"An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted." - Arthur Miller

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Links of the Day

Avoid Best Buy "Optimization" - Consumerist reports what many of us probably suspected - that Best Buy's $40 optimization that they often force on customers buying new computers is a complete waste of money. It doesn't improve system performance, in many cases they don't even complete the updates, and removing of crapware consists of deleting the desktop shortcuts. Actually, the advice should extend to all things "Geek Squad" as the group is really a group of salesman with almost no computer troubleshooting experience whose job is to up sell you on computer services and equipment that you don't need. The "real" work is usually done remotely by outsourced people in India who themselves only do work based off of a generic script that does little to solve any meaningful problems. In general the best five programs to get for any new computer is 1) Firefox (alternate browser) 2) CCleaner (system optimization, mostly easy way to uninstall programs and cleanup startup) 3) PC Decrapifier (removes most crap/free ware that comes bundled with new computers) 4) Microsoft Security Essentials (free anti-virus that isn't a resource hog or constantly prompting to buy stuff) and 5) MalwareBytes (free scanner for malware).

Avatar Passes $1 Billion - Avatar becomes only the fifth movie in history to pass the billion box office threshold. Even more amazing is the film did it in 17 days. Most of the sales come thanks to nearly $700 million from overseas sales. The movie has already past The Dark Knight with its current $1.06B total and is expected to slide into the second all time spot by the end of the week. The current record holder remains Titanic ($1.8B) followed by Return of the King ($1.1B) and Pirates of the Caribbean 3 ($1.06B). To me this record breaking run proves two things - 1) Not all big budget films need to come out in the crowded summer and 2) Overseas sales are absolutely critical to the success of expensive films.

Slap Chop Sucks - Click the link to view a video from Consumer Reports that confirms what we suspected. Yep, the Slap Chop may make for an interesting commercial but the product is useless. A knife is quicker and more effective thanks to food constantly getting stuck and the chopper not chopping all that well requiring a great deal of chops to get the food cut up enough.

Best Time To Buy Anything - Click the link for image and chart that indicates the best time to buy items at the best prices such as cameras, cars, appliances, furniture and more. The range is because often new products seem to get introduced at certain times of the years so the old models get put on sale to free up space.

Bond 23 Stalled - Thanks to nearly dead MGM Studio's financial problems leading to its sale, the next Bond flick is on hold until new owners (whoever that turns out to be) decides what to do with the franchise. MGM should be a financially strong studio but thanks to probably executive mismanagement, there is no telling what may happen to the storied studio. The real sad fact - those same idiots that ran into the ground will probably make millions off the sale and get rehired for their incompetence.

Shameless Cheney and GOP - Rachel Maddows takes Dick Cheney and the GOP to task for their rather silly attacks on Obama for not responding in a way they find acceptable (aka mindlessly blow crap up). The funny thing though is pretty much every talking point can be contradicted by their response to near identical events during the Bush/GOP years.

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