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Netflix choices

It would seem that Netflix's rather arcane selection process to determine whether or not a series is renewed depends primarily upon the "completion rate", that is to say, how many people watch the series to the end.

Which would fail on me, as unless the series is exceptionally interesting (Wednesday, The Expanse...), I tend to regulate how much I watch rather than marathoning them. Then there's the fact that some times I just come home, stare at the wall a while, then go to bed. I don't want to think about anything, never mind watch something.

But it goes deeper than this. If the concept of a story seems pretty interesting, I'll give the programme a go. I'm currently making my way, slowly, through Lockwood & Co.
For series that I'm not sure about, I tend to give it a while to see. For example, the series 1899. Some people on a ship, supernatural events, maybe some time vortex stuff (going by the promo video). Ends with a cliffhanger. Cancelled.
Well, if Netflix doesn't have faith in the production, why should I spend 400 minutes (or about six and two third hours) of my time to end up with an unresolved story?

TV Tropes is helpful here. There was one show, Emerald City, on... I don't recall if it was Netflix or Prime. I looked it up. Cancelled after one season. So I just skipped right over it.
In fact, I think one of the few cancelled-after-one-season series that I watched was Emergence because it was an interesting story.
I'm not counting I Am Not Okay With This because it was Covid that killed that one, sadly. Or, at least, that's the official excuse.

Anyway, Netflix has an annoying habit of cancelling programmes like Google cancels programs, and they're both somewhat notorious for it.
However, the danger is that either they'll annoy people to the point where they unsubscribe (especially now that money is tight) or more and more people will be like me and put off watching our "possible maybe" choices until we know whether or not it's worth investing the time.

A useful phrase here is "Limited Series". I'm not sure what logic arrived at that name, but it basically means a series that reaches a conclusion. When it ends, it's done. No cliffhangers for a second series that never happens...


Heater controller

The heater in my room is a Silvercrest SKWH 2000 A2. It's a wall mounted ceramic heater with an infra-red controller.

You can see what's coming, right? I mean, remember where you are... ☺

The controller has eleven buttons and looks like this.

Heater IR controller
Heater IR controller.

The controller base ID bytes are &01FE. The buttons are as follows, going left to right from the top left.

On/Off &48B7 Turns the heater on and off.
Open window detection &7887 Disables set-temp if there's a sudden drop in temperature.
Heat level &807F Cycles through half, full, and cool heat options.
Diffuser &40BF Turns the diffuser vane on and off.
Self timer &C03F Cycles through 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 hours, or 0H to disable.
Target temp mode &20DF Set a target temperature and the heater will control itself.
+ &A05F Increment target temperature (or program mode).
OK &609F Set target temperature (or program mode).
Program mode &E01F Enters program mode.
- &10EF Decrement target temperature (or program mode).
Cancel automatic &906F Cancel target temperature or program mode.

The program mode descriptions are fuzzy because while you can set up all sorts of things like behaviour to happen at certain times on certain days (I think, only briefly skipped through that part of the instructions), the heater does not have any memory to see it through power cuts, which rather makes the entire feature somewhat useless.

Anyway, since we have all that gibberish in hexadecimal, it makes something like this fairly easy.

Heater IR controller, on my phone!
Heater IR controller, on my phone!

So now I can just start the irplus app, and have simple control of both my Internet Radio and the heater.

Here is the XML file of the above layout:

Import that file into irplus and you're good to go.


What the hell, Missouri?

From The Guardian:

A headline that would be a good April Fool if it wasn't true
My caption is stunned silence.

I have a very dim view of Republicans, they're basically Taliban with private healthcare...but there is so much wrong with that headline that I'm not even sure where to begin.
I mean, how do you even process what that is saying?

So children (the newspaper mentions 14 year olds) are legally able to openly carry things like an AR-15 in Missouri. That's St. Louis, or "that place with the bloody great metal arch". As for the police? Well, the child has to brandish the weapon "with intent" before it becomes a crime. I rather suspect there's a very small window of opportunity between "with intent" and straight up "homicide". Unless, of course, it's a white child shooting a black one. Or does that only work for the police?

To put this into perspective, this is two versions of an AR-15.

An AR15
Public domain image from Wikipedia, by TheAlphaWolf.

I'm no gun expert so I can't tell you what the difference is, beyond "one is bigger". What I can tell you is that your country must be seriously and severely broken if anybody thinks that weapons of that nature needs to be in the hands of civilians.
And to vote down a ban against children carrying such weapons? Who in their right mind thinks that non-adults should be allowed to carry a lethal weapon in a public place?

It's a rhetorical question. Some twat may come along and write me a flame filled comment (or email) stating that I can go screw myself as a clueless European pussy, real men need guns, and their children need guns for protection against school shooters.
They, of course, would miss the fact that having these sorts of weapons in the hands of civilians is liable to be half the reason school shootings happen at all. Or, to put it another way, kindly name another first world country where mass shootings and drivebys is just a normal part of life. Loads of Canadians have guns. Hunting rifles. It's a place with trees and mountains and bears. In France, there are many hunters. Some even manage to stay sober during the hunt (it's, uh, a bit of an inflammatory issue here). In the UK, there are hunts decked out in varying degrees of pretentiousness.
And, yet, in each of those countries, every single mass shooting is remembered not because it was horrible, but because it happens so infrequently. I can mention Hungerford and Dunblane, for example. Go Wiki. Note the dates.

Now tell me how many similar sorts of things have happened in the US since the beginning of the year.



Your comments:

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Zerosquare, 10th February 2023, 23:43
"You can see what's coming, right?" 
I know! You're going to control your heater using RiscOS! 
*reads article* 
Oh. I guess it works as well...
J.G.Harston, 11th February 2023, 04:07
Shudder! I was at university at Stirling in the late 1980s, and visited a friend in Dunblane quite often. Several times a person I later recognised as Thomas Hamilton would be on the bus and have one of those creepy try-and-ignore-the-nutter conversations with us. I also encountered him a few times in the university coffee bar as well.
Rick, 11th February 2023, 10:00
It may well be possible to rig up something using GPIO as it runs at a rate of 38kHz. To avoid complicated timing in assembler, it might suffice to use the PWM output and translate the NEC bit sequence into a series of bytes. 
Pump that into a transistor to switch an LED and it's a start. 
Or just use an already written app on a mobile phone. Bonus points, my Pi is on the desk attached to keyboards and power supplies. My phone can be in my hand in bed where I can just wave it in the right direction to turn the heat on. 
Practical solution wins. 😉
VinceH, 12th February 2023, 20:19
The Netflix problem you describe isn't unique to Netflix - and hasn't only manifested itself in the Netflix era. It's been a problem for as long as I can remember - and an observation I made IIRC in the 1990s or early 2000s on a usenet group can be summed up as "the better a show is (which you can read as how much *I* personally enjoy it) the more likely it is to get cancelled early." (Though there were always exceptions!) 
The corollary was that the worse a show was, the more likely it would keep on going. :) 
That isn't to say Netflix isn't a particularly prominent offender in this. It clearly is - but you even mentioned an example that demonstrates it's not the only one: The Expanse. Originally commissioned by the Sci-Fi channel (or had it become SyFy by that point?), they cancelled it after three seasons, but it was then (thankfully) picked up by Amazon. 
And that move - that need to 'chase' a show in order to continue watching is what annoys me. I deliberately chose the word 'manifested' in the first sentence because I'm thinking of Manifest. I haven't -yet- watched a single episode of it, but it's something I'd definitely like to see. 
I spotted it sometime last year, running on Pick, two episodes per week on a Thursday evening - but I'd already missed most of S1 by that point. Nonetheless, I set my PVR to record the series - at that point just the last two episodes of season one. I hoped it would be repeated at some point, and I could record the rest then start watching, but as yet I've not spotted any repeats (and AFAIK, Pick doesn't have a catch-up service). 
Season one ended, and they went straight into running season two. Except my PVR decided that it wasn't going to record that - when I spotted and corrected that, the first two episodes had already been shown. Roll on those eventual repeats. 
Season two has ended, and season three has started (and nearly ended - I think the last two episodes are this week). My PVR has recorded all of season two apart from those first two episodes, and for reasons best known only to itself, episodes 9 and 10, and has so far recorded all of season three. 
So I have: S1 E15-16, S2 E03-08,11-13, S3 E01-11. It's clearly a show with an arc, so I'm not going to watch it based on what I have - it'll have to wait until I can watch it properly, from the start. 
Other options? Amazon have S1-3 available to buy, but S1 is £19.99 (16 episodes) or (£2.49/episode HD, £1.89 SD). S2 is £17.99 (same per episode price), and S3 is also £17.99 (same per episode). 
For me, those prices are too high. I had a rule of thumb for buying physical media (when I used to do that a lot) and it wouldn't have brought me anywhere near those prices unless it was something I'd seen (fully or partly) and really thought it worth it. As an unknown, it isn't. 
Oh, and there's also a S4 (which I think may be a split season, with ten episodes so far, and another ten to be made at a later point - which to me is just a nonsense; why not just class that as two seasons?). Where's S4? Nope, not Amazon - Netflix. 
(But I wonder if Pick will start showing it straight on from S3?)  
Rick, 12th February 2023, 22:23
Hmm, good shows bad shows. 
My So-Called Life, 19 episodes. 
Saved By The Bell, 86 episodes and revived a couple of years ago. 
I rest your case. ;)
Rick, 12th February 2023, 22:34
That being said, while the problem has been around for a long time, what m makes Netflix particularly egregious is that they are specifically content creators with quite the habit of cancelling their own productions. 
Is it any surprise that Warrior Nun met an unfortunate end (after a brilliant second season) given that Netflix did exactly f*** all promotion. I kind of suspect they had some sort of existing obligation but weren't really interested, which is a criminal shame. 
So now they're looking to do advertising and cracking down on password sharing because of falling revenues. Well, it's because subscription television is the new big thing. There's Netflix, Hulu, Disney, Prime, Prime Channels, OCS, and a dozen I don't remember the names of. At a mere €8,99 a month for a single person, it can add up quick. With the economy in a mess and pay buying less now than it did two years ago, some things have got to give and a service that annoys it's viewers by repeatedly cancelling what they like is.... not exactly making a case for itself. 
Netflix seems to thrive on the idea of FOMO, that is to say constantly adding new content in order to have a reason to draw in the crowds. But sometimes I think the quest for NEW content is seen as more important than continuing GOOD content, leaving far too many stories unresolved. 
Rick, 12th February 2023, 22:36
Just noticed, a new series of "Is It Cake?" is on the way. 
Okay, it probably cost a fiver and a pack of salt and vinegar crisps to make, but still, FFS...
VinceH, 13th February 2023, 00:06
They are definitely developing quite a reputation for it. That I don't disagree with. 
Whenever a new show appears, it may be worth in future looking at whether it's a Netflix show, or something made elsewhere that they've merely bought a streaming licence for. That said, who can be sure they'll continue licensing subsequent seasons? 🤷‍♂️ 
Yes, keeping up with all the services is a PITA - so I don't. There are things on both Disney+ and Paramount+ that I'd like to see - and probably others as well if I looked - but it's madness. It's not just the costs mounting up, but finding the time. 
Do I want to know what "Is it Cake?" is? Ummm... I suspect not.

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