iPhone hysteria gets a little crazy…
Jun 22nd, 2010 by scaredpoet

I saw this post today on a popular iPhone discussion forum:

This in response to a story that indicates AT&T won’t be selling the iPhone to the general public (short of pre-orders) until Tuesday, June 29th.

Good christ, people.  We need to get a grip.

I admit I was a little annoyed about the whole pre-order process.  Actually, VERY annoyed.  Mainly because right now and for the past week, I don’t have a phone of any kind.  But you know something?  Going without my shiny, expensive piece of plastic and glass has taught me something: it just isn’t that important.

Initially, I went through quite a bit of withdrawal.  When I had a minute to kill, I would always reach for my iPhone and check my e-mail, or twitter, or fire off some text messages, or look up something on wikipedia… only to find that my trusty all-knowing companion wasn’t there anymore.  I found that when I was eating lunch, I was incredibly uneasy and didn’t know what to do with myself because I was accustomed to poking away at websites and news apps while munching on my sandwich in solitude.

After a couple of days of this though, I started realizing something: there were people around me.  And, I could talk to them.  Granted, they were a little uneasy about this too.  It took a little prodding to get some folks to look up from their phones and laptops and iPads and kindles and nooks, only to have to acclimate themselves to the idea that someone was actually in front of them starting up a conversation.  Somehow, in the three short years that mobile devices have allegedly revolutionized “social networking,” it seems we’ve almost forgotten how to actually socialize.

And sadly, it has come to this:  people are (probably sarcastically, but maybe not) threatening to cut themselves if they can’t get the newest, shiniest piece of plastic, metal and glass on Thursday, June 24th.  This saddens me greatly.

And so, when my new iPhone is ultimately delivered – something that up to recently I too, was anticipating with excitement and perhaps a little overboard hysteria – I’m just going to set it aside and let it sit in its box for a while.  I could rip the packing open and activate it right away, but see, when the delivery comes I’m likely going to be working… and you know, living my life... and I shouldn’t drop everything I’m doing to give this thing my undivided attention, at the expense of everyone and everything around me.  That’s just stupid, and insane.

So, in its box it will stay.  Then, I’ll go home, enjoy a nice dinner, relax in front of the TV (remember those?), chat with friends of mine and my significant other, and then maybe I’ll remember that oh yes! I have a phone again.  And then I’ll plug it into my mac, let the ghost of my previous iPhone re-incarnate itself into the new one via a restore from backup, see that all is good, and then turn in for the night.

And maybe the next morning I’ll remember to take my new iPhone to work with me.  Maybe.

This may anger people who are talking about camping out in reservation lines hours or even days in advance to get something which they are not guaranteed to receive.  If this is you, then I have to ask you: why are you letting an expensive gadget define your life so much?  Why are we treating these things like pieces of addictive crack?  Why is it that we’re all getting in such riotous, ravenous moods and binding ourselves down over something that is supposedly designed to set us free?

The i of the retina
Jun 16th, 2010 by scaredpoet

Ironically, a mere two hours before the great iPhone theft debacle that occurred earlier this week, I was busy photographing my beloved (and now lost) cell phone for a little project I wanted to work on.

In particular, I wanted to see just what kind of a difference there is between the previous model’s screen, and that of the new iPhone 4.  One of the new model’s oft-touted features is the retina display, which is purported to offer a resolution so high that the human eye can’t make out individual pixels.

Whether this is true or not is subject to heated debate in the blog and pundit arena. But I’m willing to bet that although my own naked eyes might not be able to make out individual pixels on the new iPhone, I think I know an eye that can.

With the right optics and magnification, my current 18 Megapixel digital camera should be able to give me what I’m looking for: the ability to really compare, pixel-for-pixel, between the existing iPhone 3GS display and the new iPhone 4.  While I still don’t have an iPhone 4 to test with, I figured I might as well get the first subject – the previous model – ready for its closeup, and then compare when I ultimately could get my hands on the new one.

And so, I got to work setting up the lab…

My Canon EOS T2i was fitted with an EF-S 60mm macro lens, and mounted directly above a comfortably-resting iPhone 3GS at the closest distance this lens will focus: 0.2 meters.  Simple enough, and pretty straightforward as seen from the image above.  Though I think the title shot, taken with lights-out over 25 seconds, with only the camera’s red-eye light and the iPhone display providing the lighting, makes it much more dramatic looking.

The actual shots themselves were taken in complete darkness (aside from the display of course) and the camera set to 100 ISO.  And the phone’s display brightness was set to full.

So how did it look?  See for yourself…

Hmm, that does seem pretty grainy, doesn’t it?  Well, We haven’t even scratched the surface.  This is a hugely-downsampled version of the original image, which you can download here.  But, in case you have a slow internet connection, here’s an enlargement of a small section of the image:

And now, we can see through the power of high-end digital photography, that the iPhone 3GS screen is pretty damned pixelated!

There are more images after the cut, showing additional examples of the screen at close range and at angles.  With any luck, I’ll be able to repeat this experiment with a brand new iPhone, and see what kind of difference a retina display can make.

Read the rest of this entry »
Sometimes, fate conspires to force tech geeks offline
Jun 15th, 2010 by scaredpoet

For the past 10 hours or so, I’ve been staring almost non stop at the above graphic.  Like countless millions of other apple geeks hoping to be among the first to own an iPhone 4, I’ve been furiously shaking my fist at this spinning graphic as AT&T’s servers crash, taking Apple’s online ordering system down with it.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t initially planning on being one of the crazies who wants the latest and greatest first.  I was perfectly happy to stick with my trusty iPhone 3GS for a little while.  That is, until I did something stupid and lost it last night, only for someone else to find it and take it home with them.

Yes, I lost my phone, and then someone stole it.  I know this for a fact.  You know how I know?  Because MobileMe has this neat feature that lets you track the location of your iPhone via GPS.  Indeed, it first showed me that my iPhone was exactly where I thought I had left it.  Then, as I sped to that location at 80MPH, I arrived only to find that it was now pinging at some dude’s house.  That is, before he completely wiped the iPhone and probably jailbroke and unlocked the poor thing.

By the way: in case you’re wondering, the police are useless. They will not, under any circumstances, go after anyone or even knock on the door where your missing property is located, even if you present them with a perfectly accurate GPS map of where that property is telling you it’s located.  All they will do is offer to file a missing property (not stolen, missing) property report, which you can either wipe your ass with, or perhaps wad up into a ball and throw at the window of the confirmed thief’s house, thus maybe startling them a little.

Of course, if I worked for Apple, I’m sure things would have been different, right?

Last night’s harrowing experience only compounds my anger and frustration with AT&T today.  Not being able to purchase a new iPhone is one thing.  But I can’t do anything with my account.  I can’t activate a new SIM to put in a dumb phone, and thus have some modicum of phone service while I wait out the mob. Nor can I suspend my service.  Right now, I can’t even log into my AT&T account to see if the thief has been calling Zimbabwe, downloading porn, or perhaps texting sweet nothings to my girlfriend without my knowledge.

This folks, is what AT&T exclusivity will get you.

I have to say, I have been a staunch defender of AT&T up to now.  The complaints and anti-AT&T negativity have been constant, though I have firmly believed that slow data issues and capcity problem would be evident on any US carrier Apple had chosen to carry the iphone.

But today’s situation is so bad that even non-iPhone customers are having to suffer, all because AT&T didn’t have sound planning and server capacity in place, or even the ability to segment some of it so that while rabid Apple fanboys were masturbating to iPhone photos, the rest of us could do things like, oh, staunch the possibility of account fraud and identity theft.

So yes, today is as good an example as any that product exclusivity is a bad thing, and competition is good.  And Verizon really, really needs to get the iPhone soon, so that at the very least, days like this are less likely to happen again.

UPDATE: In case anyone cares, after three more hours of constant retrying, I was finally able to place an order. So I’ll only go a week and a half without a mobile device. Tech withdrawal, here we come!

Adobe: It’s time to wake up!
Apr 30th, 2010 by scaredpoet

Speaking about Mr. Jobs’s assertion that Adobe is the No. 1 cause of Mac crashes, [Adobe CEO Shantanu] Narayen says if Adobe crashes Apple, that actually has something “to do with the Apple operating system.”
—Wall Street Journal

Seriously, Mr. Narayen?

You really think that when, you have an operating system based on technology that’s been stable for generations, even before Apple existed, and it runs all of Adobe’s other products just fine, but only Flash seems to repeatedly eat up CPU cycles and crash, over and over and over again, that you can keep a straight face while blaming the operating system?!

It’s time to quit defending a very poor decision.  Adobe’s products were expensive but wonderful, before Flash was allowed to infiltrate your product line. Now, they’re even more expensive, but bloated and lack innovation or serious thought to updating your code to modern standards.  You’re basing your future on a product that people hated from its very inception, isn’t stable no matter how much you wish to insist otherwise, and frankly, we’re tired of it. No one believes you. It’s time to quit barking, and fix your broken product!

Legislative grandstanding makes for “Sh*tty” TV
Apr 27th, 2010 by scaredpoet

A while back I ranted about the complete and utter usefulness of senate and congressional hearings, and how they just end up being a dog & pony show for polticians to try and look good to the public as they grill the Bad Guys in testimony, while in fact doing absolutely nothing of real use.

Well, they’re still grandstanding. As if we haven’t figured it out by now, after 2+ years of a crappy economy, the Senate is just now “getting to the bottom of” that Big Bad Financial Scandal. In particular, the Goldman Sachs thing.

My prediction: Next week, the Senate will open hearings on indecency and profane language on cable news networks. Because today during that Goldman Sachs Senate hearing, this went out over the airwaves, uttered by a senator. Into people’s homes, into workplaces and offices, in waiting rooms and airports, and certainly within earshot of children…


No, I’m no prude. The profanities spill out of my mouth so often that sailors blush. But these lawmakers are the same people who get all in a huff over indecency in the media now and then. Shouldn’t they practice what they preach? We certainly could’ve gotten the gist of the message without the “s” bomb landing on TV at least 5 times in less than two minutes.

That was a shitty thing for Carl Levin to do, if you ask me.

Just sayin’...

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