I have always quietly beefed TechCrunch‘s site’s bloatness, but this is too far:
A closer look would show 4mb.
So that’s your choice. Viewing the TC homepage once, or downloading an MP3. I guess I appreciate them adding every analytics/ad serving/user tracking/social widget they ever review into their site, but this is getting a little silly. Especially since they added the following page view whoring script:
So left alone, you get a refresh (albeit with caching help) every 20 minutes.
Disclaimer: For obvious legal ramifications, this didn’t happen to me but to a “friend”.
While waiting at the corner of 120th Ave and Bradburn Blvd. to make a left turn into the Bradburn Village neighborhood, my friend decided to ignore the left turn red arrow and run it. My friend often does this because these red arrows are unnecessary, especially at said intersection when you can see oncoming traffic for hundreds of yards to see if making a left turn is safe. My friend then did a rolling stop at the next intersection, turned left and then parked on the wrong side of the street to get the mail. In my friends defense, the rolling stop was not careless, as my friend lived a number of years in the Uptown neighborhood. This trained my friend, from both the perspective of driver and more often pedestrian, to slow to almost a complete stop before the intersection proper to look for pedestrians in both directions at the sidewalk threshold, then coast to the stop sign threshold to look for oncoming cars before proceeding. Parking on the incorrect side of the street was a mere convenience for getting the mail. Upon returning to the vehicle, a police cruiser was parked behind the car with lights flashing.
So to summarize the (alleged) offenses:
- Intentionally running a red light (and we aren’t talking pushing a yellow, straight up running it)
- Failure to stop at a stop sign
- Parking on the incorrect side of the street
The ticket issued was a no points parking ticket for $50 for parking on the wrong side of the road. The stop sign violation was observed and mentioned but dismissed, and it seems unlikely the red light issue was noticed. One cannot call it good luck to ever get a ticket vs. a warning, but strange luck.
My friend had another similarly interesting traffic run-in that falls under strange luck, but with a court date pending (nothing major, only nominal fines at stake) cannot be discussed at this time. Stay tuned this summer for a post on that case. There is already a fool proof defense for the trial.
Is Viacom looking for a watermark so similar to the ©opyright symbol that all Comedy Central content will automatically not be uploaded to YouTube?
Fitting since my last post (over a year old no less) claimed I would not be getting a gen 1 iPad. So here is a cute family picture of Ellie and I to make up for the hiatus.
The Name iPad – Appears the name never crossed the desk of a female employee in Cupertino, assuming there are any. I was bummed to see that ipadjokes.com was already squatted on.
iWork – At first I was befuddled by this. Why the hell would you want docs and spreadsheets? Then it came to me. The iPhone was never, and never will be, a PDA (personal digital assistant). The iPhone was never for road-warrior working-stiffs, it’s for people with liberal arts degrees to look cool while dressing like hipsters. This is the reason the iPhone never had an app for a todo list, Exchange synching and all. My WinMo phone I had back in 2006 was able to view and edit docs, spreadsheets, and presentations. Not ideal, but was useful occasionally at airports reviewing docs before getting on a plane. The WinMo phone was an extension of all the (boring, non-hip, Microsoft) productivity stuff I used to do my job. Jobs described this as a void filling device, I see it as making up for the non-PDA void that is the iPhone.
Google Voice – All of a sudden, the controversial rejection of Google Voice to the iPhone app store makes a helluva lot more sense. You have a device with Wi-Fi and optionally AT&T 3G, adding a Google Voice app is an invitation for VOIP that would cannibalize AT&T service plans and even iPhone sales.
iPhone OS, not OS X – This is the big one for me. And it infuriates me, and I propose revolution. Bear with me a minute. If you are a rock star, you make it big, you end up being a slave to the record label and you make them rich. If you publish a book, in exchange for advances and distribution and marketing you make a publisher rich. Then comes the Internet and the digital revolution. Now the rock star can sell on iTunes and Amazon without a record label and get close to 100%. The author can sell directly to e-books without a publisher and keep almost 100%. This is theoretical and a simplification, but I do have a point here. Now suppose you are a software developer. You create an awesome game or web site. There is very little cost to sell this game, host it on Kongregate, shareware it, etc. It’s a win-win. You as the developer get most or all of the bounty for your wares while there is little or no cost to distribute. The end user gets creative games that can be made by anyone with the talent, dedication, and creativity to entertain. Same story with a web site or web app. Hosting applications and serving costs are minimal. All you need is a great idea, and it scales to the sky. The model is simple for developers: no middleman between our work and our audience.
Apple decided with the iPhone that if you want to develop an iPhone app, it will cost you $100 up front to become a “developer” and then they will take 30%. Sound familiar? It’s a middleman, extortion, a racket, whatever you want to call it. The worst part, for me at least, is that they duped the very industry that has worked to remove middlemen in every other industry. I once heard that the app store was successful because and only because iTunes trained users for micro-payments. The way Apple sold apps on the app store has also done something profound to developers: it has trained them to pay off middlemen. So far, developers have held their noses and written their $100 checks, received their 70%, and been thrilled to be on the “platform”. But now that “platform” has become a moving target. Intel has decided to make a netbook app store, with a similar revenue share. The iPad, I believe, is setting the stage for all applications having a middleman.
This is the centralization that our industry has destroyed for other industries. It puts power in the hands of the Apples, Intels, Hps, Sonys, and Dells to print money off the backs of the talent that creates the apps (Note: I didn’t mention Google, but they could easily follow suit if it becomes accepted). Printing money is not an exaggeration either. The claim made by Apple at today’s event was that “already our customers have downloaded 3 billion apps.” That’s in about 18 months, and the overhead is the staff that reviews them, hosting the apps, and building and maintaining the app store and SDK. Also ask if the availability of apps didn’t help Apple sell more hardware. Doing some simple math, at 3 billion apps if the average price (accounting that many apps are free) were $0.10, that’s a cool $90 million, or $164,000 a day. If it’s more than a conservative $0.10, well, you get the idea – it’s a pyramid scheme.
You’re up, you’re down, but in the end the house always wins.
No Camera – This one I am waiting for my a-ha moment, but it isn’t coming to me. I have theories:
- The next iPhone will have that front-facing camera we’ve all been waiting for, and an iPad with a camera would cannibalize that.
- The price point they were so proud of dictated its omission.
- They weren’t ready, both in terms of a touch version of iMovie and providing one that is to be desired (high mega-pixel and fps).
- iPod Nanos and iPhones shoot video. And all MacBooks have cameras. If the device is filling a void between the iPhone and MacBook, not replacing either devices, then no need for a camera on the iPad. Hmm, maybe this is my a-ha moment.
Price – I see the price as filling a void (void filling is such a theme). With MacBooks starting at $1000, and iPhones and Touches in the $100 to $400 range, the iPad’s $500-$820 range fills the void almost perfectly. BTW, the “rumor” that the price was $1000 was an Apple plant, and I wish a non-fanboy journalist could prove it.
Wireless Internet – AT&T? Really? I really, really can’t wait for the fine print on the “unlimited” plan. That will create a stink to high heaven.
Connectivity – No USB or SD. That’s beyond disappointing and almost a slap in the face. No HD video out? I was surprised, as I often plug my laptop via a single HDMI to an HDTV for a great, easy experience. But, why would you not want to watch on the device? Sure, I guess.
The docks do seem interesting. Like the keyboard stand, or the leather case/stand. Seems a little un-Apple, however.
Touch Keyboard – I have heard on numerous occasions that the touch keyboard on the iPhone is just an issue of “getting used to” over a couple of weeks. It’s been a year for me, and I still long for the days of my Blackberry/Palm/T9/Anything but touchscreen keyboard. If your use for the device doesn’t require lots of typing, I forgive. But as a primary email or document editing device? Not so much.
Reality Distortion Field – Just watch this video. Talk about drinking too much of your own magical kool-aid.
Verdict – I will not be getting one, at least for this generation. It does not fill any void for me. I do hope its release will help improve the iPhone, not stymie it in the name of validating the void.
In December I had a hard drive crash on Mission Control. This was double-y expected eventually since it was a RAID 0 configuration. I only lost a couple hours of work, since I had an auto-backup setup to a RAID 1 NAS I keep in the basement. Rebuilding was a pain, but such is life. To avoid such hassle in the future, I rebuilt with a change:
Intel Q6600 quad-core 2.40GHz 8M L2 Cache
Intel DX38BT motherboard
ATI Radeon 3870×2 1gb
WD Caviar 500 GB 1 GB SATA Hard Drive X 2 RAID 0 RAID 1 (1TB total)
750W Real Power Pro Psu
8GB DDR3 PC3-8500
Vista Home Premium 64
I do miss the speed.
I decided to get a new laptop with the bounties of Christmasukkah:
Sony VAIO VGN-FW520F
Intel Core 2 Duo P7450 (2.13 GHz)
4GB DDR2 RAM
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
500GB Hard Drive @ 5400 rpm
ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4650 (discrete)
16.4 inch Widescreen LCD (1600×900)
Wifi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth
Webcam/mic, HDMI out
Richard Heene is hitting up all the news shows and claiming it wasn’t a hoax right before having to report to jail on Monday. He claims he only pleaded guilty to prevent his wife from getting deported. The real reason he is proclaiming his innocence is to help his future TV reality show career. Jail time appears to be an acceptable price to pay for Larry King et al. appearances to this man. I assume these are paid, which sickens me.
I proposed at the time the hoax was revealed that his court ordered punishment should be:
Richard Heene shall not be allowed to make any TV or radio appearances for 15 years, paid or otherwise, including but not limited to in-person or phone interviews, news shows, reality shows, press conferences, statements, or any other television appearance. Failure to adhere to this punishment will result in violation of probation, jail time, and all money received plus ten percent will be seized and donated to charity.
I am pretty sure that this doesn’t fall under cruel and unusual punishment. I believe this is the worst possible punishment this man could receive in his deranged, attention-seeking world. I say that knowing that the death penalty is legal here in Colorado.
It would also set a much needed precedent that attention seeking for the gain of personal celebrity at the expense of the public will not be tolerated. What if someone died trying to rescue little Falcon during the event? What if someone dies next time these is a hoax? Maybe the Octomom will die after her next 8-kid birth, and leave 20 or so kids orphaned and on the dole. These crimes in the name of attention getting need to be punished not by taking away liberty, but by taking away celebrity. I don’t feel justice has been rendered when I see this man on CNN.
Rudy Giuliani: “We Had No Domestic Attacks Under Bush; We’ve Had One Under Obama.”
I have been busy with this lately, and been silent on the blog front for months. I will try to get back to it, as I have a lot of technology opinions and political rants I would like to get to, as well as some lighter Elise pictures to post. Stay tuned…
Because Techcrunch is reporting that Google Chrome OS is going to be released within a week, I thought I would take this occasion to explain how to install it.
Open Up Control Panel, open Add or Remove Programs, and uninstall everything.
Right-click on My Computer, Properties, Select the Hardware tab, and click on Device Manager. Then for each device, right-click and select uninstall.
Go to the Desktop, and delete everything
Repeat this step for My Documents, and the c drive (and other applicable drives).
Install the Google Chrome Browser, set as default browser.
Press start, programs, Google Chrome, right-click on Google Chrome, and select copy. Then go to the Startup folder, right-click and select paste. Google Chrome should now exist in your Startup folder.
Reboot your machine. You now have Google Chrome OS, congratulations. With this powerful new OS, you can now:
- Browse the web
- Power off the machine
Windows 7 and Snow Leopard finally have some real competition.
Ok, not really. But looks that way with the quasi video game look of the video.
[Via Denver Infill Blog]
Here are some pictures from the game:
I am in the midst of a total video renaissance on my home machines. It all started with the addition of NAS to my home network infrastructure. I added two 1.5 TB drives in a RAID 1 (hooray for redundancy) for backup and video storage. This gives me virtually infinite HD video storage (or a few hundred hours if you want to get technical about it) and allows multiple machines to work with the raw HD recordings. This decentralization allows me to work with my video on either Mission Control using Sony Vegas Movie Studio for really complicated video editing tasks (like ‘Unstoppable‘), or my Mac Mini and iMovie for simple kid clips like ‘Tumbling‘.
The most painful, but essential, part of my video setup was getting the original camcorder software installed on Mission Control. When I first got the Handycam, the software for importing and organizing the AVCHD video from the camera was not compatible with 64-bit Vista. They have since fixed the issue, but installation required several components and reboots. With this new setup I hope to capture and produce more video. This also allows me to transfer back to the camera, and import all my old videos into iMovie, since best I can tell iMovie can’t just up and import raw AVCHD file dumps from a hard drive.
I also have found some great solutions for video on the go. I purchased Xilisoft’s iPod Video Converter, and can now take just about any video format and copy it to my iPhone for viewing on the bus. Even more impressive, however, is the TiVo Desktop Plus software. This software let’s me browse my TiVo recordings, and easily copy, convert, and add them to my iPhone in one shot. What’s really nice about this is I can time shift to skip commercials on the iPhone. Now I can get my Daily Show with John Stewart and Robot Chicken fix, and I don’t have to pay a dime in the iTunes store (though the TiVo software did set me back $24.95). Finally, for DVDs, I use CloneDVD Mobile to rip DVD’s for viewing on my iPhone. This is a great solution for plane travel, since you can just load up a handful of DVDs before a trip and you are all set with just the iPhone, a device that travels with you anyways. With this complete setup, I now have the ability to easily fill my iPhone with videos from file, TiVo, and DVD. I see my listening time for podcasts and audio books dropping sharply, except for while walking about.
I think I have reached near perfection and mastery of video, and am master of my own video domain.
The DenverInfill Blog has some pictures of the Four Season’s mast going up and being attached, but I did snag one while it was still on the street walking to the bus the other day.
Interesting comments on DenverInfill. Very mixed opinions on the architectural design now that it is nearing completion. I will hold judgement until it is done, as I think the lighting after nightfall may make it impressive.
Since I purchased my iPhone late last year, two iPhone games showed the promise to make me forgot about any portable gaming device on the market. One lived up to that promise, the other fell flat. Let’s start with the disappointment: SimCity.
SimCity (iTunes link)
This was a favorite game of my youth, going back so far I remember being blown away by its graphics on a VGA screen. The iPhone version of SimCity is the same of a real, big-boy version once available on PC. When I first opened up the app and started building my city, I was truly impressed – at first. I was making power plants, zoning, managing public services. All was well.
Then the minutiae took over. I have fat gorilla fingers, with thumbs that at their largest can take up a fifth of the iPhone touch screen. What was once a fun city management experience quickly turned into fumbling and bumbling and zooming and pinching and panning (repeat) to make sure every tile had water and power lines and little itty-bitty water pumps and so on and so forth. This was an acceptable chore in PC versions of the game. When I am using a touchscreen that fits in my pocket using thumbs that barely fit in my pocket, this isn’t just a chore, it is an impossible, cumbersome punishment.
I understand the ease of porting a game by exactly duplicating its functionality. I understand the desire to be true to the original. But when I have a little time to kill, spending 20 minutes pinching and zooming and navigating menus and drop downs just to provide 3 city blocks with water, well, no one is going to have a lot of fun with that.
Moral of the story: just because you can port a game exactly, doesn’t mean you can forget the form factor and how it has a very real impact on the experience.
Civilization Revolution (iTunes link)
The Civilization franchise I picked up in the early 2000s, and quickly fell in love. Playing god on a scale of the world’s best empires provides a great degree of challenge and reward. This version of the franchise may be an exact port from the Nintendo DS (anyone?), but it finds a great balance of being true to the gameplay while working within the constraints of screen size and touch screen input. Pinching, panning, tapping, contextual buttons, and the side buttons are very intuitive, and you can tell a lot of thought was put into the design and UI.
The game difficulty settings are spot on. One complaint I have with many games is that the jump from a difficulty of hard to hardest is non-linear, i.e. hard is too easy, hardest is downright impossible, frustrating, or unfair. This game trains you and works you up to the level in a very natural way. Another great feature is the different scenarios; basically tweak some of the attributes of the game to accelerate the experience, whether in science, military, or monetary achievements.
I still do have a few complaints about the game. The lack of futuristic military units is a disappointment. The game can also crash occasionally, which seems to occur later in a game when there is a lot going on and you are about to win. Also, the slow load time makes it hard to squeeze in a few turns while spending a couple of minutes on the throne. Finally, the game drains the iPhone’s battery faster than any other task you could do on the phone.
For any future ports of game franchises to the iPhone, I hope Civilization Revolution is the model for which they base their design. I could see the platform truly becoming a gaming force if the form factor is used as an advantage (Civilization) and not a constraint (SimCity).