Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

iPhone 4S

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

So I’ve been reading a lot about the new iPhone 4S. Admittedly, I am an Apple Fanboy, however, the complaints about the phone (written before they’ve got hands-on) is very frustrating. An example is CNET’s Top 5 video. The reviewer lists five reasons why the iPhone 4S is a flop: Screen size, the number is only a 4, it doesn’t have true 4G, it looks the same, and the presentation to announce it had no “one last thing”.

I’m going to take these one-by-one.

  • Screen size: CNET complained that the screen is too small. People want a bigger screen, yadda yadda. What he doesn’t mention is that bigger screens cause three major issues with cellphones: They kill battery life, they are hard to use one-handed, and they are a pain for developers to reprogram. Apple has a great niche for developers; you only have to program for 2.5 screen sizes (the 0.5 is because you don’t HAVE to program for the retina display on the iPhone 4 upwards).
  • The number is a 4. ¬†Give me a break. He’s saying that if they named it iPhone 5 people would like it more? I disagree. People would be even more upset that it doesn’t have amazing new features.
  • Doesn’t have true 4G: yes, this is irritating, however, it’s not a deal breaker. 4G service is a huge battery drain right now, and the chipset is larger. I understand the tradeoff, though frankly, I really would have liked it, only because I want to switch to Verizon.
  • Looks the same. Come on–it’s a great design–why change it? My only change design-wise would be to make it more durable.
  • No one last thing: give me a fucking break. You can’t knock the phone for that–and that was Steve Job’s thing, anyway.
He also makes fun of Siri, the voice control system, comparing it to “catching up to Android”. No, sir, you are incorrect. Android’s voice control does NOT control the phone. You can search with it, do dictation, and do basic phone navigation, but it does NOT have the same AI that Siri does. In fact, Siri is the main reason I bought the phone.
All in all: CNET, and all the assholes out there need to pull their heads out of their asses and realize that the iPhone is just a phone…one that works very well.

Email Signature

Monday, September 19th, 2011

From now on, when I get a message from someone with a ridiculously long email signature, I’m going to add: Should you have received this message in error, please print 1,500 copies of it on a laser (not inkjet) printer, and create 10 copies of each of the print outs. Then, affix an Avery 5160 label with 15,000 random addresses taken from the Los Angeles County edition of the white pages to envelopes. Use the address of your choice as a return address. Do not affix a stamp to the envelope, but deposit the envelopes with the printed email message into the following distribution: 1,000 into 10 mail boxes, and 5,000 into the main post office. Do so surreptitiously so as not to arouse suspicion. If you are the intended recipient, please read this email in its entirety, and ensure that you fully comprehend the contents of the message. Should you (henceforth known as “Recipient”) decide to contact the Sender (henceforth known as “Sender”), Recipient should get Sender’s contact information, then Recipient should contact Sender.

Jury Duty

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

At this precise moment (as opposed to after-the-fact), I am sitting on a wooden bench outside of a jury room. It is a very uncomfortable bench, filled with the shallow carvings of tags, names, and the scratches of years of use. Across from me sits a coffee shop, likely with overpriced snacks for jurors to consume while awaiting…more waiting. My lower back is starting to hurt, as the faux-brick over concrete provides little lumbar support. People are reading, napping, talking, and trying to make the best of this time.

And it hasn’t even started yet.

I wonder why jury service has to be so bad. I think it’s the uncertainty that makes it so tough. Will I have to go in? For how long will I have to wait? Will I get on a jury? For how long will I have to be in a trial? Worst of all, how will this impact my life?

If I hadn’t been called in just now, I would be on a tennis court right now learning to improve my backhand and net play. This afternoon, I was supposed to be on a conference call with a client. But these plans have been dashed, all for the whims of jury service. When will it be over? Will I be able to take that conference call if I’m not called for a jury? How much work will I be able to do?

I’m looking forward to getting out of here.

Internet. Down again.

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

I just got off the phone after talking with Time Warner Cable.  It was a two hour ordeal.  Is my problem solved?  Not entirely, but at least I can access the Internet.  For now.

We have had technicians visit at least 20 times over the last few years, and probably quadruple that in phone calls to try to fix connection problems.  From my experience so far with Time Warner, they have four tiers of support:

  • Tier-1: These are the outsourced support folks. ¬†No matter what your problem is, it’s your router. ¬†Nevermind that it’s brand-new, or that the Internet connection doesn’t work when the computer is connected directly… ¬†Their job is to tell you to reset your router, reset your cable modem, and plug in a computer directly to the modem so they can “run some tests.” ¬†Invariably, they cannot fix the problem, and must send a technician out to help.
  • Tier-3 (there’s no second tier): ¬†These guys are based in the US; they’re the “national” support, meaning they’re probably in Kansas or somewhere in middle America, and have a bunch of tools at their disposal. ¬†They are, however, carefully guarded by the Tier-1 guys. ¬†Therefore, getting through to one of these rainmakers is next to impossible. ¬†If you can social engineer your way into getting transferred to Tier-3, there’s a 90% chance they can solve your problem without a technician.
  • Technicians: ¬†These guys have the worst job. ¬†They have to come over and pretend to know what to fix, when really, they just splice cable and plug stuff in. ¬†They read their case notes, and their general resolution is to replace the modem. ¬†Even if the problem isn’t the modem. ¬†Occasionally, they’ll dig up your front lawn to install a new line.
  • Technician Gods: ¬†The local support who understands the importance of bandwidth vs. packet loss vs. latency. ¬†I was fortunate enough to talk with one of these legends tonight. ¬†BS in computer engineering from CSUN. ¬†Pasadena native. ¬†He “reset the ping count” (yeah, even that’s beyond me), and…for the first time in 10ish years of having cable, gave us a free month of service for our trouble. ¬†And told me to get a different brand of modem.

Anyway. ¬†Obviously, I’m back online, and I hope that a modem change on Monday will solve more woes.

Dating sucks!

Monday, July 20th, 2009

I used to like dating.  You know, back in college, where really all I had to do was study, eat, sleep, and play Goldeneye on the Nintendo.  Yeah, those were the days!  I had a part time job that paid well, so I could go on all the dates I wanted to, all while saving money.

Well, responsibility kicked in. ¬†Dating wasn’t as easy. ¬†There isn’t as much time, and the environment has changed.

When I go on a date now, it’s taking precious time away from what’s left of my free time. ¬†Work takes up hours of my work day, and after that little post-21 metabolism slowdown, the gym has become more important than ever. ¬†So when a date isn’t worth it, it’s not just a little money wasted on an undeserving girl, it’s TIME that gets flushed away, all for the hope of finding someone awesome.

It’s a high price to pay.

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

Mark Twain once said, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” ¬†Despite this obvious observation, our society focuses so mightily on statistics, you’d think we revere them as if they’re stone cold facts. ¬†Commercials that tell you “Three out of four dentists recommend Crest.” ¬†“Lysol kills 99.9% of germs.” ¬†Studies show “2-5 cups of coffee a day keeps Alzheimers away.” ¬†“Drinking 1-2 glasses of red wine prevent xyz”

I’m sorry. ¬†This is all bullshit. ¬†The “dentists”, or whatever professional they choose, is never mentioned. ¬†There’s no control. ¬†It could have been, “Three out of four dentists [who we found while speaking at a Proctor and Gamble board meeting] recommend Crest.” ¬†The Lysol guys: ¬†“Lysol kills 99.9% of the germs [that we placed on a smooth, non-porous surface, and chose carefully to make sure it wasn’t one of those resistant guys].” ¬†And as for the studies: ¬†Correlation without Causation!!! ¬†Seriously! ¬†What’s the control group? ¬†More importantly, what other aspects of these participants lives have you ruled out? ¬†People aren’t all built the same.

It’s one thing to go off and explain that a certain percentage of participants of SOMETHING had something happen to them while doing something. ¬†That’s pretty solid, like “40% of study participants yelled ‘fuck!’ when they hit their thumb with a hammer. ¬†The other 60% were dead to begin with.” ¬†But it’s another thing to go and say, “Drinking 2-5 cups of coffee a day reduces the risk of getting Alzheimer’s Disease by 26%.” ¬†Are you serious? ¬†So the control group must have been a large group of people who don’t drink coffee. ¬†What did they drink instead? ¬†And what did the participants who drink coffee do after they drank their coffee? ¬†More importantly, how do you determine the risk factor in the first place?

There are more holes in these studies than a bad porno flick.

Smoking in Your Car

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

I’m not a smoker. ¬†I don’t think it’s something I could ever do. ¬†Something I’ve noticed, though, is that even smokers don’t like the smoke they emit. ¬†Sure, they like to inhale, but exhaling, well, you don’t want to breathe THAT shit in, right?

I know this because I see smokers in their cars all the time–take a drag…then they blow it out the window. ¬†Or they let the cigarette hang out the window (what, no ashtray?), and that’s aggravating. ¬†You may ask why I care–well, when you’ve got someone smoking, blowing the smoke out their window, it goes into MY window. ¬†Or even if I have the AC on, I can smell it. ¬†The worst, actually, was some dickhead threw his cigarette butt out the window of his car, and it got stuck in my grill. ¬†Yeah. ¬†NOT pleasant. ¬†I actually pulled over and removed it after I figured out that’s what the issue was.

Anyway–if you’re a smoker, and you like to smoke in your car, do us non-smokers a few small favors:

  1. Smoke with your windows up. ¬†Keep your own smoke. ¬†It’s yours.
  2. Dispose of your cigarettes properly, don’t throw them out your car window. ¬†It’s illegal anyway (you know, littering?)
  3. Don’t hang your hand out the window with a cigarette–it smokes itself in the wind and we smell it. ¬†Yech.

Goodbye, Bank of America

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

I’m sorry, Bank of America, but you’ve worn out your welcome. ¬†When you make changes to account policy without telling me, fee me based upon that change based upon an event that proceeded the policy change, then claim you notified me and refuse to refund the fee, you’re toast. ¬†I can’t trust you anymore.

More importantly, BofA, if I may call you that, you’ve made a poor decision. ¬†In an economic downturn, which we are obviously experiencing, you shouldn’t be raising the minimum account balance 50%, and increasing the fee when a balance falls below that. ¬†It’s just not right. ¬†I remind myself that I as a taxpayer have given you $15 billion dollars to help you with your poor decisions, and yet you’re not giving out more loans, you’re charging your customers more, and you’re letting your customer service slip.

I’m sorry, BofA, it’s just not working out. ¬†I’ve found someone else, and they’re happy to have my account no matter how much I give them.

Saying “Thanks”…on the Freeway

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

A bit of a warning–no, I’m not passive aggressive. ¬†Usually. ¬†But this post will make you think I am. ¬†Driving in Los Angeles, as many of you know, is a lot like fighting small battles every day. ¬†People cut in and out of traffic, breaking numerous laws in the process. ¬†Drivers rarely signal, and when they do, it’s usually with their middle finger.

Every once in a while, someone will actually make space for another driver–allowing them to safely change lanes, turn, or do another procedure that would otherwise require more aggressive driving. ¬†When someone lets me change lanes, I give them a little wave as if to say “thanks!” ¬†After all, we’re a polite society, no?

Well, I too let people in. ¬†And while waving is a polite thing to do, I’d say MAYBE half of the people do it. ¬†I suppose I shouldn’t expect a thank you wave–but honestly, it’s the polite thing to do. ¬†Today, I was feeling particularly generous–I slowed down about ten times to let people change lanes in front of me–and not one of them waved. ¬†I was a little disappointed.

I could almost write another post about the same thing, but holding doors. ¬†Though it’s worse–because they’re right there.

Mac vs. PC

Friday, March 27th, 2009

From as far back as I can remember until mid-2002, I hated Apple products. ¬†It didn’t matter what they were, it didn’t matter what they did–they were enormous piles of crap. ¬†I remember fixing them in high school, and scoffing at their goofy designs in undergrad. ¬†Their performance was terrible. ¬†OS 9? ¬†Not even true multi-tasking! ¬†Come ON! ¬†Who’d spend thousands of dollars more on a Mac? ¬†Then they starting saying how they were FASTER–but it sure didn’t seem that way, what, with all the crashing and other issues…

Then something happened.

I was at Washington Mutual at the time, doing computer work; Windows XP had just come out around that time, and boy, it was KILLING the Macs.  I decided to buy a 20 GB iPod; I had outgrown my measly 4 GB Creative Nomad; and it was DOG slow.  I opened my new, EXPENSIVE iPod.  It was sleek.  Attractive.  Solid.  Perfect.  I was amazed at the quality of the product.

After a month or so, I decided to leave WaMu to get my masters, and one of my colleagues told me to buy a Mac. “They’ve changed,” he explained. ¬†So I read up on it. ¬†Sure enough, OS X had gone through two iterations by that point, 10.0 and 10.1, and 10.2 was coming out that week. ¬†I still had a bad taste in my mouth from the Macs in high school, though. ¬†So I sauntered across the street to the Northridge Apple store where I purchased my iPod, instead to check out the Powerbooks. ¬†Visually, they were stunning. ¬†Titanium case, striking screen, gorgeous layout. ¬†One mouse button. ¬†Hmmm.

The salesperson (Specialist, as I came to know), told me about the machine. ¬†I mentioned that I had been in IT, and that I wanted everything laid out to me technically. ¬†He obliged, “It’s a 15 inch screen, 800 MHz G4 processor. It’s fast, though–faster than its Intel counterparts that are twice the clock speed.” ¬†I was doubtful. ¬†I didn’t like the dock. ¬†I didn’t like that there was no “Run” command in the Start menu. ¬†I didn’t like that there was no Start menu! ¬†I could have (and I think I did, at some point) make a list of all the things I hated about it. ¬†Then he showed me the Terminal. ¬†And it had everything I needed. ¬†I played with that computer for over an hour, and by the time I was done, I was convinced. ¬†This was the computer for me.

So I walked out with a brand-new Powerbook. ¬†A new Apple. ¬†My worst nightmare–I had become what I hated! ¬†For a month afterwards, I hated on the laptop as much as I could. ¬†I told everyone who’d listen, “I’m the only Apple owner who hates the computer. ¬†I hate it!” ¬†Meanwhile, I had two major problems with the computer that resulted in Apple replacing it with a VERY upgraded model… ¬†A gigahertz processor, bigger hard drive, better graphics, a DVD burner… ¬†Amazing customer service. ¬†I had problems with Dells, HPs, Compaqs, and Sonys before…but no one handled the problem as well as Apple.

I used the computer for another month, hating it all the while…when suddenly, I realized I didn’t miss the features I wanted to have so badly. ¬†Sure, I couldn’t customize the size of the text in the title bar–but I found I didn’t need to. ¬†I didn’t need the Start menu, and the Dock works great. ¬†I became a convert.

So the years have passed, and I’ve owned a few Macs. ¬†I now use a 15″ Macbook Pro, and while I love it, I wish I had held out for the 17″. ¬†Nevertheless, it’s a beautiful system that I love to use. ¬†And I wish more people would consider Macs.

Hopefully you’ve read this far, because the story above is merely background to what I actually wanted to talk about… ¬†Microsoft is, as usual, attacking the Mac. ¬†Rather than spending time improving their operating system, they’re still trying to make Apple look like the bad guy. ¬†The first tried by making non-sensical commercials with Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld. ¬†Then, they made “I’m a PC” ads with lots of people (which turned out to be made on Macs. ¬†Oops). ¬†Then, they put ads of little 4 year olds using the PCs. ¬†No comment.

Now, they’re getting people to go out and buy a computer under $1,000. ¬†They’re asking them to pick a feature that is important to them, and then get the computer. ¬†If the computer costs less, they’ll pay the difference. ¬†So far, a woman wanted a 17″ screen. ¬†She ended up with an HP model because it was $699, versus Apple’s $2,799 Macbook Pro.

Not a bad idea, actually. ¬†They’re essentially telling people that Macs are more expensive than PCs. ¬†Except for a few little things. ¬†Obviously, there is an enormous price discrepancy in the example above. ¬†$2,100 is nothing to sniff at. ¬†Except that they’re very different computers. ¬†I won’t get into details…but the HP has a slower processor, less RAM, a smaller hard drive, worse WiFi, no Bluetooth, a MUCH worse battery, no Firewire ports, a SIGNIFICANTLY (and this is very important) worse display card, and a few other silly things that don’t matter much (ie, the mouse, lit keyboard, etc.) ¬†I’m sure the HP has a memory card slot. ¬†But their screen is worse, too–lower resolution, and terrible viewing angles. ¬†They’re comparing a Porsche to a Chevy Aveo. ¬†Similar size, different animal.

Anyway. ¬†I don’t really have much of a vested interest in this (I think I own three shares of Apple), but every time I see someone switch to a Mac from a PC, they’re happy. ¬†And Vista…well…it’s not that bad…it’s just not good. ¬†Compare it to OS X, especially 10.5 (the current version), and…wow. ¬†Apple’s more efficient, reliable, easy-to-use, and FASTER!

Ok–I’m getting off of my Apple soapbox. ¬†I didn’t intend this to be that long, I’m sorry.

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