Netflix jumps on the popular feature removal bandwagon. Starting Sept 1 they are eliminating profiles. Profiles allow you to setup multiple Netflix queues under one account. For example my wife has her own queue with one DVD out at a time. This way she can manage her own list of sappy chick flicks while I fill my own queue with, uh, more important stuff. So much for a good thing. Thanks Netflix.
Lifehacker reports that Google Browser Sync has been discontinued and will not be updated to support firefox 3. That is so lame. It is my favorite Firefox plug in, and has completely changed how I use a browser. I have it installed on all my computers for syncing bookmarks and open tabs. Thanks Google.
A couple of years ago I replaced a large proportion of the light bulbs in my house with CF bulbs. Almost immediately I noticed the savings on my power bill. I justified the higher cost and almost ridiculous disposal issues by the long term savings I was going to get. After all these things are supposed to last a crazy long time (up to 10 years - it says so right on the package). I eventually replaced nearly all the bulbs in my house.
Well as of now I'm officially changing my mind on that decision. The reason? These things are dying right and left. It seems that for 3 - 4 times the money I'm getting bulbs that are lasting 1/3 the time. In fact the vanity mirror and flood types are only lasting 10 - 14 months on average for me. That is far less than the incandescents they replaced. So much for long life. Now I've got a pile of crazy mercury filled dead bulbs that I'm probably going to have to pay to dispose of. So much for saving the environment.
I think this is another case where the consumer is being sold snake oil.
Shortly after I got the 360 streamer working my Roku box showed up. This is a pretty amazing piece of hardware. It is small and light and fan-less. There is no on-off switch! I went to the web site and they basically said you can just leave it on all the time, it draws very little power. If you want to turn it off you have to un-plug it. It runs a custom version of Linux on a strong arm based embedded processor. It has all the AV connection options you could think of, Svideo, composite, component, HDMI, stereo out and optical out. It has both Ethernet and Wifi-G connectivity.
The setup was easy. I first configured it for my wifi network, then it ask for my Netflix credentials. After that it generated an activation code that I had to go online to Netflix's site and enter. The whole process took less than 10 minutes.
The user interface is about as simple as it gets. When you boot it up, it connects to your 'instant' queue. From there you can select a show, read about it and play it. It supports fast forward and rewind via a thumbnail preview. Once you find the spot you want it can take 30 seconds or so to cache up the data at that location before it plays. You can only select movies in your instant queue, you cannot browse for new movies to watch - this must be done from the PC. Originally I thought that this was a pretty major limitation, but now I think it is a pretty cool feature. I'm treating it like parental controls. If my kids use the box they'll only be able to watch the shows that I 'made available', instead of having instant access to all the R rated content I don't want them to see.