Tag Archives: driving

Cellphones suck!

I confess. I’m a technophile. I like reading about new technologies and gadgets. Even better, I like owning new technologies and gadgets. And yet, I don’t have a cellphone of my own. I bought one for my wife but that was only because she was doing a lot of driving out into the boonies of Iowa as part of her degree program. The phone is a couple of years old now but I’m in no hurry to replace it. I’m in even less of a hurry to get one for myself.

Why? Because every cellphone I see out there sucks. The cellphone manufacturers are rushing to build in all sorts of extraneous functionality. This adds to the phone’s weight, size & complexity without providing any meaningful benefit.

Let’s look at a similar product for a moment, the iPod. In a field of hundreds, if not thousands, of MP3 players the iPod is the industry leader and it has the least functionality of the lot. While the other manufacturers have added FM tuners and recorders and god-only-knows what else; Apple has kept the iPod simple and it’s making them money hand over fist.

But what does the iPod have to do with cellphones? Besides that hideous ROKR thing? That’s simple, literally. By restricting the functionality of the device to the bare minimum, Apple gave consumers exactly what they wanted. While cellphone manufacturers keep throwing function after function into their phones in hopes that more people will plunk down $500 for their latest toy.

All those functions sound great, but really how many people actually use all of them? I cannot speak for everybody, but I would greatly appreciate a cellphone that simply promises:

  • Superior battery life
  • Excellent Reception
  • Easily fits in my pocket

However from all the adverts I see for cellphones; I have a feeling that is just too much to ask for. *sigh*

Heck of a surprise!

Heck of a surprise!

After work this evening, Michelle & I walked over to the grocery store to pick up a few things for dinner. On the way back to the apartment, a fire-engine went driving by. I didn’t think much of it; as we live close enough to the fire department that this is a frequent occurance. Then we walked up into the parking lot and saw two fire-engines at the far end of the lot. There were a couple of people standing around but nobody looked paniced and they didn’t have the big hoses out. So we took the groceries inside and then I walked down towards the fire-fighters to try finding out what was going on.

Apparently, it was a small oven fire caused by a piece of oven mitt (or something like that) getting caught in the oven and burning up. I’m not too clear on the details, mostly because they had an extremely noisy fan hooked up to clear whatever smoke was in the building. Overall, there was no need to be alarmed but it was something of a shock to come home to flashing lights with fire-fighters standing around the place.

Serenity

Serenity

As my long time readers might recall, I watched a show called Firefly a while back and greatly enjoyed it. This week, thanks to one of my co-workers, I had an opporunity to drive 5 & 1/2 hours to plant my butt in a packed movie theater at 10 o’clock with a broken air conditioner. That is to say, I was able to attend a special preview showing of the Firefly movie, Serenity. Though the movie hasn’t quite been completed yet; it was fanatastic!

It started off with a short speech by Joss Whedon. He basically thanks the fans for their support and asked them to continue that support by asking them to help promote the movie. Then the movie was off and running. It appears to pick up at least a couple of years after the t.v. show ended1. Not all of the crew is still flying on Serenity though most are. The Alliance is still after River and they seem more desperate than ever to get her back. Desperate to the point where they’ve sent an unamed agent after her. During this agent’s introduction, we get treated to see a holographic recording of Simon rescuing River from the facility where they were experimenting on her; as well as finding out one of the reasons the Alliance wants her back so badly.2 Overall, I thought the story worked very well for fans of Firefly but I’m not sure how well it will play with people who never watched the tv show. The movie doesn’t have any big-name actors and it hasn’t been getting much in the way of promotion from the studio. I hope it does well at the box office (mostly in hopes of the tv show being revived).

Closing thougts about the preview:3

  • The preview didn’t have much in the way of music. This really bothered some people and it is one of the things that they’re still working on.
  • There weren’t any credits; again this is something they’re working on.
  • Supposedly there were some placeholders for special effects that aren’t complete yet, but I didn’t catch them.

1 Supposedly there is a comic book coming out in July (?) that covers what happens between the show & the movie.
2 I bet you’d like it if I told you why, wouldn’t you?. Too bad, this preview-review is going to be spoiler free. :p
3 Sorry, but 11 hours of driving in 2 days plus watching the movie at 10 o’clock, staring straight up at the screen from the front row, doesn’t exactly leave me pumped up for writing an indepth review. Maybe I’ll have something more to say after the official opening on 30 Sept 2005.

Yesterday

*UGH* That was a looooooooooooong day. The night before, I’d headed to bed around 11 (slighly early for me) thinking I was bit a head of the game. Boy was that ever the wrong thing to be thinking. I layed down in bed and then tossed & turned for the next 5 hours without ever falling asleep. Finally around 4am, I got out of bed and dinked around on the computer until it was time to get ready for work.

I got to the office and after an extra strong cup of coffee1; I started hitting the program hard-core. I setup a spreadsheet to list off all the possible things I wanted to look at while testing this particular part of the program and went to town getting it setup. It was slower progress in the morning and I was still fairly out of it when my phone rang. No, no, no. You don’t understand. MY PHONE RANG!
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Japan Day 1

My study group all made it to Japan safe & sound. We did nearly lose some people along various stages of the way here, but in the end we arrived with our lives and health in tact. I don’t know these people well enough to say whether or not their sanity is in tact after the trip or if they’re always this crazy.

As this was the first time in my memory that I’ve flown; I think I should make a note of the following:

  • Flying is not as bad an experience as I had been fearing it might be.
  • Puddle-jumper planes suck for people over 5 foot 8 inches, due to low ceilings and no headroom when going down the aisle.
  • International flights are too damn long and my ears are still somewhat numb from the constant roar of the engines.
  • Turbulance sucks! Particularly when you’re watching the wing bounce.
  • Landings are not evil, but only because that means you can get off the plane soon.

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