Predictions of 2015 and 2016

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It is now 2016 and that time of year where the predictions are made.

 

First a quick look back at 2015.  To be honest, 2015 will be known as the year of being ignored, not just a little bit but by virtually everyone I knew and the public in general.  Am I really that invisible?  Last time I checked I still was somewhat visible.  Hopefully, 2016 will be a better year, but so far it has not been any better.

 

2016 also marks what would have been my 20th anniversary with Staples.  Unfortunately, I never even made it to the 13th year before I was terminated.  Looking back now I am sort of glad that I was terminated before the company collapsed.

 

Speaking of companies collapsing, I also had 2 other jobs back in 1996 as well.  I was terminated from Woolworth in March of that year and I worked at HQ for 7 weeks during the summer of that year.  Both companies were gone by mid-1997 and I escaped both before they fell.  Staples seem to follow suit as they are not doing very well today.  During the coming year, I will reflect on 20 years ago and give some insight into what really happened back then.

 

Now onto the predictions of 2015 where last year, I said that only 2 of my predictions would come true.  Let’s see how I did.  The results are in bold parenthesis.

 

  • The merger of Time Warner Cable and Comcast will be placed on hold as both companies would have to discharge some of their market holdings. (The possibly of this merger was dissolved.)
  • The possibility of a Staples/Office Max (Depot) merger is canned as neither side can agree on any merger details. (This merger is still in government negotiation.)
  • Given no merger, Office Max (Depot) shuts down at least half of their remaining locations.  (This did not happen.)
  • As well, Staples shuts down an additional 300 stores as the hack attack of 2014 grows larger.  (This did not quite happen—they shut down stores but not nearly that number.)
  • On the brink of bankruptcy, RadioShack is saved by a last-minute investor who wants to merge it with another big box retailer. (This did now quite happen but there are still some independent stores remaining.)
  • Walmart suffers a major hack attack, which causes millions of credit and debit cards to be compromised.  (This did not happen.)
  • The E! Network finally cancels everything Kardashian as the network struggles to survive.  (This did not happen.)
  • Adam West, TV’s 1960’s Batman, will be the voice of an aged Bruce Wayne on an episode of the Fox series “Gotham”.  (As far as I know, this did not happen.)
  • California will suffer a substantial earthquake in the area north of Los Angeles.  (This did not happen.)
  • Keystone pipeline will be defeated in Congress.  (This did happen.)
  • MTV will cancel “Eye Candy”.  (This did happen.)
  • My ex Tanya will get a divorce and return back to Maine wanting to search me out and try and patch things up. Of course, I accept (what choice do I have?).  (This only happened in my dreams or nightmares.)
  • I will either get a new job or a new girlfriend in 2015, but not both.  (I got neither but the girlfriend was closer to getting.)

Overall, I got 2 right and 2 half right so this could be called 3 right – one more than I had predicted.

So what does this year’s crystal ball have to offer—let’s gaze into it.

  • The Dow will slip to a low of 9,000.
  • JCPenney will file for bankruptcy and close all its stores.
  • Sears/Kmart will close at least half of their remaining locations before going out of business by year’s end.
  • OfficeDepot/OfficeMax will shut all their locations to allow Staples to buy the company and satisfy the government.
  • Playboy will have centerfolds again by September after suffering a huge drop in readers and its main focus will be on getting celebrities to pose for the pictures.
  • Nickelodeon will replace all its programming with imported teen shows similar to what happened to Teen Nick over the past few years.
  • Star Wars 8 will be delayed as a major accident on the set causes filming to cease.
  • The Muppets will not see a second season.
  • The Voice gets cancelled.
  • A new format superseding Blu-ray will be introduced, but will fail as it will not be embraced.
  • MTV, CMT and VH1 will merge into one station.
  • Windows 10 will experience a widespread update problem that causes updates to fail for weeks.
  • Kylie and Kendall Jenner will both get pregnant.

So those are my 13 predictions for the new year.  I predict that 4 of them will happen this year.  I am hedging my bet that my above average will carry over to this year.  We will check back next year to find out the results.

 

New Year, Old Problems?

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Well, here we are at 2015.

 

Did you notice any REAL differences from the year that past?

 

If you answered no, then you came to the right place.

 

If you answered yes, then you really came to the right place.

 

First off, let me say that this post is being placed into both of my blogs as I am only writing one year-end summary this year instead of two.

 

For those of you who read the annual report that I posted last week while I was off, let me say that I am more than disappointed by the results.

 

On the “Staples” and “Rants” blog, it seemed that more people were interested in my relationship with Tanya going south rather than most everything else.  It was sad that she decided to block me from all social media after her marriage.  Apparently, she never really cared about me whatsoever.  I am not the least bit surprised by that at all.

 

Both blogs also saw a lackluster number of comments to each.  Even though I limited the period for comments to 30 days after a post has been made, it still seems that I should have received more comments than I did.  Maybe it was because some people decided not to post rude comments as they knew they would be deleted anyway.

 

For all the bad things that my report stated, I am proud that the blogs continue to gain followers.  Granted the numbers are not huge yet, but I really would like to see the number close to 100 followers by this time next year.

 

Now onto the breakdown of each blog:

 

First we have the “Staples” blog.

 

The biggest topic of the year without a doubt was hacking.  I predicted the Staples hack about a year ago and by year’s end, Staples finally admitted that it was indeed hacked into.  However, their claim is that only about 115 stores were affected and a little over a million customers were affected.  I believe that Staples will eventually come clean with the real numbers as I believe that this was indeed a full company wide hack job.

 

I expect that hacking will continue to be a major topic in 2015 as companies will continue to do stupid things that will allow hackers to do their dirty duty.  With hacks such as the celebrity hacks and the Sony hack is only the beginning of something much bigger that will happen.  I really hate the idea of having to report this stuff as it just gets to be monotonous and just gets to be downright boring.

 

Besides the ongoing hacking scandals, I plan on discussing other topics as well.  My upcoming calendar includes (subject to change):

  • The continued decline of RadioShack.
  • The Night That Changed Everything.
  • org – Good Idea or Agenda driven.
  • Charity begins at home.

 

Along with these topics, I plan to continue my own story of my decline with the Staples Company.  After all, that was what this blog was originally set up as.  I don’t think I have actually strayed from my original goal, I just have taken many detours along the way and made several stops through this journey.  I am a long way from the end as if to say that there will actually be an end.

 

Now onto the “Rants” blog:

 

The major part of the blog this last year was dedicated to the continued decline of the Time Warner Cable service and how their so-called upgrades have caused more harm than good.

 

Certainly the political scene is scarred nationally and here in Maine by the onslaught of the republicans winning both the governorship again and taking control of the US Senate and the US House.

 

Probably the most popular topic of the year was my discussion of why I didn’t attend my high school reunion.  My belief is that some people can relate to what I am talking about and therefore I am continuing my story with a few more parts this year.

 

Television also was a topic of interest as well.  Some shows were complete failures while others have shined brightly.  Amongst my favorites are “Gotham”, the pre-Batman series and as I have mentioned before my absolute favorite show “Girl Meets World”.  This show blew me away with the Christmas episode reunion.  This is the way to do a reunion show and if you liked the older “Boy Meets World” series, the Christmas episode is a definite must-see.

 

I am less excited for the series “The Flash” as this show seems like it hasn’t completely broken away from the shadow of its birthmother of “Arrow”.  The crossover episodes were fun but the Flash may become a flash in the pan if the show doesn’t get more interesting.  They certainly have the villains from the comic books, but this show reminds me of the campy 1960’s Batman series.

 

Speaking of that series, it finally got its video release in 2014 in somewhat of grand style.  While this nearly $200 Blu-ray box set contains all 120 episodes and other special treats, it still is missing some episode content.  I still recommend this limited edition set despite its flaws.  A cheaper DVD box set also exists without all the extra products, but I still would ante for the better set while it is available.

 

So what is in store for 2015?  Here is a brief rundown of my possible topics:

 

  • The continuing story of why I didn’t attend my high school reunion.
  • TV Hits and Misses of the Season.
  • The biggest obituary of 2014 that was not reported.
  • Tag, Like, Share: A Dumb User’s Guide to Facebook failures.

 

Overall, 2014 saw its share of hatred against me.  From one person who wrote that I was a bad person and then stupidly liking that statement to the people who decided to unfriend me on Facebook and then not even having a logical reason why, this last year was a year of idiots showing their true colors.

 

I expect a better reception this year as things should get clearer in some aspects of my continuing drama and the drama of the rest of the world.

 

Speaking of getting clearer, next post will have my annual predictions as I once again bring out the crystal ball and look back on how I did last year and make new predictions for the year.  After that, the two blogs will hopefully separate into their own stories for most of the year.  I continue to plan on writing each blog on alternating weeks with the next post to be next week to both blogs.

 

Until next time, enjoy 2015.

 

 

 

 

Why Go Blue? (Or is it Blu?)

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The other day I was in the video section of one local store and I overheard one lady tell someone else she was with that she had a particular movie on VHS.  She said this so loudly that I thought she was actually proud of the fact that she still owned a VHS player and plays movies on it.

 

When I heard this, I almost hit the floor.  I thought was this lady serious?  If so, then stores like Blockbuster would still be in business today along with hundreds of mom and pop video stores in this country.  Maybe she hadn’t caught on to something called DVD yet or maybe it was just sarcasm at its worse.

 

Either way, the industry has moved ahead with a little new format called Blu-ray.  Blu-ray is not new as it has been around for several years now but is only just starting to come down significantly in price during this holiday season.

 

First off let me say that the players themselves have been available for under $50 this holiday season for a basic Blu-ray player, although a more sophisticated one can be had for well under $100.  These machines not only play the Blu-ray discs but also standard DVDs as well, which makes DVDs seem almost non-obsolete.  Many of the machines also can double as sort of “smart TV” as many have special apps that can play games, surf the internet, or connect to your favorite social media site.   Certainly these machines are very unlike the DVD players of years’ past.

 

The discs themselves have seen a remarkable drop in price especially during Black Friday a couple of weeks ago as some retailers were selling Blu-ray discs for as cheap as under $2.  Now while there are some lousy discs out there, gems could be found on the cheap as well.  Many of these releases were from this year but some were older than that.

 

As far as the packaging is concerned, this is where some find confusion.  So here is how I figure it with the various packages.  Let’s go through them individually:

 

  • Blu-ray disc only:  the package contains only a Blu-ray disc possibly with additional features.
  • Blu-ray disc and Digital HD: same as above with a special code or disc that allows for playing on a computer, phone, tablet or other device.  Note that these expire usually within 2 years and something I have never used or tried because of their short lives.
  • Blu-ray disc and DVD and Digital HD (aka combo pack): same as above but with the addition of a DVD copy of the movie.  However, it should be noted that the DVD could be just a movie only version and may or may not contain the same extras that the standalone DVDs would have.  Usually some of these discs contain the digital copy rather than the extras that would be on these discs.  Certainly this is the preferred purchase as you get both types of disc, but buyer-beware on what the DVD actually has.
  • 3D Blu-ray: sometimes sold most times in combination with any of the above these discs only work on 3D TVs.  While I don’t have a 3D TV, I can’t say how well these discs perform.  However, most 3D discs have no extras which make them a trade-off with the standard Blu-ray discs.
  • 4K Blu-ray discs: these are not available yet, but expected to appear on the shelves in 2015.  No details on if these discs will have any space for extras on them yet.  These discs are meant for the ultra-high resolution TVs making their way into the marketplace in the past few months.  Whether these discs will be packaged with other formats is the biggest question mark of all.

 

The best resource that I recommend is going to the website Blu-ray.com.  Here detailed descriptions of discs can be found along with movie ratings and prices.  The downside to the price part is that the majority of the prices mentioned is from Amazon along with links to purchase discs from them.  However, given that many stores will now match Amazon this is more of a feature than an inconvenience.

 

Finally, the quality picture and sound is superior to DVDs, but they do vary from title to title.  Again, the above mentioned resource is your best bet to get the real lowdown on new and old titles alike.

 

Overall, if you have a capable HD TV and wish to upgrade to Blu-ray, then I would highly recommend that this is the season and year to do just that.  So hop into those bargain bins and join the blue (or Blu) revolution, time is wasting!

 

Next week, in my last post of the year, I will be discussing quite possibly the worst customer service experience ever.  If you thought you heard me talk about bad before, get ready for the lowest point in customer service as so many things went wrong that you really will wonder if it is all real, but trust me it will be.  Get ready for possibly the longest and most enjoyable post of the year.