No More Damned Smart TVs. Enough.

When will some budget minded TV screen maker realize they could own the market for NON-smart, high res monitors. I don’t even need any TV tuner built in, no webcams, no microphones. All I want is a great looking, reliable display, and multiple HDMI and displayPort ports that can be reached from the side or bottom, so I don’t have to take the tv off the wall to plug new video sources in. It should have front/side panel controls and an infrared remote control to manage power, input selection, volume, and display options. Buttons on the top or back suck for monitors mounted on the wall.

And damn it Samsung, if you make it, the stupid screen should NOT always show a flashing mute icon onscreen when I turn the volume all the way down. That’s just annoying. Maybe show it for 10 seconds and let it go away, and show it again if I change input selections.

Think of it, it should cost less to produce a minimal model. They could make it even thinner and lighter, and deal with fewer cables to manage. They might sell for a couple hundred less than Full Smart TV versions, and snarf up all kinds of computer monitor and TiVo/AppleTV/Roku box users the world over.

No matter what, any minimal monitor should not have any Internet connection at all. No network cable port, no wifi. Use USB thumb drives and sneaker net to install any microcode updates. That’s very easy, and certainly anyone who is in the cheap monitor market but still cares enough about doing microcode updates (like service shops) shouldn’t have much issue with that. You could have an empty drive with the one driver on it for that model, or you could have a usb stick full of all the drivers for all of that vendor’s video equipment, and let the monitor itself choose which driver(s) file names and versions to process.

I see no benefit to having a player software, like Netflix, Roku, or any other Smart TV functions built directly into my TV. As soon as the next best, coolest device is created, you won’t want to replace your monitor, and you’ll just end up ignoring it’s older smarts, and plug in some new external box (unless they upgraded or replaced HDMI). Most consumers aren’t going to replace their set as soon as the vendor stops supporting software updates for that model. On top of that, I believe at least half of US consumers completely ignore their TV’s built-in Smart features anyway, so they are simply wasting money paying for it in the first place.

Popular, un-patched, internet attached “things” have become common attack targets that malware writers enjoy exploiting. They could infect your phone, only to hack your TiVo and all of your Hue lightbulbs when you get home, because you never power them off, and they are, or appear to be, idle 95% of the day.

Anyone who wants a smart tv is probably already thinking of, or already owns some box. A Roku, TiVo, or anyone else’s Smart TV box, either the cheap WiFi attached HDMI+USB stick, or maybe the more common table top box with AC power, ethernet port, and HDMI output is a more obvious and easy solution. You can replace/upgrade the box and the monitor separately,

New Anime series on Netflix

I’m watching “Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic” on Netflix this week. It’s a pretty good anime series, original Netflix production, but set in the ancient middle east, featuring Aladdin and his Gin, and his new best friend Ali Baba. Typical stereotypical Japanese anime cultural appropriation. I do like the series, regardless. Harmless fun.

I’ve been able to find a fairly decent amount of enjoyable original anime on Netflix, I’m wondering how all the Japanese TV anime producers will respond. With they create an online content store we can all enjoy? That would be so GREAT!. I still subscribe to VRV, but not too many anime producers release their content there. They have all the Naruto series though, but that series is fairly derivative, so I’m still using it to view other more original content, while allowing myself to occationally watch Naruto Shippuden and other derivative series.

I like having access to such a wide variety of anime, especially when there are much more than I can access each month. To me, that means the ecosystem is really healthy, because it’s not restricting itself to only the most popular genre/topics/jokes/target audiences. Netflix is really investing in it’s streaming future. They are producing more content than I can consume each month. That means I get to explore, enjoy new things, and always have something to look forward to. I also look forward to Apple’s entrance into the streaming video content arena, although I doubt I’ll pay much more for any new subscriptions at this time. I buy series through Apple iTunes all the time, like Mr Robot, and find it cheaper than paying for cable TV.

Right now, we don’t subscribe to CBS all access, or any over-the-top video streaming service, like Playstation Vue, Sling, Youtube TV, etc. We have a DVR and OTA antenna, so all the daily news and weekly crime drama shows are being recorded automatically. I love to watch NFL and sometimes college Football, but rarely catch it live because I work 3rd shift, so I’m asleep until 6-7pm. I kind of prefer watching sports on TiVo anyway, so I can skip over commercials, and rewind and rewatch plays they don’t replay on-air, and do frame-by-frame super slo-mo if I desire.

When it comes to the Apple ecosystem, pretty much, I want out. Don’t get me wrong, it works great, and I’m not unhappy with it, but Apple computers, and services, have become simply TOO expensive. I am TIRED of paying for a $900-1000 iPhone every 2 or 3 years. And while I haven’t replaced my desktop Mac for over 5 years, I’m pretty sure my next desktop will be some PC desktop class hardware running on Ubuntu Linux. I keep pricing out systems with newer AMD Ryzen Threadripper CPUs with 16 Core, 32 threads, 32 GB RAM, 512 GB M.2 nVME SSD, 2 TB 7200 rpm disk, and can never come up with less than $4,000.

I worry about how much of that vendor built PC cost is going to Microsoft, because they ALL come with Windows 10, which, I’m sorry, but I’m not interested in, at all. Not even as a VM. Windows products have become more of a problem, than a solution. I’ll still with AWS, Google Computer, Digital Ocean, and other cloud vendors and Linux cloud app servers running my content.

Installing Postgrey to reduce email spam even more

Tonight, I installed the postgrey daemon, and configured postfix to call it for incoming connections. Postgrey, by default, rejects email from hosts we’ve not seen in the past 35 days with a “400 Temporary Error – Try Again Later” message. Real email servers will try again in 15 or 30 minutes, so the first email from any new service will be delayed that long. Signing up for new services can be a pain in the ass, because they often want to email something to you, and this just delays that even more. Spam services, though, will just move on to the next IP address to distribute their crap.

Postgrey is simple to install, and easy to configure. Plenty of

Interactive communications service

I would like to create my own private chat server on AWS. One my wife and I could use for our private chats, and all of our friends could use in a few chatrooms, without fear of logging, corporate advertising or sponsorship getting in the way. We like to alternatively text each other, voice call, or video chat. Sometimes we like group chats.

I have already started out with a jabber server. This will only support jabber chat type events, like text chat. I really want something more multi-protocol, with text chat, group chat, voice calls, video calls, groups that can share chats, group conference calls, or video chats, with the capability to switch between them, so a conversation may turn into a group chat, which may become a conference call/video chat/screen sharing opportunity.

I know setting up my own service means dealing with standard user password and connectivity issues. I think that’s all manageable via CGI, especially for our relatively small circle of friends. I want to setup a forum as well, for longer term conversations. Forums are great for asking questions various people might not even read for a few days. And they keep all the replies in the same thread. Chats don’t have threads. Or do they? Slack kind of has threads. But you need to establish policies that say “don’t reply in the main chat to a thread.

I’d like to see a ticket system that sets up a chat room for each issue, where people can contribute to the conversation, share images or text they cut&paste. If you subscribe via email, you would get updates for each reply, and if you are in the chatroom, you see it directly.

What I want to create is a universal communication system, a multi-protocol system, with a multi-platform client, and the ability to text chat, voice chat, video chat, share live screens or share images. That doesn’t seem that far fetched, does it? Shouldn’t be. Everybody needs that stuff.

I want a single place anyone can go, a webpage that leads to all the voice/video/screen content that was recorded during the issue. You could retain video captures only a week or two, and screen shots a month, and text chat 3 months, and still learn a lot from your past.

I haven’t figured out a good solution to a standard user communication service quite yet. Really wondering if I actually need to cobble it together myself.

I LOVE this picture of the kittens

I was just reading my most recent post, and was marveling at the header photo of the J-team. They are so young in that photo, Jinx is still all white there. Had to be under 1 year old. You wouldn’t recognize him now, his back now features a beautiful dark orange cape. His belly is still all white, and he still loves belly rubs!