Weekly Round-Up - Sept 30

Once again, it's Weekly Round-Up time, where I pull together an eclectic sampling of items (hopefully) of interest from the past several days.

Best Bluetooth speakers

What is a solid state drive? Should I buy one?

New Teddy Ruxpin: adorable, or the blinking demon of your nightmares?

Google swallows 11,000 novels to improve AI's conversation

Roku revamps its streaming player product line

More baby boomers may face treatment-resistant depression

Why the best smartphone is the one you already have

By 2020, your WiFi connected car will pay for parking, gas  - ugh!


Home Security Camera Primer And Round-Up

Home security systems come in all shapes and sizes, including "do-it-yourself" cameras you can set up to monitor, alert and record potential nefarious activity in and around your home.

Personally, my only reservation over these types of devices at present is the lack of security in some instances with internet-connected cameras.

That said, prices are affordable and if you can get a non-subscription (or low-cost subscription) setup, then it's hard to argue against the extra layer of security these can give you.

PC Magazine has a round-up of current offerings, and gives you a good idea of what features are on offer, and which make sense in a given situation.

CW Network Now Available Free On Roku

If you have a Roku streaming device, you now can also get the CW Network as a free channel. The CW is where Supergirl moved to after the first season on CBS. This a pretty nice free addition, as the CW has quite a bit of programming, including Arrow, and other non-superhero content, too.

The CW Network is also available to subscribers of Hulu, on their commercial-free tier.
Roku promises "The CW channel will give all Roku customers access to the current season of shows including The Flash, Supergirl and Arrow. New episodes are available the day after they air, with the last five episodes available at a time".


Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative Pledges To Eradicate Disease

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, pediatrician Priscilla Chan, are using their fortune to try to eradicate disease. To that end, they will spend $3 billion over the next ten years to foster technology and research into finding cures. 
Chan acknowledged that the organization’s goal is extreme, but she said she very much believes in it, tearing up at one point during her speech. “This doesn’t mean no one will get sick,” she said. “But it does mean that our children and their children should get sick a lot less.”
They join with several other tech titans - like Bill and Melinda Gates (Bill Gates of Microsoft fame) - who have given or continue to give away much of their fortune toward philanthropic ventures.

The November Elections Will Be Ugly

Warning, commentary ahead...

It's going to be an ugly Presidential election in November. 

Both sides are rabidly opposed to the other at a visceral level, and to be perfectly honest, I have been appalled at the coordinated level of vitriol directed at Donald Trump from, well, everyone: Democrats, national and international press, and from almost everyone in the entertainment industry.

No matter what you may think of his platform, the coverage thus far smacks of a monumental hatchet job - and I assure you I am not a Alex Jones-type conspiracy theorist. While I confess I dislike Sen Clinton (I have no ill will towards her, but I feel she is representative of the worst kind of career politician), the one-sided way things are being presented to the public is shameful.

And of course the specter of election fraud is looming, where I can foresee bitter arguments from all regardless of the result of the vote. Electronic voting systems have been shown to be quite hackable, and the possibility of some state-sponsored malarky seems real.

In the end, no matter who is elected, they will be inheriting a poisonous environment of growing racial strife and pending monetary disaster (have you looked at our national debt recently?). 

Regarding the job of US President itself, to paraphrase maid Idella from "Driving Miss Daisy"; "I wouldn't want that job if the sweet Lord Jesus came down Himself and asked me".

You will be glad to know this will be my last rant along these lines, I have tried hard not to pontificate, and I think I have only made a couple of actual "political" posts this year. 

So fear not, and vote your conscience.