Morgan Davis


G-minus on the Plus

I joined Google+ this past week — the new social media mashup of something like Facebook and Twitter. Unlike Google’s earlier social media attempts, such as Buzz, Google+ is the real deal and gives Facebook something to ponder as it potentially slips into the MySpace zone.

But, aside from Google+’s features and functions which are compelling even as it is still in beta, I think the whole “plus” idea as a branding element is ill-conceived. It presents too many marketing challenges considering how social media memes are often integrated into the lives and conversations of users. Google needs a new social dialect with terminology that easily sets them apart.

The minuses on the plus:

On the plus side, I give Google+ an A for taking away Facebook market share. But the ‘+’ adds up to a big G-minus for marketing.

Usage: Start a PowerShell, drop into a directory containing flac music files, and then run this flac2mp3.ps1 script. It will find all the *.flac files in the current directory and encode them as *.mp3 files (adjust arguments as desired). Requires both the flac and lame command line tools.

File: flac2mp3.ps1

$flac = "c:\program files\flac\flac"
$lame = "c:\program files\lame\lame"
$tmp = "flac2mp3temp.wav"

foreach ($f in gci *.flac) {
    $ -match "(^.+)\..+"
    $fn = $matches[1]
    & $flac -d "$f" -o $tmp
    & $lame -b 320 -h -m s $tmp "$fn.mp3"
    remove-item $tmp


Crazy Like Netflix

I’ve been fuming about a recent decision by Netflix to remove a convenient feature of its DVD “queue” management on streaming-enabled devices. Netflix, the company that sends DVDs to my mailbox and streams movies over the Internet, recently revealed plans to eliminate the ability to put a disc-based movie into the mail-order DVD queue. This appears as a button next to movie titles on Netflix streaming apps and devices. The company cites this as a move to make the interface simpler for customers. Was that feature really so complicated? I don’t buy it. There’s something more strategic going and I think I have it all figured out…

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The Sound of Samsung

(TL;DR Tip: skip down to Updates to save yourself some time)

This past summer, after studying favorable reviews of the Samsung LED TV series 7000 and 8000, I decided to get one. I ordered the 8000 Series unit (UN55B8000) with 240Hz refresh rate. It arrived in perfect physical condition and worked great. I was thrilled with the picture quality.

But then, things went terribly wrong …

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Starting with the release of Internet Explorer 7 in 2006, Microsoft removed the extremely handy “drag and drop” FTP feature that was seamlessly integrated in IE6.

You used to be able create shortcuts on the desktop that would directly open a remote folder via FTP with no intervention. With an open FTP folder window, remote file management was a breeze because it acted like a folder on your hard drive. This article shows you how to recover this helpful feature with one simple change.

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Shut Your Facebook

A recent NY Times article reveals why some people are leaving Facebook.  In May, I deactivated my Facebook account when the signal-to-noise ratio had clearly gotten out of whack.  Ironically, I found myself back on Twitter which I had left for Facebook when the latter seemed to offer a bit more value.  That was a different time.  Now, Facebook has just gotten altogether too silly with quizzes and games and all the same high-school shenanigans your classmates would have outgrown over the last few decades.  Alas, I’m back on Twitter.

Update: OK, I’m back again on Facebook. They’ve added enough filters now so you can hide all the ridonculous stuff.  Rather than shutting my Facebook, now I can shut your Facebook, ftw.


XHTML and Printers

XHTML is really nice. Going forward, I’m doing all my new stuff with it and updating all my old stuff as time permits.

After getting fed up with network printing problems with HP printers, I wrote down the solution so I wouldn’t forget.