Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Windows Live Messenger Officially Converted to Skype


Messenger has moved to Skype

Messenger was retired in April 2013 and is no longer available or supported on most Mac and Windows operating systems. *

You can continue to make audio and video calls with your contacts on Skype and Facebook and send IMs for free—your contacts will come with you when you update to Skype and sign in with your Microsoft account.

Find out more about Skype

For information about moving from Messenger to Skype, visit the About Skype page.
To learn about instant messaging with Skype on your Windows desktop, visit the Skype instant messaging page.
To find out how to call your contacts with Skype on your Windows desktop, visit the Skype–to–Skype calling page.

______________________________

I am disappointed by this. Microsoft has abandoned millions of customers worldwide in favor of their newly acquired toy, Skype. They flaunt it as a merger but the merging process is reported widespread to be faulty and does not transition your contact. They also have not yet adopted a single feature from Windows Live Messenger.

Even worse, the entire purpose of people using WLM for all of these years is that they've been able to avoid the tedious lack-of-features presented on AIM, but they've avoided Skype because Skype is pretty much just a video-calling messenger. That's all good and fine, but I don't want to look at/speak to every single person I engage, and the actual instant messaging interface is horrible.

There is nothing used to decipher who is actually chatting besides the name above the first message in a group from that person. There is also a limited amount of window space where you can actually read what the person is saying.

For video calling, it is horrible because it further limits how much you can see text-wise if you're in the mood to see a loved one but not able to make a lot of noise. Not to mention, if you mute your mic and the other person mutes theirs, all you see is this massive microphone image in the middle of the screen with a red cross over it.

I used WLM because it was truly a superior messaging product to rivals AIM and Yahoo!. Google+/Talk are both decent but don't offer anything in the way of what WLM offered. I am refusing to upgrade/"merge" to Skype, and may just have to find another client completely. WLM has tried to fix what isn't broken, and what was actually preferred worldwide over every other instant messaging client for very good reasons.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Boston Bombing

What We Know

Two homemade bombs made from standard pressure cookers filled with BB's and nails were detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2013, at roughly 2:49 pm local time, thirteen seconds apart on Boylston Street.

The improved explosive devices (IED's) used in the attack killed three and injured somewhere between 170 and 210 others. The number of injured has climbed, as not all injuries were external, or may not have been as severe as several other (some resulted in limb-loss and/or required amputation).

Initially, it was reported that law enforcement had brought in one (or two) non-white males to question about the bombing. Others reported a high number of people at the scene were also questioned.

The New York Post published a cover with a picture and story about two young men who they deemed as foreign and suspects. The NY Post has defended this by saying the picture of these two men were handed over to feds to pursue with questioning.

The following day, one of the men, a high school student athlete, voluntarily met with federal investigators in order to clear his name from the horrendous act of the New York Post.

Thursday evening, the FBI released surveillance footage of two men walking with backpacks just moments before the attack. There were also a few photos of the men at the race. 

Within an hour, the internet was ablaze with photographs of these two at the Marathon, one particularly damning photograph showed the younger of the two men (suspect #2), with his backpack on the ground at the scene of the explosion, next to a child who was one of the fatalities of the bombing.

Late Thursday, April 18, 2013, police responded to the scene of a shooting where MIT security officer Sean Collier was killed.

Several hours after the MIT officer was killed, police responded to a carjacking and a convenience store the carjackers entered after the carjacking (where the witness/hostage says he made his escape). Officers uncovered surveillance at the convenience store of suspect #2.

Within minutes after this response, a source in law enforcement reportedly informed media the incidents of late Thursday/early Friday were linked to the suspects of the bombing.

Early Friday morning, April 19, 2013, the suspects were found and began a shootout with police, where they also dropped two IED's very similar to the ones used in the bombing, as well as homemade hand grenades. Suspect #1, identified as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed in this gunfight as suspect #2, identified as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, fled the scene in the car before abandoning the car and fleeing on foot. It was quickly addressed that Tamerlan and Dzhokhar were brothers. Tamerlan Tsarnaev may have also been wearing an explosive device in a vest or jacket, but this information has not been confirmed nor denied by law enforcement.

Much of the area was completely shut down as authorities began a search of the area for the suspect. Conflicting reports were released that more explosive devices were found elsewhere, but have not been confirmed as of this writing. This search lasted several hours through the afternoon on Friday, with many people being searched as possible suspects in a cautious "manhunt".

Police eventually ended their lockdown of the city as they did not find the suspect, warning he was still at large, possibly armed, and may have moved out of Watertown towards Boston or other suburbs.

Within an hour, a civilian exited his house and saw a trail of blood from his shed to his boat in his back yard. The suspect supposedly pulled the tarp on the boat back and saw a bloodied body laying inside and contacted authorities immediately.

Police closed in on the scene, and a gunfight ensued, and could be heard in a graphic recording which we will not post.

Thermal imaging from a helicopter detected a heat signature in the boat as police threw stun grenades in to disorient the suspect. A machine cut the tarp off of the boat so negotiators placed in the window upstairs in the house could identify the individual and try to talk him out. It is unclear when exactly the individual was identified as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, but law enforcement were confident he was the suspect.

Eventually, law enforcement closed in on the boat and dragged Tsarvaev out alive and arrested him at 8:42 pm local time, taking him to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center where he was listed in serious condition from gunshot wounds.

Dzhokhar was not able to be investigated initially, but has started cooperating with investigators answering them through writing as he apparently suffered a gunshot wound to the throat. He has reportedly confessed that his brother was the mastermind of the attacks, but investigators caution he may be minimizing how role in the attacks in order to avoid the most severe punishment for his involvement.

A sworn affidavit was issued and criminal charges were brought against Dzhokhar with using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death, and with malicious destruction of property resulting in death. The weapon of mass destruction charge could result in the death penalty if Dzhokhar is found guilty.


Filling in the Blanks

There is a lot of question as to whether the Tsarnaev's committed the bombing at the Boston Marathon. While Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's responses to federal investigators seems to end the speculation of whether they were the ones to commit the atrocity, many still believe them to be innocent of the crimes; or remind us that Tsarnaev should be considered innocent until proven guilty.

Many also question if we have handled the case against the deceased Tamerlan Tsarnaev in a responsible manner.

Much of the evidence is not concrete proof, and we can only put together pieces of the attack and link the Tsarnaev's by proximity. One victim said he saw Dzhokhar Tsarnaev drop his bag and looked him in the eyes just before the attack; surveillance footage from Boylston Street is rumored to show both men acting out of the norm of the crowd response to the bombs and to also not have their bags when making their way from the explosions. It could be argued that the men dropped their bags in order to flee, as would be the case with many humans, but police did not say they appeared to be in a frantic rush fleeing for their lives.



Opinion Response

It doesn't seem insane to label these two the attackers. If surveillance footage referred to in the affidavit is exactly as described, it pins these two to the attacks. The photograph of Tsarnaev's bag on the ground near the child who lost his life is also another damning piece of evidence. Conspiracy theories aside, it would be rather odd for Dzhokhar to have dropped his bag right next to the explosive device, which is not visible and the FBI has suggested was inside of a knapsack or backpack.

Tamerlan's involvement in the bombing aside... he was still involved in the shootout where he lost his life. If reports of the IED's being dropped and homemade hand grenades are legitimate, then there is not much else that can be said about his innocence. But do not forget the simple fact that he was killed in a shootout with police. Hardly the face of innocence there.

Consider the Tsarnaev's in the same regards as the young man pictured on the cover of the New York Post, who made the effort to meet with federal investigators to prove his innocence in the attack. If the Tsarnaev's were innocent but saw their faces plastered all over the news by the FBI, why would they be out and about with guns and explosive devices and not turn themselves in to be questioned? They were suspects, not proven guilty parties.

Thoughts

Just a short poem that came to me, in the form of a conversation. Legitimately, these words were just a response, not even poetical. Great ideas...




I have thoughts,
they come...
and go. The
really good ones
you latch on to,
the rest you
release like a fish
in the sea.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Washington Redskins 2013 Schedule

The NFL released the official schedule today and the entire football world is abuzz with hopes and hypes and declaring themselves in position to make a run for destiny. Let's take a look at the Redskins' schedule and what it possibly means for the team in 2013-14.

Week 1: Monday, September 9 vs. Philadelphia Eagles; 7:10pm
Week 2: Sunday, September 15 @ Green Bay Packers; 1:00pm
Week 3: Sunday, September 22 vs. Detroit Lions; 1:00pm
Week 4: Sunday, September 29 @ Oakland Raiders; 4:25pm
Week 5: BYE
Week 6: Sunday, October 13 @ Dallas Cowboys; 8:30pm
Week 7: Sunday, October 20 vs. Chicago Bears; 1:00pm
Week 8: Sunday, October 27 @ Denver Broncos; 4:25pm
Week 9: Sunday, November 3 vs. San Diego Chargers; 1:00pm
Week 10: Thursday, November 7 @ Minnesota Vikings; 8:25pm
Week 11: Sunday, November 17 @ Philadelphia Eagles; 1:00pm
Week 12: Monday, November 25 vs. San Francisco 49ers; 8:40pm
Week 13: Sunday, December 1 vs. New York Giants; 8:30pm
Week 14: Sunday, December 8 vs. Kansas City Chiefs; 1:00pm
Week 15: Sunday, December 15 @ Atlanta Falcons; 1:00pm
Week 16: Sunday, December 22 vs. Dallas Cowboys; 1:00pm
Week 17: Sunday, December 29 @ New York Giants; 1:00pm

Depending on playoff scenarios, the NFL's Flex Scheduling can alter the start times of games from weeks 11-17, which means the Redskins could lose two of their primetime games, or gain more.

What stands out to me is the Bye week falling on week 5 for the Redskins. This is a little earlier than ideal as it leaves you with 3 full months of football, and while there is a 10-day break between the Thursday night game against the Vikings and the next game against the Eagles, that thursday night game also falls just 4 days after a game against the Chargers. However, the first 4 games of the season aren't particularly intimidating. All division games are tough, but the Eagles don't stand out as a real threat. The Packers will be tough. The Redskins can defeat the Lions and the Raiders weren't so good last season and have a new coach this year.

The first thing I thought when I looked at the schedule, is that Mike Shanahan could opt to keep Robert Griffin III out for the first month through the bye, allowing RGIII to return in week 6 in Dallas, where Robert received quite the welcome in his Thanksgiving Day Debut in 2012 for a huge win. Basically, I view the Glory Hole as Robert's house now, and from an economical standpoint, what better way to build a game/return/rivalry than having RG3 return from his knee injury against the Cowboys?

What it also does is give the Redskins a comprehensive look at Kirk Cousins and evaluating his value for whether to retain him long-term, or boost his worth for other teams looking to make a trade. The Redskins will have Fred Davis and Brian Orakpo back, and we're assuming they will have upgraded the safety position over what it was last year... so Kirk Cousins' job may be even less difficult.

But RG3 is aiming for week 1, as is everyone else. We want him to take all the time his body needs, but if he's healthy, a primetime division game against the Eagles to open the season would definitely be the way to come back and make your statement. And RG3 has shown us so far that he loves the spotlight, and so far, has excelled in it.

Now, for the rest of the schedule? There are 5 division games following the Bye week and the Redskins, NFC East Division Champions in 2012, face other NFC division champions in the Falcons and 49ers. There are also a total of 5 primetime games for the Redskins this season... hmm, 5 seems to be recurring here...



What are your thoughts on the Redskins schedule in 2013-14? Should they rest RG3 and bring him back after the bye? What game(s) are you most looking forward to?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Don't Relocate The Sacramento Kings, Expand.



With the proposed relocation of the Kings to Seattle still up in the air, let's open a discussion on another solution: Expansion.




I understand that this entire situation has been driven by the fact that the King's performance, both economically and as an NBA team, has been poor as of late. But moving the franchise will not change how terribly the Kings will fair in league play, nor is there any evidence that such a move would help the franchise perform better economically. The Kings fan base would be just as weak, if not weaker, in Seattle. While Seattle is stronger financially, the city is dominated by the other major leagues. The struggling Kings would have to fight for attention the way the Hornets(soon to be Pelicans) do in the Saints' dominated city of New Orleans. In Sacramento, the NBA has a monopoly on pro sports. With this as the case, the NBA is better suited to remain in Sacramento.


But, all that said, I do believe that both cities should have teams, not one at the expense of the other. So, to address that, the league would have to expand. And for the sake of roundness, I'd suggest the addition of two teams.


I'd add the Baltimore Bullets and the Seattle Supersonics.


As an NBA team, the Baltimore Bullets existed twice, initially as one of the original NBA teams that ultimately folded in 1954 and then again in 1963 until the team was relocated to D.C. in 1973. The Baltimore area is a hotbed for basketball(Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Rudy Gay are all from Maryland) and Baltimoreans are avid sports fans, they would warmly welcome the addition of a pro basketball team.


In the event of these additions, it would create the opportunity to restructure the league's divisions. The current divisions are a little senseless(why are the Thunder and Timberwolves in the Northwest Division with the Trailblazers?) and I believe a little restructuring would create a greater sense of rivalry if it involves remaking geographically close locales into divisional opponents.


So, my vision of the new look NBA, were they to expand:


Eastern Conference:



North Atlantic Division
Boston Celtics
New York Knicks
Brooklyn Nets
Philadelphia 76ers

South Atlantic Division
Baltimore Bullets
Washington Wizards
Charlotte Bobcats
Atlanta Hawks

Central Division
Toronto Raptors
Cleveland Cavaliers
Detroit Pistons
Indiana Pacers

Southeast Division
Memphis Grizzlies
New Orleans Pelicans
Orlando Magic
Miami Heat

Western Conference:

Northwest Division:
Seattle Supersonics
Portland Trailblazers
Sacramento Kings
Golden State Warriors

Midwest Division
Milwaukee Bucks
Chicago Bulls
Minnesota Timberwolves
Oklahoma City Thunder

Southwest Division
Denver Nuggets
San Antonio Spurs
Houston Rockets
Dallas Mavericks

Pacific Division
Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Lakers
Phoenix Suns
Utah Jazz


I was debating whether or not the Thunder should be in the Texas-dominated Southwest Division, but I didn't want to displace the Nuggets. Besides, Colorado is only separated from bordering Texas by the handle of Oklahoma. I think these groupings would foster more heated rivalries given their greater proximities. And the league should always looking for a way to make the sport more appealing.


But back in reality, it looks as though Seattle will be getting their team via the same means that robbed them of a team in the first place. A shame, but it is the most likely outcome.


Maybe Stern will catch this post on DLP and make this proposed 32-team league a reality. One can only hope. lol





---------------------------


May love ever possess you, may peace come into your life.

~ Allan Graye

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Adolescent American

I am
a kid.

I am aged...
I look...
I talk...
I speak...
I walk...
I strut...
I stand...
I think...
I want...
I eat...
I drink...
I love...
like a man.

Everything about me
suggests that
...I am
a man

But I am
a kid.

I laugh at childish jokes.
I read childish stories.
I prefer cartoons to news.
I like sport and
not the weather.
I love video games.
I hate driving my car.
I love ice cream in summer.
I love hot chocolate in winter.

I am
a kid.

I am a boy.
I should be a man.
But I am
an American!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Arrodence

Arrodence [ar·ro·dence] noun \ˈer-ə-dən(t)s-ˌden(t)s\

DEFINITION
    1. a : Superior confidence which borders more closely on arrogance.
        b : A combustible mixture of arrogance and confidence.

EXAMPLE
    I have always had this arrodence.

FIRST KNOWN USE
    April 9, 2013 by Sean Bishop.