The Comcast-Time Warner merger will create one of America's hated companies.
For their own part, Time-Warner is wasting no time beefing up the coffers in advance of the Comcast take over.
In a letter explaining the merger, delivered to customers last month, TWC boasted that they 'valued their customers'. As an earnest display of that appreciation -- the flip side detailed new higher rates for virtually every service they offer -- including new monthly rental charges for the internet cable modems that were previously included free with most rate plans.
The only thing worse than paying out the tuchus for unreliable Time Warner Cable service is being forced pay
$4(NOW $6) per month to rent the cable modem necessary to use this crappy internet. Here's how to buy your own modem and stick it to the man, no matter where you live. Because screw you, Time Warner. You can buy your own modem as long as it's on the company's pre-approved list of which modems work in your region. Just head over to this portal, punch in your zip code, and Time Warner will give you a list of modems you can buy yourself.
We've even posted a new How to Ditch your TWC Modem video on CapMac's Vimeo channel to make it even easier.
One note of interest, Time-Warner and Earthlink customers who've made the switch report even faster internet speeds with their new modems. Evidently TWC's stash of ancient, recycled modems were more cash-cow than racehorse.
- Time-Warner Buy-Your-Own Modem instructions
- TWC broadband recommended modems
- Review of Mororola SB6141 Modem rated 'best in class'
- Best Buy 'Lowest Price' Guarantee fine print
NSA hacking has compromised security on all computers, according to a new Reuters report:
(Reuters) - Security industry pioneer RSA adopted not just one but two encryption tools developed by the U.S. National Security Agency, greatly increasing the spy agency's ability to eavesdrop on some Internet communications, according to a team of academic researchers.
Reuters reported in December that the NSA had paid RSA $10 million to make a now-discredited cryptography system the default in software used by a wide range of Internet and computer security programs. The system, called Dual Elliptic Curve, was a random number generator, but it had a deliberate flaw - or "back door" - that allowed the NSA to crack the encryption.
A group of professors from Johns Hopkins, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Illinois and elsewhere now say they have discovered that a second NSA tool exacerbated the RSA software's vulnerability.
The professors found that the tool, known as the "Extended Random" extension for secure websites, could help crack a version of RSA's Dual Elliptic Curve software tens of thousands of times faster, according to an advance copy of their research shared with Reuters.
The full Reuters exclusive report is available here.
Lisa Snider dropped us a note to announce a series of very inexpensive trainings for both Photoshop and Lightroom. Following is the info.
NOTE: creativeLIVE.com classes are free to watch through your web browser while it's live, Feb. 24-28. Videos can be purchased for an affordable fee after the live workshops are over; once purchased you can choose to download videos (in standard or high-def) or stream them to your computer. You also get all the exercise files so you can follow along.
I'll be teaching the following, 90-minute classes on Thursday, Feb. 27, beginning at 9:00 am PT through 4:00 pm (in this order):
Photoshop Creative Effects
Mastering Photoshop Filters
Sharpening Savvy in Photoshop and Lightroom
Moving and Removing Objects in Photoshop
Learn how to remove a person from one background and put them into another one!
As a teaser to Photoshop week, I put together a very detailed, step-by-step tutorial on how to place a person onto another background. The good folks at creativeLIVE.com put it on their blog: Click here to read the column and/or watch the video.
This tutorial includes screenshots, so you can follow along no matter what your skill level is. Also, the technique is *not* specific to the latest version of Photoshop. Scroll down to the bottom of the column and you'll also find a video, for your viewing pleasure.
Learn the essential differences between Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, and how to use Elements' three editing modes: Guided, Quick, and Expert. You'll also learn how to perform a slew of practical editing techniques such as replacing backgrounds, cropping and resizing without losing important objects, removing blemishes and objects, correcting colors, lightening teeth & eyes, moving and cloning objects, colorizing black-and-white images and artistically converting color images to black-and-white, stitching a panorama, adding a dark edge vignette, placing text behind an object and placing a photo inside text, tinting an image, fading images together for a collage, adding creative edges, and intelligent sharpening.
Learn all the essential techniques to get the most value from Lightroom, quickly. Part 1 provides an overview of what Lightroom is and isn't, and how it compares to Photoshop. Then we dive into the organization of the program, so you'll know how to set up your Lightroom world, and where to find its various parts. In Part 2, you'll learn how to edit your photos like a pro, including enhancing specific areas and applying creative effects. Part 3 takes you through working with Lightroom and an external image editor such as Photoshop, as well as how to export and share photos, create printed photo books, make slideshows, Web galleries, and print packages.
At the end of each book is a cheat sheet of useful keyboard shortcuts. The books are available in EPUB and PDF formats compatible with various book readers from Kindle to iBooks that you can read on a computer, tablet or even a smart phone.
My 30 workshops include several Photoshop deep dives (a finely focused day covering a specific task or tool, such as blend modes or Smart Objects), as well as Graphic Design for Everyone (3 days), How to Make Money Shooting Stock (1 day), Photoshop Elements (2 day, includes a full workbook), Lightroom Essentials (3 days, includes full workbook), and more! All classes include layered exercise files so you can follow along.
Previously recorded trai
iPads are revolutionizing education around the world.
Carl Hooker, Director of Instructional Technology for Eanes ISD, realized that bringing technology into the classroom wasn't enough. He knew that to impact learning and lives, educators needed to explore and adapt new technologies into their classrooms.
From that humble desire -- iPadpalooza was born.
Last year's event, hosted at Eanes ISD, brought educators and experts from throughout the US, and several foreign countries. The two-day conference and workshops explored technology and techniques to bring enhanced learning to students using Apple iPad. Best of all, partcipants shared ideas and results that prove the value of new interactve techniques.
This year, iPadpalooza will feature a Student Film Festival under the direction of CapMac member Humberto Perez, Video Technology teacher from Pflugerville ISD's Connally HS.
Elementary, middle, and high school students throughout Central Texas are encouraged to submit short, student-made films shot and produced entirely on iOS devices. Finalists will be featured at a Special VIP Premiere at the Drafthouse Ritz Theater, with the winning team receiving their own iPads.
We're proud to feature iPadpalooza, as our March General Meeting.
Steven Paul Jobs would have been 59 today.
When he left us, he was just getting started. He'd spent his entire life dreaming, learning, and growing an amazing team that did indeed Dent the Universe.
Like most visionaries, he was demanding, often volatile. Yet, when he got it right, his paise was effusive. He never closed one of his legendary keynotes without thanking the families and team members who had sacrificed and often slaved to build 'insanely great' products.
Those dreams gave birth to the concept of personal computing: first on the desktop, then the laptop, and finally in our hands. Those visions gave us the Apple I, Apple II, Lisa, Macintosh, the first popular Graphical User Interface, AppleTalk user-friendly networking, Airport wireless networking, Postscript-friendly printing, Foundry-quality fonts and font management, MacBooks, PowerBooks, iMacs, PowerMacs, iPod, iTunes, iPhone, Apple TV, App Store, iPad, so far...
He challenged stagnant industries and revolutioned and reinvigorated them: recording and music distribution, television content and delivery, mobile phone carriers, software development and app distribution, carrier-independent messaging and tele-conferencing, voice-assistance technologies, translation and cross-cultural adaptations, secure wallets and purchasing, location sensing and user-friendly reminders
Steve never forgot his roots.
Even when success and bravado seemed his hallmark, he would often wax philsophical about his humble beginnings, and how those seemingly trivial influences in life and education helped shape his life -- and ours too.
His 2005 Commencement Speech at Stanford University is as inspiring as it is poignant.
Apple today remains stays true to Steve Jobs' earliest beliefs:
'My model for business is The Beatles: They were four guys that kept each other's negative tendencies in check; they balanced each other. And the total was greater than the sum of the parts. Great things in business are never done by one person, they are done by a team of people.'
Tim Cook, honored Steve with a simple tweet this morning:
'Remembering Steve on his birthday. We honor him by continuing the work he loved so much.'
Look around as you go through your day -- Steve's spirit touches us all, as it grows stronger still...
The popular iTunes Festival will originate in the US for the first time ever, Apple announced today.
The Festival will originate live March 11-15, from the Austin City Limits Live Moody Theater. The shows will be showcased as part of the South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival scheduled for March 7-16, 2014.
The live event will feature recording artists like Coldplay, Willie Nelson, Imagine Dragons, Pitbull, Keith Urban, ZEDD and more. Performances will be available as a live or on demand stream via iTunes, the Apple TV or the iTunes Festival app for iOS devices.
Apple's iTunes Festival tickets are available for free and will be given out by lottery to SXSW attendees, who can enter to win by scanning their badge at a location to be determined. Winners are allowed to bring a guest, but that person must be a SXSW badge holder as well. Details on the ticket giveaway are available on SXSW's website.
The iTunes Festival was previously held each year in London. More than 400 artists have performed for over 430,000 fans since it started in 2007.
The internet money grab has begun.
A three judge federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., has released a ruling that strikes down several key provisions of the FCC’s net neutrality rule.
The net neutrality rule, as written, prohibits broadband providers from blocking any legal content or “unreasonably discriminating” in transmitting “lawful network traffic.” Internet service providers (ISP) are forbidden from giving one traffic source priority over another. Put simply, all providers - and all users - have equal access to network transmission amounts and speeds.
The goal of netrality rules was to keep large providers from monopolizing access. Free speech and access advocates fear that as control is vested in fewer and fewer ‘competitors’ – access will become metered or tiered, so that you must pay to browse websites you used to access for free.
With Comcast’s proposed $45BN takeover of Time-Warner, the remaining few internet providers will pretty much be able to call the shots in setting tariffs and rules for access. And since the FCC’s meager attempts at ‘net neutrality’ have now been struck down – its open season on internet users.
What can you expect?
Many cable users are familiar with Premium Channel Hell where a cable provider parcels out content into myriad channel access packages as a greedy money-grab.
If cable and access providers prevail – your internet access may go the same way. Communications carriers are already planning to carve up the internet into hundreds of premium, paid tollroads.
Want faster Netflix downloads, or smoother iRadio or iTunes streaming? It’s all yours – for a price. A monthly price, that you can be assured will go up, never down. Even fast, reliable email delivery will come at an optional charge.
The Bottom Line
Freedom of Speech is guaranteed in the US Constitution.
Our founders didn’t imagine telegraph, telephone, radio, television, satellite, and internet communication. Each of those technologies have extended speech beyond earshot. They take speech, ideas, and innovation further than Paul Revere could ride by horse. They’ve extended the reach of spoken words, and enabled concepts and ideas to span the globe.
If our forefathers were alive today, it would be hard to imagine them wanting to muzzle and monetize speech no matter how it's delivered.
Unfortunately, the FCC has been ineffectual at preserving the public interest, convenience, and necessity – as required by Part 15, of Federal Communications Act of 1934. Even the US Department of Justice seem unconcerned by the monopolistic takeover of the internet which was borne from government-funded research.
If the US Government is impotent to defend our freedom of speech and communication – who will?
If you enjoy paying more and getting less – don’t do a thing. Internet providers, Congress and the FCC have your back..
However, if you feel that Freedom of Speech means Equal and Neutral Access, please consider speaking out to friends and neighbors – and signing a petition in support of your right to communicate freely.
Speak up while you can.