I have a million dollar idea for a futuristic reality TV show called Cloud Storage Wars. People of questionable ethics bid on unpaid storage accounts on Dropbox, Google Drive, and iCloud. Once they win the auction they determine how much money they can make by selling the previous owners’ credit card numbers or unpublished screenplays, or by blackmailing them with their boudoir photos.
I’ve gotten back into making videos. I’m spending more time on the beginning and ending credits and having fun with it. This is a local band covering an Allen Toussaint tune. If your RSS reader doesn’t show YouTube videos, use this link.
This graphic from Facebook reminded me of a scene in the extended version of Pulp Fiction. In the extended version, Vince (John Travolta) goes to pick up Mia (Uma Thurman) for their night out. She greets him with a video camera. She starts asking him questions, questions she designed to find out more about a person.
The first question is Beatles or Elvis, but she doesn’t bother asking him, because she thinks it’s obvious Vince is an Elvis man. That’s why, later in the movie at Jackrabbit Slim’s, Mia calls him an Elvis man. (That scene didn’t make sense in the theatrical version, because the earlier video interview scene was cut.)
This question is the one I want to talk about:
MIA: In a conversation, do you listen or wait to talk?
VINCE: I have to admit that I wait to talk, but I’m trying harder to listen.
Watching that opened my eyes. There are a select few people I have a hard time communicating with and now I know why. They aren’t listening to anything I say, which is why they ask me the same question within minutes of getting an answer or reply with a non sequitor.
One way you can tell the other person isn’t listening – the split second you stop talking they immediately jump onto their chance to talk. They can respond so quickly because they were thinking about what they were going to say while you were talking, instead of listening to what you were saying. Their responses can come so quickly that the conversation can have the rhythm of an argument even when it isn’t.
I’m so old I remember when Sundance Channel and Independent Film Channel showed independent films instead of Law and Order reruns and big budget blockbusters. This week some of the small, handcrafted film options include marathon showings of the Rambo, Terminator, and Nutty Professor franchises.
Because if anything defines independent film making it’s Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Eddie Murphy. Outlaws. Rebels. Thumbing their noses at the stuffy Tinseltown status quo, these three maverick outsiders will explode the Hollywood movie making formulas or have fun trying.
“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”
“I think I’ve seen this movie before. When I was a kid I saw it on TV. I don’t recognize this movie. This is like what’s happening with us. Like the past. The movie never changes. It couldn’t change. Every time you see it it seems different because you’re different. You see different things.”
– James Cole (Bruce Willis), 12 Monkeys
Someone asked what I thought the worst-tasting thing would be.
I think the worst-tasting thing would be the Juice of a Dead Raccoon That Fermented in Spoiled Milk That Ran Down the Devil’s Asscrack and Dripped Into a Fetid, Bubbling Puddle on the Floor of a Horse Stable.
In fact, the only thing I can think of that would taste worse than the Juice of a Dead Raccoon That Fermented in Spoiled Milk That Ran Down the Devil’s Asscrack and Dripped Into a Fetid, Bubbling Puddle on the Floor of a Horse Stable would be Diet Juice of a Dead Raccoon That Fermented in Spoiled Milk That Ran Down the Devil’s Asscrack and Dripped Into a Fetid, Bubbling Puddle on the Floor of a Horse Stable. I don’t know why Snapple even makes that flavor.
ME: What did you learn in school?
KATIE: We talked about the s-word.
ME: Which s-word?
KATIE: What mommies and daddies have before they have babies.
ME: Oh. You mean se—ctional sofas, so the family can sit together in the living room.
KATIE: Different s-word.
ME: You’re talking about sze—chuan chicken. Mommies eat it to get pregnant.
KATIE: That’s not what the teacher said.
Tam has checked out of blogging due to a creepy stalker. I hate that she’s in that situation. I can’t blame her calling it quits, but I’ll definitely miss her blogging.
I started this blog in February, 2003. At one time I averaged five thousand visitors a day. I used to post every weekday, sometimes half a dozen posts daily. If I couldn’t post something in the morning I’d put up an apology about not having any free ice ream that day.
Since starting the blog I got married and had a kid, then another kid, then another kid, and the blog posts have gotten farther apart. Lately I’m happy if I post once a week to whoever still has me in their feed reader – the days are long past that anyone would check the front page for new posts every week, much less every day. Like lots of other bloggers, I post more material on Facebook than I do on my own blog. The daily visitor count is down below 200.
Tam was one of only five bloggers that I still read every day. And I go to them straight from my bookmarks toolbar. RSS? Forget it. There are dozens of blogs still in my RSS feed reader, but I only fire it up once or twice a month if I’m bored out of my mind. I have to use Feedly now because Google discontinued Google Reader, which wasn’t exactly a show of support for the future of blogging.
There are still great bloggers out there, but the fire is gone from the first generation. Jeff Jarvis said that blogging is a conversation. As the number of people talking drops, the conversation gets a lot less interesting.
WordPress installations often get broken into by brute force guessing of the password for the “admin” account. Changing the administrator account to something other than “admin” is the single best thing you can do to improve WordPress security.
My favorite WordPress security plugin is iThemes Security (formerly WP Security). It has every security feature you can think of in one plugin, and is available as a free plugin or a paid version with more features. I just noticed that it has a new feature. It can automatically blacklist IP addresses that try to log in using the admin username.
Install iThemes Security plugin. In the WordPress administration panel, click on Security. It will be on the left side near the bottom.
Before making changes, make a backup of your database on the off change something goes wrong. Click the Backup tab. Click the Create Database Backup button. While you’re in the tab, it’s a good idea to schedule automatic database backups.
Click the Advanced tab. Change the administrator name to something other than admin.
Click the Settings tab. Under Brute Force Protection, check the box for “Immediately ban a host that attempts to login using the “admin” username.”
Click the Save All Changes button.
That will stop 99% of bogus login attempts.
Another WordPress plugin I like is Captcha (free and paid versions available). It protects the login page and comments from bots by asking the user to answer a simple math problem.
A new study claims that Louis Pasteur didn’t perform his most famous experiments. The paper’s authors believe Pasteur’s dad did the experiment while his mom went to buy posterboard and that “the parents were probably up until frikkin’ 3 AM doing their kid’s science project for him.”
On a completely unrelated subject, photos I made for Katie’s fourth grade science project.
This is a followup to my Amazon Fire TV review. If you haven’t read it yet, you may want to read the review first. The Fire TV is great, but before you buy one there’s just one thing you have to ask yourself…
Are you an Apple person, an Amazon person, or a Netflix person?
Which device you choose comes down to the content ecosystem you’re using. If you have content on iTunes then an AppleTV and an iPad make sense. If you have content on Amazon and a Prime subscription then a Fire TV / Kindle Fire combination is a better choice.
The two systems are designed to work with devices from the same ecosystem. With an Apple TV you can use AirDrop to project content from Apple computers, iPads, and iPhones to your TV. Likewise, with a Fire TV you can fling content from your Kindle to your TV. If you mix a TV device from one company with a computing device from the other you lose that functionality.
Amazon Fire TV and Kindle Fire vs Apple TV and iDevices
The Fire TV has made us re-think some upcoming tablet purchases. We realize now that we’re Amazon people.
Our daughter had wanted an iPad Mini for her birthday. After using the Fire TV she’s changed her mind and decided she wants a newer Kindle Fire. She likes the Amazon Prime content, with TV shows, movies, and music. She also likes the Kindle Lending Library that’s included with Prime. Every month you can read one Kindle book for free. Unlike paid Kindle books that can be read on any device using the Kindle app, the free Lending Library books require an Amazon Kindle device.
We had a TV problem at the house. The kids wanted to watch TV in the living room, because that’s where the TiVo lives. The den only had a Wii that connected to Netflix. We had an Amazon Prime subscription that had thousands of free movies and TV shows, but we could only watch them on a computer or the Kindle Fire.
(The Chromecast is a different thing from the rest. The others are standalone boxes. The Chromecast requires a computer, tablet, or smartphone to “cast” content to it. There is no remote and the content is limited, but it’s cheap at $35.)
Fire TV can stream Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, Showtime Anywhere, and dozens of other services. The only disappointment is that HBO Go is missing.