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mhaithaca
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mhaithaca
If a third-party knockoff of an Apple product has a price that looks too good to be true, it probably is! I've learned that lesson again.

Wish fake AirPodsIronically, the AirPods-like Bluetooth in-ear wireless earbuds I bought from Wish for $5 are probably the best Bluetooth earphones I've ever owned. The audio quality isn't bad at all. They talk to my iPhone just fine, and since the new iPhone XS I bought in October doesn't have an earphone port any more, I needed something wireless if I didn't want to use the weird proprietary Lightning-connector wired earbuds that come with the phone, or buy an adapter to use any of the dozen wired earphones I have sitting around.

Unfortunately, if I use both at once, the left-ear unit has near-constant interference that reminds me of the interference you used to get on speakers that were anywhere near a cell phone that used AT&T's network. It makes me wonder if the two earpods are using something other than Bluetooth to talk to each other, and just the right-side one is using Bluetooth to talk to the phone.

Anyway, this almost-but-not-quite experience I'm getting from these knockoff AirPods is making me seriously contemplate the real thing. Apple sells them for $159, so they feel like a bit of a splurge, but if I use them a lot, it's probably worth it.

Weirdly, Amazon sells a lot of third-party earpods that look like AirPods but aren't, and they sell Apple Airpods from third-party sellers that are refurbished and more expensive than the retail product! They don't sell them new at the retail price. So, at least at the moment, I'm not buying them from Amazon.

Current Music: The DrunkenUX Podcast

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Good morning, all! A conversation yesterday with a colleague reminded me that there's a deadline looming for users of Flickr's free accounts.

Thanksgiving 2015Flickr was acquired from Yahoo by Smugmug last year, and the photosharing service has imposed much stricter limits on storage for its free tier of accounts. Free Flickr account users can no longer store an essentially unlimited number of photos and photo albums in the previous 1-terabyte account limit.

All photos beyond the 1,000 images allowed for free users WILL BE DELETED, not just no longer visible, starting this week.

http://blog.flickr.net/en/2018/12/17/important-service-updates-and-dates-to-remember/

If you have photos stored only on Flickr, it would be a good idea to download them and archive them locally. If you have web pages or blog posts that embed photos directly from Flickr, those embedded photos might vanish.

If you're using Flickr albums to display content on the web, be aware of the new limitations. I've always encouraged people to upload SEVERAL select images from a given event, rather than dozens or hundreds, and that helps keep the account to a reasonable size.

Note that if your photos were uploaded with a Creative Commons license, or set to a CC license prior to November 1, Flickr is letting them stay.
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mhaithaca
I don't usually pay attention to the details of the Amazon Associates affiliate program we link to from 14850.com, but every once in a while I look at the ordered items out of curiosity.

Someone ordered a couch in November after clicking one of our links! $25.20 may be the biggest single item commission we've gotten. (Not sure, since I usually don't look that closely.) That meant the total we earned in November, for which we got an Amazon gift card in January, was over $50.

Well, unusually, we earned $0 in December. I just took a look at December's details to see why, and... whoever ordered the couch in November returned it in December! The -$25.20 wiped out the other commissions earned on December purchases, leaving us with a -$6 balance. Luckily, January wasn't bad, so we'll get another payout soon.

Do you buy stuff from Amazon? If you're not using someone's affiliate link, you're leaving money on the table. Every time I buy, I buy using someone's affiliate link, whether it's a friend's or a non-profit's. There's no increase in cost to me, but Amazon gladly sends a cut to the affiliate whose link I used. (They don't let you use your own affiliate link, so all the commissions we earn are from other people buying.)

Same with using Amazon Smile, where if you start at smile.amazon.com instead of www.amazon.com, they make a tiny donation to a charity of your choice.

If you need an affiliate link to try, feel free to use ours!

http://smile.amazon.com/?ie=UTF8&tag=14850online-20
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I like the idea of satellite radio, and I think I paid for an XM subscription for the first car I got that came with the equipment... probably my first Audi. I seem to recall I prepaid for a longer subscription than the length of the lease, and they wouldn't let me transfer it. Oh well. I wasn't giving up that much.

I haven't bothered subscribing since then, and mostly just used the three-month free trial of Sirius/XM that came with the 2017 CR-V on road trips. The subscription rates have gone way up, and just haven't felt like a good value when I have a lot of decent local radio I can listen to, a lot of music I can put on my phone to fire up in the car, and a lot of podcasts.

But, I was seriously considering some of the $5.99/month offers that were flying last fall, and appreciated the free Thanksgiving weekend offer. I almost jumped on one of the special offers right then, but decided to wait until after my two-and-a-half-week trip, so as not to waste that time.

Well, I let the best offers escape when they ended in December, and wasn't going to bother with the offers I'd seen recently.

I was just thinking about it again recently, and surprise, got an e-mail out of the blue saying that to thank me for having my car serviced, they were offering a free two months of Sirius/XM.

No "Give us your credit card and if you don't cancel after two months we'll start charging you $18.99/month." No gimmicks. Just click the link in the e-mail and they would activate my radio for two months.

Of course as I drove around campus and downtown on the way home from work today, I was reminded one of the reasons satellite radio doesn't make sense for me: it keeps cutting out as I drive past buildings, trees, and hills.

The newer equipment can cache a bit so they have a buffer to get you through brief blockages, but if you're driving around a dense downtown with tall buildings (and Ithaca's heading that way) the buffer won't last you long.

So, when the two months expires I may see what the current offers are, but I probably won't bother. And don't call me Shirley.
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