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|Tuesday, February 5th, 2013|
So I have to say I spoke a bit hastily about using windows 8 on a laptop/trackpad. I have to admit I've never liked those. The laptop form factor annoyed me to no end with it's heavy battery use, weight, and interface. However, I can say any trackpad that supoprts Windows 8 gestures the experience is probably even better than the desktop with the mouse which I didn't mind. The issue with track pads is that you have to make multiple motions the way you used to with old mice and the movement area is a lot smaller. But having used my tablet with swipe from the side and scroll gestures it removes the need to move the cursor around as much. Talk about fast multi tasking, full screen to full screen without having to resize windows or click on specific icons. In fact I would say this interaction is so good that it is simply better than Windows 7 on the supported devices. In fact, once you get used to it I think Windows 8 is all around better for any Windows platform machine that can run it.
Mind you what about devices that can't. This has been the source of confusion around what to buy with Windows 8. You have 2 operating systems and 3 processor classes for devices that look basically all the same from the outside yet have all very different capabilities. The focus has been entirely on the 10" + market which might have seemed smart a year ago, but even Apple now recognizes the appeal of smaller devices. Microsoft has made many smart moves with it's Desktop/Tablet OS but it's Phone OS leaves a lot to be desired. Eventually it will have full RT support, but for now it's a completely different ecosystem, and worse a lot of features that you'd expect is not being built into the hardware because it isn't supported. No HDMI out.. Seriously? I wrote a post about componentized computing about a year ago and the capable of their phones is seriously disappointing whereas their Desktop approach is industry leading.
Google has made things more interesting by not directly porting their apps to Windows. It's a ballsy move. I think they realize that if they can avoid making it easier for people to adopt the new systems with their great library of applications maybe they can consolidate their hold with Android. On the other hand if Windows is accepted and people become accustomed to not using their products, they risk just getting pulverized. Each company now lines up to each other quite well in their offerings: search engines, cloud services, maps, browsers, OS', devices.. The biggest issue is Android has the potential of being redundant if it's fighting in the same arena due to the lack of unification with desktop based offerings. Their only chance is right now while adoption is slow and Microsoft is pretty much useless in the smaller than 10" form factor. It's a shame though because I think Windows 8 might be the best thing Microsoft has ever released in terms of its placement compared to competitors. I've always commented how aside from compatibility issues etc Apple has been so far ahead of the game. This has been pretty much true since it's inception. There was a period in the late 90's where Microsoft almost caught up. Now I think Microsoft is ahead but people just have missed it.
I love how analysts blame Windows 8 for the lowering numbers on desktop computers. I'm not sure what they are expecting. The decline is natural. Not because it's a sinking ship as some would have you believe. It's because of how good it's gotten and doing what it needs to. It's kind of like how we use less paper now. Our methods of recycling have improved too. So a paper vendor would say sales are down. However they are producing less new paper cutting costs, and it is still very essential. You could say in some ways our paper is better now that before and it's no fault of it's quality that it has less usage even if it's application has increased in other ways including environment friendly packaging. People don't need many desktops anymore. You want a desktop when you want to maximize performance. It isn't an individual device, it powers a household. Similarly in the workplace, sure there was an exodus to laptops in the early 2000's but we've also seen the move to heavy virtualization where people aren't running crazy server farms for testing. They can set up all their environments on one machine. The desktop has become the home and office mainframe. It will have it's place until componentized computing is fully realized.
So why is the sub 10" form factor so important. First of all it's Android's space who I saw as the primary competitor to Windows systems. Apple will always keep their niche clientele. Their business model allows it as long as they stay ahead. But Android is the every person device. If you asked me about 10 years ago what I saw the perfect portable device size would be I would have said about 7 inches (including Bezels). Basically the size of a paper back book (not in depth). Small enough to fit in a coat pocket or purse but big enough to still actively consume content and interact with the screen. The huge success of 7 inch tablets seems logical from that, but more interesting are the Phablets. Basically phones that have 6 inch screens. I think we are approaching the sweet spot for those devices in terms of size of a portable tablet. However holding one of those up to your ear is about as ridiculous as a 1980's car phone. Unfortunately it being your phone is part of the desire for the all encompassing device. Remember before the smart phone era how small phones were getting. The smaller the more high tech. Ultra thin flip phone and sliders became all the rage. Phablets are the right form factor for Tablets but the wrong one for the conventional phone. This is an intermediate step much like the laptop, and the netbook which are ultimately doomed to become extinct in the near future.
Now there are a couple options here. There is the componentized approach in which hardware specifies function but it all integrates, like earpieces/headsets. But we all remember that guy walking down the street or talking to himself on the bus to remember how ridiculous that was. It is no surprise why messaging is so big. It's hard to facilitate situations where you can do voice and especially video communication. Both require certain consideration of those around you and potential loss of privacy. It's this consideration that the audibles of the phone ringing or vibrating, and the visual of the receiver up the ear act as an indications and the proper social behavior follows. Any piece would have to be just as visible without looking tacky. Eventually we will probably end up going to some sort of componentized approach but the technology isn't there. Or rather there hasn't been a way to make it social acceptable or a real need. No one wants to forget a piece and not have the system not work. Given how essential communication is, it is clear it needs to be part of the core piece.
For now more like is this new flexible OLED technology that produces bendable touchscreens. Advances in display technology are definitely of interest since they are largely the most defining part of the size of devices. We aren't at a point where we can fold up a tablet and unfold it. Or that we have dual sided OLED displays that are resizeable based on folding and orientation (ie make your own screen size). Or ones that are inbedded in clothing. What if your sleeve could become a touch interface? Or even your shirt a way of interactive advertising.
The biggest thing holding the whole phone form factor back is the idea of the phone in the first place. I've already lamented over the painful cost of running a phone when they should just be charging for data. Seriously will they ever offer Skype phone in Canada. I realize the need to coexist with the existing system hence the skype number, but once people can break away from the idea of "phone call" and "text message" and move to the understanding it's all the same thing the social conception around having a phone will die and we will just be all talking about the same devices. The only question will be mobile data versus local data network capabilities. There is no reason for any computer not to be a phone. Once that barrier is gone I think we will see a normalization of form factors rather than such a large customization. We will identify function and size based on function useability rather than an traits of the hardware or software.
|Saturday, December 22nd, 2012|
|My Windows 8 Experience
So after all the waiting I finally went out and bought a tablet. It's the Asus Vivotab 810C. It's a transformer tablet with a keyboard with extended battery life (something like 19 hours apparently). The processor is the Intel Atom Z2760 an 1.8 GHz dual core that being x86 compatible allows my tablet to not just use Windows Store apps but be a full fledged Windows legacy machine. But I'm not really here to talk about the computer. Most of this will actually be about my experiences with Windows 8 on a Desktop computer.
In fact I've been using Windows 8 since the Consumer Preview came out last February on my desktop. Not as hardcore of those who grabbed the Developer Preview over a year ago but I've gotten quite a feel for it. However, using it on a desktop is only half the story. Mind you it only took a single day with a touch-based device to really put everything in perspective. Now if you've read anything I've written before you know I've been heralding the move to touch-based computing and tablets in general for over a decade now. I've just been waiting for a point when the capabilities would be that we could replace our typical computing devices. As excited as I was by iOS and the iPad I don't believe this has been really true until now with the advent of Windows 8. If Apple had made the move with MacOS I might have been forced to put up the cash and go for it. However, not too common in this company's history, Microsoft actually got here first in what might be considered the riskiest move they've made in ages.
And it has been risky. The critics of Windows 8 are many, and while at first I sympathized I can't get over how narrow minded and plain ignorant the comments are. Still I do have to recognize I am coming at this from a very fundamental viewpoint which doesn't take into consideration nearly enough the specific cases people are having issues with. I mean I haven't even been able to convince my girlfriend to make the upgrade and I feel that is the boat most people are in. The classic desktop aspect of Windows 8 is pretty much identical to Windows 7 except just that tiny bit faster. They basically took Windows 7 and slightly improved it. Visually they got rid of the whole glass Aero look and replaced it with simple pastel blue and reds and a more minimalist (less outlines) look. It's not a big change and to me feels less tacky but that is a matter of taste. No the division point is the lack of Start Menu. From the desktop perspective this is a big blow, but I think the people who are most effected by this are the same people who never really embraced Windows 7 (and likely Windows Vista).The Death of the Desktop
So let's talk a bit about the evolution of Windows. As a power desktop user (different from a system admin type power user) I got very used to linking commonly used apps to my Taskbar much before Windows 7 came around. The reason was simple, clicking Desktop Icons is a pain when you have a bunch of windows open and finding specific programs in the Start Menu was equally painful. Of course Windows Start menu evolved to show your most used programs which made things easier but by the time Windows 7 came along I found that the only time I ever used the start menu was to trigger typing a search. The room on the Taskbar exceeded the recently opened program list, and the Windows 7 Taskbar allowed increased functionality with right clicking. As I said my Desktop has been clear too since the advent of Windows Vista, Windows finally had a proper user folder structure(much like you find on Unix based systems) where saving files in an organized way made sense. From a modern computing standpoint we consider saving files directly to the C: drive bad form, and Vista also made it so that saving files in the Program Files directory bad form as well. The end result even though it caused a lot of pain is our computers are more organized and more secure.
Vista actually was a huge step forward for Windows and while widely regarded as a failure was one of the most fundamentally important things to happen to Windows along with Windows 95, and Windows 8. The problem with Vista was only minutely Vista's problem. It was a bit awkward to navigate for sure, but the real problem was Microsoft overestimated it's 3rd party device/software makers, and it's user base. The reason we got all those stupid "Are you sure you want to do that?" messages was that programs and device drivers were still being written in unsecure ways and Vista was asking if you wanted to compromise your computer's security. Similarly users felt lost, only because Microsoft was forcing them to adhere better file structures. It isn't that MacOS was simpler to use necessarily or PC users less intelligent but that there was nothing in place previously to prevent the formation of bad habits, and Windows users had some of the worst. When Windows 7 came out it was considered a savior but it was really 90% Vista. It took 2 years for people to understand Vista was the best thing that happened to their PC. Much like with a stubborn little kid instead of trying to convince them they were wrong, it was better just to convince them it was their idea all along.
With WIndows 8 a different paradigm shift is happening and it isn't just the change to touch interfaces. It's the death of the Desktop. Once you realize this the fact there is no Start Menu makes a lot of sense. The difference between a launch Screen and launch Menu is really only a matter of screen real-estate and access. It is only in the desktop experience that you need to share the screen, and have an anchor on the current screen view. If applications are making use of the full screen why would the application launcher not make similar use, since it clearly could use it. It's not like it's any less useful. For those clinging to their classic desktop feel, you pop up your Start Screen(Press the Start key on your keyboard) and start typing and it is very reminiscent as it automatically starts searching. Is rolling the scroll bar on your mouse or making a gesture on your trackpad any more difficult than than navigating through menus and sub-menus in the Start Menu. And as I said before who really uses the start menu with the great Windows 7 Taskbar. You don't see Mac users lamenting their lack of Start Menu they've never had. It's because an active taskbar based system is quite flexible and powerful. In fact if you hover over where the Start Button used to be and right click you get the admin menu where you can access stuff like Control Panel. The Start Menu is basically completely obsolete and this new replacement does everything it could and more better if you so wish. But I'd argue even so this is a very backwards way of looking at things.
How often are you really not maximizing the application you are working on? The most fundamental aspect of computing interface currently is that we work on single panes at a time. Whatever has input focus is where we type. If we select something with the mouse, it is where we are currently working. I may have multiple programs open at the same time but generally unless I'm doing some sort of comparison, consuming some sort of media, or using some sort of communication program I don't need more than one visible program at a time. And pretty much never more than 2. And honestly even 2 is often a stretch. I mean you can watch a video while typing up a report but full screening the video is a much better experience most of the time. I didn't realize this fact at first until I realized how I never used the max and min buttons anymore. It might just be because Windows snap is so effective. You just grab the title bar and pull the window to the top and it maximizes and then pull it off the top and it restores. And if you stretch the window to an edge it expands the full screen on that axis.
So if the desktop remains mostly blank, the start menu is not very important to the desktop experience given the power of the Windows 7 Taskbar, and you really aren't viewing more than 2 Windows at a time generally why even bother with the Desktop? It's obvious to support legacy software and the Windows 8 Environment is still a bit of a work in progress. But on a whole as an approach to computing the Desktop has truly become antiquated. A Tale of Two Computers
Right now I have 2 computers running Windows 8. A classic desktop with mouse/keyboard and a 24 inch monitor, hooked into a TV via HDMI, and a 11 inch Tablet with watcom stylus, and optional Keyboard dock. I'm going to run over my specific experience with each platform and how they contribute to the Windows 8 Experience. Both are set up quite a bit differently although they are both completely capable Windows machines. The desktop is set up to primarily use the classic desktop feel, while the tablet is setup to use the new Windows 8 feel where it can. The Desktop
The desktop machine serves as my primary home machine. I play my games on it, and play content on my TV from it whether movies and TV shows, or video games I'm running off my computer. The computer isn't touch capable so everything is mouse and keyboard. Things like my internet browser launch in Desktop mode on this computer. I have to admit I don't spend much time in the modern interface on this machine although I do have them as my default Media players. As I said before going full screen is intuitive and useful. I would actually prefer to use the Modern version of every app if I could other than File managers. I actually prefer the Windows 8 experience to the Desktop Experience on this computer. Using the mouse to close and move Windows is just as intuitive as using snap on the legacy desktop. There are 2 things preventing me from using the modern architecture to the full extent. The first is a lack of good Windows 8 App support. It will take some time but for many apps I need to use the legacy versions. If they offered an modern version I'd be all over it (think about that app developers). This will take time but I'm sure within a year or so we will start to get there. It's troubling that Microsoft themselves haven't completely made the switch. Even with things like Visual Studio or Office. However maybe they don't have to be so stringent on the Modern look. Google Chrome in Windows 8 is one of my favorite apps and it keeps the desktop look flexibility even when running in the modern environment. There will probably be a happy medium. Windows 8 has shared Context Menus but they need a bit of work to provide the flexibility that the ribbon bar menus have in the desktop.
The second problem is much more of a pain for me and probably my biggest gripe with Windows 8. The dual monitor support sucks. It doesn't suck exactly, but it isn't made for multitasking. It isn't that you can't work around it but you are basically forced back into traditional desktop usage. You can only have 1 screen at a time run the modern interface. Some people comment on how the Desktop appears like an App on the Start Screen. Don't kid yourself. The Desktop view is the default for this OS with modern built on top. So if you use the video player to play a movie and pull it over to your 2nd screen as soon as you go to use the Start Screen on your primary monitor the movie closes and the start screen shows up. It isn't that the movie actually closes it's that the modern interface was yanked off your 2nd monitor on to your first. Now if the Devices tab worked ideally in Windows 8 you could just assign the Video App to the 2nd monitor, but we aren't there yet. Even if you avoid the Start Screen it means I can't view any modern app while trying to play a video on the other screen. Of course I can always just not use the modern video player but you see the problem. This encourages you to not use these modern apps from the Windows Store.
Those 2 issues aside though I definitely feel that it won't be long before there is no need for the desktop environment at all even on a typical desktop computer. When the core admin functions can be ported to modern (like Command Prompt, Control Panel, various Admin panels) the whole desktop experience won't be needed. Even using Windows 8 for a few weeks it becomes clear just how much easier it is to work with the modern apps. Simple intuitive gestures even with the mouse makes it very easy to navigate, and the benefit of fully utilizing your display should not be underrated. Anyone remember the first time they used Google Chrome and how open it felt. This is the same thing even more so. The difference between clicking the X in the corner and moving your mouse to the lower edge of the screen to select a new program and dragging a window to the bottom of the screen to close it are about on par. The use is just simple and intuitive.The Tablet
Now the tablet is a completely different experience. I knew it would be as this is what WIndows 8 is made for, but I didn't really appreciate it after using the Surface for a few mins at a Microsoft kiosk in Metrotown. It's completely different when you have true access to all the desktop and access to the keyboard. Truthfully after using the keyboard I just wanted to pack it up. Using the finger or the stylus was so much better. Unless I was intending to write something (like this post) or a program I'd likely just use the built in one. It's perfectly fine for typing 500 word emails etc.. I mean I've typed a 2000 word forum post on an iPhone before. It isn't the lack of keyboard I find annoying but the lack of space to be able to see what you've written. And attempting to navigate further up to edit etc.. this isn't a problem on the tablet. I almost wonder if buying the keyboard was a waste of money. You really notice it when you just want to short cut by touching the screen instead of trying to use the mouse and trackpad (even with the gestures).
I was concerned navigating the desktop by touch would not be pleasant either. It wasn't the best and the stylus was definitely better for it, but not having to bother with the keyboard was definitely worth it. The general tablet experience was good. Since I only have the one screen to worry about going full modern on the apps was no problem and the experience is much more solid. You feel like the Desktop is just an after thought and you can live in this brave new world. Honestly I have almost no complaints with the OS on a tablet. Obviously it would prefer more modern app support so it would never have to go to the desktop but any Windows 8 machine would in my opinion. It isn't that the desktop experience is bad, but rather once we free ourselves from it everything will run so much smoother. Conclusion
I've been pretty impressed with Windows 8 so far. It requires a shift in how we view computing but it's a good one. Until we get to a point where computing is fundamentally multi-user and component driven this sort of approach to a OS seems the right choice. Still the experience could use some improvements not only with the apps but with the peripherals. Multi-screen support needs work. This is an area that needs work in general. We have stuff like PlayTo using DLNA but it needs to be much tighter integrated with the OS itself including over wireless protocols. Not just for selection for the machine but on a per application basis as we leave the classic desktop.
It also became clear to me Windows 8 was not designed for Laptops. This OS sucks on trackpads that don't support the gestures. I think this might be the real killer, since a lot of people use laptops these days. If I were to give the Tablet Experience about a 90% right now and the Desktop Experience about 80%, the Laptop experience would be like a 60%. Ultimately I think this is why I haven't been able to convince my girlfriend to upgrade. If you've read my writing before you know I've pretty much always considered Laptops the worst form factor and represent a complete backwards way of how computing should go (ie, take everything with you versus take what you need). I've never bought a laptop purely on principle (although I've used them for work and there is a convenience factor). I believe while the first impression would be to blame the OS for the shortcomings, I think we probably should blame unintuitive form factor and move on and let laptops go extinct. Mind you for those with Trackballs Windows 8 probably won't be nearly as bad and be the same as the desktop experience.
The final thing I want to say is that having used Windows 8 in both environments and with the tablet getting a glimpse of what a Desktop less full functional computer would look like, there is one area that severely needs better apps on all touch based devices and OS's. File Managers are absolutely horrid. It doesn't matter if you are using iOS, Android, or Windows 8. This hasn't been as much of an issue until now but it will be increasingly so. It isn't that I find myself using advanced options that much. It's that it's the one application where you really do benefit from having multiple instances of the same program open and visible at the same time. Current File Managers are reminiscent of the File Open Dialog where you can navigate through folders to find files. You select files and perform actions on them. It's about as fun as doing file copy's in DOS. Atleast in DOS if you knew the path you could just type it in. The current File Managers work like that on modern OS' but you can open up multiple side by side on the desktop. Another problem is that with Touch Based interfaces there is always a bit of conflict between navigation and manipulation since it tends to work on the single click versus double click opens premise. There needs to be easy ways to multi select items and even if doesn't make sense to have 2 unique panes open, that the main app look more like the classic File Manager where you can access the full folder tree and the contents of a specific folder at the same time. Then copies and moves can be as simple as drag and drop. I don't know how that looks in the Modern UI or any touch OS's UI since it's a lot of information on one screen but it is currently by far the biggest argument for the desktop I think. And none of the modern touch OS' are good enough at it yet. Whoever breaks this for Windows 8, will probably have the best App for the platform period.
|Wednesday, January 25th, 2012|
I think a lot about technology and the implications this technology in our everyday lives. I realize I haven’t written for quite a while about where it’s heading. Not since those gushing posts about the iphone and later the ipad. At the time I was trying to emphasize what it meant by easy to follow examples, but now that time has passed and it’s around us I think I can approach this in a more general way.
I’m talking again about the shift to componentized computing. This is not a new subject from me. It’s the natural evolution of computing I’ve envisioned since the late 90’s so anyone who knows me has probably heard bits and pieces over the years (until you decide it’s best to tune me out or I acknowledge my rambling). What people have to understand is that in general this is a paradigm shift in the way we consider computers. It’s not unlike what happened with Apple and IBM in the late 70’s. People are getting better and better at accepting new technology but I’m not sure we are any better at accepting new ideas. These take time.
Think about the evolution of computers. We start back at a point at devices you would barely consider computers by modern standards; somewhere back in the 40’s with huge vacuum tube monstrosities used to crack military codes. We skip ahead to the large mainframe super computers of the 1960’s that started showing up in large businesses where people accessed a single computer through terminals. Then we launch into the 1980’s where the whole industry is revolutionized by personal computers.
The personal computers were the first truly single person all in one systems. Computers up to this point were largely shared with multiple access points. Each terminal was part of a bigger system. While workplaces set up networks of these personal computers the individual consumer was not so connected. Well not til 94ish and the dawn of the internet. It is only a natural step that we would want more access. So we mobilize our computers into laptops, notebooks, netbooks. As time goes on we create smaller and smaller all in one devices. This is evolution not revolution. We still take everything with us when we move about.
The next step is actually a almost throwback in the sense to the old mainframes (although there are several differences). The old mainframes had a desirability for access more than it was practical for the infrastructure would allow. Not everyone could have complete access to a computer and there were different needs so we used several terminals since it was impractical for everyone to have a giant mainframe. Similar what we have now is that for certain practical purposes there is a limitation to the mobility of our computers. How small of a display is practical? What is the preferable source of input for browsing the web? Writing an essay? It’s very easy to see how mobility and flexibility are continuously at odds. How about instead of taking everything with you take exactly what you need? Instead of viewing a computer as a multi-access system, or a single all purpose device, we go even farther and view everything as a part of a larger computer system. This is what I call componentized computing. We aren’t the Borg but you will be assimilated.
What makes up a computer? In a very generic sense it is a system that consists of input, output, processor, and data storage. I think these are the minimal requirements for a computer. Then again a digital camera has all of these, but you can view it as a specialized computer. So how do you avoid taking everything with you? If you have access to these components where and when you need them. Input and output is already the most common place this happens. You don’t need to lug around a 30 inch LCD monitor if where you require a monitor of that size you can just go there and plug in your device. Similarly you don’t need to drag around a keyboard if where you need one there is one you can connect to with bluetooth. With remote computing this is extended to data storage and processing. This has been further developed the last few years with advent of cloud computing so you don’t even have to own the physical processor and storage you are accessing. You don’t need to store stuff on your device or even have the processing power if you can access it externally. In fact given the hardware for input or output you don’t need to bring anything with you.
Of course there aren’t internet terminals lining every street corner. This would be costly. The answer is something inbetween. A portable device that handles the most minimal needs of it’s user but capable of doing everything the user could need with the proper access.
Smartphones currently are the closest to this. They just lack the proper support and too tied in to their principle purpose. The fact they are phones hurts them. Not the interface which is minimal cost but that the people selling them are too tied into phone plans. If they just offered the iphone with data plans like iPad over their cellular network and not force voice contracts we’d be closer. Tablets are close too, but they are currently much too large for the most part. This isn’t a fault of theirs. See for some reason a few years back people were pretty skeptical of tablets like the iPad coming out. They didn’t see the want. The want was simple. People got sick of lagging around big laptops that were overkill for most of their usage. The smartphones were a bit too small/attached to phone services to be all in one entertainment devices which became desirable as more media became digital. Truthfully tablets aren’t quite there yet as the laptop killer but they are on their way. They needed to be larger to kill laptops but once laptops are dead I think people will realize they didn’t really need larger devices to begin with.
The key to this revolution is interface. This falls into 2 parts: All the components that make a single computer have fit together seamlessly even though they may not all belong to a single device; All communications between computers must seamless and universal as they act as parts of a bigger system. Falling these two guidelines it’s easy to see where we run into problems. Propietary interfaces are not good. Although they are almost necessary for technology to roll forward since standardization moves slower than technology advances. The process of standardizing USB has caused several other technologies to show up over time. But if everyone could use USB we would be a lot farther. Like picture if there was only a single type of cord to connect devices for data transfer or charging. Whether you were plugging into a wall adapter for AC charging, a television, a computer, or a car the interface would be the same. That does a lot more than it appears on the surface, as it allows certain assumptions to be made. Cars/Appliances could have a universal hookup for audio, video, gps, content etc. Bluetooth has atleast been universally accepted as the wireless connector of choice. Similarly think about communication. Picture if everyone used the same instant messenger/voip client. There would be no need for voice plans anymore. All txts and calls would be over data regardless of device and long distance would be a thing of the past.
This is why things like Blackberry Messenger are evil. iMessage is not better, but atleast Apple fans aren’t clinging to antiquated platforms purely for something that wrong even in concept(it’s sad how many cite BBM as there reason to buy Blackberries year after year). Not to say Apple doesn’t have plenty of issues of their own. Apple’s model is good when ever new concepts are launching and they are first to it. However, once the rest of the industry catches up they lose out. It’s a company only as good as it’s vision. Or more accurately as good as other companies lack of vision. Apple’s market high is because they attacked the mobile market the same way they did the personal computer market years ago. Apple did to Blackberry/Palm what they did to IBM 25 years earlier. However, the competition has caught up a lot quicker this time.
I think getting an Apple mobile product is no longer the clearly best choice. Up til the last few months since about the release of the iPhone 2G 4 years ago if you were in the price market to buy a smart phone and got anything else for a reason other than specific work related software compatibility you were wrong. They were years ahead of the competition. Right now that is no longer the case as there are a number of competitive Android devices. The hardware has caught up and the OS is comparable. Apple probably is still the best choice but it’s getting to a point their restrictiveness is no longer accepted on face value cause their products are so much better.
One of the most interesting things this next year is definitely Windows 8. Not because I plan on running it on a mobile device most likely. It is supposed to be able to run on ARM chips atleast which keeps processor power down and Battery life up. It’s because they created a desktop operating system that can be run via touchscreen. Again it’s not because I intend to get a touchscreen for my desktop either. I’d need a different desk that allowed a 45 degree angle screen surface ala Star Trek: The Next Generation. It’s because it in theory it would allow full desktop access to a mobile touch device remotely. Why waste the battery life when you can have an even better system do the processing for you? So I’m interested to see how well Windows 8 does as a Mobile Platform versus the fact it is the first steps towards giving desktop platforms the ideal interface to be accessed remotely by smartphones and tablets. This path will finally kill the laptop. Who needs a heavy 5 hour battery life machine when you get 15 hours with your iPad 3 or Transformer Prime Tablet running Windows 8 remotely. Need to do some work bring a keyboard or maybe you already have one where you are going. In a bit of time hopefully you don’t even need these large 10 inch tablets as you will have access to wireless hardware connections at more locations.
The other thing I wonder is how Intel reacts to the death of the Laptop. Laptops have already replaced Desktops as the primary source of computer sales. And if laptops disappear Intel will be competing head on with the mobile phone processors which were designed from the ground up with power usage in mind. It isn’t like how the Core architecture came from their Mobile processor line making the old power hungry Pentium 4 extinct. The way things are going we’re returning to households having a single desktop, and many small personalized devices. Desktops might even further decline if Cloud computing becomes part of your local ISP’s plan. For a nice monthly fee you get your wifi, X GB storage, and access to a Windows 8/Mac OSX cloud computer account. With a keyboard and a monitor or two all it takes is video out from your personal device and some wifi and you have your old desktop experience for everyone but power users and gamers. And even those two groups could be satisfied to some degree if the power/speed is there (They shown some quite nice demos of people playing heavy graphics games like Crysis/Elder Scrolls remotely on an iPad).
I would like to end this post with some predictions but I find it difficult to guess timelines since the biggest slow down no longer seems to be the technology or even the infrastructure but that the general masses don’t understand what they want yet. The next key battle will be standardization of interfaces and communication. This is holding us back so much. Depending on what gives first, the interfaces or new technology the next few years will be quite different. Everyone just needs to get on the same page. This is like taking the step from analog to digital one step further. Instead of just changing the way signals(data) are stored and transferred we are changing the need for actual hardware and media. The actual machines are becoming digital emulated. We don’t need Movie Players, CD/DVD’s, Books and Magazines, Telephones, Televisions, or Cameras, just the suitable input/output interface and processor that can run the program.
This sort of change could take a decade since you have to move everyone forward at the same time and the companies making money have no incentive. Especially the phone/cable companies. They are like the record companies and the movie industry and will be the next to feel the heat. There is no need for landlines/cable beyond a way to get internet into houses, and emergency contact. All phone and television can be done over the internet now. There is no need for expensive phone plans or long distance, just the cost of data. Skype sells Skype Numbers for $60 a year in some countries (not Canada). This allows you to have an incoming and outgoing number that is free Skype to Skype and accessible from any device that supports Skype. How much cheaper is that than a phone voiceplan if everyone had Skype? Even if you are calling non-skype their rates are cheaper than traditional long distance. I don’t think Skype is the answer necessarily but it’s limitation is purely bandwidth which should be the same limitation the phone companies are dealing with. A few years ago there was a Nokia phone that automatically switched to using Wifi when in a wifi area on a call instead of your minutes. Suffice to say very few phone companies supported it. So I ask why are we paying so much?
I will leave this on what you can do to help push everything forward. Encourage people you know to use applications like Skype, Whatsapp, Viber, Tango, instead of txt messages and voiceplan calls. Minimize your voice plans with your phone companies to minimal minutes/txt messages. Move to data centric plans. I’d push this even if it means using some device only apps like BBM, or iMessage, but in general avoid using apps like iMessage/BBM in favor of others where you can. Don’t stay attached to certain technologies and companies blindly cause you favor them. Support companies that work off universal interfaces when practical. End Rant.
|Monday, November 7th, 2011|
What an a strange day and age we live in. I guess strange isn't quite the right word considering to you and I this is nothing new, but rather a gradual progression that has been in progress for over 100 years. 100 years is a long time, but rather short in the scope of human history. And after all human technological progress seems to be expected (sociological is a different matter) and the fact our tools aren't made out of stone is of little consequence in this sense.
Often I've been excited by and/or struggled over the implications of new technology. It's no secret I'm drawn to it. My choice of education and profession is only an extension of this. But today my thoughts aren't on any specific new technology but a really another small social interaction that occurs due to the rapid communication that is present. I've gone on lengths about long distance dating and relationships over the internet, especially ones that start that way. I have had friends in the past that the % of online to real life conversation is 19:1. People who even live in the same city but I never got around to meet up with. What does that mean?
To me, especially when I was younger, not very much. I liked interacting with multiple people at a conversationally deep level without spending the time for transportation. I loved the flow of ideas; taking it all in. I loved hearing the stories. I could sit on my old messenger and be talking to several people at the same time about intimate information and ideas. Some this came from that part of me that liked being a teacher or counselor, but mostly I think it served as a social outlet that operated exactly the way I wanted. I could rapidly take in large amounts of information and process it and present in a manner perfectly under my control. I later realized (although it was sort of obvious, but perhaps less so than you'd think) that so many nuances of communication come from direct contact, through body language and tone. The funny thing is even though I was always aware of these things it was never something that I considered that important. I've often criticized social customs. To me, someone always more interested in the 'How?' than the 'Why?', I could see the use of these mechanisms for communication but regardless of the method it has always been a matter of discerning and filtering out useful information and applying it. How impersonal that sounds. But I still do it to this day.
So while I acknowledge the grand difference in truly getting to know someone that way, I always felt with this correspondence a connection. It was informational and contextual, but a connection none the less. Any of my even closer friends will tell you I have never had an issue not seeing them for a couple months and just carrying on where we left off. I know that doesn't work for everyone. Part of it is this disconnect around what I value in relationships, and the other part is I do live in my head. My girlfriend recently went to Japan for 10 days and I lost track of time so much. That is why I failed University the first time. Set upon a task or problem to solve it can consume me for days without me really returning to reality. It makes me good at what I do, but it does make me terrible in other ways. It also means that while I don't forget about people perhaps they feel forgotten since I don't put the effort in. In reality I probably carry more interest or care more about them than they'd ever realize. It is something I've come to accept. So if I was even psuedo friends with some of you in the past, know that I probably think of you from time to time. I do have perhaps an unhealthy connection to nostalgia, but I think it comes from the perspective that everything I am today is the culmination of everything that came before. Every decision, every connection, every thought.
Unfortunately as we get older time is no longer in as much abundance. It isn't just that we have finite time to exist, but that day to day we get busier. I'm not really sure why. I mean there is the desire to perform, to earn, but is there the real need. I often heard my dad talking growing up about how he wanted to get away from it all. He didn't see why as we got more technology why would people work harder and longer. If allowed it could make our lives easier but instead we just put in more hours. At a certain time in the past we were limited by hours of sun light, and now we aren't even limited remotely by differences in time zone. There have been days I've worked the a full Burnaby day and a full China day(with our China team) to get a release out on time. Truthfully perhaps I hear this line even more now that my dad is at retirement age. He just wants an Avocado farm in Nicaragua. I instantly think of how I can set him up with satellite internet so he can remain connected in the middle of nowhere. I guess I have been missing the point.
The other result of being generally busy is that we don't leave as much time aside to play. When I say we I am speaking generally. I still play a lot. Perhaps it's why they call the Aquarius 'the second childhood'. I think a more apt description is 'the absented minded professor'. If you ever watch J.J. Abram's Fringe I share more traits with the character Walter Bishop than perhaps I should be comfortable with. The other side of this by prioritizing what is important we cut out some of the meaninglessness that we might have held on to as children and teenagers. Quite wisely people grow out of living on Facebook and MSN. I have to admit I never really got into Twitter. It just seemed too impersonal, which might sound strange coming from me, but it does make sense. Twitter is for the fluttering Gemini's of the world. A broad scope with little depth. I do think more people feel comfortable with more frequent trivial communication than less frequent deeper conversation.
Now perhaps what got me on this topic today, was the invitation to my 10 year highschool reunion about a month back. Yes it took me a month to get around to actually writing this down. If that just isn't indicative of everything I've been saying. This wasn't the highschool I actually graduated from but rather STA which I switched out of in Grade 11. As it turns out I wasn't invited to the West Vancouver one. Now I didn't attend but it got me thinking again. I had run into a few people from highschool here and there over the years. You know those awkward, oh hey (although we were never really friends), what's new? (some crap about work).. etc. Now the thing was I never found it that awkward I suppose. I could always fall on my band and work, but I always wondered how much of it was the social custom and why these situations were deemed awkward generally. I guess even more today than yesterday it is easy to stay in touch with people, so by not doing so it is even more deliberate. Like yeah, I didn't care enough to stay in touch but I'm going to act interested now. There is no excuse anymore.
This opens up a whole new can of worms in terms of social custom. Forget about highschool, think of every person: acquaintance, friend, ex, etc.. that you just lost contact with over the years. You could have kept contact given the tools but it just sort of slipped away. Even moving cities isn't enough anymore. A whole new code of conduct, an unwritten social rule has been developing around this. One that I've been breaking quite regularly for years. Well I never said I had much common sense. As Meyers-Briggs will tell you my NT personality type leads me to applying patterns to figure out what the best course of action is rather than perceiving the environment or emotions. I never had the best manners similarly. It wasn't from a lack of my mother trying to teach me, but I really only filtered out what I felt was important. It took a stubborn girl who refused to open doors for herself for me to atleast pay attention to the need to play roles. Since then I've taken to acting as a method to approach a lot of scenarios I might not be as accustomed to.
As I mentioned earlier the type of communication I preferred would lead me to sending messages or emails to people out of the blue 2-3 years since I last talked to them. As time has gone on the gaps just increased to a point I didn't even realize it was too little too late. Sometimes sparked by some trivial facebook feed, or event that happened in my life that reminded me of them. I've done this with old music related friends, friends from highschool and university, ex girlfriends. I should have got the hint when after a while people just stopped replying to me. I like to think that they read it and get some value out of it even if they feel too awkward to respond and it isn't like I keep sending them. Perhaps it's too old school to basically pick up and write a letter. I don't see this changing about me though. So while I will probably never have those exchanges with individuals that I consider defining parts of my existence, I feel no shame in reaching out occasionally.
When I came on Livejournal today and clicked on friends it showed zero posts. It appears the majority of my friends stopped writing on here about a year ago (myself included, even longer). So I imagine this won't be read much. Again I'm a bit late. Perhaps this is a suitable Livejournal Post Mortem. Current Mood: introspective
|Saturday, August 15th, 2009|
So I'm sitting at YVR right now. I've been here for like 9 hours now. My plane to Toronto was like 3 hours late so there was no way I could make my connecting flight to Thunder Bay. I had the option of either staying the night in Toronto airport or take the red eye out of Vancouver tonight. I opted for the latter. Since I didn't really have any ride back and forth I decided to stay here most of the day. They atleast gave me $30 worth of meal vouchers so I ate Milestones for lunch and White Spot for dinner.
You would probably think today would be incredibly bored but thanks to free Wifi and wall outlets Ive kept myself busy with my iPod. First I read about half of the 4th book in Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth saga. Then I read a volume of the Initial D manga. Then I watched some streaming anime (Hajime No Ipo) on Veoh. It seemed to freeze up every 5 mins probably due to Wifi caps here so I decided to watch Shawshank Redemption which I downloaded last week on my home computer. I used Orb which streamed it directly. I also spent most of this time on msn at the same time. All in all not a terrible way to spend a cloudy day.
So I decided to give this iPod LJ app a try. It is alright but nothing special. I think I will play some Need for Speed now if I deem turning the iPod like a steering wheel doesn't look too outlandish. Maybe I will just download and play the port of Wolfenstein 3D. Well til next time.
|Tuesday, August 11th, 2009|
I'm probably the one most excited by this but it feels like I've been waiting a lifetime. Probably ever since I was a kid and saw Star Trek The Next Generation. They always walked around with those clipboard like touch displays. Sure it's still a lot speculation but it looks like we are getting closer to apple release a modern tablet mac. You would not believe how long I've been waiting to hear this sort of news. Anyway this device is supposed to come with a 10 inch multi touch screen that takes the majority of the surface and cost somewhere between $600-$800 USD. And before you think this is all some pro apple speach I have been looking for this for ages and Apple is lightyears ahead in potentially delivering.
Why should anyone care? Well you know what I hate, useless redundancy in user interfaces. And out of everything the most unchanged aspect of computing is the age old keyboard and mouse. We can make everything smaller efficiently except those two. And there is good reason for it. So if you want productivity you are stuck with something larger and bulky. The past couple years has seen the emergence of the smartphone (killing most PDA's in their tracks) and of course the "netbook".
A decade back people could only dream of phones with current phones cabilities and I think most users would not understand the point of a netbook. I remember when the Macbook Air was released the ultra portable laptop and people were like where is the disc drive? Well it was not included for space. I haven't used a disc drive for ages except to burn the odd dvd, but even then I find myself just moving stuff around on usb flash drives. Those little thumbnail drives are incredible. The just came out with 128 GB ones. That's more capacity than most SSD's (Solid State Drive's) but then again it's a not a performance you are looking for in a portable thumbdrive. Rotating media is dying it's slow death. Blu Ray may very well be it's last incarnation.
Now let's make it clear. I really don't like netbooks. They represent everything I dislike in design. For a portable low power device most fail miserably. They are bulky and have terrible battery life. Although the screen is small the keyboard adds considerable thickness and has been shrunk enough that it isn't really that comfortable to type on. It is more like carrying a texbook around than a small clipboard.
Now a few years back there were Tablet PC's or Slates depending on how you used them. They were meant for artists and students taking notes. You used a fancy pen like stylus that would detect handwriting on the screen and button presses. From that experience many would same Tablet pc's were in large a failure. The Mac Tablet is nothing like these. There is light years difference between those monolithic single touch screens and multi touch. Everyone who has ever seen an video knows about pinching to zoom but that is only the most basic gesture. It can tell if you are tapping or dragging with one fingers, or two fingers, or three fingers, etc.. One app I have to do remote desktop (ie control my whole desktop computer screen from the iPod touch) can simulate everything from selecting, zooming, one click fit zooming, scrolling, dragging, right clicking, multiselecting, show/hide keyboard, and show/hide full screen all with just gestures and no actual button clicking. It becomes so natural I don't even have to think about it. Without a doubt a tablet like this would not be for artists, but then again the old tablet pc's were never any real good for them. Only specialised tools give the multi-sensitivity (pressure sensitive)..
So we already have our iPhones (or Palm Pre's, or if you are unfortunate Blackberry Storm's) why would anyone want to pay more for a larger device. First have you tried to watch a movie or read a pdf file on there? Ever wished you had more power so Flash based websites could be viewed, or play more intensive 3d video games. Maybe you would like to have real multi tasking with multiple apps open at the same time (I can do that with my iPod, but it's jailbroken and has special apps installed). I think the usage as a book reader alone could propel this thing forward. After all the new novelties wore off I found more than anything I use my iPod as a book/comic reader. I download pretty much every book I want to read and use a great app called Stanza. There are standalone devices like Kindle that could not hold a torch to a mac tablet. How about for GPS. A nice 3G dataplan and the screen would be large enough enough to set up in your car. My favourite usage would probably be as a computer terminal. A laptop will never compete with the power of a desktop so why not leave the heavy lifting to the desktop and use the tablet as a seemless portable controller. With a 10 inch screen it would be large enough to actually get some work done. Again I'm only scratching the surface. Think of those specialised devices UPS use to get signatures.. I can picture them using these possibly in the military or medical facilities.
Mac is pioneering a new type of system and use point. What a netbook really should be. I mean with a 10 inch screen and the whole device maybe a cm thick it's still small enough to hold in your hand or put in a big pocket or small bag. It's like carrying a thin paperback novel with you. The whole appstore created for the iphone has provided a base platform that is growing faster than any mobile platform, so there are so many possibilities. In my iPod which isn't even half as capable I already have a Dyno(figures out car performance using the accellerometer), comic/book reader, remote desktop, web browsing, email sync, contact and calendar sync, bittorrent, remote control for movie player on my computer, calculator and conversion tools, internet tv providers, live streaming of content on my computer to my ipod, google maps, gps, movie and music playing, photo manipulation, multi track recording software, instant messaging, video games and emulation, etc.. This device would be more than capable.
My true hope this is the is step towards modularized computing. This is something that I've always wanted on the portable front but it has not yet come to fruition. That computers consist of components rather than all encompassing boxes. While the tablet is 100% sufficient on it's own with blue tooth, and hopefully USB, along with the ipod dock out, we could hook up other devices. For instance those thumb drives I was talking about earler. How about a keyboard if you wanted to, or an external screen. So if you needed a keyboard well you could bring one and hook it up some times.. and it would be your choice.. maybe a roll up one, or I was looking at a laser keyboard (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HH8CUTimTvY
). There is a space saver. Or maybe a mic for voice recognition (just used it recently in Windows 7 and it's pretty sweet). Or who knows maybe something like the OCZ NIA (Neural Impulse Actuator) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNr3yGcI_V8&feature=related
Anyway I'm excited because I believe this type of computer device is the beginning of the future (until we can get rid of physical displays through some portable hologram like technology) . WIth enough computing power to do what the average person needs to do and the right price point I think this form factor will dominate. It will revolutionize the netbook the way the iPod revolutionized portable music players and it will balance the recent shift from desktop to laptop. In time the laptop form factor will probably decline to only used by some working professionals, leaving desktop, ultra portable. And as for cell phones.. I'm interested to see what their future is when dataplans get more widely adopted. Why pay for long distance, calls and messaging when they can be all done over the internet? What's to stop you from just hooking up a wifi phone to this device or perhaps the phone becomes the tether for this device to get cellular internet.
|Saturday, August 1st, 2009|
So in case anyone is wondering I am not completely MIA on this thing. I actually still check livejournal fairly periodically, but never had any urge to write anything. Today just happens to be different. But in a sense not all that different. 5am in the morning after a couple nights of minimal sleep and after playing a show--in this particular case at Pub340-- I often find myself here. My favourite time to write is now. Crimpshrine's Safely Wasting Away comes to mind.
I guess some updates are in order. Althose who worried that I melted away can rest assured I have stopped losing weight now 160 lbs is a good place. I was told yet again today that I'm 10lbs too skinny but then again why am I writing about this? Is the most interesting news of the last 8 months is I'm back to having a 30 waistline and can fit into jeans I wore when I was 19? I think not. How superficial. But you know maybe it is. Ever feel like everything is just drifting forward on autopilot?
I like making money. I don't like salary freeze due to the economy but atleast I have steady work that 3 days a week only involves hopping out of bed and jumping to a computer and the other 2 in the office are only a 15 min drive away. I'm constantly being challenged (well not exactly challenged) with new technology and integrations. I definitely found the right living if not necessarily the perfect job just yet. And it is always nice on a sunny day to find time in the middle of the day to hike the local mountains. I was doing the grouse grind a couple times a week for a while there. Or running the Ambleside sea wall. I actually did my first Sun Run this year. 53 mins. I will do better next year I think after all since that time I've whittled my Grouse Grind time down to 48 min mark.
Some times I feel a bit stupid that my car has become such a big source of pride. It's a nice car and I like driving it. Put on a new aftermarket Nismo bumper and just yesterday put on an polished expanded aluminum close weave diamond grille. I actually kinda laugh at how much of a tool I think I sound like for even saying that. A couple years ago I probably wouldn't have any clue what that meant.
It's not like I don't still do the things I love. I write a lot music. New Break the Chains up on myspace and soon iTunes, with Adam and I taking over vocal responsibilities. Hardcore.. And always writing solo music. Actually recorded a Postal Service cover a couple days back. I don't really do much computer game programming now that programming is my day job but sometimes I do. I find it is the only place I get to really exercise my mind in math and physics. But what I find myself doing more than ever (other than running and hiking) is reading. The iPod Touch is a great book reader by the way. It's a great everything but that is another story.
The economy has been interesting the last while. It still feels artificially high still. After the house "crash" last May in atleast Vancouver it feels like prices are climbing back to where they were although I can't picture that many people buying. I went looking at appartments a few months back. Saw a nice 2 bedroom 12 floor decent balcony view, concrete building, in North Burnaby (A few blocks down from Anton's) going for $270k. Needs a little work but I was thinking I would wait out the price drop but it has stayed steady.. And it is a little early for me to be looking at buying.. but I have almost payed my car off now. Maybe Vancouver will wake up after the Olympics. Then again why do I even care to stay here since I could probably do my job anywhere in the world. My boss lives in Toronto. Half my team is in China. But I still have my bands and music here.
This isn't some short cycle we are in. The global economy is fucked. Atleast for now it seems that we aren't free fall diving. But the stock market is a sham. It keeps on bouncing around on "Good News" .. like "government bails out GM".. yay!.. "Joblosses aren't as bad as expected".. yay!..or my personal favourite "House sales in March are against February are up YOY".. yay!.. None of that is necessarily good news.. some of it is ok news, some of it is misleading (March is always proven better buying month Feb.. so comparatively this march did better against february but on a whole is way way below), and some of it is just bad.. The government bailing someone out is not good news or any kind of cause for celebration. I don't have to explain the unemployment one I don't think. As long as that is going up even if it is slowing.. You know the people with money still have the tools to make money. It's probably a day trader's dream. With stocks moving several dollars in a day through artificially inflating certain stocks then investing in hedge funds on their way down the amount of money to be made with smart trade is unprecedented. Too bad it's hard to predict cause news seems to affect the market in the opposite way it should and then it over corrects and so on. And I don't even want to get started on the banks. They are the ones that messed up and should be the ones that get hit. A sad reality is the majority should go under and the strong shall survive. Ok enough darwinism.
But enough of that. I don't even know why I'm thinking about that at all. Maybe I wonder what will happen to China when their own population can no longer control the rapid inflation. They keep their dollar artificially low but people are still not buying all the support the amount of manufacturing so they are selling to their own people. This rapid modernization and growth of a buying class is important but how long before we have another 1970's Japan. If you are business in China you have to be growing at 10% rate just to stay even. I just see another stack of cards building.
And what about oil?.. Why am I still paying so much for gas? Sure it's 94 octane most of the time but that's not what I mean. I am really wondering where this high demand for oil is coming from when there is such a large surplus currently. Usually that means a drop in prices. I guess it's summer we can't be having that.
Ah.. Cars, appartments, and the economy. What the hell happened? Where is punk rock, computers, and people? I miss the summers I remember. I miss touring, shows, parties. Maybe I just need to travel or something. I always see such amazing pictures posted up on here. Maybe I don't want to think about the fact that right now Josiah's mom is sleeping outside on the concrete and cushion from a outdoor chair only a few feet from my window. She is homeless now.. her boyfriend is a crack addict that she met in a homeless shelter that my mom set up for her to stay at while trying to help her get welfare and job searching in order. She doesn't want to help herself though.. she got kicked out of the shelter because in the 2 weeks there she didn't show any initiative to move forward. She refused to even speak to one of their representatives. She sold her laptop for $50 and sold her scooter, and has been asking a bunch of Josiah's friends for money. She refuses to take a paid bus ticket to leave town and stay at her brother's. She was heavily self medicated on pharmaceutical drugs to the point of being completely incoherent. Now I'm just worried she has gotten into more serious drugs. She is obviously suffering from some sort of mental disorder on top of drug induced delusions. Their is a plan to have Jo come down from Kamloops and do some sort of intervention but who knows when. I should probably stop talking about it now.
Nah I don't think that is even all that is bugging me right now. Something is just not right and I can't put my finger on it. Oh the sun has risen I see time for us vampires to go to sleep. Yeah I've been watching True Blood.. sue me. Til next time. Current Mood: contemplative
|Monday, December 22nd, 2008|
Today seems like a good day to write a new post. I could talk about everything that has been going on. But I don't think it's appropriate or most people's business. I will leave it to say it is Christmas in a couple days and perhaps I could have been happier about that. And that I have revisited an old post of mine I wrote last March 12th. I originally removed it cause I thought my argument flawed. It has some gaps but it is still pertainant where it applies. And I've been thinking about it some.
In other news there is lots of snow around. I actually got in a bit of an accident in my car turning into a back lane. Just started to slide sideways into a fence. Scratched the paint on the bumper and knocked it off on one side. I think I cracked the cover on the light as well. After the snow clears I will have to get that fixed up. My car is useless in the snow. Maybe it'd be ok with better tires, but the rear wheel drive with the low profile tires don't do much good for it. I actually got stuck in a parking spot at Chevron on 23rd and Lonsdale 3 days after the previous snow fall.
So Christmas is here. I'm glad to be done all my shopping. I am not getting around right now much with this weather. Nor have I been able to hike really which is a bit disappointing. Tried going to the gym a few times, but it doesn't really compare. In all I've lost 55lbs now and I think it's stabilizing here. Ha no one really cares. I guess this attempt at writing about not exactly what I'm thinking is a bit failure. Well atleast I say hello LJ, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Years!
PS. Which reminds me my New Years plans dried up. So looking for something to do that night.
|Monday, November 24th, 2008|
|Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008|
|Thursday, September 18th, 2008|
I've thought long and hard in the past about the negative consequences to our rapid technological growth. Most of the time I think it's a worthwhile tradeoff. And when I'm talking about negatives I'm not looking at percieved issues with morality or panics that the world will come to an end. I mean the bottomline on how we live every day. Not the obvious consequence but how the convenience has changed how we percieve and do things.
I usually envision cubicle society. I mean you don't need to work a desk job in a cubicle (which I do) to be part of this movement. Physical interaction can be for the most part avoided. Perhaps this is what it is to live in the age of Aquarius, if you believe in such things. I mean all media and news is constantly at your finger tips whether you are at work, home, walking down the street with your new fancy phone. Almost any service can be bought online and delivered to your door. It's often actually easier avoiding the lineups and the traffic. I mean that's how I got this computer in front of me, and the chair I'm sitting on and most non-grocery items I have purchased in the last year. It's incredibly convenient. I talk to my coworkers through msn and emails more than in person. Social networking's popularity is skyrocketting. And trends within it have been changing to reflect this. I mean facebook and twitter got their popularity largely through the "what I'm doing now" functionality. As a constant way to let everyone they know what you are doing or thinking. Some people follow these sites religiously having them push instant updates to their mobile devices. The newest social networking tools on mobile devices are using gps features so you can see where your friends are and chat with people locally in your physical area without actually talking to them in person. So you can be sharing a wifi hotspot at the local starbucks decide to start chatting with that hottie whose 12 ft away without ever getting up to approach them.
What's interesting to me is a lot cases people prefer this sort of convenience as a sort of protection from real interaction. It's pattern forming. I mean that leads to different types of internet dating. Like long distance relationships that never had an initial physical context. Meeting online building it on line then meeting in person for the first time months later with high expectations. Truthfully sometimes that doesn't seem that different than any sort of dating these days. Why call when you can text? Not to mention things like facebook seem like a datamining operation. They have more specific personal information on you and your associates than the government probably does. Which makes me wonder why some of us are so proud of the walls we build around ourselves to prevent real interaction. I read a profile today where someones "about me" section was "The only way to know me is when i decide to let you in." What struck me odd about this was that it wasn't a public profile so only "friends" could view it and the page contain tons of other private data (favourite books, movies, etc). I mean out of all the things you could say about yourself you pick that? The irony aside when you think about how much a statement like that actually reveals, it isn't all that different than I suppose anyone writes in those sort of things. It's like filling out a survey form except you know that is the face you are putting out for people to see. And that is the apparent safety and the downfall of this situation.It's not all unlike a reality tv show. It's like we broadcast and present our lives in 2d text. People subscribe and check it out and we do the same ourselves. And like a reality tv show it doesn't have to actually depict what is real.
Ever stop to think what you'd be doing if you didn't have computers, televisions, or cell phones. The world would be a lot smaller place for sure. It's not like I'm against the technology though. We have just been learning how to learn and communicate in different manner. Since information flows so quick and there is so much to process we often end up spending less time on specific things and learn to discern through the masses of information that passes by us each day. No wonder people have shorter attention spans. Makes me wonder what potential or pitfalls lie in this collectiveness. I mean misinformation is easier to spread but so is potentially the truth. Connected to more people on atleast the most basic level allows for a greater sense of consensus and public opinion. Then there is the idea of intellectual property. Technically I'm a criminal. I don't pay for anything digital ever. Music, Movies, Books, TV Shows, Software, Video games. I occasionally go buy an album or movie if I like it and wish to own it. But if it is digitized I don't for the most part. The iTune store hasn't got a cent from me.. (actually I did buy an application cause I was too impatient for a 3rd party company to create a Remote Desktop tool).. But still where do we stand in age when privacy invasion and loss of propriety on ideas and works is so easy and getting easier everyday? (I don't mean actually easier for stuff that is difficult to get but that more stuff is digitalized and more is available).
Sometimes I just keep going on and on with these thoughts. Makes me really want to sit down and start writing a science fiction book. Hmm for now I will just read one. Heinlein here I come.
|Wednesday, September 17th, 2008|
Some recent events have made me think back to my time at STA. From grade 8 through half way through grade 11 I went to St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Highschool. My parents sent me there cause they figured to get me away from bad influences. Truthfully I really hated going there. It wasn't the people so much as I hated the institution. I hated the restrictions to dress code, I hated the idea of private school, I hated the social system that was highschool. I spent my whole time there trying to find ways to escape. And I eventually found my way out with the IB program at West Van. But truthfully I never had the same sorts of experiences again. Being 13 years old is an incredibly awkward age, and through those trials and the people around in those we really grow. But I digress.
Out of the blue, an old friend contacted me the other day. He was an interesting individual through out highschool. Our very own Tom Green. He did about any sort of self deprecating act to get a laugh.. From simply walking into random classrooms and turning off tv's in the middle of films to jumping up on science lab counters and doing a rendition of Kid Rock's Cowboy.. How about fighting people in a speedo and a snorkel with frozen fish down at the Quay in January, or adding a special rendition of Celine Dion's My Heart will Go On dedicated to a teacher who he did not get along with at the end of a project video. I could go on, there seemed to something new about everyday.. Perhaps is crowning achievement was his Life of Jesus video where he inacting the life like a reality tv show walking through Lynn Valley Mall in a bathrobe asking people if they believed he was the son of god ending with a last supper at the Littlle Caesar's pizza. But somewhere along the lines it went from something amusing to kids almost pushing and picking on him to do crazy stuff. He'd never say no and they'd physically push him around. What was even more interesting is while it started as the bullies and jokers, soon even the could not be bother popular guys treated him like that. Like it was the norm, and like he was a trivial amusement. Interestingly enough he had a brilliant mind. I had many conversations about space time and quantum physics in the early years. Later on he stopped even caring about classes and school.
But that is all back story. The last I saw him was he showed up at one of my Shore shows back in 2005 and fully filled a mug with puke. That was a few years ago. Apparently in the last year or so he got into cocaine, meth, heroin.. etc.. and at some point somehow got out of it and ended up in detox a few weeks back and was soon heading into rehab. We swapped stories about drugs and addiction, and some how got on the topic of belief. He told me he would never question his faith in a higher power again because of something that had happened to him. A month or so back he was strung out sitting on a bench in Mahon park, incidently just up the road from STA and where we often went outdoors for gym. He said he was unsure what to do and closed his eyes and decided to pray to god. He prayed for any sort of sign that something existed out there greater than himself, that was some purpose to everything. And so he sat. A short time later a man randomly approached him and asked "Have you been thinking about God recently?" And apparently that was the sign he needed. Or at the very least exactly what he needed to hear at that point.
Even being an athiest I can still appreciate mechanics and belief in that situation even without being concerned with divine intervention. Whether by miracle or by random coincidence there is something very uplifting about the story. I got into a debate with someone recently who was concerned the churches were too alienating in some of their seemingly outdated stances and said something to the effect that why can't we all just accept each others beliefs. A very idealistic notion, but hardly realistic because any communal organisation follows some set of social customs and rules which form their basis. Ultimately it will be the social consensus of wanting membership that will determine these religion's survival. If their basis is runs so deep they will not change easily and just as easily any one cannot accept certain things that others do (murder, genocide, etc) we can't expect them to just change. So the simplest purest form is that belief whether founded or not and that is what my friends story represents.
Also cruising around facebookI saw on an old acquaintance's page that my highschool STA crush was recently married. Not all that surprising really. I remember hating being at STA and honestly giving very few people a chance. My whole 4 years there I only ever once found a single girl I went to school with interesting and attractive. Intelligent, popular, but outspoken when needed to be and familiar with the annoyance of curly hair. Actually first gave me the idea of straightening my hair. Of course in familiar fashion of myself in that time period of my life I never said anything to her and never gave her any indication. I also I had a girlfriend throughout most of that time. Instead I wrote a song unkowingly to her about being in school otherwise bored in class mesmorized listening to her passionately argue her perspective and it showed up on the first Mr Solid full length album ("Dreaming"). Leaving STA happened all in the course of a couple days most people didn't even know I was leaving. I walked in to say goodbye to my favourite teacher who taught the aforementioned class the previous year and there she was. I remember telling them both that I was leaving (actually right then and there) by strange circumstance she was one of the few people I actually said goodbye to. A couple years back I tried to track down classmates cause I was always interested in what happened to her, but it was only very recently that I did. Coincidently around the time of the Mr Solid reunion show where I played the aformentioned song probably for the last time. It's funny to think about how long ago this all was. Before I knew almost anyone who potentially would be reading this.
What both of those stories have in common other than the STA bit is that they both have some amount of random circumstance and show the effect people can have on each other without even realising it. For all the bitter dislike I can't help but looking back with some fondness. It took me years to realise that. If I could have told my younger self to loosen up a bit I probably been better off but maybe not.
|Tuesday, September 9th, 2008|
|Revenge of the Nerds
Ahh.. livejournal it's been too long. I suppose not much has changed. More work, more money, less weight, and less pasta. Much to my annoyance I'm covered in mosquito bites from the hike I did on the island this weekend. It was a beautiful day on sunday and when we first got to the peak of Mt Jones it was an amazing view in all directions. This sensation lasted for all of about 45 seconds before the mosquitos swarmed. And the rest of the next couple hours as I traversed the other 2 peaks of adjacent mountains they went to town. I couldn't help but wonder what the hell do so many mosquitos feed on at the top of the mountain. I mean past the tree coverage at the higher elevation. Hikers I guess.
Hmmm.. I've been trying to figure out what everyone has against the new facebook. I mean in all things I can see it is more functional, less cluttered, interface elements are more reuseable. In fact the mobile version is very similar in makeup. I can only imagine that this new design would allow for increased security and more flexibility in data hiding. I actually like less scrolling and while the combined wall and feeds could lead to that section being a bit longer.. it's not nearly as long as before. I think the design is all around slicker too. But so many people are opposed. I mean it is slightly more complicated but the end result is much tighter.
So the iPhone 3G is out and in full force. I know old news now. But it is definately starting to build up to it's potential which I just touched upon a while back. Within 4 days of it coming out Duncan and Bern got it and are loving it. Of course a year ago they were like why get an iPod touch with only 16Gb when I can get 80Gb with the classic, yeah they didn't get it then but they sure do now. I mean do you think I use my iPod to listen to music mostly? (More on that later) Rogers made it difficult of course saying you can't just buy the phone and if you don't qualify for an upgrade yet you can't get a new plan without cancelling the old one. Duncan managed to use his communicative skills(yes that's what I will call it) to get around this problem mind you involving having to switch to Fido and getting out of Rogers contract for free. The reason for the rush of course is Rogers being bandwidth mongers and only offering the the 6Gb for $30 til the end of Sept (It was originally end of August). After this point it goes to 1Gb for $30. To get 6Gb will cost you $80. So that's the scam. In the states it's a flat fee for unlimited and that's where Canada is incredibly backwards. Our service providers hold bandwidth over our heads for ransom. In fact going to get a dataplan for a Blackberry (or perhaps "Complete Joke berry" .. more on that later) and Rogers was charging $20 for 7mb this past February.
I am finally getting off DSL. It is so slow. I'm on an archaic system that maxes out at 110 kb/s. I put up with it mind you cause I never made any agreements with bandwidth in those days. So I can download as much as I want and they don't bother me.. Speed finally getting to me and Shaw coming out with a 100Gb a month plan definitely changes things. So I call Telus to cancel. And they are like well we can offer you 6 times the speed of your current connection for 2/3 of the money. Like why didn't they mention this before. And continued to let me pay more.. I actually don't care I knew about their new plans, and the Gb limits that come with it. They said they could give me anything Shaw did other than the speed was different but DSL is dedicated and not shared. I said ok give me 100Gb bandwidth. And he responded "Please wait a moment while I cancel your account". So yeah.. But I digress.
I was more thinking about how impressed I've been with the iPod Touch in the last couple months. A few months back I said it and the iPhone are awesome but not quite there. They still aren't quite there, but they aren't nearly as far as one would think. Firstly the accellerometer (that thing that detects which way you are holding it) is way more sensitive than you'd expect. I have a dyno program that claims that it can determin horse power and torque +- 2 just from the g force it measures. Not to mention a lot of games including the Nintendo emulator use it instead of arrow keys sort of a tilt navigation. Works ok for some games like I was playing Kirby's Adventure it was ok but was pretty hard with the original Legend of Zelda. But for all those who don't like touch screen buttons or using the accelerometer there is a new dock accessory coming out called the iControlPad that fits around the iPhone or iPod touch and adds controls. Looks very PSP like. Who knows how long before you can use the tv out to put it on any tv screen and just use the iPod or iPhone as the controller. Not to mention the gaming capabilities are way more than I expected. For instance I can play Quake 1, in all it's first person 3d shooting glory. Added bonus is network support so you can play with a bunch of friends over wireless. So yeah iPhone LAN games just about every nerds dream. But games aren't everything.
As I expected more media stuff has popped up. The appstore (an application extension of the itunes store) and jailbreaking to get the hacked apps both add tons of options. Great apps for Facebook and Myspace. GPS location based social networking communities, bit torrent clients, terminal and commandline control. One of my personal favourites is the book reader where I been downloading and reading all my sci-fi. Yeah comic book reader, download manager, plus there a ton of streaming sites ala you tube that have been popping up so you can watch streaming content from mobile safari. And as I expected there is app already to use it as a remote control for iTunes on your computer.
I've been reading all these blackberry toting business suits calling the iPhone a toy and don't see the hype.. I'm surprised at how short sighted these guys are.. It's like Steve Jobs and Wozzniac getting the go ahead on the Apple Computer in the early 80's since the big wigs couldn't see the big picture. Wozz had signed the agreement that his inventions were his employers intellectual property and they responded that they didn't think the average person would want a computer. This admittedly is fairly different, but the shortsightedness is the same. What we have is a new platform that makes PDA's look like 80's cell phones and makes a laughing stock out of other smartphones. It's completely flexible and very capable and will only be more so when they put the new low power Intel Atom CPU's in them. If you want to understand capable, with the iPhone, which gets internet pretty much anywhere over cellular 3G networks, I can not only maintain and have it auto-sync all my emails, contacts, and calendars and talk over msn, aol, yahoo all at the same time while browsing safari while connected over a secure VPN tunnel to my office, I can remote desktop (ie log into my work computer) so I can run my applications like visual studios, and write programs (that's my day job). In fact I did my job one day entirely from the iPod Touch laying on my bed earning my $23/h the hard way (*sarcasm*).
I mean if you are starting from scratch I think the iPhone is like $200 + a plan which can be currently as low as $65 a month with 6Gb/month data usage over 3G. Damn I sound like I should be sellling these things. It's not intention, it's just that good. And really this is only the start. I'm waiting to see if someone gets past restrictions and gets a dongle working. For those who don't know a dongle in this usage would be using the iPhone as a modem for a laptop so you could get internet wherever you have cellular not only by hardline or over Wifi. In the states they have unlimited internet with their plans. The day that happens I'm completely freed. I mean I can picture sitting in a van travelling on tour with my band while doing my day job as we drive across the continent. Technology is a wonderous thing.
Oh and one last thing. So they got a new super particle accelerator/collider that they are testing for the first time tommorrow. We have never done anything like this on earth but scientists hope to gain some insight into the beginning of the universe by performing this experiment. We have had hyper accelerated particulars fly through the planet.. I mean it happens often enough, but with this well be able to measure and record the events first hand. A very interesting prospect to astrophysics. What I find so interesting is there is this panic of this causing a micro-blackhole that could suck up the earth.This to me with my understanding of the universe is ridiculous (I'm not saying it's not possible) just very unlikely. I could explain that even if a blackhole could be created the there isn't enough mass(thus energy) in the particle sustain a black hole for any length of time. It's like shooting a grain of sand at unimaginable speeds at a huge tightly stretched sheet with a bunch of sand on the surface. Even if the force caused by the rapid acceleration is enough to displace the sheet locally or even puncture it, it would not be enough to keep it displaced even if all the other sand in the local proximity gathered around it. But the more I read the more paranoia I see. Well I suppose if we're all here tommorrow we can all have a good laugh. And if I'm wrong and being arrogant in my belief of this being ridiculous then atleast no one will be around to witness that.
Goodnight. Current Mood: amused
|Wednesday, March 26th, 2008|
So I've gone a bit car crazy I suppose. But seriously I suddenly understand what I've been missing. My principle vehicle for years was a propane powered 15 seater ex handy dart van. After that I drove a Dodge Caravan around before taking over the VW Jetta. I finally understand how drivng can actually be fun and what it is like to drive a car where the limitations are the drivers own ability instead of the lack of compression from combusting propane or feeling you are guiding a cruise ship into docking. I am genuinely excited about this which to me is a bit rare.
And I know there are a lot of hybrid Honda Civic owners out there waving their fist at my gas guzzling 6 cylinder. But seriously drive my car and you will understand why. I thought I would never be able to condone this sort of thing but it's like night and day. It doesn't have amazing mileage but I know 4 cylinders that get worse mileage and even some V8's that get about the same (Dodge Charger R/T). Although I suppose the 5.7L V8 Hemi shouldn't really count because it uses a trick called MDS to cut it's cylinder usage down to 4 when you are not giving it. So yes generally larger displacement equals less mileage. But that isn't always true. Those little 300HP turbo charged Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions and Subaru WRX STi's have worse mileage than that while looking like a Honda Civic hit with an ugly stick at the same time.
Oh and in other news I got myself tickets to Iron Maiden in Vancouver. So psyched. Being part of the Iron Maiden fan club I got them early (yesterday morning). But they go on sale this friday. This is the first time they've played here in like 20 years or something. This is going to be fun. Current Mood: contemplative
|Tuesday, March 25th, 2008|
|6 speed woes...
Well not really, but who would have though driving a manual transmission would have such a learning curve. I feel sort of bad now for making Star Trek, the ship has been hit by imaginary photon torpedo jumps back in the day when I rode in Alyssa's car. Those shifts in that little fiesty honda civic seem like a knife through butter compared to the gear clashing mayhem I have going on. I guess this is why people don't learn to drive stick on a 300hp rwd sports car. It really isn't all that bad.. but who carres if my car has sexy lines and 19 inch rims when it's bouncing down the road as if it had hydraulics from me popping the clutch too quick and missing my rev matches. Current Mood: amused
So yeah this weekend I bought a car. A 2006 black Infiniti G35 with 6 speed manual transmission. For anyone who goes "What the hell is that? Infiniti is to Nissan as Lexus is to Toyota or Acura is to Honda. Basically it's like a Nissan 350Z except with 4 seats, and nicer interior (Bose audio, heated powered leather seats. seat memory, sunroof, hands free blue tooth, and generally a bunch of stuff I will never use). And if that doesn't mean anything to you maybe some brand name recognition might work as my car in everywhere but north america is known as the Nissan Skyline 350GT, but that's not typically how I advertise my car. When you say Skyline everyone thinks Skyline GTR which is a crazy all wheel drive super car that is fast as a Porsche 911 Turbo and can handle like no other. One of the central cars to the whole Fast and the Furious deal. My car, in comparison, is a meek 300HP RWD car, like a classier better handling Mustang GT or a cheaper BMW 335i. Sorry for all the car rant.. I seriously knew nothing until about 8 months ago.. and now I'm just stoked. Having so much fun with it.
Hmm.. what other news do I have to make consider I have been body replaced with an alien. Oh right I finally joined the masses and bought into cellular technology. So yes a cell phone. I have never had one til now, but now seemed as good as any. I mean if I was willing to spend $250 on a couple shirts that have collars and were made by Fred Penner.. no that's not right.. Fred Perry, then I'm sure a phone is a worthwhile investment. A promotion and raise at work, and lost christmas bonus suddenly showing up couldn't have happened at a better time.
Saturday I went to the Set Foot 7" inch release show which in itself wasn't as weird as walking in Seylynn for the first time in over 2 years. I was standing outside at 7:45 waiting for the doors to open which .. I haven't done .. in almost 10 years as I have been used to just walking in. In a lot of places it's the same old place, I mean the downstairs no longer has kickable ceiling panels with hidden asphestos goodness and I can no longer make out the long covered spray paint on the side of the building refering to how Mr. Solid sucks dick. The playground has been largely redone, the old swingset I spent eternity on has been retired it appears or atleast redone. But a lot of things are the same. It's funny how people look the same, have the same fashion that I knew someone 10 years ago had. It was a hardcore show so there was definately a down on the dyed hair quota. As for the show itself. What can I say it was entertaining but Seylynn sounds like Seylynn. I will get to experience it myself again on April 5th. I saw some old faces (other bearded ones too) in the likes of Cam, Max, and Tynan who happened to come by to check out the first band of the night. And Aussie Dave was in town, who I haven't talked to in ages so that was really cool.
After that I went to Squamish to have a big bonfire with Kurtis, Duncan, Samantha, and Ross. We burnt stuff, played acoustic guitars, they got drunk, and I drove them home. First time getting to drive Duncan's van which has surpringly good handling for a 3/4 ton 5.7L V8. Cruising down the construction covered Sea to Sky listening to Unearth to keep attentive as they were all passed out. I used to hate driving. Now I actually like it. I guess the only thing that kind of sucked about the night was that someone put something int he fire... thinking it was a beer can. Either way something exploded and while they were up and away I was playing and it hit me in the neck. I have a burn mark there now but I don't see any other damage. Apparently I was protected by my grisly beard.
Which reminds me the beard is going so soon I just want to get some band pics with it which will be happening this Friday at Pub340 as we have been added to the bill last minute. So yeah my band Break the Chains this friday at Pub 340, think of it as a way of welcoming our new singer (his first show with us) or simple a going away party for my beard. Either way it should be fun.
|Wednesday, March 12th, 2008|
|Wednesday, March 5th, 2008|
So long story short after not having played Seylynn in about 3 and a half years and not having gone there in about 2 years I find myself playing not 1, but 2 shows there in the next couple months. It's an interesting experience already and I haven't even played the shows. After spending the last couple years dealing with bar promoters who don't care about much and are about the bottom line, it's both refreshing and frusterating to be dealing with the "Seylynn Committee". It's the same old game except I find I'm just not the same person anymore. Still that aside it looks like I have two shows at the venue that served as the cornerpost for me getting into playing live music.
April 5th, 2008: Break the Chains, Between Lives, Sound of the Swarm, Break Even
This show will be the first to showcase our new singer. I'm pretty excited about that. His names Jay and he has a powerful cutting tenor that slices aggressively through our music. Plus he is 24, 6'3", has long hair and can headbang like no other, what's not to like. We'll be playing with Greg's (Gregbert) band Between Lives who we last played with at our CD Release. They are tight metal band and from what I hear only a have few shows left before they disband. Also Sound of the Swarm is on the bill who are an awesome tech metalcore group.
The bigger news in my opinion is the 2nd show:
June 7th, 2008: Mr Solid, Devious, Stab Rinse Repeat, She's All That
So yeah it's been like 5 years since Mr Solid became Solid, so we're doing a reunion show. Just the original 3, Josiah, Duncan, and I. We're taking it all the way back to Straight Up, playing the old songs from our full length plus hopefully a couple others. Seylynn seemed to be the perfect venue for such an event. As soon as Max Devious heard it wasn't long before he was pulling his band back together. On top of that we have Stab Rinse Repeat a very entertaining over the top death metal band featuring all ex-Seylynn band members, and She's All That the new pop punk band from the genious that brought bands like Doink Doink and the Douche Bags, and ROS. Like Reserve 34's reunion a while back which was a throw back to 1st generation Seylynn Hall, this should be a throw back to the 2nd generation who were involved bringing people back after the dead period back in 2000. As you can tell I'm excited. Hope you all can make it out.
|Wednesday, February 20th, 2008|
| Current Mood: satisfied
|Monday, February 18th, 2008|
| Current Mood: cheerful
|Sunday, February 3rd, 2008|
I haven't written about something that I've felt as a trivial interest for a while now. But some stuff on the technological front has began interesting me again. It's funny I tend to be all about technology but I'm probably the only person you know that doesn't use a cell phone, and is all landline. I also do not have a laptop or a digital camera. Until a month ago didn't even have a portable music player, unless you count my car. I kept convincing myself that each increment is just a the "new greatest thing" and I would wait until someone put all these things into one. I think I wrote a post about it moving that way a while back. Before long we would a single unit that would handle everything. The perhaps scary thing, if you are into that government conspiracy thing is we are really getting there quick. Current Mood: amused
So yeah things going this way isn't any surprise or revelation. We all knew this was going to happen. How long before our PDA becomes our credit card and our social insurance number, and we can be globally tracked through GPS satelites. Oh wait I guess we're already here. With any technology there is a slowness to catch on as early adopters have to deal with bugs, high costs, and reduced options/coverage all just to have their hands on the latest greatest. It's not til the bottom line drops that it is truly acceptable.
So as we've been naturally progressing everyone's phones, lets them send email, take pictures, plays mp3's, maybe plays movies.. has data transfer bandwidth, and so on. As the demand goes up the original integrated circuits in these things are getting replaced by low energy multiprocessors and becoming supercomputers in their own right. Intel will be making the processors for the next generation of iPhone and assumably the iPod Touch.
The IPod Touch happens to be my new toy right now that got me thinking about this stuff. Before anyone says it I'm sure there much more capable devices in cheaper price ranges but UI is a huge part of accessibility and really a testimony to the future (the only thing that made me take it over a PSP). I have the $400 16GB model, which for some of you is probably way too little storage, but keep in mind this is all new to me I still have a pile of a couple hundred albums I listen to. Discounts working at the record store probably helped and a short attention span on new music meant I never really had a digital collection. If something was good I'd buy it. If it was a trend or something I liked it would probably stay on my computer for about 6 months. My home entertainment is centered around a computer (it powers my stereo and my television) and at work I am in front of a computer. Data passes back and worth and since I haven't been on the go that much this has worked for me.
So how long has the iPod Touch been out? 3 months? I guess it has the advantage of being based on the iPhone which has been around much longer. The iPod Touch in basic should be a media player. It plays songs and movies that you bring in from iTunes, and they add some nice features like a calendar, calculator, and world clock. The biggest feature this device has other than it's multi touch screen is its built in WIFI which allows me to use Safari to browse the net, check email, or use an instant messenger wherever there is accessible wireless internet. They did this mainly so you can buy songs off the iTunes store when you are on the go. It also should be mentioned that the iPod dock connector has a very flexible setup which allows for a plethora of accessories, many home brewed. They handicapped a bunch of features like bluetooth from the iPhone though because they did not want the touch to canabalize sales, but as it turns out Apple didn't do enough.
I finally got around to Jailbreaking it today. Which basically unlocks this completely so you can install applications and access files directly through FTP (over wireless). The possibilities with a device like this appear almost endless in an urban environment and best of all it's free beyond originally picking it up. Firstly, you now can get all the iPhone apps, like Google Maps, Mail, Weather, Notes, Stocks... etc.. Secondly there are a bunch of third party apps in development that can be lots of fun and flexible due to the UI. Stuff from dedicated messenger applications to Playstation emulation. The Playstation emulation is a bit of a work in progress(slow) but I'm sure with the gen processors it would be good to go. The gameboy advanced emulator is good to go. Already replaying Final Fantasy 6 on it. Finally this device could be seen as a useful handheld hacking device. I was already looking up WEP cracking programs which can crack the keys in a matter of minutes for stealing wireless on protected networks. There are wireless packet sniffers..etc.. Anything you need to hack wireless networks.
I mentioned the iPod Dock having huge potential earlier. This isn't anything new but with the increased flexibility of this iPod more stuff opens up. I first got this iPod largely cause I wanted to use it as a portable movie player. Since through a special dock it can send out dvd quality video(almost... 640x480) to television. Secondly I liked the jukebox feel of scrolling through album covers when hooked up in my car. But this barely scratches the surface. I mean what is there to stop people from making custom docks and apps to connect into other devices, to do old school style mechanical hacks, like bank machines and other hardline devices. What you have here (especially next gen) is the power that would have been equivalated with a super computer 10 years ago in your palm.
Continuing on with the dock's potential. Yesterday I found out some even more interesting news. They did not disconnect the audio in connection on the circuitboard. So for the past month or so people have been coming up with microphone dock plugins to the ipod touch. Do you see the potential here? I can turn my mp3 player into a free phone using VOIP. Ok a less than ideal solution as this won't replace your cell phone but seeing as I don't have one and it's free at the very least wherever I have wireless I can call out. And I mean there is a good 1.5 second delay, but I have been on phone calls with developers in China and the delay isn't any better and it still works well enough. And through messenger programs I can text back and forth. And long distance isn't an issue as it run through the internet. Sort of why I was looking into cracking wireless connections. I will say for now this is more of something cool than something practical. I mean cell phones work over large distances from where the signal is sent and still have less than ideal coverage.
But when I see something like this it makes me think of where things are going. And I'm not only talking about Apple. How long before everyone else comes out with similar devices that improve upon features. There are already devices stronger in some areas. Will we be able to do secure payment through a handheld device, sorta like a cross between paypal and using a debit card. How about online transfer person to person. Removes the need carry actual money. How about as a way of finding people or know where your friends are through advance GPS tracking? How about the use of wireless/bluetooth to trigger computerized household systems. Ie the lights turning on as you enter a room automatically, or as a universal remote of some sort. Take that further to use as a bus pass or the ignition to your vehicle. What happens when wifi networks get better coverage? Free urban messaging, or even calling anywhere.
Anyway enough speculating. I'm enjoying my move over to having an iPod. Maybe I will get a cell phone one of these days.