Thursday, November 6, 2014

2014 Q4 Mobile Thoughts

You know it is a slow day when I'm going back and watching old videos on YouTube. I seem to have missed this particular Colbert Report.

After watching it, I realized that there are sheeple in all of the camps.

Apple has their faithful followers who will buy anything that Tim Cook says is "magical," or "thinner," or "easier." Pioneering, I wouldn't say that. Maybe repackaging existing technology and making it look pretty with the Apple logo or something along those lines. iOS? Android did most of what it does now about 2-3 years ago.

Google has some of the same kind of followers, but they are usually a bit geekier or more concerned about making their device actually belong to them. I've determined that the Nexus line of products is really just a shortened name that really means "next us." This goes in line that they will turn the mobile device world upside down every time there's a new Nexus device released. Come on. That's like saying that with a new release of Ubuntu that we will finally have the "year of the Linux desktop."

Microsoft... Are they really a thing to worry about, other than them extorting royalties from hardware manufacturers that use Android on their devices? Nokia, Microsoft's right hand at pushing the new features for Windows Phone, has really lost their touch over the years. Just by looking over various statistics from some big sources, Nokia's market share has severely plummeted, which takes the base Windows Phone share with it. Every once in a while, there's unofficial rumors that Nokia will be making a new device that will run Android. I think this is to boost the hopes of would-be Nokia customers and to get the Nokia name back in the spotlight. Since Microsoft owns Nokia, I highly doubt they would ever let Nokia put Android on any of their devices happen. Needless to say, I don't believe that Windows Phone will be making any big splashes to awe the mobile device OEMs or the community in general to drop their iPhones or Droids to get that new Windows Phone device. When I think Nokia, I think of the old brick/candybar phones that break the sidewalk or used as weapons to battle the Zombie Apocalypse. This needs to make a comeback!

RIM and their BlackBerry line has all but fallen off the face of the Earth. They are pretty much on their last leg and fighting to stay above water. It's a fierce battle for them, since their devices are primarily marketed towards business people. Their Playbook 10 was mostly a last ditch effort to stay useful in a media based niche. The Q10... Let's not go there. This last line of BlackBerry phones from RIM are tacky at best and tried to make it look like an iPhone with a hardware keyboard attached. You're doing it wrong!

Viva la SideKick! That was one of the best devices I ever owned...until I got my hands on the new HTC G1. If only HTC would hear my constant pleas to reinvent the G1 with a 5.5" or so screen, modern under the hood specs that we all expect in devices of today, a decent battery life and gotta have that flipout 5 row keyboard like the original G1 had. Other requirements I would have on such a device is that it must be a world phone and must have a radio capable of utilizing the bands of modern carrier's 2G/3G/4G/LTE based on the SIM card that is in the device. Also, there needs to be a microSD port capable of sdHC/sdXC. Wi-Fi a/b/g/n. Bluetooth 4.0 LE or whatever the latest standard is at the time. NFC. GPS. A multitude of sensors. As a bonus, it would be nice to have 2 very good stereo face front firing speakers that doesn't clip the audio when it gets too loud. I'm saying quality media and social hub here. Navigation buttons on screen from the Android OS, not hardware soft buttons. I can imagine that this device would carry a fairly hefty price tag on it, but if it met my standards to what I want in a device, I would gladly buy it. Imagine if this design was one of the near future Nexus devices. Yes, that would mean unlocked, no Sense UI, no added bloat from carriers. Just a pure AOSP based Android experience as it was meant to be. I'm sure I'm dreaming. Heh heh, "dream" ... That is what the original G1 device codename was called.

Monday, October 13, 2014

My Adventures in College: Part 1: Dislocated Worker

I am creeping up on a full month of my adventures of being back in college. For the most part, it's just business as usual. There are some issues I am still dealing with, but they are slowly getting resolved.

I was laid off from my job of 7 years back in June of this year. Staff reduction, they called it. The company said they wouldn't contest any unemployment claims because there isn't enough work to keep me on their payroll.

I applied for unemployment, but the state of Washington Employment Securities Department (ESD) seems to be training me to join the circus because of all of the hoops they are making me jump through. I have yet to receive any payments from them to this day. Hopefully that will change soon.

I did get a letter in the mail from ESD today about applying for some Commissioner Approved Training Commissioner Approved Training (CAT) program funding. This would've been nice to know about a few months ago as I was preparing what I was going to do with my life. CAT seems like a good program because it will grant me the unemployment payments while I am in school without having to file a claim every week. Win.

As I was attending various workshops at my college prior to the Fall quarter beginning, I found out about a few programs that I should easily qualify for.

First, the Washington Worker Retraining program. This program is designed for people like me, who have been displaced from their jobs, for whatever reason, and get them into classes that will train them in the skills needed for the available in-demand jobs. This program is also for those who want to start their own businesses as well. Win for me, because that is exactly what I want to do in the near future.

Second, the Washington Opportunity Grant. This program, if qualified, will pay for tuition, fees, books and supplies, but only for up to 45 credit hours. That is equivalent to an Associate's Degree. I'm hoping they can reimburse me for the $300+ I have already spent on books for the Fall quarter and pick up for the Winter quarter. We'll see what happens.

I have also been doing some searching for no-essay grants/scholarships, and found a couple, but I'm not too sure of them yet, so I will not list them here to confuse people. I will make a future post with further details as I dive deeper into them.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Super Googlio+ Bros 2014 Professional Deluxe

TL;DR: Broken Google+ for me, boo hoo, ideas for Google+ improvements.
NOTE: I may update this post in the future if I come up with more ideas.

Over the last week or so, Google+ has been much of a roller coaster ride for me for some reason or another. Not only have I been having some serious delays between mobile devices and desktop computers for getting notifications, but there are times I've missed whole conversations where I was mentioned in them and I did not know anything about it. *grumble*

I have a few thoughts about Google+ and things I wish they would do. This is more of a wish list than anything else.

Anything outside of the Main Timeline (home stream) should be moved off to an option menu with user selectable checkboxes (read as plugins) to be enabled or disabled. These options only control the desktop web interfaces. Keep mobile separate.

###["Home Menu" Optional Possibilities]###

[x] [Photos / Picasa] (Google+ Photos or Picasa? Which will it be? I know they are trying to push people from Picasa to Google+ Photos. Why not just merge them both in to Google Drive?)

[x] [Communities / Google Groups] (Merge one into the other. I'm surprised this hasn't been done already.)

[  ] Events (Put them in a Google Calendar and call the calendar "Plus Events" or something that can be ignored by unchecking this box. Some people abuse the Events feature of Google+ way too much, and it has got to a point of annoyance for many.)

[x] Hangout (Some people don't want to chat, I don't mind though. Disabling this may break live events like Hangout On Air on YouTube.)

[  ] Pages (This section seriously needs work. Business pages? Fan page? Pseudonyms for people to hide behind? Google, where are you going with this?)

[  ] Local (Does anyone even use this feature anymore? Sure, it's a way to find local people and businesses, but I really think Foursquare has that pretty well covered. Maybe buy Foursquare? :-/ )

###[Wanted New Features]###

[x] Disable animated images (Show first frame as still image and add a click-to-play feature.)

[x] Notification of new posts by individual users: link to select users from circles (Also, there should be checkbox when clicking the follow button asking if you want to be notified of new posts, or something similar to the little 'gear button' next to the 'Subscribe button' on YouTube. That works really well for what it does.)

[x] Filter keywords: link to filter list box popup (If a post contains listed words, the post will be rolled up and dimmed showing the poster's heading like normal, but tell the viewer that the post was filtered because of a keyword, link to the keyword box editor.)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

George R. R. Martin Still Uses A DOS Word Processor

This is exactly why all the new blingie blingie shiny toys these days don't interest me much.

"Game of Thrones" written in WordStar 4.0 for DOS ... Scary thought. :-/

I hated WordStar with every inch of my will. I can't say WordPerfect for DOS was much better though. There was a version of MS Word for DOS, but I've never used that one.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Should I Juice?

I watched the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead on Netflix tonight. It is quite inspiring if the stuff that Joe Cross presents in the film actually works. His site, Reboot with Joe, is packed with a lot of great information as well.

I've been doing some research all over the place, other than Google and/or Wikipedia, for the last few hours and I came across some really good information regarding weight loss by "juicing." I even found a few podcasts like JuicingRadio and a couple of others that I bookmarked.

Now... I wonder if my brother would be willing to work with me and come up with some sort of plan to help me lose a few of these bowling balls I'm carrying around all of the time. Hey bro, do you have a juicer? If not, wanna go half and half on a good one? Then we'll just need to find some farmer's markets to hit up. I won't pay the insane prices at Whole Foods Market or Uwajimaya.

It's a New Year, but I've yet to turn the page to create a new me. I think it's about time to turn the page and head down the road of making a new me. The new page hasn't been written yet, and I want page 2014 to have a great story to tell.

Do I sound like one of those "me to" people that hears or sees something good and wants to jump on the bandwagon? That's not my intentions here. I really do need to lose a lot of weight and become active again. All I do is work, then come home and sit in front of the computer until I get bored, then I go to sleep. Lather, wash, rinse, in and day out. Now I just need the motivation and people around me to cheer me on to get going with the process.