Netflix Originals

Bagging on netflix is becoming a recurring theme, but alas, I need to circle back.

When Netflix streaming began to take off, it was pretty much the only game in town. At the time, the catalog was far from complete, but Netflix got in at the ground floor, and all the content owners pretty much granted access to their catalog. Not complete access, and there were significant holes, but the selection was solid.

Then a few years ago, Netflix began radically changing their focus. As competitors rose (Amazon, Hulu, Apple,) Netflix was competing for content, and not winning the fight. Instead of having a dwindling catalog, and having to bid against the rising competition, they pivoted to funding the creation of content. The concept of “Netflix Originals” (N-O) made an appearance, and now the catalog is flooded with Netflix Originals. To the point of crowding out the outside content. Continue reading →

Apartment Living – Bad and Good

There are many bad things about living in a less than great neighborhood. But also some really good things. This is a mixed bag post.

First, the bad


Early this week, while walking my dogs, I stepped in some dog feces. One of the hazards regardless of how nice the neighborhood is, no matter how cultured (or not) the residents are, people walking their dogs are very negligent in picking up their dog’s droppings.

Instead of tracking it into my apartment, I left my Teva’s to let the poop dry so I could shake it off. But the next morning I step outside to shake the shit off, and they are gone. Someone decided that they needed my sandals more than me, and took them.

They were well worn, so I am not going to cry a river, but it does seem petty that footwear isn’t safe.

Early phone calls

Our master bedroom faces over the patio(s) in our bank of units (it also faces a busy street, but that is a different story).

Of course, that means we hear the wild parties across the street (2 – 3 nights a week), and the drunken fights that happen as the parties breakup. Bad enough.

This morning, at 4:00 AM, our neighbor is on his patio talking to a (suspected ex) love interest. Not fighting, but loud, a mix of english and spanish, and a lot of sad sap pleading about how much he loved her and can’t live without her.

For over an hour.


Next, the good


Last night, walking the dogs, there was a small mariachi band practicing on the steps of one of the apartments. Guitar, Accordion, and horns.

Not that I am aficionado, but they were quite good.

Well, that is all for this episode of Apartment Living.

Realtor Insanity

We are relocating, and consequently our house is in the market in Chandler. No surprises there. Back in April we signed a 3 month (90 day) contract, as dictated by our relocation company.

Fast forward to late June. 90 days is up, and we re-sign with the agent we selected to continue the contract. Unfortunately a snafu happened, and the update didn’t get reflected that evening, and our listing “expired” for about 8 hours.

Ho-lee shit Batman, what a zoo ensued.  First I got an email from my agent letting me know that we might get some calls, and to not be worried. No big deal.

Except that whole day I had other real estate agents contact me about picking up my listing. I stopped counting after the 6th distinct agent called.

It was madness. There is a glut of houses on the market in the Phoenix metro area, and while I used to get fliers hung on my door to see if I was interested in selling, I had no idea that real estate agents were vultures.

Just yesterday, I got two formal mailed inquiries, dutifully redirected to my new mail address.

I guess I am glad to not be an agent.

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Apple Mail Madness

A bit of a rant here, sorry. I use Google for my personal domain(s) email service. Google Apps is a good deal, even for the two accounts my wife and I use. Solid performance, wicked good junk filtering, and they do a great job of detecting phishing and spearphishing attacks.

I use the Apple mail client, setup to use imap to connect to the gmail servers and provide a local cache of my email. Worked pretty good to. (note: “worked” is the operative word.)

Starting in OS-X 10.7 the mail client began to get lame. I think Apple was really trying to be a better ingester of gmail accounts, but something got wonky.

I should point out that I have probably 20K email messages in my main account, a similar amount in my true “Gmail” account, and significantly less in my auxiliary accounts. Apparently, Apple mail starts choking above 10K messages, and I am over that by at least 30K messages.

Constantly needing to reindex my inbox is a major detractor (there are a few messages in my inbox that are “perpetually” new, no matter how often I refresh the indices.)

Add to that the pretty piss-poor junk mail filtering that Apple mail has, and I am getting pretty frustrated. The last straw was when my daily NY Times update was flagged as “junk” and I couldn’t figure out which of my computers set this rule. Apparently, even if you turn off junk filtering explicitly, it can sometimes turn itself back on. Sigh.

So I am evaluating options. I don’t mind the Gmail web interface, it is just a pain in the ass to have to relogin all the time.

There are some stand alone apps to help, but I suspect that the real problem is having huge imap mailboxes and the task of keeping them locally sync’d.

I am trying an application that essentially is a shell for the gmail web interface. So you get instant access, cool main UI notifications (a big plus) and all the google tools that make gmail a good experience. It is called “Mailplane” and it seems pretty solid. I will use it exclusively for a while and see how I like it.

One benefit would be to free the 12gigs or so of email cache on my drives. Not a lot of space, but it kind of defeats the purpose of imap to have physical copies of everything locally.

And then the Apple mail application will be used only for my icloud, yahoo, and godaddy account. Woot.

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Travel Notes – Luggage

I am rapidly approaching the need for new baggage. I am pretty hard on my luggage, so it’s not surprising that it wears out. However, all the zippers are failing, and it is looking like it has been dragged through a war zone.

I have had Tumi bags, and they wore well, but the hardware failed spectacularly one trip. It literally disintegrated before my eyes.

I replaced it with "Travel Pro". Endorsed by flight attendants and airline employees, it seemed like a safe bet. Snort. Of course their bags last a long time because they NEVER have to check their bags. Both my carry on sized roller, and my big roller looked like hell almost immediately. The first trip with my big bag, the big zipper pulls were lost. And it has gone downhill from there. My current trip is probably the last with this bag.

Not sure where to go next. But, I am certain whatever brand of luggage I buy, it will have a finite lifespan before the rigors of travel shred it mercilessly. I am tempted to go hard shell, but much of that looks and feels cheap as well.

Must be Monday – 2 bluescreens by 8:00 AM

Sigh. This is getting tiresome. I have not had such issues with computer crashes since I first went to Windows Vista in 2007. 

I come in this morning and pop my computer on the docking station. It was sleeping happily, then I pressed the power button to “wake it up”. I get the familiar password screen, then BAM – blue screen.


Wait for it to finish the memory dump. Hmmm, IRQL_NOT_LESS_THAN_0, and a search of the internet tells me not much.

Power it off and on again. It gets about 1/3 the way through booting, and BAM, another blue screen.


Third time is a charm. It is up, and I only took an hour to get to a ready state of working.

Last week, the service people replaced my screen, several cables, and the logic board. Now I am getting lots of bluescreens. And my left side USB ports are dead. While they supply power, they do not recognize any devices attached.

I hate this PC.

Now to recover all the in progress documents.