So Andrew Sullivan of The Dish is taking his blog independent, and using a no-ad pay model. This has been getting a lot of buzz on the internet.
After taking a look at his existing blog and finding it interesting, I paid my $19.99 for a year. Hopefully I’ll enjoy the blog!
Why did I take this rather impulsive leap and support a blog I haven’t ever really read?
Simple – I hate the ad model. Repeat after me “If you don’t pay for it, you’re not the customer, you are the product.”
I’m putting my money where my mouth is by supporting blogs like this, iTunes, Netflix etc.
(This is also why Hulu can go pound sand – I’ll only watch ads in TV shows – especially ones I pay for – only if there is no alternative. Long live Netflix & iTunes!)
Once you start to get your entertainment without ads, it’s hard to go back.
It really bugs me that even though the New York Times has a pay model, you still get ads on the web. Why not have an option to eliminate them for a higher cost? I don’t get it. I understand that printing and selectively delivering two versions of a printed newspaper isn’t practical. But online? It’s a Simple Matter of Software. Could be done easily.
My time has value. I’ll gladly pay what something is worth to watch, listen, or read it.
Our Apple TV gets a huge amount of use for both content-purchased-from-iTunes as well as Netflix.
We still buy DVDs, but less and less. The iTunes stuff is so much easier – no loading the disc, sitting through the FBI warning (or, in the worst case, needing to skip trailers for other shows). And then navigating the sometimes annoying menu structure while the theme sing plays in an endless loop.
And did I mention the occasionally spoiler-ish nature of some of the images they use in menus and such?
Just navigate to the show on iTunes and hit play. Ahhhh.
I have zero interest in anything that involves commercials at this point, so Hulu is right out. (Once you get used to a zero-commercial life, it’s jarring to go back!)
From iTunes, most stuff is $1.99 for SD and $2.99 for HD. If you buy season passes, this can be reduced a little, or for some shows in some cases by quite a bit.
I’ll admit I tend to trade off the concerns of DRM for the utter convenience of digital media. No swapping discs in the DVD player, no waiting through the FBI warnings etc.
If the price is even close I’ll go with iTunes over DVDs.
One other advantage of the digital versions is that I’m ready to go should I want to watch shows on an iPad while traveling.
The ability to lend DVDs was a big issue for me for a while, but I find that I lend them out less and less, so it’s become a smaller factor. And after moving to an apartment, having less physical stuff is attractive as well. Unbelievable how many boxes of DVDs we moved! And are having to find room for.
I will say this about the handsfree phone – MINI did an amazing job with the noise canceling. My wife was on the highway, top down, windows up, windscreen in place, and I could hear her just fine. Sounded like a little running water in the background, but that was it. Super impressed by that capability.
Here’s my list of mods for the new Roadster, in general priority order:
- Invisishield on the nose (done)
- MINI license plate frames (done)
- CravenSpeed Platypus front plate mount (done)
- Short antenna (done) (MINI version but might have done CravenSpeed if I’d though about it more)
- ScanGuage (done)
- CravenSpeed mounts for GPS and ScanGuage (enroute)
- Suspension, discussed ad nauseum in other threads. Summary: JCW Suspension if I can wait, Koni FSD, 19mm rear sway, and perhaps camber plates and control arm bushings if I cannot.
- JCW Tune (not something you need of course!)
Items above have 95% probability, below are pure wishlist
- JCW Aero kit side skirts
- JCW Brakes
I had the strut brace on my JCW and did like the look for sure, although I didn’t drive the car such that I really noticed it. That might happen too in a moment of weakness.
Our new Roadster is finally tucked away in our garage!
Here it is at the MINI of St. Louis dealership waiting for us to drive it home.
We took delivery a few hours ago. Everything at MINI of St. Louis went very smoothly. Our MA Karen and the rest of the team there really made it a great experience.
We basically just drove it home, so not a lot of first impressions.
I enjoyed driving it, but need some daylight, and a chance to get everything adjusted to take it out and really see how it feels. Also trying to stay within the break-in period limits makes it hard to really get a good feel for the acceleration and braking.
Even with windows up and windscreen in place, my ears were getting a bit cold on the highway (~49 degrees F). Conversation was quite practical under those conditions though. And the heated seats work great as they have in our previous MINIs – another area where the MINI is a great contrast to our utilitarian (work) Prius.
The car looks great and I’m really anxious to get it out in the sun and really take a good look at it, and get some serious pictures. They’re predicting rain for us tomorrow, so it might be Wednesday before that happens. It will give me time to play with MINI Connected, get the phones paired up and so on.
My 370Z was a great car, but it felt so right to be back in the MINI fold again!
My first challenge is figuring out the correct tire pressure. Dealer delivered it at ~32psi. Door sticker and manual say 41psi. Mentioned it to my MA and the response she relayed from ? said that 41 is maximum and they recommend 32-35.
Roughly 25% lower than door sticker seems awfully low to me… I set it to 39psi and will see how it feels.
Just took a quick spin with 39psi. Rode a bit rougher of course. Not excessive but rougher. Need more time to really tell though.
FYI, the tires are: Continental ContiProContact SSR 205/45R17 84V
Some random thoughts about our MINI Roadster, which is due to arrive in a few days!
Our local dealer just got their “demo” Roadster in, and I had to swing by and take a look.
A few random thoughts came to mind. Maybe because that’s all I’m thinking about until ours arrives next week!
- The seats fold forward. I understand why – they can’t make custom non-folding seats for the Roadster’s volume, but it does seem funny.
I’m disproportionately excited at the thought of having an actual useful trunk on a car again! (sorry – “boot”) See attached pic. Our recent fleet has been a Prius (hatch), 370Z (hatch), and a MINI Convertible (trunk, but not super useful…).
The ability to open the pass-through door between the seats and reach into the boot (got it right that time!) is going to be really really handy, especially on road trips. And then to be able to stow valuables (iPad etc.) back there and lock it without making that obvious to potential miscreants when stopping for fuel and food – terrific.
- I’m surprised by how much I liked the look of the front and rear compared to the JCW aero kit. As in, in some ways I like the normal look better than the JCW. Not by much, and in other ways I like the JCW better, but my net conclusion is that I’m ok not having it. (and not just saying that because I didn’t order it)
- The JCW aero kit side skirts are another matter – man, I like those. If it’s possible to just buy those and have them installed, I see some (more) money flowing from my pocket into MINIs in the near future.
On my first release build (versus an Ad Hoc one for TestFlight), I discovered that Apple apparently doesn’t like such a lengthy build version number for releases. (ok, it is rather long…)
An updated version of the script is now available via BitBucket at XCode Tools.
There are a couple other older, undocumented, and essentially experimental tools in that repository as well. Should I revisit and clean up those as well, I’ll add them to a future blog post.
Seemed like a good idea to gather up some info and links about some of the companies in my career that have been important, recent, or both.
The major company I’d worked for in my career was bioMerieux.
I developed a good chunk of the firmware for the VIDAS instrument.
The follow-on instrument, the miniVIDAS, used the same boards and firmware from the VIDAS, but added an onboard computer to allow it to be fully self-contained. I developed all of the firmware for this add-on board, with the exception of the actual biological algorithm “engine” that processed the data points and returned the result. (this code was shared with the workstation software developed by the software group for the original VIDAS instrument)
Developing the firmware for the miniVIDAS was some of the most fun I’ve had in my career, and it’s one of the products I’m most proud to have gotten an opportunity to work on.
After that, I did a lot of firmware for the Vitek 2 instrument. This was a lot of fun, and a chance to work with a larger team of very talented mechanical, electrical, and firmware engineers.
Vitek 2 Compact
This was a smaller version of the Vitek 2 instrument, with some of the automated sample prep features removed. You’d think that removing hardware would make this a pretty trivial project. Turns out, it was actually a huge development effort.
There were a lot of new features desired for this instrument. Another major factor was the impact to the workflow caused by requiring the user to manually move the samples from the vacuum-filler to the mechanism that sealed the cards and loaded them into the incubator.
I worked on several other projects/products at bioMerieux, including the BactT/ALERT 3D, and the yet-to-be-announced, but very interesting and ambitious development effort I was involved in when I left the company. I’ll save some of those memories for a future post.
Recently (2011), I spent some time working for Aclara before deciding the time was right to make a leap of faith and become an Independent Software Developer focused on apps for the Apple iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch devices.
I enjoyed my time there, and the topnotch engineers I got to work with. Cool technology at a good company.