“She’s Not Dead, She’s Fine”

Denver Police were called to an apartment earlier this month to complaints of a foul smell.  What they found inside one of the residences was the decomposing body of a woman, Michalea Beth Ford, 32,  but with her alive husband, Steven Ford, and dog sitting along side her watching TV.

Police arrived after neighbors complained of a terrible smell and entered the apartment using a key from the manager.  Upon entering a Great Dane dog met them but turned and went back into the apartment.  Once inside, police saw the dog retreating to a couch where it jumped up onto along side the slumped deceased body of the woman.  Blocking the entrance of the living room was the woman’s husband, who appeared to be drunk or “out of sorts” as described by police.  Police asked the man how long the woman had been dead and he replied, “She’s not dead. She’s fine.”

The dog had to be removed by animal control when it began to guard the body when police went for a closer look.

Police decided Ford had been dead for at least 10 days with the body showing significant decomposition along with a large hole in the wall and a turned over TV in the bedroom.  Ford has not been charged, and the family has come forward to explain to the public that Steven Ford had a brain injury suffered from a truck accident in 2011, Michalea had been diagnosed with pancreatitis and the pair were heavy drinkers.  The family is sure that Steven had nothing to do with her death and assume that she died from complications and lack of treatment for her condition.  The condition of the apartment and lack of notifying police of her death they chalk up to Steven, “freaking out”.

Minnie Mouse in The Leia Slave Costume?

Look, by now you’ve heard the news.  There is a massive amount of coverage of Disney’s acquisition of the Star Wars franchise that I won’t try to outdo.

But, while we are all concerned about how Disney will treat this, consider this very excited idea that was proposed to me by my buddy, Chris Ferrell (@RoundTableNerds), anyone up for a Joss Whedon written/directed Star Wars?   That idea does soften the blow of the news.  Odds are that Disney will go more JarJar and less Botta Fett, if you know what I mean, but they got The Avengers right, so I guess we gotta cut some slack and just wait and see what happens.

So 2015 for Star Wars VII, and what that means is very unclear (really old Luke and Leia?) and plans for VIII and IX to follow after that every couple of years.

94 Year Old Woman Dies in Wheelchair Accident

94 year old Elizabeth Street died from injuries suffered from her wheelchair rolling down a hill outside her nursing home and landing in a ditch full of water.

Street’s wheelchair appears to have not been set in a “lock” position after nursing home employees had taken her and others outside during a fire drill.  Reports indicate that employees didn’t realize Street was even missing until police called stating they had calls reporting an elderly woman in a ditch full of water.  An employee went outside and found Street.

Street survived the accident, but eventually died from injuries suffered.  Cause of death hasn’t been officially announced, but she had developed pneumonia and was already struggling with congestive heart failure.

WiFi Lightbulbs – Yep.

The maddening circumstances of incandescent bulbs being phased out and that CFL bulbs stink to high heaven is the promise of LED technology.  The problem with that, at least for now, is they can be terribly expensive.  But starting today you can add the nifty feature of being able to control LED bulbs with an app on your smartphone.  LED bulbs meet the promise of extreme life span, wicked money savings and being able to turn on instantly – versus the maddening warm up period of the CFL.

Phillips has been rolling out variations of LED bulbs for a couple of years now, and they’ve been an indecent proposal as each bulb could breach $75 each.  Those prices have been coming down as late (you can find them online for $20), but starting Oct 30th, you can get a version that adds the above mentioned ability to control via your wifi network and an app.

Yes, its still expensive as not only do you need the bulbs, but a smart bridge that plugs into your wifi router and speaks to the bulbs.  That comes as part of a starter kit (with three bulbs) that is priced at $199.  Additional bulbs will set you back another $59 each.  With the kit not only can you turn on and off the bulbs, but you can also control the color of the light they emit.  The bulbs are capable of matching any of the 16 million different colors in the RBG color spectrum.  There’s even a setting that allows you to set a timer to turn on the bulbs with a “gentle wake up” setting.

The kit goes on sale Oct 30th at Apple stores.

 

Follow Along With Sandy

There are many ways to keep up on the latest with Hurricane Sandy, but while sitting at your computer you may want to keep a browser window open with Google’s Crisis Map.

The map has several layer options to toggle on and off.  From the storm’s current location and forecast track, you can even find out where emergency shelters, live webcams and traffic conditions.

What Did Microsoft Do?

Yesterday Microsoft, a company for years weighed down with the failures (perceived or real) of the Windows OS, made an impressive attempt to turn their ship around in showing off Windows 8, a plethora of new PC’s and tablets from other manufactures and their own new device, Surface.

I watched the entire two part event.  First the OS and then a section about Surface.  My first and immediate reaction is that I can never remember seeing Microsoft employees speaking about their products in such an earnest and passionate manner.  It was refreshing and infectious.

I have yet to hold a Surface in my hands and my experience with Windows 8 is limited to a demo version running on a device at a Microsoft store in San Jose.  What I do know about both of these things are that they clearly have gone through an epic amount of design and group think and both are beautiful.  What I also know is Surface, by all accounts, is a wonderful piece of hardware but ironically Windows 8, from a company that historically is software company, is a brave innovation that holds promise but will need to grow into the shoes its trying to fill.

First Windows 8.  During all of the demos done during the event I kept thinking to myself, “Wow, those devices look really nice, but man Windows 8 looks really confusing”.  The bottom line is that for the first time since way back in the late 1900’s when we last had to learn a new Windows UI, we all have a whole new learning curve to go through with Windows 8.  It is totally different.  Literally, we gotta start again from the basics.  It’s no longer just a “start” button in the lower left corner.

The screen is now filled with tiles, and each tile does different things from being places to start apps, to pushing information to you and being one touch shortcuts to everything you want access to.  All of this is highly customizable, and you even open your device with a new password system that uses a custom-designed gesture you create with a picture from your library.  You can push, pull, swipe, touch and all with two, three or more fingers (or mouse).  And all the demonstrations were like that scene with Tom Cruise in “Minority Report” as he easily interfaced with a holographic UI.  Each person on stage smoothly moved around the UI by touching the screen of the device they were on and made it look easy, although it was hard to follow and figure out what exactly they were doing.  I looks mighty cool, but it is going to take some time to learn it.

There is a version that runs on PCs and a version that works on handhelds, called Windows 8 RT.  The latter is a scaled down version but the idea is that no matter which one you’re working in it is an almost identical experience.

Get use to that because if you buy a new Windows PC, tablet or smartphone device – its going to have Windows 8 on it.  Good news is that any PC that is now running Windows 7 will work with Windows 8 and the upgrade cost is cheap, $40.

The Surface presentation was a solid 45 minutes of a company making the case Microsoft has produce a device that rivals any currently on the market.  The amount of words, video and pictures dedicated in showing off just how finely design, manufactured and built Surface is pretty much uncountable.  If you learn anything about Surface is that it looks and feels like the Rolls Royce of tablets.  And by the reviews that are out Microsoft has built a really impressive device, and may have actually, *gasp*, done something cool!

So, if you’re interested, and you should be, below is a list of links of reviews from people that have hands-on experience.  I have no idea if Windows will succeed with either of these, but I appreciate the attempt and its good to see a company feeling like they’ve really achieved something good.

Surface Reviews

 

Windows 8 Reviews

 

Man Divorces Because Wife & Child Are Ugly

A man in Northern China has successfully divorced his wife and also won $120,000 in a related lawsuit – all because his wife and child were ugly.

Jian Feng married his wife several years ago and by all reports it was a loving relationship.  When she gave birth to their baby girl the problems with the relationship began.  The baby, Feng thought, was so ugly he was frightened by her.  He also was suspect of his fatherhood in the girl because she looked nothing like either him or his wife.

When pressed for an explanation, the woman finally admitted that she had under gone more than $100,000 in plastic surgery that drastically altered her appearance – but that it had happened before the pair had met and she decided not to tell him.  The man filed for divorce on the premise that she had gotten him to marry her “under false pretense” and was later not only grated the divorce but also won $120,000 he requested in restitution.

(peet: The origin of this story can be sourced back to an article in a Macedonian website from Feb 2012 – the veracity of it is hard to confirm because there are no other corroborating stories.  But it’s too good not to mention.  I will also mention I pulled these two pics from other versions of the same story, but I can’t confirm their authenticity.)

 

It Happened In Florida

A Port St. Luice man took the extreme step of proving his innocence to police by showing them his genitals.

Earlier this month police were called to a local CVS to meet a woman who claimed there was a man in the parking lot masturbating.  She admitted that she hadn’t seen his private parts, but did notice as she walked by his car that he was making an “up and down motion in the area of his crotch,” according to the police report.

The man, who had gone into the store by the time police arrived and was questioned about what he was doing in the parking lot before he went into the store.  The man told police that he “had a rash” and was simply scratching his testicles.  Sensing that the officer was suspect of his story, he offered to show police his evidence.  Police agreed and he then “presented his testicles” and the police “verified” it.  With no proof that the man was doing anything illegal or lewd he was released with no charges.

What Did Apple Do?

Tuesday Apple held another one of their “events”, and what was anticipated to be nothing more than showing us what we’ve already known – the existence of the iPad Mini – became something much more, and upset many of their biggest fans by wiping out a product many of them just bought.

Before I get into the iPad drama, let’s briefly review the other product updates shown.

iMac – the overdue refresh is interesting for a few reasons.  First the screen sizes remain the same (21″ & 27″) but offer a new mega thin, sexy form factor.  They get this by removing the optical drive.  In doing this Apple has now effectively eliminated any way for old dinosaurs, like me, to use physical media.  I am that guy that still buys CD’s and DVD’s… But now I can’t plop those into my new iMac and rip them (yes, I can buy the USB Super Drive $80) like I have been able to do since, well, forever.  Apple wants you to buy this material from iTunes, and if they can also achieve a nice design factor in the process, well that’s great.  The new iMac also has maybe the coolest new feature mentioned all day, Fusion Drive.  A marriage of a flash SSD drive and a normal HDD, and while this has been done before it is the native software that will automatically move regularly used software to the SDD portion of the drive so the user’s access to that is much faster. 21″ starts at $1299, 27″ $1799.

MacBook Pro – A new 13″ with retina display was shown off, also with a nice lightweight design.  Nothing really new here, but the 13″ laptop is really ideal for portability and this comes with that awesome display and starts at $1199

Mac Mini – vastly updated versions of these little wonders in a little box get bigger processors and more memory.  For under $1000 you can get a rather nice everyday use computer that you can plug in and use with that monitor and keyboard/mouse that you already have.  Starting at $600 and goes up depending on how you option it.

Ok, so the iPad Mini was introduced and it pretty much is exactly as we expected.  7.9″ screen, but it is NOT retina display, and in fact kinda disappoints with a pixel density of 162ppi.  That’s important because that is a lower resolution screen than competing devices, which are less expensive.  And that brings us to the price, starting at $329 Apple did not come in under that $300 point that many think they needed to be competitive.  But Apple sets prices to make money and they are banking on the idea that the iPad Mini – even though it’s $80 more than a Nexus 7 or $130 more than the Kindle Fire HD – will blow you away with it’s “superior design, build quality and most importantly, apps.  Apple is going to be able to test their premise that “apps matter” and having over 250,000 apps available that are designed for the iPad platform, rather than with Android a whole bunch of “phone apps sized up” that user experience is enough to get you to pony up for the higher priced device.  And this has been the case with the full sized iPad.  Apple bragged they’ve sold over 100 million iPads since the product launched and their ownership of the tablet market is anywhere from 70-90% (depending on who you believe).   With the Mini, will people care enough about that to spend the extra money, especially with the word that cheaper, better Android tablets are on the way?

Which takes us to the news that rocked everyone.  The 4th generation iPad.  Just forget that the 3rd gen was rolled us just less than six months ago – you can’t buy it no mo’.   This was stunning news that became obvious as Apple began to explain the “update” was more than switching to the new Lightening connector.  Nope, now there is the new A6x processor, that is “2x faster” than the one in the iPad bought as recently as yesterday.  It also has a better forward facing camera, better LTE and wi-fi.  These are incredibly significant updates and Apple just did that to everyone that just bought the new one.  Watching the reaction of the crew at TWIT was really interesting simply from the standpoint that even they were shocked that Apple would make a move so fast.  The looks on their faces when they realized what was happening was very telling.

Here are my thoughts on this… Apple felt they needed to do this for several reasons.  First, I’m betting that Apple wanted to move it’s production schedule so that iPads could roll out in the fall, before the holiday buying season.  Tablets are products that people buy for others as gifts (phones, not so much), and now each year they can roll out new versions just as that time is approaching.  The only way to do that was either, now, or wait another full year before updating.  Doing it now creates some drama and hurt feelings but Apple couldn’t wait a full year.  Why?   Because the Surface is coming out now, and there are an untold number of Android products on the way with the very, very nice new versions of that OS.  Apple couldn’t wait, and oh btw, they had the new, mo’ faster parts to stuff in there anyway.  And what this portends for the 5th generation iPad I assume will go on sale a year from now – Apple must have something really big planned.  If that’s true, it makes more sense of what happened here.

Should you be mad?  Sure, if you’ve recently bought the 3rdGen model. (If it was a month or less ago, Apple will refund your money)  But otherwise you still have a fantastic device that is better than anything else in the category – other than the newer iPad.  It also strengthens my mantra that you always buy the fastest, baddest version of an Apple product (or any brand for that matter) you are shopping for at that time.  Simply because you never know when its going to go from current model to outdated.  But people have a right to be pissed if they paid $500+ on a device just months, or weeks, ago that now is not “top o’ the line” – but they will get over it because what they have is still better and works great.

Apple minus Steve Jobs is a new and fascinating beast.  Lots of talk yesterday about if Apple would have done this, or the detailed product comparison that was done in the event between the iPad Mini vs the Nexus 7.  Who knows?  Things are very different these days as the competition that was not there when Jobs was continues to get better and make outstanding products that in many ways are better options for many consumers.  Apple is in the position they are in only because they created these successful markets and got massive head starts and were able to establish their products as gold standards for everyone else to reach for.  To keep  that position Apple is going to have to make decisions that go against what they’ve said publicly before (iPad Mini) and make hard decisions that will peeve dedicated fans.  It’s the cost of business.

World’s Most Gullible Lesbian

A 51 year old Lufkin, Texas woman claims that she was duped into a sexual lesbian relationship with a long time friend via Yahoo! Messenger.

This is a seriously confusing story, so allow me to try and explain it.

The woman, I will refer to as “victim”, is long time friends with 30 year old Angela Buchanan (below right).  Buchanan told the victim that she was a breast cancer survivor, but that she was concerned over the possibility of the cancer returning.  She also told the victim that she had been consulting with a “long time friend”, a local gynecologist named,”Doc”.  Buchanan somehow got the victim to start chatting with Doc via Yahoo! Messenger to discuss his concerns about Buchanan’s health.

This is where it gets very odd.

The victim says that she was told by Doc that she should engage in a sexual relationship with Buchanan to help increase her hormone levels which would potentially delay or cure a pre-cancerous mass he claimed Buchanan had.  Participating in sex with her would give her a significant advantage in getting ahead of the cancer.  The victim told police she was reluctant, and despite that she earlier in life was a lesbian she no longer identified herself as such (now she thinks its morally wrong) she decided to help save her friend’s life by having sex with her.

As the relationship went on, Buchanan would go for blood work and treatments.  Doc would review those results with the victim online and advise her to continue the sexual relationship along with advice on “frequency, nature and duration” of the sexual encounters.

Doc then told the victim that he had advised Buchanan to take the proactive stance of having a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery.  After the surgery, the victim talked to the doctor that performed the surgery (not “doc” but a different person) and inquired about the cancerous mass.  He told her he had no idea about that, but that the breast augmentation had gone very well.  When she asked Doc about the discrepancy in the stories, he told her that the surgeon was actually doing the surgery “under the table” and had to deny because of cameras in the waiting room.  Already established as a terribly gullible person, the victim bought Doc’s story.

Additionally, Buchanan had tried to talk the victim into traveling to a state that allowed same sex marriage so Buchanan could win a custody battle over twins she birth’d  via in vitro fertilization.

Finally the victim’s own daughter expressed the concern that Doc was actually Buchanan.  The victim called Buchanan’s ex-girlfriend and found out that all of her backstories about cancer, custody battles and other things had never happened and was untrue.  She contacted police after she contacted Doc’s office and found out it didn’t exist.

Buchanan admitted she’d made up the whole thing and was the person posing as Doc.  She told police she wanted to be in a relationship with the victim and that the Doc, cancer, surgery story was the only way it would ever happen.  She is out on $1500 bond and faces a year in prison on a Class A misdemeanor charge of online impersonation.