Systems Engineer, IT Guy, Geek. Always looking for a new gadget to try; amateur photographer; occasional gamer; love to travel. @NASAJuno #NasaTweetup alumni
8 stories
·
0 followers

Alaska’s last two Blockbusters are shutting down, leaving one in US

1 Comment

On Thursday, Blockbuster Alaska announced that the rental chain's last two Alaskan stores will shut down on Monday, with liquidation sales to follow. The news means that only one Blockbuster store will remain in the United States, in Bend, Oregon.

"We hope to see you at our stores during the closing, even if it’s just to say 'Hello,'" the final two shops' managers posted in a Facebook announcement on Thursday. "What a great time to build your media library and share some Blockbuster memories with us."

In its report, the Anchorage Daily News confirmed with Border Entertainment, a Texas-based holding company that operated all of Alaska's Blockbuster stores, that closure plans had been in the works since before the end of 2017. At that time, Border decided to stop renewing any Blockbuster store leases, resulting in a series of closures across the state over the past nine months.

Though the video rental chain languished in the face of rampant streaming and online-sales competition, Blockbuster stores had a different lease on life in Alaska, where network deployment has proven expensive and reliant on government subsidies—and has resulted in high per-megabyte costs and cries of possible monopolies. Border told the ADN that its remaining Blockbuster shops were still pulling a profit as of press time, though that profit had been declining.

Non-Alaskans may best know these soon-to-shutter Blockbuster stores thanks to a Last Week Tonight stunt in which host John Oliver sent Russell Crowe memorabilia (including a used $7,000 jockstrap) to the stores in April. Border owner Alan Payne told the ADN that he planned to ship all of the items "back to the owner, which is fine, because I don't want a jockstrap in my house."

While Blockbuster may be down to only one American shop—whose owner in Bend, Oregon, spoke to the ADN in its report—other independent shops have continued coming up with ways to keep video, DVD, and Blu-ray stocks available to the public, including shifts to nonprofit status and educational efforts.

Read Comments

Read the whole story
amaiman
1600 days ago
reply
Got to visit the one in North Pole (Fairbanks) earlier this year before it closed; blast from the past.
New Jersey
Share this story
Delete

The Alien Has Landed

1 Comment

We are pleased to announce that the most popular iOS client for reddit, Alien Blue, is now an official reddit app.

It’s the exact same Alien Blue app you know and love, plus some bug fixes and an updated icon.

You can download the new Alien Blue from the iOS store here. Note: it may take a while to show up in the App Store in your area; please be patient and keep trying.

To celebrate and ease the move to reddit, everyone can get the Alien Blue Pro upgrade free for one week. The iPad app will also be free until we integrate it with the iPhone app and the two become one universal app.

We have a few ideas for features to add in the near future and it will only get better. Enjoy, and please share feedback!

We’re also happy to say that its lead developer, Jase Morrissey, has joined us as our first Aussie. We have been working closely with Jase for the past several years and are thrilled to officially welcome him to our team.

Jase Morrissey (/u/jase), mobile software engineer

G'day folks! I'm Jase, and I'm absolutely thrilled to be joining the very talented reddit crew. I'm the developer of Alien Blue and have been working closely with reddit for many years now. I'm an iOS developer by profession, but I adore building software on any device or machine that I can get my hands on. I'm almost always lurking on /r/PCGaming, /r/Games and of course, /r/AlienBlue. Now that I'm an official member of the team, I'm hoping to spend even more time doing what I love - building fun and powerful software for all of you.

We’re also continuing to work with other third-party app developers and will continue to do so, because we believe our communities are interested in multiple ways to experience reddit. In the past six months, we’ve improved our API, added OAuth for apps, and added gold features to help build our mobile developer ecosystem.

Alien Blue will join the official reddit AMA app in the App Store, along with all the awesome third-party apps for reddit. Thank you for all your support!

Note for Current Alien Blue users:

This is a brand new download, so current users, be sure to get it and then transfer your settings before you remove the old app.

You can transfer many of your customized settings to the new version (including subreddit groups, filters, and Imgur uploads) if you:

  • Launch the older version of Alien Blue and tap “Settings” > ”Advanced Settings” > “Privacy Settings” > “Export Settings to Clipboard”
  • In the new Alien Blue app, tap “Settings” > “Advanced Settings” > “Privacy Settings” > “Import Settings from Clipboard”

Current Pro users, please make sure to get the new Pro upgrade now (free for one week). Unfortunately, due to the limits of the app transfer system, we have no other way to verify, credit, or transfer your old Pro account.

Read the whole story
amaiman
2966 days ago
reply
If you read reddit, go get Alien Blue (pro) for free (this week.)
New Jersey
Share this story
Delete

Google Reader announced its shutdown exactly a year ago

32 Comments and 59 Shares

In this industry, you gotta be tough.

I’m just kidding. We’re a bunch of literates who enjoy reading so much that we built our own news readers. But when a behemoth like Google makes a call that places you at the business end of 100,000 frantic power users, reminding yourself how tough you are is one way of dealing with the madness.

Google announced Reader’s sunset at 4pm on March 13th, 2013. At that point I had spent three and a half years building my vision of a better news reader. I clearly wasn’t doing it for the money, since my paltry salary didn’t even cover my market rate rent in San Francisco. RSS was a decidedly stupid technology to piggyback off of to try and cover that financial disconnect.

Take a look at this graph. It shows NewsBlur’s income versus its expenses for the past 16 months. Just look at those few months before the Google Reader shutdown announcement in March 2013.

It was never hard to justify to others why I worked on a news reader for three-some years, partially because I’d been justifying it to myself for so long. I had the delusion that it would all work itself out in the end, so long as I kept pushing my hardest and shipping features users wanted. And, at the time, with 1,000 paying subscribers, it certainly felt like I was getting somewhere.

If you’re curious about why expenses are so high, think about what it takes to run a modern and popular news reader. This graph breaks down expenses for an average month from the past year.

Why spend all that money on subcontractors and new tools? Because I’m investing in building an even better news reader.

Fast forward a year and let hindsight tell you what’s what. I was irrational to think that I could make it on my own in a decaying market, what with all the air sucked out by Google. But that three year hallucination kept me persevering to build a better product, which positioned NewsBlur well as a strong candidate for a Reader replacement. When the sunset announcement dropped, it didn’t take long to fortify the servers and handle all the traffic. NewsBlur permanently ballooned up to 20X the number of paid users. People flocked to NewsBlur because it was among the furthest along in creating real competition. As we say on NewsBlur, the people have spoken.

The post-Google Reader landscape

I run a very opinionated news reader. If you think somewhat like I do, you couldn’t be more pleased with the direction NewsBlur goes. But this is still a power tool, and in a world of casual readers who don’t care where their news is coming from so long as it’s in their interests and matches their biases, NewsBlur is the coffee equivalent of the AeroPress. Most people want drip coffee and they don’t bother wasting mental energy on caring about the difference in taste or quality. It’s a binary to them: coffee or no coffee. There’s nothing wrong with that, they just choose to focus on other things more important to them than the sourcing or control they have of their coffee.

Many competing news readers are visual and offer a similar experience. When you want to give up control in exchange for the digested output of sophisticated and heartless algorithms, they’re your best bet. When you want to exert control and know what you want and from which sources, NewsBlur is the only option. No other reader gives you training, statistics, and sharing in one multi-platform app. Nobody else cares so much about RSS as to work on a news reader when it was still a financial inevitability of failure.

Future work on NewsBlur

If the past is any indication, NewsBlur is going to continue to see many more improvements. This graph of contributions from the past 365 days shows my level of unwavering dedication.

One way people speak is by committing code to NewsBlur’s GitHub repo. Try developing your own pet feature. I’ll even do some of the hard work for you, so long as you give it a good try and submit a pull request.

Meanwhile, I’m using the windfall to develop a secret project that will complement NewsBlur in a way that hasn’t been tried before with any reader. And if that fails, I’ll find an even better way to make my users happy with their purchase. If you thought I was relentless before March 13th, 2013, just wait until you see what I’m capable of with the finances to build all the big ticket features I’ve been imagining for years.

And while you’re here, do me a favor and tweet about NewsBlur. Tell your followers, who are probably looking for a better way to read news, about how much you rely on NewsBlur. Reading positive tweets about NewsBlur every morning (and afternoon and evening and before bed) make this the best job I’ve ever had.

Read the whole story
amaiman
3182 days ago
reply
Have been using @NewsBlur ever since and haven't looked back.
New Jersey
popular
3179 days ago
reply
Share this story
Delete
29 public comments
nb_test
3162 days ago
reply
Good story
windexx
3167 days ago
reply
Great newsreader. I haven't even touched all the features yet much less incorporate them into daily use. But it's nice to know they are there.
Bedford, Virginia
jantdm
3175 days ago
reply
Go NewsBlur!
Munich, Germany
rosskarchner
3179 days ago
reply
I'm glad to see that Newsblur seems to be on a sustainable path. Go, Samuel!

(I'm also testing out using iffft .com to turn my newsblur shares into blog posts)
DC-ish
kerray
3179 days ago
reply
This is how you do it :)
Brno, CZ
kyounger
3180 days ago
reply
Love this product.
tomm74
3180 days ago
reply
Newsblur is something worth paying for - I'm very much in the camp of "if you're not paying for it, you're the product" - and I for one prefer to pay for my services directly, rather than by having my data sold.

I like NB so much, I've been developing my own Windows 8 Metro UI for it!
Cardiff
romkyns
3180 days ago
reply
Well, it looks like renewals are about to start rolling in, right? So you're fine? I hope you are :)
redheadedfemme
3180 days ago
reply
I love NewsBlur. I'm happy to be a paying customer. It's a worthy replacement for Google Reader.
p4ul
3182 days ago
reply
Keep up the awesome work!
Wellington, New Zealand
zelig2
3183 days ago
reply
I was oblivious of other readers when I used Google but I'm honestly glad they shut down their service as I really enjoy NewsBlur.
BiG_E_DuB
3183 days ago
reply
Great post
Charlotte, NC, USA
boltonm
3183 days ago
reply
Very happy to have paid for the last year of Newsblur - Google Reader first replaced and since superseded. iOS app continues to improve. Looking forward to more great value in the coming year.
London, UK
alliepape
3183 days ago
reply
I came to NewsBlur for odd reasons, but I now use it every day and it makes my life actively better. It also allows me to share the writing that's important to me. Thanks, Sam.
San Francisco, CA
Eldaria
3183 days ago
reply
I switched to Newsblur from Google, and I'm certainly renewing my subscription. I will also head over to twitter and tell about you.
kimmo
3183 days ago
reply
I’m going to renew my subscription to NewsBlur in 11 days.
Espoo, Finland
acdha
3183 days ago
reply
I hope that there will be a corresponding spike as people renew those annual memberships which are all about to expire
Washington, DC
koffie
3183 days ago
reply
Gladly pay for this great RSS reader! Only hope it's healthy financially speaking, the graph does cause some concern...
Belgium
Brstrk
3183 days ago
reply
With the google reader apocalypse, I was infuriated, because most solutions, both online and offline, always lacked the general usability I needed, especially when it comes to having many feeds. Them Reddit suggested some replacement alternatives. Newsblur was among them. I'm glad I paid attention back them.
chriskayto
3183 days ago
reply
Just tweeted my support of NewsBlur! Thanks for creating such a great product.
Toronto
leilers
3183 days ago
reply
Very happy with my decision to move to NewsBlur, even though it was forced upon me by Google pulling Reader. Definitely worth the investment. #newsblur
Northern Virginia
jcherfas
3183 days ago
reply
I STILL like Newsblur. And I don't even use it on iOS.
tante
3183 days ago
reply
"NewsBlur is the coffee equivalent of the AeroPress"
Berlin/Germany
stsquad
3183 days ago
reply
happy to pay for this service.
Cambridge, UK
chrisrosa
3183 days ago
reply
For RSS "@NewsBlur is the coffee equivalent of the AeroPress." Great quote. Even better product.
San Francisco, CA
musictubes
3183 days ago
reply
Gotta say, Newsblur is my most used app on my iPad and iPhone. Happy to pay for it:)
Falls Church, Virginia
taglia
3183 days ago
reply
Since I found NewsBlur I have never once looked for another newsreader. Can't say this for many other services!

Also, I am kind of in awe when I see what a single person can do!
Singapore
lasombra
3183 days ago
Same here. There's no other newsreader that satisfy my needs so neatly.
leiter420
3183 days ago
reply
I love this news reader. It's so much better than Google Reader ever was, and that's saying something.
jimwise
3183 days ago
reply
Neat. There's this great rss reader called... Ok, you're using it.

Connect NewsBlur to dozens of web services with IFTTT

23 Comments and 34 Shares

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to automatically copy your saved stories over to Evernote or Twitter or Pinboard? What about an automatic way to keep track of your unread focus (trained) stories in Buffer or Delicious or Dropbox?

IFTTT (if this then that) is a free web service that automates the movement of data from NewsBlur to dozens of other web services. It also handles movement of data from dozens of other web services back into NewsBlur. Today IFTTT is launching a NewsBlur channel where you can take advantage of their incredible glue that binds dozens of web service like NewsBlur in unique and customizable ways.

Customizable IFTTT triggers

The best part about these IFTTT recipes is that the triggers can be customized to fit a specific saved story tag or blurblog or folder or feed. When you create a recipe using NewsBlur, you can choose which of your own feeds or tags you want to use.

You can also choose to only use unread focus (trained) stories. So you can filter out stories you don’t want to read and highlight the stories you do want to read using the Intelligence Trainer.

Create tasks and recipes with IFTTT

Here’s a sample of IFTTT recipes that you can use today for moving your data from NewsBlur out to other services:

IFTTT Recipe: When you save a story on NewsBlur, it will get saved for later on Instapaper. connects newsblur to instapaper

IFTTT Recipe: Saving a story on NewsBlur also saves it to Pocket connects newsblur to pocket

IFTTT Recipe: When you save a story on NewsBlur, it will create a new link note on Evernote. connects newsblur to evernote

IFTTT Recipe: When you save a story on NewsBlur, add a private bookmark to Pinboard. connects newsblur to pinboard

IFTTT Recipe: Save a story on NewsBlur → Add to Buffer connects newsblur to buffer

IFTTT Recipe: New saved story → tweet it connects newsblur to twitter

IFTTT Recipe: New saved story → post it on Facebook connects newsblur to facebook

You can also take data from other services and move it into NewsBlur:

IFTTT Recipe: If you post anything on your Tumblr blog, share it on your NewsBlur blurblog. connects tumblr to newsblur

IFTTT Recipe: New public photo in your 500px photo stream → share a link to it on your NewsBlur blurblog connects 500px to newsblur

Mix and match and create your own IFTTT recipes using the NewsBlur channel. And if you put together a good recipe, it’ll get featured both on IFTTT and on NewsBlur.

Read the whole story
amaiman
3204 days ago
reply
I was just thinking a few days ago, "Wouldn't it be nice if Newsblur worked with IFTTT" and now here it is :-) Thanks! Time to go set up some new recipes...
New Jersey
popular
3204 days ago
reply
Share this story
Delete
21 public comments
t6x6d00vrn
3188 days ago
reply
Awesome work!
thameera
3199 days ago
reply
We were waiting for this for a long time!
Sri Lanka
tedgould
3201 days ago
reply
Seems I need to create an IFTTT account now.
Texas, USA
claudinec
3202 days ago
reply
Two of my favourite services, IFTTT and Newsblur, now talk to each other.
Melbourne, Australia
ameel
3203 days ago
reply
Yay!
Melbourne, Australia
elty
3204 days ago
reply
Love it.
Vancouver
matsimpsk
3204 days ago
reply
Testing the new Newsblur IFTTT channel.
Norf East London, UK
sredfern
3204 days ago
reply
OMG wow, I connected my wordpress and newsblur in under 60 seconds. Wow!
Sydney Australia
MacDiva
3204 days ago
reply
@Newsblur + @IFTTT = genius. Congrats, @samuelclay!
Worldwide | NYC
freeAgent
3204 days ago
reply
Woohoo, integration!
Los Angeles, CA
alexanglin
3204 days ago
reply
Great addition to an excellent product/service!
Ottawa, Ontario
adamcole
3204 days ago
reply
Awesome.
Philadelphia, PA, USA
jbloom
3204 days ago
reply
Finishes a hole with Newsblur!
Columbus, Ohio
nealkemp
3204 days ago
reply
Yay!
London
rosskarchner
3204 days ago
reply
this makes me happy
DC-ish
Ferret
3204 days ago
reply
Well, this finally got me to sign up to ITTT
rtreborb
3204 days ago
reply
Fantastic
San Antonio, TX
adamgurri
3204 days ago
reply
Excellent. This solves a lot of problems at once.
New York, NY
gazuga
3204 days ago
If you set it up right you could start using saved story tags as simple commands.
adamgurri
3204 days ago
Yup that's precisely what I've done :)
samuel
3204 days ago
Let me know if there's a way I can make that easier. I'd like to get a way to put focus inside the saved tags text box, but that'll require a keyboard shortcut. Which one?
gazuga
3204 days ago
I can't think of anything semantic that isn't taken. Semicolon?
gazuga
3204 days ago
Or shift-t as in tag. I'm on my phone and can't remember if that's taken.
adamgurri
3201 days ago
Is there no way to tag within the iOS app?
samuel
3201 days ago
Not yet. Upcoming update won't have it, but next one will.
adamgurri
3201 days ago
Got it. Thanks!
chrisrosa
3204 days ago
reply
holy s**t!!!! yay!!
San Francisco, CA
ashtonbt1
3204 days ago
reply
Ah, this is such good news. I was just yesterday dreaming about how I used to have my recipes with Google Reader, and here I get to switch them over to Newsblur. Yesssss.
samuel
3205 days ago
reply
This closes a huge loop for me. Back in May 2012 I applied to work at IFTTT while waiting on my YC application. In the unlikely event that I got into YC with NewsBlur I would have greatly enjoyed working for IFTTT.

And now nearly two years later I get to work *with* IFTTT.
Cambridge, Massachusetts
austinstorm
3204 days ago
This is great! Have you considered Zapier integration? It's similar to IFTTT
Ferret
3204 days ago
Sam, is the feed from newsblur to ITTT putting in bit.ly links, or is that something ITTT is doing? EDIT: It's a preference in ITTT, which I've disabled and everything looks kosher now. SWEET!
samuel
3204 days ago
Zapier was actually in my YC batch. I'm planning it for next month.
austinstorm
3204 days ago
Wild - kudos
Andi_Mohr
3204 days ago
Nice one - about 18 months ago (ish?) I used my blurblog RSS feed to pump data into IFTTT but wasn't happy with the results - will give this a whirl and see if it does what I'm looking for now. Love a bit of automation. Good work!
digdoug
3204 days ago
Congrats! I remember asking about integration when I signed up. Glad to see it arrive.
samuel
3204 days ago
Andi, I expect that the output won't change much, since you can setup an IFTTT recipe using your blurblog just the same. The difference is that there is no comment header on the top of IFTTT's copy of your shared story like there is on RSS.
Andi_Mohr
3204 days ago
OK cheers Samuel - will give it a try anyway!
Dadster
3197 days ago
SO GLAD you worked Newsblur Samuel - and that IFTTT made it without you. Selfish, I know. I love both these apps.

How to Advise Someone as to What Kind of Computer They Should Buy

1 Share

As always, thanks for using my Amazon Affiliate links (USUKCanada).

Read the whole story
amaiman
3348 days ago
reply
New Jersey
Share this story
Delete

Comic for August 4, 2013

2 Comments and 7 Shares
None
Read the whole story
amaiman
3405 days ago
reply
Yay for cynicism :-)
New Jersey
Share this story
Delete
1 public comment
sjk
3404 days ago
reply
Yeah, this pretty much describes most experiences I have with online collaboration with conference call voice. I just need to lower my expectations to the level that Dilbert has and I will be fine.
Florida
Next Page of Stories