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Tom Benton
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Tom Benton

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Wow... my teammate and I just complained about our hotel stay at a +Sheraton Hotels & Resorts  in the midwest... I'll share more later after my stay is over (with what's gone on so far, I fear retaliation from the staff), but just wanted to let everyone know that I'm not staying at any +Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG) / Starwood hotel again unless I see some kind of evidence over the next few days that they heard our complaint and are doing something about it.
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just fyi - the hotel contacted me after I submitted a complaint on the website on my return home.  They offered me points and reassured me that there would be changes, but I'm still reluctant to stay there in the future.  
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I finally got around to answering some questions for the journalist at Insurance & Technology - this is old news, but a little more public than previous announcements.

The job is going well!  Very busy meeting with clients and researching issues to help them with their challenges.

Circle me if you are interested in Insurance Technology, technology in general, cool gadgets, etc.
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#DoctorWho  - Season 1, Episode 7  - The Long Game

Rose and the Doctor take Adam, who they met in the last episode in 2012, out into the future - the year 200,000.  We learn a little about how the Doctor operates - when he goes somewhere, he just asks questions.  It doesn't take him long to find out that something is wrong.  He expected mankind to be farther along, but something is holding progress back.

They discover they are on Satellite 5, hovering the earth broadcasting all the news.  However, someone or something is controlling everything.  They observe some strange behavior, and Adam, saying he is overwhelmed, is sent back to the TARDIS.

Where we see that Rose's curiosity is a good human trait, we now see it go wrong in Adam.  Instead of retreating to the TARDIS, he explores this strange new world and looks for a way to profit from it.  Ah, greed knows no limits of time and space.  Sigh.

Rose and the Doctor tap into the Satellite 5 "mainframe" (they apparently still call them that in the future ;-) and find out that while the rest of the satellite is getting colder, floor 500 is hot as blazes.  When they investigate, they find out what is controlling everything - a strange violent creature and his human (sort of) henchman.  A combination of a friend they met along the way and Adam combine to get them out of trouble, and the three time travelers take the TARDIS back to current day London, to Adam's house to drop him off.  

Part of Adam's punishment is being left with an unusual scar - a mind portal device that opens on his forehead - he had it installed on the Satellite to download all of the world's information so he could send it back to himself.  This brings up an interesting consequence for time travelers:  if they change anything while away and then end up stuck back home, they need to "lay low" and have very dull lives that don't attract attention, or they will be treated as aliens and studied as lab rats.  It's not good to mess around with the rules of time travel.
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Tom Benton

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Don't forget your booties because it's cold out there today.  
It's cold out there every day.

Happy Groundhog Day 2013.
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#KindleFireHD  Amazon wins the media price war again... this time with Movies.

+Amazon.com is doing for online Movie rentals what it has done previously for eBooks - dominating the market.  This is good news for us Fire owners.  I personally gave up Netflix when I decided to continue Prime after my 30 days free back when I received my Fire (no, I still haven't upgraded to the HD, and by the way, Jeff Bezos, I never received the evaluation copy I begged, er, asked for).

I must say, though, that the competition in the movies area is good - there are still some reasons to keep Netflix (they get a lot of the new stuff quicker) and Redbox is making a go of it (still my favorite way to rent a physical disk when I need to).

Are you using Amazon's video service on your Fire?  Do you still have Netflix?
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#KindleFireHD  - Is the Fire the most "kid-friendly" tablet?

Amazon just announced it's "Freetime Unlimited" offering of children's media for the Fire.  The subscription service (that's only $2.99 per child per month is you have Amazon's Prime service) offers kid-friendly content on the Fire, which already is reasonably rugged and has parental controls, making it a good tablet for small hands.  Unlike dedicated tablets for kids (Leapfrog, etc. as mentioned in the article), the +Amazon.com Fire is also great for mom and dad.

Are you considering a tablet for just your kids?  Do you let them use your Fire or other tablet?
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#JellyBean  update on my +Motorola Mobility Xoom - actually the update was on 10/17 - one week ago.  I was out of town over the weekend and didn't get to try it out until today.  What's different?  I'll update my post when I figure that out.
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Tom Benton

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This video, played at the beginning of Pittsburgh/St Louis Game 2 NLDS is awesome!  http://wapc.mlb.com/play?content_id=31079063&topic_id=7417714  - "it's not heaven, but it's pretty darn close" +MLB    #mlbplayoffs   #octoberbaseball  
Actor Ray Liotta narrates the open to the 2013 NLDS Game 2 (Pirates vs. Cardinals) on MLB Network, shot at the Field of Dreams movie site
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New dream job... Jerry's delivery guy.
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#Pebble - It's finally time... My Pebble has arrived!

I checked my tracking info yesterday morning and it said that I The package was "out for delivery"! I kept watch on my mailbox, and sure enough my mailman dropped the slim package into the box. I grabbed it, unboxed and plugged it in - see the picture below.

The Pebble easily paired with my phone (Samsung Galaxy S3), and I used the already installed app (downloaded it earlier in the week when it appeared in the Google Play store) to upload a few watch faces. Out of the box, the Pebble is a little limited, but the developers are promising frequent updates with many new features - hopefully this will be fun and not annoying as the updates get pushed out.

Did you get your Pebble yet? What do you think?
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#KindleFireHD  - Great +Amazon.com / Apple comparison

In his +Forbes article "Will The Kindle Fire Burn Apple?", +Clem Chambers makes a great analogy to sum up the design esthetics of Apple vs Amazon - he compares the Fire devices to the industrial male WALL.E in the Pixar movie while Apple products are more like the "angelic female Eva".

This may explain why all the tech guys where I work scoffed at the one guy who bought the iPhone vs us who chose Android devices a few years ago.  Many of the women at work were getting iPhones, though a few chose the Droids and HTC offerings, some because they did not have +Verizon Wireless or AT&T. 

Yesterday I took my dad to a doctor's appointment and the staff there took note of my Galaxy S3.  It turns out two of the staff were looking into upgrades for their iPhones and both (one male, one female) were considering the S3.  Both thought it looked "cooler" than the iPhone.  I also know a co-worker who switched from the iPhone to an S3 recently, citing in part liking how it looked and the bigger screen.

I am a little surprised to see that iPhone users would be so quick to abandon the ecosystem and go with a new +Android phone.  I have posted for a long time now that the battle is more about the ecosystem than the devices, but the article and the recent experiences with ecosystem-switchers is making me wonder.  

Is it really more about the design esthetics than the ecosystem?

(PS - Thanks, +Clem Chambers for the analogy... I will probably never think of WALL.E the same ;-)
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Outside the Bay Area, I wonder if the app ecosystem point is exaggerated, once you get beyond a handful of apps that the average customer will even bother to find and install. Back in the day, Mac enthusiasts would say it doesn't matter if Windows has 10x more apps, because no one use 500,000 apps, Mac has enough good ones, and the rest is just noise. I don't see why that same argument couldn't apply to iOS vs. Android vs. Windows Phone.

Having said that, Kindle Fire does have an app problem. Among the few apps that actually do matter, are quite a few Google apps. The real Android experience is missing in that respect. It's why my KIndle Fire (original) mostly sits in a drawer.
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In his circles
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