Tuesday, July 12, 2011

HideMyAss VPN Review - 95% of Network Fast Enough for Streaming High Def!

httpI came across a really well done VPN review on HideMyAss.  The folks over at VPNandUsenetReviews.com did an amazing job on an indepth review of the HMA VPN software and service, including a full test. 
They did such a good job they documented just about everything in the software, and then went off and did a full speed test.  But they didn't stop there, they actually did some math on the results and produced some real conclusions!  Amazing...

The basic conclusion is that HMA has a really fast network.  Over 95% of it can support speeds suitable for streaming high def.  Even if you accept some of the highest measures of speeds required, over 70% of the HMA VPN network still meets the requirements.  Pretty cool when you consider it's only $11.52/mo.

The indepth review includes screenshots of almost all the HMA features in their VPN client software.  It also includes all the speed test results from the 20 something countries that HMA offers.  

Have a look at all the screenshots of the software and the full test here.

Personally I like both VyprVPN and HMA for VPN service and VPN clients.  I think either one is an excellent choice.  They both end up highly ranked over at that site too for obvious reasons (price, features, performance, etc.)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Usenet is going crazy with the retention upgrades

For my first post since returning from my "walkabout" I am going to talk about the retention insanity going on with usenet right now.

And when I say insanity, I mean crazy-cat-lady insanity.  Usenet service providers, like Giganews, are BLOWING UP their binary retention.  Massive improvements.

Now, for those not in the know about usenet, I'll offer you 3 quick primers:
  1. Check out my previous posts on the subject
  2. Get your learn on here (don't worry, it's an easy read)
  3. There is no number three. 

Some of you are all, "whatever man, what's retention? why the hell do I care?"  Well, put simply.  Retention is how long a usenet service provider stores posts.  Period.  Retention is measured in days.  It's broken into 2 primary categories:  text and binaries.  Unless you hang out in sci.space.science like, um, nobody I know (ha)...all you care about is binary retention.  The larger the retention (in days) the more posts (i.e. stuff) available for you to sift through.  More stuff (i.e. information) equals more fun.  You care because this insanity of improvement has moved binary retention to within striking distance of 3 calendar years.   

Unless you're really dense, or in a total fog (totally understandable, I just popped out of mine), you should be thinking to yourself...."Hmmm, 3 years of content - HORRY SHIET!!"

In celebration of this insanity, Giganews is running a promotion.  Plus they have a great new signup discount as well.  Now is the time to check out usenet if you haven't done so already.  In addition to what's going on over at Giganews, you have Easynews, Newshosting, and UsenetServer all pulling the same shenanigans.  Massively improving their retention for customers.  Right now Giganews is in the lead, which is per the usual - they tend to keep the best retention in the business.  If you're interested in seeing some comparison between the providers, head here:  vpnandusenetreviews.com   

At this point it's a day for day uptick on the retention numbers.  Every one calendar day that passes, adds one day retention.  In other words, they've expanded their storage space so much they are comfortable letting retention grow every day.  I assume once they get uncomfortable this day for day uptick will stop.  Let's hope that's not before we hit 1,095 days (365x3=1095).

BTW, this shit has been in the news and all over the web lately on the usenet sites, review sites, and the like.  (just a friendly note on Slyck.com - decent content, but don't trust the recommendations.  Anyone that recommends Binverse does not have your best interests in heart...do your research)

He's baaaaaccckkk! Stoneycase is alive and well

Contrary to what you read in the tabloids, I am not dead.  Keeping true to my motto: "Stoneycase, it's more than just a name, it's a frame of mind"  I disappeared into the ether from the end of January, until...um...now.  Yes, this exact moment.  I just emerged.  Yeah, it happened just like that.  You see, a stoneycase frame of mind is well, kinda hazy...and somewhat difficult to navigate.  Sometimes you just end up wandering.

However, I am reminded of a passage from one of my favorites:

Frodo felt Bilbo stir impatiently at his side. Evidently he was annoyed on his friend’s behalf. Standing suddenly up he burst out:
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

by J. R. R. Tolkien (3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973)
from The Fellowship of the Ring
chapter: The Council of Elrond

So please excuse the wandering, and the absence.  Though I can't promise I won't do it again...once a wanderer, always a wanderer...


Friday, January 21, 2011

NEW Ultra High Capacity Magazines from Surefire

Surefire just released new ultra high capacity magazines for the AR15/M16 weapon - 60 and 100 rounds!

Little different topic than my usual tech/software/space/science - but this definitely qualifies as current events, educational, and/or unique.  I actually think it's tech as well, since it represents a technological development for rifle magazines.  Then there is the fact that they look like a whole lotta fun!

Unfortunately high capacity magazines have gotten a lot of press lately.  I don't really want to get into a lot of that discussion.  Let's just say nobody wins when you argue you those points.  Suffice to say, crime is crime.  Whether you fire one bullet or one thousand...consequences will never be the same.

Surefire, the ever popular company mostly known for it's flashlights, also makes weapon accessories.  Their latest release of ultra high capacity magazines for the AR-15/M-16 rifle have catapulted them into the firearms market in a major way.

Until now, the options for magazines on the AR15/M16 weapon platform basically broke down like this:

1.  10 round magazines - Low capacity.  During a few years this was all you could buy due to regulations.  I believe some states and localties still forbid magazines that hold any more than this for even semi-automatic rifles.  (such as the AR15)
2.  30 round magazines - Normal capacity.  You can buy these today, with some exceptions.  Check your local laws.  IANAL.  These are typical/normal, especially in the military or law enforcement.  There are cheap ones, clear ones, with counters, etc.  Consider this standard issue. 
3.  40 round magazines - Higher capacity, but totally unreliable.  In general, everybody steered clear of these pieces of shit.  They were basically just longer than 30 round mags, but somehow managed to totally fuck up.  Suffered from feed problems, spring problems, etc.  You rarely see them for sale, or in use...but they do exist.

4.  100 round magazine drums - Ultra high capacity.  In use in the military, and I believe, available to civilians.  It's basically a big circle drum.  It's huge, weighs a crap ton, and throws off the balance of the rifle.  Plus you have to use crazy lubricant on it to make it reliable.
There is some variation, of course.  For example, instead of a 100 round drum, there are 90 round drums.  But they are all drums at that size.  Or you would see 2x30 round magazines, joined together - sometimes even duct taped.  But for the most part, this list was the playing field.

Surefire has stepped up to the plate and swung for the fences by releasing a 60 round and a 100 round magazine that basically seem to solve all of the major issues with high capacity magazines.

They maintain the relative size and shape of the traditional 30 round magazine.  Amazing.  They also are more reliable and require no special lubricant applications.  Awesome.  The 60 rounder also weighs less than joining two 30 round magazines together.  Even better. 

The uber-cool website Cheaper than Dirt! should be selling these babies very soon.  God bless CTD.  Surefire has the retail currently at $129 and $179 for the 60 and 100 round respectively.    

Make sure you check out the pictures and video!  Congratulations to Surefire for a significant advancement in magazine technology and weapons accessories.  Way to go guys.  More rounds down range, and on target, is always good thing.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sharepod - Say Goodbye to iTunes and Copy your Music

Sharepod is free software to change, backup, and share the music on your iPod.
Drop iTunes.  It's a piece of crap.  It's so bloated I don't even think "Beat the Bloat" could solve the problem.
 Get with the times and check out Sharepod.  For one thing, the footprint is tiny.  Oh, and by the way, you can backup, copy, and share ANY music on ANY iPod. 

If ever there was a reason to dislike Apple, and/or Apple software, that reason is iTunes.  Unfortunately there are so many people that use this PoS, trying to get people to switch is damn near impossible.  iTunes is on version 10.x these days, and it still sucks mightily.  +100mb install file?  Yeah iTunes has that.  Persistent processes in the background, regardless of whether an iDevice is plugged in?  Yeah iTunes has that.  A totally retarded sync process? Yeah iTunes has that too.  Hangups during "verification"?  Oh yeah baby, iTunes is all over that.  Application lag on ultra-fast core i7 machines?  Aww yeah, iTunes for the win!
 So just kick the habit.  I know it's hard.  I know a bunch of you have iPods and are used to dealing with the hassle that is iTunes.  I won't even get into the iPhone, because without iTunes you can't even activate the damn thing (unless you do it in store, or elsewhere).  Still, there's no reason why you shouldn't check out Sharepod.

Hell, at least use it to copy/backup/share the music on your iPod.  That's something iTunes will NEVER do.  Throw your iPod down, connect the cable, and start the share love.  Friend comes over to your pad with sweet tunes on their iPhone/iPod?  Backup that shiat!  Get your SHARE ON, and spread the love amongst the people.  Get Sharepod!   

Monday, January 3, 2011

10 Great Android Apps - MORE Shit You Totally Need

Another list of 10 NEW highly recommended and totally FREE Android Apps that you totally need.

Following up on my previous post, 10 Great Android Apps - Shit You Totally Need, we have a whole NEW list of another 10 Android Apps -  MORE Shit You Totally Need!

As another belated Christmas gift to yourself,  I offer you even MORE shit you totally need.  All FREE!  This isn't some NYTimes best apps of 2010 puff piece.  This article, and my last one, are actually full of QUALITY FREE APPS.  I swear to god I see another new article peddling the same crappy pay apps (that they most likely get paid to promote), I'm going to send the author and the editor a rage comic on the subject. 

Oh, and if you're really hard up from Christmas, because all you got was a fruitcake and an ugly sweater, I suggest you also browse my list of Top 10 Android FREE Live Wallpapers!

Handcent SMS
The stock SMS/MMS for Android 2.2 is "meh".  Handcent is "aww yeah baby".  New styles, additional themes, customization, font packs, colors - more settings than you shake a stick at.  Hell, it can even make your SMS look like the iPhone with "the bubbles".  Some girl I met at a bar described the messaging that way when she saw it, "Oh that has the iPhone bubbles".  LOL.  Seriously though, it's a killer app and a definite improvement over the stock version.  Free.

Liquor Run Mobile
This little app comes in handy more often than you would think!  It lists all the liquor stores near you (or anywhere in general).  Plus it has cocktail mixing directions and tons of other features.  The mascot is perhaps the coolest part though, it's a bottle of booze running.  Who couldn't love that mascot?  I want a t-shirt with him on it.  Free.  

AppBrain App Market
Although similar to the Android Marketplace, this is definitely superior to Google's stock offering.  There are more ways to sort, search, and filter.  You'll find a lot more cool apps through this market than you will in the stock marketplace - guaranteed.  Install it.  Free.

The original badass MP3 player is available on Android.  And yes, IT REALLY WHIPS THE LLAMA'S ASS!  This is probably the best free player out there.  Plus it will sync with your desktop version of Winamp (if you so choose).  All in all a really great player and big improvement on the stock media player.  Free.  

Since Android isn't gay, like some of it's competitors...it allows you to install Apps to your microSD card.  This is really nice and ultimately allows you to install tons and tons of apps.  However, it's tough to know which apps support this feature of running on SD (not all do).  Furthermore, you have to do it by hand - individually.  SUCKS.  But this little app solves all that.  It searches your phone apps, finds which ones can be moved to SD, and helps you move them more efficiently.  Free.

GTunes Music
GTunes is kind of like Google, for music.  Search, and download.  It's that easy.  It will let you preview before you download too.  The app also has charts for billboard, specific genres, and countries around the world.  So if you're just looking for some 'Pop', hit up the chart, and start searching.  Downloads MP3's right to the phone.  Somehow I don't think the walled garden is down with that...so jump that wall, sucka!  Free.

PageOnce Travel
I did an earlier article, awhile back, on a head to head comparison of PageOnce Travel and TripIt.  Both apps rock, and both apps make this list.  PageOnce is still slightly ahead because it offers free flight status updates.  In addition to this handy feature it auto-creates your trips from your accounts.  Very nice to have for anyone who travels, even if it isn't that frequent.  Free.

TripIt is still a badass app, and it sure as hell ain't no slouch when it comes to travel organization.  Now that it can auto-create trips from confirmations sent to your Gmail account, it's taking big steps forward.  It also handles things like dinner reservations, special events, etc. etc.  I run both PageOnce Travel and TripIt, and you should too.  Don't get caught at the airport or the hotel without your confirmation number.  You're holding up the damn line!  Free.

XBMC Remote
Ok, so first off, if you don't have XBMC...you should.  God knows you have a ton of media on your computer(s).  Music, Pictures, Video, Movies, TV Shows - I know you have it.  Install XBMC, get a media library, and watch your content like a pro.  Impress your friends.  Find a nerdy girl and get her on your couch.  Then, pull out your phone and use it as the remote.  Aw yeah, baby...that's right.  My full review is here.  Free
ADW Launcher
This is the beginings of full customization of your Android phone (minus a custom rom, of course).  ADW, and it's array of themes + customization give you complete control over the look and feel of the phone.  Change the drawer, change the icons, change the status displays, change it all.  There really isn't a limit once you get ADW Launcher going.  Which is very easy.  Download, install, find a theme, and use it.  Then hit your home button.  Done.  Free.  (maybe in the future I'll do a full howto on this...)

So there you go.  10 Great Android Apps - MORE Shit You Totally Need.  Combined with my last list, that's 20 FREE and HIGH QUALITY Apps for Android.  The best part is, I didn't have to sell out to write these lists, nor did I have to study Journalism in college and suckup to some loser in a turtle neck.  New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal - I'm looking at you fools.  Your app lists suck.  Mine do not.  Stoneycase - 2, MSM - 0.