Monday, September 27, 2010

Dating Advice and Engadget Geeks

Oops, accidentally posted a draft of this post, instead of just saving it. (-_-)

Leslie Sobon's (of AMD) blog post about winning the affections of a geek in five easy lessons made some noise on Engadget here recently. The whole thing is baffling to me as it was written mostly in jest, to be funny, as a piece of light reading. Why one of the Engadget writers would take such deep offense to it is confusing, and only got more so as I pondered the matter.


Engadget comes off sexist at times, particularly in a podcast I watched a month or two ago. The only one I ever watched, they made a really big deal out of having a woman from the staff, Laura June, come on stage to banter with the guys. Apparently, that was a first time thing. Near as I can tell she's an editor for Engadget now. When Engadget's head man was commenting on how none of them had formal writing training, Laura corrected him saying that she did (and she does). His response? "That's because you're a girl" or something similar.

I'd have to re-watch the whole thing again to remember exactly the conversation, but I remember it just seemed really off. If you like stereotypes, it seemed to showcase the challenges women probably face going into an industry largely dominated by guys who couldn't get a date to the junior prom. If you don't, it was still a really awkward moment on that particular podcast.

Engadget's angry rebuttal to Leslie Sobon was written by Laura June.

Leslie Sobon and Laura June couldn't be more different. Putting those two in a room paints a vivid picture in my mind. If you were to meet Leslie, I'd see her as professional, witty, and dressed in business casual. I envision Laura being totally different, showing up in a Slayer T-Shirt, probably wanting to talk about the Sims or compare xBox game libraries.

I'm not sure why Laura June spent so much time trashing what Leslie Sobon had to say, but I'd pay good money to watch the two box three rounds for charity.

Gear Fear

I really want a 27-30" Monitor that's 2560 x 1440 or larger for drawing in high resolution with Sketchbook Pro and Photoshop. Being able to have a 1920 x 1080 rendering with room for my tool bars around the sides would be wicked cool. So I did what I always do, and I went to the Apple site to see what their new monitor looks like. $999.00 seemed pretty cheap for a monitor that size and resolution, but Apple couldn't be cheaper... could they?

That just never happens.

Usually I end up settling for peripherals from some other company to save a buck. After some pretty extensive looking, I can't find a cheaper monitor than Apple's 27" Cinema Display, comparing Apples to Apples. Even Dell doesn't make a cheaper monitor, and they were the closest, at $1100. Could it be that Apple's new cinema display monitor happens to be the cheap option?

Mind boggling.

People complained about the iPad, saying that no one would pay $500+ for one. Looking at the devices to come out in the last quarter of this year, and first quarter of next, there a few that might give the iPad a run for it's money. Sort of. None of the slate devices I think have a shot, actually weigh in at a lower price. They're about the same, more, or require a data plan to work.

It used to be that if you bought Apple, you'd plan to pay more for a better piece of gear. What's going to happen to the market when buying Apple garners you the same quality with a price somewhere around what the other guys are charging? Dell, HP, and Samsung will all have a tablet device on the market soon, but are they watching Apple's other products and the price points for each?

Maclife is supposed to have the new Cinema Displays today. I can't wait to lay hands on one.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

HP Slate for Interprise? Maybe?

35 Second Boot time vs. iPad's instant on? Fail.

CTRL-ALT-DEL button? Handy for when applications crash and you need to pull up Task Manager.

You have to hit a button to summon the keyboard? Fail.

The kid keeps saying "pretty fast", but I'm not seeing the speed of this device as it compares to the iPad, a Netbook, or a certain small turtle named Hicksey.


HP Slate as demoed in the video = Captain Fail at the helm of the Failboat to Fail City.

Palm Pad Please. Now. Go-go.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Macs versus PC Phenom

I stumbled into a Mac vs. PC argument the other night, at a gathering of people, where somehow I ended up as an impromptu speaker on technology. The beginning of the evening, it was just me and another gentleman doing what we always do when we're hanging out watching out wives do important stuff, talk about tech. Then we moved to the table for dinner.

The irony I suppose is that while I was checking my email looking for something from a friend on our Windows Phone 7 project, the subject of the iPad came up. Okay, not really irony, but it sounded good in my head. People are intensely curious and strangely... a little threatened by the device. The people with netbooks felt compelled to stand in the defense of their devices, proclaiming proudly that they did not need to even consider the iPad's form factor.

I agreed with them. Mostly. In my opinion the iPad only beats a netbook in two places... boot up time, and battery life. In those regards, it only does so by a slim margin depending on how much you use your device. What was interesting to me was that the conversation even came up?

Are other users of Apple as arrogant and intolerable as people claim? Am I part of the crowd that looks down their nose at people who "still" use Windows? Probably. I hope not, because I use Windows and the Mac OS in equal parts these days. Do I have my opinion about which one is better? Yeah, I got asked that at the gathering too.

I think the easiest way to describe the difference between Macs and PCs is by explaining the process required to delete a program. Roughly... it goes like this:


1. Click the Start Menu
2. Navigate to Control Panel
3. Click Uninstall Program
4. Click the Program you want to uninstall.
5. Let Windows know if you merely want to uninstall or attempt to repair the program.
6. Let Windows know you are sure of your selection.
7. Wait for process to complete.
8. Possibly restart machine.
9. Track down any shortcuts the uninstall process might have missed.
10. Delete any directories left behind, assuming there are no registry errors.

I probably left out a step or two.


1. Open your Applications folder.
2. Drag the Application you want to delete to the Trashcan.

That being said, one of the best computers I ever owned... was a Netbook running Windows XP. If you love Windows (or tolerate it with dignity) and want something small (with a physical keyboard), get a Netbook. Go ahead. You have my permission.

Then came the talk of cost. People often compare the $500 an iPad costs to the $250ish a netbook costs. Regular folks on the street, analysts, pretty much everyone. Most people consider only the cost to them at the time they purchase it, and don't think about the cost over time. I did some quicker thinking here than I did at the gathering.

Apple iPad: $500
Netbook: $250-$375 for a decent one.

Comparing the cost of those two devices this way is pretty simple, one is more than the other.

Both have free or nearly free software available for both platforms, but what happens when you look at comparable pay-for-use software? (Some rough numbers.)

Pages for iPad: $9.99
MS Word 2010 for your Netbook: $125

1st Person Shooter Game for iPad: $4.99
1st Person Shooter Game for Netbook: $49.99

Yep, that Netbook sure is cheaper, but only if you are running Linux and go all open source... and provide your own tech support... or have a relative like me who does it grudgingly for free.

Time is money.

Most people don't take notes, and even fewer folks take them digitally. I'm one of those fewer folks. As I've said in previous posts, my iPad blinks on 50-60 times a week, saving me an hour a week I would have spent watching a netbook boot up. As I've said before, instant on, and long battery life will eventually defeat all other considerations in the market place.

Most folks are impatient, and they don't want to spend a lot of time charging a device or worrying about battery life. Netbooks are catching up, and I've seen models that have a ten hour battery life... but most are scarcely more powerful or capable than the iPad. Yeah, you can set your netbook to sit in standby when you close the lid, throw it in the bag, and off you go.

I'd only do that if you have a solid state drive. Check the price of that... then compare your netbook to the iPad... which already has a SSD.

How is that Netbook cheaper again? Not sure that it is over the long term... even if you buy a bluetooth physical keyboard and a stand/case to pair up with your iPad. That's the trap though isn't it?

The iPad is probably cheaper, if you buy only what you need to make it a functional device. I don't know too many folks who have done that. I've bought over one hundred apps, but probably only regularly use fifteen or so. I've bought two cases, two bags, and a blue tooth keyboard. Was my iPad purchase cheaper than my Windows Netbook purchase?


My own argument makes sense... until I apply it to my own situation. Oops.

Getting to the point. Netbooks, iPads, Macs, PCs, and Linux? Choose what's right for you, gets the job done, and costs you what you're willing to pay for the privilege.

Fuzzy Focus

I cleared everything from my "Things" app, and will probably do the same with my desk tomorrow. All the things piling up around me, my neglected projects, and promises broken to myself need to be pushed aside. Our lives are doomed to be complex and focusing on what is important is equal parts difficult and necessary.

For me, I just don't know what that is anymore.

Things seemed so clear a year ago, even in the haze of great personal adversity. Looking back through this blog, my own notes and the work I've done in the time following seems to have gone to waste somehow. The destination is no where near as good as the road. All roads come to an end in our very finite world.

I'm not sure where to go now, or even how to get there most of the time. My usual certitude relative to my own projects is somewhat lost. Maybe there is something larger just on the horizon, or it's time to get back to basics? Ha. So tired of thinking it's merely being patient for external forces or needing enough discipline to manage internal ones.

I want to be angry about things like I used to.

-- Sent from my Tech Envy Generator

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Strange Days

I wish I was a tech psychic sometimes.

I watch the tech world like most people watch college sports teams. I root for the underdogs, keep score, and dream about ultimate match-ups. The sports world is full of paragons of physical ability that compete with each other similar to the way the big brains in the tech world do.

Points scored, sales made... it's always about money. Big money. It's why everyone watches these things I suppose.

The landscape of the tech world is shifting more quickly than people can keep up. Even spending an hour a day reading several tech blogs, sites, and other sources of information, I'm generally overwhelmed by the speed at which things change. Everyone in the business is rushing forward to a destination no one can describe or conceive of.

Asus puts as many devices out as it can trying to drown the competition with an endless sea of products.

Apple controls their destiny with a fist so tight, they bleed on their own blueprints as they pen them.

Microsoft has gone from distribution bully to awkward underdog in the mobile market, and a little childish in the process.

Nokia has the hardware to play in the big mobile market, but that's all they have.

The list is long. What is clear, none of them... including Apple, were ready for 2010. I'm excited for 2011. I feel like I'm sitting on top of the world, and a thousand tech companies are in a championship for my consumer dollars like never before.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I approached a little more than a dozen people to pre-read the first draft of my Dreams & Echoes book. Roughly an equal number of men and women were approached, and I did so by various means and mediums.

Of the women I approached:

100% were willing to read it.
100% actually read it, barring unforeseen life situations.
100% provided some measure of feedback.

All the women but one read from a physical, printed out copy. This was often the desired medium to read the book.

Of the men I approached:

Half were willing to read it.
Half of those actually read it.
One provided me with written feedback.

The guys who read it, did so from a digital copy displayed on a small portable device. This was often the desired medium to read the book.

Interesting, especially when I look at my own bookshelf and digital media library.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I've been hurrying through the process. It took longer than I expected to get some of my edit copies back on my first book, and I was slightly miffed at the time. Now I'm supremely grateful for having been made to wait. Editing an 80,000 word book isn't a two month process... it's a six month process in which every sentence and word is analyzed. To the people who pre-read my book who felt hurried along by me, I apologize. '

You folks probably saved me a ton of regret with your pound of prudence.

All things considered, I'm excited to write a real second draft of the book. I think it deserves to have every word revisited, and every moment in the story scrutinized. It's obvious I missed a lot of opportunities and wrote over some things that should be transparent. Numenarch lost many chances to be warm, Hinth many opportunities to be cold and Grubbs a few moments of glory because I was vain enough to think I could skip the obvious process behind writing a great book.

Regardless, I am very blessed.

Monday, September 6, 2010


Couldn't sleep last night. I don't know how people who travel do it. I don't have to spend another night in this hotel room if I don't want to, but I'd have to drive home in the dark to avoid that situation. My thoughts drift to every man and woman sleeping in a desert somewhere right now hundreds of miles away from their families.

Somehow my situation doesn't seem as bad, but I am even more sleepless as a consequence.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010


It had always been my intent to blog as I walked down the strange road I'm currently traversing. A charming diversion it has been. These days I spend about 4-5 hours a day writing, roughly the same working on design for Windows Phone 7 apps, and the rest reading or studying.

It has made me question the self publishing road somewhat. Publishing that way takes a great deal of time and travel. Lots of self promotion, tweeting, and reaching across digital spaces. It requires time. I've given about five minutes thought to the idea of getting an agent and trying to publish traditionally. Miles away from making a decision by any standard, and I don't know enough to probably make a good choice either way.

I believe that much of my life is guided by an unseen, largely benevolent force. Usually I have a good feeling about my direction, but lately I feel somewhat lost. I have only a few passions but to be successful at any of them, I have to choose one and chase it harder than the others. Where would we be in this life without dreams and goals?

I hope that some time out of town will give me a moments clarity to sort things out.

-- Sent from my Tech Envy Generator