The following are the nominees for the 2014 Academy Awards (the ones I care about) announced by Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, on Thursday. For some strange reason, she was joined by "Hunger Games" actor Chris Hemsworth. Weird. I wonder who he had to screw to get that spot... Anyway, The Academy Awards will air live on ABC on March 2, starting at 7 p.m. ET. Share your picks in the comments.
CNN Coverage | Official Oscar Site
This week's Sunday Art Blog has a theory: less is more. You'll find some really fun and creative things happening in the links below. I'd like to call your attention to the Aldie Counseling Center Art and Poetry Show, which is a page I just made with photos and links to poems that appeared in the art show on Wednesday, October 9, 2013. It is the first art show I was ever in that was geared toward the overcoming of addiction and mental illness. It was truly an honor to be a part of. Another amazing site is Sheen's Portfolio on Behance. You will thank me for linking to it after you've seen it. The skill is astonishing. It's pure perfection, and you will love it! Enjoy this week's Sunday Art Blog, everyone! See you next week!
As you may or may not know, I was quoted as saying that Allison Dufty was the voice of Siri, but I was mistaken, and was told so by Allison Dufty herself. Very nicely, I might add. She sounds remarkably like Susan Bennett (susanbennett.com), who just came forward as the voice of Siri. She says it took awhile to get used to hearing her own voice as Siri, but she eventually became friends with the phone voice with a programmed personality. All this according to the video from the October 8th CNN article about her. Here's a video of Susan Bennett, the real voice of Siri:
My latest upload to SoundCloud, "Who Can Say?" a poem by Nicholas Emeigh:
My full playlist on SoundCloud "The Poetry of Nicholas Emeigh":
From the collage image above, clockwise from top left:
Something To Take Your Mind Off Of The Government: This Crazy Website Shows You How to Find, Buy, and Sell Drugs
I don't know how it exists, but I think a stop should be put to "Silk Road Drugs," a website that tells you in detail--with the use of blogs, programs, and comments from users--how to find, buy, and sell drugs. It has features on the grades of drugs for connoisseurs, search functions, and a detailed method of installation to avoid evidence ever being tied to the pc of origin. I think it's totally cray that this exists. I'm scared to download it to tell you any more about it, so if anyone does, let me know what it's all about. I'm curious, but not enough to get arrested. This is a great article from the New York Times about the creator getting busted, so maybe it's not functioning. Let me know in the comments if you know.
It's all over the web. The government has officially shut down as of midnight on Tuesday, just as Obama Care went into effect. The shutdown is costing tax payers up to $300 Million per day, just because appointed government officials couldn't muster the effort or intelligence it takes to do their jobs. It is a sad, sad day for America.
Speaking of Obama Care, open enrollment began last night at midnight, and the system it is using is so poorly designed that I couldn't seem to enroll to save my life. I enrolled once, and when I reached the end and pressed "submit," it gave me an error message and a link to try again from the beginning. When I tried again and pressed "submit," it said that my "first/last name combination, and username/password combination is not unique." No kidding! This had better be fixed soon or else there will be hell to pay as Americans trying to enroll are being refused left and right because of glitches in the site's infrastructure. You can try to enroll at www.healthcare.gov, but be warned: it probably won't work.
Around the Web:
> Obama Urges Republicans to Drop Health Law Fight @ New York Times
> The Price of Incompetence: The Government Shutdown Could Cost $300M Per Day @ Huffington Post
> Obama Care Launch Day Plagued By Website Glitches @ Huffington Post
> Opening Rush to Insurance Markets Runs Into Snags @ New York Times (added 10/04/2013)
Pictured above, clockwise from top left:
10. You Can Wipe Your Device After Too Many Failed Password Attempts
Want to protect your data on your phone? You need a password. People can crack passwords, however, so if you want to be extra safe you need to wipe the data from your phone after they fail to enter your password correctly too many times. 10 times, in fact. Jump into Settings -> General -> Passcode Lock to find and option called Erase Data all the way at the bottom. If you enable it, your phone will wipe itself out if someone tries to access it and fails 10 times.
9. Siri Can Handle Your Calls
In addition to her (or now his, if you prefer) new voice, Siri can manage your call log for you. Need to listen to a voicemail? Just ask. Want to call back whoever just rang and you missed? Siri can handle that, too. Just make the request and she (or he) will take care of the rest.
8. You Can Change Your AirDrop Visibility
AirDrop makes it super easy to share files with other iOS 7 users in your vicinity, but perhaps you don't want everyone knowing you're ready and willing. If you want to place restrictions on who can send you files, you can just bring up Control Center and click on the AirDrop section towards the bottom left. You can decide if everyone, no one, or only contacts can see you. That way you'll only get file requests from the people you want—even if that's nobody.
7. Night Mode for Maps Avoids Blinding You While Driving Expand
Sometimes you don't want a bright white screen in your face, like when you're driving somewhere at night. Apple's Maps app automatically adjusts based on the time and provides you with a darker interface so you don't blind yourself while driving. You get this feature whether you like it or not, so there's no need to figure out how to turn it on.
6. The Compass App Includes a Spirit Level
Got a few crooked picture frames? The built-in Compass app now has a secret second page with a spirit level. Just line it up against the wall until you get a balanced zero degrees and then you'll know you're hanging things straight.
5. Messages Provides Time Stamps
Ever need to know when a specific message arrived? You can now find out by checking its timestamp in the Messages app. Just swipe on over from the right side of any conversation and you'll see when each message came in.
4. iPhones Automatically Join Trusted Free Wi-Fi Hotspots
iOS 7 makes joining free, trusted Wi-Fi hotspots much easier because you don't have to do anything at all. If you come in contact with AT&T Wi-Fi, for example, your iPhone will connect automatically and save you the hassle.
3. Mail Can Mark All Messages as Read
Remember how you used to have to exploit an iOS bug to mark all your emails as read? Now you don't! You can just tap the "Mark All" text at the bottom of your mail list and tell iOS 7 what you want.
2. You Can Make Audio-Only FaceTime Calls
You don't have to make a call with just your face. If you want to reach another iOS or OS X user without burning up your cellular minutes, or you just look like crap and don't want anyone to see you, then you can ring them via FaceTime. Just initiate the call the same way you would with video but click the phone icon instead.
1. You Can Block Calls and Messages
For quite some time you couldn't block calls through iOS, allowing annoying people to bother you unless you could get your carrier to handle the task. Harassment sucks in any form, and we're very happy to see Apple taking measures to stop it. If you want to block someone from sending you a call or message, you just need to hop into Settings -> Phone and/or Settings -> Messages and find the Blocked section toward the bottom. Tap it and add any people you don't want. You can always remove them if you change your mind.
Note from the author: I do not yet have an iPhone that can support iOS7. I have an ancient 3GS that will be rendered unusable if I download the new operating system, so I have to wait until I buy a new iPhone...which may be today! If you know of one for sale for a good price, please let me know. I'll buy it from you.
Before reading, please note that Allison Dufty is not the voice of Siri as stated in this article. That is an error of fact. Please refer to this blog post for more information.
Included here is the fascinating video I just saw about synthesized speech, text reading, and an introduction to Allison Dufty, the voice of Siri. Just in time for the release of the new IPhone 5c and 5s. The video is only 10 minutes long. Take a look.
Come on. I know every business has the right to collect a fee for use of its intellectual property, but doesn't the New York Times make enough money on advertising to make the site free? Or at least a little more viewing than 10 articles a day. I get at least 4 e-mail updates from them each day, each e-mail outlining 10-15 news stories and articles, also full of advertisements. If I can't read all of the articles in a daily digest for free, what's the point in sending it to me? I think I see enough advertising to warrant a free membership. That could be an option. A free membership granting me, or anyone for that matter, access to all the articles linked to in the e-mail digests and the option to pay to see anything more beyond that. The membership isn't that expensive, though...Should I just pay for it and quit bitching? Argh.
It was hard for me to believe that marketers and websites and companies have been compiling a single report of all the information they've collected about me over the years, but there is. AboutTheData.com allows you to create a free account to view and edit all the information that's ever been collected about you. Insanity. I couldn't believe my eyes.
I have to say, though, that most of the information they have about me is incorrect. They think I have 2 mortgages and drive a Dodge Ram. Regardless of its validity, it's pretty cool to be able to see it all, and even edit it so that ads you see on the internet are better suited to your needs and wants.
I just left it alone because I don't really pay attention to internet ads, and could care less if they're tailored to my personality or not. If that's something you care about, go ahead and edit it; but if not, it's cool just seeing the report.
Another new website, Topsy, compiles every Twitter post ever published. It allows you to search for any keyword producing results that date back to the dawn of Twitter. Pretty interesting. There are paid accounts that are most likely for advertisers and product developers, but the free account lets you search for something like your lover's activity before you started dating, even if it's been deleted. The internet gets smarter and smarter every day.
Update - 09/05/13: This report came out today in the New York Times 'Bits' Newsletter about the About The Data site I mentioned yesterday in the above blog. Here's what they have to say:
Click for Desktop Wallpaper Size
New York Times/NPR articles that I wrote about:
> Read the "Facebook Inquiry" article
> Read the "Android Security" article
> Read the "How to Disappear" article
> Read the "White Supremacist" article
> Read the "Gay Marriage Tax" article
Well, the news is all about Syria, as it should be, and Britain not wanting to be a part of it. That's fine, and I care that it's going on, but I like to leave war politics to politicians. The first thing I want to talk about has nothing to do with Syria, but is definitely a war of sorts. It's the digital information war. The war that government is fighting against our privacy.
I'm one of those people who has nothing to hide from the government, but I support freedom of speech and a right to one's privacy. That being said, I was disgusted to see that Facebook released a report the other day, according to this New York Times article, outlining the government's requests for information on specific Facebook accounts linked to specific people. It doesn't list names, obviously, but I couldn't help wondering if I was one of the 37,954 people the requests pertained to. I'm clearly no threat, but what if something I said on Facebook used one or more of the keywords that the National Security Agency is looking for? I sure hope not.
Facebook said it didn't honor all of the requests, but didn't specify the criteria it used to approve and deny requests. How do you say no to the government? I guess when you're as big as Facebook, and everyone in the world has an account, you can do pretty much whatever you want. I don't think the agency is poking around in innocent people's information, I think they're looking for very specific people who have committed crimes, or conspired to commit crimes that were terrorist related. Still, what should be off limits, and what is fair game? After Facebook released their report, Microsoft and Google came forward and issued similar reports. I don't want the government accessing private information without my consent. I hope these three companies inform the people whose information is being requested. Otherwise, it would be like Big Brother watching us and tracking our every click. Maybe they're already doing it. Who knows? Meanwhile, the government issued a statement warning against security threats on Android phones. Gee, thanks. NPR just published a humorous article called "How to Disappear if Someone is Spying on You" which is appropriate to mention here.
> Product listing on BestBuy.com: http://ow.ly/o0oYS
> Dynex Product Website and Retail Page
If you're looking for something simple, portable, and affordable, this is your speaker. I was honestly surprised by the sound quality for $10. It's cool that they come in different colors, and this one is particularly awesome because orange is my favorite color. The set up couldn't be simpler: insert the batteries (which are included - bonus!), close the battery cover, plug into a 35mm (headphone size) jack, and turn it on. It has a nice design to it, one that you wouldn't be embarrassed about having on the table at Starbucks. It's cool looking, it's portable, and it enhances sound on any phone, laptop, or music device. I'm using it right now on my laptop to watch Netflix, and it sounds great. To be honest, I was so surprised at the quality for the money, I registered for an account just to write this review. Highly recommended.
> Product listing on Walmart.com: http://ow.ly/nXd9Y
> Note: There are many variations of the Bomb Speaker
I was so excited about this little speaker. If it delivered what it promised, it would be a great deal. I picked this up near the checkout at Walmart from a spot with a price sticker that read $4.27. When the cashier scanned it, the display read $6.97. It would still be a good deal if it performed as promised, but as soon as I plugged it in and started playing a documentary on Netflix, the speaker blew out and gave off this "tinny" sound with tons of feedback. The sound quality is awful. The documentary was all speaking and no music. I tried it with music in Spotify, Google Play, and iTunes, all of which had the same "tinny" sound (the sound speakers make when blown out) and feedback. Even if the "tinny" (I use the word tinny for lack of a better word to describe the sound of metal hitting the plastic case surrounding it) sound wasn't present, it sounds like a cheap AM radio at best. I'm returning this product immediately and using the money to buy something else. I'd rather spend more money on a better product. I hope this helps someone else thinking of buying this piece of junk.
Originally published to Facebook on Sunday, August 11:
Dear Bill Gates,
What's up with all of these Windows Updates? What if I don't have time to wait a full hour (at least) while they download, install, and then go through a surprise configuration when my laptop restarts. I thought once I got through the download and installation I'd be in the clear, but instead I had to wait another 20 minutes while your software configured things. It's not that I'm impatient--I don't tailgate, run red lights, or throw fits when the postal worker delivers my mail late--I just don't want to watch my hair turn gray and fall out while I wait for my laptop to become usable again. I never had this problem with Apple. Please streamline your updating process. If you use your own software, Bill, I'm sure you'll understand.
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My name is Nicholas Emeigh, but everyone calls me Nick, and I prefer it. I'm usually called Nicholas when I'm in trouble. I'm from the Philadelphia area, work in business, and fancy myself as a freelance graphic designer, writer, and artist. I have a passion for art in all its forms including music, but I restrict my singing to the shower and the car for the good of society. If you'd like to know more, just send me an e-mail. I really appreciate you stopping by.