Friday, December 18, 2009

My Worst Fear

This clip shows a disaster in a warehouse that is "man caused" but my worst fear is being inside a Costco and an earthquake hits and this happens. If you're not inside a forklift like these guys I don't think you survive. Does Costco sell life insurance?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Android Doomed

HERE is the most concise explanation thus far as to why, at this writing anyway, the Android ecosystem seems doomed.
The news this week about The Googs new "Nexus One" phone is evidence that even Google sees the problem. They are trying to fix it by making their own phone. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, everyone is chasing the iPhone. Even Google. I'm not saying they are giving up on the open source Android OS but by making and shipping their own phone they are taking a stand that will piss of handset manufacturers and Cell carriers at the same time. Thus making things wildly more complicated than just making a phone and controlling it from beginning to end ala Apple. Good luck Goog!

Why didn't I think of that?

Check out THIS new iPhone app. It uses the phones camera to make the phone transparent while you're texting. So you can see where you are going. Hmm. Of course! Seems so obvious now. Now if I'm texting in the car I can see the crash I'm about to get into before it happens. Sweet!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Peaceful Word Processing

Found this new software today.
It is a simple word processor for Mac OSX only. Sorry PC guys, you'll have to wait. (I love saying that ;) For those poor non-Mac guys you can go to their site and watch a video of how it works.

Anyway, download the beta of Ommwriter and check it out.

I spent many years in my career working on word processors for WordPerfect (for Mac), Adobe (Framemaker) and Microsoft (Office), and word processing always seemed very businesslike. Straightforward even sterile interfaces. Nothing fancy or aesthetic about them at all. These guys take a very simple approach. Take everything away but the writing. It is unique and I kind of like it. I can see using Ommwriter for creative writing. Everyday business writing would require too much re-formatting in a more full featured word processor.
Your desktop icons and dock go away and you have a simple background. Soothing sounds and/or music plays. All interface elements fade away as you write leaving you with just the words your are writing and nothing else to distract you. If the music does distract you can turn it off. I personally found it soothing. I'm sure they will iterate on this concept and add more features but maybe they don't need to. What do you think? Give Ommwriter a try and come back and comment I would love to hear what you think.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Kindle Krap

I've been waiting for awhile now to get my hands on an Amazon Kindle for the first time. I've been waiting to review/remark on the Kindle until I could actually use one. Thanks to my friend I had my first contact yesterday.

Here are my thoughts.

So, the unit I used was a first gen Kindle. I understand it has been improved since. If I ever get my hands on the newer models I will update my feelings here. That being said, my feelings on a lot of points will probably be the same despite the improvements I have read about.
First thought was, wow this thing is small. I couldn't believe how small the screen is. The newer models have bigger screens. Good. I knew that this device was not a touch screen so I found the scroll ball device pretty quickly. What surprised me was the scroll indicator window directly above the scroll wheel. What the heck? This vertical indicator thingey is totally bizarre. What is it? I don't think it is LCD like the eInk screen the book text displays on. I quickly figured out what it was telling me and moved on. However, it was a little odd to figure out and doesn't feel very intuitive to me. It isn't part of the main display screen. Nowadays this seems completely odd, backwards and unnecessary.
The power button and wireless button are on the back. Bad. I have to turn the unit over to turn it on. The unit I was using was in a leather carrying case which seemed kind of nice. I had to remove the Kindle from the case in order to turn it on and then place it back in the case.
eInk. It looks a little different than the usual experience of a non-backlit LCD screen. Text seemed smooth and very readable but it also looked a little muddy and I was just not "wowed" by it. The background is a dull grayish color and seems decidedly darker than if I were reading an actual "real paper" book. I would like the eInk background to be brighter.
I found a book on the main menu and clicked to open it to start reading. I expected a full page of text like I would see in a book. No. I found maybe a quarter page of text, flush left. I had to click the "next" button often to read. This would be distracting I think if I were actually sitting down to read an entire book. I "expected" and/or "wanted" something different. I wanted this device to mimic at least in some fashion what reading a real book would be like. I am not a real book purist. I love books but I totally want an electronic device that I can comfortably read books on. The Kindle is not it. This surprised me. I expected that I would like this device, that it would immediately appeal to me and that I would want one and it would start the usual multi-month or year long longing to have one.
The interface was decidedly basic and lacked design and any sort of layout. Basic text lists of titles and options. Boring. I tried several books and noticed that on each one the text is just thrown on the screen without any consideration for typography or layout. Most books I read don't have a lot of "design" to them but at least I can see a chapter heading and page number and a pleasing typeface. This experience felt "less than". Less than even a basic paper back book. I must say it again that this surprised me. How hard is it to mimic a page full of black and white 12pt Times Roman text with a chapter heading and page number? Maybe this varies by book and I just picked books that didn't have any layout etc. I don't know.

In summary, I guess it's true that my expectations are too high. I am continually disappointed by my experiences with electronic devices. I am eternally hopeful however that someone somewhere will meet my expectations and make my life better. I hope this new fad of late in the eBook reader space will turn out something special at some point. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the Barnes & Noble Nook. It looks interesting but I fear it will suffer some of the same downfalls of the Kindle. There are dozens of others but they all seem even less exciting than the Kindle. Maybe Apple's rumored tablet will hit the ebook ball out of the park. It won't be an ebook reader only so I fear that it's cost will be too great. However, the Apple experience and polish give it a very good chance of exceeding the Kindle. Having other features and uses could be a plus too. We'll have to see what they deliver. My guess is even their first version won't completely meet my high expectations. I fear I will have to wait a couple more years till something comes along I find exciting. You can be sure I will write about it here!


Thanks to The Fireball, I just found this really cool plugin for Safari on OSX. ClickToFlash blocks all Flash until you click on the flash to start it. It makes pages load tons faster. My browsing speed experience just doubled if not more. Since most flash is for advertisements I don't really miss much. If I want to see it I just click the flash button and it will load and run the flash. I don't use a laptop but this would increase battery life exponentially. Flash is a resource hog. For those sites that you visit often and want to see the flash you can "whitelist" sites easily.
I hear FireFox has a similar plugin but don't know anything about it since I don't use FF. If you are "Foxtard" you're on your own.