Thursday, October 13, 2011

Apple Distorts Reality

I'm listening to a recording of Buzz Out Loud's live coverage of Apple's announcement of the iPhone 4s and I'm reminded of how many people, myself included, were so disappointed that it's "only" a 4s, not a redesigned iPhone 5. All the changes are incremental, not revolutionary. A better camera, faster processing, voice commands, nothing terribly exciting.

Then I watched the keynote.

Suddenly that camera rivals the finest DSLR, the games spring to life as glimmers of light shine off of dust particles in games, and Siri is my own personal Jarvis from the Iron Man movies. I don't know where Apple gets their magic sauce or how they make it, but man, they've got it. If you haven't watched the keynote, I highly recommend it, if only to learn how to make a good presentation, but be prepared to exert a little willpower or you might find yourself at the nearest Apple store.

I haven't preordered and I don't actually plan on buying one, but not because I don't want it. I'm just waiting for my contract to expire before I jump carriers. By then the 5 will be out, or almost out, so I'll wait.

Reality distortion field aside, it actually seems like a pretty good update, not worthy of the complaints I've heard. The only things it's missing are true 4G (LTE or WiMax), NFC, and a change in form-factor. I'd be willing to bet the reason it's not 4G is battery life. Current chips suck down power pretty quickly and I don't think Apple wants to compromise on that front. NFC isn't very widespread and I could see Apple wanting their own payment partnerships rather than going with Google Wallet or similar services. As far as changing the design, since the retina display has so many pixels, they could probably get away with having the same pixel count in a slightly larger screen. I don't foresee Apple changing the resolution since one of their biggest strengths is that developers only have to work with one layout for a phone and one for an iPad. I couldn't see them introducing a third standard. Because of that, a larger screen wouldn't really get you anything since you couldn't display anything more on the screen, everything would just be bigger.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Copying Custom Emoticons

Every now and then I move to a new computer and try to IM someone using one of my custom emoticons only to find that the picture doesn't show up. Luckily, it's as simple as copying some files from your old machine.

Simply go to C:\Users\User Name\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Messenger\Live ID\ObjectStore\CustomEmoticons and copy the files in there to the corresponding location on your new PC. Remember to replace User Name with your own user directory and Live ID with the email address you use to sign into messenger.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


AT&T wants to buy T-Mobile, but no one in their right mind other than AT&T thinks this is a good idea, including the Department of Justice (go DOJ!). Let's say consumers actually win this one and the deal fails, but T-Mobile's parent company still wants to get out of the US market. Who might be the big winner? Google. It might just be my own wishful thinking but I'd love to see an innovator in the cellular market get bought out by a company with a vested interest in ensuring cheap, fast, and unlimited access to the Internet from anywhere and everywhere. Google would also have the resources to expand the T-Mobile network into something competitive with the other major players. Yeah, this is probably just wishful thinking, but maybe I'll be watching for a shooting star tonight.

Friday, July 29, 2011

We need more democracy and less republic

The biggest thing wrong with our government is that we're voting for people rather than issues. This made sense back in the old days because when our country was first founded, it was small enough that you likely knew your representative or at least his or her reputation. Communities tended to be more homogeneous since people tend to group with like-minded individuals. There was also the consideration that it was just plain hard to find out what everybody wanted. You almost had to vote for a representative because distance and travel time made it too hard to poll people's opinions.

These days, corporations and special interests are leading politicians around by the nose since the goal of politicians is not to do what's best for their constituents, but to get re-elected and/or retire and become a lobbyist. In the days of the Internet, it makes far more sense to poll people and get their opinion on the actual issues. We might also vote on who should be in charge of working out the details and writing the final bill, but the election should be entirely funded and run by the government, not the people/"entities" with the deepest pockets.