Fortunz Favor The Bold

David MarseillesDavid Marseilles
01 Jul 2014 04:38

filed under:

Summer 2014 Budget Unlocked Smartphone Buyers Guide Sum

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Need a smartphone without all the hassle of a two year contract? Go to offcontract.net and discover the best budget smartphones out there for prepaid or mvno carriers. Motorola, Samsung, Nokia and Apple are all in the running with Android, iOS and Windows Phone offerings, but spoiler alert, Motorola is delivering serious bang for you buck this summer with the Moto G and Moto E. Samsung has a refined Galaxy S4 mini in the running. Nokia's refreshed Lumia 525 is a great starter smartphone. And Apple's unlocked iPhone 4 has entered budget territory.

Check out the Smartphone Deals now.


David MarseillesDavid Marseilles
03 Aug 2011 18:05

filed under:

"Free" phone with 2 year "commitment"

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For the record, you don't have a contract with your carrier, because that would imply similar bargaining power. Your carrier has a contract on you.

Image credit: Master Drawer

David MarseillesDavid Marseilles
17 Jul 2011 20:38

filed under: choice security tech web2.0

Amazon's 1-Click Security Hole

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Last month I ordered a title from Amazon's Kindle Sunshine Deals, a now rare example of ebook discounting. I was surprised when I went to order my book that I was not required to sign in or given the opportunity to choose a payment method. I wasn't surprised because I didn't understand that's how 1-Click was supposed to work, I was surprised because I had deliberately turned off 1-Click as a payment method in my settings a long time ago. I logged in to check my account to be sure I had not imagined disabling the feature, but sure enough, it was still disabled. I contacted Amazon support to inquire as to why they weren't respecting my settings. They very kindly explained that they did respect my settings, except when they didn't. 1-Click, as many of you may already know, is the only available payment method for kindle books, as well as other Amazon digital products.

Shouldn't I be happy with convenience of not having to log in? Apparently I should, but I'm not. Anyone with access to your machine need not be forced to login in order to run up charges on your default 1-Click payment option. This includes your kids, loser roommates, frenemies and of course, any cats you might have around. Honestly, the cats are the real threat. Amazon must be aware of the possibility of security issues because they have an option to turn off 1-Click for non-digital goods (though that portion of settings does not explain that 1-Click will still apply to digital goods). Perhaps they figure digital goods tend to be cheaper and there is less potential for harm, as well as there being less reason to affirm your shipping address as you would do while going through the traditional pay process. I also suspect if you contacted Amazon and explain certain purchases had been made by an unauthorized person, and the digital goods had not been accessed yet, they might well undo the sale. But that's just not good enough for me. Nor is the most obvious option: completely logging out of Amazon in between each session.

On the one hand, eBay automatically logs me off and won't even let me stay logged in enough to see the auctions I'm watching no matter how secure the system I'm using is (which does discourage me from spending more time on ebay), on the other hand, Amazon requires me to manually completely log off to avoid risking unwanted orders. Have online retailers not read Goldilocks? There's an ideal zone of security and it isn't the same for every person. Why not let me lock things down when I feel it appropriate and open them up a little when I prefer? No one knows my needs better than me, and while some people prefer to be told what to do, that's what default options are for.

So to address this security hole, I've placed a prepaid card as my default 1-Click payment method. Said card has about $0.01 remaining on it, and my hope is, that would be my total exposure to orders placed by anyone else. To test this theory, I placed an order on an item (one that I did want, just in case Amazon switched pay methods on the fly or something) today to see what would occur. Amazon sent me an email stating the item required attention with instructions on how to retry my payment method or change that method, and notice that I needed to do so within 5 days. Hopefully, after that time, the order will be canceled. I'll report back.

Whatever happens, proceed at your own risk. Even if this is a useful method for now, Amazon could always change things around later. Probably the only safe way to deal is to log out every single time. Does this seem smart to you Amazon? Do you think I'll use your service as much if I have to logon and then back off every time I want to add something to a wishlist or grab the free Android app of the day? In the meantime, if this bothers you as a user (or could someday bother you, if say, your living circumstances change), please contact Amazon support and ask them to allow a true opt-out from 1-Click. Amazon is a fairly responsive company in my experience, and if enough people ask, perhaps they will act.


David MarseillesDavid Marseilles
10 Jul 2011 17:53

filed under: etc

The Hot Tea Circle Of Life

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Heat water in hot shot: ~60 seconds
Steep: ~60 seconds
Too hot to drink: 4-8 minutes
Perfect temperature: 7 seconds

I have an old 80's era hotshot that reduces the "too hot to drink stage", but it's still only perfect for 7 seconds. With an especially thick mug, the too hot hotshot is nicer because the heat holds in the glass longer and keeps the tea in the perfect stage for an extra 7 seconds. A cup with a lid helps hold in the steam and stabilize temps some, but it extends the 'too hot' stage as well. Somewhere there's probably an infogram that would get me to drink a lot more tea.


David MarseillesDavid Marseilles
05 Jul 2011 03:39

filed under: gaming

Why I'm Done with Call of Duty

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I like a good shooter. It calms the nerves and prevents me from unleashing fury on the many, many idiots around me who richly deserve a crippling dose of all-too-honest rhetoric on a daily basis. Call of Duty does a fairly decent job of presenting well-balanced, competitive multiplayer that can provide a huge number of hours of play before it begins collecting dust. The combination of perks, weapon upgrades and experience, provides a richer gaming experience than, say, Medal of Honor. The popularity of the game ensures longevity for the multiplayer and even ensures you can unload on odd hours if you like, not just during primetime. It doesn't do everything well, however. And I've decided I'm done with the franchise as a result.

Continue reading Why I'm Done with Call of Duty
Image Credit: Attack of the Fanboy


David MarseillesDavid Marseilles
23 May 2011 20:38

filed under: electronics howto tech

Install XDAndroid on a Touch Pro2 Step-By-Step

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Do you have an old HTC Touch Pro, Touch Pro2, Diamond, Diamond2 or HD? You are no longer a slave to Windows Mobile, you can dual boot Android Froyo if you want to. After getting it installed on my device, I put together a step-by-step guide to getting XDAndroid up and running.

EDIT 07/17/2011: A new build of XDAndroid is available, and it requires far fewer steps to be fully up-to-date. Visit this thread to get FRX07.


Click through to see the full step-by-step


David MarseillesDavid Marseilles
07 Jun 2010 22:06

filed under:

Best Chrome Extension Ever?

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One Chrome extension seems to be satisfying users more than any others. "Nothing" manages expectations fantastically by doing… nothing. Perhaps the more surprising is the user response. 7,000 people have installed the extension at a clip of around 2,000 a week with a 4.5 of 5 rating. There are hundreds of comments filled with effusive praise from good natured users like this one from anonoymous:

This extension does exactly what you said it'd do. I love it. Keep up the good work.

Sann on the other hand disagrees:

No it does something. It made me laugh!))

Extension builders everywhere wasting hours adding new features and slaving away responding to feature and support requests in hopes of pleasing a few disgruntled users have been outdone by Nobody who promised Nothing and delivered big.


David MarseillesDavid Marseilles
05 Mar 2010 02:50

filed under: gaming software

Defense Grid: Borderland and Resurgance

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Hidden Path, the makers of the killer premium tower defense game Defense Grid: The Awakening have released their Borderland expansion to Steam users for free — no need to do anything, it will download when Steam auto-patches it. Previously, this same set of 4 levels was available to 360 users for free, but it's brand new to the Steam version. I purchased Defense Grid at Steam on sale over the new year, and it was the best $2.50 I've spent in a long time — it would have been a deal at 10x the price. At this point, if they put the Defense Grid brand on a steaming pile of crap, I'd buy it. Just in case they knew something about steaming crap that I don't. My theory for game developers is a lot like my theory for authors, if they prove their quality, stick with them.

Hidden Path is also working on another expansion planned for April, called Defense Grid: Resurgence. There aren't many games I buy at full price, but I'll be picking up Resurgence the day it releases.

David MarseillesDavid Marseilles
21 Jun 2009 07:43

filed under: google phone timesaver

Google Voice: The Final Countdown (to new members)

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UPDATE3: The rumors were correct, Google says invites start going out today but will take a while. Start reloading your inbox…. now.

UPDATE 2: Shortly after I tweeted Google Voice's Craig Walker asking for confirmation on the CBS tip that waitlisters would be issued numbers this week, the official Google Voice Twitter account posted another "we're working 24/7 ... but have no announcements to make." While I take the CBS tip itself with a grain of salt, Google Voice is definitely on the verge of adding members.

UPDATE: CBS' Morning News, Monday June 22nd, did a bit on Google Voice and claims that Google will begin issuing numbers to people on the waitlist this week. See the video after the break. Thanks to jigwashere for the tip.

According to PC World, Google snapped up 1 million phone numbers for use with its Google Voice service last month. Combine that with the recent CNET podcast Buzz Out Loud slip of the tongue that Google Voice would be launching to the public a few days ago (it obviously didn't), and evidence is growing that new members may soon be welcomed into the fold. The service has been closed to new members for some time, save for a few invites given out when Google Voice launched a few months ago to promote the product.

Google snatched up the internet telephony company GrandCentral some time ago, and rebranded it as Google Voice very recently. The primary feature is to allow you to consolidate all your phone numbers under a single number, but it's much bigger than that. There is a sophisticated routing technology that let's you have different people ring different phones even though they're all calling the same Google Voice number, and if it goes to google's voicemail, you can have different greeting messages for different groups. Google is also working on letting you port one of your current numbers to Google Voice to ease the transition. Other cool features include transcripts of your Google Voicemail, in case you don't have visual voicemail on your cell service yet, easy to use call recording, call conferencing, screening, blocking, and great SMS tech.

Why would you need it? Even with more number portability options these days than in the past, Google Voice gives you powerful and flexible control over your number that you wouldn't otherwise have. Moving? Getting rid of your landline? Picking up a prepaid phone overseas on vacation? Using a cheap prepaid here while you are inbetween phones and/or services? With Google Voice, you won't have to beg or plead with Customer Service reps, or scream and cuss at them once they screw up your requests. You won't have to call all your friends and family and give them a new or temporary number. You'll just log on and a few clicks later, you'll have seamlessly transitioned everything just how you want it, and the people trying to get a hold of you won't know anything changed. All that, a huge bag of Google perks too.

David MarseillesDavid Marseilles
18 Jun 2009 22:30

filed under: ereader humor tech

M'am, Please Turn Off Your Book

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Heard on an plane right before landing to someone w/ a Kindle: "Ma'am would you please turn off your book right NOW!" Heh.

From Google's Wesley Chan.


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