 

The other computer magazine we lost last year was Game Developer Magazine.  Many of you may never have heard of this magazine.  I started reading this magazine when it premiered way back in 1994.  I purchased it at the nearest Waldensoftware store which was located in the late Newington Mall in Newington New Hampshire.  In fact, I made monthly trips of 50 miles just to get this magazine on a regular basis.  At the time it really was that good.  It was one of a very few magazines that published source code to games like the old Compute!  Magazine did years earlier.  After Waldensoftware closed, I was unable to get the magazine for a couple of years until Borders started carrying it.  Eventually, they stopped carrying the magazine, but I was able to secure a subscription for the last couple of years directly from the company for free.  Sadly, the last couple of years the magazine had changed from publishing source code to being a magazine that just told about case studies of computer gaming companies and their software instead.  It certainly was a sad way to see this magazine end.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t live on in any format; however pdf versions of the magazines along with the source code are still readily available online.  I am not posting a link to it, however, because I don’t know about the legality of this archive on the website that I have seen it on.

 

Even though it officially went out of business of January 12 of this year, Blockbuster video store was really dead last year.  It has been months since the chain has had a store in Maine and I don’t remember seeing one in a very long time.  However, I once tried to get employment at the one that was once across the street from the local mall.  Unfortunately, they expected so much to be done for absolute minimum wage and getting a raise was certainly not guaranteed anytime in the foreseeable future.  So I declined the offer to work for them and never regretted it.  The company still has an active website and still apparently sells videos by mail and on demand, but no physical locations exist.  Unfortunately, many other video chains have bitten the dust as well last year as well.

 

The TV series “The Goldbergs” gave a fitting eulogy to the video store in a recent episode.  It certainly brought back memories of the 1980’s and the way things were then.  If you lived in the 1980’s, I highly recommend this show.

 

Finally, there is the Hilltop Steakhouse in Saugus Massachusetts.  It served its last meal in October and most of the items were auctioned off in December.  Unfortunately, I never got to have my last meal there because the restaurant closed before the end of the month of October and we went down about 2 weeks before the end of the month only to find it had already closed.  Certainly was a sad ending with no real closure and I really was looking forward to that last meal there.

 

So there you have it:  my list of other obituaries of the year of 2013.  Hopefully, I won’t have a list for 2014, but you never know.

 

 

 

Time Warner Cable Kicks Standard Definition to the Curb?

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Well, last night Time Warner Cable (TWC) did yet another bonehead thing.

 

For the second night in a row a little after 3am, the cable boxes in my house rebooted.  Thinking that this was just another quick reboot that happens every Monday night, I thought nothing much until I started tuning into the low end channels that I usually tune in to.

 

I turned on to the Disney Channel (the standard definition version) and noticed that the description said DISNHD and the box indicated a higher than 480p resolution.  The picture was also a widescreen picture, not the standard cropped picture that I was used to for the channel.

 

It appears something was wrong.

 

So I checked the local ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and CW channels.

 

All were the same widescreen HD channels on the low numbers.

 

This isn’t good I thought as using these low numbers with a DVR will chew up as much space as their comparable HD station number.

 

Of course, I didn’t have the AutoHD feature enabled and checking the program guide proved that all the local stations along with many of the other cable channels were replaced by their HD counterparts on the lower cable numbers.

 

So the real question now is:  does TWC plan on changing how it stores programs on customer’s DVRs to compensate for this channel change.

 

What makes matters worse is that today I received a letter in the mail stating that TWC plans on changing their entire lineup above channel 99.  However, this doesn’t answer the question if the lower end channels will remain HD channels or return them back to the standard definition to save DVR space on shows that I don’t care about.

 

Certainly I don’t believe that I am not alone not happy about either of these changes.  After all, the channel numbers have been the same for many years and changing them now is neither logical nor practical.  The only plus side to this change is that it would allow for more of the same types of channels to be added (or subtracted)  at a future date.

 

I hope this HD conversion is just temporary as the new lineup is supposed to kick in in a few weeks. But until then, it looks like continued cable hell from everybody’s most hated cable company.

2013 and 2014 Predictions

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For those of you who don’t read my other blog, I make annual predictions of what I expect for the New Year.  This year I am moving my predictions to this blog as I feel it is much more appropriate here.

 

Let’s see how last year fared:

  • JCPenney will be out of business by year’s end.  The revamped store format just won’t work  (this didn’t happen yet)
  • Sears will spin off Kmart to survive on its own.  It won’t work and Kmart will inevitably die off.  (didn’t happen despite closing several Kmart stores including the one I have previously shopped at in Portsmouth, NH)
  • Another mass shooting brings the U.S. government to ban all automatic and semi-automatic weapons no matter what the NRA says. (shootings happened, but no ban)
  • Chicago murders will top 750 by year’s end.  (nowhere near that number which is good news)
  • Kim Kardashian aborts her baby after public break-up with Kanye West much against her family’s wishes. (didn’t happen)
  • Ali Lohan, Lindsay’s younger sister, will join her older sister for a Playboy layout. (didn’t happen, but Lindsay did appear nude in an NC-17 film)
  • A major earthquake will strike in Alaska disrupting the oil pipeline in the area.  It will be disrupted for at least 4 weeks and gas will go up to at least $4/gallon again. (earthquake never happened)
  • Simon Cowell calls Demi Lovato his “new Paula” as he decides to keep her for another season of “X Factor”.  Unfortunately, Mario Lopez will be running solo as another Kardashian sees herself out of a job.  (mostly correct, but Lovato is gone for the 4th season)
  •  “American Idol” will have a female winner for the first time in a few years.  However, the drama between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey increases as the weeks go on causing both to storm off the show for at least 2 episodes.  Replacement judges are called in to fill in until the two return.  (female winner yes, however the fireworks kept both on the show)
  • Beyoncé will have a wardrobe malfunction on the Super Bowl.  However, she won’t even realize it happened.  (no wardrobe malfunction, but we question whether she performed her songs live)
  • Nickelodeon cancels Big Time Rush, but the show is picked up by Disney Channel for a fall schedule addition.  (cancelled and broken up – no future for any show)
  • Hilary and Haylie Duff will return for a TV movie in 2013.  More than likely to air on ABC Family channel(Haylie had a Christmas movie, but Hilary nowhere to be found)
  • And finally my former want-to-be girlfriend Tanya will return to Maine wanting to get a real relationship going after her stint in California didn’t quite work out  not calling her because I misplaced her phone number.  (I will have more to say about this in my other blog at a future date—all I can say is that it didn’t end the way I ever thought it would)

Overall, I did better than last year.  I got 2 ½ correct.  Let’s see what the crystal ball has up its sleeve for this year.

  • Justin Bieber will go to jail.
  • Kim Kardashian will admit that “Baby North” really never existed and that her pregnancy was fake.
  • Kim Kardashian will marry and divorce Kanye West all within the year.
  • RadioShack will be out of business.
  • JCPenney will be out of business.
  • Kmart will be out of business.
  • Amanda Bynes returns to TV in a new comedy show, but will also do an interview with Oprah describing the last few years.
  • Time Warner Cable will be sold and broken up into pieces leaving smaller markets such as where I live without any providers at all.  This means that many small independent cable operators will start up after many years.
  • Lady Gaga will do a Playboy layout proving that he/she is dual gendered leaving many fans disgusted.
  • Nickelodeon will scrap “Sam & Cat” and Dan Schneider will leave the network and produce shows for rival Disney.
  • Hilary Duff will divorce and sister Haylie will marry.
  • ABCFamily cancels that horrible “The Vineyard” and “Twisted”.
  • Fox News fires Karl Rove after making offensive statements that the network hates.

I predict out of this year’s 13 that at least 3 of them will be true.  We will find out a year from now.

 

 

2014 – Redo from Start

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Here we are at 2014.

 

Much has changed from a year ago.

 

Time Warner Cable has finally brought back the Ovation Channel after a year of being off the air.

 

However, we said a sad goodbye to SOAPNet as this channel kicked the bucket.  This channel showed reruns of soap operas, but also showed reruns of “Veronica Mars”.  Since this show is getting a big screen reboot later this year, this was a kick in the face to this niche show.

 

We also saw an updated navigator system which is a significant improvement from the old system, but still needs a lot of work to be perfect.

 

As far as the rest of the world is concerned, much has changed.  Some of which I will discuss in my next week’s posting along with a look back at last year’s predictions and dusting off the crystal ball for another year.

 

I am looking forward to getting at least 100 followers of this blog by midyear and near 200 by the end of the year.  It is optimistic but I think if the word spreads it can and will happen.

 

As we look ahead toward my 100th post, I plan on talking about what has happened in the first 99 posts with additional thoughts.  I hope that most of you will join me in my journey in what I have to say.  As always, you can email me or tweet me ideas of what you would like to see discussed in this blog.  I am always up for suggestions as sometimes it is hard to come up with new thoughts occasionally.  At least I have the next half dozen or so ideas lined up, but send me your ideas nonetheless.  I will keep them anonymous unless otherwise requested.

 

This post may be short this week, but I promise much more next time.