Tuesday, July 28, 2015

At Microsoft "World Class Service" is just Lip Service

I have wanted to be excited about Windows 10 since I got the first version of the Technical Preview. They seemed to have things right, and things have generally been getting better in most builds since. They have continued to have some odd video issues, and VPN issues, both of which I suspect are as much the fault of nVidia and Cisco as they are of Microsoft. So I was really looking forward to this week.

Unfortunately, and as I learned wearing my Indie Dev hat when I was doing a game a couple years ago, MS is still too large and complex to get their act fully together.

At my current client, we are starting a migration from Lync to Skype Business. This means that I now have ONLY VOIP numbers for my home, mobile, and work numbers. Anyone who is familiar with Bing or Outlook online will probably realize the horror story that has ensued.

You see, I now have almost 600 Bing Reward points I can't spend (or even give away) because I can't verify I am who I am. The only options for doing so are to give them a Mobile number to text (they don't like either of mine because they are VOIP), or a voice line that is not VOIP. I don't have either any more, and I don't have them because of Microsoft. So because one side of Microsoft convinced us to go VOIP I now can't access certain things on the other side where VOIP literally is a 4 letter word.

I am not a fan of Google's tech support, and Yahoo is as bad or worse. But this seems particularly egregious since it was some of their own people at Microsoft who have put me in this position.

Color me anything but MS Blue at this point. Makes me think it's time to try Ubuntu again...

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Real Problem with 4k? Ask Time Warner

I get my "High Speed" internet service from Time Warner Cable in San Antonio. Not because I love them, or their pricing is reasonable, but because they are the least bad of the several bad options available. I imagine many of you are in the same boat if not the same exact provider.

My two main computers both have i7 processors, one with a GTX 770 and one with a GTX 970. One with 8 gigs of RAM and one with 12 gigs of RAM. So you can imagine my pain when I almost weekly get something from YouTube advertising the latest videos in 4k - and even though I have more than enough raw processing power to show them - can't even watch a full minute before I hit the dreaded buffering indicator.

The reality is that if the bits weren't so expensive, and the towers so oversubscribed, I would probably use my Verizon 4G connection rather than my fiber line. Tests with Speedtest seem to confirm I would get better throughput.

What really makes me wonder, is what do the folks who HAVE that kind of disposable income do for internet service? I suppose if I ever hit it rich I could contact Time Warner about their Business Service. But I wonder if you actually get more for paying more, or if you just get slightly better service.

Of course the other solution is to use one of the options to download the videos from YouTube. What's interesting is that you then deprive YouTube of ad revenue, but don't pay more yourself because TWC treats it just like any other download. In fact, it almost makes you wonder if TWC has some vested interest in trying to minimize YouTube's revenue. That couldn't be the reason though... could it?

Monday, May 18, 2015

You are the Universe, the Universe is You

Consider for a moment, if you will, that at the very dawn of the Universe there was likely a point where everything that makes up the universe today was a super dense, super hot singularity. At that point in time you and I were as closely joined as any two atoms in your body, if not closer. You and the neighbor's dog (yes, that miserable cur that wakes up at 2am and starts barking) were just as close. That tree that grows down the street? Yup, it too. Your boss, same story.

In other words, at some point billions of years ago we were all one in a non-mystic but very real sense.

Then the start of our more conventional space and time occurred for reasons that are still unclear. The atoms that make up you and me were created as this expansion of the universal "seed" took place. Some of those atoms would build stars and galaxies - the necessary precursors to the heavy elements that help make up the iron in your blood among other things. When Carl Sagan, or Moby, talk about us being made of star stuff, they mean it quite literally. At some time, every atom that makes up the iron within you was part of a star. You can even imagine that at one point you might have been a star that some of my atoms on some far flung distant world were looking up at through the primitive eye of some creature in another area of our galaxy.

So the next time someone cuts you off while you're driving, or is otherwise rude or curt to you, consider that in one sense it is just a bit of you being rude or curt to another bit of you. How angry would you really want to get at your arm if it crooked funny for some reason?

Just a little something for you to think about as you start your week.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

To the folks who ask me why I would ever need a Core i7 with 12 gigs of RAM


I do have to wonder if running the full Premiere might be a little less system intensive since it doesn't try to do as much behind the scenes for you. Still, given how video and photography continue to explode in terms of folks producing and editing them, I'm a bit surprised how often this question comes up. I am sure there are folks who only work with documents and browse the web most of the time, but I have to think even they would enjoy being able to edit things in a bit less than an hour per operation.

Anyway, feel free to use this as your justification for asking for more the next time you're looking to build a pc :-)

Saturday, May 09, 2015

You have permission to use the music we provide you... until you don't

Earlier today I put up a video of one of my recent trips. The intention was to share it with folks as a rather extended example of what you could do with your Action Cam. I didn't want to include the original audio track as I knew that there were portions that had prerecorded material from the Botanical Garden exhibit, and didn't want an issue with copyright over that. I also knew better than to just grab something from my own music selection.

Instead, I chose to use the music that is packaged with the Sony Action Cam editor program. It implies that the music that comes with the program is cleared for your use, including for sharing as part of your videos.

So imagine my surprise when I got a notice of a copyright complaint from YouTube on the video. Of course the company that evidently provided the music to Sony wasn't dumb - they didn't ask for the video to be taken down (once I clicked the box agreeing that I wasn't going to contend I had performed the music myself), but rather that any advertising revenue the video might make is now theirs. Interesting that any IP that "I" might have in the video is superseded. But then I suppose YouTube knows which of us has the better paid lawyers.

End result is that I will probably re-edit the video with something I find with a clear Public Domain license, and reupload. But a major PITA, and makes me wonder why Sony would even try to suggest you can use the music.