I Propose Online Movie Rentals 2.0

Computing
After having read the article about a new USPS surcharge that could cut into Netflix's profits I got to thinking about the future of movie rentals.  If you're a Netflix customer and haven't tried their streaming video service, I recommend you give it a shot.  I've noticed the weak selection of titles available on it and can only imagine that it must be a licensing issue with the MPAA or specific rights-holder.  While I enjoy their online video-watching service, I don't enjoy watching movies on my laptop as much as on my TV and I also don't enjoy having to plug my laptop into my TV.  There is a feasible solution for all of this covering concerns like licensing agreements (giving consumers better selection) to proper television integration (no more laptops plugged into the TV.)  Read on to find out how I see a successful movie rental business operating in the near future.

Guitar Hero III on PS3 has Severe Playability Issues

Gaming
As the latest in one of the most successful video game series today, Guitar Hero III offers the same rhythm-based game play as the previous releases.  It is available for PS2, PS3, Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360.  So far as I have read, the game runs very well on all platforms except the PS3.  Playstation 3 users are plagued with issues including controller problems and strange game behavior.  I was one of the unfortunate ones to have excitedly purchased this game for PS3 only to find out that it's very difficult if not impossible to have a positive gaming experience with it.  I spent some time researching the problems and my conclusion is that the PS3 version was rushed and absolutely not ready for market.

Review: Netflix Instant Streaming Video Service

Netflix
Netflix has dominated the internet DVD rental market since its inception and until recently, that has been their only service.  I've had a Netflix account for years now and have been quite satisfied with their service.  I was especially happy when they introduced Blu-Ray and HD-DVD as options.  More recently they have upped the ante with their instant video service, which allows users to start watching a video instantly using a PC.  This review will go over technical problems, selection, video quality and overall user experience with this new Netflix service.

Three Minute National Guard Movie Theater Ad Is Too Much!

Other

Remember a time when there weren't ads before movies? It used to be that people were excited just for the previews and previews were all you got. Times were simpler then. People actually showed up early to see previews because previews were considered a perk of going to the theater. After paying $10 per seat and the same for refreshments, most people expect a certain level of comfort and service for their money. The TV-style ads have been annoying to say the least but recently I hit a new limit.

How to use your cell phone as a wireless Bluetooth modem

Cellphones
I was recently stuck in a situation where I had absolutely no broadband connection or phone line to dial up.  What's a tech-nerd to do when in need of the internet but only able to use a laptop, cellphone and no wires?  Get this - Not only did I get this to work, but I successfully connected to my company's VPN over it and was able to work for the day, slowly but surely over the 115kbps EDGE network.  Just to push the point home, I connected to our mail server via VPN via Internet via EDGE via Cellphone via Bluetooth.  No wires needed.  The sweet part is that it doesn't cost me anything to do this because it's part of my unlimited data plan and uses no minutes.  I use T-Mobile, but will give settings to the best of my knowledge for all the other providers.

Using Hibernate with Google Web Toolkit (GWT)

Java

Hibernate is an excellent tool which saves many projects from substantial amounts of code.  Gone are the days of writing massive datasource layers full of obnoxious JDBC code.  As gravy you also get simple query objects, caching, connection pooling and countless other great features.  GWT on the other hand provides a robust API using a revolutionary new paradigm for writing javascript and complex dhtml interfaces.  The latest version of Hibernate supports annotations, meaning you can ditch all of the XML that was previously required.  This feature of course requires Java 5 to support annotations.  Unfortunately, as of GWT 1.4, only Java 1.4 is supported on the client-side.  I have created a solution to bridge the Java 1.4 to Java 5.0 gap.

Object Oriented Programming Explained - Part 2 - Polymorphism

Programming
Wikipedia defines polymorphism as "the ability of objects belonging to different types to respond to method calls of the same name, each one according to an appropriate type-specific behavior."  There is nothing too fancy about polymorphism other than it's name.  All it means in layman' s terms is that you can define some common behavior for multiple types of objects and have a common codebase which may or may not care about the different variations on a type.  A good analogy would be the biological taxonomy system.  You may remember this from high school.  It has Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus and Species.  If we were to model all living things according to their taxonomy, then we could have software which behaves much like a dog kennel.  The dog kennel takes domesticated dogs.  There are many specific breeds of dogs but the kennel knows that any domesticated 4 legged dog will do and will be compatible with their kennel.  We could say this dog is polymorphic in a way.  Not only is it a domesticated dog, but it's a carnivorous canine which is an animal.  Does our software support all animals?  Maybe.  If so, this dog would work there too.

Object Oriented Programming Explained - Part 1 - The Basics

Programming
Object Oriented (OO) languages are a staple of the development community, however many people continue to argue against them, citing that they are inefficient, useless, confusing and unnecessary.  There are many real benefits to using OO even for very small projects.  It does require a different mode of thinking though to convert from a purely procedural environment into an OO one.  In this article I will show some of the values added by implementing using OO designs and what is saved in the long run.

Getting geared up for 2007/2008 snowboarding

Snowboarding
It's the end of October and the 2007/2008 snowboarding and skiing season is right around the corner!  I'm very excited for this year and to prepare, I've decided to get some new outer clothes before it starts to snow and the prices shoot up. I also had a look at some of the new snowboard offerings from Burton, amongst others, who is pushing the boundaries of rational purchasing with their new $1000 Vapor model.  I'm not in the market for a new board this year but I thought I'd share some of my findings for stylish jackets and pants for both men and women.

How-To: Cheap or free data backup solutions

Computing
Everyone knows (or at least they SHOULD know) that they need to back up their data but so few people actually back up what they have properly or regularly.  It's always once you've lost your entire digital photo collection or that book you've been writing that you realize you've been totally neglecting your back up discipline.  I can't tell you how many hard drives I've seen or had crash over the years.  I've probably had 20 crash under my own accord.  I didn't let them overheat, bang them around or do anything out of the ordinary.  The fact of the matter is that much like how your car engine will eventually wear out, so will your hard drive.  Your hard drive contains moving parts that WILL wear out over time.  Making sure your data is in at least one other spot is absolutely essential if you care at all about your digital property.
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