The Virtual Office

The virtual office is something that I’m very interested in. One of the things I’m looking at today actually is acquiring a virtual mailbox. I found this Youtube video above, for PostScan Mail. I haven’t used them, but I like the squishiness of the video and website. It looks like a solid service. I’m comparing this service with Anytime Mailbox (video below).

Something that Anytime Mailbox has above the other companies in this market, is an iOS & Android App. This makes me happy. Their pricing model seems to be more about nickel and diming you for everything you want to do, however; and that raises an eyebrow.

From what I can tell from the reviews people either love PostScan Mail or they hate it. The biggest gripe is that they are slow. Apparently, SUPER SLOW.

 

And so here I am, deciding between services. Which do you have experience with? Which are you loving? Is anyone interested in running a virtual office, or is this still pretty niché? Let me know in the comments.

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The Mighty Sony & How it Falls Under The Weight of the Hack Fiasco & Years of Poor Management of it’s Assets

The following text to the right in block quotes is an article from The Verge, which the original can be found here. I responded below the quoted article underneath the Sony Google Glass Picture. To the Left is a info-graphic covering the Sony Hack, with a clickable link to a Washington Post article: The Sony Pictures Hack, Explained.

Sony announced last night that it’s spinning off its audio and video divisions, much like it spun off its television division last year. That won’t mean much right now; Sony still displayed interesting new Android-powered TVs at CES, and we’re sure to see new crazy high-end Walkmans and camcorders with Sony branding from the newly independent AV division as well.

But the long-term reality is far more stark: after years of promising “One Sony,” CEO Kaz Hirai appears to be systematically breaking the company up for sale. The VAIO PC division was sold last year and just announced its first hybrid laptops as an independent company, and Hirai told investors that he has to consider spinning off the smartphone business and possibly selling the TV business outright.

According to Hirai, that leaves Sony with three main businesses at its core :

  1. Sony Pictures Entertainment, the hit-or-miss Hollywood studio that just fired Amy Pascal after being hacked to bits at the end of last year.
  2. The PlayStation division, which has so far won the next-gen console race with the PS4 but yet to define a clear mobile strategy; PlayStation Mobile is all but ignored, and the Vita is a beautifully noble failure.
  3. Selling image sensors to Apple for the iPhone.

You read that last one correctly: Sony’s last closely held core electronics business is image sensors, and it’s mostly because Apple uses them in the iPhone. (Sony also supplies sensors for various other high-end phones, but Samsung uses its own chips in the Galaxy S5, and no other company comes close to selling as many phones as Apple and Samsung.) If Apple decides to switch sensor suppliers — or, perhaps more likely, build its own — the third leg of that stool gets kicked right out.

 

If you’re a PlayStation fan, this is kind of fun: after years of Sony neglecting gaming, former PlayStation head Hirai is ruthlessly eliminating every other division at the company. Revenge! Revenge!

 

For everyone else, this is kind of depressing — Sony was among the first great consumer electronics companies, and now it’s falling apart because smartphones and software completely subsumed almost every device in its catalog. Sony’s phones are generally excellent now, but haven’t seen nearly the kind of traction Samsung’s phones have seen. Sony also made the cardinal error of trying to foist garbage software and services on people. That error is slowly being corrected; most Sony devices now run basically clean versions of Android, and Sony just killed its in-house music streaming service in favor of Spotify. But it’s too little, too late: the customers Sony needs have been buying Samsung products for too long now.

This is sad because Sony HDTV’s & 4K HDTV’s are amazing. Their Z line of Smartphones are stellar, and their Sony Alpha A7 Series Cameras​ are pretty much all the rage & the best thing in Photography right now besides RED Cameras​ & Black Magic 4K​ Cameras.  Continue reading “The Mighty Sony & How it Falls Under The Weight of the Hack Fiasco & Years of Poor Management of it’s Assets”

HTC ONE: Tragedy Narrowly Averted

HTC One Collage

Everyone was saying that the HTC ONE was the phone to buy. This was supposed to be the phone of the year. So many people were saying so many good things about this smartphone. For one it has front facing speakers, and Boom Sound, which was designed to give the phone a premium experience when sharing content with others. Zoe was this new way that the phone catalogued and collaged your photos with a 3 second video looped in to give this curated visage of your life. And the Ultrapixel Camera was supposed to bring in so much light, and just wow us with a new tactic on pixilation. Everyone likes to count megapixels, but a megapixel count is not the end all of photography, they said with proud eyes – like their child had aced the SAT test.

Further more, the 64 GB Developer Edition was to be Sim and Boot-loader Unlocked, and in my hands by April 18th when i pre-ordered it on the wee early morning hours of the 9th. It was supposed to be able to work on any carrier – except Verizon, (who straight away decided they were not going to be carrying this device – or at least not this device called the HTC One) – and they were not going to support it either, since they only support Verizon devices. This left open Sprint (WCDMA), Tmobile (GSM), At&t (GSM), and several other lesser brands like Virgin Mobile and Cricket. Right away i found out that Virgin, Sprint and Verizon would not support this device because it is unlocked. So those were out. At&t wants me to only get 1GB of data if i’m going to use their pay-As-You-Go GoPhone plans, and for some reason, well i know the reason – it’s because of an old At&t Uverse account that they keep trying to bring back to life even though it should remain cancelled – they want a $500 deposit. Now, i like At&t – so i’m not beyond paying this price and grabbing the phone for two years on their regular network, but then i’m still paying quite a bit for data.

Tmo seemed like the only likely answer, since they have a system that allows you to bring your own device, and you can pay $70 for unlimited phone, data and text (either on the Pay-As-You-Go plan, or on their new “No Contract” plans – the latter needs a credit check run). And so that’s where i was at – get the developer edition, everyone was expounding on the unibody construction, going nuts over the boom sound, and basically saying this phone rocks. The downside seemed to be Blink-Feed, an RSS Feed Aggregator, which i didn’t seem to mind having at all. So i was in. And then the phone never came.

iFixit gave the HTC One the lowest score it's ever given a smartphone when it comes to repairability
iFixit gave the HTC One the lowest score it’s ever given a smartphone when it comes to repairability

The phone was supposed to get here on the 18th. And then it was the 19th. Then they said it was going to be on Monday, and when it didn’t ship by Monday, it was going to ship by Tuesday and get here Wednesday. Well, when i called this morning, Wednesday had been backed up for two weeks. So it’s hella late. I’ve been reading up, and people are reporting problems in the manufacturing. The first accounts that came out were the very low repairability score that the HTC One got on ifixit.com.

htc-one-side-macro

The HTC One also was showing signs of not being put together as well as the prototypes that everyone was judging and making the reviews off of. There were burrs, and screen deformations. Glass that wasn’t smoothed out correctly, and sharp edges on the speaker grills, misaligned and coming up from where THE GLUE meets the plastic. It was becoming more and more apparent that this phone was not a unibody aluminum phone, but plastic glued onto aluminum in various places to maintain the look of a premium phone, without actually being one.

Continue reading “HTC ONE: Tragedy Narrowly Averted”

Re: What is Quantum Dot Technology – specifically as seen in the Sony 4K Televisions

Image

 

I’ve been trying to explain what Quantum Dot technology is because even the guys back in Magnolia, or the Sony HD 4k TV salesmen don’t really have a grasp on it just yet. After a couple of tries, i found this explanation which i think sums it up nicely.

Sony is using nanoscale particles called quantum dots to significantly improve the color of some of its high-end Bravia televisions. It showed off the technology, which increases the range of colors that an LCD television can display by about 50 percent, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week. This marks the first time that quantum dots—which for a long time have fascinated researchers because of their unusual electronic and optical properties—have been used in a mass-produced consumer electronics product.

Quantum dots emit very specific wavelengths of light. And the precise colors they emit can be tuned by changing their size. Sony is incorporating technology from QD Vision, which has been working to commercialize advances made at MIT over a decade ago. Originally, the company aimed to make quantum dot displays that are similar to OLED displays—the quantum dots would form the pixels of the display, and would be turned on and off by applying electrical current via a transistor. Although QD Vision has developed prototypes of these displays, they’ve been difficult to make reliably in large sizes (see “This Display Is a Quantum Leap”). Continue reading “Re: What is Quantum Dot Technology – specifically as seen in the Sony 4K Televisions”

Why Am i paying AppleTV’s $4.99 price gouge for HD, When Redbox rents BLUERAY for 1.50?

Image representing Apple TV as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

I’ve had the Apple TV since it upgraded to AppleTV2. I sent my first one back because they hadn’t gotten the streaming to buffer correctly. But months later after I heard they had fixed this issue, there I was, on the Apple site, ordering it. It’s just too easy, too wonderful, and at $100 it kicks anything like it out of the water. If you don’t use apple products, obviously, you need to pass on this. But if that’s where you store your media, if you are purchasing from iTunes, then this is a no brainer.

Albeit, if I had to grumble, it would be at the price of the media. I mean you get a NINETY NINE cent movie of the week, but other than that, you are shelling out some significant change if you want HD movies. I’ve had to change my thought process when purchasing, because buying the movie becomes so much more economical. You can get a movie for TEN dollars, up to TWENTY dollars most of the time that you would have rented for FIVE.

Wish they discounted more often. Also, wish they had more subscriptions to TV. It would be really nice if i could use iTUNES to bypass an HBO subscription. We are almost there, but i suspect it’s the contracts with HBO and the Cable companies which make us wait for some of those HBO & SHOWTIME Premium shows. I’m willing to pay 1.99 a piece for some Game of Thrones, Dexter, Girls, Boardwalk Empire.

Streaming Netflix is a breeze, and without having to pay XBOX a monthly $100 subscription for the ability to do so. I know Wii & PS3 are right there with the same type of feature, but i think it works pretty smoothly on the AppleTV. MLBTV, NBATV, NHL – (the grumble here would be the black out days) But having this option is SPECTACULAR!

I don’t mind paying the $4.99 price point or even $5.99 for early Digital Release content; it just seems like everything stays at that $3.99 – $4.99 price even if it’s as old as dirt. Even if elsewhere you can get it much cheaper.

I’d like to see $1.99 rentals or $2.50. I realize this is mostly HD content, and i guess the shrug is – well that’s the APPL cost for HD. But Redbox rents BLUERAY for 1.50 ($1.62 with tax in CA).

I know, if i want to go REDBOX, i’ve gotta put on my slippers and shuffle my happy ass to the grocery store, or 7Eleven to find a Redbox, but that’s a helluva price difference between $4.99 – and i’m gonna have to go out eventually – for milk or whatever.

Luckily, with AppleTV, you can stream from your computer, so it becomes a perfect device to PIRATE the content and then just stream it to the AppleTV, rather than purchase at a bulked up (CONVENIENCE FEE) sort of rate. But i suspect this becomes less the case with every update.

We know why Apple charges like this – it wants the money. But . . . C’mon! I’d happily rent more stuff if i weren’t getting gouged. Sé La Ví.

Continue reading “Why Am i paying AppleTV’s $4.99 price gouge for HD, When Redbox rents BLUERAY for 1.50?”

VipRiser CUP-PDF Work Around | Print Adobe Reader Docs to PDF

I just found this work around to printing a document from Adobe Reader into a PDF. You see, for some reason Adobe does not allow you to fill out a PDF, and print to PDF. There are natural controls in the OS which allow you to do this if you have a Mac, but Adobe Reader has disabled these, and if you try and force save the document, in will only save a blank form.

So how do you get the form, which you may have just spent your hard earned time filling out – as I have just done, to print to PDF (with all the mark-up information intact)? Well your answer used to just be CUP-PDF, but it is a complicated process, and hard to explain. I just found VIPRISER as a work around. It’s an easy download, and VipRiser will print to Dropbox, or to a folder on your Mac. It can also be used to run scripts to automate other processes as well. I’ve posted the information I’ve found on another site, and cloned it below:

 

Use VipRiser As CUPS-PDF Replacement 

 

The VipRiser has the same basic functionality as the CUPS-PDF (described in this earlier hint) printing package has, but it is more user friendly and easier to install. You can download the installer here.

Once installed, there’s both an application (named VipRiser) and a print driver. You need to create the virtual printer in System Preferences » Print & Fax before using it the first time. Just hit the plus sign and add it. The installer walks you through this. The new printer is named ‘Print to VipRiser’ and once installed, you just select it like any other printer. The VipRiser application has to be running or the virtual printer will be paused, so you may want to put the application in your Login items.

The VipRiser has some fancy features such as sync with your iPad or DropBox, but you don’t have to use them at all. The trick is to select regular folder instead of the DropBox one, where all output files will be stored. You can also use AppleScript or Automator workflows as plugins to do any custom processing. (e.g. upload files to a server).

[crarko adds: I tested this on 10.6.4, and it works as described. I needed to reboot to get it to print after installation, but thereafter it was good. I used both the Dropbox and iPad (also iPhone) destinations. I’ve mirrored the download here, but check the original source in case there are updates.]

Orange pitches Glastonbury Solar Concept Tent

Orange pitches Glastonbury Solar Concept Tent

Orange today revealed their vision for the tent of the future. Utilising cutting edge eco-energy technology, the Orange Solar Concept Tent will allow campers to keep in touch and power their essential camping gadgets.

The Concept Tent has been designed in association with American product design consultancy Kaleidoscope and builds on learnings from the original Orange Solar Tent that was trialled at Glastonbury in 2003, as well as 2004’s Orange Text Me Home Dome. Having worked closely with Glastonbury for the last eleven years, Orange know the importance of keeping in contact with friends while onsite and undertook this concept project to look at how the festival goers communication and power supply needs might be met in the future.

Continue reading “Orange pitches Glastonbury Solar Concept Tent”