Facebook buys Oculus VR

Facebook buys Oculus VR
Oculus VR, the Kickstarter, crowd funded maker of the Oculus Rift virtual reality gaming device, has agreed to be acquired by Facebook for around two billion dollars. The deal with include $400 in cash and another $1.6 billion in Facebook stock.

To say this announcement caught fans of the Oculus Rift by surprise is an understatement. The Oculus Rift was supposed to be the Next Big Thing in gaming. It will now be the intellectual property of Facebook, a social networking site that generates all its revenue from cheesy advertising. At least advertising in my Facebook feed is pretty cheesy.

That’s not to say Facebook will always be a social networking site. Back in the day, IBM started out making typewriters. Companies evolve all the time, especially the good ones. Not that I’m implying that Facebook is a good company. It’s not. Facebook was created by stealing the idea for a better version of MySpace and it cheats on its taxes. Also, Mark Zuckerberg, the guy who stole Facebook, wants to make it easier to bring skilled workers into the country by issuing more H-1B visas. This is the type of visa companies like Facebook use to employ temporary foreign workers willing to work for a far less than their American counterparts. H-1B visas help drive skilled wages down.

I will admit, there’s something synergetically poetic about a company with the name face in its title, acquiring technology that you strap to your face.

The long national nightmare is finally over, YouTube is now available on the Roku 3

4bf86288c44344f8ae557e4f207749a7-hdYouTube, the popular video sharing service owned by Google, is finally available on the Roku 3 streaming device. This means that if you own a Roku 3, you can now watch YouTube videos on your television in stunning HD, just like a Chromecast owner.

What I don’t understand is why it took this long. When I purchased the Roku 3, I just assumed one of thing many things I could do with it was watch YouTube on the TV. After all, YouTube was available on the Apple TV, a streaming device very similar to the Roku 3. I was surprised to find there wasn’t a YouTube app in the Roku channel store.

Currently the YouTube app is only available on the Roku 3 and not the Roku 2 or other Roku devices. Now is a great time to purchase the Roku 3. They’re only $89 on Amazon.

Rocket launched into space with octopus mission patch logo

The National Intelligence Program (NIP), the government agency that oversees all intelligence projects and activities of the United States, tweeted an image of an Atlas 5 rocket containing a new spy satellite. The rocket was adorned with an image that duplicated the official mission patch of the mission, NROL-39. It showed an octopus with the words, “Nothing is Beyond our Reach.”

Here’s the Twitter tweet:

The rocket launched on Thursday night from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. If the mission patch is to be believed, we currently have an enormous space octopus giving the planet a big, gigantic hug.

Evidently the mission patch has some privacy advocates up in arms (pun intended) over the claim that nothing in beyond the reach of our various spy organizations. As if there really was any question on the matter.

It’s been a bad couple of weeks for privacy advocates. First that cowardly attention whore Edward Snowden lost out as Time’s Person of the Year to Pope Francis, then a rocket with an octopus logo is launched into space.

Satellite-logo-for-spyingIf I had a problem with the mission patch, it would be that the space octopus doesn’t appear to have eight arms. I don’t have a problem with it. I think the logo is cool looking. I like space and I like octopuses. I also don’t have a problem with our nation’s various intelligence agencies doing their jobs.

The Coin card is a terrible idea, for both merchants and consumers

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A start-up company called Coin began a crowdfunding campaign last week to help fund their all-in-one credit card. The idea behind their device is that you can program it with the electronic information from your various credit cards, debit card, gift cards, and various other magnetic stripe cards. You can then leave all those cards and home and carry only the Coin card with you. Supposedly you’ll be able to present the Coin card to merchants accepting credit cards and they will treat it just like a normal credit card.

Except it’s not a normal credit card. It’s not a credit card, it’s the electronic version of writing your credit card number, expiration date, and the card holder’s name on a piece of paper and then presenting that piece of paper to a merchant for payment.

When you pay with a credit card and the card is swiped, the merchant pays the lowest rate possible for the transaction. The reason being is that it’s the most secure method of payment. When a card is swiped, the device it’s swiped into reads track one and track two date, capturing the full card number, the expiration date, and the customer’s name. The merchant is then expected to look at the card and compare the customer’s name embossed on the front to that on the receipt. They are also expected to compare the signature on the back of the card to the signature on the receipt. With the Coin electronic card, that’s not possible. There’s no name embossed on the front of the card, and there’s no signature on the back. Furthermore, there’s no official card-type logo displayed anywhere on the card.

If a card doesn’t have a credit card logo, it’s not a credit card.

Any merchant who decides to accept a Coin card for payment is crazy. They need to re-read their merchant agreements with Visa and Mastercard and refresh themselves as to what is expected of them when they accept credit cards for payment. For starters, the card in question has to actually be the credit card.

What’s going to happen when one of these Coin cards is run and the issuing bank, instead of approving the transaction, instructs the merchant to keep the card? Do the people at Coin even know this is a possible response from the issuing bank?

Coin is trying to raise money by offering a special pre-order price of $50 to consumers. The price of a Coin card will eventually jump to $100. If you have so many credit cards in your wallet that something like this sounds like a good idea, take my advice and spend your money on a better wallet.

DirecTv says installer will be here between twelve and four, fails to show up

dtvlogo3Up until a month ago, we were DirecTv subscribers. We switched back to Antietam Cable, the local cable TV provider for the Hagerstown area. The price was a bit cheaper, but that wasn’t the driving force behind the desire to switch. I wanted to switch because of the NFL Redzone. With DirecTv, to get the NFL Redzone, you have to pay for the most expensive NFL package they have available, Sunday Ticket Max. With Antietam Cable, you only have to pay for the basic sports upgrade, less than eight dollars a month.

After we switched, we realized pretty quickly that the difference between DirecTv and Antietam Cable was like night and day. After only a couple weeks of Antietam Cable, not being able to watch one program and record another, we realized we made a mistake. The tipping point was last Saturday morning when we turned on NBC Sports to watch the English Premiere League and discovered we suddenly didn’t have the channel. The sports package, the reason we switched back to Antietam Cable in the first place, had been mistakenly turned off.

When we signed up for Antietam Cable, they gave us a free month of HBO and Showtime. After a month of free service, last Saturday, they turned the channels off. The problem is that they also turned off all our other premium channels, the ones we actually paid for, the ones we actually wanted, including our sports package.

We decided then and there to go back to DirecTv. Afterall, they had been hounding us with special offers, both in the mail and over the phone since we canceled. Instead of watching soccer last Saturday morning like I had planned, I called and reordered DirecTv. The “professional” installation was scheduled for Saturday, August 24, from noon to 4:00 pm.

The installer never showed up.

At 5:15 pm I called DirectTV. After explaining everything to the customer service representative, she apologized and said our installer must be running late and she would contact them to “axe” how much longer they were going to be. She also credited $50 credit towards my bill to make up for the delay.

Is a fifty dollar credit worth wasting a Saturday afternoon? I don’t think it is. At that point, it had been five and a half hours of standing by, waiting for someone to show up. That works out to be less than $10 per wasted hour.

At around 6:00 pm, I got a call from an installer. He said that my job had just been dropped into his queue and the earliest he could possibly be here was in two hours. He then proceeded to complain to me about having my installation sprung on him like that.

I told him not to worry about it, that he could just forget about even coming here. I then called DirecTv and cancelled the reorder.

We wasted all day Saturday for nothing. The ironic thing is that the installation would have been a snap. Since we are prior subscribers, we already have the dish on the roof and pointed in the right direction. The cable is already run to the junction box outside. All the installer would have to do is connect it to the cable going into the house. That, and connect the DVR to the TV. I doubt the whole job would have taken more than 15 minutes.

At this point I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to go back to Antietam Cable, and I don’t want to ever give another penny to DirecTv. I guess there’s always Dish Network. Their DVR is supposed to be really nice.