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Now using shorter URLS in blog posts

The full URL article includes the title of the blog post - which is what I tweet. So tweeting bloth the title and the URL is excessive. You'll be happy to know I created a "shorturl" that I'm now tweeting.

Posted on March 23, 2015, 9:31 am
Last updated on March 23, 2015, 5:48 pm

Donald Brown
@GadgetDon

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I'm loving Forever and hope it gets renewed

One of my biggest surprises this season on TV was the show Forever. It's not looking good for renewal but I'm hoping, and you might want to check it out.

The synopsis is that there's an immortal doctor working as a medical examiner for the New York Police Department who gets involved in solving crimes. When he is killed, he is reborn, naked, in the nearest body of water. Dr. Morgan is also trying to find a cure for his "curse". "This has possibilities" I thought before the season started. But it's turned into one of my favorite TV shows this season, possibly my favorite (other contenders were The Librarians and The Flash).

The main character is Dr. Henry Morgan, who was shot and thrown overboard from a slaver ship after he refused to let the captain just toss a slave overboard from fears of chollera. That was 200 years ago and he remains eternally youthful. Abe, played by Judd Hirsch, is his confident and friend, helps him out in various ways including bringing him clothes after a rebirth.

This relationship is the best part of the show. Abe, it turns out, is Henry's adopted son. Henry was an army doctor in World War II when he met a pretty nurse named Abigail and they adopted a baby saved from the death camps in Germany. While they often function as friends and sometimes Abe even is Henry's mentor, they shift easily and naturally into father/son. Handled poorly it would be embarassingly silly, but they make it work very well.

There's a pretty widowed police detective that Henry works with, there are hints of blooming romance and it is only a matter of time when Henry shares his secret with her and they get involved. But they're approaching that slowly. And it might not go there.

Another aspect is the way they've told Henry's backstory, in flashbacks. It usually impinges on the mystery of the week (when a bitter matron of the arts is killed, turns out Henry had met her decades ago while struggling with the question of whether to marry Abigail), but I like the story they're telling. One of the best parts was Henry's first wife, who he had married before his fateful trip. His attempt to tell her about his changed life went disastrously wrong, and had repercutions many years later in an unexpected way.

Finally, there's been a villain, Adam, who knows Henry's secret. It turns out that, like Henry, he is immortal, but has been around for 2000 years. Turns out he's a bit more complex than he first appears, and shares something with Abe - he too was in the concentration camps, the doctors discovered his secret and experimented to find out why. Adam is interesting and I'm looking forward to Tuesday's show which involves him. He's not the focus of the show, only appears irregularly and if the show was just Henry vs. Adam it would be weaker. But it's a nice addition.

The show may not be for everyone. But I've found it fascinating. It's worth checking out before its gone. And here's hoping it gets a shot at a second season.

Posted on March 23, 2015, 4:26 am

Donald Brown
@GadgetDon

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Mud Sweat and Gears - great TV show

Many years ago, I encountered a wonderful show on TLC, "Junkyard Wars". Two teams were given a challenge to complete some task, and spent a couple days collecting stuff from a junkyard and creating something to rise up and win. I found the idea wonderful, and have seen most of the US shows and many of the original UK version of "Scrapheap Challenge".

Since then, I've enjoyed other short-lived shows where people worked to make something out of what they've got. "Monster Garage" was fun (and I will always remember the limo fire truck). Monster House had its moments, and every year I look forward to Punkin Chunkin.

The most recent addition to this group is on BBC America, Mud Sweat and Gears. Two auto journalists, Jonny Smith and Tom "Wookie" Ford, compete to create cars to compete in various categories, each aided by two car enthusiasts. They made Cop cars, Delivery vehicles, cars for the automotive equivalent of the Olympics games played every four years (This blog is not an official You Know What sponsor) and more.

They start with working cars, and make some modifications. They only have a day, so can't go too crazy with the modifications. Most shows, what I really enjoy is the design/building process. But the hosts are very competitive and the competitions are visually interesting so they're the main fun on this show. It's clear that the hosts don't know what the competitions will be, in the "Carmageddon" episode both made decisions that proved to be very poor choices as it turned out.

Is this life changing TV? No. It doesn't try to be. But I've found it a lot of fun!

 

Posted on March 18, 2015, 1:26 am
Last updated on March 21, 2015, 4:18 pm

Donald Brown
@GadgetDon

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How I deal with long programming sessions

Nuff said

Posted on March 9, 2015, 11:25 pm

Donald Brown
@GadgetDon


Neat peripheral idea for new MacBook, go ahead and steal it

The main downside people are pointing to for the new MacBook is that there's only one port. That port can be used for power, video, audio, USB, but there's only one port.

Since USB C is an open standard, anyone should be able to make add-ons for it, and here's what I'd make if I was a hardware maker:

Powerbrick with integrated ports in the brick - a few USB ports, HDMI port, audio ports (I presume USB C supports audio), Ethernet, etc. Load it up. And a power cable off the brick. Brick stays on your desk with all the peripherals connected to it. Plugged in, your MacBook is a well-connected machine, external hard drives, printers, big monitor, external keyboard and mouse. Time to head out, disconnect one cable, and you're ready to work on the go with your ridiculously light laptop.

Yes, I know very little about hardware, not sure how hard it would be to make this, I'm assuming that supporting those ports is the open standard from what I've read but could be wrong. But if this seems like a neat idea, run with it with my blessings. (And if you wanted to send me one as thanks along with a Macbook to use it with, I wouldn't turn you down.)

Posted on March 9, 2015, 2:58 pm

Donald Brown
@GadgetDon


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