Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"Murdered-Out." Engadget Podcast 131

Engadget podcast numero 131 was a pretty light-hearted affair.  paul miller was out sick; in his stead, chris ziegler provided some cell phone insight.  also in this episode, sweet sweet vindication for josh and nilay.

first of all, I'm going to get a whole bunch of blackberry stuff off my chest. I know that cell phone reviews are in no way created for me, so it doesn't really matter, but I still want to say that I have a hard time paying attention to bberry reviews. I had two of them, and no matter how easy they may have made it for me to get work done, I didn't develop loving relationships with either one. my hatred of their browsers made it nearly impossible for me to like either of them, and the fact that they failed so badly at browsing is what makes it so hard for me to take any review seriously. furthermore, a lot of what nilay and josh say about the similarity of specs between models and the mind-boggling proliferation of bberry form factors hit home with me.

josh loves this photo. normal day at chris ziegler's house (self-described cat-lady of cell phones).
courtesy of engadget.com

when I entered the ranks of management in my previous corpworld, I was given a bberry. as I anxiously awaited its arrival, I went online to see if I could figure out which one I would end up receiving. I wanted one with a camera and a decent browser. I thought that guessing which model I'd be assigned would be as simple as estimating how up-to-date my IT department might be, but that optimistic idea evaporated with my first search. I was shocked to see how many versions there were. there was no way for me to figure out which one I'd be getting, so I closed my desk-top browser and patiently waited for the box to come to my cube.  imagine my sadness at how crappy the curve's browser was (I had the one pictured right underneath the 8900 in the photo, above). at the time, my personal phone was a little nokia brick, and while I loved it, I sort of envied my husband his iphone. I figured that this work bberry would fulfill my smart phone lust. how wrong I was. I'm pretty sure that my curve's browser was just as bad as the one on my nokia. actually, I ended up loathing my bberry to such a degree that when I moved into my current role (different corpworld), I asked that I not be issued a bberry at all. my curve ended up representing the shackles of my job, and nothing more than that. I was resentful of it, even when it wasn't mysteriously crapping out on me (take the battery out and put it back in, power back on). the tactic of not carrying a bberry at my new job worked for a while, and then I was told I was receiving one. sigh. this time, I didn't even look around at coworkers to see which one I'd end up with. I just didn't care.

photo grabbed from tinh te review, posted to youtube.

I ended up with the bold on the left, in the photo, above. a friend received that one on the right from the same company on the same day. I don't know if her supervisor cheaped out on her, or if I just drew the newer straw, but despite having the latest bold, I still didn't care all that much. the first thing I did was to check the browser and it still sucked. what? why? how???? if I was in the stock market and had rim shares, I'd drop them as soon as I heard the CEO state that "buggy cell phone launches are the norm." how disgustingly apathetic. am I being too harsh?

but the pleather back? I liked it!  my curve had a plastic back, so the upgrade to pleather was great. denim? really? nilay, I am so right there with you when you asked, "denim? like stonewashed?" I shudder to think of all those who may have been walking around in denim shirts, denim jeans, and denim bberries. now I am being too harsh.

I know the iphone isn't perfect, but once my current company went the way of apple, and I was able to replace my bberry with the iphone 4, I cancelled my personal cell phone contract and stopped thinking about blackberries at all (that is, until I began this blog project). yes, at&t's network sucks and sometimes I wait in vain for my phone to sync or receive emails, but you know what? I can always get where I want to with my browser, and for me, that's what matters when it comes to my cell phone device of choice. yes, perhaps I am a sad, little, limited person, but there you have it. that's my bias. like paul, I prefer a digital keyboard, and no bumper. for the record, I've been keeping auto-correct on, just to try it out, since everyone besides me swears by it. I still find it frustrating, but now also I find it fascinatingly awesome by equal measures. and I keep thinking of things I wonder if suri could do for me, but I don't have ai technology...

first gen kindle, image via widipedia

I can't help but wonder if this is the kindle that josh is trying to buy as this pod is casting.  I was picturing the second gen version in my head, but that's because I had no idea that the first gen even existed. it's way cooler than the second release, and I can see why josh might become totally enamored after getting over his initial aversion. 

chinese crested (dog) via rate my k-9.com

a long time ago, I thought that I only liked big dogs. which is really kind of funny, since I never even had a dog in my home. like josh and the kindle, once I let go of my disgust, I found that I really wanted a little dog. various breeds come and go from my short list, but the chinese crested always rates in the top five wants. what I'm saying is that the first amazon kindle is ugly in the way that certain breeds of dog are ugly. they're so ugly that they're completely charismatic and ultimately, super cute. chris ziegler "flipped" two kindles on ebay, for which josh calls him a jerk. it's ok, josh apologizes for that.

in the beginning of the episode, nilay talks about why it's unlikely that apple will sue palm over the technology used for the pre's touch capabilities. josh just wants to be reassured that nothing will hold up the pre's release (nor the watchman's). nilay is happy that he has the opportunity to talk patents with his best friend and to set the record straight both on air, and in (digital) print. josh uses this passage to segue into the sectera edge / blackberry confusion issue. he crows over the fact that obama is shown with a blackberry in a photograph. not that he cares. no. but just in case I didn't make it clear in my last entry, the blackberry whatever and sectera edge are two, separate entities.

oh and last but not least, "murdered out." I don't know how to properly commiserate over how sad I feel about myself that I'm picking up "cool" slang terminology from a geek podcast that's over two years old. sigh. have I ever mentioned that I used to live in manhattan and hang with the cool kids (for example, I used to regularly see acts like borbetomagus and the boredoms at the cooler, & etc.)? now I'm in a suburb of a lesser city and so uncool that almost every day I don't care that I don't live in manhattan, or in one of its hip boroughs. anyway, "murdered out" is an awesome phrase and I am so happy that I learned it. thank you, engadget podcast (now vergecast).

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

"Mrs. Peacock with the Lead Pipe in the Ballroom" Engadget Podcast 130

so many things in this podcast. nilay spent his weekend evaluating set-top devices that stream netflix. I kept wondering what the big deal is with set top boxes, and why people can't just be satisfied hooking up their laptops to their tvs. can't that work for everyone? I stopped wondering this on thursday morning, when I worked from home and decided to watch the last half of the last season of weeds, as I did some editing.

andy botwin is awesome. just sayin'.

we have a projector rather than a tv, so maybe that complicates things? I'm not sure, but I had to call my husband to ask him to explain the set-up. In order to view the computer screen on my wall, I didn't just need to know which setting to use on the remote. I had to know where to position two separate switches (I didn't bother to ask what they were doing). due to my lemon of an hp, I also had to fiddle with the screen settings until the sound came through our speakers. yes, I wrote that correctly - screen settings to adjust speaker output - that sums up the character of my crappy hp pavilion. so I get it, viewing online content on one's television should be as simple as popping a dvd into the computer. we do have a blu ray that streams from netflix, hulu+, and a few other sites, but even now, in 2011, the interfaces are not great. hulu+ didn't even work, so we ended up canceling the subscription that we purchased just for the sake of our new set top box. in 2009, josh predicts that content will be the make or break aspect that determines netflix's success.  it's 2011...I'm pretty sure the streaming content is still fairly dismal when it comes to movies. best part of the netflix segment? nilay reveals the fact that he uses top gun and jurassic park as sound benchmarks for judging audio delivery. he catches some heat, but not nearly enough. even still, transformers?

this podcast is dubbed the "angry rant" edition. I like a good angry rant as much as the next guy (especially when it's not directed at me), but what I find interesting about this episode are the absences of certain rants. it's like interesting negative space. for example, listen to paul's rant over the frame channel concept. sorry to those readers who encountered a broken audio file. I've fixed it! click to hear about 30seconds of paul miller ranting.

it's a gentle rage. also absent is the rant that should accompany the recounting of the frame channel rep that used paul's personal account information to contact him to suggest a meeting in his home town. talk about disgusting. josh used the phrase, "creep salad." that was funny.  paul and josh are both angry about best buy's selling practices, but paul lets josh rant for him. I'm guessing because he knows that josh does a much better rant. needless to say, paul needs to work on his rant skills.

josh does a pretty good job getting lathered up over the issue of obama's blackberry, the sectera edge.

sectera edge security description. via pcworld.

just kidding! of course, a blackberry and a sectera edge are two, separate products. how many times can josh use the word, conflate, in one verbal paragraph? the best part was when he said that cspan or cnn or some journalistic entity "conflated the blackberry out of the picture." he corrected himself immediately, but really, it was a cute ranty sentence. very heat of the moment.

tim cook goes on about how apple will go after anyone who rips off their intellectual property. it's like a rant-threat.

Monday, November 14, 2011

technology and me

I don't want to give you the wrong impression. I do love gadgets and technology. I really do. but I'm into them at a consumer level. I'm not one of those people who genuinely believe that they're better off knowing nothing about tech, but I'm also not spending much mental effort figuring out which chipset is running my show. 

anyways, I'm explaining this about myself because I don't want to give the wrong impression when I write things like, "the only interesting thing about ces." I'm not really completely uninterested in the show - I'm sure it's totally awesome, and I would jump at the chance to go - I'm just being a little bit disingenuous for the sake of drama.

and while I'm sharing, I may as well tell you that, as a child, I loved watching The Flintstones. my favorite part was during the closing sequence where a waitress delivers a giant rack of dino ribs to the Flintsones' car and it flips over after she places it on the driver-side food tray. something about the way the waitress staggers out to the car cracked me up every time.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

one more thing about ces 2009

I think that it was mentioned that lenovo had a working crab restaurant as their booth at the show?  what????  ok, that's the coolest thing I heard about ces. scratch the international gateway.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"Steve Jobs...Is Dead." Engadget Podcast 129

oh, was that in poor taste? or did it just seem like the facts? back in 2009, it was an interruption comment made by paul miller that seemed to make nilay and josh pretty uncomfortable. paul blurted it out, deep voiced and dead pan. I imagined that after he said it, he was freaking out, making silent crazy faces, waving his hands around, being like, "what did I just say???" this is what I picture in my mind because the comment is so out of character (at least paul miller podcast character) that it reminds me of the time I dramatically mocked my third-grade teacher (who happened to be a nun) in front of her and everyone. I played her like she was a crazy, finger-shaking, bent-over old crone. for the first two and a half years of my attendance at that school, I didn't say very much, and then blam, I was lining up for a spanking (not really, but I did get sent to Sister Mary Margaret for some very stern words).

podcast 129 is nearly one-half steve jobs, and what his resignation might mean to apple and to the industry. the second half is about windows 7. there's a smidgen of CES 2009.

is this a man who has fanboys? I don't know, but he looks pretty cool to me. image via businessinsider.com

I like to read as much as the next guy, but biographies of the recently deceased don't usually make my list. I do, however, plan to read the jobs biography soon (why doesn't my public library own a digital copy of this book? seems like the ultimate oversight to me. I would like to meet the digital contents librarian to discuss improvements to the current purchasing scheme). I'm no apple fanboy, but the fact that one ceo/man can inspire so much hubbub/fanaticism/conspiracy theories/etc. is fascinating. that he reputedly generates a "reality distortion field" is also interesting. I can't believe I haven't seen pirates of silicon valley yet.

image via imdb.com

I just dug out my macbook pro purchase receipt to find its date of purchase. it turns out that I bought this laptop on November 10, 2010, which means that I must have purchased my dud of an hp pavilion sometime in the early part of 2009. after hearing this podcast, I am sad that I didn't know there was a beta version of windows 7 available. I never bonded with vista, I hated the pavilion, I was upset over the purchase decision I'd made, and I would have jumped on the chance to see if windows 7 could have improved my user experience. my hp isn't just slow, it's disobedient, and it suffers from short-term memory loss. every time the machine regains consciousness after being asleep or shut down, it "forgets" that we have a wireless signal and audio capabilities. therefore, every time we use it, we literally have to restart it once, if not twice. why? we haven't been able to figure that out. we thought that maybe it had something to do with the gazillion windows and hp updates the operating system was receiving, but after restoring to previous versions, barring automatic updates, and reading forums online, we still haven't been able to figure out what the problem is. it also has a really interesting, "I'm going to wake up with my fan on at 6am if I've been asleep, but still open" function. I'm willing to accept user error as the reason for my woes, but user error didn't cause the battery to die an early death. the computer only works if it's plugged in. am I ranting? YES I am! sorry. this is all to say that listening to the enthusiasm of the 129 podcast crowd makes me sort of nostalgic for the days when I was a pc. I use a pc for work, and I work a lot, but my work machine is still running xp (and a massive host of other outdated products - I can easily write another rant about this, but I'll refrain), so I don't get to play with any cool, new features.

that's me, speaking out of my cube. technically, I'm still a pc at work, but that doesn't really count.

nilay found and purchased the #1 crap gadget of the 2009 CES show (found in the depths of the international gateway, which is also the first part of CES that sounded totally awesome to me. I would love to work for a gadget blog once a year, just to cover the international gateway) from a chinese lady who harassed him in her native tongue, then yelled, "one dollar" a few times.

it glows! for all you fantasy fanboys out there. image via endgadget.com

he almost didn't buy the dragon controller, but then regained sanity and forked over the bill. josh called him a cheap jerk (really) for not buying a controller for everyone. paul loved it so much that nilay gave it to him. paul renamed it awesome gadget, which is what you need to use as the search term, if you're going to look it up on the engadget site. josh waxed about his favorite crap gadget from 2008, the miniphone, "it's just like a regular phone, except that it's a little bit smaller."

josh's mini-phone photo. image via endgadget.com

it occurred to me, while nilay was talking about his experience of being yelled at in chinese by some lady, that she may not have been yelling at him at all. some chinese people seem to be all lathered up and potentially bomb-like as they spit tiny foam flecks at you and hold forth at an insane volume, when from their point of view, they're making normal everyday, lovely conversation. my parents had one male friend who would actually make me wince when he was just saying nice things to me. we also had to wipe down our telephone mouthpiece anytime we allowed him to use our telephone.

bsod = black screen of death, and I was very proud of myself for knowing that. paul was deemed unfit for gauging the performance of his vista machine, since he "doesn't push it very hard," (his words) and only "uses it for zune and rhapsody," (nilay's words). he has played counterstrike on it once, however, as well as civilization IV. why does every male I know seem to have been devoted to that game at some point in their lives?

josh almost talked about the palm pre, but then decided to save it for next week. he did, however, mention that it uses the same battery as the centro. very interesting, right?

Monday, October 31, 2011

the verge

it's nearly time to go to see the new site. this is my next says november 1. that's almost now.