Archive for June 2009

HTC is a friend of Android

June 25, 2009

HTC the cell phone maker was the first company to come out with an Android phone with the G1. They now have two more announced. This latest one has no certain date in North America, but it looks good. I think I might want one.

The specifications look good:

Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE
Bluetooth® 2.0 with Enhanced Data Rate and A2DP for wireless stereo headsets
Wi-Fi®: IEEE 802.11 b/g
HTC ExtUSB™ (11-pin mini-USB 2.0 and audio jack in one)
3.5 mm audio jack
5.0 megapixel color camera with auto focus
Talk time:

*
Up to 420 minutes for WCDMA
*
Up to 470 minutes for GSM

Standby time:

*
Up to 750 hours for WCDMA
*
Up to 440 hours for GSM
microSD™ memory card (SD 2.0 compatible)

This is certainly going to be a compelling phone. It is no secret that I like Android. This added to the their previous phone leads me to believe that Android could take Apple’s iPhoneOS to task. I’m thinking about jumping into mobile development and Android is looking way better than Apple right now to me.

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Blogs vs. social networking

June 24, 2009

I read a post recently (and can’t find it now) asserting that blogs are basically outmoded by social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, etc.  It’s true that many bloggers are completely narcissistic.  Some blogs are informative but wordy or devoid of any healthy grammar practices.  I love Twitter for its prevention of wordiness.  Still, I disagree with the conclusion that social networking has replaced the blog.  Here’s why.

1) Blogs are relatively easy.  Once you get your social network set up, you have a great way to communicate with those in your network.  But you have to build the network.  I’d like to think I’m reasonably popular, but over about 2 years on Facebook, I’ve connected with about 365 people through my profile and a handful more through my musician page.  We’ve had a lot more hits than that on the blog in a single day.

2) Blogs can be used as information repositories to avoid cluttering up people’s news feed with note posts.  Just post the link and a 140-character summary, thank you.

3) People don’t become less narcissistic when they join Facebook.  In fact, the opposite may be true.  I saw a tweet yesterday saying “if I see your avatar more than 15 times in my timeline, I’m blocking you.”  And you know that friend who constantly talks about their Twilight fixation, or their bad relationships, or how they hate their job (which, by the way, is not a good thing to put up on either blogs or SN, because you DO like your job more than you like unemployment).

4) The blog network is wider than my social network.  Through tag clouds and friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend surfing, you can travel through all 6 degrees of separation in a few hours.  I appreciate this wealth of information, even if I have to weed through some useless blogs too.  With Facebook, for instance, you have privacy concerns and friend requests, and “I really want to know more about my VP, but I REALLY don’t want her to see my St. Paddy’s Day photos” concerns.  This leads us to the last, and perhaps most vivid, point.

5) Separation of roles.  This is probably the biggest one, and it’s the reason this blog exists.  I don’t really have anything on my Facebook profile to hide.  In fact, my St. Patrick’s Day celebrations to date have been very mild (think listening to The Chieftans orcorned-beef-and-cabbage eating corned beef and cabbage).  but the point is, I don’t want some people having unlimited access to my personal information (ahem, Bozeman).

The fact is, people separate roles in their life.  I avoid talking to my officemate about my marriage, but I don’t discuss network security with childhood friends who simply don’t care.  This blog gives me the chance to write about relevant technical and/or techno-cultural topics without posting it and tagging all my friends.  Likewise, Facebook gives me the chance to post friends-only photos of my vacation without having who-knows-who looking at my family.

Separation of roles is vital in a technologically driven world, and blogs are a way to accomplish that.  Facebook, Twitter, and my music blog give me a way to express another side of myself – a side that (in American culture) must be at least partially veiled from the work side.

Final point – this doesn’t mean blogging is better than social networking.  Just that SN hasn’t replaced blogging.  For those who are pouring their heart out about their recent relationship disaster, maybe it has.  But not for those with something that strangers might actually want to hear.

ben

Keeping alert at work

June 23, 2009

For IT support staff, sometimes it’s drought, and sometimes it’s flooding.  For me at least, it’s rarely much in between.  And since our hiring freeze, incidents that are within my scope are scarce.  I read this article today on Tech Republic regarding night shift boredom on the help desk.  Now, I don’t do “help desk” per se, and I don’t do night shift, but I do have the same essential issue – my quality of work depends on my alertness of mind.

I like Jeff’s ideas.  He’s pretty much hit the nail on the head.  I would add a few ideas, though.  Here’s my comment I posted on the thread:

First thing (which you alluded to) is physically keeping the body alert. Walking, running, even having a treadmill or bike in the office (depending on your corporate culture) could be a help. Proper ergonomics (especially neck and back) are a must.

Mental stimulation is key as well. I love designing things, so designing a woodworking project or a guitar or a computer program will keep me rolling at all but the most sleepy of times. If you like to hack (in the old-school non-destructive sense), and you have the authority to set up an old ‘retired’ asset, set up a dev box and write code. Save all of it, too. That kind of analytical thinking will not only keep you awake, but will also sharpen your analytical skills and broaden your knowledge.

Eating right is a big factor. While a Coke can provide a short buzz, it also makes you crash afterwards. Eat plenty of fruits/veggies, and take a multivitamin. Stay away from fast food, etc… all the things we already knew but don’t practice. =D

So what are your secrets for ensuring that, when the next phone call or meeting comes, that you are at the top of your game?

Looks like Palm Pre is after Blackberry

June 11, 2009

Looks like bfpower is correct. Ars review essentially says they think Palm pre is more after the blackberry crowd rather than the iPhone. From the looks of it they are right, but I have to say that as an iPhone user they could easily entice me as well.

From the article:

My experience so far with the Pre is that it’s as good a messaging device as the iPhone is a media device. And while it has solid Exchange and push e-mail support, where webOS really excels—at least, for the moment—is in the way that it embeds the Pre seamlessly within the much-hyped “cloud” messaging ecosystem. This cloud messaging integration is most spectacularly showcased in the way that webOS handles contacts and instant messaging.

In all, Palm put as much effort into making the webOS a first-rate messaging experience as Apple did into making the iPhone a first-rate media experience, and with just as much success. So if most of your communication consists of Twitter, email, SMS, and IM with the people in your Facebook network and/or Gmail contacts list, then the Pre will do for your personal messaging what your work BlackBerry does for your business messaging.

Now if Pre can come out on a different network than Sprint.

Should Apple worry about iPhone competition?

June 3, 2009

Wired ran this story, “Why Apple Can Afford to Phone It In With the Next iPhone.” It basically reads that the next iPhone, expected to be announced next week, will likely be a minor upgrade. Of course this is all based upon rumors, but as much as Apple tries to be secret typically the rumors aren’t that far off. Aside from the fact that this is all based upon rumors I am inclined to agree with the analysis with one word of caution.

Recently I have been writing about the Android rumors. I really am excited about it, but I have mentioned that my excitement is when they mature and that this is a good indication of what will be when my current iPhone contract runs out. Let me back up. When the iPhone first released the blogs were all abuzz and people lined up for days to get their hands on the first, worthless IMO, iPhone iteration. I largely ignored the first iPhone, not because I didn’t see the bright future, exactly the opposite, but because I knew the future held much more promise than their first release. Apple tested the waters and they were good. So good that they quickly released the iPhone 3g. It was at that point that the hardware was complete enough, though they could have done much better, and the software was complete enough, app store anyone, to grab my attention. Indeed, with that launch Apple sealed their prominence that every other hardware maker aspires to have now. But what this shows is that everyone must go through the growing pains. When Apple released the original iPhone they probably never imagined that the app store would take off like it did. They may not have imagined how people would eventually use or want to use the hardware. The initial released was the baby stage for what would blossom into a powerful teenager. It was and is at this point that I decided it was ready for my use, and it has proven up to the task. With the release of version 3.0 of the software Apple will finally mature the iPhone into adulthood. Where we are now with all other smart phones (Palm pre, G1, Android, Storm) is still infancy. It took Apple over a year for each stage to mature so it only makes sense that all others would follow a similar path to maturity if not slower. So as I see it Apple owns the smart phone market. All other competitors fail on multiple levels, but not for lack of trying. In this way the Wired author is correct. Apple can release a minor upgrade to the iPhone and not worry about losing market prominence or superiority.

With all that said my word of caution is this. Now that Apple is an adult it stands out from the rest, but it is now perched on a ledge waiting to be pushed off. Like I said all the other competitors are still in infancy, but they are showing good signs for quick maturation. For Android there is already a robust API it just needs better hardware. Palm Pre could shake up the industry, but as of yet hasn’t launched, and will likely face problems being tethered to Sprint. The Storm with all of its hardware advantages loses on apps and development platform. These are the same problems Apple faced and overcame. They may have made it look easy, but soon enough competitors will figure things out. Just give them time. Apple may not need to launch a hot new iPhone this time around, but they better have something good coming or else they may find themselves mediocre, compared to the competition, in the not so distant future.

This is why I am so optimistic. There are so many uses for smart phones. I don’t know that I could ever go back, but I am not sold on Apple or the iPhone. Right now I think I purchased the best there is, but the horizon looks good for some serious competition once it is time to upgrade.

Windows 7 tentative release date

June 2, 2009

Just in from the Guardian’s Twitter feed: Microsoft will launch Windows 7 on Thurs Oct 22, says Techflash. To be confirmed; story to follow.

Google Android Magic

June 2, 2009

HTC has released another Google Android phone. This one is smaller and sleeker than the G1 and looses the hard keyboard.

I think it looks pretty good and can be compelling. We’ll see. Again this is why I went ahead with the iPhone. Currently I still think it is the best phone, but more and more are coming out. The Palm Pre looks good and soon there may be a plethora of Android phones out.