Category Archives: Geekery

Cableone’s data caps suck

I have just two more weeks left of my “overage punishment plan” through Cableone. I so can’t wait for Midco. I’m in my third month paying $140 for my internet because I went over their stupid cap, and their system is to slow to warn you until it’s too late. So for the last three months I’ve been watching my usage like it’s 1993 and I’m on AOL.

I’m have to limit myself to 10 GBs a day, and it’s not that easy. I had to switch all my video podcast to the lowest crappy quality, and actually unsubscribed from a few that weren’t worth the data. I now sneakernet my cloud backups to work and use their internet to backup. I try to download my audio podcasts when I’m out and about and can find free wifi. I haven’t watched much Netflix in the last three months either, yet, I’m just under my 10 GB/day limit. It’s really annoying, and greatly diminishes the otherwise good quality service I’m getting.

I’ll be on vacation in Hawaii when I’ll be eligible to switch plans, and you bet I’m going to be taking time out of my vacation to do it. According to Mico’s site, I’ll hopefully be able to get their service sometime this year, and I don’t believe they have any caps. At least I couldn’t find that in the small print. The day I can switch I will. Stupid me for believeing that Cableone’s “no overage fees” ment no caps.

RSS better not die

Yesterday I blogged about blogging dying. RSS is another of my loves that seems to be dying. I’ve read about so many people that have given up on RSS for Twitter or Facebook. While I get their point, RSS is like an email inbox that is always filling up, I don’t think I could ever give it up. I’ve tried doing it a day here and a day there, but I alway fear I’m going to miss something in my feeds. I need my RSS feeds, and it sucks that they are dying a little.

I’m finding more and more sites don’t have RSS feeds anymore. YouTube is one example. I subscribe to a bunch of YouTube channels in my feed reader, while older channel’s feeds seem to work fine, new channels don’t seem to have feeds. It sucks because YouTube’s subscription management is a mess. I hope this isn’t another sign of Google giving up on RSS.

Cableone Sucks

Is there anybody that doesn’t hate their cable company?

Our local cable monopoly is owned by Cableone. I left them for cable TV as soon as I could, but have been stuck with them for my internet for 13 of the past 14 years. I left them for DSL for one year when the fastest uncapped speeds I could get was 5 Mbps.

Recently they supposedly lifted their data caps, so I went back. Before I signed up I searched all over their site to make sure there were no caps. I couldn’t find anything that mentioned caps, and they were advertising no “overage fees”, so I thought I was good.

They have been great all year. I’ve been enjoying nice fast speeds with very minimal downtime. No problems whatsoever.

Then Microsoft started offering unlimited data on their One Drive accounts. I thought cool, finally, there is a cloud service that will allow me to store all my backups. So I canceled my CrashPlan account and started syncing with One Drive.

Then a few weeks ago I got an email from Cableone stating that I went over my data “guideline” of 300 GBs for two months is a row and this is my second? warning. I never got a first warning, and by the time I got the second warning I was already over my data “guideline” for the third month. So by the time I got MY first warning I was already screwed. I had no chance to watch my data usage.

So there are no “overage” fees, but they force you to upgrade.

I was pissed, but I thought well hey, I would just upgrade to their Ultra, 70 Mbps down, 6 Mbps up plan for a few months until my backups are done. My Internet fee would go from $53 to $100, but I would also get faster speeds and my backups would go a little faster.


Since I used more than 500 GB last month, I can’t get that plan because it has a 500 GB cap. I told them I would stay below the cap now that I know there are caps, but no. I have to get a business plan with slower speeds, 60 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up, but a higher cap for $130 a month. And I have to keep it for three months to prove I can stay below the 500 GB cap. So my internet is going up in price by nearly $80 because of a cap I didn’t know about, and wasn’t warned about soon enough. What a joke.

I have to pay for this higher cap, but if I want to get off this craptacular plan, I can’t use the extra data I’m paying for? WTF? And we wonder why we hate our cable companies so much?

I’ll stay below the 500 GB cap this month, and hopefully they will let me downgrade next month. *fingers crossed*

Luckily we soon will have another cable company in town. Hopefully more competition will make for better plans and less of the stupid caps and pretending that using more data actually costs them more. It doesn’t.

I’m not holding my breath though. I’ve never met a phone or cable company that I liked.

New Mac on the way and Fuck you Best Buy

So some time today my new Mac should be here. My 2009 iMac is getting a little long in the tooth. I actually think Yosemite sped it up a bit, but it’s still pretty slow.

I’m upgrading to a Mac Mini. I wish they were a little more powerful, but I guess it’ll be good enough for me. A Mini just fits better with my other computers at my desk.

My plan was actually to get it on Friday so I would have the weekend to get it setup. I checked the Best Buy website and it said they had them in stock. So I went to pick one up along with an ssd drive that I am going to setup as the boot drive. The guy at Best Buy said they only had the old ones. Yeah, it’s 2014, I’m not buying a computer built in 2012. Are they trying to get rid of old stock to people that don’t know any better?

Fuck Best Buy!

I put the ssd drive back and went home and ordered everything I needed. So much easier. I don’t know why I even bothered to try to buy anything local. It’s such a hassle.

I’ve always hated Best Buy, but I thought maybe they had gotten better. Their prices are actually comparable to online finally, but it’ll still be a while before I shop there again. The online experience is just so much better.

Windows 10

This is my first blog post using Windows 10. I’m pretty OS agnostic. I have a slight preference to Mac OS X, but dang near everything is on the web and in the cloud these days, so OS barely matters anymore.

I wish Apple made a desktop computer for me. I have two nice Dell 24″ monitors. I don’t want my monitor built in like an iMac, I’m not spending $3000 on a Pro, and I’m not buying a two-year-old Mini. So that means I had to build my own.

I built my computer last month, because my old one was getting really long in the tooth. It was originally a Hackintosh, running Mac OS X on it. It’s relatively easy to install Mac OS X on a PC if you buy compatible parts. It worked great, except for a few problems, but those few problems drove me nuts. So I thought I would give the Windows 10 Technical Preview a shot. Screw Apple, if they don’t make decent reasonable desktop computer, I guess I will go back to Windows.

I really like Windows 10 so far. I always try out beta operating systems as soon as I can. I was running Vista and 7 both a year before their actual releases. I tried Windows 8 early, and I learned I didn’t want anything to do with 8. So far I think Microsoft is doing a good job keeping their every other version being good streak alive. I have yet to have a single problem with 10. I think the Technical Preview is pretty solid.

I’m actually getting excited for Windows again, and I’m a little worried for Apple. They just don’t seem the same without Steve Jobs.

RSS Spring Cleaning

I’ve been mostly on Feedly since Google Reader shut down. I tried most of the options out there, but at that time, Feedly was the best. Today I switched to Inoreader. Nothing wrong with Feedly, but Inoreader just seems faster, and I like the cleaner interface, and it has every option I could imagine I would want.

With the switch I figured I should do some house cleaning instead of bringing a bunch of dead feeds with me from site to site. I literally have never cleaned up my RSS feeds. I have well over 1000 feeds in my OPML, some dating back to 2000 that have long been dead. I have just moved my OPML file from site to site. From way before Google Reader even existed to now, way after Google Reader has gone away.

In doing so, I’m really seeing a blast from the past. So many bloggers, people that I read for so long that I felt like I knew them, are just gone. I guess I haven’t really missed them, it’s just a little sad to see either nothing at their domain, or a link farm. Sometimes I miss the good ol’ days when people actually blogged.


Thanks to the heart bleed scare, I thought it was probably time to update all my passwords. There is no way any sane person is going to change all their passwords like me. I had some free time at work this weekend, so I thought what the hell. It literally took me ten hours to update all my passwords.

I am now officially annoyed as fuck by stupid password policies. There has to be a better way. It would be so nice if there was a service like Last Pass that along with storing your passwords, made it easier to change them. It’s a pain in the ass searching around sites to find where to change the password at, and then finding out your password won’t work because it’s too long, or contains special characters, or doesn’t contain special characters. Come on people, we need to standardize this. I have a nice algorithm that allows me to have long unique passwords for each site, but only works on 90%, of them because of these stupid policies.

Another thing that drives me crazy is the hiding of the passwords. Why do you have to hide them from me? I couldn’t tell you how many times I typed my password it wrong twice and locked myself out of my account. I believe Warby Parker was the only site that had the option to show passwords in the clear. 99% of the time we don’t have anybody looking over our shoulders. Just provide us with a checkbox to check for the 1% of the time when other people can be looking over our shoulders and we need our passwords hidden.

It’s no wonder why people use crappy passwords. It’s 2014. We need easier tools to manage and change our complex passwords already. And no, I’m never going to log in with Facebook. Quit asking me.

Maybe I should just use monkey123…

Flipboard expirement

I suffer badly from FOMO, the fear of missing out. Technology has made it so easy to never miss anything. All my TV shows, podcasts, blogs, and news sites are constantly pilling up with great content for me to consume. While I love it all, sometimes I feel like I’m just getting through it to get through it, and not enjoying it.

This week I’ve done a little experiment and tried to use Flipboard for all my news. I have always loved Flipboard, but it never really worked for me. I’ve always felt I was missing out on something, so I still had my nose in my feed reader. I’ll never give up on my feed reader for blogs, but I’m trying to wean myself away from reading news in my feed reader.

So far it’s been great. It’s taking me less time to get through my feeds, and Flipboard seems to turn up some great articles I never would have found otherwise. It’s kind of magical how it pulls stuff out of my social networks and filters the news so I don’t miss anything important, or at least that’s what I’m trying to tell myself. I don’t think Flipboard is saving me much time, it’s still a bottomless time sink, but I think it’s a more enjoyable way to read my news.

Is RSS dead?

So Google Reader died Monday. Is RSS dying? I sure hope not, and don’t think so. I’ve heard many people say they gave up on RSS reading and now just read Twitter. That just doesn’t make sense to me. Twitter is great for what’s going on now, but how do I catch up with what’s been going on after a long day at work? Sorry, but I’m not scrolling back fourteen hours on my Twitter feed. Hell, I seldom scroll back an hour.

The other day I was trying to remember when I started reading RSS feeds. I know I started with a desktop app, and mostly used it to keep up with all the blogs I was reading. I remember wishing news sites had feeds so I could read my news that way, but none of them did. Gradually more and more sites got RSS feeds, and that’s pretty much how I’ve been consuming the internet for as long as I can remember. If your site doesn’t have an RSS feed, it doesn’t exist to me.

Once I got internet access on multiple computers and places I switched to an online reader. I think NewsGator was my first and then I switched to Bloglines. I remember when Google Reader was first launched. It sucked at first and took a few years before it was good enough to make the switch. I lived it Google Reader for years. It wasn’t flashy, they rarely added any decent features, but it was always reliable. The best thing Google did was to allow third party apps to connect to their services. That was one of the reasons I bought an iPad the day they came out. My RSS reading finally became enjoyable in the mobile space. It’s so easy for me to keep up with my 1000s of feeds now because any spare minute I have during the day I can whip out my phone or iPad and read some feeds.

I was a little shocked when Google announced that they were shutting down reader. I guess I had a hard time believing that “nobody” was using a service that I was using constantly twelve to eighteen hours a day. I wasn’t worried though. I was excited because I knew other companies would step in and have products that were better and actually work on them and evolve them over time. Many did, and I tried most of them, but for now Feedly is my choice.

Feedly has most of the features of Google Reader that I used, and works with Newsify, which is a great iOS app. I made the switch, and didn’t skip a beat. Long live RSS.

Feedly is in the lead so far

So over the weekend I played with a few different RSS readers, and so far Feedly is winning. I couldn’t try Newsblur because they closed their free accounts. While I’m more than happy to pay for an RSS reader, I need to know if it’s the right one before I’m willing to pay. I was also unable to try The Old Reader because of their long import queue. My OPML file was also too big for them to import all my feed. That was also a turnoff.

I hated Feedly’s look when I first tried it, but I was able to customize it quite a bit too make it “less pretty” and more useful. When it comes to RSS readers pretty usually just gets in the way. I just want the articles, and I want to be able to browse them fast. Feedly uses the same keyboard short cuts that Google Reader uses, and that’s a must for a reader for me. I was able to get through my feeds almost as fast as I could with Google Reader. They still have a few UI problems, but I have a feeling Feedly will figure it out. I think they understand this is a huge opportunity for them. Right now they are still using the Google backend, but they say they have their own clone of it that they are ready to use once Google Reader closes down.

On thing they must add for me to make the switch is a way to export my OPML. I’m sure they will add one, they aren’t stupid. They probably don’t have one now because they are using Google’s backend. A way to export my feeds is an absolute must.

The one thing I’m worried about is their iOS app. Once again they made it pretty, and I don’t want pretty. My iOS reader of choice is Feeddler. It’s fast and full of export options. I can quickly run through my feeds sending some to Instapaper, Evernote, Readability, Pocket, Pinboard, or where ever want to handle posts that I’m interested in.

I’m hoping that Feedly understands that there are many different kind of reader apps, and everybody has their favorites and they allow third party apps to run on their backend like Google did. I believe it would be huge if they do that. The feed reader service that becomes the backend for all the great mobile reader apps will be the winner.

Feedly is in the lead now, but I’m curious what Digg is going to do. they said they are working on a reader too. I’m pretty excited about the future of RSS readers. Somebody is going to be innovative and blow Google Reader out of the water, and make us wonder why we loved it so much. Who is that going to be?

My thoughts on Vine

So I’ve been playing around with Vine over the weekend, and I kind of like it. Vine lets you create, edit, and share a six second video. It’s actually more fun than it sounds, and people have been very creative. I enjoy seeing more than just pictures from my Twitter friends.

Vine does have some annoyances, but I’m sure they will be fixed with time. I don’t like that it’s like Instagram was and has no website. I wish there were more sharing options. I hate that it’s iPhone only. Vine does just dump the video into your camera roll, so you are free to share it wherever you want. I’m currently just dumping them onto my Tumblr.

I like that you can find your Twitter users to add them, but that feature currently isn’t working for me. I’m following over 1,000 people, and I know more than three of them are using Vine. I hate that Facebook took that feature out of Instagram. I don’t want to have to add all my friends every damn time a new network comes out. Apps like this should all be able to import your Twitter and Facebook friends. I don’t look at my Instagram feed anymore since I can’t keep my Twitter friends synced up with it. Because of that, Instagram is almost dead to me. It’s just one of the many reasons why I hate Facebook and barely use it, and am looking for an Instagram replacement.

It’ll be interesting to see if Vine takes off. It has so many similarities to Instagram that I could see it taking off. Than again people might be overloaded with similar services.

The secret ending to “Attack of the Show”

So sometime in 1999 our cable company got ZDTV. I loved that channel, and watched almost every show on it, my favorite being The Screensavers. It was like finding “my people”. It was before blogs, so it was harder to meet people online. I was on dial-up back then, so being online sucked. I was jealous of the people that were able to get broadband.

Shortly after ZDTV switched to TechTV, my cable company dropped the channel. I was pissed. One of the main reason I have DirecTV now is because of my hatred for the cable company for dropping TechTV. I think I went a year or two without The Screensavers before the cable company got TechTV back.

Then TechTV was sold and changed to G4 and sucked. The Screensavers was changed to Attack of the Show, and was removed from my Tivo. By then broadband was more-or-less everywhere and podcasting was just getting started. The good people from TechTV started TWiT and Revision3, and life was good. Well apparently Attack of the Show has ended now too. I think I only watched the first episode, but it was nice that they gave Patrick and Leo the final words. It’s finally an end to an era that was over long ago.

Verizon charging more for less


So Verizon announced their new Share Everything plan earlier this week. Everybody seemed pretty pissed because now they are going to have to pay more for less. I was going to wait on commenting until I did the math myself.

I think it’s great that they are streamlining their plans, but man they are spendy, and yes I’m going to have to more for less.

I couldn’t care less about unlimited minutes and messages. I use maybe 20 minutes a month, and probably 4 messages a YEAR. The data is what’s going to kill me, and it’s so hard to judge how much you are using.

I looked back six months, and some months I used .5 GBs, and others I was close to 2 GB. So what plan am I suppose to get? Plus you have to double those data uses since my Wife is also using data at about the same rate as I do. So my usage will vary from 1 GB to 4 GB, and it’s trending upwards. So that means I could probably get by on the $60 and watch my data use closely, but that’s no fun. Or I could go with the $70 plan and pay for more data that I won’t be using most months. I’m glad I’m almost always on wifi, I couldn’t imaging how much data I would be using if I wasn’t.

My current bill is $143 with $20 of that being taxes and fees that I’m sure wont be changing. If I went with the cheaper plan it would cost me $160; $60 for the plan, plus $80 for two smartphones (which is ridiculous), plus $20 taxes and other fees.

So my $143 bill will go to $160 if I want to limit my usage, or $170 if I don’t want to worry, too much, about my usage. All the commercials I have seen say the new plans will save people money. I don’t know what kind of fuzzy math they use. 

That being said, I’m not too against the plans. I like how it simplifies everything, and while the data prices are a little spendy, it’s the $40 per smartphone that kills. Why so much for something that just shares the data you are already paying for, and will probably force you into a higher plan? If all devices on the plan were $10 or $20, I would probably be totally happy with the change. You know that’s never going to happen though. What cell phone company wants or has happy customers?

Large number craziness

I love math and numbers. I am also intrigued by how little humans understand large numbers. Most people probably don’t know what comes after Trillion, and really, that’s so large that nobody really needs a number much larger than that. I knew my number system up to decillion. I had to turn to Wikipedia to see what was next. Growing up as a kid without Wikipedia I thought a googolplex was the largest number. I knew a googol was a 1 followed by 100 zeros. I didn’t really know what a googolplex was. Now that I got Wikipedia I know we have numbers way bigger than googol and even bigger than a googolplex. There is such a thing as a googolplexplex. And actually, the googol named numbers are just special named numbers. A googol is really 10 duotrigintillion. A duotrigintillion is 1099, so 10 of them would be 10100, or a googol.

A googol is so large that there are less atoms in the observable universe. The estimated number of atoms in the observable universe is 1082 (or 10 sesvigintillion if you care), much less that a googol. Now onto a googolplex. A googolplex is 10googol. It has more zeros than there are atoms in the universe making it impossible to even write out long hand, and yeah, a googolplexplex is even larger.

Backing up with rsync and Automator

The beginning of this year I re-thought my backup strategy. I’m crazy about my backups, maybe a little too much. This year I’ve actually cut back on some of my backups. Last year I got a CrashPlan family plan to back up my two main computers. It works great. I love CrashPlan. Now thanks to iTunes Match, I was able to downgrade my CrashPlan to a single computer plan.

I’ve been slowly upgrading all my music to 256 kbps, from the crappy 128 kbps that I originally ripped all my music to back when hard drive space was more limiting. It’s been great to get them upgraded without having to re-rip the 1400 cds I own. That’s another reason why I make sure to have good backups. I dread having to re-rip my cds. iTunes Match serves as a great backup too. The $25 for iTunes Match is actually saving me money. Downgrading my CrashPlan account saves me $84 a year, adding the iTunes Match fee and I save $59 a year. Plus I don’t have to upload most of the new music I buy. It is just matched, and I have a backup.

So what about my other files on my iMac that need backed up? Well, I wrote an Automator script that uses rsync to backup my documents folder over to my Windows machine, which is then backed up to CrashPlan. Everything is also backed up to my NAS. Yeah, I’m anal, but I have a great system and will never lose a file. Here is the simple shell script that I used:

rsync -aE –delete ~/ Documents/ /Volumes/Users/mace/Documents/iMacBackup/ Documents/

I made an app with Automator that runs that script and just just put it on my desktop. I could have gotten more fancy and scheduled it to run with iCal, but I’m happy enough just clicking on the app once a day. Automator is so powerful, yet underused.