Why after 14 years of being a subscriber, I canceled my Netflix account

A quick background

When I graduated high school in 2003 my big gift to myself was getting a Netflix account, being able to have thousands of movies and TV shows mailed to me for less than it would cost to rent them at the store was amazing and something I fell in love with.

Then streaming came along, and at first it was buggy and I didn’t really like it, but over time streaming got better and I grew to love the fact that I could stream anything in the library instantly.  And so for a little while I had both the DVD plan and the Streaming plan, and I enjoyed having options.

Then about three years ago I decided to cancel my DVD plan and stick with Streaming only.  I only had the DVD plan to try and rent newer movies and honestly I could just rent those same movies on Amazon or VUDU for the same amount per month or less if there wasn’t anything I cared to see that month.  So that’s what I did, and overall it’s worked out great, yes a few times I’ve paid more in a month than I would have for the DVD plan but if you average out the numbers I’ve saved a lot more than I’ve spent, so I don’t mind.

Why I cancelled my Netflix streaming account

There are three main reasons for this, they are:

  • Auto-play previews
  • Auto-play of the actual title
  • Removal of the star rating system

The auto-play of the previews is annoying but it tolerable, I would prefer to have not have them but it’s not a deal breaker.  The auto-play of the actual title on the other hand really gets to me, I’m not given a choice, if I click on something it just plays without me actually hitting play.  There have been several times something has been recommended to me and instead of clicking on it and adding it to my queue I skip it, why?  Because I don’t want to have to deal with the auto-playing of the title when I just want to read the damn description!  And most of the time when I get to my computer or phone I’ve forgotten what the title was and so I never end up watching it.

But what finally drove me away was the removal of the star rating system, since 2003 I have been rating everything I watched and Netflix just threw all that away for this stupid “thumbs up or down” system.  Now I’m getting recommendations for things I would never watch, and of course all the Netflix Originals are being rated in 90% range, when most of the stuff they produce I have zero interest in.  So this was the final straw for me, I’ve been a loyal Netflix customer for 14 years and this is how they treat me?  Take all the work I’ve put into training the algorithm to know what I like and what to recommend to me, and they just throw it all away and give me nothing but pure crap!  Well I have choices outside of Netflix and later on in this post I’m going to list some of those choices, and a few resources for finding more.

Netflix originals aren’t holding me back either

Let me just say when it comes to “Netflix Originals” they don’t have the most compelling choices, the only shows I actually enjoyed and would like to see more of are House of Cards, The Santa Clarita Diet, and The Ranch.  That’s it, three shows, and I can watch them other ways without paying for Netflix, so if I really want to see them I can.

Netflix needs to change their attitude if they what to survive

Since 2011 and the Qwickster debacle Netflix has become more and more hostile towards their customers, they seem to push out things we don’t want, take away things we do want, and now just strait up spit in our faces with the removal of the star rating system.

This attitude has to change, going against the customer no matter how good it seems for the company in the short term will always end up hurting the company in the long term.  Eventually the customer base will get sick of being treated like crap and cancel their subscriptions, and once enough of them do it Netflix will start losing money and that will be the end of the line.  And even if they eventually down the line realize that they screwed up and try to give the customer what they want it may be to late, once enough people associate Netflix with hostility towards customers no amount of PR will bring them back, and the company will be dead.

What should Netflix do to avoid this and bring customers back

  • Bring back the star rating system and dump the thumbs system
  • Stop the auto-play of previews
  • Stop the auto-play of the actual titles
  • Bring back the “Not Interested” button
  • Show the titles expiration date from day one.

I want to explain that last one since the first four are self explanatory, I’ve lost track of all the times I’ve been watching a multi season show and suddenly it’s gone.  I don’t want to have to go to the website, hover over the streaming menu, select “My List”, and then scroll through my entire queue once a week to see if there are expiration dates next to anything on my list.  I want that date to be shown from day one.  Let me give an example.

Let’s say Netflix acquires the right to stream the TV show M.A.S.H. from August 5th 2017 to December 1st 2019.  Ok so I see Netflix has M.A.S.H. and add it to my queue, I want to know that if I add it to my queue in July of 2019, I only have a few months to watch it.

With the system they way it is right now I get one maybe two weeks notice before a title is gone.  And I know that Netflix thinks that if they tell me a title will be gone in a certain amount of time that I won’t watch it, but the opposite is true, I would be more likely to watch it, especially if I had started it and wanted to finish it before it’s taken off.  If I’m only on the first season of a 7 season show I want to know when it’s going off with enough advanced notice that I can finish it without spending every waking moment of my free time hate watching something because now I only have a week to finish the entire show since Netflix didn’t bother to tell me it was going to be gone until a week before they remove it.

Alternatives to Netflix

This is a big list and I’m not going to list them all here, but I will link to resources that do list them all and stay up to date with the cord cutting trends.  I don’t claim to be an absolute expert on cord cutting, but I’ve been following the movement for several years now and will share some of what I’ve learned when it comes to viewing choices outside of Netflix.

Paid Services
  • Amazon Prime – I have this one listed first since a lot of people already have a Prime subscription and get Prime video with that.  Take a look at what Amazon has to offer, they have got some really compelling offers with their originals and network offerings.  I have to admit I never really looked into their catalog before writing this and I was amazed at how good their selection has gotten.  Plus don’t forget all the sweet extras like free 2 day shipping, free music, storage, ect.
  • VUDU – I love VUDU and have been converting my entire DVD and Bluray collection over to digital on VUDU, and most of the movies I buy now are on VUDU instead of physical copies.  A nice bonus is VUDU lets you take advantage of UltaViolet which lets you link up other accounts and unify your collection across multiple services.  VUDU also has a free service but you have to watch ads, but hey it’s a small price to pay to watch a free movie!  The main difference between Amazon Prime and VUDU is that VUDU is not a subscription streaming service, you buy or rent on VUDU.
  • Google Play – I’ve used Google Play a few times, and it’s a lot like VUDU with a few exceptions, they aren’t UltraViolet compatible (at least not at the time of writing), and they don’t have ad supported free content.  And dear reader the irony should not be lost on you about that last one since Google is an ad network that runs a search engine.  Also like VUDU you buy or rent rather than paying monthly for an a la carte streaming service.
  • Hulu – Hulu gives a lot of options, you can get a lower cost package with ads, or for a little more get the ad free package.  And like Netflix and Amazon Prime Hulu has originals and network shows.  The other benfit you get with Hulu is you can watch network shows after they’ve aired, sometimes within just few hours.  Hulu is a subscription based streaming service more like Netflix and Amazon Prime.
  • iTunes – Now not being an Apple user I don’t know much about iTunes so I can’t go into much detail, but what I can say is that Like VUDU and Google Play iTunes is a buy or rent service.
  • HBO NOW – HBO NOW is HBO’s subscription streaming service, you can watch the  current shows and the back catalog, plus any movies they have the rights to at the time your subscribed.  The nice thing about HBO NOW is they get newer movies sooner than Netflix, plus they do have some amazing shows.
  • Starz – Starz like HBO is the subscription streaming version of the cable channel with on demand TV and movies.
  • Showtime – Showtime like HBO NOW and Starz is the subscription streaming service for the cable channel with TV and movies on demand.

There are other paid services and I’m not going to list them all here, but you can find them in some of the resources I’ve listed below.

Free Services
  • Crackle – Crackle is a free streaming service with TV and movies, it is of course ad supported.
  • Pluto TV – Pluto TV is like the Internet’s version of over the air (OTA), you get a bunch of channels for free but you have to watch ads.  They have a lot of channels of varying types and have a few movies channels.
  • The CW – The CW has an app that lets you watch for free with ads, so far there is no subscription offering from The CW.
  • PopcornFlix – PopcornFlix has movies and TV shows all ad supported.  While the selection isn’t top of the line I’ve found things to watch on this service.
  • tubitv – tubitv like PopcornFlix has TV and Movies for free with ads, again the selection isn’t the best but not horrible.

There are countless other free services and I’m not going to list them all here, but you can find them in some of the resources I’ve listed below.

Resources
  • The Cord Cutting Report – This is a website with a lot of information, it should have all the answers you need, at least to the basic questions.
  • Channel Master Cord Cutting Guide – Channel Master is a DVR for Over The Air (OTA) TV, and they have a basic guide to cord cutting.
  • AntennaWeb Cord Cutting Guide – This is a website that helps you find local antenna channels, they also offer a basic cord cutting guide.
  • Cord Killers – This is a weekly podcast all about cord cutting, I personally listen to it every week.
  • A Brief Guide to Cord Cutting –  A book all about cord cutting written by a cord cutter and co-host of Cord Killers Tom Merrit, this i a great resource.

I have not listed everything possible, I merely gave a brief overview of what is out there.  If you are looking for something that I have not listed here just try Google, there’s a good chance you’ll find something you like.

In Conclusion

Netflix has really screwed up this time, by becoming more and more hostile towards their customers they are pushing them away more and more.  And their customers are realizing that they don’t need Netflix like they thought they did, and that can only hurt Netflix in the long run.  There needs to be some major changes in the attitude of the Netflix management team or they will be out of a job in the not to distant future.

And what about me?  Well I’ve learned that while I liked having Netflix, I don’t need it.  There really are only two downfalls I see for myself by getting rid of Netflix,

  • Having to find other ways to watch the three Netflix originals I enjoy.
  • Staying current with the films on a podcast I enjoy called Film Sack where they watch movies on Netflix and then do a podcast about them.  I guess I’ll just rent them on Amazon or Vudu, not that big of a deal.

So in the end I can live without Netflix, and I encourage everyone to try it out with me, see what you can find outside of Netflix, you might find you don’t need Netflix either.  And while your at it make sure to contact Netflix customer support and let them know that you are unhappy with the new ratings system and anything else you’d care to let them know about, just keep it respectful, the customer support person your talking to didn’t make these changes, so don’t take it out on them.

An open letter to Netflix about the new rating system.

I am writing about the new “Thumbs” rating system, please remove it immediately.  I am less likely to rate something if it’s just an up or down vote, I need some nuance, if I liked something but only as a one time watch I want to give it 3 stars, now if I liked something but only as a one time watch I just won’t rate it because that would messed up any recommendations I get down the road.

 

As for the recommendations I’ve received since this Quickstar 2.0 was introduced, I’ve been told that shows like iZombie are 96% for me and EVERY Netflix original is 95% or higher.  Let me give you a little context so you can understand why I bring this up, I watch Sons of Anarchy, Star Trek, and WW2 documentaries, and more of the some, does that sound like something interested in iZombie?  No, I used to trust the rating system, if I saw a 4 star or above I added it to my queue without thinking because Netflix is mostly right, now not a chance once I saw that your new system has no idea what I like and heavily weights your own content regardless of if I’ll like it or not I refuse to trust it anymore.

 

I won’t delete my account right now but if this doesn’t go back to the old system soon I will.  I’m an Amazon Prime member so I have that video, I have over 200 movies and over 20 TV shows on my Vudu account, and now that Hulu has an ad free level I might try it out since I’ve been hearing good things about their originals.  Needless to say I have options and don’t need Netflix, I’ve only stuck with Netflix because I’ve invested so much time that I didn’t want to have to redo it all, but now thanks to the new system I’d have to redo it all any way so what’s stopping me from leaving?  I stayed when you started the auto play on previews, I stayed when clicking on a title to get more information auto played instead of giving me a damn choice in the matter, but this is it, I’m done putting up with this crap, stop forcing crap we don’t want on us and listen to the customer!  If you don’t get your heads out of your own asses soon you’re going to lose consumer confidence and once you’ve lost that market share is gone too.

 

TL;DR:  The new rating system sucks, and if you don’t get rid of it I will stop giving you money.

 

Regards,

Mike Oplinger (Netflix member since 2003)

CBS All Access

So when Steven Colbert debuted on The Late Show I tested out the CBS All Access app on my Roku.  It’s easy to set up, just install the app and sign up on the website, then you’re good to go.  It does cost $3.99 per month but that was fine, I pay $8.99 for Netflix so $3.99 sounds like a good deal.

Once I got into the app I had a change of heart, first of all you can not see the entire episode, they cut clips out of each episode so you have to watch them separately.  So basically you watch the episode with parts cut out, then you have to go back and hunt for the clips that were cut out if you want to see the entire show. Very annoying to say the least.

Then you have to sit through commercials, so not only are you paying for the service but you also have to sit through commercials.  This is why I canceled my Hulu account two years ago (click the link for that story), you have to pick one, either I pay for the service and don’t get commercials or I don’t pay for the service then I’ll gladly sit though your commercials.

Also there is a lot of buffering, it could take almost double the time of the episode to watch because of all the buffering.  And yes I checked my connection, and I tested Netflix and VUDU before and after watching one episode on CBS All Access, Netflix and VUDU worked fine with no buffering.

CBS needs to fix this app, first play the full episodes without clips cut out.  If you want to off clips that’s fine but don’t cut them out of the show!  Second decide what you want to offer, a paid service with NO commercials or a free service with commercials.  They could offer a tiered plan, maybe something like this:

  • Free Plan – Has commercials and maybe a banner ad on the lower third.
  • $3.99 Plan – No commercials but banner ad on the lower third.
  • $6.99 Plan – No commercials and no banner ads.
I’d gladly pay for the $3.99 plan and maybe if the selection of shows got better (it stinks right now) I’d be willing to bump it up to the $6.99 plan.  But for right now, I won’t be keeping my subscription, honestly ever time I’ve tried to watch something I just end up getting aggravated and turning it off, it’s been over a week and I haven’t opened up the app once because I know I’ll just get aggravated and turn it off.
Come on CBS fix this, I want to support you in digital content but your making it REALLY hard.

How adblocking is hurting sites like this one

Why do I say this?

Well it’s simple really, I pay for hosting with SiteGround and while it’s not a huge amount it’s still over $100 per year and that money has to come from somewhere.  At the moment I’m paying for hosting out of pocket, I own Galway IMT LLC which is the legal owner of this site OPPY1984.com, and to keep things going I’ve invested money out of my own pocket to pay the bills.  The problem is I don’t want to keep doing that forever, so I use Google Adsense, and Amazon Associates, and I’m selling my movie collection on Ebay, I’ve even added PayPal and ChangeTip buttons to the side bar on the right, I’m not trying to make my fortune with this site, I just want it to pay for it’s self.

What can you do?

Well for one you can turn off your adblocker or at least white list my site, and of course click on an ad once in a while.  You can also buy through my Amazon links, did you know that if you click on one of my Amazon links then buy something else instead of what I was offering I’ll still get a commission?  Yep, even if you don’t buy what I offered you but you still buy something I’ll get a commission on that sale, it won’t be as much as if you had bought what I offered but it will be something, and that would help me pay my bills.  You could also buy one of my movies I’m selling on Ebay, just go up to the Shop Tab and click on the Ebay Tab, that will take you to my profile page where everything I have for sale will be listed.
If none of that interests you you could always donate to the site though the PayPal or ChangeTip buttons, They are not there for show, they are they for you to say thanks for the content and to help support this site.

What is the issue?

Advertisers today have forgotten that people don’t like in your face flashing advertisements, so they put them out on the ad networks and annoy the user to the point where the user gives up and installs and adblocker.  Should you block those kinds of ads?  In my opinion, yes.  I visit a few sites that run those flashing, pop up ads and I’ve installed adblock (not AdBlock Plus) and instead of white listing sites, I blacklisted those sites that run those kind of ads, in total I’ve only blacklisted 5 websites.  What I have done on top of that is written to all 5 of those sites admins and told them that I have blacklisted them in adblock and if they want me to whitelist them they need to change their ad format, and that in the meantime I will find other ways to support them.  See that’s the thing, if I’m going to still visit their websites and read their content or use their service I want to support them, but I won’t support their horrible ads.
This is the issue today, to many people are installing adblocking tools then thinking the internet is free, it’s not people, trust me.  If you want the content and services you love to continue you’re going to have to support the sites.  If a site is running the kind of ads you hate, write the admin and let them know, tell them you want to support their site but the type of advertisements they run has to change.  If the advertising industry sees that no one is clicking on the annoying ads, but is clicking on the simple non-annoying ads then they will change their tactics and stop showing the annoying ads.  If people just keep blocking ads then the advertising industry will just come up with a new way to present ads that will circumvent adblockers and then they won’t learn their lesson.

What happens if everyone still just keeps using adblockers?

Well first the sites that host the content and services you love will go down, then the advertising industry will suffer a little, but don’t think you’ve won at that point.  The advertising industry will just come up with new ways to show you ads, and the websites of the world will do what no one wants to do and put up paywalls.  Just think that great content and those great services you’re using for free right now will put up paywalls and then you’ll ave to pay whatever the site owners decide.  Sure you can opt to not pay what they ask for and try and find another site, but wouldn’t it just be easier to face the problem now instead of destroying the open and mostly free system we have now?

In Conclusion

Please remember that small website like this one depend on ad sales, affiliate sales, and donations from users like you to keep going.  Yes we do this because we love it, but love doesn’t pay the bills, so please use the suggestions I’ve mentioned above, change the advertising industry and don’t hurt the content creators and service providers.

Is Lollipop the Windows 8 of Android?

I got the Android 5.0 (Lollipop) update on Monday and I’ve been miserable ever since.  I’ve been an Android user for years, the first android phone I got was running android 2.0 and while it wasn’t the smoothest OS I was in love with it and have stayed with android since.  Up until Monday I was running KitKat 4.4.4 on my Nexus 5 and was totally happy, then I saw the update had been pushed to me and I was eager to install and did it right away.  Big mistake.
First I had to swipe up to get to my lock screen which annoyed me, but I thought I could just change that setting and make the lock screen be the first thing I see when I hit the power button.  Nope, you can not bypass this, even if you turn off the notifications all you see is a blank screen that you still have to swipe up to get to your lock screen.  I don’t understand why the Android team didn’t turn that off if you disable all notification, instead they decided it would be better to inconvenience people and give them an extra step to unlock their phone with no way to bypass this step.
So then I get my phone unlocked and I see the Material Design and the first thing I think is “this looks like a damn iPhone“, personally I think it’s ugly.  It’s flat, it lifeless, the icons now look more like paper cut-outs than then clean crisp icons from previous versions.  But thing flash up on the screen now instead of simply appearing, never mind that once the window has flashed up the icons are ugly.
Screenshot_2014-11-19-01-00-35  Screenshot_2014-11-19-00-58-32  Screenshot_2014-11-19-01-02-18
At this point I’m telling myself I’ll get used to this, I always have before.  So I continue to look around and I don’t like what I see.  First the keyboard (first image) is ugly and I found I made more mistakes when I typed on it, it’s amazing how changing the color from black to white and removing any separation between the keys can affect your typing.  I of course gave up on this new keyboard and went back to the old standard black keyboard which separation between the keys.  Now look at the calculator (middle image) that is just ugly, and once again they’ve removed any separation between the keys.  Also that teal bar on the side is horrible, it just screams at you and looks totally out of place in the app.  Plus there is the fact that once you do your calculation you have to long press delete to clear it, unlike in previous versions where when you tapped the delete button it cleared the screen.  Minor thing I know, but I use the calculator several times a day and this gets annoying.  Then I see my apps menu, so now instead of thumbnails I have cards, great.  Now I have a stack of cards to swipe away that ends in the center of the screen instead of a descending set of thumbnails that can be easily swiped away with my thumb.
Screenshot_2014-11-19-01-01-28                 Screenshot_2014-11-19-01-01-42
So by now you can tell I’m not liking Lollipop, but I figure I’ll use it for a few days and get accustomed to the new UI and everything will be alright, then I kept going.  Now when I swipe down I see this (first image), and yes it’s different and I prefer the previous pull down menu but this isn’t that bad, the flashlight is useless since I have and app that I don’t have to pull down to get to but whatever, I can live with this.  Then I see that when I long press the power button I no longer have to ability to set my phone to vibrate or silent and I no longer have the ability to put my phone in airplane mode.  Now I know I can just swipe down to set airplane mode, but the old way was quick and easy, why would they take this out?  Also there is no setting that I can find on the pull down menu to set my phone to silence or vibrate, so instead I now have to physically turn the volume down, then back up when I want the ringer back.
So I’m really not happy with Lollipop but once again I tell myself that I’ll adapt and everything will be fine.  Then apps start crashing, apps that were working just fine before the update are now crashing.  And I can understand when third party apps crash after a major update like this, but Gmail and Hangouts crashed!  These are the Google apps that should always work with Android, and yet their crashing too!  Something tells me the Android team spent more time worrying about how the icons looks and making sure that things flashed on screen with some animation than they did worrying about if the OS even worked.  I know Android always has it’s bugs, and I get that, but my Nexus 5 is almost unusable right now.  Just to send a text message I have to open Hangouts several times just to have it force close then reopen it and go though that process several times before it will stay open long enough for me to send a text.  And Gmail gives me a blank inbox for about 30 seconds then force closes all the time, some times it will let me see my email and work properly but most of the time it’s just the blank screen then force close.
So I for one do not like Lollipop and wish there was an easy, non techy, way to go back to KitKat.  That’s a feature Android should make, the wayback button “Don’t like this flavor of Android?  Hit the wayback button and remove the update and go back to your previous version”.  I’ve tried to do the whole bootloader thing and I have no idea what I’m doing, and I’m afraid of bricking my phone, so something like the wayback button would be nice, even if it had a time limit, say 7 days, I’d still like an easy way to go back to a stable version of Android.
In the end I just wish that the Android team had spent more time making sure Lollipop worked and less time time removing useful things, and making sure the animations flashed.

Why HBO's internet only service is a real threat to Netflix and bad for consumers

With HBO’s announcement of an internet only service and Netflix’s earnings report coming in below expectations, I’ve started to think of the possible issue this could raise for Netflix down the road.  Now that HBO, CBSWWE, and Lion’s Gate are going to offer internet only services it will be a more attractive proposition for other networks to offer internet only service as well.  What does this mean for Netflix, a lot more competition and more restrictions on content for Netflix.
Of course this is a good thing for we the consumer, increased competition means price wars and constantly trying to put out better content than your competitor.  What is so bad about that?  Well that could very well price Netflix out of the market leaving the consumers with the network and studio owned distribution networks, who could then do what the cable companies do now and agree to high prices for service since we the consumers have no alternative at that point.
While I’m happy to see more challenges to the traditional cable company, I also see what could happen further down the road, take out Netflix and other 3rd part distributors of your content and then you can start charging what ever you want for your service.  For example take a look at the current those of us in the United States face with the cable monopoly, the vast majority of consumers have no real choice when it comes to cable providers and since they are one in the same ISPs.  This is a result of the government stepping in and mandating that cable companies have monopolies in their respective markets thereby making the need to provide better service and lower prices nonexistent.
This is the nightmare scenario we could face as consumers is there is no alternative way to consume the content that these networks put out.  So yes while I’m happy that more networks and content producers are going to online distribution, I also worry about how they could take over and monopolize the market forcing people to either pay outrageous prices or pirate the content.

Google Wallet & Apple Pay vs. CurrentC

With the development of CurrentC in the wake of Apple Pay, I have to say this is a horrible PR move and CurrentC will be the Qwikster of the credit industry.  QR codes as payment systems were an interesting idea 4 years ago but now that we have NFC, QR code payment systems just don’t make sense.

So what is CurrentC?

CurrentC is a payment app developed by retailers to bypass the credit card companies and process your payments themselves while also collecting data on you using QR codes to process the payments instead of the magnetic strip on your credit card or the NFC chip in your phone.

Why do retailers use CurrentC instead of Google Wallet and Apple Pay?
Well for one the retailers were slow to adopt NFC payments and so they didn’t put things in place to have loyalty cards attached to your NFC wallet of choice, and now as a result they don’t have the ability to track you and gather information on everything you buy.  So a few years ago these retailers (see the list below) teamed up to create their own app for mobile payments instead of just going to Google and Apple and asking how can we work together to build a better payment system.
What should the retailers do now?

Well first drop CurrentC and beg the public for forgiveness.  Next allow NFC payments right away.  Then while customers are happy because they can use NFC payments, the retailers can be working with Google and Apple to insert loyalty cards into Google Wallet and Apple Pay thereby letting them get their precious tracking data on they consumers.
If these retailers don’t want to face an ever increasing backlash from consumers I suggest they give up on CurrentC and turn on NFC right away, but sadly I fear they will dig in and fight to use their own useless system while the retailers who allow and embrace NFC will flourish.

The X-37B

With the news of the landing of the X-37B Friday I guess I’ll throw my two cents in on what it could be doing.

  1. It’s an advance spy plane that can orbit space taking pictures and video at high resolution, making it harder to detect and bring down.
  2. It’s an unmanned bomber that sits in orbit with it’s payload waiting for someone on the ground to give it the order to launch the bomb(s) it carries.
  3. It’s the prototype for an unmanned warp speed ship to try and bring the Vulcan’s to earth.
  4. It’s a cheaper and safer way to test new technology in the harsh environment of space, before building a new manned spacecraft, without putting human or animal life in danger.
How much you want to bet it’s #4?  But why would the Air Force be running the vehicle instead of NASA?  Well lets think about this, NASA has been moving more to exploring deep space, and sending out small probes, while the Air Force has been more focused on space (near earth orbit space to be exact) for the last twenty years.  Let’s face it with every major government wanting to put space stations in orbit, it makes sense that the U.S. government would think about the military applications and hand it over to the military.  Does that mean I agree with it?  No.  But that’s probably what’s happened.  Personally I think space should be like the south pole, a neutral place for all countries of the world to explore.
So should everyone get upset over this vehicle?  No, it’s just a test vehicle.  If they start arming it, then we should get upset.  Heck go ahead and tell the government that we don’t want space to be armed, let them know now so when the day comes that do do it anyway we can say we told you not to do that so we’re voting you out.

Why Microsoft needs to break up.

After the announcement that Microsoft will be laying off 18,000 workers I was listening to This Week in Tech #467 where they proposed breaking up Microsoft and I have to say I agree. There is a toxic corporate culture within Microsoft and it’s far to entrenched to change at this point, maybe I’m wrong but stack ranking only leads to coworkers and divisions fighting each other instead of working together and building the best product possible. Maybe Satya Nadella can get rid of stack ranking and clean up the culture but it’s a bit to much for one man, and besides he’s already got enough to clean up from the mess Steve Ballmer left on his way out. I just think first you get rid of stack ranking then break up the company into three parts all owned by Microsoft as a holding company.

Ok so what should Satya Nadella do in my opinion? Well like I said first abolish stack ranking company wide, that would be a major step forward in it’s self. Next break the company into three separate companies all owned my the Microsoft corporation which would become a holding company and general guiding hand for all three. The way I see breaking it up is like this, 1) Software 2) Hardware 3) Could, I know what you’re thinking “what about enterprise?” well each company would have a division for consumer products and a division for enterprise products, so there is no need to have a separate company for enterprise alone.

1) Software. This would be Windows, Office, and all the other software products they currently offer and will offer in the future.

2) Hardware. This would be Xbox, Nokia, Surface, and all other hardware they offer.

3) Cloud. This would be not only things like OneDrive & Office Online & Azure, but Bing, Skype, MSN Messagner, and all the web based products. I know I’m setting this one up for taking over but one company is always going to do better than the other, sad fact of life.

Personally I think this is the best way to ensure that Microsoft has a future that will be more than a second class citizen of the tech world, of course it will never happen, even if Satya Nadella wanted to do this the board (which has Bill Gates & Steve Ballmer on it) would never let this happen. So while it’s fun to talk about, I’m afraid that everyone in the upper levels of Microsoft has been drinking the kool-aid for far to long and they won’t split the company up until it’s far to late and Microsoft is a tech dinosaur.