Lord Of The Rings And Hobbit El Humongo Collectors Set

The Lord Of The Rings trilogy of movies are very high on my list of all time favorites; a largely reverential telling of the beloved JRR Tolkien books. It was remarkable and even quite moving to see a "serious" (but not humorless) attempt to film what had long been considered un-filmable.  

The Hobbit trilogy, on the other hand, smacked of a cash grab. Stretching a short book into three overstuffed over-the-top movies was too much even for me, even counting some good performances and several stirring set pieces. I still have not actually watched the third movie.

The latest offering from New Line Cinema also sounds like a bit of a cash grab to me - an $800 Middle Earth Ultimate Collectors Edition (10% off at Amazon!), which is a Blu-ray boxed set behemoth that knows no bounds (or restraint).
What exactly do you get by paying essentially a $595 upgrade price [referring to the existing Blu-ray set]? After all, no new disc content is coming to this 30-disc set. The priciest part of the UCE appears to be a wooden shelf complete with a carved logo on both of its sides. 


If You Shopped At Eddie Bauer This Year, Head's Up

If you shopped at the Eddie Bauer clothing chain this year, you better take a good look at your credit or debit card statements for unusual activity. While this does not affect online shoppers, those who used credit or debit cards in an Eddie Bauer stores should be aware that all 350 stores just had to clean card-stealing malware from their cash terminals. The malware has been merrily churning away since the beginning of 2016.
“While not all transactions during this period were affected, out of an abundance of caution, Eddie Bauer is offering identity protection services to all customers who made purchases or returns during this period,” the company said in a press release
And the malware merry-go-round continues to spin...



Pandora Looking To Bring Optional On-Demand Streaming Model

Streaming music service Pandora has never offered an on-demand streaming service as such, but is looking to do so soon, according to the Wall Street Journal. I actually like the current Pandora model; you enter and artist or song and Pandora finds similar music.

For example, if you entered "James Taylor" into Pandora, you would get some items by James Taylor, and some by other artists in a similar style. The offerings stream one after the other, and you have limited ability to pick and choose. Even so, it's an interesting way to perhaps find new music or artists.

The new optional subscription service should be more like other streaming services such as Spotify, where you can pick a specific song at any time.

My "One Please" Movie Watching

I don't watch a lot of movies; I seem to have neither the time nor the inclination in recent years. I do have a small (rather eclectic) collection that I view from time to time at home, but my visits to the theater are usually relegated to "superhero" movies in the past few years; Iron Man, Guardians Of The Galaxy, Ant Man, The Avengers and so on.

Microsoft's New Edge-y Browser Campaign

In a move that could be construed as inspired or just pathetic, Microsoft has a plan to encourage users to migrate to Windows 10 Edge browser by monitoring it's use and rewarding folks with "points", redeemable for things like Starbucks coffee. 

Edge is the default browser in Windows 10, but Google's Chrome browser is still king of the browser hill by a pretty large margin (50% usage, vs all the other browsers combined). 

Folks in the US can earn credits that can be spent in the Microsoft online store on things like three months of advertisement-free Outlook and Amazon cards.
Microsoft won't let you just run Edge and cash in: it will monitor user's mouse and keyboard movements for "active use" of the browser. If you're busy enough, Redmond will hand over credits, soon to be renamed points under a program detailed here*.