Monday, December 20, 2010

You know what's cool? The Census.

Ok I admit it, I'm just a little bit nerdy,
but I just found out that the Census Bureau is about to release the 2010 findings,
and I totally geeked out.

In 2000 our state (Utah) was the fifth fastest growing state.
We were up 29%.

If by chance we go up by about 25% this year we will finally get our fourth congressional seat.
There are a few other ways we could get one, (I'm not totally sure how the math of it works, but we would almost certainly get one if our population saw similar growth in the past decade.
The results will be posted tomorrow.
feel free to check them out with the link below.
Happy macro stalking.

2010 Census Data - 2010 Census

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

More of that life changing pie

That's right, "the pie that changes peoples lives" is back.

Or it's here.
I'm not sure which way it is but it's real.
The increasingly popular recipe has been added to the holiday supplement for the community interfaith cookbook (all proceeds go are donated to the local food pantry).

I thought the pie might have been in the first edition of the book, but alas, it didn't quite make it, but now, for those 6 billion people who don't know how to find the recipe (hint it's on my blog) you can get an official copy of it for you very own.

Also in case you are wondering,
here is a quick summary.

Flaky soft crust.
Almost impossible to ruin,
Also not one of those crust that you have to worry about over working,
Doesn't taste like cardboard.
no crazy ingredients or instructions (of course it has instructions... just not the crazy ones).
oh and it's goooood.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Pizza Eccelente

Hey everybody,
I'm assuming you already know about this,
but if not, or if you would like more details, here are the details for the party.

FRIDAY (sorry I know it's a bad day for some, but we may revisit this in the future)

6:00 (gives us time to make a little pizza, before we get too hungry)

And if you're coming, please bring an Excellent Pizza topping (and perhaps an open mind... I don't imagine that this will remind you in the least of any pizza you have ever had before, well maybe in some ways, but I can't guarantee anything ü).

Appendix One: What not to bring
Basically the things that you might find at say 5 buck pizza, or little caesars,
No this is not an affront on 5buck pizza... I'm saving that for another post.
I'm kidding... well sort of kidding. (however, I learned something that I really never supposed Five buck pizza is way better when it's fresh, I guess I just never had it fresh before)

So yeah, no Green Peppers,
no black olives, no hamburger,
no pepperoni (yes it's spicy, but is it exciting? doesn't matter, don't bring it)
Also there's nothing exciting about canned pineapple, or canned mushrooms for that matter. Seriously live on the wild side people.

Corollary: What you could bring,
Anything Smoked,
Anything Roasted,
Anything Toasted,
Anything grilled,
Anything exotic
Also exceptable.... things like:
Artichoke hearts,
Cheese, you know... something fun.

Oh yeah and if you want some meat there are some good options there too.

I think that about covers it, maybe a little redundant, but such is life.
hope you can come, and if not, hopefully it's good enough to do it again, and maybe you can come when we do. Ü

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

You've got Fail

In the news today Facebook announces a new email/ messaging service.
...Wait what?

Facebook seriously? That's like the last company on earth that I want to be in charge of my email. No really, I don't trust those people one bit. And I certainly wouldn't trust them to be in charge of my email.
First there is the whole Facebook chat thing. It's perhaps the worst chat service ever created. It bugs me to no end. It's buggy, and it's not easy to use, I do like that I finally found a way to access my "friends" through a different IM service, but on a scale from 1 to 10, I'd probably give them a 3. Now maybe... this is what they are fixing, and more power to them, but probably at the least there will still be some pretty serious issues.

Like Privacy.
Yeah Facebook hates your privacy.
I even heard it in an interview. If they were starting the company today they would totally do it differently, they would make it so everything about everyone was "open" (paraphrased).

And have you noticed how they always opt you into to their "special" new "features." Yeah like the ones that sell your information to advertisers so FB
can make more money. In fact every time they make a change, it seems like I have less control over my information (unless you search for their secret undo buttons... which fortunately they now at least give you).

Also I don't think I've ever seen a change on Facebook that I actually liked.
No, I take that back I did see one just the other day. They made the find friends pretty amazing (of course just a few weeks ago it was practically not even useable). But then just when I thought they had actually fixed it, they went and changed it on me AGAIN. Now its kind of a combination of the old and the new, and while it is still better than the old system, they got rid of some of the good features from both the old one and the new one. But at least now I don't only get suggestions to be friends with people who live nowhere near me, but with whom
I share a mutual friend (yes one mutual friend). The worst part was that it would suggest these people and ignore the people that I might actually know, like my friends.

And then there's that whole security thing. Facebook does not equal secure. In fact there are "facebook leaks" all the time. You've probably already been a part of one. This is the last place that I want my email kept, and quite honestly the last way that I want I kept.

So in summary here's what I think about facebook:
It's buggy, it's invasive, it's not secure, it's not consistent/ reliable, it's a huge time waster (yeah I just through that one in, but if I start getting farmville stuff in my new improved FB mail, I may just go ballistic. Ü) And I don't trust them... not even a little bit.

But even still I felt like creating them a logo, and Mark if you're reading this, I'll let you have it for a really good price.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I'm that boy

You know that boy. I know you do, he's the one in the funny pages.
He goes to kick the football, and then whoosh, it's not there.
I used to think that was so stupid, I mean you know it's not going to be there,
and yet he goes for it anyway.
You can imagine my surprise when I learned that he is me.
I'm that boy.

It was a strange evening, I mean there were some pretty cool things about it,
but it was strange, I mean really strange.
My friend and I were going to go to dinner.
I was pretty excited about this, because I haven't had the money to do that for a while.
I got to her apartment and her roommates said, 'oh were you meeting here?'
Turns out she wasn't home. Her roommates seemed to know that I was coming, but... where could she be?

This was not the first time this had happened, well not exactly the first time anyway.
Sometimes she was sleeping, sometimes deathly ill. Sometimes things came up, and lets face it, sometimes things come up. But this time was supposed to be different. It's not like things have never worked for us, sometimes (though not often) they do. And she's cool, or intriguing, or I don't know I just want to get to know her. Either way she assured me that this time it would work. Nothing could possibly get in the way this time. I even put it in my phone to make sure I would remember correctly. I did.

Her roommates tried to call her, but they got no response.
I tried to call her, but I too was less than successful.
Her roommates were cool. We chatted for easily half an hour, and still no one could make contact.
Finally one of the neighbors popped her head in to tell she just got a text from the girl I was supposed to be seeing, so now might be the time to try her again. Alas, I was unsuccessful. Another roommate came home and sent her a text message.
'That's strange she usually writes right back'
And it didn't get less strange. I mean this whole thing was kind of her idea.

Usually, it didn't take her long to apologize... Profusely. I basically always understood, but that didn't make it a whole lot better. Then afterwords I would think to myself this isn't worth it. It's like waking up on Christmas and realizing that your the only one who didn't get anything. And then doing it again.
But this time nothing. No apology. No text message. Nothing.
Yep I'm that boy,
And it stinks to be that boy.
I want to kick the football,
I don't even care if it's a great kick.
but it'd be nice to know the football is where it's supposed to be.

Monday, September 27, 2010

life of a letter carrier... the pre story part II

Training was good, there were three of us in the training class (which is a lot), and we were all coming to the same post office.
Unfortunately the other two were being trained for a virtually indistinguishable job that pays better (the training was the same). I just didn't have to take the test that they took. I would have. I could have. I don't even hate tests. But because they had taken the test (assessment) they both had seniority over me.

We had a really good group. I enjoyed both of the other guys. I think I have a little more in common with one of them, but they are both cool, and the classes were good.
Actually the classes almost seemed... easy. I mean there was a lot to go over, but I was surprised that with what seemed like a fairly laid back pace, somehow we seemed to cover all the material.

Our trainer was cool too. She works in a different office than we were training in, so we got to see a couple different locations.
Here are some of the things that I noticed:
1) Post office = diversity.
I guess it wasn't too surprising, but as we toured the different post offices I noticed that I was the minority. Still it would be hard to say what if anything was the majority. There were old men and younger men. There were some deeply religious folks, and some who couldn't care less. Ethnicity? yeah they pretty much covered that too. And the women were easily as diverse as the men. And yet with all this diversity, there seemed to be a kind of oneness too. I mean it didn't matter what people were, because we were all in it together. Everyone was on one team.
(well technically there were three teams, 'the rurals,' 'the cities' and 'the clerks'. Interestingly they are all highly compartmentalized. You're either one or the other, you can't be both, and usually you pick one track and then stay on it.)

2) There is no dress code. Not for Rural carriers anyway.
Technically there is a bit of a dress code... I have to wear closed toed shoes, preferably with a strong leather upper. Oh and I can't where a postal uniform, but other than that I should be good to go. Oh yeah, and no political messages (at least not that advocate one side or another).

3) The third thing that I noticed was that some of these REALLY liked there jobs.
Now this could be, at least for the rural carriers, that they are paid by the route, so if perchance they finish early, they still get the same days wage. Or it could be that there's a bit of variety to their job, or who knows, maybe they're just crazy, but whatever it is some of them seem pretty happy, and that was pretty impressive.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Special Delivery: Tales of a Postman - Prologue

I thought it would be interesting to share some of my experiences working with the USPS. In a way this is tricky, because there is a lot that I can't talk about... I can't tell you where somebody lives, and I certainly can't tell you what I have given them. But still there are things, some of which amuse me, that I think would be interesting so I thought I would share.

First the Prologue,
It's kind of tough these days finding jobs and what not.
I have been looking for a while, though not very intently... Except perhaps when I remember how crazy my job (my old job) gets around Christmas time.

But I did have one rule no peanuts, I wanted a real job, and I felt I was worth real money. So, while I would take minimum wage if circumstances got desparate, I decided to look a little bit higher.

One day a friend of mine told me that the post office was hiring. I'm not sure I was excited about the idea of working with the post office, but the pay was alright, and the schedule was awesome... meaning it would fit well with the other things that I was doing at the time. Over time my opinion about working for the post office has changed, a couple of times actually, but I'm sure I'll hit all that stuff later.

Due to a slight error on my part, I was not able to apply for the job that I really wanted, but there was another job, also with decent hours and pay, that I was eligible for. SIDENOTE: While it's is in reality about like any other application process, taking roughly 2-3 hours (which I had planned)a person a male applying for a job with the post office will probably need a few extra trinkets... like their selective service number. SIDENOTE #2: the Selective Service website is not in my experience entirely reliable (it was mostly dead when I tried to use it) and SIDENOTE #3: If I had known that the 1-800 number is quick and easy, and always available (computer automated), I might not have wasted so much of my time trying to get their website to work, and I might have been able to get things done in time for the original jobs, deadline.

Then, something pretty ordinary happened... Nothing.
It was weeks, perhaps even months, before I actually heard anything, and I didn't hear much. But the Post office wanted to do either a background check or a drug test, but they wouldn't actually tell me which one.

A few more weeks, and I got an interview, but it wasn't my only application out there. Still I tried to play it cool, and let them know that I thought I would be good, but what if I did get other interviews? I didn't. I didn't have to worry about it.

More weeks passed, and as seemed to be the pattern, just when I had decided that nothing was happening, something happened, they wanted to give me a driving test.
'Test?' I thought, 'that can never be good'. Still, it was progress, so I decided it was a step in the right direction. I admit I was nervous, more so than I needed to be (which for the record is basically what the postmaster told me before hand), it's pretty basic, but some people really can't drive.
Next came the Drug test, ah that first one must have been the Background check.

And then they wanted to train me, I guess I got the job. They did tell me I was hired, but I think I actually got the letter about training first (but hey, I'm a pretty smart guy, I put two and two together). And thus began my journey into the fabulous world or mail. I'll try to write more about this later. ttfn

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What Snew?

Snew? What Snew?

Oh wait I think it's new.

So what is new?

As you've probably heard by now, I got a new job. After what seemed like perhaps the longest application process that I've ever been through, I was hired by the U.S. Postal Service. Yeah, I passed the drug test, and the driving test and even the background check. Last Monday I started my training. They say it's supposed to be difficult, and I'm sure that the first couple of days it probably will be, but right now, it seems pretty doable. There were three of us in my training class (all coming to my post office) and I think we will all probably be able to handle the job. I, however, will be hired with the least seniority, because their jobs require the postal exam, and mine did not. Ironically we are all receiving the same training, even though technically they have better positions than I do. So where do I deliver? Well I'll give you a hint, the first city with this name was translated.
The down side, sort of is that my route is shorter (and I only get one) so I don't have as many scheduled days as the others I work with, though I could easily get unscheduled extra days (maybe my regular carrier is about to go on vacation... fingers crossed).

And in other news, I am officially moved out of my office. Oh, and it's clean. I think perhaps I should take a picture of it in it's natural state. This is of course because I am ending my first official entrepreneurial venture. I really wanted it to work, but after more than six years in business, I have decided that it just wasn't where I wanted to be. That, and it kind of wasn't as successful as I had hoped. I learned a lot though, it was definitely educational.

Which brings me to my next point. I had, more or less, a pretty decent internet connection at my office. At my house we don't officially even have the internet. Every now and then I have access, but a lot of the time I will not have signal.
I'm not sure what this will do for my blogging, I mean you've probably noticed I write all the time, but I'm guessing it will... um, increase? However, there are some things that I'm sure will not expand. Mostly this would apply to things like messaging. I can't say for certain how long it will take me to see your email. I may never be on IM. Facebook and Google Buzz will have to be very deliberate at best, and will probably, kind of by nature, be rare. I will still basically get Text Messages... but I don't get them to my phone... they come to my email, so for time sensitive (meaning something within three to five days, or sooner), old school methods telephone (for messages that are urgent-ish) and the US Postal Service, if you have a day or two (but don't want to wait until that mysterious random time when I can check my email) will probably work best. Now I'm not saying we should all send more letters... but it does give me something to do at work. ü

Also just in case you were wondering, Apple has announced a whole new batch of iPods. Yes you can get one with a camera, and yes you can now make free video calls to anyone who has one (or an iphone 4). And ironically what I thought was one of the more impressive parts of their announcement... HDR photos, has been almost entirely ignored. Ok I admit, I'm a photo-guy, but seriously this could be amazing. Basically what apple does is take extra pictures when you snap a photo, to make sure you don't have areas that are too washed out, or areas where you can't see what's going on, because everything is in the shadows. Now I could see how this could totally lead to photos that look a little over processed, but you can turn the feature on and off, and in some cases it could be the great gift photographers have been wishing for.

Also new, there is finally an iPad competitor...
oh wait,
nope, no competitor, there are rumors of competitors, but nothing has come out.
Apple is selling literally millions of the things, and nobody else is even offering one. I'm still waiting for the version with a camera... oh and for that time when I actually have money, but I could totally get on board with an iPad.

I'll have to think about that one though, iPad... or iPod. Now with Google voice... and Apples face time, either can be used as a full fledged phone, anywhere there is internet, and that sounds like it could save a person... um like i dunno, $1000 a year. yeah that sounds nice.

Ok enough of my babbling about the fun stuff in tech.
(BTW, Velocity Micro, and Samsung are both trying to get their iPad competitor out this month, and either one of them could be impressive, but then apple will release their new one, and I think we all have a pretty good idea how that will go)

And Finally it looks like ShufflePaLooza will be held the last weekend in September, I'll let you know the details, perhaps when I've had time to figure them out.
that's what's Snew.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Diary of a Delegate: First Week

I was selected as a delegate on March 23rd, on March 24th I received my first call. It was not a big deal, but already I knew things were going to be a little different for me for a while.

By the weekend I had started receiving mail from various candidates.

Saturday I began to rethink this whole thing, I was getting a fair amount of calls and mail, usually a couple of each per day.
This wasn't necessarily a bad thing, I just wondered if I would have time for it all when things began to pick up.

Saturday night there was an open house for one of the "local" candidates.
The meeting was held at another delegates house. When I got there I was a little surprised. There were a bunch of cars parked at the end of a very long driveway, one of the longest driveways I have ever seen. I parked the car and and started my journey toward the house. At the door I was greeted by the person who told me about the event, it was nice to finally meet him.
And then I met the candidate. He was nice, and I think he had a true belief that he could make a difference, but I began to wonder how much he really knew about our state when he slaughtered the pronunciation of one of the counties, and no in case you're wondering it wasn't even one of the counties that I expect people to mispronounce.

I guess there were more people there before I arrived, because the crowd was pretty thin while I was there. I knew most of the other people who came, and it was kind of interesting to here peoples questions, and to see how there were answered, but I admit I was a little surprised by the experience, I guess I expected more people. I ate a few sugar cookies, had a glass of cheap root beer and called it a night.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Billionaires are just like the rest of us

Right now people of all shapes and sizes are participating in classes on campus all over the country. In one hour Bill Gates will also be in school.

At 12:00 noon, Bill Gates will be "going back to school."

Yes I said Bill Gates, and my Mac didn't even explode.
And while there are somethings that I am less than ecstatic about when I think of Bill Gates. (Read Microsoft Windows - pretty much every prior version).

I think the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is, well, amazing.

So I thought would share the link if you want to have lunch with a billionaire (BringYourOwnLunch).

Monday, April 12, 2010

Microsofts new phone: the Pumpkin

Well they did it they announced today that Microsoft wants to be the new name in cell phones (yeah they've been trying this for years now... currently losing ground).
So they've got two new phones.
I give you the Microsoft Pumpkin (official representatives will call it the Kin,
but I think the pictures speak for themselves).

(and this is the app that I'm working on. the Jack-o-phonern)

Q of the..._______ 2

I read this in a political column the other day, and I thought it was profound... both for politics, and for all of us.

"Many in this world are afraid and angry with one another. While we understand these feelings, we need to be civil in our discourse and respectful in our interactions. This is especially true when we disagree. The Savior taught us to love even our enemies.13 Yet there are some who feel that venting their personal anger or deeply held opinions is more important than conducting themselves as Jesus Christ lived and taught. I invite each one of us individually to recognize that how we disagree is a real measure of who we are and whether we truly follow the Savior. It is appropriate to disagree, but it is not appropriate to be disagreeable. Violence and vandalism are not the answer to our disagreements. If we show love and respect even in adverse circumstances, we become more like Christ."

Quentin L. Cook

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Diary of a Delegate: Genesis

In the beginning there was nothing, so I started a blog: a political blog.

And it grew
and it grew

and it GREW!

Last year I noticed that the local political coverage was not giving me the information that I wanted, so I decided to do something about it, I went forth and began interviewing the local candidates. Through the course of my interviews I learned quite a lot about a good number of candidates. I also gained something of a reputation as... um... well, for lack of a better word, expert (though I myself still strongly deny these accusations).

To make a long story short, my local political precinct chairperson moved, and I was asked if I would take over, you know, for the interim. I said I would.

Now being a precinct Chairperson is not a terribly hard thing to do, it's basically only a few weeks of work in a year, and they basically walk you through it step by step. Nonetheless, I could tell that the few weeks of work may not be the most convenient weeks for me to be needed.

I felt that I wanted to be informed, and involved, so the idea of being a state delegate seemed a little appealing. But I didn't go into our neighborhood caucus meeting with expectations of "winning" anything.

Almost as quickly as I had started the meeting I was reinstated as the precinct chairman. I decided worse things could happen, so I just let it go.

Then we voted on county delegates. I didn't even want to be a county delegate, but someone (my mom) forgot which thing they were supposed to nominate me for, so instantly I was nominated. This I also won quite handily (along with 2 others from our group).

And then came the nominations for state delegates, this was the big one, and I kind of wanted to do it. Only two of us were even interested in the position. I didn't really lobby hard for it, but I must have said the right things; I won by something like one vote.

And just like that I was a delegate,
and a delegate,

And a precinct chair.

It seemed like a pretty good idea at the time, but honestly I had no idea what I was getting into.
"My diary of a delegate" will take you through my experience, both the good and the bad (to the best of my remembrance), and this is how it began.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

10 thing to make you rethink the iPad

There's been a lot of buzz about the iPad latetly, and with the first "real" reviews coming out I thought I would throw a few cents in the pool, and share some of the things an iPad doesn't do or have.

Interestingly enough my inspiration was this post here.
From which I will take number one.

  • One Battery, and you're stuck with it. Seriously you can't upgrade your battery, you get what you get and if you ask David Pogue of the New York times he'd tell you that Apple lied. They promise up to ten hours of use, but he easily got twelve. Apple Fail.

  • No Dos Prompt, any power user will tell you that if you really want to get the most out of a machine you have to have a command prompt but all apple gives you is these pictures. I mean seriously what does it even mean? a floating envelope? Give me a Dos prompt!
  • No cords. I myself am quite fond of cords, I'm just now starting to figure out which ones go where, and they help me know where my stuff is. Where's my computer? Oh here it is attached to this here cable. Phew, thank goodness for cords.
  • In one or two years there will be an even better model. Of all the audacious things to do, Apple is releasing a device this week that everybody knows will be obsolete in five or ten years. And they tend to follow a schedule, so we already know that next year there's like a 99% chance that there will be a new iPad and it will be even faster, and more better.
  • There aren't even a million apps. In fact there aren't even 200,000. That's like .00003 apps per person, and that's just not enough. We want more!
  • It doesn't come with Iphone OS 4.0. In fact They're going to make us wait until July, and then we don't even get a choice. Like it or not, they're giving us a newer, faster, better version of their operating system. And it will probably include something like multitasking. Hey I have a hard enough time concentrating on one thing. LEAVE THE IPAD ALONE!
  • You know what bugs me the most? It doesn't have a pager. I mean those were the good ole' days. Anyone could contact you, anytime. All you got was a number, and then it was like a treasure hunt, first you try to figure out who's calling, then you get to find a phone. And crisp clear alerts. I mean these messages might be very important, I don't want some non-obtrusive sound to play to tell me that I have a message, I want it to be unmistakable.
  • Beta Max. Beta Max was way better than VHS, but is there a slot for a BetaMax tape? no, no there isn't. In fact there's not even a place to put your VHS tapes. It's unconscionable.
  • Dot Matrix compatibility. Now I don't know for certain, but I bet Apples not going to support dot matrix printers with this thingy. But seriously there were hundreds of thousands of those printers made, and almost everybody has purchased at least one of them. Apple Probable Fail.
  • Farmville. Yeah that's right I said it no Farmville. No Farmville, and not fishville, and no Heroes vs. Villains, no Vampire Wars, I mean what else are people going to do at 2:30 in the morning. Seriously nothing is open.
  • Free iPad, no Free iPad. I know there are thousands of sites that would tell me that I just won a free iPad, but no one who has one will ever know. Those ads won't even play on an iPad. What is this socialism? only one iPad per person? I should be able to here that lady just like everybody else when she says "Congratulations you may be eligible for a FREE IPAD!" Not Fair! Not Right!!
  • It doesn't work with the Apple Magic Mouse. I mean have you seen that thing, it's like a mouse with a track pad built right in. It's probably the greatest mouse ever created, notwithstanding its diminutive size. One touch screen is not enough you never know when you may need multiple multi-touch surfaces.
  • World Peace. That's right you're one of the freakin' biggest companies in the world, and we expect more from you, surely this cause is important enough for you to focus on. It's not like this is a new thing either, we've been asking for it since before you were born. You've had like thirty years. And you've barely even started on it. TOTAL APPLE FAIL!!!
Here's hoping that you'll learn from your mistakes.
We are to say the least disappointed.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Q of the..._______ 1

The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already ; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Pre Spring Clean

Well it happened I finally decided it was time to clean up a little bit.

You probably noticed, that things are kind of changing here  (well, unless you aren't actually reading this on my page, then surprise, things are changing around here).

I think it is time for a little changing.  But you know what they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
In other words I'm not getting rid of things right now... I'm just moving them around.  I'm putting things in places that I think fit them well, but I'm allowing myself the option to keep changing things until I actually get them good.

So what's my ulterior motive?
Well it's simple: I'm trying to create a website that is easy to use, but chockablock (ü) with information, and this seems like an excellent testing grounds.

I'm not sure that I will be able to use every thing that I want to... but it's a good experiment, and a good time for experimentations (and I might add that I tried to do things the more legit way and it was not successful, so I came back to the experimental easy way, and seems to me that it's working quite well, though I do conceed that in the future it will most likely be not quite sufficient for my plans.  That, however, is another bridge for another day though).

There you have it a blog about nothing. But seriously, let me know what you think.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Latest Buzz

So what's the buzz? Well Buzz for starters, and after that? well I've got a little more there too.

First there was Wave, and then there was Buzz.

In the April, 2004 (If you believe the Wikipedia) Google created a whole new way to think about email. I got my invitation in January (2005).  Since then I have been a faithful admirer of the Gmail.  Still, Google was not prepared to rest on their laurels.  So they reinvented email, and they've been trying to re-reinvent it ever since.

I'm honestly glad that google didn't stop with a basic Gmail.  I love google chat, and Gmail Labs.  Reluctantly I joined GoogleWave, and I could see myself really liking it too, but honestly... I like Buzz better. I like the added functionality of Google Wave, but NOBODY ever checks it.  I mean it takes too much work. Buzz, on the other hand is simple, always present (too present some would say) but it doesn't feel intrusive.   It's just a simple way to connect with your friends.  Admittedly they had some kinks to work out when they first released it. But they are working them out (and some of them didn't even exist in the first place, they were just assumptions, and rumors, and juicy tech gossip). Now I get the joys of Social networking, with out ever having to leave Gmail... Nice.
Now Google Buzz(GB) may not do everything, but I think it could meet a lot of my social network needs.  For me GB may in fact be one step better than the FB. Don't get me wrong, I'm not giving up one for the other, I just like the option to use them both, but in different ways.

So I have a new favorite show... well technically I have two... um or 1.2... or...
It's like this.  I found the funniest show ever created. Maybe you've heard of it, it's called

Somehow it just speaks to me, and honestly I really like it... a lot.
It's short, well really short. But it's funny! So if you need something to watch sometime. Maybe you would like it too.  And perhaps the best part is that you can get the whole thing on Hulu, well it's got the first season... or the first part of the first season.  I hope there's more.

And then there's that other new show. It's called Human Target.
And I think I like it too.  I mean I do like it, but I worry that it will go the same way that so many other shows have gone.  That it will "need" to do something to boost the ratings, and as usually happens when someone in that famous California city want to get attention, I'm worried that they will try to make it more "appealing" by making it less friendly for a family type audience.
It would be good to note, that they have kept it cleaner than a lot of the other stuff on TV, I just hope they will keep it that way.

So what about the iPad.
I really don't have much to say about it, right now but I think the best (read most likely to be be accurate) review came from Stephen Fry (He's a British author, but we won't hold that against him, oh and he's done some other things too).  Anyway you can read his funny, but informed (go figure) review of the new apple tablet here.

And finally I got a cell phone.  Yeah it's true, I actually got a cell phone.  I think it even works now. So what's my number? I have two, my number that looks like a cell phone actually is now, and my google number is too (57 20 HEY)

So that's the buzz. For now anyway.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It's like Apples, and oranges (and bananas)

It is almost inevitable that as Apple releases (or announces) a new product, people on both sides of this issue, go bananas!

So for the sake of... well, because I thought it was interesting, I have decided to do a brief comparison of the latest said product, and it's competition/ siblings.

So apple has this new tablet thing coming out... Are they the first to try this? No actually they are not, much like it was when the iPod came out a lot of other big names have already tried to make this work.

So lets look at the competition: Laptops, Tablets, netbooks, E-readers, the infamous Joojoo, and the iphone (and then of course a brief look at the real-deal, the iPad)

Laptops have been around for well almost forever it seems, Ironically one of the first real laptops was indeed an Apple computer.  Most laptops have a few major problems, not the least of which is that they are not really ideal for use on ones lap.  They are heavy, and sometimes dangerously toasty.  But they offer a great portable experience... as long as you're not going to be away from a power outlet for more than a couple of hours.  Of course you can pay more for an extra battery, or even Get a MacBook, but in one way or another if you want a good one that can be used without a power plug, it's probably going to cost you.

Bonus? Power.
Biggest disadvantage? Battery, windows, or cost.
Who's this for? People who will probably use this as their main computer.

Tablets: In 2001 Apple released A revolutionary new product, the iPod.  Well the boys in Redmond (aka Microsoft) had a bit of a revolution in mind too... Windows-based Tablet PCs.  These Tablets were indeed cutting edge cool, but they had some big big problems. First they were expensive sometimes ridiculously expensive. Second they ran windows, and thus came with all the "joys" of a windows based computer. And third, they were more of a novelty than an actual advancement.  They didn't have the kind of power that tablet computing really needed, nor did they really do anything new incredibly well.  Well there was one thing, Inkball.  I can't say why this game is so addictive, but it is.  And Inkball works best (sort of only works) on a tablet PC. But alas, Inkball was not enough to out weigh their disadvantages. Most manufacturers realized that the category was failing, and quickly got out. Most consumers just decided that these tablets just didn't deliver enough advantages for the premium prices that they commanded.

Bonus? Inkball, totally. 
Disadvantage? Value
Who's this for? If you find a good used one, they're nice otherwise, there are few people to whom I would recommend these.

 Netbooks: When I first saw what ASUS was doing with their netbooks, I thought it was brilliant, I mean I wanted one.  They were cheap, and not uber powerful, but not prone to fail (like other cheap machines). Basically just the thing that I thought would suit me perfectly.  I know that they have their limitations, but they suit their purpose remarkably well.  A good many people just love their netbooks, most perfectly portable. But so small that they can be frustrating to some.

Bonus? Price... BIC/ features... (too many sometimes perhaps but on the whole good)  
Disadvantage? The itty bitty keyboard, and Windows (I know why they thought they had to do this, but I see it as a problem... a big one, they're not built for it).
Who is this for? People on a budget. Also people who don't need much, or who have a main computer already.

E-readers:  A relatively new category, of products that are best for reading documents/ e-books.  I like the e-readers, but they haven't made the compelling argument that I expected from them. The Amazon Kindle was the pioneer (though not the first) of this category, and it remains a leader among e-readers.  The larger version is essntially the same price as the new iPad. 

Bonus? E-ink.  This means that they are easy on the easy, and have unbelievable battery life. 
Disadvantage? E-ink. This means that turning a page and motion graphics end up being awkward, when implemented, and color? well you have two choices, black or white (great for text, lousy for anything else).
Who is this for? People who read... A lot.

The iPhone/ iPod Touch is a gorgeous device that turned the Cell Phone world on its ear. It's not the only amazing phone, but it was clearly the phone that convinced all other manufacturers that it was time to raise the bar.  Every generation is a new unbeatable device (though by some accounts the last generation has finally been beat, but certainly still the king in many many ways). It is simple, and powerful, and perhaps the most customizable phone ever created. 

Bonus? 140,000 + Apps. Many of them free (remember when cell phones came with free games? I do.  Unfortunately some people (the cell phone companies) decided that games were way to valuable to just give them away so they got rid of them)). Well the iphone has brought them back, along with thousands of "useful" applications too.
Disadvantage?  Size. The size is both amazingly good for the ways people use it, and not very good, for actual work.  Not exactly ideal for writing, or types of content creation, but better than most devices of similar proportions.
Who is this for? People who want portable internet, games, or productivity apps.

Side note/ Disadvantage. No Flash. Flash is indeed a tricky issue.  Some  websites rely pretty heavily on Flash, but Flash has it's downsides too.  Almost every time that I have had any kind of problem on my computer, it was due to one of two things: Flash, or Javascript. So while I do think access to some content (read Hulu) would be nice, I totally respect anyone who says it's just too dangerous.

The Joojoo:
It's kind of like an iPad, but a little less impressive in almost every way.  The battery life is not awesome. It does have a USB port, but it really only does one thing: the Internet. It had a chance a being a killer device... until the iPad was announced, and showed people the many new things a tablet could do.

Bonus? Could come out first, and it has a USB port and a webcam.
Disadvantage? It just doesn't feel polished (not my words) and it doesn't do anything but the web.
Who is this for? People who hate apple, but want an iPad.

And Finally the iPad.
Wow.  It's a book, and a media center, and a game platform,  and a planner, and the internet
and a computer, and a game changer.  It doesn't do everything, but what it does, it does so well.  

Bonus? Works with the 140,000 iPhone apps that already exist. Simple and stunning. Big enough that it can be used for real work, but still incredibly portable. Oh and no contract Cellular.
Disadvantage?  There are three.  
1) It was not announced with a webcam.  I think it is almost certain that it will have one, but it is not certain, if the very first ones will have this.
2) Flash. See side note above.
and 3) the memory card slot is an extra attachment.
Who is this for? Students. (If they get textbooks right, this will be unbelievably great for a student)
Travelers. This is exactly what you'd want on an airplane, one a train, or even in a car. 
Bloggers.  And of course, those of us that think an iMac is a portable computer.

So what do I think, I think it will be recieved sort of like the iphone was, first there will be skeptics, and fanboys.  Then people will start to say "Wow, it does that? I think I want it." And finally, it will be followed by many companies trying to compete, but they will find it hard to keep up with this elegant, and ever improving slab of brilliance (Ok, I'm a little biased, but hey look at the iPhone). Ü
Thanks to Amazon, Apple, and Fusion Garage for the images.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Palace... No, The Castle

I'll get straight to my point.

My mom wants you to watch Castle.
yeah, that's what she said.

"Tell everyone they should watch Castle, I don't want to see it canceled yet... I need four seasons"
(this is season two).

So what's the story?

It's about this kind of arrogant, and somewhat childish/ childlike writer who works with a cop to help solve murders.
Yep it's another show about solving murder. (What you thought that tv  could do something else?)

Anyway it's funny.

It's on every week, Mondays @ 9:00
and it's on ABC.

So yeah that's the story. I should be back soon with my first thoughts about... well you know what I'm thinking about. Ü