Alan Buckingham

While the Government talks possible cyber repercussions on Russia, Anonymous is beyond that stage

As you know, Russia has begun an invasion of its neighboring country of Ukraine. It was long expected, despite the denials that continued to pour out of Russian president, Vladimir Putin. All of the planning was picked up by intelligence gatherers, the images of massing troops by both satellites and naked eye cameras. Helen Keller would have known this was coming. 

US President Joe Biden has met with cyber security advisors to see what can be offered in the way of cyber-attacks to go along with sanctions being imposed on Putin and his circle. None can be done without having an effect on citizens, but hopefully those issues can be minimized. 

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Is the Netflix price hike too much for you?

Netflix on laptop

Streaming video has been a big deal for a while and for many it’s replaced cable and satellite services, with some choices offering live TV over the internet. You might think you'll save money by cutting the cord but really, voice of experience here, you'll end up paying just as much in the long run, depending on the services you choose to have. 

Yesterday, Netflix announced a price hike going into effect in the month of March. The price will be jumping from $13.99 per month for the standard plan to $15.49. The company today sent out an email to its considerable user base stating:

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Google or Amazon dropped the ball after Amazon Music outage

For most of one day last week, a majority of Amazon Music and Ring customers suffered a catastrophic outage when Amazon’s own Amazon Web Services (AWS) went down for hours. Whether you were missing music or vital security, it was a long day for many people. 

The system came back up gradually; here and there a site or app would work, but sometimes only briefly. By that evening, US east coast (EST) time, everything was back up and running as normal. 

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Sling TV is currently down [Update]

Getting up this morning with a plan to turn on the news and see what’s going on? Or perhaps you want to watch any number of other things. Well, that may or may not work out for you. If you use Sling there’s a chance you’re down. 

The popular television service is currently experiencing an outage. There has been no official word from the company as of yet, but we’re awaiting a reply from them. This means we aren’t clear about much of anything -- how many users are affected, if there’s an expected resolution time or what exactly has caused the issue. 

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Google running ahead of schedule shipping Pixel 6 Pro

I am not a big phone person. I don’t mean that I rarely use one, in fact, quite the opposite. It’s on me all the time and I continually check news, sports and messages, to name just a few. No, what I mean is that I don’t always have the latest model as some people seem to obsess about. I’ve always had Android phones, in fact, always the "official" model from Google, beginning back when it was still called the Nexus. 

I got the Pixel 1 XL, skipped the 2 because I saw no reason to spend the money, upgraded to the Pixel 3 XL, again elected to skip a generation when the 4 came out, expecting to break out the wallet for a 5 XL. Then Covid-19 made an appearance, keeping Google from releasing the XL version of the 5. Rather than break down, I held out for the larger model. 

Continue reading is offering a Black Friday special on its DNA tests

Are you still searching for that fourth cousin, twice removed? The biggest problem with family trees is that they often amass as many brick walls as new branches. We all have them -- an ancestor who showed up in 1682 on a ship that originated from England or in 1871 from Norway. The problem is that, despite all of the checking that you do in those places, they simply seem to have appeared on that boat out of vapor. 

While our grandparents may have handed us down great information about the family, remember that the data is only as good as the era from which it comes. 

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Boo! Your TV is trying to scare you

"Did you hear that? It’s probably nothing; I’ll go check." According to leading expert Chucky, this is a mistake too many people make. The best thing to do during this next week is to stay relatively safe in your home and tune into various modern-day sources to get your entertainment. 

It’s a great time to have various digital media services to get in the proper mood to send your kids out to soap mean Mr. Wilson’s windows, and then beg neighbors for food the very next night. 

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Sling decides a little change can mean a lot

Not long ago, Sling rolled out a major change to its platform, adding and removing features and altering the overall look of the interface. While I welcomed some of those changes, the majority of them I panned

One I failed to mention when I went over the new, greatly altered look and functionality of Sling, was the inability to browse the guide while continuing to listen to the broadcast you’re currently watching. That feature had been available in the earlier iteration of the service -- you just had to press the up-arrow on your remote to access it. 

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Boston Dynamics takes its dogs for a walk in DC

If you have a dog then you’ve likely been there with the 3AM trips outside regardless of weather -- rain, snow, bone-chilling cold. If the hound needs to go, you're going out -- after all, you don’t want the alternative. 

There are other fun times, teething for instance. My current black lab cost me two pillows, a house plant and a vacuum cleaner cord. There’s food that needs to be kept out of reach... a lab can easily reach a kitchen counter, I learned early on. 

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Home security service Home8 is currently down, blames AWS [Update: Back up now]

These days a lot of us have home security systems to one degree or another. You may simply control your locks and perhaps a light; or you may be a little more invested in the technology, adding motion sensors, cameras, leak sensors and other little toys. 

The thing you need most with all of this is an operational system keeping an eye on everything when you can’t. You rely on this for protection for yourself, your family and your property.  

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Sling finally rolls out its new update, features slower scrolling and harder to use Guide

Sometimes those old sayings from our youth prove to be true. "Be careful what you wish for" is one that springs to mind.

It’s been over a month since Sling announced a fresh new interface update was on the way. Now it begins finally rolling out. One thing that is readily noticeable is that it truly is a brand new interface. Almost everything has changed. 

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Live TV streaming service Locast shuts down following copyright infringement suit

If you are a cord-cutter, a phrase some people like to debate, then you may be familiar with a great way to get your local over-the-air channels. The service is called Locast, and it rebroadcasts all the OTA without the rabbit-ears. That fills one of the great empty spots that folks had when it came to getting rid of cable or satellite. 

Unfortunately, there are some rather powerful entities out there that don’t like this idea very much. Why? Because Locast doesn’t charge (although it does request a monthly "donation" to keep the stream flowing uninterrupted), so there’s no cut for them to take. On Tuesday, Locast was dealt a huge blow when Judge Louis Stanton said a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox would be allowed to proceed to trial.

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Retro wiring an old house for internet and home theater

I've been asked how I wired my old house for home theater, so I've written down a quick guide of the steps to getting started. Yes, you could opt for a mesh router system to deliver Wi-Fi across all the floors of your home, but if, like me, you live somewhere where speeds are a little slower, then a wired connection will likely be preferable.

If you have new construction to work with then get this done along with electrics while the walls are open. Most likely if you're reading then then you’re dealing with existing construction and that complicates things, but it can be done. 

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Novostella brings it all to automated lighting [Review]

Home automation continues to grow in popularity at an ever-increasing rate. The market value is expected to reach $114 billion by 2025, with smart lighting products accounting for 25 percent of that.

It’s hard to say where the average user begins with home automation, but we’d argue it’s likely to be with a smart lightbulb for most of them. It’s a product that seems straightforward and doesn’t have the dangers of locking you out of your house (as a smart lock could) or making you feel like you’re either in a) Death Valley, or b) Nome, Alaska (unlike a smart thermostat). 

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Trust your game? Rovio exposes Angry Birds Friends database

It’s been over a decade since Finnish game maker Rovio hit the big time with Angry Birds. New levels were periodically added to keep players interested and, capitalizing on that success, the company followed it up with other games such as Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds 2. They also released a tournament-based version called Angry Birds Friends. 

Rovio has kept the tournament version fresh and exciting by releasing loads of new levels every week. The goal of the game is to beat the people you're playing against and after completing each level you will see where you rank amongst those ahead and behind you  -- both places and points. 

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