Yearly Archives: 2013

Live Messenger is Dead! Long Live Skype!

This week Microsoft started sending out email announcements to Live Messenger members, informing them that Messenger will be discontinued on March 15th, and everyone must migrate to the latest version of Skype for IM services.

This is exciting news. As I think Messenger has become one of Microsoft’s crappiest products ever. For about a year now I have rarely used Messenger, as the user experience has gotten progressively worse with every single update they have released. It’s a typical Microsoft resource hog, slow, awkward to use, and complicated to find features.

The early stages of Messenger were good. And it had various names over the years; Windows Messenger, MSN Messenger, Live Messenger, Essentials Messenger, and perhaps even Hotmail Messenger in the beginning. In the early days of Messenger, it quickly took focus from Yahoo and ICQ, and became the prominent chat utility with anyone I knew and chatted with. If you liked to chat online, even if you preferred Yahoo Messenger, you still had to have Windows Messenger to be compatible with everyone.

Then it went from being a native app to being a .Net app, and that’s where it all started to change, slowed down, bloated, too many added “features” we didn’t need or want, and then finally it tried to look like you were using a browser, and even had to open your browser in the last versions to edit profiles and make certain account changes. Usability went completely into the toilet. No longer was chatting online a good time.

And now you can migrate your chat contacts to Skype, and do all your Messenger IM from that app. And the interesting thing is that the look and feel of chatting in Skype is almost like the early days of the Windows Messenger. Simple, straight forward, limited and easy to use. It’s absolutely a step back in time, and I love it! But it is limited, as in they have not added even basic IM features yet. In version, the most notable absence is blocking and unblocking of contacts. Either you are online with all of them or you are not. If you look in Tools > Options > Privacy, you will see the initial signs of adding these features, but not yet fully implemented. I would assume that they will be by the time they kill off the horrid Essentials Messenger.

But even with the lack of some basis features, Skype IM for Microsoft contacts is a very refreshing change, and it’s totally unlike anything Microsoft would normally do. Seeing Microsoft make a change like this and seemingly starting over again with IM is excellent!


Step Up Revolution (2012)

The latest in the ongoing, if not endless, series of Step Up dance movies. This time the poor, young, and supposedly self-trained dancers specialize in “mob” scenes. And dabble in political unrest and borderline vandalism to save the world.

I think I’ve had the fortune (if not misfortune) of seeing all the Step Up movies so far. I would say this is the most unbelievable of them all. They are all romantic dance movies. All with struggling dancers trying to make it. All with reasonably believable dance scene situations. This one is not the case, it’s far more fantasy, as there is no way (other than perhaps the first mob scene) that any group of dancers could pull off mob scene situations portrayed without police or security showing up and arresting or at least chasing them off before they are done. The other Step Pup’s were at least semi believable movie dance dramas that told a possible story. So we spent most of the movie saying things like, “How would there not be security there?” and “That simply would never happen!”

Most of the dance scenes (not all) are entertaining. All but one mob scene is complete fantasy. And they seemed to try way to hard to work non-actor dancers into the cast from the well known dance TV show, which just felt lame, forced and annoying.

On the bright side, the male lead likes to take his shirt off a lot. And that’s okay, as it brings this movie’s score up by 1 maybe even 2 points than it would deserve otherwise.



Werewolf The Beast Among Us (2012)

Simply another forgettable werewolf movie. Bad script, okay special effects, boring story-line, and a few cute guys.

It’s a confusing and strange tale. Nothing memorable to retell, and it’s has a bizarre mix of accents and nationalities. It seems to take place in the old west, but has a distinct eastern European feel to it, so I’m not even sure what part of the world it takes place in, as our “hero” is an American cowboy…I think.

If you are a fan and love werewolf movies, it’s an okay (yet confusing) watch. But don’t put it on the top of your list of movies to see.



Vamps (2012)

Vamps is a ridiculously bad low-budget movie. I suppose it was intended to be a silly spoof on vampire films. It’s veritably a who’s-who of comedy stars, which makes it all the more sad to watch, and see such respected comedians embarrass them self being associated with this mess. Even the special effects are painfully bad, as in circa 1970.

I can only imagine that they were able to collect as many celebrities as they did, in an attempt to create a unique classic like Oceans Eleven or Clue, where the shear talent makes a lame movie enjoyable. But it’s a complete and horrible flop and is only sad and painful to watch.

There is absolutely nothing redeeming in this piece of junk, and should be avoided.



Without a Paddle (2004)

A campy buddy comedy, that takes three old friends on a treasure hunting camping trip in memory of their dead friend. Throw in comments of the classic movie Deliverance, deep south half-wits, D.B.Cooper, and a Burt Reynolds cameo, and you have the general picture of what’s in store.

A slightly higher level of comedy than most teenage/college movies, and thankfully not always the traditional fart, poop and puke scenes and jokes. It’s campy, silly and relaxing fun. It’s a timeless comedy, so long as you are old enough to know and appreciate who D.B.Cooper and Burt Reynolds are.



Apples’s Hate for Android

Hey Apple, why be such a hater?

I’ve been writing some custom WebDAV/CardDAV code for a project I’m working on, and wanted to test it against some CardDAV servers, other than the SabreDAV server I use myself and use for testing. Google’s new CardDAV service works fine, and seems to follow industry standards. This is a new service for Google since they are killing off the Microsoft Exchange service at the end of this month, most likely just to spite Microsoft. But that’s another story.

When I tested my CardDAV code against Apple’s iCloud CardDAV service, I’ve been having nothing but problems. As is typical with Apple, it’s difficult to find info on their standards and protocols, since everything Apple is generally a walled garden. They don’t play well with others.

On my Windows 7 desktop, I can easily log into iCloud with FireFox 17.0.1. But if I use FireFox on my Android tablet, I get a message that says, “Screw you Android, no love for you here!”. Oh wait, it was more like “This browser does not support iCloud.” I get the same results with Android Chrome and the original Android browser.

So why would that have to be the case? My top of the line Android tablet is fast, supports things like Flash and scripting, I can’t think of a single technical reason why it couldn’t work if it can run on a Windows browser. iCloud is not complaining about Javascript or the version of browser, or giving any technical reason, like say a broken Flash icon on an iPad browser for example.

The iCloud service isn’t even a completely “free” service, it’s optionally a paid service, so why not be willing to take money from Android customers like me? Could it be that Apple has lots of cash in the bank, and can afford to do petty things like hate Android users and try to force them to buy iPads instead? Kind of like Google has lots of money in the bank so they can afford to cancel Microsoft services if they feel like it for no good reason.

I guess if Apple owned and operated a public transit system, Android users would be forced to sit in the back of the bus as well.


Hit and Run (2012)

I think this movie was intended to be a romantic-comedy. It’s a story about driving a school teacher across the country for a job interview, and being chased by an ex-boyfriend and some criminals.

The whole movie has a strange feel to it, aside from appearing very low budget. In fact the first 30 minutes seems like it is entirely adlibbed, and just loosely based on a scene concept. I felt uncomfortable watching as the actors struggle to create a dialog much of the time. Surprising enough, the movie actually improves in the second half, if you can manage to sit through the first 45 minutes, which is not easy. They manager to create a few (and I mean few) humorous scenes in the second half that help redeem this awkward film.

The framing of the camera work has a distinctly amateurish feel, and despite the number of noticeable TV actors in the cast, you can easily imagine this movie was made in a very short period of time, and with few takes per scene (if more than one at all.)


The dog food isn’t the only thing that bites.

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