Archive for the 'rant' Category

iPhone off the interstate? Oh the impotence you’ll feel.

August 31, 2008

I love my iPhone. I waited for the second generation in hopes of 3G (and waiting out my T-Mobile contract). I went with a Blackjack for the past year for email and rudimentary web browsing but it sucked like an Oreck.

When the time came, I knew there were going to be some growing pains. Battery life is pitiful for a phone — but I wasn’t looking for a phone. My professional life happens online. I needed an internet device that could also be phone when I needed it to be.

I got that in the city. I got that on the freeway. I’ve got a fancy iPod this weekend.

AT&T is worse at this outstate thing than T-Mobile and T-Mobile was monumentally shifty at it. Five minutes after leaving I-94 in Western Minnesota, I was doomed to my current unconnected state for 3 days.

I even drove around the hinterland today looking for bars — on my phone (there are no shortages of the other type). I got A bar once in the shadow of a huge cell tower, but it went away less than a half mile up the road. Lest you question the terrain, I am not exaggerating when I tell you this is one of the flattest places on the planet.

I don’t know how much blame belongs with AT&T and how much goes to Apple, but regardless, it’s been an extremely frustrating few days.

School Time Bag Time

August 22, 2008

Flash back to the end of August 2007. I arrived home from work — only a few weeks left before I would leave Avenet and start building a company that I had a piece of. The kids were just about to go to public school for the first time and Angela arrived home from shopping with their bags.

My heart sunk. Ang is wonderful at many things. Shopping for school bags in apparently not one of them. Bags are supposed to be my domain. I love a new bag to carry my stuff in. I know how to shop for them, I know how to look at the workmanship to see if it will hold up to the abuse. I also have a pretty good eye for knowing what will fit in the bag (and I’m pretty good at sniffing out a deal).

Owen came home with a big Darth Vader backpack. I had two thoughts: “total crap” and will be difficult to fit in the locker. It was both of those things but it held up better than I thought it would.

Field had a canvas messenger bag. Kids, especially elementary school kids shouldn’t have messenger bags — especially one like this. One area and a slot on the back for folder. Everything hung out of it. Messy.

The kids are vegetarian — like us which means they bring their lunches to school almost every day. Field’s would get clipped to the outside of his bag, making it even more difficult to carry.

This year it’s my turn and we’re starting a two-year bag rotation. Utility is the key. We’ll be checking REI, Altrec, and eBags to find the answer.

A friend of mine walks into the doctor’s office…

August 22, 2007

A girl walks into a doctor and says, “Hey, my stomach hurts. I hope I don’t have cancer.”

The doctor, a kindly fellow, responds, “Let’s see what’s going on.”

After an ample amount of poking and prodding — and chatting about family histories and such, the doctor offers the following options:

1) A CT Scan.

2) Do nothing.

“Those are two pretty drastically different options, doc,” she says.

“Well, yes, they are, but let’s assume we find something with the CT Scan. You’ll be uninsurable,” and then he mumbles a bit about pre-existing conditions and such. “Oh, and for further information, renal cancer isn’t too bad if we catch it early, but it can be a real bitch later on.”

Her head begins to spin.

“It’s really up to you,” he kindly says, knowing that the options he’s offered both suck.

“Well that’s pretty messed up,” she responds, not saying ‘messed’ but a slightly less classy word befitting the situation that begins with the letter ‘F’.

“Yes it is,” the doctor states, “but it’s a better alternative than you’d have in most of the world.”

Is it? IS IT?

Google Adsense Sucks

March 23, 2007

I like almost all of the Google tools. Seriously. I use A LOT of them, but Adsense is “teh suck”.

I wrote a piece in October or November that created a tidal wave of traffic. I created another site and thought, hell, why not add some Adsense. I used to use it, might as well try to get that $23 that they’ve been holding hostage for two years.

Google seems to think that keeping my money, money they’ve already collected from advertisers for years, is their prerogative (and it’s not like I’m sharing int the interest or anything). Financially, it’s a huge boon for them as the average Adsense user probably NEVER cashes out at the $100 minimum amount.

I’ve been wanting to remove it from the site entirely for months — for a number of reasons, but I’ve left it up hoping to finally get to that magical $100 mark. At this rate, I’m about 3 months away.

At that point, I’ll take my check and give ’em the finger.

Slow MacBook Pro Wireless (and other gripes)

January 21, 2007

Jesus. I’ve got a real love/hate relationship going with this not-yet-two-month-old laptop. It’s gorgeous — and it’s maddening. The Mac OS is fine. I like it quite a bit in fact, but the majority of the tools I use are Windows-based. Parallels solved that for the most part, allowing me to run Windows from within OS X. It’s quite slick and doubly so with “coherence”. But… There are also drawbacks. Splitting the memory between Windows and OS X does little for either and immediately get the fan fired up. It works in a pinch, but I think Bootcamp is the way I’m going to need to go. Up to this point, my complaints are at least addressable.

The Wireless.
This has been a real problem. I use CNET’s Bandwidth test every now and then (and more often now after watching my connectivity screech to a halt on the MacBook and scream on the Windows laptop). I searched the web for an answer and there are pages about Mac-freindly routers and such — which is complete bullshit. “Hey Apple! Write to the f’ing standard.” There appear to be MANY people experiencing the same slowness I am (somewhere in the neighborhood of 150Kbps on the Mac to 2000Kbps on the Toshiba laptop). I’ve tried everything and have — at least for now — found a solution. I, of course, did two things so I have no idea which is the “magic” fix.

  1. Turned off Windows Sharing
  2. Changed the Channel on the router

Others have entered the DNS servers manually instead of relying on DHCP as well as a multitude of other wacky fixes. Someone dropped the ball on the wireless over at Apple — at least in 10.4.8.

The Battery
The website says:

60-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery (with integrated charge indicator LEDs) providing up to 5 hours of battery life(1)

I’ve yet to see anything close to that. I use the wireless typically, so that’s going to cut into the time, but I dim the screen quite a bit (just a click or two above ‘off’) and I’m usually just editing text or browsing the web. I’m lucky to see 2 hours and 15 minutes on a full charge.

In 42 load cycles (according to Coconut Battery), I’m down to a max charge of 94% of the original. That’s a significant drop, but it still doesn’t explain the discrepancy in the estimate. You want to know what does? Apple lied about it. Yep. Unless they’re using some alien technology, you’re not going to be able to get 5 hours out of it. And this thing sucks the juice with the cover closed in sleep mode too. Routinely, it’ll use 25% of it’s battery “sleeping” overnight.

The Display (added this as an UPDATE on 1/23/2007)
This is a big one. I’m a developer. I also hack around in Photoshop, Illustrator and such when need be — in more of a production graphics sense. What the hell was Apple thinking putting a 1440 x 900 screen (with no other option available) into a machine such as this? My $1600 Dell Inspiron Core Duo has the 1680 x 1050 option — and it’s an amazing screen. I subscribe to the notion that we have too much choice in our lives and that that amount of choice makes us less happy as we are constantly forced to be… making choices (head over to Subway at lunch if you don’t agree), but my list of choices for displays on a Mac laptop are too limited:

  • 13.3 inch Glossy (1280 by 800)
  • 15.4 inch Glossy (1440 by 900)
  • 15.4 inch Standard (1440 x 900)
  • 17 inch Glossy (1680 by 1050)
  • 17 inch Standard (1680 by 1050)

Glossy and non-glossy are hardly the important options I need. Add this option:

  • 15.4 inch Standard (1680 x 1050)

…and you’ve solved the problem.

The Keyboard
Love it — except the squeaky space bar. I gotta get that fixed.

Worth It?
For $2500? No. Too many problems. I love the flexibility, but realistically some of my main Windows apps — Visual Studio, OneNote, and even Open Office have no real Mac peers (I’m willing to retract this point if you can help me find OS X replacements). Mac Fanboys will surely chime in — as they ALWAYS do, “Why don’t you go buy a Dell then?” The answer is, I might next time if Apple refuses to fix these (VERY FIXABLE) hardware issues in the next generation. My $1600 Dell and one of those kick-ass 23-inch Studio Displays for the same cost as the MacBook Pro? Hmm…