July 31, 2008

Math teacher arrested while boarding airplane

This was sent to me today and I had a good laugh...

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TEACHER ARRESTED. - A public school teacher was arrested today at John F. Kennedy International Airport as he attempted to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a set square, a slide rule, and a calculator.

At a morning press conference, the Attorney General said he believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-gebra movement. He did not identify the man, who has been charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction.

"Al-gebra is a problem for us," the Attorney General said. "They desire solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in a search of absolute value. They use secret code names like 'x' and 'y' and refer to themselves as 'unknowns,' but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country.

As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, 'There are 3 sides to every triangle.'

When asked to comment on the arrest, Senator Ted Kennedy said, "If God had wanted us to have better Weapons of Math Instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes."

White House aides told reporters they could not recall a more intelligent or profound statement by the Senator.

Posted by SilverStr at 03:29 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 29, 2008

The "Mojave Experiment": It's about friggin time!

For many years now I have been a fan of Vista. I have been using it since the early betas way before the public saw it, and I have seen the goods, the bads, and the uglies as it progressed to commercial release. I find I am much more productive than I ever was on XP, and appreciate that for the first time, I can actually run as a standard user in a Windows operating system without serious hacks to get it to work.

Vista has one failing above all else that has hurt it over the last few years though. And that is poor release delays and missed expectations from Microsoft, along with loud mouth anti-vista commercials, comments and posts from people who REALLY have no idea what they are talking about. Is Vista perfect? No. But its nowhere near as bad as people want you to believe. Apple did a great job to muddy the airwaves with their antivista ads... so much so many of us in the MVP community were fuming. Almost borderline slanderous in some of its mis-information, the ads did an amazing job to make people rethink upgrading.

All the while Microsoft stayed quiet. Personally, it drove me batty. Why would they sit there and take such punishment? Excluding the name calling the industry was enjoying, they were punching 'em in the nards (so to speak). Again and again. Constantly. And Microsoft wouldn't fight back.

Well, Microsoft struck back recently. Nothing flashy. Nothing sleezy. They held an experiment. They disguised Windows Vista as codename "Mojave", the next "Microsoft OS", and had regular people who have never tried Vista give it a shot... all the while secretly filming them.

A candid camera coup!!!

And it worked. Here are some interesting stats from the Mojave Experiment:

  • 89% of the users expressed satisfaction with Mojave
  • 83% will recommend Mojave to friends and family
  • 94% rated Mojave higher than they initially rated Vista before seeing it in action. None rated it lower.
  • Of the 140 people polled, on a scale of 1:10 where 10 was the highest rating, the average pre-rating for Vista was 4.4. After seeing the demo, they rated Mojave with 8.5. Many said they would have rated it higher, but they wanted a chance to play with it more first.

So imagine the surprise when the users found out it was actually Vista that they were using! I love it. Check out some of the videos to see the user comments, in their own words, and determine for yourself if Vista is as bad as you have heard.

So go check out The "Mojave Experiment" already!

Posted by SilverStr at 01:35 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 13, 2008

iPhone 3G obsoletes my Windows Mobile smartphone

I have been a BIG fan of smartphones. For a few years now it has been so nice to have it sync with our Exchange server on our SBS box, and give me the flexibility to do the kind work I do on a day to day basis. People have tried to convert me to Blackberry. No thanks. Just doesn't work the way I like it. And I have no interest in a BES server. And it adds no EXTRA value to make me want to change devices. Until this weekend, I didn't think anything would dethrone my smartphone.

iPhone changed that thinking for me. A LOT. I don't think I can express how much, other than the fact my smartphone is in a drawer, and I doubt I will ever turn it on again. I have the first white 16GB iPhone 3G in my area, and I won't be giving this thing up any time soon.

Apple did it right. They made a phone FUN, yet business capable. They licensed ActiveSync from Microsoft, so it synced with our Exchange server right out of the box. Yet it is still an eligent device. It is sexy. And it is USABLE.

My wife could never get the hang of my Windows smartphone to do simple things like search contacts, make three way calls or add items to my calendar. She did all three on the iPhone this weekend, WITHOUT me having to say anything. That says a lot to me. She was VERY comfortable with the device, which is great to see.

There were a LOT of interesting experiences this weekend that just proved to me that I made a great decision on waiting in line and buying this thing:

  • Location awareness that makes sense. The built in GPS has already been used three times this weekend as we drove and walked around Vancouver. We got lost when we missed a turn to Granville Island, and we plotted a course correction in no time thanks to the device. One cavet.... Google maps is great... but it does have flaws. It missed some one-way roads in downtown Vancouver, giving us WRONG turn-by-turn directions.
  • SEARCHABLE location awareness. It was hot today. We were thirsty and wanted a Blended Iced Black Tea. We typed "Starbucks", and it found the closest one for us, and plotted directions for us. That was sweet!
  • I was considering buying a case for my iPhone. I typed "Apple Store", and it showed me a few different stores that dealt with Apple stuff (and a few that didn't) around me. I clicked on the pin on the map nearest me, and it pulled up the contact details. One touch later, and I was calling them to find out they had no stock. Very streamlined.
  • AppStore rocks. If you ask me, Windows Mobile may have more applications, but nowhere NEAR as elegant a delivery system for 3rd party applications. The information (including reviews and screenshots) makes it easy to find apps I need on the phone, and provides a simple way to purchase, download and configure. And unlike Windows mobile, iPhone includes a software update service so I can have the latest versions of the applications as they come available.
  • On top of a great 3rd party application deployment framework, the apps themselves are pretty good. My favorite would have to be the Facebook app. Using the built in camera and the location awareness feature, I was taking pictures as I walked around Vancouver, which immediately were geo-tagged and uploaded to my Facebook account. I did NOTHING.... the phone did all the work. That is what these damn devices are SUPPOSED to do.
  • Neat hidden feature.... press Home Button + Sleep button together. Screen will flash white. And you have a FULL screenshot of the iPhone screen in your Photos archive.
  • Free Wifi at Rogers / Fido hotspots. I usually spend $30 - $40 a month on Wifi, especially at Starbucks. It's all included in my data plan now. I am actually SAVING money each month now on my cell data plan. I WAS paying $60 for 25MB of data. Now I pay $30 for 6GB. Way to go Rogers!

I could go on and on... but you can see I am quite happy with this thing. I do see SOME things I think could be improved:

  • No cut-and-paste between apps. This is a glaringly missing feature. It would be nice to be able to copy a URL from Safari and paste it in my Exchange mail. Or copy something in Facebook and paste it in the Notes app.
  • Camera + mic = Video. Apple could have had a great win here. Why the hell do I need to carry around a Flip Video Ultra, when my iPhone could do it? Cuz they missed the boat on this. *sigh*
  • I know its new, so I am playing quite a bit with the device... but it looks like I can expect to charge this thing every day. It seems to use a lot of juice with the stuff I was doing. I think that its the GPS that's so hungry for power.
  • No visual cue that you have upcoming events/meetings on the home screen from the calendar. Nice feature on my smartphone I don't seem to have on my iPhone.
  • There doesn't seem to be a way to change the icon when adding web page shortcuts to the home screen.
  • Watching YouTube over 3G isn't perfect. Sound is perfect... but the picture is "block pixelated". Works fine over Wifi. Not really a PROBLEM, just something to consider.

In 2 days, I have so far used 37.9 MB of data, which includes downloading a handful of apps and uploading a handful of photos. Seems the 6GB limit Rogers gave us will be more than enough. Interestingly enough, I found out that the AT&T "umlimited" plan in the US only includes 5GB. So we get MORE service in Canada than in the US. So easy to criticize Rogers for poor data plans; for me... I am SAVING money moving to the iPhone from my smartphone.

I'm in love with this thing. Apple did it right. Microsoft could learn from them.... cuz their smartphones are WAY behind Apple in the usability front. Just like their personal music players. I think Apple is going to own a good portion of the business AND consumer cell market in the coming 12 to 24 months. And that says alot for a single device.

5 out of 5 stars.

Posted by SilverStr at 01:08 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack