Desktop Based vs Web Based RSS Readers

All I want in life is a good Mac RSS reader that will work correctly with a web-based RSS aggregator site like Bloglines or any of the other 500,000 sites out there.

I hate getting left out of the game when someone, like the folks who make ecto, make an awesome program like endo for RSS reading. It looks sweeter than all get out, but, it’s not going to work for me. Why? Because I spend 9 hours a day, 5 days a week, behind a Windows computer at work… and I want to be able to read my RSS stuff there too. So, I use Bloglines. And Bloglines is awesome. But, it’s just not the same.

Am I asking too much?

Cold Cards

I’ve sat down and played some poker for the past half hour and I’m getting some seriously cold cards. I sat down in a $1.00+0.20 45 person MTT and got delt Q-J suited. I was in middle position so I raised 3x BB. Plays around, flop comes A-K-x rainbow, but giving me 3 spades. I’m sitting with a runner straight I should have folded. But, no, I felt good with it. I bet 2x BB, some folding, a small raise from late position, so I call. Flop is a 9 spades. Limping abounds, so I bet big trying to scare people out from what looked to be my straight. Raising ensues, and I go all in, feeling the 10 or another spade. One caller. Turns over an A-x, giving him a pair. River is a low red card, giving me a whole lot of nothing, and that $1.20 was gone in a matter of minutes. They proceeded to mock me (which I probably deserved).

Later, I am playing a play money table (after the very painful beating above), and an all-in player pushes from UTG. I’m sitting J-J, so I call based on his reckless play. Just the two of us, he turns over K-8 unsuited. I’m feeling pretty good. What’s he flop? K-8-x. No help came, and I lost 2/3 of my chips. A few hands later, I’m delt a Q-10 suited and limp in. Flop comes and gives me pair of 10′s, and we all check around. No help on turn and it checks around. River comes, and it’s a 10, giving me trips. I bet about 3x BB, gets called, then raised. At this point, I’m looking at the table and my stack, at about 350. I decide if I fold, I’m too short-stacked to recover. If I win, I’m looking at a decent pot. I raise all-in (raising the bet about 150 or so). Player 2 calls, Player 3 raises all-in with her multi-thousand chip stack… and I know I’m in trouble. Player 2 folds, and she turns over K-10, giving her trip 10′s with a King kicker, and that’s all she wrote. Hindsight says that if I’d bet big on the flop, I might have scared out the other player… but I doubt it.

So, I’m done with Poker for right now. I played stupid in the cash MTT, and just plain got beat in the play game.

Trading DVD’s with Peerflix

Peerflix is an online service that lets you trade DVDs you own with other people. It works by a ratio system of sorts. Every movie they offer is given a “PeerBux” score, from 1 for crappy old movies, 2 for normal movies, and 3 for new release movies. Box sets can range up to 30 points depending on their current price on Amazon. (A great use of the Amazon Web Services, by the way). The way they make money is that they charge $0.99 per trade for being the facilitator. They also offer a guarantee that if the disk gets damaged in the mail or they try to cheat you, you get your money and Peerbux back. You start off with 2 PeerBux and $0.99 to give you a taste of the system and earn you confidence.

I started off by putting up 6 DVDs as “for trade” that I don’t watch anymore. Within 15 minutes, someone wanted one, so I sent it to them. They send you envelopes, and the website gives you a page to print off that acts as the address label. Throw them in the envelope correctly, put on a stamp (you have to pay the postage as well) and chuck it in the post box. It credits your account with the PeerBux they spent to get the movie, so you have more “buying power.” I told Holly about the site, she though it was a good idea, and we put up about 20 movies. We’ve moved 6 or so out now and have a good number of PeerBux to allow us to get movies we want. The system is designed so that you will by default place movies you’ve received back out in the pool for others to get. Popular movies are always in demand (Batman Begins has about 80 people in queue to get the movie, and it doesn’t come out until next Tuesday). But, there are a LOT of library titles that are freely available. All of the Kevin Smith flicks are up there and available at any time.

The concept seems like it’ll work good. You go out a buy a new movie for $15.00. You watch it, decide not to keep it forever. You put it on Peerflix, someone wants it. You get 3 points for it… and you send it. You’re now at $15.37. You pick the next movie that came out that you want to see, spend your three points and pay $0.99. Now you’re at $16.36 for two movies. Say you do this for a total of ten feature movies. You’ve spent $28.60 on the first movie, ten Peerflix transactions, and ten stamps. That’s $2.86 a movie, and you have just come out ahead versus renting the movies at Blockbuster. What happens if you get Sin City and decide you absolutely love the movie and want to watch it over and over? You keep it. All you are out are the 3 points you spent to pick it up. If you toss some of your library titles up, you’re sure to earn points with no real loss. (We recently sent out a Muppet Show DVD we’ve never opened, and got 2 points for it).

I think that Peerflix’s only “issue” will be revenue creation. $0.99 a trade is a reasonable fee. I hope they are able to turn profit and not have to jack prices up for a long time. But, this also points out a risk in their system. If you have a bunch of peerbux points, that means you have put a lot out into the system as far as DVDs. If they were to shut down operations, you are out that and you may have sent out $50 worth of DVDs to strangers and got nothing back. It’s a risk I’m willing to take.

They have a friend feature that allows you to gather a list of friends and trade movies without spending peerbux (if you wish). If you want to be “my friend” and see my collection, just visit this link. I’ll also get one peerbux point if you sign up. :)

Fix for Firefox and Flash 8 Not Working

Well, today I finally found a resolution for Flash 8 and Firefox not working correctly. The symptom is that, with Flash 8 installed with Firefox, you are unable to display any Flash enabled content. You get no placeholder, just blanks where the content should be. The resolution? Turn off the Adblock extensions’ Obj-Tabs feature (it’s what puts the translucent “Adblock” tab off each Flash animation). As soon as you disable that feature, Flash works perfectly.

To disable this part, click Tools -> Extensions. Highlight Adblock, click “Options.” In this new window, click “Adblock Options.” Find “Obj-Tabs” and click it to uncheck it. You’re fixed!