Yahoo Shuts Down Astrid

Not content with merely providing users with a portal that sucks, Marissa Mayer has taken to trolling the mobile sphere, finding good companies, and closing them down.  Yahoo recently acquired task management software Astrid.  Now I love Astrid, and while I was a little nervous about potential changes Yahoo might make, I was hoping for the best when I first read the news.  So what are Yahoo’s exciting plans for Astrid’s four million users?

Over the next 90 days, Astrid will continue to work as is, and we will no longer be accepting new premium subscriptions. To make future changes as easy as possible, we’ll be in touch with users shortly to share how to download data.

That’s right folks, Mayer is going to shut ‘er down.  Absolutely no attempt will be made to retain those users or convert them to Yahoo’s portfolio of suck.  Acquire the team, shut down the product, and leave the users hanging – thanks Marissa!

Samsung Galaxy S4 WiFi Auto-On

I just got my new Galaxy S4 last week after over two years of living on an HTC Evo.  The Evo was a good phone, but ultimately aged poorly – becoming slow, lacking new OS features, and a short battery life that became increasingly irritating.

With half of its built in memory already used for new whiz-bang features that I don’t really need (e.g. eye-tracking scrolling that never really works), I’m thinking the S4 may also suffer the same flaws.  In the mean time, however, the most noticeable thing is that Google and Samsung have raised the creepyness factor a notch.  The phone knows where I live (by tracking my location), and even has a “feature” where it automatically “remembers the locations where you spend the most time and turns on Wi-Fi when you are near those places.”

This is called “SmartMode” and it’s my new pet peeve (there’s not enough documentation to tell whether it is a Samsung or Google “feature”).  What’s interesting is that it doesn’t just turn on WiFi for locations where you have previously connected – it turns it on anywhere you have high dwell time.  So for example if you are in your office, and your office doesn’t have WiFi, the S4 will turn on WiFi anyways.  No matter how many times you turn it off, it will turn it back on seemingly every five minutes.

To disable go into Settings -> Connections -> Wi-Fi -> Smart mode.

Twitter Unveils Plan to Stop Loosing Money Hand Over Fist

According to the New York Times:

The microblogging service plans to link keyword searches with advertising and show users relevant promoted posts.

Even better was the nytimes.com headline linking to the article:  “Twitter Has a Plan to Make Money With Ads.”  Because after years of the revenue-deficient service shouting its impending online dominance into the public square, they’ve finally decided they intend to raise funds on teh internets from teh advertisers.  Breaking news, I tell you, breaking news.

Remove Windows Search

If you’re like me, you woke up one day and discovered that your Windows XP search function no longer worked as it used to.  When you tried to search a folder, instead your helpful file search box popping up, you saw something that asked you questions about indexing and searching the internet.  “But I don’t want to search the internet” you thought to yourself, “That’s why I’m not in a web browser.  And do I really have the time to sit here while my computer indexes itself?”

Well, here’s a link to a fine gentlemen who comes to the rescue and helps you undo Microsoft’s most unhelpful mandatory update to your computer.