Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

iPhoneFor those that know me, I had disparaged the iPhone as being the exclusive province of hipster doofuses who want to give the appearance of being “high-tech”. And yet last week I myself got an iPhone, and I don’t consider myself of hipster doofus. So why did I do it? Read on…

My story begins early this year when my two-year contract with Verizon was up. Those who know me know that I have a tenuous relationship with my brick of a phone, the XV6700 (named the XV6700 because Verizon is incapable of offering a phone with a memorable name). I had had it for two years and I was beyond eager to get something new, something that didn’t throw my hips out of alignment when in my pocket. So I began looking.

I had heard rumors that the iPhone was coming out soon, that it would redeem the sins of the first generation, that it would be 3G, would be faster, sleaker, better, etc., etc. So I held out and waited until July to see what the fuss was all about. But when July came, the long lines, the service outages, and the overall disarray of the iPhone launch discouraged me from checking it out. But lo and behold, Blackberry was coming out with a couple of new phones: the Bold and the potential iPhone killer, the Thunder (now called the Storm). So I decided to wait a little longer.

Of course, a little longer became a lot longer. With delays and technical problems, the new Blackberries went further and further into the horizon. Meanwhile, people with their new 3G iPhones were starting to impress upon the virtues of the Apple device. I saw a lot of cute games and apps. But I wanted a real smartphone. Something for big boys. I wanted Blackberry. And since I had Verizon and Verizon was going to be the exclusive carrier of the Storm, I figured I would wait. And wait I did. It was supposed to launch late summer. The late summer became September. Then September became October. Then October became November. Meanwhile, my spine was crying for something new.

Finally, November rolls around the corner and Verizon starts marketing the Storm. “Coming soon” they say. WHEN?!?! You fuckers, stop taunting me! I’ve been waiting forever. I don’t need this “coming soon” bullshit. My back hurts. Just give me the fuckin’ phone. Well, mid-November, I get this thing in the mail about a Private Sale with a big picture of the Storm on the front. Now officially the Storm was supposed to launch on the 21st, but this thing was going on between the 17th and the 21st. Presumably, this meant us “VIP”’s could get a special sneak preview of the new device. I was excited. So early the 17th I high-tail it to the Verizon store to see if I could check it out. Surely they have a demo or something. No dice. The clerk there said she hadn’t seen one yet. OK, fine. A little false advertising…sure, it didn’t say the Storm would actually be available on the 17th, it just had a big picture of it with Nov 17th by it. Fine. Whatever.

So then I came back on the 21st of November. As I approached the Verizon store, I had flashbacks to when the iPhone launched, the long lines around the block, the fanfare. I didn’t see any of that this time. I just walked right in and told the clerk I wanted to check out the Storm. The first thing out of her mouth was, “We don’t have any in stock.” I just flashed a huge smile. After the months of anticipation, after the massive “coming soon” marketing campaign, after the “Private Sale” bungle, today was the BIG launch of the Blackberry Storm…and they fucked that up too.

Fortunately, there was a demo and I was able to try it out almost immediately. Let me just start by saying I really wanted to like this phone. I had waited months for it, read reviews of it going both ways, kept an open mind, and in the end here it was in my hands. Finally. And I hated it. The whole click screen thing was awkward. You definitely have to put more pressure to “click” a button. That made typing a lot slower. Plus the keyboard in portrait mode was abysmal. I couldn’t even type a simple url in the browser. I struggled for two minutes to type something. After that, I concluded that it was simply unusable. And just when I came to this conclusion, the clerk called out my name. “How can I help you?” she asked with fake enthusiasm.

I told her I was checking out the Storm, to which she responded to with the usual spiel about its virtues. “OK,” I replied not knowing what else to say, to which she motioned me to a register obviously assuming I was going to order one that day. “Oh no, I’m not getting one. Thanks.” And I left.

Disillusionment with the Storm aside, I was also disillusoned with Verizon Wireless. Apparently, I had heard that the Storm didn’t have WiFi because Verizon asked them not to include it. Verizon has something against WiFi. Remember old my brick of a phone? The XV6700? It had WiFi. But when you turned on WiFi, the phone would turn off. You effectively had one or the other, not both. I figured there was a reason for this. But then a friend had gotten the same phone from Sprint and upon telling him how this “feature” sucked, he said he didn’t have that problem. Sure enough, he had WiFi and phone running concurrently. WTF? Apparently, Verizon had put in some sort of software restriction (hackable by changing a registry setting). Why? I don’t want to know because I’m sure it’s bullshit. After the debacle with the Storm, I came to the conclusion that Verizon will never offer a great phone.

So time to switch carriers, right? I was interested in the G1, but T-Mobile’s coverage is not that great. That left Sprint and AT&T. Although not quite as bad as Verizon, Sprint doesn’t offer a lot of great phones either. So that left me with AT&T Wireless. And that meant either the Blackberry Bold and the iPhone. So I went to the nearest AT&T store and checked both out. Going back and forth between the two for almost an hour, it finally came down to the the web browser. The Blackberry browser didn’t render some sites correctly while the iPhone rendered them beautifully. So my decision was made. Mind you, I’m not a hipster doofus although I still contend that hipster doofuses go ga-ga over the iPhone. Believe me, I still haven’t drunken the Apple Kool-Aid. But I do like my iPhone. And so does my back.

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I just UNinstalled IE 7 Beta today after installing it a few days ago. Reason? It’s incredibly unstable even for a beta. IE 7 boasts some nice new features like tabbed browsing, which works pretty well although limited in terms of configurability, and RSS support, which also works pretty well although I’ve been yearning for Live Bookmarks since Firefox introduced them and Netscape took them away in its recent update. No Live Bookmarks in IE 7. Boo hoo.

In spite of the new bells, its failings drove me to uninstall. It was a lot slower than IE 6 and Firefox even. In fact, there were times it took literally 3 minutes to open the browser. It would hang way too often. And worse yet, the Back button didn’t work right. The most basic feature of a web browser did not work on IE 7! This is what happens: I browse from page to page to page as one normally does during a browsing experience and then every once in a while I would hit the Back button only to see a page I had visited 10 pages ago. Every page in between was GONE! This was especially frustrating when I threw Google into the mix. Imagine doing a Google search, then clicking the first result, and then clicking Back to see the results page again and clicking the next result. Not hard to imagine. Everyone does it. Now imagine clicking Back and instead of seeing the results page, you see some page you saw 10 pages ago. And in order to see the results again, you have to re-do the search and click the next result. Now you see why I uninstalled it.

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Google’s been busy…GTalk, Gmail, Google Earth, and now Google Print. So I do a search on…oh, a little something from Dickens. And yes, if you followed the link, you’d see that the thing I would have thought would be the first item on the list was indeed the 6th.

And then I cried.

As of late, I’ve been hatin’ on Firefox. Don’t get me wrong…I’m no lover of IE, but Firefox, that great scion of the tech community, has gotten me so damn riled up with frustration, I must vent. The other day, I had Firefox fired up. It was just sitting there on the Google page. Nothing special. I was going to open a page, but I ended up running some queries, so like I said, it was just sitting there doing nothing. Or so I thought.

I was running a query and was amazed at how long it was taking. I mean it was just running and running and running. It got to the point where I was talking to the DBA. He had no idea what was going on. I was running sp_who2 and that was hanging. I was sure it was the database, but the DBA told me everything looked fine on his end. So then I fired up the ol’ Task Manager, and lo, Firefox was sucking up 99% of my CPU cycles. Motherfucker!!!

Well, it came as no surprise. You see, I’ve been collecting my complaints of Firefox for some time. Let me start by saying when Mozilla 1.0 came out, it crashed on me in 30 FUCKIN’ MINUTES!!! Fine. So Firefox comes out and I thought surely things have gotten better. WhenI fired it up for the first time, it took like half an hour to see the damn window. Well, it always takes half an hour to open Firefox. It takes seconds for IE to open.

Okay, whatever, you say. I’ve been using Firefox at home and work regularly, and I can tell you I’ve come to expect it to freeze on me on a daily basis. At least once a day — if not many — Firefox freezes on me and I sit there like a FUCKIN’ DICKWAD GIMP staring at the goddamn hourglass until I finally heave a sigh and kill the damn process.

And don’t get me started on PDF’s. I’m no lover of PDF documents, but the Internet is littered with them and it’s only a matter of time before I click on a link that turns out to be a link to a PDF, and alas, there I am, sitting like a RETARDED CHIMP while Firefox puts the moves on Acrobat…and sucks up all my CPU cycles in the process.

I’m a developer. I hate having to sit there and helplessly stare at my computer. I have a decent computer both at home and at work. But man, it’s gotten so bad, that I’ve thought about switching to Opera. OPERA!!! I know everyone loves to hate IE, but damnit, it opens up quickly, doesn’t get confused by Javascript, doesn’t freeze half the time. Hell, Firefox takes me back to the bad old days of Netscape 1.0, which also crashed on a daily basis. Has it really gotten any better than that???

But that’s okay…I’ll just hope that all of the current problems get fixed in Firefox 2.0…when it comes out sometime in 2012.

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