When I was a high school senior, I was in a special program called Students Recycling Used Technology (“StRUT”). We would take used PCs and repurpose them in our school in the labs and classrooms as well as get hands-on experience repairing and building PCs with various types of components. It was really fun! As part of the class — we had to do a technology report. And I recently discovered my report which was on the future of Windows. I got a kick out of the report so I thought I would share it out.
The Verge did a piece today that takes a closer look at Google’s new emoji coming to Android with the Android N update. The post pokes fun of Microsoft for lack of better emoji — specifically on the animals. But the article neglected to look at the new emoji coming to Windows 10 with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. These emoji made their debut for Windows Insiders in Build 14316 for PC and Build 14322 for Mobile. I thinks its only fair to compare one unreleased OS update with another — right? So I decided to help The Verge out and rounded up a bunch of the new cat emoji and the octopus emoji:
For a closer look at the new emoji coming with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update — check out this post over at Emojipedia!
Today I received my very first Kickstarter project: the reissue of the 1975 NASA Graphic Standards Manual. This manual is pretty awesome and perfect for design nerds. While I may not necessarily be a design nerd, I do love and appreciate design. I also love NASA and the history behind NASA. So when I discovered this Kickstarter project — I didn’t think twice about funding it to receive a copy of this manual. It felt like owning a piece of NASA history.
The manual itself gives you a look at the design used by NASA from 1975–1992 which includes NASA’s (in)famous “Worm” logo. This essentially served as the brand guidelines for NASA for a long time. For example — it goes into detail on what was the correct placement of the NASA logo on spacecraft such as the Space Shuttle.
My first experience with Kickstarter has been fantastic. I can’t wait to find other cool projects are out there to fund!
In case you missed it, CBS announced plans back in November for a brand new Star Trek TV series which will make its debut January 2017. And today, it was announced that Bryan Fuller will be co-creator and executive producer of this new CBS Star Trek series — essentially the showrunner. Bryan launched his career writing episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. He has gone one to many high-profile projects in recent years including creating the show Pushing Daisies and serving as executive producer and writer on NBC’s Hannibal and also the first season of Heroes. Admittedly, I haven’t gotten into these new shows Bryan has been working on but I’ve had friends talk about these shows and how much they have liked them. I think Bryan is the perfect person to bring a new Star Trek TV series to our screens. Here is a quote from Bryan from today’s announcement:
“My very first experience of Star Trek is my oldest brother turning off all the lights in the house and flying his model of a D7 Class Klingon Battle Cruiser through the darkened halls. Before seeing a frame of the television series, the Star Trek universe lit my imagination on fire. It is without exaggeration a dream come true to be crafting a brand new iteration of Star Trek with fellow franchise alum Alex Kurtzman and boldly going where no Star Trek series has gone before.”
He’s a fan of Star Trek and has clearly proven he can write really good stories. I am hoping he brings back some of the modern day allegory in stories that made Star Trek compelling and thought provoking. Star Trek hasn’t always been about epic starship battles. For example, Star Trek really put an emphasis in the “science” in “science fiction” by addressing some scientific theories in storylines.
I encourage all Star Trek fans to give Bryan your support as he brings this new Star Trek TV series to life. Let’s give Bryan a chance to bring something to the table before offering up nerdy fanboy criticisms.
Now the big question is what direction will Bryan go with the new Star Trek TV series?
Will it take place in the same universe as the new Star Trek movies (fans call this the “JJ-verse” )— creating this shared cinematic universe for Star Trek like what Marvel is doing?
Will Bryan jump ahead and reboot The Next Generation in the same universe as the new Star Trek movies? A reimagining of TNG could be pretty fantastic. Try to think about how a modernized and updated Enterprise-D would look? Because the new movie universe reboots the Star Trek timeline — Bryan would have tons of freedom going in and making twists to TNG storylines. Things could turn out way different for the TNG characters.
He could also stay in the current era seen in the new Star Trek movies and tell the tale of another starship. Remember, there are other constitution class starships in Starfleet. Could be neat to follow the adventures of another crew in a constitution class starship. Could pave the way for some of the Enterprise crew to show up in the show.
Or he could completely go in a different direction, creating an entirely new universe and unhinged by any canon what-so-ever.
I personally would like the show to revolve around the crew of (a) Enterprise in some form. The Enterprise has always been a key character in Star Trek and seeing her return to TV would be awesome.
But we’re getting a new Star Trek TV series in less than a year from now which, as a Star Trek fan, excites the hell out of me! This year Star Trek celebrates its 50th anniversary as well. And new Star Trek movie Star Trek Beyond comes out later this year too. 2016 is going to be a very interesting and fun year for Star Trek.
I’ve been a Loot Crate subscriber for a few months now. If you’re not familiar with what it is — this is how Loot Crates describes their service:
Loot Crate delivers the best in geek + gaming gear. From collectibles, apparel, tech gadgets, art, and other epic gear, it’s like Comic-Con in a box!
And they partner with great brands like Funko, QMx, Marvel. DC Comics, and more on the goodies inside these monthly “crates” you subscribe to. And a lot of these items are exclusives or limited edition items. Each month features a different themed crate. If you are a geek and/or a gamer — I highly recommend checking Loot Crate out. They deliver all kinds of awesomeness every month.
The theme for this month’s crate was Time Travel. And this is what came in my crate:
- Exclusive Back to the Future Dr. Emmett Brown Funko Pop! Vinyl Figure.
- Exclusive Back to the Future Part II 1:5 Scale Replica Hoverboard from QMx.
- Exclusive Doctor Who Sonic Screwdriver Spork.
- Exclusive Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure T-Shirt.
This has to be one of the best crates yet!
Oh and each crate comes with a little button that represents the crate’s theme.
So nerds, geeks, and gamers reading this right now — give Loot Crate a look. Maybe get a crate for 1 month and see how you like it. Or do a 3-month subscription.
I’ve been wanting to talk about my use of Instagram for a while. This post isn’t meant as a rant against Instagram nor do I have any negative feelings toward Instagram. I totally get why people use it. This is mostly about how it doesn’t fit with my own online behavior and why.
I have been sharing photos on Instagram off and on for about 2 years now. Over those 2 years, I’ve struggled to figure out exactly where Instagram fits in with the rest of the social media services I use. I primarily use Twitter and Facebook. I sometimes want to share a photo to Twitter and not Facebook, or to just Facebook, or to both. Instagram of course allows you to pick where you want to share whatever photo you are posting. But Instagram is its own thing too — just like Twitter and Facebook. You post a photo to Instagram, people can “heart” a photo they like and leave a comment on a photo you post. But if you share that photo to Twitter or Facebook, you get separate “likes” and responses to that photo in addition to the ones on Instagram. For me, I realized I was managing engagement on photos I’m posting to Instagram in multiple places. I have some people leaving comments on a Instagram photo on Facebook or replying to me on Twitter, and then some people commenting on Instagram.
For me, I realized I was managing engagement on photos I’m posting to Instagram in multiple places.
Unlike others who are heavy users of Instagram, I don’t have a big audience there. The audiences I talk to online are on Twitter and Facebook. On Twitter, this is more public where I can engage with lots and lots of other nerds and geeks like me. Facebook for me tends to be more private and personal — with a lot of engagement happening with family and super close friends. If I want to show off some new nerdy thing I have added to my collection, I’d most likely share that to Twitter. If I want to share some cute photo of my puppy, I’d share that most likely to Facebook. (Sometimes I’d share the same photo to both.) So I essentially share photos I post to Instagram to one of these to get the photo in front of people I want to see it. So why wouldn’t I just publish photos directly to Twitter or Facebook depending on who I want to see the photo?
So why wouldn’t I just publish photos directly to Twitter or Facebook depending on who I want to see the photo?
The other issue for me is how Instagram makes photos look. I know a lot of people love the “old-school” feel with Instagram’s filters and squared look. Originally, Instagram locked you in to sharing squared photos but now they support showing photos in portrait and landscape orientation. But when I share my photos, I want my photos to look as great as possible. When I share photos directly to Twitter — they look great. When I share photos directly to Facebook — they also look great.
Speaking of Twitter, when I share an Instagram photo on Twitter — the photo doesn’t even show up natively in their timeline forcing people to click through to Instagram to actually view the photo. This is what it looks like when I share a Instagram photo to Twitter:
— Brandon LeBlanc (@brandonleblanc) October 11, 2015
This is what it looks like when I natively post a photo directly to Twitter instead of using Instagram:
— Brandon LeBlanc (@brandonleblanc) October 20, 2015
If you want folks to see something and having have to jump through hoops (clicking someplace else) just to see it isn’t a great experience.
So in thinking about this some more, I’ve decided I won’t use Instagram to share photos to Twitter. Photos I want seen by my Twitter followers I will just post them to Twitter. However, I’ll still use Instagram to share photos to Facebook. This leads me into some feedback I have for Instagram. Since Instagram is owned by Facebook, I would love the see some synergy between how Instagram exists with Facebook. Why can’t Instagram’s comments use Facebook’s commenting platform? Why can’t the “hearts” on Instagram photos be the same as “likes” on that same photo on Facebook? Why do I have to manage these two independently of each other? I’ve had this argument with several die-hard Instagrammers who completely disagree with my suggestions but I find it weird they are so separate. Those die-hards like having their little Instagram community separate. This, to me, doesn’t make any sense.
Anyway, that’s my thoughts on Instagram. How do you use Instagram and handle posting photos to Instagram and sharing them to other places?
“RSS readers exploded in popularity a decade ago, and Dan is right that their use has died down dramatically. But I think “RSS is dead” is the new “email is dead”. And I know from my server stats that an awful lot of people still read Daring Fireball in an RSS reader — many of them using NetNewsWire. For me, as a news junkie, an RSS reader is something to get worked up about.”
I completely agree (emphasis in bold above mine). I’m a news junkie as well and my RSS reader is extremely important to me. When I see someone doing something interesting with RSS — I do get worked up about it. Right now, I bounce between two RSS readers: Digg Reader and Feedly (I use the app Nextgen Reader on all my Windows devices to access my feeds). I really like Digg Reader’s integration with Twitter for their “Digg Deeper” feature which brings up popular articles people I’m following on Twitter are tweeting about. My RSS reader is as important to me as Outlook is for email. I am constantly reading up on new articles that come through all day long. I also use Flipboard to read up on news too but I tend to be someone who likes the way RSS readers treat RSS feeds you are subscribed to like email — with most recent articles that get published coming through by newest post first, etc. I triage through my RSS feeds like I do email.
20 years ago today — Windows 95 was released. Windows 95 was the most significant update to Windows ever made at the time — ushering in the transition from 16-bit architecture to 32-bit architecture and introducing a completely brand new graphical user interface designed to make Windows much more consumer friendly. I was only 12 years old at the time but well on my way to being the computer nerd I am today. I thought I’d share some of my favorite memories of Windows 95 in honor of its 20th anniversary.
There are two things about Windows 95 that were big deals at the time for me when Windows 95 was released: it’s new UI and the Internet.
First — a little bit of backstory. In the early 90’s, my dad brought home our family’s first PC: a HP Vectra 486U. It ran Windows 3.1.
It was with this PC that I fell in love with Windows. My dad’s job at the time dealt with a lot of computer stuff and I learned to do things on the PC by watching him do things. I had tons of fun. But Windows 3.1 wasn’t exactly intuitive or easy to use. And I quickly got bored with MS Paint. I wanted to do a lot more. You had Program Manager that would be your go-to spot for all your applications and then File Manager to manage your files, etc. But Windows could be so much more easier to use. As a kid — I wanted Windows to enable me to do more.
When Windows 95 came out, my dad and I upgraded our PC together. When I say “together” I really mean I watched him go through the setup experience. And when the upgrade was done and the PC booted into Windows, I can remember being blown away by the new UI. It had a Start button! What did the new Start button do? A taskbar! This was all new! No more Program Manager! So how do I get to all my programs? How do I manage my files? I was so excited to learn the new Windows. I dove right in. The Start menu for me was the single best thing about Windows 95.
— Joe Belfiore (@joebelfiore) August 25, 2015
The next best thing about Windows 95 was how it made connecting to the Internet and browsing the web much more easier. When Windows 95 came out, I had already been “surfing the web” and checking email. In Windows 3.1, I remember having to use a command line to dial-in and connect to the Internet. With Windows 95, you could do this simply by double-clicking on a connection icon you setup for your Internet service. It also came with a brand new web browser called Internet Explorer. However, my dad didn’t like IE at the time so we kept with Netscape as our default web browser. But even Netscape was better on Windows 95 (they released Version 2.0 after the release of Windows 95). I do remember moving away from Eudora and using the inbox e-mail client Windows Messaging for my e-mail (as a 12 year old and one of the very few kids to even have an e-mail address at the time, I didn’t get much e-mail though).
After Windows 95 was released, I got a huge kick witnessing friends and family all of a sudden in the market for PCs. The PC market exploded with Windows 95 because it made using PCs and connecting to the Internet really easy. And I quickly became the kid everyone wanted to help them learn how to use their PC and the Internet — and I loved it.
Windows 95 helped people DO more with their PCs and I think at its heart — that’s what Windows is all about. And it’s great that Windows 10 has gone back to this.
Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have been the masters of DC Comic’s Batman series since it re-launched in 2011 as part of the “New 52”. Scott serves as the writer for the Batman comics and Greg is the artist that draws the stories. I’ve been a HUGE fan of their run with Batman. They’ve done some fantastic stories such as Death of the Family, Court of Owls, Zero Year (a reimagining of how Bruce Wayne became Batman) and Endgame which features the epic final battle between Batman and The Joker — for good. Now, they’re hard at work on a brand new storyline that features an All-new Batman, new characters, and new villains — which has been interesting to read (I’ll write more about this in another blog post). I’ve been collecting the DC Comics Designer Series Greg Capullo action figures from DC Collectibles which do a great job celebrating Greg’s fantastic artwork on Batman. I’ve nearly completed the entire collection! I’m only missing Two-Face.
I also discovered that DC Collectibles sells action figure base — which you can order here from Amazon for $12 for 20 bases. I just got these today as well and they work awesome (however, I have an issue where the Catwoman action figure doesn’t like to stand properly with these bases).
At SDCC 2015 last week, DC Collectibles unveiled two new action figures to come as part of this series — Wonder Woman and Endgame Joker. You can bet I’ll be picking these up one they are out but apparently we’ve got a long wait for these as they won’t hit until next summer.
UPDATE 3/14/17: I finally found Two-Face and picked up the rest of this line-up! I’ll post a follow-up about these figures at some point.
I recently purchased a new car — a 2015 Ford Focus — and love it. And I am a huge Ford fanboy. However, it’s not the electric Ford Focus. Just a regular fuel-powered version. I briefly considered the electric version but the biggest reason why I didn’t choose it was because of it’s range — only 76-miles. I like to drive and go on road trips — that wouldn’t work for me. And I certainly couldn’t justify the price of 30k for a car that had a range like that. No way.
I caught an article today on MSN that featured electric cars that promised the most range. If you go through the slideshow — you can see there is a HUGE gap in range between electric cars by BMW, Chevy, VW, Nissan. Mercedes. Fiat, and Kia and several Tesla models. Everyone else is building electric cars with a range of around 80 or so miles. But Tesla jumps up a 200 mile range. Ford wasn’t even on the list. Sigh.
I started thinking about this a bit. If I want a electric car that has a range of 200+ miles — I would have to pay over $50,000 to buy a Tesla. So you’re either stuck with being able to afford a electric car with shitty range, or dishing out a lot of money for one that has great range. This puts electric cars out of reach for the majority of consumers. This issue needs to be solved.
I think the automotive companies need to really think hard about (and truly invest in) improving the range of their electric vehicles at the same time keeping the car affordable to most consumers. The first automotive company that does this really great will help spur a sort of electric-car-revolution I think. Yes, Tesla is certainly helping push this. And rumor has it, Tesla’s Model 3 will be priced at $35,000 and have a 200-mile range. That’s a great start but I think more can be done.
A electric car with a 200-mile range at around $25,000. Yup.
Tesla clearly has the edge here. Their technology has proven it has the range needed for a good electric car. And they have made their patents for all their technology available for anyone to use. So why isn’t more automotive companies taking advantage of that to develop better range electric cars? Ford recently opened their patents to competitors too
Ford says by opening up their patents to competitors, they want to help “accelerate industry-wide research and development of electrified vehicles”. But Ford… you only make an electric car with a 76-mile range!
Ford should seriously consider utilizing Tesla’s patents to improve their own electric cars. Seriously. As should other car companies.
Ok so I digressed a little from my original point of this blog post but as I mentioned, I am a Ford fanboy. I want a electric car. I want it to have awesome range. And I want it to be a Ford.
The reality is, ALL car companies should be doing more — whether its utilizing Tesla’s patents or doing their own R&D — to improve the range of electric cars and make them more affordable to consumers.