Category Archives: digital pity

To USB or Not To USB

The Escapist: Microsoft’s addition of USB drive support to the Xbox 360 is evidently another way for the giant to make a couple more bucks.

Will someone tell these people that Microsoft isn’t making the USB drive that people are complaining about here? SanDisk is making it. And while you’re at it, can you tell the people in the comments, that are overreacting to pricing, that SanDisk also makes an “SD Card for the Wii,” which is also inflated in price? That there’s no grand 360 conspiracy here?

My guess is that SanDisk will take the time to brand, configure, and test their products with the consoles they are selling them for. Last I looked, Major Nelson said you can plug in “a USB stick up to 16GB” – meaning one branded or not – the same way you have the option of using SD with the Wii. Of course, as with all things storage – be it USB, SDD, or HDD – there’s always quirks with these devices that could involve quality, speed or even reported size… the branded products should take away any of doubt that you are getting what you paid for.

I would say the same is true of PS3 and USB sticks, but I haven’t had a reason to use removable storage from mine – still looking for a game that forces me to pop out the Blu-ray disc that’s in it.

What’s the Buzz?

I’ll admit it: I don’t have a Gmail account. Sure – I have a Hotmail account, but that’s because I didn’t know I could use my own email account when I needed a Passport Windows Live ID. Since then, I’ve fixed that, and migrated all of my Windows Live (and Xbox LIVE) services to a different mail account. I’ve also got a Yahoo! Mail account, but that’s because when I had DSL in Connecticut, SNET SBC AT&T required one. Same thing with Comcast. These are accounts I don’t use so they don’t exist to me.

Now that I think about it, I likely do have a Gmail account, but it’s like the Hotmail/Yahoo! thing: I wanted access to a Google service at some point and they gave me a mailbox for free… the only time that I’d want a Gmail account is when I’d want some anonymity and even then, I’d question Gmail as a viable choice: it’s a well documented “feature” that they scan your email for “targeted marketing reasons”. I know people will tell me “They say they can be a business without being evil!” but call me careful… I’d rather not take the chance if I really wanted to re-invent my digital self.

Then Google Buzz hits. I thought “what the hell happened to Wave anyway?” and took a look. Oi… another social network to join? Not interested. Then the fallout started from people that “signed up” for it. Google opted-in everyone that has Gmail – and touted look at our numbers Facebook and Twitter! – and then went on to set the default privacy settings to be “show the world everything.” Sounds harmless? It’s not. It’s caused some people a number of issues. Serious “real life” issues and all of it without their concent. When people are hit by viruses or phishing, I look at the user and say “You dumb ass! You downloaded what and thought it was OK? Get your porn on a DVD from now on!” because that required their active clicking… Buzz issues/problems? Were totally pushed to users in the dark. Totally silent.

This release plan was either completely stupid or completely diabolical, depending on how evil you think Google can be and today I’m very, very thankful I don’t use Gmail.

Welcome Back To The Future

Gizmodo: The Google Phone could be a ploy to upset the wireless industry, or it could be an expensive niche device. Either way, it’d be a bid to take Android back from the companies that seem hell-bent on destroying it. Android’s most serious problem right now is fragmentation: with each new phone, it seems, comes a different version of the OS. In theory, these differences are superficial, and come down to handset manufacturers’ and carriers’ custom interfaces, which sit atop a mostly unchanged Android core. In practice, it’s much worse.

Welcome to the troubling world of Windows Mobile.
Continue reading Welcome Back To The Future

Uhhh. Really?

Engadget has a blurb about ChromeOS.

It’s too soon to make any major comments about it, until more information comes down the pike, but one thing that I jumped right off the page was “connect to the web every day and make sure you have all the current updates.” So, like, after years of hearing “Windows has too many updates!” when they only get propped once a week (or even once a month) Google is actually propping up daily updates as a feature? Wow… additionally, how comfortable are people with having an Open Source OS?

One thing that I’m really hoping changes is the screenshot of the UI: full window tabs for a UX? How OS/2 Warp can you get? Oh, wait, Warp supported multiple windows too… Honestly, I thought they had killed off MDI 15 years ago when true multitasking was possible.

Maybe the hotness is being saved for future reviews – if not, I’m pretty disappointed.

Are People In Hell Sipping Iced Cold Kool-Aid?

WSJ: In recent years, I, like many other reviewers, have argued that Apple’s Mac OS X operating system is much better than Windows. That’s no longer true. I still give the Mac OS a slight edge because it has a much easier and cheaper upgrade path; more built-in software programs; and far less vulnerability to viruses and other malicious software, which are overwhelmingly built to run on Windows.

While on one hand, I bristle at giving OSX an “edge” for these reasons. Just because Snow Leopard shipped at $29, if you add up the MSRP of 10.1 to 10.6 and compare it to the XP-Vista-7 upgrade path, Windows is cheaper… Apple has been gouging wallets for OSX dot upgrades for years, but no one ever calls them on it. As for more built-in software, does Walt not know about the EU and South Korea? While Apple never gets sued for their included software (Safari, iTunes, iChat, QuickTime, Mail, etc.) Microsoft does – ask the foreign governments why there’s less built in software included because it is their idea.

But on the other hand, for Walt to break out the first part of the comment… job well done, Seven.

(and the title is just about Hell freezing over rather than anything else)

iPod Touch But No See?

Engadget: Steve Jobs says iPod touch didn’t get a camera because “it’s a great game machine”

Uh… so it’s a great game machine… OK, fine – the guy had a liver transplant recently so he might have missed meetings, but I’ll give him that: the iPhone and iPod touch have some fun casual games. But so does the Nintendo DSi. As well as the Xbox 360. And just for completeness, the PS3 and Wii… all four of which have cameras.

Sorry – I have no rational explanation for leaving a camera out of the iPod touch when you’ve taken the time to re-tool the iPod nano to add a camera.

Uhhh…

SeattlePI: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has granted Microsoft’s motion to stay an injunction that would prohibit the software giant from selling Word. Microsoft filed the motion Aug. 18 while preparing to appeal a Texas judge’s ruling that the company willfully infringed a patent held by a small Canadian firm on a method for processing custom XML.

Uhhh… did someone forget to tell the patent office that all XML is custom by definition? I’ve had to educate many an executive as XML ascended to “buzzword of the year” in the early 2000’s… they would hear “oh, it’s XML, so it’s the same as [this other XML thing]” and I would have to explain the fundamentals of XML (and why it’s not a one size fits all thing.)

XML has three basic rules: 1) all data is tagged with < and > based tags. 2) all tags must be closed. 3) all tags are case sensitive. That’s it. That’s XML in a nutshell. Everything else about XML documents is defined by schemas that can be used to do anything. Consider two XML documents. One describes a boarding pass receipt; the other is an entry from a library catalog. What do they have in common? The three rules – everything else is custom to data that is being described.

I can’t believe this case is getting traction in any way, shape, or form.

Google Chrome OS

BBC: “Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS,” the firm said in its official blog. The operating system, which will run on an open source licence, was a “natural extension” of its Chrome browser, the firm said.

Uh, if the whole OS is focused on a web browser, isn’t this in violation of all of the EU mandates to Microsoft with Windows? What about the users requiring a choice? of browsers?

If they don’t required a Google Chrome N or Google Chrome E version for the EU, I’m going to go out of my fucking mind.

MapQuest …For The iPhone?

MapQuest: MapQuest 4 Mobile is the next evolution of maps & directions on the iPhone

Wow. Here’s a situation… someone took the time to make a map application for a platform that ships with a default map application. People are saying this gives competition to the built in provider… that having choices makes for competition… even if there is a default set of bits already there. On top of that, someone else reported that there were more people on OS X using Firefox than there was Safari, adding more evidence to the theory…

Hmmm…

Someone should alert the EU about this.

OH HAI! ROYALTEEZ PLZ?

Microsoft.com: Bing – Microsoft today introduced Bing, a new search experience and consumer brand, outlining a new approach to helping customers use search to make better decisions. This “Decision Engine” approach focuses initially on four key user tasks and related areas: making a purchase, planning a trip, researching a health condition or finding a local business.

Seeing as this was named after my rabbit, I’m expecting a royalty check at any moment.

Oof.

MSNBC.com: The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which has chronicled the news of the city since logs slid down its steep streets to the harbor and miners caroused in its bars before heading north to Alaska’s gold fields, will print its final edition Tuesday.

Hearst Corp., which owns the 146-year-old P-I, said Monday that it failed to find a buyer for the newspaper, which it put up for a 60-day sale in January after years of losing money. Now the P-I will shift entirely to the Web.

“Tonight will be the final run, so let’s do it right,” publisher Roger Oglesby told the newsroom.

In a word, be it printed or blt’d: wow.

Hearst’s decision to abandon the print product in favor of an Internet-only version is the first for a large American newspaper

…but it won’t be the last, I’m sure.

What’s More Insulting For Valentine’s Day: Chocolate or a Wii Fit?

This weekend I wandered into Circuit City and said “Whoa, they got the Wii Fit in stock!” For “social games” – i.e. Rock Band, Guitar Hero, Wii Fit – the liquidators are only offering 20% off, but in all honest, that’s far better than nothing and it’s even enough to cover WA extortion sales tax… and it’s not even that I wanted it, otherwise it would be moot because it would have been an insta-purchase.

The problem was that Jolene wanted one. Or at least to try one out and see what it was like… having been to yoga classes before, she was skeptical that a) you need a video game console to learn yoga and b) that the board did anything. Frankly, I’ve agreed with her 100% on this because I’ve yet to see one at the ProClub. And as a gamer, I still see the Wii as a whole as being a) a gimmick and b) a limited console with two titles: Wii Sport and Wii Fit. And I say that as a Wii owner.

The tricky part for me is how do you give someone a Wii Fit for Valentine’s Day without implying anything about her physical appearance.

Yes, I bought it. Yes, there will be a follow up in five days.

Assuming I don’t bollocks the whole thing up, that is…