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Mark Stone
Open source guru, scrum master, author, gamer, runner, and general outdoor enthusiast.
Open source guru, scrum master, author, gamer, runner, and general outdoor enthusiast.


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New blog post is up. Going back to my roots in philosophy.
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A Kickstarter from a friend of mine. Worthy of support.

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Philo TV

Anyone have any experience with this service? It seems to be one of the few that includes Food Network, and if it were half the price I'd consider it. So far there's still a wide gap between what bundlers feel they need to charge and what I'm willing to pay.

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Curious that while Google is apparently struggling with a shortage of replacement devices they've also been sitting on my wife's perfectly functional Nexus 5x trade-in for a month without issuing credit. The support person I spoke to this week said that trade-in evaluations were slowed by the "high volume" of trade-ins.

It seems to me that one of these statements can't be true:
* "We don't have enough Nexus 5x phones to offer as replacements to current users."
* "We have so many trade-in phones that we can't even process them all yet."

Well, my wife and I ended our brief experiement with Sling TV after less than a week (so less than the free trial period).

Here's our set-up: We've been without cable for almost 4 years. We are too far (40+ miles of rugged terrain) from TV towers for OTA broadcast. We rely on Chromecast as our primary means of streaming. We pay for Hulu+ (no ads), Netflix, and we're Amazon Prime members so the Prime Video is a nice bonus. We use the free CBS app also. Amazon refuses to acknowledge that Chromecast exists, so we stream Amazon Prime Video by running it on one of our Chromebooks and then casting that tab to the TV.

The problem? We'd to be able to see the Seahawks games that are on Fox, we'd like to watch the new season of "Top Chef" that's about to start on Bravo, my wife would like to have access to various Food Network shows, and she'd like to be able to watch her holiday movies on Lifetime.

Sling TV seemed like the perfect solution. It has some NFL games, it has Fox, it has Bravo, Food Network, and Lifetime. We could subscribe for a couple of months, finish out the football season and Top Chef, and then cancel until football starts up again next Fall. What could go wrong?

Well, I forgot that Verizon has the exclusive right to NFL games on mobile devices. So no chromecasting NFL games from a phone to the TV. No problem, I can just use one of our Chromebooks for that. Except that while Sling TV has Fox, and it has some NFL games, it turns out it has none of the NFL on Fox games. That's a huge fail.

My wife tried watching some of her Food Network shows ("Chopped", "DDD", etc.) via chromecast and gave up. The app would crash. Or the stream would freeze. Or skip. Or audio and video were out of sync. These things should not be a problem in 2017, but here we are.

So we'll give up on Food Network and Lifetime. For "Top Chef" we'll do what we've done in the past and pay Amazon Prime a la carte per episode. But I don't know what to do about the Seahawks.

All I want is to pay a reasonable price so I can live stream Seahawks games that are broadcast on Fox. What are my options, if any? Sling TV is clearly not the answer.

Trade In Status?

Anyone know where I can look to see if Google has received my old Nexus 5x, and what the status is in processing that trade-in? The Project Fi site is pretty sparse when it comes to this kind of information.


My Nexus 5x and my wife's both got the Oreo update yesterday. So far I'm not seeing a lot of major differences - some cleaned up graphics, a revamped Settings layout, and more lockscreen notifications. Otherwise seems the same.

Observations on CBS All Access

So this month the Seahawks have three games on CBS (the other week is a bye week). I figured this would be a good opportunity to give CBS All Access a trial run. The results are mixed.

My wife and I each installed the CBS app on our phones (one account, two devices) and I signed up for the week free trial of All Access. I'm not at home when game time rolls around, so my wife fires up the app on her phone, only do be greeted with "This game is not available for streaming." She texts me about this. This seems odd to me, since "live" is the big appeal of All Access.

When I get home I google a bit, and it appears that CBS does not have the rights to stream NFL games to mobile devices, though they can stream to tablets and PCs (not sure why a tablet isn't a mobile device). So I grab my laptop, log into CBS, and sure enough the game loads just fine. I Chromecast it to our TV, and we happily watch the remainder of the game (Seahawks won).

We'll be cancelling CBS All Access after this month. It's a ridiculous price for just one network, and having limitations on live streaming for sports really detracts from the one selling point. I'm happy to pay a few bucks to be able to view Seahawks games that would otherwise be inaccessible to me, but overall this is a terrible value proposition.

Phone Order Fail

So, just tried to pre-order the Moto 4x off the Project Fi site. Got to the method of payment section, and everything was grayed out, blocking me from going forward. My wife had the same problem.

Anyone else having this experience?

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I had no idea the Dutch were the world's largest exporter of potatoes -- not largest per capita, but in absolute dollars. A fascinating story of science, innovation, and sustainability.
This Tiny Country Feeds the World
This Tiny Country Feeds the World
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