Thursday, 7 November 2013

08:15 – The end of an era. Blockbuster Video, which a decade ago had about 9,000 stores, announced yesterday that it’s closing its distribution centers and its 300 remaining stores. The Onion sums it up.

It’s not often, even in retrospect, that one can point to a single small error that will kill a business. But in Blockbuster’s case it’s possible to point out just such an error. In the late 90’s, a Blockbuster customer returned a video late and was charged a $40 late fee. That pissed him off. His name is Reed Hastings, and instead of just stewing about it he went out and founded Netflix. Which killed Blockbuster.


11:45 – I’ve spent the morning issuing purchase orders and buying stuff. I ordered some stuff from Amazon, and they asked me if I wanted to sign up for a 30-day free trial of Prime. I’d done that before and let it drop before the 30 days expired. I did it that time mainly to try Amazon Prime Video, which turned out to be a PITA compared to Netflix. Incredibly, Amazon has no queue. You have to search for each video you want to watch and start it playing manually. I thought that first Prime trial was a one-time only thing, but about six months ago Amazon started offering me a second chance. So today I decided to sign up again. This time, I’ll just keep it and pay them their $79/year. We’ll probably watch some videos on Prime–stuff Netflix doesn’t have yet–and the free 2-day no-minimum order shipping is a minor plus. Also, Barbara sometimes wants a Kindle book that’s priced outrageously. With Prime, she gets one free book a month.

57 thoughts on “Thursday, 7 November 2013”

  1. That pissed him off. His name is Reed Hastings, and instead of just stewing about it he went out and founded Netflix. Which killed Blockbuster.

    Blockbuster was hurting, but surviving with Netflix. It was the presence of Redbox that was probably the nail in Blockbuster’s coffin in this region (YMMV). It is funny that as they closed stores they would put up a huge banner that said “Store Closing – This Location Only” as if to reassure people that it was only that location and the rest of the chain was doing well.

    Blockbuster came into our area in the mid-1980s and bought out all of the local and regional chains. After awhile there were only two places you could rent movies and that was either Blockbuster or Hollywood Video. For awhile in the later 1990s, it was Hollywood Video’s cheaper rentals and more lenient late return policy that pressured Blockbuster to be less of a rental nazi. Netflix forced them the rest of the way. Then, Redbox came along and everyone that wanted to rent a movie could do it at any one of a hundred convenient 24-hour kiosks (and even check online or via smartphone to see at which kiosk a movie was available before heading out). No sense in driving all the way to Blockbuster when you’re going to pass a dozen Redbox locations on the way there.

    Interestingly enough, a movie rental chain called Family Video has begun popping up everywhere. Strange that Blockbuster has gone under, but another brick and mortar movie rental appears to be thriving.

  2. Wow, 28.5 years. Where we’re currently living, we’ve now been here for 13.5 years – and that is a major, major record. Before that, I never lived anywhere longer than about 5 years, even as a kid. My parents had “itchy feet”, though we mostly moved within the city, or at least the state; then I was military. My wife had it even worse as a kid – her father periodically moved continents. That doesn’t make for a quiet childhood.

  3. I thought about moving to the inner south of Canberra in the late Eighties, but it looked too hard and expensive. Took six to eight weeks to sell, which seemed like a long time to me but others say it was quick.

    I intend to be carried out of my next house in a pine box: I hate moving.

  4. Barbara and I moved into our current house in 1987. Once she no longer needs to be in Winston-Salem to care for her mother, we’ll probably move. It’ll probably be up to the Blue Ridge Mountains near Boone, NC, but we still haven’t ruled out moving to Montana near the Alberta border, or Alberta near the Montana border.

  5. Our 13 Blockbusters are owned by a different company and intend to remain open.
    http://www.adn.com/2013/11/06/3161547/blockbuster-closes-hundreds-of.html

    We also have several mom and pop rental places that do ok, though our local chain, Video City, has all but vanished (they languished for years starting with the transition to DVDs).

    We do see an increasing number of Redbox kiosks. I only know a few folks that Netflix, even in Anchorage we pay more for less in terms of Internet access.

    I rarely sit through a movie. Between dogs and toddler and other stuff to do I just don’t have time. Reading and music are more my speed

    I’m with Miles – I hate moving and intend to go the pine box routine for my next one. Hopefully many decades from now if the economy holds up and all.

    -jenny

  6. Blockbuster’s demise is no surprise. It was bought out by big broadcaster and TV producer Viacom (was originally CBS Productions—essentially created by Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball—that made Gunsmoke and Perry Mason until the FCC said networks cannot both produce AND distribute programs), and I can tell you—after over 40 years in broadcasting—nobody at the top of those modern day big conglomerates knows their business. They only know how to move money around and bring salaries down (all but theirs). And they do know how to force a top-down management structure that is completely antithetical to what is needed to succeed. As traditional broadcasting slowly dies, the one thing local TV has finally gotten through its head is that local news is why people watch them. Problem is, when local news was cheap to produce, they were damned if they would spend any money on it. Now it is really the only reason they exist, and the costs vs. income has changed due to cable, so it means many are just hanging by a thread these days.

    I have a good friend who has also been in the business for as long as I have. He refuses to call streaming audio by the name “radio”. There are a lot of them out there: if it doesn’t come from a transmitter and tower, it ain’t radio and is not worth exploring. That is like saying people who read the local newspaper online are not reading a newspaper. People thinking like that, are the ones—like Blockbuster—whose businesses are destined to fail any day now.

    The other night, I was driving home from Indy after dark, and listened to Klassik Radio (classical music) from Hamburg, Germany the whole way (no commercials overnight their time), using the Tune-in app on my Galaxy S3 plugged into the car radio. Of course, somehow that isn’t listening to the radio. Ran into an Indy girl living in Tennessee, who—everyday on the way to work—uses her Smartphone to listen to the “Bob & Tom” morning show that has originated from Q95 in Indy for several decades. But take it from my friend: she is not listening to the radio.

  7. Well, I argued before the transition to digital TV that it was time to get rid of broadcast TV and radio entirely and make that spectrum available to companies who’d do something useful with it, mainly Internet access.

  8. Congrats, Greg; it took us about a total of six months to complete the purchase of this house, and yeah, we intend to be carried out when the time comes. One way or the other.

    The winds finally stopped overnight here and it’s quiet and overcast today, at about 50 degrees.

    Wrapping up, again, the background investigation paperwork dance with the Feds for this same job, which was reopened, presumably just for me.

  9. There is still too much money moving through those channels for that to happen yet, although profitability IS a very serious problem. Many broadcast properties exist only because some conglomerate has 6 stations in a market, 2 of which are fabulously successful, and subsidize the other 4 that are really losing money. This is a BIG problem in broadcasting, because if earlier FCC limitations on concentration of ownership were still in place, the unprofitable stations would either be gone, or would have become successful through the efforts of people who are more creative than the conglomerates. It is kind of like the government continuing to subsidize farmers with our tax dollars, most of whom are already millionaires in this era.

    The fact that AM radio still exists is a true tragedy. It is a technology that was outdated by FM in the ’40’s, and should have been replaced long, long ago. The fact that it can only pass frequencies to about 8khz, when FM passes up to 15khz, makes AM completely unsuitable for music transmission. Canada has wisely phased out AM radio. IMO there needs to be a transmission method that allows people in Podunk to hear stations in the bigger cities—like WABC and WLS could be heard all over eastern North America in the ’60’s,—but perhaps streaming is that system. Certainly, there are now digital transmission methods that are far superior to analog AM, and could have replaced it with more efficient transmission systems long ago.

  10. The fact that AM radio still exists is a true tragedy. It is a technology that was outdated by FM in the ’40′s, and should have been replaced long, long ago

    Think how many crabby old men driving around in beat-up pickup trucks would lose their precious talk radio. 🙂

  11. I have not seen recent figures, and suspect that sports radio has increased the talk audience, but talk radio has a much bigger image than its actual numbers warrant. Around the time I returned to the US in 2009, only 6% of all the radio audience was talk radio. Comparatively, it is a tiny audience. Even Rush Limbaugh’s numbers have fallen significantly in recent years. In most cities, talk radio comprises only 1 or 2 stations out of a half-dozen or more, and usually, one of those is losing money.

    Actually, men are the overwhelming audience for most radio. When listening, they pay attention more than women. There is a weekly lunch of broadcasters in my area, and I sometimes attend. About 2 years ago, one of the women who sometimes attends, was touting how her station had the biggest numbers of women listeners in town—very respectable figures, in fact. But here we are 2 years later, and her station has changed formats to a heavy metal image—clearly abandoning women and going after men. I am not that close to programming anymore, but it is quite noticeable that stations—both radio and TV—are really after men. So those old curmudgeons have nothing to worry about. If AM goes, their programs will move to FM. In Indy, that move is already well underway. Same for Chicago.

  12. Hey, my truck is not that beat-up!

    Nice place, a little expensive for me. Is that typical pricing of homes in Australia? My home would be about double the price if it was in the inner ring of Houston.

    Hmm. Being that website is in Australia, shouldn’t those pictures be upside down?

    I like our HAR website in the Houston area, it provide both pictures of the homestead and a google map you can pop to a new window if desired:
    http://www.har.com/HomeValue/dispSoldDetail.cfm?MLNUM=77484442

  13. Normally at lunch, I listen to podcasts of BBC Biz Daily, so Lynn, I depend on you to tell us when Rush has anything significant.

  14. One of the better benefits of Amazon Prime is that you will get 2nd day free shipping. I buy quite a lot of things through Amazon and their delivery service is tops!

  15. Does anybody here have experience with deDRM’ing using Calibre on Linux?

    I am baffled by a problem that I cannot seem to find a solution for. I have only ever had Kindle for PC—never a Kindle itself. I never took the time to deDRM stuff until now, as I make the switch to carrying a Linux laptop around, instead of a Windows one. What I did do, is to copy all my book files to a backup drive, so if Amazon tried to delete anything, I would still have it.

    Okay, now I am trying to import the files into Calibre on Linux with Alf’s deDRM plug-in installed. Supposedly, there is no key, PID, or other information necessary to do that, when going from K4PC to Calibre. But it is not removing the DRM. Of course this is an all new installation, using the Mint Software Manager for downloads (tried Synaptic, and things got really messed up, causing a reinstall), so I think I have the latest releases installed.

    Most people who do this are running K4PC in Wine or PlayonLinux and importing from the same computer. I am reaching over to the Windows computer to get those files (also copied them to the Linux computer, then tried to import from there), but cannot open the .amz files with the Calibre viewer once imported; it says file has DRM. There does not seem to be any activity along the lines of deDRM’ing going on during import, as instructions indicate it should. I have never had a Kindle connected to my Windows PC (at one time, I shared one with my son, but he did all the transfer activity on his computer), so I do not have a serial number or anything like that to enter. Calibre itself says the deDRM plug-in is installed.

    Anybody encountered this before?

  16. Certainly, there are now digital transmission methods that are far superior to analog AM, and could have replaced it with more efficient transmission systems long ago.

    Satellite radio comes to mind. However, I am dropping my satellite radio when my subscription is up at the end of the year. They want $745 for two vehicles for two years. Ain’t worth it.

    I am instead purchasing two iPod Nanos, loading all my music (3K+ songs) onto each, plugging those into the radios, and be done with satellite. Too expensive for my listening habits.

    Now I suppose if I liked some show and wanted to listen while traveling in my own vehicle it would be useful. Or if I wanted to listen to a sports program while outside the area of the immediate broadcast, say a UCLA game while in TN. But I don’t. I only listen to music.

    The iPods were a combined $330 and will be good long past 3 years. Plus I can put what I want to listen to on the iPods, make my own playlists, etc. I could also use my iPhone but I want something I can leave in the vehicle.

  17. The jury is still out on satellite radio. I do not know any but a well-paid banker and a lawyer that keep renewing. Banker does it because there are no commercials; lawyer to get Notre Dame football. If it were not for the cooperation of the car manufacturers, satellite radio would never have made it this far. IMO, money is better spent on an unlimited data plan for a Smartphone and stream to it while in the car. Once the carriers get 4G/LTE all rolled out, connections should be pretty good. I got Klassik Radio with no bumps at all while travelling through farm land taking the back way from Indy to Tiny Town.

  18. IMO, money is better spent on an unlimited data plan for a Smartphone and stream to it while in the car.

    The phone carriers are eliminating unlimited data plans or they are severely limiting the speed once you hit a limit on data. For many carriers the data is reduced to 3G or 2G when you get outside of a major metropolitan area. Interstates are generally OK for data but getting on other roads coverage becomes sparse.

    I went back to Verizon even though I am paying more for the service than other providers. The coverage is better, fewer dropped calls and just overall the service is better.

    because there are no commercials

    Same is true of my iPods. And I could almost make an argument that I have a better selection of the genre that I listen than does satellite radio. At least with the playlist that they continue to repeat.

  19. “Does anybody here have experience with deDRM’ing using Calibre on Linux”

    I would try using the plugin on Windows Calibre and then import to Linux after DRM is removed there (if that works). A PITA but I’m not sure your can easily remove DRM when sent to a PC. I don’t think the manual tools work for PC DRM.

    I’ve always sent books to a Kindle, then imported to Calibre with the PID for that Kindle.

  20. Can man strike as fast as a Praying Mantis?

    I strike much faster than that, even at age 60.

  21. Uh, Chuck, AM radio is alive if not well up here. What has happened is that the CBC moved all (or almost all) its AM stations (Radio One) to FM. What had been the CBC stereo network became Radio Two. The vacated AM frequencies were then made available to local broadcasters. I see that the old CBC English flagship station CBL 740 slot is now taken by CFZM — Zoomer Radio. On the other hand 1010 is now Newstalk but is still CFRB. 1040, which was CHUM, the first rock station in Toronto is now TEAM radio, all sports all the time.

    The only radio station I listen to is CBC Radio One, and that only for “The Current” news magazine. I stopped listening to AM when CBC moved to FM. I used to listen to more but CBC dropped all their radio drama and Radio Two was upgraded to music for the easily distracted. They used to have great shows like Two New Hours and Jazz Beat but since they assumed an intelligent audience, they were declared to elitist and canceled. There also some good shows on Radio One on Sunday afternoon. Spark and Writers and Company are usually good and Tapestry has its moments but it became “spirituality for dummies” some time ago. Ideas also has its moments. On the other hand, all these programs can be downloaded from the CBC’s web site, so no radio is required.

    But the number of AM stations in Canada is declining.

    And about our mayor…

    He calls himself 300 pounds of fun. I could go on about him at some length. I won’t. He needs someone to remind him that he did not win the last election, all the other candidates lost! We had an appalling selection to choose from, he was perhaps the least incompetent candidate, another Barbra Hall would have been far worse, if much less colourful. Our city hall desperately needs adult suppervision,

  22. Around here, at least, talk radio is found on FM stations. The AM stations are Jesus, sports, and one station run by the local community college. I haven’t the faintest what their programming is, but it’s separate from the FM station that the college runs.

  23. AM around here is Talk, Ranchera, Fire and Brimstone, repeat all down the dial. Exception is KUZZ, good ol’ Buck’s C&W covering both ends of the dial. 550 on AM and also simulcast on FM at 107.9. Always number one rated(but not by me).

  24. Yeah, both the US and Canada are slowly losing AM stations—in the US by bankruptcy, but there is a plan in place in Canada offering priority to AM stations, in order to get them to move to FM. And there has been a lot of activity on that front, according to reports in US broadcasting trade magazines. But I know that in the big cities of Canada, AM is still lingering. I often listen to Toronuh’s CFZM stream:

    http://67.196.136.216:443

    They have very recently abandoned pre-1960’s music during evenings—I suspect because everyone in radio is finding that my parents’ generation is gone and baby boomer music really started with The Beatles. Bill Gable, who is a part of CFZM’s morning show, worked all over the US, including in Chicago and a long stretch at CKLW when there was once a Detroit. His is a familiar voice to many of us who were teens listening to AM in the 60’s, when FM was playing only classical and elevator music.

    Afraid I have the privilege of unlimited Smartphone data at the moment, as a friend in the cellphone industry put me on his employee plan. So, at least for the present, I can listen without crossing any cost barriers. I listen to streaming a lot on the Smartphone. Unlimited data plans are about $40/mo more than what I pay. I guess I might have to rethink that cost if the day ever comes that I have to give up my current plan.

    I will try installing Calibre on the Windows PC before I move away from that machine. However, I have not been intending to buy a Kindle. I was going to use a Nexus for book reading. It will be a big disappointment if I cannot use Linux only to strip books from Amazon of their DRM so I can read them on a Nexus.

    Oddly, country music on radio is experiencing a major resurgence. As Slim knows, I cannot stand the genre (except for the lovely Connie Smith who lives not far from me). Country is suddenly near #1 in New York, and same in Boston. Until a few years ago, there was no country station in Boston at all, and every attempt had met with utter failure. Of course, country has been #1 in Indianapolis for about 30 years. It probably does better here than in Nashville.

  25. No ideer what’s on AM here; we listen to the local (down the valley) FM “album rock” station; the French-speaking station in Montreal that plays classical; and NPR Classical, the last of which I just discovered runs “Pipe Dreams,” a two-hour deal on Sunday nights having to do with pipe organ music. Schweeeeeet!

    And just got my Kindle Fire HD 9″ thingie; setup was a ten-second breeze. All my books showed up instantly. I will be playing with this for a while. Looks to be pretty slick, and has twice as much RAM as my old former XP laptop, which now runs CrunchBang Linux.

    Was considering XM Sirius for the truck but I’m not in it long enough to make it worth the expense. I can manage OK with the radio and CD player. Mrs. OFD’s Saab convertible has a CD changer in the back, and a cassette player with the AM/FM radio up front. One of only thirty yellow Saab convertibles imported to the US in 1997 and in nearly mint condition.

    She’s in Phoenix this week and supposed to be having dinner tonight in one of Alice Cooper’s restaurants. Next week: El Paso. Week after that: Denver.

  26. Country is suddenly near #1 in New York, and same in Boston

    The entire country is going redneck. This may not be a bad thing.

  27. The entire country is going redneck. This may not be a bad thing.

    For me it’s a very good thing. I can’t stand to listen to over-produced commercial country music, but the songs I write all turn out to be country style — simple rhythm and chords, tell a story rather than just spatter words describing the latest acid trip, like that. If gospel or rap were where all the money was at, I’d be out of luck.

  28. As the most intelligent woman on the planet, Grace Slick, once replied back in the ’80’s when asked what she thought about the move of many artists like Kenny Rogers from rock to the country genre: “I have enough problems in my life; I don’t need to hear somebody SINGING about theirs.”

  29. I do have the title for my first country song, though: “I Hate You for Loving Me”.

    I was once involved in a project where we taped country shows in Branson, MO and edited them in Nashville. While staying in Nashville, everyone seemed overly interested in my occupation. I told everyone who asked that I was a songwriter. One waitress replied, “That’s weird. I am, too!”

  30. I do have the title for my first country song, though: “I Hate You for Loving Me”.

    Close enough that Joan Jett will get rights on you ( “I Hate Myself For Loving You” ):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPkTGm4RtVM

    I’ll bet that I have listened to “Fit to be Tied” 100 times. She is a great old style rocker!

  31. Y’all Come. The Streets of Bakersfield.

    Where we’ve got Buck Owens Blvd. and Merle Haggard Dr.

    62 years of this crap. Give me some blues rock.

  32. I told everyone who asked that I was a songwriter. One waitress replied, “That’s weird. I am, too!”

    Heh. It’s like the half dozen or so people I’ve worked with who were writing a book. Or maybe “writing a book”. These were mostly women and one man, if that counts for anything. I have no idea where to come down on this. You don’t have to get the approval of the big NYC publishing companies to be a real author. On the other hand, the majority of “writers” have more ego, pretentiousness, or desire than talent and self-discipline. It takes a hell of a lot of self-discipline to write a book. It takes talent, even more self-discipline, and either a great editor or the ability to take infinite pains to write a book that isn’t a piece of crap. Presumably the same goes for songwriting, though I don’t know any besides myself.

    For me, writing books and songs doesn’t bring in nearly enough to live on, but then I don’t treat it like a full-time job that I have to live on. It’s a creative outlet that pays. (Believe it or not, working on yet another goddamn government web application, which probably violates the state or federal constitution and/or common decency and morality, doesn’t fulfill my need to create. Alas, that’s the vast majority of the decent-paying work in this area, so I have to put up with it or leave my wife, who isn’t budging. It’s a good thing I’ve found this outlet; it helps me make the “right” choice.)

  33. Close enough that Joan Jett will get rights on you

    Titles can’t be copyrighted. So long as the lyrics and tune aren’t similar, it shouldn’t be a problem.

    I’m trying to write entire, ready-to-play songs, rather than just the lyrics, as I’d been doing. Some titles of my unsold works (this is new for me, so I want to have half a dozen or better yet a dozen in hand before finding my own agent) include

    “To My Darling Wife (As I Walk out the Door)”
    — with the refrain “I wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire”; my mom and sister, who do listen to country music, thinks this’ll be a goldmine if I sell to the right singer

    “Can’t Get Your Smell Outa My Sheets”

    “Fog of Confusion”
    — “If I know what I’m s’posed to do, you know I’ll get ‘er done, // but I’m wanderin’… in a fog of confusion”

  34. I was an English major and grad student and I know full well the horror that is writing for a living and will not go there; I can help to pay the bills by working on machines and bullshitting my way through each 40-hour week for the next few years. But I have been turning over in my head that there ought to be some way I can put what I’ve learned about literature, especially poetry, through some sort of creative wringer, just to have that outlet. And I’ve hit on this:

    A book that has influenced me concerning such things was an edited volume by the late Guy Davenport, whose other books of essays are well worth reading, also. It was a collection of archaic Greek fragments, and what was striking about them was how contemporary they are, the concerns, the wit, the angst and the pain. I haven’t yet got to them but I believe this will also be true of what Egyptian and Sumerian fragments we have found so far. And I don’t cotton much to the bulk of the poetry written here in the West after, say, 1650.

    So my thing will be to start putting together my own fragments, telling the story about how life is now for us homo sapiens sapiens, in the West, with many a look back to the ancients, who were no better, worse, smarter or dumber than us. Wait-I take that back; many of them were apparently a LOT smarter. But of course those are the manuscripts which have survived, or portions thereof.

    I won’t publish any of this stuff anywhere; I plan to encode it somehow onto whatever the most permanent media is, and just bury it somewhere. I get my outlet; no one else has to read my junk; and maybe a hundred or a thousand years from now, some other homo sapiens sapiens will find it and marvel. Haha.

    I’m really too old now otherwise to try my hand at novels and screenwriting and I’ve been making a detailed study of the mechanics and technicals of poetry from 3,000 BC to the present anyway.

    If nothing else, a break from bash and Powershell.

  35. OFD, if you want, I can probably put you in contact with a former coworker. He, too, has some kind of “soft” college education but works in the tech field. He’s also Catholic and has a huge interest in Roman history and the historical sources of the (Catholic) bible and has produced some kind of reference book for the Kindle. (He showed it off to me but I don’t remember the details, on account of not having the first clue why the stuff he was pointing out was important.) Perhaps your interests are close enough that you could collaborate, bounce ideas off each other, or at least sympathize with each other over the lack of understanding that you get from the heathens around you.

  36. Bob,

    Amazon has a Watchlist for Prime videos. I don’t use Netflix, so I can’t tell if it is identical in capability, but you can put titles there to watch later.

    Rick in Portland

  37. I won’t publish any of this stuff anywhere; I plan to encode it somehow onto whatever the most permanent media is, and just bury it somewhere.

    Publish it DRM free on Amazon as an ebook. It will be a jewel in a dung heap.

  38. By all means, SteveF; you still got my email, right? At the least, I’d like to see the Kindle reference book he did.

    I’ve got around a hundred titles on the Kindle; most of them either free or a buck or two from Amazon; out-of-print stuff and some amazing finds, too. But right now I have the ITIL book on there that I’m “studying” because that’s a cert they want me to have within 90 days, the others being CompTIA’s Security + and the MCSA for either Server 2008 and/or Server 2012. Also probably gonna want more on virtualization and the “cloud.” The latter is actually interesting, but the former two are reams of boring-ass shit that I’ll have to cram for the exams. So much for two years of RHEL. Oh well.

    Mrs. OFD did indeed have dinner earlier in Alice Cooperstown, in Phoenix; Alice warn’t there but she was told he sometimes stops in late at night. Right-wing golf nut and radio DJ and still tours.

  39. Chuck,
    Why not use the Kindle app on the Nexus?

    Duhhh. Probably because I haven’t yet R’dTFM.

    I was introduced to Joan Jett by my younger brother back when we were in college. I still have his 8-tracks of her stuff. “The French Song” is my favorite:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbuqqzrQXb0

    Get Cinnamon to display Mon as first day of the week:

    http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=90&t=104413

    I already checked and it adheres to the European exceptions regarding week numbers in ISO 8601. I’m out of link permissions but that is in Wikipeedja “/wiki/Seven-day_week#Week_numbering”

  40. Amazon has a Watchlist for Prime videos. I don’t use Netflix, so I can’t tell if it is identical in capability, but you can put titles there to watch later.

    Yeah, so I discovered yesterday. The watchlist is a new feature since the first time I did the Prime free trial. Back then, you had to search manually for the title you wanted to watch.

  41. Afraid I have the privilege of unlimited Smartphone data at the moment, as a friend in the cellphone industry put me on his employee plan.

    Afraid? You should be be sending raspberries my way.

    I had unlimited with Verizon until I dunked my phone. To avoid full price on the phone (about $700) I had to get a new line and just abandon the line to which the phone was attached. To Verizon that was a new plan and thus I was no longer grandfathered into the unlimited.

    I suspect at some point Verizon is going to remove unlimited from all plans and there will be no grandfathering. Even my son, whose wife works for T-Mobile, cannot get unlimited on the plan he shares with his wife. Employees no longer have unlimited. He does get a good price on his plan, $10.00 a month for each phone.

  42. Close enough that Joan Jett will get rights on you ( “I Hate Myself For Loving You” ):

    You cannot copyright a song title or a book title. Therefor, no rights would be violated. You also cannot copyright a fragrance, just the container. Hence the fancy bottles.

  43. 62 years of this crap. Give me some blues rock.

    Country Rock = CROCK
    Country Rap = CRAP

  44. My friend in the cellphone industry thinks everyone will have access to unlimited data on their Smartphones eventually—Internet everywhere,—once the old equipment is abandoned and the new is in place. That is still 3 years away for his company alone, although our area is one of their priorities.

    There are a lot of changes going on in the industry: old equipment is definitely being decommissioned and removed for the first time, and that will leave G4/LTE as the universal, worldwide standard; the remaining companies have gotten over their distaste for sharing towers, and the tower owner conglomerates are being left holding bunches and bunches of empty towers all over the country (each owns thousands of towers) as the carriers build their own and share with their competition—eliminating the tower-owner middlemen who have added considerably to cellphone costs;—and carriers are in the process of untying themselves from subsidizing phones.

    Where that will leave us on price is the unknown, but like the cable companies, they have a monopoly and can charge whatever they want. Nobama keeps screwing around with healthcare and tapping Angela Merkel’s phone while ignoring what is going on in this country. If the airlines are colluding on price, then IMO, so are the cable companies and cellphone industry.

  45. My friend in the cellphone industry thinks everyone will have access to unlimited data on their Smartphones eventually

    I hope your friend is correct. My experience has been that cell providers have been moving away from unlimited data because of resource issues. Ever try and get data at a football stadium? As more people untie from their land lines, more devices per person that require wireless, the problem will get worse. Perhaps everyone getting on 4G will help.

    I am old enough to remember the days where long distance was a significant expense of having a land line and relatives in another state. The move to X hours per month for a fixed price was quite welcome. Then unlimited long distance was offered for an additional fee. Eventually that was dropped and all long distance was included as part of the land line package. The cell companies just continued the tradition. You can get a land line with no long distance but you have to ask for it as phone companies really don’t want you to have such a land line. Cell companies do not even make such an offer.

    Long gone are the days when you got a new phone number when you changed states. Cell technology has mitigated that issue. You get a phone number for life when you get a cell phone. Only time you get a new number is when you get a new line and service. There is no reason my son will not have his number for life even if he moves to Washington state.

    He also has a google voice number so there is no reason he cannot keep that phone number even if he gets a new phone number on his cell phone.

    The times are changing.

  46. Mrs. OFD’s Saab convertible …

    I have a 2006 Saab 9⁵. It was hit by a truck in a restaurant parking lot early last year and it took over 4 months to get the parts in before they could begin fixing it. The guy told me that Saab parts are getting so hard to find that they have had to total out vehicles simply because they couldn’t get the parts to repair them.

    Oddly, country music on radio is experiencing a major resurgence. As Slim knows, I cannot stand the genre (except for the lovely Connie Smith who lives not far from me). Country is suddenly near #1 in New York, and same in Boston. Until a few years ago, there was no country station in Boston at all, and every attempt had met with utter failure. Of course, country has been #1 in Indianapolis for about 30 years. It probably does better here than in Nashville.

    Probably due, in part, to the fact that country sounds increasingly like pop with a lot of “crossover artists.” So, essentially, as country music sounds less and less like country it is becoming more and more popular.

    You can get a land line with no long distance but you have to ask for it as phone companies really don’t want you to have such a land line. Cell companies do not even make such an offer.

    I had a land line with no long distance back in the 1990s and Pacific Bell charged me like $4/month for not having long distance. Completely absurd.

  47. That’s not good news on the Saabs; we are given to understand that the company has now been bought, but what that will mean, we have no clue.

    We have a landline that the phone company (Fairpoint) insists we have long-distance capability on, but it hasn’t worked so far.

  48. You cannot copyright a song title or a book title. Therefor, no rights would be violated.

    ASCAP rights. Just like Brian Wilson got ASCAP rights on Katy Perry for her “California Gurls” song.

    I posted another comment here and it never showed. Twice. Weird.

  49. I posted another comment here and it never showed. Twice. Weird.

    Your account probably needs renewed. Send me your 16-digit credit card number, expiration date, and verification code and I’ll get that taken care of for you. 😉

  50. DIL in the education capital of Indiana has a Saab which she dearly loves. She lost the only key in the forest on a run. $400 later it was working. However the security box, called a Twice unit, that had to be replaced to get a new key for the car, is now malfunctioning so the car will not start in cold weather. Local foreign car guy in B-ton, who is reputed to be the best Saab repair in the state, says only Saab can fix it. He further said that there is not much time to do that. Saab is required by law to keep a dealership open in every state for warranty work for 2 years from the date they announced their demise. That 2 year date is about a year off. Her car was blue-booked at nearly $10,000 just 3 years ago, and is now $2,000. There are going to be a lot of good deals on Saabs real soon now. But you are going to have to buy several to stock your own spare parts.

  51. As it is, the new (to us) Saab has several pahts in it already from our old Saab. I will now inform Mrs. OFD of these further ramifications, tx!

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