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2010.09.30 Comments off

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Categories: Randomness

Samsung Fascinate: Bada-Bing, Bada-Boom!

2010.09.11 2 comments

Here is what happens when some corporate mooks take a perfectly amazing product and intentionally fuck it up.

The phone is awesome.  4″ AMOLED screen.  Excellent camera.  Terrific battery life.  Verizon network.  1 GHz processor.  Android.  If you stop there, you might have the best phone ever.

Now enter the mooks.

Apparently, someone at Microsoft bought a Verizon exec a fat line of coke and a $50 blow job at the Cabaret Royale.  Bing search is so cooked into this phone that you cannot even CHANGE to Google – for everything (search, maps, nav, everything).  Verizon has actually gone out of its way to fucking HIDE the Google Search widget from the Android Market.  Hello?  This is Android.  From Google.  And.  I.  Can’t.  Fucking.  Use.  Fucking.  Google.

IF I LOVED BING I WOULD USE A WINDOWS PHONE.

Attention Ivan Seidenberg: identify the mook in charge of this decision, and immediately sell him to AT&T.  They’ll love that dickhead over there.

And, Ivan, if you happen to be the mook who made that decision, I have a recommendation.  Over the next few weeks, a few hundred thousand of these phones are going to be returned because they don’t offer Google search.  Take each and every one of them and… yeah, you know what to do with them.

Here’s how awesome the phone is: I am considering keeping it and hacking Bing out of it.  It’s really a terrific phone.  Verizon, please, please, please, please, please, please undo this decision with all possible speed.

Please.

Categories: Randomness

HTC EVO Summary

2010.09.05 Comments off

Owning the HTC EVO is like owning a Ferrari with a one-gallon gas tank in a land of dirt roads.

This phone is awesome: Front and rear cameras.  The best camera on a phone, ever.  An amazing display.  1GHz processor.  4G.  Hotspot.  Sexy UI.  Swype (beta).  It’s sleek, beautiful, powerful, and fun.  Like a Ferrari.

Here’s the one-gallon gas tank: battery life is about 4 hours, when I use it like I use my Droid (whose battery has only gone empty on me once or twice in the year I’ve owned it).  It’s epically FAIL.  Just doing basic stuff on it can drain the battery by 50% in an hour.

Here’s the dirt roads: Sprint’s network blows.  I’ve been on Verizon for five years now, having switched from Nextel, AT&T and Sprint.  So, sure, I’m spoiled.  But Sprint’s network is just lousy.  Even when I get 100% signal strength, over 1/2 the time, the data network is dead.  I’ve used the 4G bandwidth some, and occasionally, it’s faster IRL than Verizon’s 3G, but usually, it’s a lot slower.  It doesn’t matter if the underlying network is capable of 6 Mbps if it is only 10% available.

So the EVO is going back.  What a terrible pity.  I will definitely miss it.  But I need a phone I can really use, and I cannot use the EVO.

Categories: Randomness Tags:

Samsung Epic 4G AMOLED vs. HTC EVO 4G LCD Screen First Impressions

2010.08.31 Comments off

I had a chance today to do a hands-on comparison between the two major 4G contenders from Sprint: the HTC EVO and the brand-new Samsung Epic.  Let me cut to the chase: I found the Epic’s AMOLED display to be unusable.

The Epic’s brilliant, colorful AMOLED leaps out at you with brilliant, oversaturated colors that make your existing phone look black-and-white, while the EVO’s LCD display humbly displays a neutral, normalized color palette.

On first impression, the Epic grabs your attention. “WOW, look at THAT!”  Images and videos just POP to life in a way you’ve never seen before.

But, on second impression, the AMOLED display comes up short.

The first thing you’ll notice is that whites are blue, not flat white.  Oversaturated colors pop at first, but eventually you start to see them as actually oversaturated.  These are minor problems, but problems nonetheless.

The major problem – the dealbreaker – is text.  The AMOLED display is incapable of rendering smooth font edges.  Instead of a nicely-blurred edge, individual pixels appear, resulting in difficult-to-read text.  The smaller the font, the more obvious the problem, as the eyes focus on tiny font details that turn into individual pixels.

It appears to me that the pixels in an AMOLED display are each surrounded by a tiny black border.  This is unnoticeable when displaying photos or videos, but black-on-white text – or white-on-black text – clearly shows the shortcoming.

I was hopeful that the Epic could be my new phone, but it and its Galaxy S brethren are now crossed off my list.  AMOLED fail.

Categories: Software & IT Tags: ,

The Pragmatic Libertarian: In Defense of Income Redistribution

2010.08.28 Comments off

I cannot imagine two concepts which seem, on the surface, more diametrically opposed than libertarianism and income redistribution. Read more…

Ubuntu’s Multimedia Challenge

2010.08.26 2 comments

Having used Ubuntu exclusively now for a few weeks, I am a true believer.  It’s just a great operating system, with great looks, speed, and power.  And it does almost everything a modern platform should.

Until you need multimedia power.  Specifically, photos, music, and video.

Ubuntu’s photo managers, like F-Spot, Shotwell, and the like are all hopelessly simple.  They tend to choke on large collections.  The first time I started F-Spot, I pointed it at the folder containing my photos and watched it die a miserable death.  They don’t organize well by metadata: sort by date, or sort by folder.  That’s it.  They either don’t connect to photo sharing websites, or connect only very clumsily.  The editing capability is terribly lacking.

Here, the paradigm is Picasa.  Picasa handles importing, organizing, simple editing, and uploading to a sharing site with absolute aplomb.  It is super fast, handles huge collections with ease, is very easy to use, and is surprisingly powerful.

Picasa is available as a download from Google (it isn’t available through the Ubuntu software manager) and only runs as a WINE app.  It’s stuck on version 3.0 and there is no sign of a future release, even though Google remains staunchly pro-Linux.  Nevertheless, Picasa 3.0 running under WINE is far better than any native Linux alternative.

In order for Ubuntu to succeed in the mainstream, it needs native Picasa, or a sufficiently robust alternative.

Next up is music.  The default player, Rhythmbox, is woefully inadequate.  I was sorely put to the test when I tried to perform the most basic of music management tasks: create a playlist and put it on my iPod.  I created the playlist easily enough, but found there was no way to copy it to the iPod.  FAIL.  Undaunted, I copied the tracks from the playlist to the iPod, then created a new playlist on the iPod and dragged the tracks into it.  This almost worked, except that when I tried to order the tracks to my liking, I found that they remained in the original order on my iPod.

And then when I tried to rename the playlist, Rhythmbox crashed.

Here there is One App to Rule Them All.  iTunes?  Ha!  I scoff at the suggestion.  Nay, not iTunes.

MediaMonkey.  Far and away the best music management app, ever.  By a longshot.

If all you do is buy songs from iTunes and play them in iTunes and on your iPod, then iTunes might be good enough for you.  And it would be better than any of the native Linux alternatives.  Of course, iTunes on Linux ain’t happening.

But if you have a complex mess of MP3s, FLACs, stuff your friend loaned you on a flash drive, songs you ripped from your CDs, and other serious organizational tasks, MediaMonkey’s database-driven design puts everything else to shame.

In order for Ubuntu to succeed as a mainstream OS, it needs music management software on par with MediaMonkey.

I’ve already mentioned how badly I hit my head on video editing.  I don’t expect Ubuntu to ship with a free copy of Vegas.  But the existing video apps are super weak.  Let’s pick one and run it over the NLE goal line, OK?

At least Ubuntu runs VirtualBox well.  I will need it for a few Windows apps that I’m not going to be able to leave behind.

At least, not yet.

Categories: Software & IT Tags:

Worst Playground FAIL of All Time

2010.08.23 Comments off

via Huffington Post:

(click for more Playground FAIL)

Read the whole thing – it’s epic.

Categories: Randomness Tags: