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T-Sprint Coming Soon…

T-Mobile and Sprint have been trying this for some time now and here we are again with the possibility that T-Mobile may actually merge with Sprint. A question to ask though is whether or not this will be good for the consumer. A lot of talk says it will not be good for the consumer. History also suggests this as not a good thing for consumers but the CEOs of T-Mobile and Sprint have been spotted in videos claiming it will be good for consumers as they make promises of lower prices, faster internet through 5G; and, increased competition.



A merger would reduce the number of major service providers from four to three leave them as a combined company, AT&T, and Verizon. I actually don’t know if any merger in any market that has led to benefit consumers. If anyone knows of any feel free to comment.

Well this merger has been announced on the 29th of April and CEO of T-Mobile John Legere will head the new company. The value of this merger…..unsure actually.  Sprint though was valued at $26 billion based the last closing price that I check up on, and T-Mobile was last valued at $55 billion.

Sprint and T-Mobile first discussed a merger in 2014 but scrapped it because of concerns about regulatory challenges from the Obama administration. Now the deal was blocked by regulators who determined that the market could support four major players, which creates competition.

Here we are with the announcement and fact still remains it will be hard to get these regulators to approve. I assume now that this is Trump’s administration the companies are expecting to have a better shot at the merger. It still will not be easy since their stock dropped after the announcement due to investor skepticism.

I will add though that the merger now comes at a good time because Sprint did have a good year last year. I will make it to the point by giving you the rundown.

  • Fiscal year 2017 postpaid phone net additions of 606,000
    • Third consecutive year of postpaid phone net additions
    • Highest postpaid phone gross additions in six years
    • Fiscal fourth quarter postpaid phone net additions of 55,000 marked the eleventh consecutive quarter of net additions
  • Fiscal year 2017 prepaid net additions of 363,000 compared to net losses of 1 million in the prior year
    • Prepaid net additions for the first time in three years
    • Prepaid churn of 4.58 percent was the lowest in three years
    • Fiscal fourth quarter prepaid net additions of 170,000
  • Fiscal year 2017 net income of $7.4 billion , operating income of $2.7 billion and Adjusted EBITDA* of $11.1 billion
    • Net income for the first time in 11 years, even when excluding $7.1 billion of one-time favorable impact from tax reform
    • Highest operating income in company history and highest Adjusted EBITDA* in 11 years
    • Fiscal fourth quarter net income of $69 million , operating income of $236 million , and Adjusted EBITDA* of $2.8 billion
  • Fiscal year 2017 net cash provided by operating activities of $10.1 billion and adjusted free cash flow* of $945 million
    • Second consecutive year of positive adjusted free cash flow*
  • Completed thousands of tri-band upgrades on macro sites, added thousands of outdoor small cells and deployed more than 200,000 Sprint Magic Boxes

If you are a Sprint customer this deal may be a good thing for you. If your service has been sub par this deal will lead to better service for you as T-Mobile’s coverage and performance have jumped farther ahead than Sprint’s.

Sources



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Friday the 13th Game release date.

Hello and some really great news has surfaced on the Friday the 13th game. Do you like horror games? If you do be prepared to indulge in a game which has some just brutal & gruesome executions. This game is not for the everyone.

Players get ready to play this 1 vs 7 asymmetric multiplayer game where 7 of you will be camp counselors while 1 player will play as the infamous Jason Voorhees in Camp Crystal Lake as well as two other areas. This multi-player mode will be available at launch while a single-player mode will be available this summer.

There are numerous videos of the game’s progress and the trailer is available. The Friday the 13th game is made by Gun Media & Illfonic had been delayed to this year. The game which has been funded through Kickstarter will debut on May 26th for PS4, PC, and XBox One as a digital game. Even better the game will only burn you for $40. How cool is that? Want to see more check the previous post for updates & cool videos.

Friday the 13th-the Series – Friday the 13th-the Series: Complete Series [DVD]

Friday the 13th Head Knocker

Mezco Toyz Cinema of Fear Series 4 Action Figure Jason Voorhees

Google Battles ‘Fake News’

As I surf around and use the internet for myriads of purposes I run into post after post after post of news that quite frankly may not be totally true yet people seem to believe the crazy stories. I know we live in a crazy world but to believe everything you read is in itself…crazy. One of the most prominent sources of fake news being social media. I am not going to state any one source but I constantly witness people sharing, posting, tweeting and retweeting news that you can pretty much call fake at first glance yet people share them anyways, exceptions being malware controlled posts.



Symantec Corp.



There are sites dedicated to publishing fake news and chances are that crazy news post you see pop up on your screen was started by one of those sites. Google is taking a stand against ‘fake news’ by introducing a Fact Check tag in their search results. When you search for info about a contested subject, Google will serve a page from a fact-checking site. The fact check will show up at the top in an area you most likely have seen before where things like recipes, TV show episodes, movie showtimes, and band discographies show as you perform searches on said subjects. The fact checks will be pulled from sites like Snopes and PolitiFact. These fact checks will also show information about the person who made the claim, details about the claim, and whether said site thinks it is true. After the top section traditional news stories will be presented as usual. The fact-check feature won’t remove false and offensive stories on Google but it is an attempt to better educate users on what they are reading about. To add in I would like to add that if Google will be pulling from different fact-checker sites you will run into different opinions on the specific news you are looking at.

Google in a blog post said, “These fact checks are not Google’s and presented so people can make more informed judgements,”

“Even though differing conclusions may be presented, we think it’s still helpful for people to understand the degree of consensus around a particular claim and have clean information on which sources agree,”

Google will not make it easy for fact checker sites to be recognized by implementing criteria that is rather long. Some part of the criteria involves use of Schema.org ClaimReview markup on pages where public statements are analyzed. The content must adhere to Google’s News General Guidelines which has a good amount of the same guidelines as any journalist. The final decision will be based on Google’s algorithms which will determine who is an authoritative source of information.

“If a publisher or fact check claim does not meet these standards or honor these policies, we may, at our discretion, ignore that site’s markup.”

Google News started something similar which was started during the US presidential election where a lot of news was not very trustworthy. Since it was a success Google then expanded the feature to Germany, France, and then went further by adding it in the Google News and Weather app in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico.

There has been fire shot out at sites who provide fake news online and as mentioned Google is taking steps to identify false and offensive content which is a battle in itself. Some of the shots fired come from different sources like a recent report by The Outline which shows how often Google’s search results can provide such fake news. Fake news is trending and along with that causing increased concern where, for instance, a parliamentary inquiry has been started by the UK Culture, Media and Sport Committee into investigating “fake news.” The inquiry has also urged British newspapers to called for a deeper examination of the issue.

Again I say the move by Google won’t erase the problem, but it will help people to make more informed decisions on the content that they read and hopefully people won’t be so quick to post all that garbage news. I suggest anyone reading this post that as they use Google or Facebook and run into news that sounds weird or crazy that they open up another browser window and do a search on the subject first and look to see if that news shows up on the bigger and widely known news sites. If not, chances are it is not true or has been exaggerated.

Sources

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Amazon Sweeps NFL Thurdays from Twitter…

Last Year Twitter streamed the Thursday night NFL games with success, but for this season, football is jumping to the Amazon.  Amazon and the NFL have announced a 50 million dollar agreement for the streaming rights to 10 Thursday Night Football games for the 2017 season which multiplies Twitter’s deal by five.



Watch NFL games from a Windows PC &

Save $200 on Surface Book i5 128GB Valid 4/2 – 4/22



Amazon has been trying to expand its TV offerings and this, I think, would make for a huge win in that area. You have a lot who have ditched  cable for whatever reason (Kodi maybe) who may have put money into Amazon Prime to fill that missing gap. Twitter was a least an option to get some football into that busy schedule. The idea here overall being to cut the cord that comes from traditional TV. So now the NFL livestreams will be limited to paying Amazon Prime subscribers which costs $100 per year. I don’t see anyone forking out that money just to see football on Thursday alone but the attention is sure to attract new subscribers for Amazon.

There are other streaming sources like CBS and NBC but those streams require CBS All Access premium service and cable authentication, respectively. I will add in that Verizon is also an option but that’s limited to Verizon users which would take something extra to get those streams onto your big screen. I could think of a few ways though. If you want to know how just leave a comment.

A good bet still to this day is the over-the-air TV antenna. The NFL only offers their Game Pass subscription which does not stream live games. You can watch the games though about a half hour after the games are over while DirecTV has the only live streaming option in the U.S.

Expect to see Amazon ads for the NFL streams while they toot their own horn on their other video services but this is nothing new as Amazon is always using whatever it offers to attract you into grabbing Amazon even more with their myriads of ads that you see as you perform your web functions.


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Netflix Broadens Offline Steaming…

Netflix has broadened its offline streaming feature to Windows 10 via its Windows 10 PC app. So Netflix users will have another option whenever they are without Internet access.
Netflix added the feature in their most recent update to the Netflix app in Windows 10. Take note the Windows Store doesn’t show you what version of the Netflix app you’re using so just manually check for updates using the large blue button in the upper-right corner of the Windows Store app.

The Netflix app will show you a large popup type screen that shows the new “download and go” ability. The Find me something to download button doesn’t at this time display a list of downloadable titles so you will have to find them yourself.

The offline streaming option was only available for its mobile apps such as Android and iOS which was not without its fair share of flaws but was overall a welcome addition. The Netflix app is a Microsoft UWP app so I am guessing the offline streaming will pop up on Windows phones and on the Xbox.

So what is the big deal right? On a mobile device is cool but this opens up the feature to be used on larger screens which notebooks and desktop PCs have. So more time enjoying content instead of squinting at your mobile device to keep up. There are ways around it with options like screen mirroring to any available TV screen you have but from a PC doing this can be much easier without the occasional text or app notification disturbing your viewing of content.


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Update: Kodi Shutdown……

As I was surfing around I received a notification about Kodi. It sounded like nonsense to me so went to go check the website & this came up…

So it is now official. Kodi has been taken down by the copyright police. As the site now says that it has been taken down by Homeland Security. The domain has been seized. So what does this mean? Not much really if you ask me. Although I will say anyone using Kodi should consider using a VPN from now on. To explain what I mean further, Kodi is open source software so it can be reproduced and rebooted in many ways and the ball will start rolling again. See the Kodi you find one ‘hacked’ devices is altered with 3rd party addons which connect to servers in other countries. So such a move would not remove Kodi from existence.

As of right now Kodi on installed devices is working and you can still get Kodi in the app stores. So this leads me to believe otherwise. Is this some hacker? Kodi website hacked? There has been a lot of news about Kodi with a push to take down Kodi due to copyright infringement. I would also add in all the people benefitting from sales of devices with Kodi loaded on them. To read more on this just visit a previous post on the matter. (Link on bottom of page.) Better check your Firesticks or whatever device you use cause it may not work…

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Windows 10 – Revert Your User Account to a Local One

Windows 10 is here and it is here to stay and along with it comes the almost forceful push to using a Microsoft Account. When you first buy your new Windows 10 device you are bombarded with the Sign In with your Microsoft Account. You can in fact just login in the old fashion way and login with a simple username and password even though Microsoft would rather you login with a Microsoft account so you can sync all your goodies while also allowing them to track what you do more.

If your Windows 10 user account is currently a Microsoft account (by choice or because you got roped into it) it is easy to revert it back to a local account if you know where to look. Read on as I show you.

Why Do This?

There are benefits to using a Microsoft account as your login but many people prefer to have their Windows login as a totally separate experience and entity from any online accounts they might have.

I have noticed a super annoying way that your local user account is automatically (without your permission) converted into a Microsoft account. Of which is when you first log into the Windows Store on your new Windows 10 PC your local user account (called “Ninja”) gets switched over seamlessly to whatever email address you use for your Microsoft account (say “whatTheHell@gmail.com”). This Microsoft account can be one you created for several reasons. Maybe you have a Hotmail email or you use the Microsoft Office Suite of software.

A scenario that can happen is when someone who isn’t you logs into the Windows Store then it converts your local user account to a Microsoft account with their login credentials. You then will end up needing their password to undo the mess. If the computer is logged off, goodness, you then cannot get into the computer until you get their password. It is a very poor and quite underhanded way to get people to use a Microsoft-style login instead of the old way to login.


Reverting Your Microsoft Account Back to a Local User

If you’ve had a Microsoft account for a while and you want to switch it back to a local user. If you had a crazy and annoying experience where the Windows Store or some other App hijacked your entire user account, the way to reverse everything is pretty easy if you know where to look.

On the Windows 10 PC in question,  goto the Accounts menu. You can do so in alot of ways but the fastest way is to simply type “accounts” in the search box on the Windows 10 start menu and select “Change your account picture or profile settings” as in the screenshot above.

When the Account Settings menu opens you will see in the screenshot to the left the email address of the now active Microsoft Account (top arrow). Below you will find a link saying “Sign in with a local account instead”.

Click on that link.

Confirm the account again and you will also be required to plug in the password. Click “Next”.



Enter a new local username and password (or the old username and password you had before things got all freaky). Click “Next”.



The last box is a confirmation and a reminder of some details you should read for you information. Click “Sign out and finish”. Now I did notice after signing out and going back to a local account didn’t change anything with the Windows Store app and I was still logged in under my Microsoft user account. Why couldn’t Microsoft had just allowed you to login to the Windows Store in the first place???????





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Super Mario Run for Android Released!…

Finally Super Mario Run for Android has been released. It seems the game was released a day early. You can download the game via the
Google Play Store now. The game is pretty much the same as the iOS version where you can install the game for free but you will need to purchase the game to unlock all the modes. Nintendo had the placeholder up in the Google Play Store for some time which allowed you to pre-register and you would get notified.  😕    Well….. I never got the notification. Go figure.

Super Mario Run for Android apparently has not reached Nintendo’s expectations. I would assume this is due to the $10 in game purchase to unlock all the modes. Nintendo being the newby in this arena hasn’t learned yet how things go in Android world where open and free are one of its features. Apps or games with high up-front or near up-front purchases do not generally do well. To give you an idea of where Nintendo’s expectations are, the iOS version’s gross revenue hit about $30 million in 2 weeks and they were still not satisfied with that. Now it has only been a few days and Nintendo is already running touting horns is displeasure. I didn’t even know it was out yet so I am sure this is true for others. Nintendo should have done a little more to advertise this release then mainly relying on a Google Play front page ad or even the pre-registration process which failed in my case.


Try in the Google Play Store!…


On another note, Nintendo is not trying to focus on freemium games or apps despite the success of another game they have called Fire Emblem: Heroes. This notion is based on comments made by different Nintendo officials.

Android will allow more people to see the game and so money really can’t be totally the main focus at this point in the game for Nintendo. Of course it is overall the goal but being the newby Nintendo needs to build a larger presence in the smartphone industry. So if Nintendo continues they would be able to make good on claims they have made to use smartphones to introduce their games to a wider audience.

This in turn would in fact open up doors into the next step for Nintendo in their newly released console, the Nintendo Switch, which is doing pretty well it seems so far. If you want the numbers, well approximate numbers now, Superdata and various sources say about $1.5 million consoles worldwide have been sold and get this… 90% are buying Zelda with it. There has been a drop in sales though in the second week of its release so question has arose as to whether the Nintendo Switch will hit mainstream status once…say…the rave over Zelda dies down.

I mention all of this because it is relevant as Super Mario Run is the first step into a new era for Nintendo where portability in gaming becomes a focus. The Switch opens up the door to the next step being portable high-end gaming. Can Nintendo stay on top in this area cause now that the cat is out there will be others in the shadows that will try to copy and improve on their idea.


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Ninja’s Windows Tips And Tricks

9 March 2017


Ninja is back with some more windows tips and tricks…


Using the Edge Browser While Shopping

First I would like to mention that you make sure your data is backed up in some way. Windows 10 will at times make some major updates. One example is the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. I have had reports of lost data and broken/lost applications after having this update take place on computers. One part of this update though may prompt you to do your online shopping using the Edge browser instead. See once you open sites like Best Buy or Target Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant, will often give you its 2 cents and offer the use of coupons that it finds automatically. Now that can be very helpful.

I would also like to add in that you can do as Chrome does and add addons or extensions in Edge which also came with the Anniversary update. There are not many just yet that you can install but you may find some useful like AdBlock. You can check out the images to get an idea how to access the shopping suggestions and extensions.

Windows Calendar Update

The taskbar calendar was not so useful before but Microsoft has been hard at work by adding some extra functionality into it. The taskbar calendar is now integrated with Windows 10’s core Calendar so all your dates and events now show. You can click on the events to view or edit them and it will also show your Google events if you have your google email setup in windows 10’s email app. As you can see it is showing my Bizarre Holidays that I have setup in my Google account. This should have been included from day one if you ask me.

Windows Dark Theme

This item here should have also been a part of Windows 10 from day one but Microsoft is learning what its users want. Through the feedback app and forums that Microsoft has setup a lot have requested a way to change from the light theme. the light theme at times makes it hard to distinguish one window from another if you have a lot of windows open. Ever click on the wrong windows trying to get at a certain desired window? Maybe you even minimize or closed the window you wanted by accident. To find the option you goto Settings > Personalization > Colors.

The light theme was so annoying to me at times I changed the theme color manually. I posted on this in my Getting the White Out post while also showing how you can set your colors to update according to your currently set background in the previous Tips and Tricks post. I may have mentioned Dark Mode there too.  🙂 (Yeah I really disliked light theme.)

Windows Audio Sources

Windows 10 volume control has been rather cumbersome if you are an audiophile. Having to change where the audio you want is coming from has always been a task requiring the Control Panel and going into properties of the device in order to change. Now you can change your audio source by clicking on the name of the source. To get to it you look for that speaker icon on the bottom in your taskbar and just click on it. It may show art first only one source but if you look again you will see an arrowhead pointing upward. You just have to click that to open up the other options. What this means is you can switch from your headphones to your speakers to your Roland Aira TR-8 and back again much easier.