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Random thoughts of a Brit living in the Imperial Valley of California

Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Cooling it with Apple

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Many who know me would say I’m a bit of an Apple Fanboy. I’m no daringfireball.net but usually there isn’t a new or revised Apple product that I don’t want to buy. This changed with the ipad which I was very disappointed in, and already said so. Though since then I can see how I might find one useful (if not price-sensible, but then what is there that Apple makes that is?), especially after reading this post about the iPad as electronic flight bag.

Since then, Apple (or rather Steve Jobs) has made a series of statements that are just outlandish, bordering on the insane. His hatred of Flash is well known but HTML5 is still 10 years away, there are going to be websites that the iDevices can’t render long after they have been placed in the dumpster. Then there’s the statement that multitasking took so long to provide because they “wanted to do it right like no one else had”. Yeah, because the Linux box on my desk does a real poor job of it.

The real reasons are obvious – no Flash because they think that websites will be so desperate to run on the iDevice that websites will change of their own accord. Multitasking took this long because Apple really didn’t want to do it but even if the rabid fanboys and girls have been crowing about it.

But these are just marketing strategies: “Don’t question our genius, we are Apple”, and I can respect that. But what I can’t respect are things like the new TOS for the SDK that forbids developers from using any tools other than Apple’s. In particular I can’t use my favourite language (which funnily enough used to be Objective-C until it pretty much died) to write apps on the iDevice. The reason: cross compiled apps are rarely any good. Such BS, Apple wants developers to choose: you are either developing for the iDevice or don’t at all. The majority of developers don’t want to maintain two or more source code trees so if you want to develop for Android, Apple wants you to get lost.

The final straw though was Jobs’ statement that there is no porn on the iDevice, and that if you want porn get a Droid Incredible. This isn’t about porn, it’s about hypocrisy. You can buy a Playboy app, and other titillating things, and any kid can surf as much (non Flash!) hardcore XXX as they can find using Safari.

Steve wants you to believe he is doing this all for you but it’s all marketing, an attempt to squeeze out all competition and have it all. And that’s ok, it’s business, but at least be honest with us. Though when Apple has the entire e-book market, they will decide what books you can read, or what applications can be developed – only the ones that Apple say can.

Anyway, what does this all mean? I’ve canceled my iPhone contract (at a $75 expense) and gone Android with the Droid Incredible. For the forseeable future, I plan to have nothing to do with Apple’s mobile strategy. I’m sure Steve is crying into a beverage somewhere 🙂

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May 5th, 2010 at 8:38 pm

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Toilet Etiquette Quandary

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I’ve spoken before about the awful flushing habits (or rather non-habits) of some of the galoots that I share office space with but now I am curious about something: what is the proper etiquette for disposing of the toilet seat protector ?

Now, I don’t use one. My ancestors felt it was ok to put their ass on the same piece of plastic as the previous person and they seemed to to survive, plus those things are shiny – how do you stop yourself falling off the seat? Anyway, a lot of people do use them and there seems to be three strategies:

  1. Leave it on the seat for me to enjoy when I come in after them
  2. Flush the toilet and then put the seat cover in the lavatory and leave it there for me to see
  3. Flush the cover with whatever else needed to be disposed of

I’m no Emily Post but I’m pretty sure option 3 is the way to go, but I would say number 2 (if you pardon the pun that you had to know was coming) is more prevalent, and option 1 happens way more than it should (i.e more than zero).

So if you use a seat cover, what do you do with it? And why?

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April 12th, 2010 at 12:45 pm

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Pondering My Mobile Strategy

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I’ve been an iPhone user now for 2 and some years, totally loved the experience for the most part and I certainly don’t think I could give up the “internet anywhere” that I have gotten used too. However I have been thinking about switching from the iPhone for a couple of reasons:

  • AT&T sucks, on the train from New Orleans to Palm Springs, coverage was poor to zero even when others had service on other carriers
  • Apple’s increasing strategy of closing down their devices to just the things that they want me to do; I just don’t like that

Now, today in the iPhone OS4.0 grand reveal we learned that the Big New Thing, multitasking, will be out soon but not for the 3G version of the iPhone that I have so this seals the deal: time for a new phone.

I’ve had my eye on Android devices for a long time, Android 2.1 sure looks pretty and the app store is growing, and no one censors what I can or cannot buy (I’d love to see Apple approve the Mini Opera app, for instance). I know a couple of people who love the Droid and today’s rumour that the HTC Incredible is coming to Verizon sure looks promising.

But then there will be a new iPhone announced in June, maybe we’ll see the long awaited “extra carrier” (I’m assuming it will be T-Mobile) which could keep me the phone I like and still ditch the carrier I don’t.

The gadget buyer in me wants me to get something now but I know whatever I do I’ll regret it in a month. But then again, if I wait until June I’ll still probably regret it in a month then, too.

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April 8th, 2010 at 11:42 am

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I Adore Misery Bear

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Ever since Josh put me onto Misery Bear, I’ve been loving it, although to be fair it doesn’t feel good to be enjoying the poor creature’s misery. Doesn’t look like Misery Bear is going to have a good Valentine’s Day either.

Alas, the embedding doesn’t seem to work so instead I urge you to go watch it at this here link

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February 10th, 2010 at 9:37 am

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O Apple, We Need to Have Words

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I’d been looking forward to this event all year, had even decided that I was going to buy it almost no matter what it cost. A device that bridged the gap between smart phone and laptop, with the Apple style and design, how could one not want that? Unfortunately, after all was revealed I was left sadly wanting. Sad, because it was not the device I was hoping for. And sad because this might be the first time ever I’ve found an Apple product undesirable. Anyway, let me count the ways:

  • no multitasking: I can see me sat on the sofa enjoying a movie on the awesome big screen, decide to tweet what a fantastic device it is, so have to quit the movie, launch EchoFon, tweet, restart the movie, find where I was and carry on. Oh wait, what time does the Pizza place open? Quit the movie, open Safari, find the answer, call them (on the iPhone), and back to the movie. No, guess not.
  • Apple says what I can do: The closed nature of the device in hardware and software means I can only do what Apple says I can. Surf the web with a tabbed browser? No, sorry, Safari only. Want to edit your photos, well there’s probably an app for that (but not iLife apparantly) but once I’ve edited them I can’t stick a thumbdrive in and copy it to my non-standard website. Not unless someone writes an app for that (and Apple approves it).
  • Still no Flash: Like it or not, Flash pwns the Internet. No Hulu for the iPad owner, either. Or Vimeo or Viddler. No Facebook other than leaving each other messages, can’t run any FB apps. Yes, HTML 5 could make Flash obselete but thats still a couple of years and by then I am sure the iPad will be a very different beast.
  • Assisted GPS: The iPad has the possibility of making an awesome Electronic Flight Bag (all the charts, regs etc, flight planning tools) but with a real GPS it could have replaced my aviation GPS into one awesome EFB. But assisted GPS won’t cut it in the air so I still need a $800-$2000 piece of kit for that, and it can run some apps as well….

I don’t hate it. On the contrary, it’s sexier than Megan Fox on the beach and I bet the experience is to die for. But it doesn’t do anything for me at this price point that I can’t do on my iPhone or MacBook Pro; I don’t see that it fills the gap between the two in any way like Steve said it does. So for now I’ll pass but with iPhone OS 4.0 coming out (with multitasking??) and future revisions likely I certainly don’t expect to be iPad-less in the long term.

These guys do a good job at expressing some of my thoughts: Engadget on the iPad.

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January 27th, 2010 at 8:44 pm

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2010 And All That

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It’s a new year (in case you hadn’t noticed) and although I don’t make resolutions these days I did make some promises to myself. The first of which is to lose weight. Ever since I stopped the competitive latin dancing (and increased my burger and fry intake to make up for it) I’ve been putting on the pounds (and stones) and by the end of last year I had reached a weight that I would never have thought possible.

So, I (re) signed up for Weight Watchers online, which I had done quite well at back in 2006, at the beginning of the year and am therefore back to counting points, working out if I can have that triple baconator or not. I’ve had a good start so far but it will soon get harder to get the pounds off. But since the beginning of the year I’ve lost just over 8 lbs but I’ve a long way to go.

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January 17th, 2010 at 12:21 pm

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This Tune is To Die For

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Been hearing this on BBC Radio 1 in the evenings and I just love it. I’ve always been a big fan of Massive Attack but this track is just heavenly: trip hop at it’s best. The track is called Paradise Circus and is on their forthcoming album Heligoland, out in February (in the UK at least).

This obviously isn’t the official video. You can find the official video at this link but be aware it is very NSFW, but very interesting if you can handle the content. Can’t wait for the album.

I promise there’ll be some “real” content soon, this isn’t supposed to be a video blog. That’s what my tumblr is for.

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January 6th, 2010 at 7:34 pm

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Happy Christmas!

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My Christmas gift to you all: Florence and the Machine and Billy Bragg – Fairytale Of New York live.

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December 24th, 2009 at 11:46 am

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The UK Christmas #1 (not)

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Maybe you’ve read about the campaign to stop X-Factor’s Joe McElderry from being the UK’s Christmas number 1, replacing it with Rage Against The Machine’s very angry anti-US racism expletive-laden “Killing in the Name. Maybe you’ve not?

Anywhoo, I’ve been hearing this a lot on Radio 1 over the last couple of weeks and I reckon this is the hands down winner for Christmas #1, except from what I understand it’s not even for sale. I present the excellent Mumford and Sons “Winter Winds”.

For comparison, here’s the X-Factor-manufactured pop contender:

and Rage’s social commentary (with profanity, beware!):

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December 16th, 2009 at 5:42 pm

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When It Rains It Pours

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I didn’t quite get home in time to catch the real rain, but you can see by the flow down the hill that we got a bunch of it (1.25″ at Lindbergh Field).

Rain from Paul Sanders on Vimeo.

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December 8th, 2009 at 7:16 am

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