Performancing Metrics

Friday, July 30, 2010

AT&T 3G!!!

     Just a quick one tonight, but I just wanted to let the people of Aberdeen know that AT&T 3G coverage is now available.  So all you iPhone and iPad owners out there should be rejoicing!  You now have full functionality.  And for those of you not feeling Apple love, you can still be excited if you have a 3G capable phone through AT&T.  My phone even celebrated with the display of a little 'G' over my status bars.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Trouble With iPhones

     Being someone who really does enjoy his service from AT&T, and is pleased with the functionality of his simple Sony Ericsson W518a,  I have noticed something of a saddening trend:  how many people have switched over to AT&T over iPhone envy.
     Now, if you really do like your iPhone, this article is not for you.  But for those of you that made the change in carrier just because you had to keep up with the Joneses, I would like to speak with you for just a moment.
     Why?  Why do people switch over to a new carrier just to get a phone they may or may not like?  Why do some people have to make a big deal over their purchase of something as simple as a phone (and yes, I do realize that the iphone is in no way simple, but it is still just a phone)?
     Its because we desire things that seem exclusive.  Heck, just look at Apple itself, they've made an empire out of being elusive and elite.  And people continue to eat it up.  It isn't because Mac are better, or because they're more functional, but because they are shiny.  Every thing about them is sleek and stylish, and people buy into that.
     Which brings me to the conclusion of this discussion.  Having looked at the numbers of Digital Fruit's annual cell phone survey, I've noticed a shift, slowly creeping away from the local Verizon population to other cell phone services.  The largest of which has been to AT&T.  Almost all of those new phones and plans are the iPhones people have been buying.  Can one phone really bring that many people?  It can if its shiny.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Am I the Only One?

     So, I was just reading through some blog posts, and I found one on MacDailyNews about Mary Jo Foley, a Microsoft blogger that just recently purchased an iPad.  I was shocked.  Not by the article, which was the usual, computer-politics driven garbage, all about how one system is far superior to another because we worship it (and yes, you Linux and Windows people do it too).  No, what shocked me was the comments.
     People seem so zealous over something so trivial.  The business-driven geeks of the world have striven for so long to make your operating system irrelevant, and content available on whichever system you chose, that trash-talk about how one OS outweighs another seems like sad sales pitches.
     Now if these people making comments had had valid concerns with the ease-of-use or the security and usability of Windows, I would have taken them seriously, but I found none after roughly twenty posted comments.  Not once did I see a comparison of features, or how things really are better on the other side.  This whole damn world of computer consumers seems obsessed with the religious cult of (insert Operating System Here).  Its stupid.  The people posting on Mac Daily News need to get over their buyers remorse, realize that they're computer is not a god, but a piece of machinery intended to entertain or make productive, and get over brand labeling.  So do the people on ZDnet (all of you Verizon addicts).  And the people on any of the other thousands of blogging and news sites out there who get so sure that their chosen system is the center of the computing universe.
     I can guarantee that if its a system out there, I can find a way to program in C++ on it, so in the end, they all end up the same lumps of hardware.  (Though that is another school of contention, but I won't rag on them here.)
     So, to the whole world of zealous, cultist computer users, grow up and get over yourselves.  I'm out. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Death of Another Phone

     As the trend seems to deepen, more damage seems to be happening to major cellphone companies.  With what seems to be a disbanding of Motorola, and problems with HTC, its disheartening to hear that Google has ended the Nexus One phone.
     As I read today in this blog post from ZDnet, Google is now ending the Nexus One, and the web store that goes with it.
     I'm disappointed, because this means that one more of the iPhone's competitors has gone down.  I'm not against the iPhone or anything like that, but competition is the driving force behind innovation, and if no one competes with the iPhone, more problems like those plaguing the iPhone 4 will crop up.  And that isn't something anyone but their competitors should want.

Vending Troubles

     So, today I spent some time walking around the Tacoma mall, and I marveled at just how much you can get out of vending machines these days. Its a tech geeks dream. Anything from a new PSP Go, to an iPod touch, to USB thumb drives of Star Wars and Hello Kitty. it was crazy.
     And then there was the methods of payment. Not only did most of these machines accept the usual bills and coins, but I finally saw some of those credit and debit readers that I saw so many years ago in California. Some even had interactive touch screens for selecting my choices.
     Though there was a sobering reminder that just because something is new and technologically advanced, does it mean that it will work better. When I slid my debit card to get a nice cold Coca-Cola, what I got was a charge one dollar more than what the machine had displayed for the price of the coke, and no coke. Yep, that is correct, the vending machine digitally ate my change. I was furious. I then cursed the machine to suffer in the lowest circle of Hades, and vowed to contact my bank later to block the charge.
     So, with my new-found experience with the wonders of modern technology, I'm happy to say that we have a long way to go before we get to the utopian world of trouble free shopping that always gets advertised. I think we're closer to the mad-cap mayhem that was often seen on the Jetsons, with the wonderful trappings of society constantly failing, and the same old complaints issuing from consumers lips. I'm happy because this means there is still a place for something like Digital Fruit, because problems are what we fix.
     Till next time, I'll catch you on the flip side.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ubuntu 10.4 Update

     So, now that it has been about two months, I decided it would be a good idea to revisit Ubuntu 10.4 after all the glitter and glamor have worn off, and I've really had a chance to get to know the rogue operating system.   And I still stand by my previous review.
     I'm still learning the ins and outs, but over all, my experience with Ubuntu 10.4 is solid, and I find myself actually wanting to use it over Windows and Mac.  At least casually.  Which is where I find myself in a strange predicament.  I still use Windows for my web development, and for programming, and for gaming, and for video encoding, and for... well, you get the picture.  But when I want to go and just surf the net, or check my e-mail, or update my blog, or listen to music, or do just about anything the casual computer user really does(even time-waster gaming), I find myself using Ubuntu instead.
     So, I'm not sure if I'm alone in this, but I seem to have become a closet-casual Linux user.  And I'm happy about this.
     So, along with this change, I'm now testing out software that is compatible across at least Windows and Ubuntu, with easy .exe and .deb installers that people with no background in computers can use.  I want to really explore and find out if this casual Linux use can really change the way I use computers, and, at least personally, if the penguin can win me over.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Power Outage Opportunity

     So, we had a power outage here the other day, something about a car hitting a pole, and it left me with some time to work on alternative power methods.  I've really enjoyed tinkering with the different components that I'm learning about, and that power outage was the first test.  Sadly, I was only able to work with candles, so the amount of energy I was producing was minimal, but I was able to produce 1.89V of power stably, and was using that to charge a 1.5V battery.  It was fun, but I've learned that my knowledge of power production has a long way to go before I can apply any of it to the business of Digital Fruit.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Working the Gossip Grindstone

     Well, anyone with an AT&T smart phone in Aberdeen may soon be in luck.  Trucks with equipment designed for finding the best place to set up a cellphone tower have been seen driving around Aberdeen.  There have been four seen in the last week alone.  My source has told me that they are looking to set up 3G service in Aberdeen.
     This brings a couple of benefits not necessarily obvious to everyone.  First is the ability to own and use a 3G capable iPad or iPhone, something we've been lacking in the local area.  This is good because it not only allows local people to use their iPhones with 3G, but also AT&T customers from out of the area will have it too, making their experience in Aberdeen better.  The more Aberdeen stands out as a positive place, the better things will go for Aberdeen.
     The other unseen benefit is the ability for AT&T customers, whatever their phone, can purchase and set up a plan for a microcell.  Also called femtocells, these devices extend from your usual internet service 1500ft of cellphone service for up to four different devices.  This helps to improve coverage area and stability of the network as a whole, and it makes sure that just about anyone's whole house will be guaranteed coverage.
      So, that's all I've got from the rumor mill for today, till next time.

Happy Fifth of July!

     Happy fifth of July everyone.  Seeing as I'm a family oriented man, I'm late getting to a fourth of July post because I was out watching fireworks with my wife.  So instead, you get a fifth of July posting.
     In the spirit of independence and innovation I have been slaving for days over technical manuals re-learning everything I know about web design, in an effort to build a project I hope will help Digital Fruit grow to help other businesses with their unique problems of on-location and in-store work.
     I guess, to clarify, I've been building a system where I can enter in the elements of a customers order, like their contact information and their computer type, along with other relevant information into a web form, which will be securely transmitted back to the business computer, via the web-server, and save and print itself right there at my office, ready to be filed.  I'm also going to add elements to that so receipts can be printed on-site for the customer, so myself and future techs will have less to worry about carrying around.
     I also hope that this will keep us more organized, because it will help to centralize the paper work required to run a business.  And this is how I hope to help other businesses.  With the model I'm planning to build, this application will be able to be easily modified and redeployed to a customers needs, so that it can be used in millions of different business situations, and at a much lower cost than most other commercial alternatives.
     So, I'm hoping to get this system up and running very soon and to have a prototype ready for redeployment by the end of summer, and if not then, the end of the year.  So, wish us luck, and we'll see you on the flip side.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Digital Fruit Website

     Well, I have to say I'm impressed.  After a lot of work, and some real frustration, the Digital Fruit website is coming together nicely and is starting to show some real promise.  The design and color combinations are clean and simple, and I think it is pleasing to the eye, not overly cluttered (which I was afraid of because I'm guilty of that from time-to-time).  I'm thinking that with a little more time, the application of some javascript and PHP, this site will be right up there with some of the bigger pages.
     And yes, I am indulging in a little bit of narcissism here, but its late and I've put a lot of work into this page, so I guess I feel justified.  If you'd like to see for yourself, head on over to and tell me what you think, positive or negative, I'll take it either way.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Kin Dies, Xbox Next?

     So, with the death of the Pink project, and Microsoft's new Kin mobile phone, the world seems a little less Microsoft, or at least a little less under their control.  And what with the "re-organization" of the entertainment department within Microsoft, its starting to make this blogger wonder what is really going on in the land of home entertainment from old MS.
     So, with all of this stirring and controversy, I get the feeling something is going to happen to the precious Xbox system that Microsoft has clung to for so long.  Its been reported since the first Xbox system came out that it wasn't making the company money, but it really caught on here in the states(international sales were something of a different matter).
     But I'm not sure what Microsoft is doing.  Are they pulling the plug on the Xbox project to pool their financial resources against a greater foe, say Apple or Google?  Or are they cutting the other areas in a hope to re-address the Xbox and focus on something that the public seems to want out of the entertainment department?  Either plan would seem to benefit the company, and they certainly can afford to keep at the fight with the Xbox.  I'm looking forward to seeing how this develops, either way it plays out.

Product Pick in Reverse

     It has been so long since I've done a product pick, and it will probably be a long time before I do another really good one.  Today's article is actually something of an anti-pick.  I had the opportunity today to try out Netflix's live streaming to the Wii.  Unless you are already a big fan of the Netflix system, this will not be the feature that sells you on it.
     This sad addition to the Netflix family has a simple set up; you are given categories pre-selected by Netflix, and then given a selection of movies for these categories pick by the happy people at Netflix.  That is all.  I have always been one for keeping things simple, the most user friendly and elegant systems are usually so.  But there are certain features of any system that are essential, and must be included.  The streaming to the Wii does not have these.  There is no search functions for quickly finding just the right movie for you, there is no menu system to set your preferences in movies, heck, there isn't even a decent navigation system.  I was constantly having to turn the Wii remote away from the sensor bar just to keep the pointer from interfering with the other controls.
     So, as you can guess from this very short review, I am not impressed by the Netflix streaming to Wii.  I'm not sure if I'll even try it out for the Playstation 3.  All I can say is that this whole experience has been a big disappointment.  I don't suggest using this to anyone.