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David LeGendre
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On July 15, in the 14th year of the new millennium, our faithful +Someecards.com RSS Feed (SECRF) was terminated.  In SECRF's five years of life in the Great Reader, content of the highest caliber was frequently provided.  SECRF was almost always funny, clever, unique, short and sweet.  Unfortunately, the "Happy Place" cancer of Buzzfeed-esque content took over in just three short months, leaving SECRF a bloated shell of its former, concentrated, glory.  SECRF is not survived by any true sibling or child feeds.
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TL;DR: If you haven't tried "The Old Reader" since September of 2013, I'd strongly recommend giving it another shot!

This post is for anyone who is still regularly using RSS now that Google Reader is gone.  After a review of roughly 10 alternatives, I initially moved to Feedly.  While imperfect, it was the best choice at the time and it did a good enough job for several months.  Late last year (2013), all Craigslist RSS feeds stopped working within Feedly for more than a month.  That was a big problem for me, so I had a quick look back at some of the other tools to see how they had evolved.

DIGG was much unchanged and remained uninspiring.  Newsblur felt cluttered enough that I didn't make significant headway with it.  Feedspot was an even more cluttered nightmare of hidden fees, obfuscated account tiers and general misinformation.  Hivemined / Hivereader completely collapsed under the weight of anticipation stacked on its shoulders.  The Old Reader (TOR) was a surprising breath of fresh air.

Here is some history on TOR.  In July, when the mass exodus from Google completely took hold, TOR was definitely slow and fairly painful.  In retrospect, it had a right to lag considering it was the private project of a 2 person team of hobbyists.  The massive improvements surprised me, so I took to reading their entire blog.  Apparently, since that time, the site was within days of closing completely to the public, at which time the whole project (and 2 person dev team) was fully acquired by a US company called Levee Labs.  Huge strides in storage, throughput and feature set have been since been made.

As so many others, they're using the freemium model, but they're doing it differently.  The free version is surprisingly awesome.  There are currently no ads, the refresh rates are reasonable, the number of allowed feeds is more than adequate and new features are steadily being added.  To top it all off, getting started no longer requires either a Facebook or Google account.

I'm impressed enough that I have given them $20 for a year of service to see how things continue to progress.  Let me know if you decide to try out an account (free or otherwise) so that we can test out some of the sharing features!
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It's this sort of inexcusable behavior that has resulted in my abandonment of all +Samsung Mobile USA  Android devices and my regular refusal to recommend them to anyone.
Samsung refuse to release KitKat sauce

Shouldn't really come as a surprise to anyone seeing Samsung's past performance, but still. Due to some of the strangeness going on while working with the Polish 4.4 Note3 update's kernels, I wanted to look at the sauce. As it wasn't listed yet on Samsung's Open Source Release Center, I put in an official request for sources. Their response was as follows:

Thank you for your interest in our product.

We only publish Open source code of official version. 
It would be appreciated if you can understand our situation.

Please accept our apology for not being able to handle your request up to your satisfaction.

What they probably mean is that they wont release the sources until they do a full roll-out (right now is a small test roll-out, I guess ?). Regardless, this is complete BS - they have rolled out the firmware, they are obligated to release the sources when asked for them. Needless to say, I do not have any understanding for their situation, nor will I accept the apology.

Of course, there's a lot to say about all this, and in no way do I expect my post to change anything. I just thought it worth noting that Samsung still thinks the GPL does not apply to them ... :)
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I just spoke to a live person at Google!  He did his best to explain a strange / unimpressive situation that I encountered last night.

In short, it's apparently not safe to trust the price that is advertised on a "Buy" button price in the Google Play Store.  The price that it will charge could be completely different due to delays between the storefront rendering and the back-end servers.  The best Google could do was offer a refund and refer me to the Amazon Kindle store - it was deemed impossible to actually ever get the item at the advertised price from Google!

In the physical world, laws state that the advertised price is always what a person pays.  Apparently the Google Play Store is exempt from that.  What a disappointment.

#customerservice   #fail  
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The "Möbius Ship" has sailed!  "Greasy Light Orkestra" just released our second, live, self-produced album.  It's freely streaming at the following URL:

http://greasylightorkestra.com

Have a listen and tell me how bad the tuba playing is...  :]
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I have seen quite a few great pianists and this performance may top all of those!
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This post is to publicly thank the +ThinkGeek customer service representatives for being absolutely top notch. I have had nothing but good experiences working with them over the last several years!

Most recently, I'd like to give special thanks to Mrs. Brisbane who couldn't possibly have done a better job. You all are awesome. Thank you for being so clearly dedicated to offering a truly personalized and outstanding customer experience!
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I went to start a petition on Change.org for Google Reader.  It turns out this one already has quite a bit of traction...

https://www.change.org/petitions/google-keep-google-reader-running

#SaveReader
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Have you ever wanted to know how you'd feel about a Scotch without having to pay the steep cost of admission?  We did.  From a kitchen in Tucson over the course of a year, the Greasy Light Orkestra has taken an "All Scotch. No Bullshit." approach to rating 10 different single malts.

Using plain, sometimes lightly NSFW English, we have broken them all down by price, region, classification and semi-arbitrary rating.  The website is finally live and the first one I have created in a long time, so check it out if you have a minute.

http://scotch.greasylightorkestra.com
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