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Xtra-Vision, a DVD rental chain that was previously owned by Blockbuster, announced that it’s to shut down 28 retail stores which will result in about 100 jobs lost.

Why am I writing about that? Well, simply because it was my first semi-proper job. As a result, Xtra-Vision holds a special place with me. It was a good job for someone in college. You got 5 free rentals per week (including games!), a lot of customers were really nice & trusted your input on what to watch and the crew we had in our store was awesome. This was despite my being in one of (if not the) busiest stores in the country. Even more, it was in a really rough area. Those facts typically means you work in a sweatshop style environment in retail. But not for us, we were a tight crew.

The other big reason it holds a special spot in my memory is that it’s where I met my wife to be. Continue…

Help! I’m losing leads because of content blocking!

A few months ago I wrote a post following Apple’s iOS9 keynote. Specifically I wrote about the announcement that Apple would introduce content blockers to iOS9’s Safari. In short, content blocking is the ability for a user to use a plugin (which utilises a native API within iOS9) which blocks certain content & scripts from their browsing experience. It’s specific to Safari, and specific to iOS. That said, this is just an addition to something that has existed for years on desktop browsers for years, and I presume Android users have had this for a long time, too.

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Bluesmart carry-on luggage

Update: So I’m back on another frequent flying binge, mixing both work & pleasure. I’ll keep this update short, but basically the Bluesmart has started to get a bit funky on me. While it’s still a great bit of luggage, something’s gone awry with the Bluetooth connection on it. It simply can’t hold a connection to any iOS device I test with for longer than 30 seconds, effectively making it a normal bag with a battery. Moreover it has a really irritating green LED flashing on the top (which stops me from letting it get back into pairing mode without a complete switch off/on, which just goes back into the same routine). This LED indicator has no meaning to me because the support docs, etc., do not help.

I’ve reached out to support & will update when they give me something concrete but to say I was scathing is an understatement. Their initial reply to my issue was to watch out for updates & to provide feedback through the app (the app isn’t necessarily the problem!). It’s probably the first time in my life I’ve had to threaten a refund policy in order to spur on some actual constructive dialogue.

Wait & see with this product. Below is the original review (unedited from prior version).

IMG_1922About a year ago I latched onto an IndieGoGo campaign for a “smart bag”. I’m a regular traveller, typically on short-haul domestic EU flights. Mostly I fly from Dublin to London and back again, with a few US trips in-between. All for work. For holidays I tend to fly within the EU too. I’ve been known to spend a good bit of time in Germany (mainly Berlin). Over this past year, and going into 2016, I’ll fly to Tenerife a few times because this is where we’ll be getting married.

So yeah, I fly a bunch. Enough to be judgmental about various frequent flyer lounges. Although only once have I had a real disaster with flying.

The main thing to think about with regular flying is the way to pack. I have it all laid out, depending on the number of days. I give a few shirts a vague iron (because you’ll need to re-iron them in the hotel anyway) and try to bring denim or chinos for the most part because they require less work. My job is a “dressy casual” one, so there’s no need to dress like I’m attending a wedding to meetings.

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The experience of having a flight cancelled

I fly a bunch. Probably not as much as other hyper powered business people, but I fly a lot. Probably once every two weeks. Mostly to the UK, but occasionally to the US or other European cities. Nearly all of these flights are work related.

Before I get into this story I have to acknowledge that I know I’m lucky. I’m lucky to have a job that gives me travel as a perk. Not even my colleagues get this kind of perk. Or at least, they don’t get it as often as I do.

In my time travelling I’ve had problems. I once missed a flight & had to catch another one an hour or two later. I once was on a plane that hit a bird, had to turn-around and we were required to change aircraft. I’ve been on really bumpy rides on prop planes, landed sideways in huge jets during high winds, and had to comfort people who were freaked out by mild turbulence.

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Content blocking & the end of online ads

With iOS9, Apple will introduce the concept of content blocking. This is a concept that allows apps & plugins to Safari & other browsers to block certain types of content. Most savvy users of browsers on desktop platforms are probably used to this concept through AdBlock and similar services.

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Apple Music

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For those of you who have followed the many, many outlets I’ve used in the past for blogging, you may remember a few years ago the difficulty with which I managed to get a Spotify account. Signing up & paying for a service from Ireland had never been so tortuous. Luckily they eventually, legitimately, came to our shores & for the last few years I’ve been a paying customer.

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Kindling

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One of my favourite things to do on my morning & evening commutes is read. I read a lot. In part, I read a lot because of a fascination with learning. To reference a certain Mr. Warren Buffet, the best investment you can make is in yourself. My wellbeing has not been a priority over the last few years as I focused on my career, but I’ve started to make a positive shift to ensure I don’t die at 35 of cardiac arrest. But my big investment has always been in my brain.

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Glasses

Since I was in my late teens I needed to wear glasses. Not badly. My prescription, even today, is very slight in the scale of glass prescriptions. It all stems from my over-use of computers, particularly through my teens & early twenties when I would go deep in crazy projects that would last through the night.

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Nomos Tangente 38

So, following on from my previous post, I took the plunge and bought an actual watch. A gallery of the unboxing is below.

Why did I choose Nomos? Well, they’re a relative newcomer to the market, priced in a medium range and they provide in-house movements built in their facility in Glashütte, Germany. Price, beauty (remember, I wanted to go for a minimalist bauhaus style) and a story to tell are why I went with Nomos.

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