Streaming Video: Giving Viewers What They Want To Watch When They Want To Watch It

The streaming and DVD subscription service Netflix has actually produced, and made available for streaming, a television series. Netflix remade the popular BBC series House of Cards. This new version of House of Cards was indeed made by Netflix itself as its first original presentation and it stars Kevin Spacey. And much ado is being made in the press of the fact that Netflix used Big Data*1 to decide to remake this series and to remake it with the actor they chose for the lead role (Kevin Spacey) and the director (David Fincher) they chose to direct the series.  

And although both the fact that the series is Netflix’s first foray into actually creating a new show and that it is the most popular streaming title Netflix has at the moment are very interesting; what I find the most interesting about the new series is that Netflix released the entire first season of the series all at once and viewers seem to really like that fact as they are streaming away and watching all the episodes in one or two sittings.  

And the fact that this option is so popular – that is having an entire season of a series available to stream from the Internet and watch the day it is released is so popular… that fact illustrates to me that the instantaneous availability of streaming video*2 is becoming more popular with mainstream television and movie fans. And that being the case, just maybe we’re a step or two closer to a television viewing model that is truly on demand and lets viewers watch any television shows or movies they want to watch when they want to watch them, via streaming, and on whatever device they want to watch them upon!

And here’s a link to the New York Times article that started my streaming video musings for today – it is titled Giving Viewers What They Want – here’s the link:

And on a non-tech FYI note – Tolkien and fantasy fans can now pre-order The Hobbit as the video now has a release date! It will be released on DVD and streaming video on March 19!

Have a great day!

Linda R.



*1) In this case the term “Big Data” simply means that Netflix took a look at the user data they have on hand to see which television subjects, directors and actors are popular with viewers and used that information to make the decision to remake the series House of Cards and with the director and cast that they chose to use for the production.


*2) In the case of the new House of Cards series streaming availability is extra notable because the series is currently only available to Netflix subscribers to stream via the Internet – it has not yet been released on DVD.





Carr. David. (2013, February 24). Giving Viewers What They Want. New York Times. Online.



New E-Books, E-Videos, E-Albums & E-Audiobooks Available in the Digital Catalog Tonight!

Hi everyone, just an FYI. The March SSCL order for OverDrive digital content has been placed — and that means there there will be new e-books, e-videos, e-albums and e-audio books available in the STLS Digital Catalog this evening.

Here’s a direct link to the catalog should you wish to check out the new digital items:

Have a great evening!

Linda R.

Will That Be Cash, Debit Card or Fingerprint Scan? & New Volkswagen Hybrid Get Great Mileage – 270 MPG!

Will That Be Cash, Debit Card or Fingerprint Scan? Identifying people by their fingerprints and allowing them to pay for purchases with only their fingerprints sounds like something out of a science fiction film. However, the technology to identify people by their unique scanned fingerprints is here. And the technology, which is officially called Biocryptology, is being given a test run by engineering students at The School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, South Dakota. The new payment technology scans the finger print of registered customers and also registers the fact that hemoglobin is pulsing through their veins to verify that the customers are A. alive and B. the actual registered person. And the engineering students on the campus can now use this technology to walk in to one of two shops on campus and pick up supplies!

So we are several steps closer to a cashless society! And imagine the convenience of never having to take anything with you when you leave the house and being able to go out turn on your car, shop and pay for coffee and a breakfast sandwich on your way to the mall and then buy new clothing and the iPod you have had your eye on, pick up Chinese for dinner on your way home and then when you get home being able to enter your house with your new purchases and your dinner all without ever having to carry a key, cash or debit cards because you’ll be able to buy things open turn on your car and open doors all via a finger print scan. How cool is that!

Here’s a link to an article on this cool subject from the Desktop Engineering site, titled Are You Ready for a Cashless Society? – The article offers a corresponding video interview with one of the project managers from the School of Mines and Technology who demos the technology for all interested viewers:

New Volkswagen Hybrid Get Great Mileage – 270 MPG! Volkswagen has just announced a new car; the Volkswagen XL1 which is a hybrid electric and gas model car and will reportedly get 270 miles to the gallon! Volkswagen did not announce a price for the car or a date when it will be available for consumers in the U.S. but it is a cool streamlined looking car with doors that flip up and out just like the ones on the Back to the Future DeLorean; and any car that gets 270 MPG is worth checking out!

Here’s a link to an article on the XL1, titled High-mileage VW XL1 to debut at Geneva Motor Show from the Autoweek website:

Have a great day!

Linda R.


Jewett, Dale. (2013, February 21). High-mileage VW XL1 to debut at Geneva Motor Show. Autoweek. Online.

Newman, John. (2013, January 28.). Are You Ready for a Cashless Society? Desktop Engineering. Online.

Making Unlocking Cell Phones Legal Again, 10 Apps For Work, Digital Photo Albums & Google Glass (Glasses) To Go On Sale This Year

Making Unlocking Cell Phones Legal Again: In January of this year the Librarian of Congress did not renew an exception to the Digital Millennium Act which made it legal for consumers to unlock their cell phones. So currently, if you buy a locked cell phone via a contract with a carrier like Verizon, Sprint or AT&T and want to switch carriers but use the same phone after your contract expires – you can’t – at least not without permission of the carrier through whom you originally bought your phone. And 100,000 people have signed a petition on the White House website requesting that the exemption that made it legal to unlock cell phones be reinstated or that legislation be passed that would make it legal to unlock cell phones.

NPR offers a brief article on this subject titled Petition To Legalize Unlocking Cellphones Meets White House’s 100K Requirement – here’s the link:

And here’s the link to the petition on the official White House site – just FYI in case you’d like to check it out:

10 Apps For Work: The tech site Mashable offers a list of 10 apps they suggest will improve your productivity at work. The ten apps include: Evernote, Wunderlist, Cloud Storage apps and more.

Here’s a link to the list page on the Mashable site:

Digital Photo Albums: The New York Times features a fun article today titled A Digital Update to Those Old Family Photo Albums which relays new ways that you can enjoy digital photos and even create and easily view digital photo albums. Basically you can use apps to organize your digital photos and play slideshows; you can view slideshows on your computer or even plug your laptop into your TV and project photos to your television. And if you’re an Apple fan you can even use an Apple TV player ($99) to stream your photos from your iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch or computer to your TV so you can easily bring up and show friends all the fun photos of you and your family on your last vacation!

Here’s a link to the article:

Google Glass (Glasses) Will To On Sale This Year: Remember those Internet display glasses that Google has been demonstrating for about a year and that Google co-founder Sergey Brin has been photographed wearing? Google has surprised everyone by announcing today that those glasses, which were previously expected to go on sale in 2014, will go on sale later this year.

Here’s a link to a short CNET article on the subject titled Confirmed: Google Glass arrives in 2013, and under $1,500:$1500/

And one last link to the Google Glass description page just in case you’d like to read more about what Google Glass glasses actually allow you to do – besides connect to the Internet that is!

Have a great weekend everyone!



Berkman, Fran. (2013, February 20). 10 Apps You Need To Dominate Your Work Day. Mashable. Online.

Chappell, Bill. (2013, February 21). Petition To Legalize Unlocking Cellphones Meets White House’s 100K Requirement. NPR. Online.

Eaton, Kit. (2013, February 20). A Digital Update to Those Old Family Albums. New York Times. Online.

Mack, Eric. (2013, February 22). Confirmed: Google Glass arrives in 2013, and under $1,500. CNET. Online.

WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO: Make Unlocking Cell Phones Legal. White House. Online.  Accessed February 22, 2013.


New Google Touchscreen Chromebook, External Battery Packs For Your Smartphone & Independent Book Sellers Sue Amazon & The Big Six Publishers Over E-Book DRM

New Google Touchscreen Chromebook: Google announced today that it will begin shipping a new touch screen Chromebook laptop called the Chromebook Pixel shortly. The Pixel, like its lower end (and cheaper) counterparts, is a laptop designed around cloud computing*1 so it doesn’t have a large storage capacity at 32 gigabytes (aka GBs). The small storage capacity is because Google’s expectation is that users will store their documents, photos and media in the cloud through Google’s cloud system.

Google’s new Pixel model features a better screen than the previous Chromebooks, an i5 processors and the cellular models will connect to Verizon’s LTE network so they should be quite speedy. And of course, because the new Pixel Chromebooks have more bells and whistles they cost more than the old Chromeboosk– $1,299 for the Wi-Fi version and $1,499 for the LTE (cellular) version. And although I agree that eventually most computer users will likely use cloud based storage and applications as the standard… I think it is a bit early to so heavily emphasize a cloud based computer especially at the prices Google is charging for the Pixel Chromebooks. Paying $199 for an entry-level Chromebook or even $349 for a Samsung Chromebook with the intent of using that Chromebook as a second computer at home or at the lake or as an inexpensive computer for some one who only does light online computing – that makes sense to me. Paying $1,499 for a Pixel touch screen LTE model doesn’t. After all you can buy a great laptop running Windows 8 with a touch screen or even a MacBook Air for less money than the entry-level Pixel Chromebook costs at $1,299 and you can do more with those laptops because they have more storage space and more features than the Chromebooks.

Here’s a link to a USA Today article that focuses on the new Pixel Chromebook series titled Google unleashes touch-based Chromebook:

And if you’re interested in information on other Chromebook models here’s a link to the Google Chromebook page which offers a description of the different Chromebook models – all of which are cloud based:

External Battery Packs For Your Smartphone: The tech site Mashable features a cool article today that briefly discusses the Bar & Mini portable batteries that will, when you connect them to your smartphone, give you many extra hours of cell phone use time. Both external battery packs cost less than $40 and are small enough to easily fit in a purse or backpack.

Here’s a link to the article which is titled External Battery Packs Add Hours to Your Phone, Even iPhone which offers more information on the subject:

Independent Book Sellers Sue Amazon & The Big Six Publishers Over E-Book DRM: Three independent book sellers, Posman Books of Manhattan, Fiction Addiction of Greenville, SC and Book House of Albany, NY are suing Amazon and the Big Six publishers*2 over the use of the restrictive Digital Rights Management (DRM) software that those publishers build into their e-books as a means towards fighting digital piracy. The suit claims that Amazon as the largest seller of e-books uses a proprietary form of DRM*3 to sell e-books published by the Big Six publishers and essentially locks independent book sellers out of the e-book market because they cannot produce Amazon DRM formatted e-books.

I think the suit is interesting not because the independent book sellers want a slice of the e-book pie and are having a hard time in getting it. Because of course, the independent book sellers aren’t saying they are against DRM software per se just that they are against the proprietary form of it that Amazon uses.  The interesting part of the equation to my mind is that I think that it just might come to pass, through the litigation, that the courts decide the DRM isn’t legal – I’ll cross my fingers for that! Because this DRM issue to my mind is a smaller part of a larger issue — that issue being the lack of ownership of digital content. E-Books and other e-formatted items are being treated by large e-book sellers and publishing companies as if they were pieces of software. And just as you’d have to license a copy of Microsoft Office for personal use which of course limits what you can do with it – you are licensing the digital content you “buy.” And the licensing of e-books and other e-content allows publishers and e-book stores to limit which devices you can read their e-books on and even whether you can loan an e-book or sell an e-book to someone else. This is a grey area at the present time. The large publishing companies would rather keep control of e-books and license them than sell them but really you should be able to buy an e-book just as you would a printed book and then loan the e-book to your friends and family members and sell it later at a garage sale if you wish. Or, even donated that e-book to your public library if you want to – and those things are not things you can do with e-books at the moment.

And going back around to the topic of why I find this law suite interesting – the reason, which I am honestly getting to! Is because I think it is just possible that the courts might decide DRM isn’t legal and order its use be discontinued. I know there is a long shot chance of that happening but I think it is just possible because the independent book sellers are crying foul over the use of DRM by Amazon and the Big Six Publishers and even though they aren’t suggesting the use of DRM being discontinued…. I can see that option – legally saying DRM software can’t be used and all e-books must be sold without it — being the only way for there to be a level playing field among all e-book book sellers both large and small.

And after my mini-soap box speech – here’s a link to an article, titled Indie bookstores sue Amazon, big-6 publishers for using DRM to create monopoly on ebooks, about the law suit from the PaidContent site:

Have a great day!

Linda R.

*1) The term “Cloud Computing” or “Cloud Based” simply translated means that you have to be connected to the Internet to use the computer and that your documents, photos and other media are stored online (i.e. on Google’s servers and not your computer) and accessed through the Internet. These cloud based computer don’t have much storage space built in so you can’t download and store a great deal of stuff (files, music, videos etc.) on a cloud based computer.  In contrast, most computers, i.e. non-Chromebooks, sold today offer a solid amount storage space with the expectation that you will store lots of photos, documents, music and videos on those computers.  And to give you an idea of the difference – the new Pixel Chromebooks have 32 GBs of storage built into them and the iMac I bought 2 years ago has a 4 terabyte storage capacity and each terabyte is made up of 1000 gigabytes – so a 32 GB storage capacity is consider a rather small one by 2013 standards!

*2) The term “The Big Six” publishers refers to the six largest publishers in the United States:  Simon & Shuster, HarperCollins, Penguin, Macmillan, Hachette and Random House.

*3) If you’re wondering:  “What on Earth is DRM anyway?” The basic answer to that is that DRM is restrictive software that publishers insist be incorporated into e-books as an anti-piracy/anti e-book duplication and anti e-book-loaning tool and which doesn’t allow you to read e-books on any device you own and/or to loan, sell or give your e-books to someone else. And that DRM is also the reason that if you have an e-ink Nook (in other words a Nook without a color display) that you have to download library e-books to your computer before you can drag and drop them onto your Nook – because essentially the DRM software has to be unlocked in order for you to read the library e-book and it is unlocked via the download process from the STLS Digital Catalog into the Adobe Digital Editions software on your computer. If all of that sounds confusing – please ask a member of our tech staff to elaborate that next time you are in the library!


For the Best of Google. Google. Online. Accessed February 21, 2013.

Martin, Scott. (2013, February 21). Google unleashes touch-based Chromebook. USA Today. Online.

Owen, Laura Hazard. (2013, February 21). Three indie bookstores file lawsuit against Amazon and Big Six publishers. PaidContent. Online.

Smith, Andrea. (2013, February 21). External Battery Packs Add Hours to Your Phone, Even iPhone 5. Mashable. Online.


Assorted Tech News: Grillbot,, Rechargeable LED Reading Glasses, The Rumored iWatch, Why Apple TV Apps Might End Game Console Use & E-Book Only Fantasy Novels To Partake of This Week!

Wow, there are many tech news stories out there in the online news space today! So I’m highlighting more of them than usual. The articles offer basic info about notable tech news items including the new Grillbot, the reasons why a new Apple TV box might revolutionize the way we interact with our TVs and the news that Microsoft’s is now officially in business and will absorb all Microsoft Hotmail email accounts by the end of the summer.

Grillbot: The new Grillbot is similar in scope to one of those Rumba floor cleaners – you know those little round robotic cleaners that you charge and then let loose in your house to clean all your floors…The Grillbot doesn’t clean floors but as you might expect it is a self cleaning grill robot – so in theory you need never clean the family grill again! Just buy a Grillbot and let it do the dirty work for you!

The tech site Geeky Gadgets offers a short article today on The Grillbot, titled The Grillbot is a Roomba for your Grill, here’s the link: is Microsoft’s new web email service. The web based email service has been out in trial (beta) form for several months and was named after the traditional desktop Microsoft Outlook. It is notable that this service has now officially gone live and is out of its beta trial period because this web based email service will eventually absorb Microsoft’s Hotmail email service.  So Hotmail users be advised! Hotmail users can switch to Outlook mail right now or wait; however Microsoft has said it will be phasing out Hotmail by the end of the summer so you can wait to switch over but you can’t wait for too long!

CNN offers an article on the now official today titled Goodbye Hotmail, hello Outlook – here’s the link:

Rechargeable LED Reading Glasses: I’m sure most of you have heard about the e-readers with backlit screens that allow you to read e-books in the dark like the Nook Glowlight and Kindle Paperwhite? And I’m sure too that most of you know that you can read e-books in the dark on a tablet or smartphone as they too offer illuminated text. And now here’s a third option for those that like to read in the dark! You can now buy rechargeable LED reading glasses! So if you prefer reading traditional (print) books – you can now read them in the dark without turning on a light!

Here’s a link to a Coolest Gadgets article titled Rechargeable LED Reading Glasses that offers a brief article on the subject of LED Reading Glasses and a photo showing a pair of said glasses:

The Rumored iWatch: The tech rumor mill is a buzz with word that Apple is working on an iWatch. The as yet unconfirmed iWatch is thought to feature a bendable screen courtesy of some type of bendable glass like Corning Inc.’s Willow Glass.

The Guardian offers an interesting story on the both the subject of the rumored iWatch and the ways in which technology will become ever more interactive in our lives in the near future.

The article is titled Apple iWatch Wearable Tech – here’s the link:

Why Apple TV Apps Might End Game Console Use: In all the postings I’ve done on streaming video boxes and streaming technology I haven’t really mentioned one of the reasons I think an Apple TV upgrade might really revolutionize the way we interact with our TVs. However, I can describe that reason why in one word – apps! If own a smartphone or tablet, and in particular if you own an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, then you’ll assuredly have noticed that the app store for your device offers many apps in a great variety of subjects. There are apps that allow you to read e-books, watch television shows or movies and apps relating to news, cooking, sewing, technology, sports, actors, musicians, , drawing, photo editing,  guitar playing and games and also apps in great variety of other categories. And if you own or have used a smartphone or tablet you’ve probably also noticed that most apps are reasonably priced. You can buy many, many apps for $1.99 – $2.99 and even get many light versions of apps for free.

Now if you keep in mind the inexpensive price of the apps available in the Apple app store and the great variety of them and add to that the potential ability to access all the apps in the Apple app store – particularly gaming apps – on your television through an Apple TV player; and I think you begin to see how the Xbox and Wii ‘s days may indeed be numbered if Apple comes out with a new version of its Apple TV that allows consumers to use their TVs to interact with apps and play app games on their TVs.

And here’s a link to a Tech Crunch article titled The Fall TV Lineup May Include Apple Dominating Gaming that offers more information on the subject:

E-Book Only Fantasy Novels To Partake of This Week! The USA Today has an article today which is just for you – if you like fantasy and science fiction e-books that is! The article offers suggestions as to which new e-book only Fantasy & Sci-Fi genre e-books you might like to read this week.

Here’s the link:

Have a great Tuesday!

Linda R.


Flynn, Conor. (2013, February 19). The Grillbot is a Roomba for your Grill. Geeky Gadgets. Online.

Kee, Edwin. (2013, February 19). Rechargeable LED Reading Glasses. Coolest Gadgets. Online.

McKracken, Harry. (2013, February 19). Goodbye Hotmail, hello Outlook. Online.

Potts, Jessie. (2013, February 18). E-book-only paranormal and sci-fi to jump-start your week. USA Today. Online.

Rushe, Dominic. (2013, February 16). Will Apple’s plans for an iWatch herald a new era of wearable tech? Apple and Google are just two of the giants working on gadgets that were once the realm of sci-fi – but that also push the frontiers of the privacy debate. The Guardian. Online.


3-D Printers An Emerging Technology That Will Change Our Lives

If you’re wondering what on Earth is a 3-D printer anyway?

You’re not alone!

This is a new and growing technology but it does sound at first listen like you should go out and get a pair of those flimsy red and blue cellophane glasses that used to be used to watch movies in 3-D before you attempt to do anything with a 3-D printer!

However, a 3-D printer doesn’t have anything to do with classic Sci-Fi films from the fifties or sixties! And if fact the term 3-D “printer” really is a misnomer because a 3-D printer doesn’t print at least not in the way we traditionally think of a printer printing with black or color ink on paper.  Instead a 3-D Printer can easily be considered a younger brother technology to the Star Trek replicator technology* as 3-D printers utilize metal, plastic and other materials to create physical items in 3-D based upon whatever information you input into them.  

For example, if you owned a 3-D printer and had a favorite picture of your cat – you can scan the photo and have the printer create a new case for your iPod that feature the photo of your cat on the back! Or you could create a fantasy figure on your iPad and then have your 3-D printer create a physical copy of that figure. The iPod and fantasy figure are both simple examples of what this technology can do. In theory you use a number of materials both organic and non-organic with these types of printers and create everything from clothing to houses to replacement organs. The organs part hasn’t come to fruition yet; however, clothing has been created via a 3-D printer there are already people experimenting creating building materials to be used in creating a house with a 3-D printer.  

And add to all of those previous items that the fact that the price of the technology has dropped drastically so a 3-D printer that would have cost $20,000 just a few years ago can now be purchased for $1,000 and you have an emerging technology that just may be the next big tech thing. Granted, $1,000 is a steep price for a printer and it doesn’t figure in the cost of the printing (creating) supplies but you can see how this technology has the potential to revolutionize the way we live and work.

Imagine creating a toy and then being able to print out copies of it and sell it or give it to all the kids in your family as a holiday gift. Imagine buying a clothing design online, or creating one yourself, and then being able to create a wearable version of it via a 3-D Printer. Imagine being able to create replacement car parts, plumbing parts and even chocolate figures of your own design at home via your 3-D printer. Or create a new handbag with a spring, summer, autumn or winter related design whenever you want to and then print (create) that bag via your 3-D printer so it perfectly compliments that new outfit you just bought. All of that is the tip of the iceberg as far as the potential of what people can and will create with 3-D printers in the near future. This is very exciting technology!

And here are links to two articles that offer a bit more information on the subject:

The first link is to a CNN article titled Obama’s speech highlights rise of 3-D printing – here’s the link:

And the second article is from the New York Times and is titled On the Fast Track to a 3-D-Printed Future. Here’s the link:

Have a great day everyone!

Linda R.


Bilton, Nick. (2013, February 17). Disruptions: On the Fast Track to Routine 3-D Printing. New York Times. Online.

Gross, Doug. (2013, February 13). Obama’s speech highlights rise of 3-D printing. CNN. Online.


* The Star Trek television series all feature replicator technology. For example, in the Star Trek The Next Generation series a character approaches a replicator station which features a  small high tech dumb waiter style sliding door and a voice command panel – the character then clearly speaks describing the food, or other item, he or she desires and presto the item is delivered. So Captain Picard can approach a replicator station and say “Earl Grey, hot;” and presto the replicator door slides open and a cup of steaming hot Earl Grey tea appears!