Archive | December, 2012

Newsweek goes all digital with hashtag cover

29 Dec

Back in mid October Jeff brought you the story of Newsweek’s announcement that it would, like so many other newspapers and periodicals, stop putting out print issues and go digital only. The day of that announcement coming true has finally arrived as Newsweek has put their final print edition out on the newsstands. On the cover of that edition, that goes on sale Monday, it announces that it is the final issue with a twitter-like hashtag on the cover with the words ‘LASTPRINTISSUE’.

Even though the print version of Newsweek will die off with this last issue the digital version will live on the daily beast website. Those that wish to subscribe to the magazine will be able to go on the website and pay the $2.99 per month or $24.99 per year to get the newly named Newsweek global on their iPad. If you don’t have an iPad they have links for for both the Kindle and the Nook but you will only be able to buy single issues on either of these.

The magazine was started back in 1933 by the former foreign editor of Time magazine. In subsequent years the magazine had grown to be one of the biggest bimonthly periodicals in the United States with a peak circulation of 3.1 million in 2008. Since that peak year the magazine has fallen into a downward spiral and was sold in 2010 to Sidney Harman for the nominal price of $1 and all of the liabilities that went along with it. Later that year Mr. Harman went into negotiations with the online site The Daily Beast. The two merged their resources making Tina Brown editor-in-chief of Newsweek as well as the Daily Beast.

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The Edinburgh Royal Military Tattoo, A look into Scotland’s history

28 Dec

Today, the Edinburgh Royal Military Tattoo is is Scotland’s biggest, best-selling spectacle, attracting an international audience each year of some 217,000 people and seen by almost 100 million people in 30 countries. 63 years ago the Edinburgh Royal Military Tattoo was just a display consisting of three groups; The Royal Scots, The Highland Light Infantry and the Woman’s Royal Army Corp; as they marched and played with the Edinburgh Castle as the backdrop. The following year of 1950 saw the first incarnation of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo as the event grew to having 8 participating groups. In the 62 years since the first Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo it has grown to be the grand event that we see today were almost two dozen international group come to Edinburgh, Scotland every August.

The military tattoo dates back almost four hundred years when the Scottish regiments were part of the Dutch mercenary troops. They would march out at night and beat on drums to let the tavern owners know it time to turn off the taps and send the soldiers back to the barracks for the night. In later years when military complexes became more self contained the nightly patrol of the troops has become more of a ceremony announcing the end of the day. That ceremony has since become known as the military tattoo or tap toe.

When you do see the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo you are witness to a sight you won’t forget as the hush of night falls over Edinburgh Castle, the gates and drawbridge open. The sounds of bagpipes and drums fill the air as meshed soldiers march out across the castle drawbridge followed by two of the most well known heroes in Scottish history, Robert of Bruce and Sir William Wallace. The audience is then regaled with daredevil motorcyclist, fireworks, highland dancing, music and precession marching of the international troops. When the spectacle winds down, and the audience is still in awe of all that they have just witness, we hear a voice shout through the crowds saying “Will ye no come back again’?”. Once the question is ask a might roar of the crowd answers “Oh, yes and very soon.”

There are many other things to see and do while you are in Edinburgh taking in the Royal Military Tattoo. One of those is to visit Edinburgh Castle itself and take in some of the rich history of Edinburgh Castle as well as the Monarchy of Scotland. Once there you can view the history of Edinburgh castle that goes back over 2,000 years when archaeologist say the first human settlement inhabited the area around the rock that now houses Edinburgh Castle. It isn’t until 1130 A.D when there David I builds the first Castle on the site and dedicates it to his mother Queen Margret. Afte3r Edinburgh Castle was built it became the royal residence for the next 500 years seeing many invasions, such as, the taking of the Castle in 1296. Edinburgh Castle was last occupied by a monarch in 1633 by Charles I right before he was crowned the King of Scotland.

If you are one for all the gory details of Scotland’s history you might visit the Edinburgh Dungeon where you can buy a ticket to tour the dungeon, hear about the bloody 500 year history and take 2 frighting rides. While there you just might meet up with the ghost of one of the many prisoners that have been housed in the walls of Edinburgh Dungeon. One of those ghost might be Sir William Wallace, of Braveheart fame, who was held there before being put through a grizzly torture and death.

 

 

Reveiw: A Multi-pack of brain flakes

28 Dec

A multi-pack of brain flakes by Ethan Holmes consist of seven well written fictional short stories that tap into the Psyche. Each one of the stories depicts individuals in circumstances many of us could find ourselves faced with in our lives. In each of the stories the main characters faces choices that could change their lives.

In the first story “Anger Management” the main character Harry Houghton faces the frustration that plagues most authors, even the most successful ones, as they try to get their first novel published. Harry Houghton, just like most of us, doesn’t give up on his dream of being published.

The second story “The Man Who Ate Popcorn” tells the story of George (no last name) and his addiction to popcorn. Most of us know someone like George that has something they obsess about but probably not to the point that George does about his popcorn.

His third story “Fifteen Feet” tells the story of a young boy suffers though a bad home life. As so often with someone in these circumstances he tends to make matters worse for himself. The story depicts his thoughts of the way he feels toward his tormentors and what he would like to do to change the circumstances.

In his forth offering “Lost and Unfound” regales with thoughts that have gone through most of our minds as we visit one of the many giant theme parks. As you read the story you can sympathizes with the man as he deals with the overly sweet employees.

In “From Bagels to Bars” follows an average man as he face the annoyances that face many of us as we are out on the roads and in a hurry.

With his sixth story “Don’t forget you change” we see through the eyes of Jack as a cashier deals with little annoyances of waiting on customers. It is a story that anyone involved in sales can relate with in their daily lives.

The final story “Have some milk and cookies” follows the plight of three friends Billy, Frankie and Dennis as they deal with a bully.

Even though these are not my favorite type of stories I did find myself hooked as I eagerly read each one taking in the circumstances and wondering if I would handle them the same way or do something different. Once you read these you will find yourself wondering what you would do if you were in these stories. I would recommend this book to readers that enjoy about how ordinary people find themselves in situation that take them to their breaking point.

The one thing I would have liked to see is that the author could have made some separation to let the reader know there was a time shift. One such example would be that in the last story there should have been a separation to tell the readers of a flashback to a previous experience as they were discussing what to do about their bully problem.

 

A multi-pack of brain flakes by Ethan Holmes consist of seven well written fictional short stories that tap into the Psyche. Each one of the stories depicts individuals in circumstances many of us could find ourselves faced with in our lives. In each of the stories the main characters faces choices that could change their lives.

In the first story “Anger Management” the main character Harry Houghton faces the frustration that plagues most authors, even the most successful ones, as they try to get their first novel published. Harry Houghton, just like most of us, doesn’t give up on his dream of being published.

The second story “The Man Who Ate Popcorn” tells the story of George (no last name) and his addiction to popcorn. Most of us know someone like George that has something they obsess about but probably not to the point that George does about his popcorn.

His third story “Fifteen Feet” tells the story of a young boy suffers though a bad home life. As so often with someone in these circumstances he tends to make matters worse for himself. The story depicts his thoughts of the way he feels toward his tormentors and what he would like to do to change the circumstances.

In his forth offering “Lost and Unfound” regales with thoughts that have gone through most of our minds as we visit one of the many giant theme parks. As you read the story you can sympathizes with the man as he deals with the overly sweet employees.

In “From Bagels to Bars” follows an average man as he face the annoyances that face many of us as we are out on the roads and in a hurry.

With his sixth story “Don’t forget you change” we see through the eyes of Jack as a cashier deals with little annoyances of waiting on customers. It is a story that anyone involved in sales can relate with in their daily lives.

The final story “Have some milk and cookies” follows the plight of three friends Billy, Frankie and Dennis as they deal with a bully.

Even though these are not my favorite type of stories I did find myself hooked as I eagerly read each one taking in the circumstances and wondering if I would handle them the same way or do something different. Once you read these you will find yourself wondering what you would do if you were in these stories. I would recommend this book to readers that enjoy about how ordinary people find themselves in situation that take them to their breaking point.

The one thing I would have liked to see is that the author could have made some separation to let the reader know there was a time shift. One such example would be that in the last story there should have been a separation to tell the readers of a flashback to a previous experience as they were discussing what to do about their bully problem.

 

 

 

 

 

Randi Zuckerberg’s family photo falls through the privacy cracks on Facebook

28 Dec

Not long after Facebook first launched in February of 2004 privacy has been an issue with subscribers complaining that the settings are just too confusing. From time-to-time Mark Zuckerberg would release a statement that those issues have been resolved with new and easier to understand settings. Just about everytime those changes were made there seemed to be more complainants about how these changes have made matter even worse. Even after this last round of changes it would seem that not all the security holes have been plugged since Mr. Zuckerberg’s sister Randi has apparently been caught in one of those security gaps.

Wednesday Randi Zuckerberg posted a photo of a family gather as a new profile picture on her Facebook page. The photo was meant to just be shared with family and a few friends. What Ms. Zuckerberg didn’t count on is that because of privacy settings allowed friends-of-friends to see her photo a marketing director that was a mutual friend managed to see that picture. After seeing the picture Callie Schweitzer shared the photo with 40,000 followers twitter. When Ms. Zuckerberg found out she was not too happy with the unauthorized act and confronted Callie Schweitzer.

“Digital etiquette: always ask permission before posting a friend’s photo publicly. It’s not about privacy settings, it’s about human decency,” Ms. Zuckerberg posted on Twitter.

Many people that saw what Ms. Zuckerberg posted thought she was addressing the wrong issue ad should be looking more at the way the privacy settings work and just as so many of them have demand that Facebook make it less confusing.

“The thing that bugged me about Randi Zuckerberg’s response is that she used her name as a bludgeoning device. Not everyone has that. She used her position to get it taken it down,” said Eva Galperin of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy advocacy group

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Millions were upset Christmas eve when Netflix went down

26 Dec

If you are like Jeff and couldn’t find your favorite Christmas movie or special on television then you probably turn to rentals or one of the streaming services. You think I have Netflix so I will just order whatI want through them. You turn on your television, DVD player or game console that you get Netflix through and click on the app to place your order only to find that Netflix is down. That was just the scenario many people found themselves in on Christmas Eve.

At 3:30 p.m . (EST) on Monday millions of people started complaining that their streaming service was down. A couple of hours later Netflix tweeted their apologies and let people know that they were working to resolve the problem.

“We’re sorry for the Christmas Eve outage. Terrible timing! Engineers are working on it now,” Netflix said in a tweet in the late afternoon yesterday.

The outage was traced back to Amazon’s Web Service (AWS) at their Virginia site. The news that it was that particular AWS site brought back memories from June when a storm took down the same AWS site causing Netflix (and other services that rely on AWS) to go down for a short time. The service was restored by 6:45 a.m. (EST) on Tuesday allowing all the millions of Netflix subscribers watch their favorite Christmas day programming as they (and their kids) opened up all of their gifts.

“The service is now functioning correctly, and we’re heads down making sure customers are operating smoothly,” an Amazon spokeswoman said.

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The Maine mall fires Santa after parents voic their complaints on Facbook

25 Dec

One of the biggest traditions every December is parents taking their children to see Santa to tell him what they want and to have their pictures taken. We always expect the Santa to act just like the Santa from the movie ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ and be friendly, listening to our children and getting their picture taken. One mall Santa in Portland, Maine didn’t live up to that imagine causing parents to post their displeasure on the mall’s Facebook page.

Santa’s first offense was when he turned Chantel Mailhiot aside after her mother Jess wouldn’t buy the full package for the photo with Santa. After the indecent Ms. Mailhiot did what has become the common thing in this age of social networking and went straight to the mall’s Facebook page.

“Maine Mall, I have to say I was very disappointed with the Santa set up this year. We let the gentleman know we were visiting Santa today. Because we did not purchase any photo packages the gentleman mumble something to Santa and when my daughter who is six was going to sit on his lap Santa put his hands together and placed them on his legs so she couldn’t sit on him. Santa was not attentive and brushed her off all because we did not purchase pictures. Why don’t you just put up a sign saying NO PICTURES NO SANTA. My daughter was hurt and I so disappointed. Shame on you!” wrote Ms. Maihiot.

Ms. Mailhiot’s complaint was just the first as other upset parents started writing in telling about how they were disappointed in the Santa. The other complaints ranged from other picture incidences to making children unhappy when they expressed their gift wishes. The Maine Mall finally did fire that Santa and hire a new one that lived up the image that we expect prompting several kudos from parents.

12 days of Christmas: The response

23 Dec

My Dearest John, December 14, 1978

 

I went to the door today and the postman delivered a partidge in a pear tree. What a

thoroughly delightful gift. I couldn’t have been more surprised.

 

With deepest love and devotion,

 

Agnes

 

December 15, 1978

 

Dearest John,

 

Two turtle doves. What a really unusual surprise. Now I have thee birds. You are so

thoughtful and I must truly say I have never received such a gift.

 

With deepest love,

 

Agnes\par

 

December 16, 1978\par

Dear John,

 

Oh, aren’t you the extravagant one. Now I must protest. I don’t deserve such

generosity. Three french hens. They are just darling, but I must insist, you’ve

been so kind.

 

Love,

 

Agnes

 

December 17, 1978

Dear John,

 

Today the postman delivered four calling birds. Now, really, they are beautiful

but don’t you think enough is enough. You’re too romantic.

 

Affectionately,

 

December 18. 1978\par

Dearest John,

 

What a surprise. Today the psstman delivered five golden rings. One for every

finger. You’re just impossible, but I sove it. Frankly all those birds squawking

are beginning to get on my nerves.

 

All my love,

 

Agnes

December 19, 1978

Dear John,

 

When I opened the door there were actually six geese a laying on my front door steps.

So you’re back to the birds again, huh. Those geese are huge. Where will I keep

them. The neighbors are complaining and I can’t sleep through the racket. Please

stop.

 

Cordially,

 

Agnes

 

December 20, 1978

John,

 

What’s with you and those fucking birds? Seven swans a swimming? What kind of a

goddamn joke is this? There’s birl shit all over the house and they never stop

with the racket. I can’t sleep at night and I’m a nervous wreck. It’s not funny, so

stop with those fucking birds.

 

Sincerely,

 

Agnes

 

December 21, 1978

O.K. Buster,

 

I think I prefer the birds. What the hell am I going to do with eight maids of

milking? It’s not enough with all those birds and eight maids of milking, but

they have had to brin their goddamn cows. There is shit all over the lawn and

I can’t move in my own house. Just lay off me. Smart ass….

 

Agnes

 

December 22, 1978

Hey Shithead,

 

What are you? Some kind of saddist. Now there are nine pipers playing and

christ do they play. Thet’ve never stopped chasing those maids since yesterday

morning. The cows are hetting upset and they’re stepping all over those screeching

birds. What am I going to do. The neighbors have started a petition to evict me.

 

You’ll get yours,

 

Agnes

 

December 23, 1978

You Rotten Prick,

 

Now there’s ten ladies dancing. I don’t know why I call those sluts ladies. They

have been balling those pipers all night long. Now the cows can’t sleep and they’ve

got diarrhea. My living room is a river of shit. The commissioner of buildings

has subpeond me to give cause why the building shouldn’t be condemned. I’m

getting the police after you.

 

One who means it,

 

Agnes

 

December 24, 1978

Listen Fuckhead,

 

What’s with eleven lords leaping on those maids and ladies. Some of those broads

will never walk again. Those pipers ran through the maids and have been committing

sodomy on the cows. All twenty of the birds are dead. They have been trampled

to death in the orgy. I hope you are satisfied you rotten vicious swine.

 

Your sworn enemy,

 

Agnes

 

December 25, 1978

Dear Sir,

 

This is to acknowledge your latest gift of twelve fiddlers, fiddling, which you

have seen fit to inflict on our client Miss Agnes McHulstein. The destruction,

of course, was total. All correspondence should come to our attention. If you

should attempt to reach Miss McHulstein at Happy Dale Sanitarium the attendants

have instructions to shoot you on sight. With this letter please find attached

a warrant for your arrest.

 

Badger, Bonder & Cahole\par

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR

 

 

 

Aside 14 Dec

Drone aircraft being used by the military is nothing new. They have mostly been used for reconnaissance with everything from the mini remote-controlled hummingbird to much larger crafts, such as, the one that spied on Osama Bin Lauden’s compound. There have also been drones capable of carrying small weapons to take out a single target. Northrop Grumman has taken those drones to a new level with their full combat air vehicle that made its first successful taxiing run on the aircraft carrier the U.S.S. Truman.

“With the CDU, we followed the aircraft detector’s signals to move the aircraft left or right, over the arresting wire, to and from the catapults and to various spotting positions,” Gerrit Everson, one of the operators, said.

The X-47B first took to the air in February of last year at Edward Air Force Base in California. The drone, that came be pre-programmed or remote-controlled, made a 29 minute flight showing off the capabilities of the bat winged drone.

“Nobody has never done this before,” Lt. Cmdr. Larry Tarver, Truman’s aircraft handling officer said. “Unmanned aerial vehicles have flown all over the world, but an X-47B has never operated on an aircraft carrier. Every evolution with this aircraft is taken step-by-step because we don’t fully know how it will react to a carrier environment.”

At first sight the X-4B looks extremely similar to the B-2 Stealth Bomber also made by Northrop Grumman over two decades earlier. When looking at the front of the X-47B the design seems to be inspired by the time traveling spacecraft from the 1968 movie ‘The Planet of the Apes’. This odd futuristic look could explain why people thought it was a UFO when the craft was first spotted in December of last year as it was being transported back from Edwards Air Force Base.

For more on the X-47B and it taxi test on the U.S.S. Truman you might try the following articles:

Microsoft is opening up their social networking site to the masses

11 Dec

Microsoft is opening up their social networking site to the masses.

T-Mobile is out to play rebel and drop subsidies

7 Dec

T-Mobile is out to play rebel and drop subsidies.