Permalink 04:16:01 pm, by Jet-Screamer Email , 669 words   English (US)
Categories: Tech News

Why You Should Cancel Your NetFlix Account Now and What Your Options Are

What do a middle-aged Web Developer, a middle-aged French/American Operations Director and a twenty-something gay Program Manager have in common? They're all leaving Netflix as a result of Netflix's drastic price increase. And if I were a stock holder of Netflix I would seriously have my ears tuned in to who and who is not pissed off enough over the price increase to bail on Netflix so easily.

It is clear to me from various people's reactions in our peer/work circles that NetFlix is going to see a lot of customers leaving them for alternate sources of movie rentals.

Cancel or Suspend Netflix?

A positive for Netflix in this whole mess they've created for themselves is their Suspend feature which allows you to, as the word says, suspend your account for up to three months due to vacation or whatever. During such time you will not be charged and of course you have to return all "At Home" DVDs and will not be able to stream. You will however be able to access your account and see what you have rented in the past etc. You can turn off the Suspend at any time during your defined suspension period. If you allow the suspension period to expire your account will become active again. To continue your suspension of their service you will have to extend it before it expires.

Most people we've talked to are choosing this as opposed to cancelling their accounts altogether. For one obvious reason, they're pissed, but not pissed enough to kick NetFlix COMPLETELY to the curb. They're just suspending their accounts in the hopes that NetFlix will see the error of their ways. This way, if NetFlix gets a clue and reverses their moronic business decision, people will still be able to pick up their accounts where they left off.

What Are Alternatives to NetFlix Service?

The second, and MORE IMPORTANT, reason is there are many options out there to provide the same results that NetFlix provided, or even better. The below video from Funny or Die (which makes a great deal of fun out of this "tragic event") offers a clue as to what many former NetFlix users will be turning to:

Others are choosing the popular RedBox service. Can't really argue with $1 buck/night if one of these is on your daily path. But what about us streamers? Yea, that's right! The glorious promise by NetFlix that we would all be able to stream movies WE WANT with the push of a button! Which would almost make up for the jet-packs we were all promised. Well, there's the rub isn't it? NetFlix's streaming content sucks. There is nothing there! And that's actually what they're charging more for. They think their streaming content is worth an additional $6/month. Sorry! It is NOT!

In addition, there has been a steady increase in LONG delays on the availability of physical DVDs. Here is an example of just how poor NetFlix's DVD availability is:

NetFlix Cue
NetFlix Cue

Each of the above Movies in the cue is either not available yet from NetFlix or is a "long wait". Each and every one of them was available at the same moment from Amazon's Instant Video for $3.99 or less. When we saw that comparison our decision on how to handle the NetFlix 60% price increase was done. In addition to Amazon's Instant Video we decided to add HBO to our cable service as they were running a promo price of $10/month. So between those two and a DVR, we're pretty sure we'll be completely cancelling our NetFlix at the end of our Suspend period, unless NetFlix reverses their price increase AND increases the number of available titles both DVD AND streaming.

UPDATED TO ADD: Since this original article, Amazon has now updated their Amazon.com Prime deal which is unlimited two-day shipping for $79/year to include unlimited streaming of their video content.

How about you? What's your reaction to NetFlix's price hike? What are your sources for Movies/TV Series? Leave us a comment below.

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06/18/11


  
Permalink 07:40:19 pm, by Jet-Screamer Email , 616 words   English (US)
Categories: Gadgets

LG N2R1DD2 NAS Review and a Warning Before you Upgrade the Firmware

We recently purchased a network-attached storage (NAS) device to backup all of our precious computer files; music, photos, home movies, etc. We chose the LG NAS model N2R1DD2 for several reasons. It contains two hard drives and you can set them up in a mirrored configuration known as a Raid 1. Since the data is mirrored on each disk, your storage space is half of the total of the two disks, BUT your data is protected should one of the drives fail.

N2R1DD2
It also has a built in memory card reader and USB reader which will back up to the drives by just plugging in your USB storage device/memory card and press one button. It also has a built in Blue ray/DVD reader/burner which not only allows the same one button backup of data from an optic disk, it also allows you to burn data stored on the NAS directly to Blu-Ray disks to allow data to be stored offsite as an extra measure.

Other Features include:

  • Make a USB connected Printer a Network Printer
  • Windows Workgroup Functionality
  • Email Notifications
  • Create Users and Folders
  • Restrict Folders to Particular Users
  • Ability to FTP into the NAS
  • Hot Swappable Drives
  • Power Saving Hibernation Mode
  • UPS Compatible Settings
  • Can be Connected Directly to A Computer

Setup was easy, connect it to the network, power it up, install the included software, select the type of RAID configuration you want (wait for it to complete, this can take several minutes to an hour), and once that's done, you are set up! Now you'll want to create your Folders and Users. For our household setup we created a "Public" folder that any User could place items on, which would serve as a kind of DropBox functionality for all Users and we also put our Individual Music Folders there, you get the idea. We also created Folders for each house member (well, not the cat) which only the User can access. This is where among other things, our Windows backups automagically write to weekly. Link to the N2R1DD2 NAS manual for your review.

Overall, we have been completely satisfied with the performance of the LG N2R1DD2 NAS. We highly recommend it and can't emphasize enough the importance of having a backup of your important files. The Blu-Ray drive and/or the Hot Swappable drives allow you to easily create copies for offsite backup for that added layer of protection. It's your own personal data cloud, and well worth the peace of mind.

There is one small issue we have experienced with this device, well, the web admin functionality actually and it has to do with the User passwords for the web admin logins.

BEFORE YOU UPGRADE THE FIRMWARE, be aware that if your admin password contains a non-alphanumeric character, which the out of the box firmware version allows you to set and use, once you upgrade (we upgraded to version 2647) you will NOT BE ABLE TO LOGIN. The web UI JavaScript deletes the entered password if it contains non-alphanumeric characters before it submits, responding with "please enter a password" as opposed to "incorrect password".

Contacted support and they said the web UI doesn't support non-alphanumeric characters in passwords, I said it did when I bought it, and they regrettably replied well it doesn't now. ONLY SOLUTION is to re-initialize the system which wipes out every thing and re-images. FRUSTRATING! However to be clear, the windows network access still worked and we were able to make sure we had local copies of everything before re-initializing. So a pain, but no data loss.

SO BE AWARE! Make sure your USER passwords (particularly the Admin) do NOT contain non-alphanumeric characters BEFORE upgrading firmware AND when setting it up.


  

06/12/11


  
Permalink 01:44:47 pm, by Jet-Screamer Email , 163 words   English (US)
Categories: Tech News

News Organizations Turn to the Mechanical Turk Method for Palin Emails

A thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters ... forget The Cloud, when you need to dig through over 24,000 scanned documents nothing beats throwing a lot of Sebaceans at it. At least that's the approach most major news organizations took to sift through the tree-trunk of paper (over 250 pounds) that is the Palin emails, finally released by the Alaskan Government after 2 years of obstructing.

Palin Emails

The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The New York Times ... and many many more, all calling on their readers to apply their interest in the Palin phenom to read through her govenment emails to find that gooey center that would make for more reader grabbing headlines. Of course nothing really interesting has come out of the emails probably since they were heavily redacted:

Redacted Palin Email

Let's call it journalism 2.0, in the spirit of recruiting the online massses as Amazon's Mechanical Turk does, a 1000 monkeys with a thousand typewriters can be a very powerful force, but most of the time it just results in this.


  

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