Thursday, March 14, 2013

Google Reader R.I.P., and what to do now

Google, in their infinite wisdom, is killing Reader. Too bad - many of us relied on it (some of us, like myself, relied mostly on it) in our daily lives.

Various newfangled "social" tools are a poor replacement, or, rather, not a replacement at all - they lack structure, prioritization, and ability to put things away that Reader offered. It is understandable, then, that right now there's a frantic activity directed on salvaging Reader data and finding a replacement.

Let's try to keep things organized.

First of all, offers a way to export Google Reader feeds.

Then, just in case, here's a petition to keep Reader alive (not that it's going to change anything, in fact, it may point out how weak the Reader user base is - but then again, it's not about the profit).

And, finally, in no particular order, replacements (this section will be updated as new candidates are discovered). Keep in mind that all links are raw, fact checking wasn't performed, and some of them might bite you (feedback will be appreciated, so we have both wall of fame and wall of shame).

to be continued...

Friday, March 8, 2013

Review: Panasonic Smart Network 3D Blu-Ray Disc™ Player DMP-BDT220CP

Short version

Wasted money. Don't do it.

Long version

Too light, too small

Literally. An attempt to operate it will most probably move it. It is shallow (7 1/16", or 180mm), nothing will stand on top of it to hold it down (except a decent paperweight, maybe).


No, not just slow. Infuriatingly slow. Glacial. A computer you buy for the same money will work faster.


Navigation is awkward (did I mention it is glacial?) and inconsistent. There are at least two different virtual keyboards, one of them is ABCDEF, the other is QWERTY.


Good luck trying to access a network service when there's a firmware update (hint: you can't). Normally, it takes two tries (it hangs at 0% download until power reset) and no less than 5 minutes.


Good luck trying to de-authorize accounts. Amazon says it takes 36 hours to do so, still waiting for expiration (UPDATE: There's "Unlink from Amazon" entry in Amazon Help menu). Netflix? Even better, an explicit "disconnect all" command on Netflix site disconnects, well, all devices - except this one. And the documentation is a jewel - here, take a look:

To deactivate the Netflix account on your Blu-ray player,
use the Panasonic remote and press the arrows
 in the following sequence: [Up], [Up], [Down], [Down],
[Left], [Right], [Left], [Right], [Up], [Up], [Up], [Up].
A screen will appear to allow you to deactivate the Netflix account.

Oh, and they forgot to tell you that you need to activate this sequence from Netflix home screen.


The idea was to save some money and get rid of HTPC. All in all, if you can get very decent Netflix experience on a cheap Android device, I thought, this should work just fine.

Well, it doesn't.

You get up to what you paid for. I'm afraid that all devices in this price range will behave in a similar way.

HTPC stays.