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Archive for April, 2011

The Galaxy S II

April 28, 2011 1 comment

Engadget has a review of the new Android phone by Samsung on their site. It sounds pretty great, and if I could be assured that the Galaxy S II doesn’t randomly shut down in the mornings like the Galaxy S I does — which is goddamn annoying — I’d be over it like crap on a toilet.

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My review of trying to turn the PlayBook on.

April 27, 2011 Leave a comment

So yesterday, having literally nothing else to do, I decided to check out RIM’s PlayBook. So I went to Futureshop to see if they had one out on display. They did. Actually, they had two, but despite the efforts of me and one honest-to-god software engineer, the device couldn’t be made to turn on. It was plugged into a power strip, which was turned on. Hitting the play/pause and volume buttons had no effect. Hitting the power button — when we were finally able to hit the power button — had no effect other than to make it go from completely off to off with a red status light. Hitting it again made it go to a blinking orange light. Hitting it again made it go to the red light. Hitting it again made it go to a blinking green light that was promising, but which ultimately did nothing at all.

Friends, let me tell you about the goddamn power button. Others have complained, I know, but their vitriol is nothing to mine. This power button, on the top of the device, is presumably made tiny and difficult to hit so that braindead enterprise users who haven’t yet had their third coffee of the day don’t hit it and start screaming “Wha happened?” again and again while spraying their Starbucks at nearby — and more intelligent — passers-by. The problem is that the button is, because of this goddamn design decision, nearly impossible to press.

It’s half the width of a pencil eraser, and COMPLETELY flush with the device. The PlayBook should come with a crapdamn pin just so you can turn it on and off. It’s ridiculous. Sure, nobody will accidentally turn the device off, but considering it’s apparently the only way to activate or deactivate the stupid screen, the reason no one will ever turn it off is because nobody will ever be able to get the thing turned ON. They’ll get tired and discouraged, and buy a tablet that’s actually designed to be used.

So the first PlayBook — which is, what, two days old? — simply wouldn’t turn on, with no visible indicator that it was even trying. That’s the impression of a solid piece of work, there, RIM. Way to go.

The second PlayBook had a screen that was active, but the Kobo app that was running, was — and I don’t use this term lightly — apparently having some sort of epileptic fit: the book reader software was constantly jiggling up and down as if some over-caffeinated brat-tard was trying to masturbate it, BUT NOBODY WAS TOUCHING THE SCREEN. And we couldn’t get it to exit the app. We had to restart the PlayBook, which took two attempts, involved a fair amount of scotch and swearing — POWER BUTTTOOOOOOONNN — and several minutes of waiting. Inexplicably, as this happened, some poor, masochistic bastard actually bought one of the 32GB models.

I’m assuming he hated himself, and wanted to make his death as slow and painful as possible.

Mission accomplished.

Finally the device came back up. The screen was nice, even though at this point anything smaller than the iPad seems, well, overly goddamn small. I like the idea of 7″ — IF ONLY — but now I’m used to the magically sized iPad.

So the PlayBook was on. The browser was fine, Youtube looked nice, and the videos played well, even though the tastes of whoever was foolhardy enough to try it before us was  terrible. I mean, seriously, soccer videos, you bastard?

Unlike the iPad, the bezel on the PlayBook is smart, which is to say that you swipe your fingers from the bezel to the screen in different ways, and it’ll do things like return to home, pull down the settings pane, and switch between tasks. In theory this is really a great idea, and if you know what you’re doing — I do, because I’m the Goddamn Walt Mosspuppet, shut up! — it’s a nice bit of functionality. But if you don’t know that’s a feature, if you’re just some Joe Schmuck a-hole who came into Futureshop to buy that season of Arrested Development that’s on clearance — like it should be, the stupid piece of crap — and you wander into the tablet aisle because gee, golly, look at them compuuuuters, you don’t know about the smart bezel, and you probably don’t know what the goddamn word bezel means, anyway. So you pick up the PlayBook, and, assuming you’re actually able to turn the screen on and don’t, I don’t know, give up to go home and cornhole a gopher, if you’re in an app, you’d have absolutely no idea how to get out of it. The device would seem crapping broken, and you’d walk over to the iPad, which has a glorious home button that always takes you back to the right place.

I realize this isn’t so much a review of the PlayBook as a whole as it is a review of the experience of trying to use the PlayBook, but considering how goddamn difficult it was to actually use it in any capacity, it seemed worth mentioning.

I’ll close with this final thought: whoever designed the PlayBook’s power button, and whoever let it get through QA without tossing acid in the designer’s face or on his scrotum, should both be forced to listen to Robert Scoble explain the totality of his knowledge about technology. It will only take three minutes, and it will be completely wrong, but I can’t think of anything more painful. Aside from trying to power on the PlayBook.

Shut up.

Netflix is now bigger than Comcast

April 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Sweet Merciful Crapcakes, Netflix is making some serious money.

Categories: Idiots Tags: ,

I think Comcast executives ride to work in the short bus.

April 19, 2011 Leave a comment
Categories: Idiots Tags: , ,

iOS apps are coming to OS X, not the Apple TV.

April 14, 2011 1 comment

There’s a lot of hubub today about a reference to “ix.Mac.MarketingName” appearing as a list of supported devices for some iOS apps, which you can see here:

The question everyone is asking is whether there’s some brand new class of iOS coming down the pipe, or if it’s a reference to the Apple TV, which runs iOS, finally getting an app store.

The answer to both of these questions is no.

What’s really happening is this: iOS apps are coming to OS X.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Walt, you’re goddamn insane!” That may be partly true — I’m certainly hitting the sauce — but I’m sane about this. Check it:

Apple recently put Xcode onto the Mac App Store, presumably so more and more people who aren’t developers can play with the tools, decide they want to build apps for the platform, and then pay Apple money. What’s in Xcode? The iOS simulator. They’ve already built it and taken the first steps to put it in everyone’s hands. It’s a logical goddamn step to take to supe up the simulator so that you can download apps to it. Also, Amazon just put up a way to test Android apps on their website, using their massive cloud computing system. I don’t suppose Apple, who already knows how to build the simulator because it built the simulator, could possibly want to let people test out their apps, either online or on your desktop, even if you’re on a PC. No, that’s crazy, right? That’s batshit insane! Why, they’d need a massive new data centre to power that! Could you even imagine the —

Oh, wait.

If you’re on the Mac, you’ll get to download and play games to your Mac. If you’re on a PC, you’ll get to test-drive apps in your browser, and then get the burning goddamn desire to buy a Mac. Pretty genius, right?

Let’s ignore the PC aspect of things for a moment, and focus on the mac: you’re talking about the lack of a touchscreen on Mac OS X, right? One: Most apps work perfectly fine in the simulator with just mouse control. Typing works better. And what if Apple decided that the next iMac has a touch screen and, say, a tilting screen to compensate for the whole “arm fatigue” thing Steve talked about when supposedly dismissing rumours of a touch-screen Mac? Exactly.

Also, this fits in with Apple’s continuing plans to make as much money as a money-grubbing God and to make the desktop OS the same as the mobile OS. Note to pundits: this crap is going to happen. Stop fighting me on it. When Apple announced the App Store features of Lion, and the general “appification” of the OS, who was right? This guy. That’s right. While all you goddamn asshole pundits went around the next day saying “oh, yeah, of course Apple is going in this direction, it’s been obvious the whole time,” the day after you said “Apple would never do this,” I’m actually the guy who’s been calling it.

And I’m calling this.

Apple is bringing iOS apps to Mac OS. In 10.8, the only way to get apps onto your mac will be through the Mac App Store, or the iTunes App Store. It’s coming.

Shut up.

Categories: Apple Tags: , , ,

Holy Crap, Final Cut Pro X Looks Nice.

April 13, 2011 Leave a comment
Categories: Uncategorized

A Knee-jerk response to Showyou.

April 13, 2011 2 comments

So I just loaded the new iOS app Showyou on my iPad. It’s basically Flipboard for video, in that it combs your facebook and twitter feeds for video links, then shows them to you in a single spot.

Anyway, Showyou. It’s nice enough, and it does what it says it does. It’s got two viewing modes: a grid-view, and a list view that for some reason only showed me two videos that Liz Gannes shared somewhere. I’m honestly not making either of those things up.

While the grid, with its differently-sized screenshots of the video, looks nice enough, it scrolls both vertically AND horizontally, such that you kind of just slide around aimlessly looking at videos. And when you scroll, it takes a second to update, and you get the checkerboard. Now, I may be an old man who’s currently drunk — that’s more than a little likely — but this is confusing. Scrolling around I have no idea if I’ve seen all there is to offer. Where the crap am I in this goddamn grid? I have no idea. Constraining the scrolling to a single axis would make it pretty and stop it from being confusing.

Regarding the list view, I’m assuming that’s supposed to be the less-fun-but-more-usable viewing mode, but honestly, it showed me links to two videos shared by Liz Gannes, and while I tried to scroll past, it wouldn’t show me anything more.

TechCrunch wrote about Showyou, and Scoble made the first comment, chastising Aaarrrrrington et al for not giving it more ink, or recognizing it’s “one of the most important new iPad apps.” Really, Scoble? One of the most important apps? Because it lets you look at links people are already sharing with you? What makes this important? Ever the self-promoter, Scoble links to his own blog, so that TechCrunch readers can see the proper technique for a blowjob — if your knees aren’t bleeding, you’re doing it wrong — where he goes on and on about the importance of AirPlay. Is AirPlay a big deal? No, not yet, because you need to have an Apple TV to get the full living-room experience, and most people don’t even know the thing exists. But he personally likes it, so he thinks it’ll be a huge success. Judging by many of his past comments, he actually thinks that his liking a thing will make it a huge success.

Scoble, you arrogant twat, most people aren’t like you. They don’t have twenty-seven boxes connected to their TV. They don’t want that. They’re still trying to get used to the goddamn magical intensity of the iPad that they’ve owned for a year. And since AirPlay isn’t yet open, it’s not going anywhere. If TVs themselves supported it, sure, but that system failed when it was called DLNA, and despite your incomprehensible assertion that it failed was because the iPad didn’t exist and didn’t support it, it failed because in general, not enough things had it, so you couldn’t reliably use the fucking thing, and so no user would get into the habit of using it, if they ever had the right combination of gear to use it in the first place.

I don’t know why I’m getting upset at Scoble. It’s not like he’s even remotely credible when it comes to technology: after all, this is the guy who, in his conversation about why AirPlay is so fantastic and will totally catch on, said:

RSS was NOT open, by the way. It was largely controlled first by Netscape and later by Dave Winer. It was a standard that was made popular by Dave Winer and his company UserLand. It became a defacto standard because everyone started using it. The same way people are already starting to adopt AirPlay (thanks Rob Mitchell for the Lifehacker links that demonstrate such).

Then added:

RSS is a de-facto standard that any developer can use. That doesn’t mean it’s open. Dave Winer controls it.

Of course, father of RSS Dave Winer stepped in and defended his honor, saying:

Scoble, RSS was and is completely open. Someone creates everything. Please.

Scoble did not respond to this.

Seriously, getting upset at his portrayal of technology is like criticizing the specifics of your infant child’s plans for a rocketship to Mars: Scoble thinks that a freely published spec for a text file isn’t open, and that Dave Winer is sitting in some goddamn castle somewhere, rubbing his fingers together cackling over all the control he has over it. And thinks that a proprietary piece of tech made by Apple is somehow more open an accessible than a free and clear spec for text files.

I could write down all of Scoble’s technical expertise on a single sheet of paper, then be able to use the entire paper to write something worthwhile, because it would still be blank.

Shut up.