Category Archives: Tech

Posts about new technology or the tech tools we are using and like.

Weekend Coffee Share – Apple Music Edition

Not really related to the post at all... Just today's coffee mug!

Not really related to the post at all… Just today’s coffee mug! For more coffee don’t miss the linkup on Part-Time Monster: http://parttimemonster.com/2015/12/05/weekendcoffeeshare-in-which-i-am-suddenly-very-busy/

If we were having coffee, I might very well complain about Apple Music.

That’s a lie: I love Apple Music. I would complain about a related problem: iCloud Music Library.

Holly and I waited at first when it came to Apple Music. We reached a point, though, in looking at the option for a family account – cheaper than us each having an individual, and available since we family linked our iTunes accounts. We heard it would be available on the new Apple TV which we wanted (and got). We heard it was going to have a whole lotta music.

So we started up our three-month free trial (I think we’re still in it? Might be close to the end…). And I went to turn it on. And it told me something: to use Apple Music, I had to turn on iCloud Music Library. Without a second thought, I turned it on, and Apple blew up my music library. Continue reading

More Options, Narrow Focus

Something that I have been noticing lately are people announcing that they will be blocking others on Facebook for various reasons. Now I completely understand that there is no reason that we need to take time with people who drag us down, but online we have the ability to completely block even seeing that any of that stuff exists. This means that we can shape our life online to only include those people or things that reinforce our perspective of the world. Yet, what does this mean for how we deal with the wider variety that we might experience outside of these online circles? Continue reading

The Future Is Now!

I loved Back to the Future 2 growing up. I made my own Hoverboard out of construction paper. It’s not quite what Lexus has done to make a fake Hoverboard

And the day is tomorrow. And it hasn’t happened. The future’s not what we were told… the future is now. The strongest image, for so many people, of what the future would look like. 30 years on… and it’s not at all the same.

And what did we get instead? The big one is of course The Internet. But did we wile away our time playing MMO’s and Angry Birds instead of inventing Hoverboards and flying cars?

Maybe. But that leaves me thinking that maybe it’s time for a new vision of the future. Maybe it’s time for a return to Back to the Future.

After all, as the trailer today for Star Wars: The Force Awakens shows, there’s lots of returning-to-franchises going on. And people can get excited, and it can be awesome. Or Ghostbusters returning next year. Or a whole bunch of TV shows, with the most recent ones I’ve seen being renewed talks about a return to Firefly, and then Gilmore Girls.

Meanwhile, instead of a new Back to the Future we’re getting a documentary at least this year…

So I don’t at all think a new Back to the Future movie is on the horizon. But I’m realizing… it would be a good one to come back to. The plot: something happened in time that made it so that none of the things Marty saw in the future actually happened. Show our world now. So there’s fixing that… and a chance to go forward, into the future from now. To make a cinema image of our future, of 30 years from now. And to revel in what society was like, 30 years ago, in the past.

So not reboot, not a remake. Not entirely. I guess maybe my idea falls in the “modern retelling” genre? I don’t know. What do you think? Should Back to the Future come back? What would they see in our future? Let me know in the comments below!

Minority Report: Pilot Episode Review

Note: Minority Report aired in the UK before the US, so here is Melissa’s review of the pilot – which airs tonight in the US!

Minority Report

Minority Report is one of my favourite movies, so when I learned there was to be a television programme I was understandably intrigued. If you haven’t had the pleasure, the movie is set in the future. Basically, thanks to three siblings (Agatha, Arthur and Dash) – precognitives who can predict the future, a special police unit known as Precrime is able to arrest murderers before they commit the crime.

The pilot episode, set ten years after the end of Precrime, focuses on Dash, one of the three precogs. Dash is alone in the city, and tormented by his premonitions of murder. Without his siblings, these visions are unclear. He only gets bits and pieces of the crime (mainly faces), which he draws compulsively in a notebook.

Stark Sands as Dash.

Stark Sands as Dash.

Understandably, Dash becomes obsessed with preventing the murders and, until he meets Det. Lara Vega, all his attempts at intervention fail. Miserably.

I enjoyed Stark Sands’ portrayal of Dash; a man tortured by his abilities, and his past. Since he’s spent most of his life in isolation, his social skills are underdeveloped and this makes for some awkward, and often amusing interactions. It was refreshing to get to know one of the brothers, especially as the movie focused on Agatha.

Meagan Good as Det. Lara Vega.

Meagan Good as Det. Lara Vega.

It’s an interesting twist too, the fact that his abilities are more of a hindrance than a blessing. As his visions are incomplete, he has no choice but to fumble through and try to fit the pieces together. This makes for a great dynamic between Dash and Vega. She’s an experienced detective with technology on her side, and together they can solve the crime before it even happens. In theory.

Continue reading

Have online services finally figured out the idea of a family?

Holly and I use a lot of online services – video watching, e-book reading, gaming, music, apps… And all of these work off of individual accounts. When we met, we already had accounts with a lot of the big names – Apple, Amazon, things like that. As we started to grow collections like Kindle books and iPhone apps, we were doing so in parallel accounts.

That meant for us to share Kindle books, we were having to use each other’s Kindles, for Apps we’ve had to buy a number of duplicates. For music, we’d have to burn a CD to share, which we often forgot to do so it was hard to share music. For downloading movies or TV shows, we always had to figure out which account or computer to put it on.

However, of late this problem seems to be going away. I’m not sure how long all of these options have been a thing, but once we found one, we went hunting for others and were not disappointed.

I think it started with Apple, who were advertising their new Family accounts earlier this year. This let us finally connect our Apple accounts, giving us access to each others’ Apps (useful for, for instance, the Board Game apps we had only bought on one account each) and music (great for all those albums we had never shared). It also meant that who had which TV shows or movies didn’t matter, and we could make those decisions more on whose computer has more HD space.

Then we went and looked at Amazon, and found that it finally also has family accounts! Which is great, and was just in time – we could both have easy access to the baby-related Kindle books we’ve gotten, and things like that. It also removes a lot of the issue with us making one of our two accounts into a Prime account. Sadly, we have not found any way to really run a joint Wish List yet, so there’s room for improvement on Amazon yet!

There’s family Gold now on X-Box, though we dropped Gold there just because we haven’t had a ton of gaming time there (and have been on the PS3 more). When we added NetFlix back recently the account can be set up with different viewers – which was bad when it came to setting up the data settings, as Holly mentioned, and which is good with the Kids option which we’ll eventually make use of.

All in all, it feels like the Internet finally has some idea of taking these individual user accounts, and linking them within a household. Which is the sort of thing that users have been awkwardly trying to do for ages. It’s going to happen, so it’s good that they’ve made ways to try and make it easy.

How about you – any services like this that you’ve found, or any you wish would add a family option? Let us know in the comments below!