Technology

Brother, Can You Spare a Wii?

The Nintendo Wii arrived for Christmas way back in 2007 and was an instant hit. If 2007 sounds like a long time ago, it's because it is. It's been eight years of Wii play in my home.

Wonderful Christmas

The last few years, however, the Wii has primarily been used as a weight loss tool for Dad and the family Mario Kart machine. That's the one game we all still love to play, and family tournaments are epic.

Sadly, the Wii is dead. It no longer reads discs, so Mario Kart is kaput.

Does anyone have a dusty old Wii lying around they no longer want? Brother, can you spare a Wii?

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Algorithmic Awareness in Facebook

Did you know your Facebook news feed was determined by a proprietary algorithm? Facebook looks at your level of engagement with the friend, the perceived value of the content, a whole bunch of stuff... then determines what it will serve up to you on your news feed.

I've hated this concept since Facebook introduced it. I don't want their algorithm to determine what I see and what I don't. As a result, I haven't visited my Facebook news feed in years.

I leverage Facebook lists to replace the wall, thus eliminating the dreaded algorithm. Here's how you create such a list:

  1. Scroll down to Friends on the left side of your News Feed and click More.
  2. Click Create List.
  3. Enter a name for your list and the names of friends you’d like to add. Keep in mind you can add or remove friends from your lists at any time.
  4. Click Create.

There ya go. Bookmark a list that contains all your Facebook friends and that replaces the news feed. You'll see all updates by all friends in reverse-chronological order, just like the good 'ol days.

And if you have so many friends you need the algorithm, get the shears out of the shed. It's time for some pruning.

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The Best Headphones I've Ever Owned

You shouldn't wear headphones while you bike. At least that's what I tell my kids. The fact is, when I'm biking alone, I always wear headphones.

I used to wear the buds that come with your smartphone. Then, for my recent birthday in June, my wife surprised me with a pair of Plantronics BackBeat FIT wireless stereo headphones. They're incredible.

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Firstly, they're wireless. This is awfully convenient. They connect to my phone via Bluetooth and I can bike a full week before needing to charge them. And charging them is as simple as plugging them into my laptop's USB port for a couple of hours.

And they're not noise-cancelling headphones, so all the ambient noise like bells and honks and cars and people talking still get heard. This also makes them the safest headphones I've ever owned.

On top of sounding great, it also has a microphone so I can answer calls by simply pressing the button over my right ear. There are plenty of convenient controls on this thing.

And most importantly, it's designed for workouts, so it never falls out and is water resistant. I often forget I'm wearing it.

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My wife tells me she bought it online for $120 CAD. If you wear headphones while you bike and/or run, it's worth every penny.

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Windows Ain't So Bad

Prior to four years ago, my work machine always ran Windows. At home, I usually had a desktop running Ubuntu Linux, but the laptop was Windows XP for a solid decade.

Then, I was issued a MacBookPro, and quickly learned to enjoy OS X. What I liked best about the MacBookPro wasn't the software, but the hardware. It was incredibly stable and almost never crashed.

I speak about the MacBookPro in the past tense because it was recently replaced by a Dell laptop running Windows 7. I've been working exclusively in Windows for the past 3 weeks and I must admit I prefer the Windows OS to OS X. I've just had to remember to CTRL instead of CMD.

Windows gets a bad rap, but it ain't so bad. Of course, I haven't tried Windows 8 yet... and I don't ever plan to.

What OS do you prefer on your desktop or laptop?

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What's the Best Online Storage?

I have another question for the hivemind. What is the very best online storage?

I'm speaking of Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, OneDrive and the like. Which do you use? Which is the best online media storage?

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The Apple Watch Isn't For Me

I'm not an Apple guy. We all know an Apple guy or two, in fact, you might be one. Some people get very excited about all things Apple and consume Apple's latest technology with religious fervor. I'm not that guy.

Apple's introducing a watch. Appropriately enough, they're calling it the Apple Watch. There's a classy version, a sporty version and a ridiculously expensive version that really only exists to gobble up news space.

I have no interest in an Apple Watch, and not because it's from Apple, I also have no interest in a Samsung Galaxy Gear watch, which has been on the market for a while. I'm just not a watch guy.

In fact, I don't think I've worn a watch since I was a teenager. I find it too constricting. I don't even like wearing a wedding ring. I'd make a fantastic nudist.

Will you be buying the Apple Watch?

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The Future As I Knew It In 1981

When I was a kid, I thought these graphics were amazing. I mean look at that basketball game! And check out the detail of that golf course! The future arrived to my home in 1981.

Old Atari Booklet

These games were part of my Atari Catalogue featuring 45 games available for the Atari 2600.

Atari Catalog of Games

We actually never owned an Atari gaming console but an Atari 2600 clone called the Gemini (not to be confused with the Gemini I won back in 2009).

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Who is BlackBerry Targeting With the BlackBerry Classic?

BlackBerry has begun selling the BlackBerry Classic, a phone that looks an awful lot like the BlackBerries we knew and loved in 2009.

There's a physical keyboard, navigation buttons and a trackpad. That leaves you with a 3.5-inch 720×720 screen. Nobody who already left Blackberry for an iPhone, Android or Windows phone would possibly be interested in the Classic, so I'm guessing the target market for this device are the very few still using a BlackBerry Bold.

blackberry

Is that enough to save BlackBerry?

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Rogers: Where Free Costs $935 @rogershelps

I have wireless, TV and internet services with Rogers. It's been three years since I got a mobile phone from Rogers, and under "Upgrade Your Phone" in My Rogers, I found this good news regarding my account.

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 1.47.58 PM

That's right, my device balance is $0.00 and I was told I could go to a Rogers store and upgrade my phone without penalty!

As it turns out, "without penalty" doesn't mean "free" like I thought it did. If you want a current phone, like the LG G3 (my preference) or the Samsung Galaxy S5 (my second choice), you have to buy the phone. Rogers wanted $90 for the LG G3 if I signed a two year contract.

Then, there's a "Connection Fee" of $15. I have no idea what this is for as I'm already a customer, I'm just taking my sim card out of one phone and into the other. Is an expensive two year contract and $80 not enough?

All of the above was disappointing, but what truly upset me was when they told me they would no longer honour my current wireless plan and I'd have to switch to one of their new "Share Everything" plans. You choose a device, data and value pack and pay that, regardless of what you were paying before. Matching my current plan would increase my current monthly payment by $35 before taxes.

To summarize, I have three expensive services with Rogers, and have been a loyal Rogers customer for many, many years. In order to upgrade my phone after three years, I'd have to pay $80 + $15 and an additional $35 a month over the next two years. That's $935 + tax!

I left the Rogers store having done nothing and feeling incredibly frustrated and angry. Toronto, what's my best option?

Update: I've got to give credit to @RogersHelps for making things right here. I'm actually now on a better plan for a little less money and they're going to courier to me a new LG G3 at no charge.

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How to Replace a File in Google Drive Without Changing the Link

How to Replace a File in Google Drive Without Changing the LinkI use Google Drive to share a number of documents at work, including PDF documents. I'll share a Google Drive link with everyone, but when I update the file, I don't want that link to change.

Updating the PDF without altering the Google Drive URL isn't nearly as intuitive as it should be, so here's a little tutorial as to how I do it.

In Google Drive, select the document you want to update, click the "more" menu and choose "Manage revisions...".

revision

In the "Manage revisions" dialogue box, choose "Upload new revision" and upload the updated file.

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If you'd like to get rid of previous revisions, as I do, simply click the x next to the older version and then "Delete now".

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 11.12.45 AM

That's it.

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