Things that annoy me about the iPhone, and I don’t even have one yet…

  1. The iPhone now has voice control (or my 3GS will).  Cool.  It doesn’t work with Bluetooth.  Fail.  Every Bluetooth headset (including my sexy Jawbone Prime) I have supports a command that tells the phone “Hey, the guy wearing me wants to voice dial.”  How in the world could Apple have missed that part?
  2. No To Do app/Task List.  This is FRIGGIN INSANE.  Especially since they HAVE A DESKTOP APP THAT DOES THIS (Mail.app).  I can buy “Things”.  It’s a staff favorite on the App Store and supposedly the best task manager out here for the iPhone.  It’s $10.  I just bought a $300 phone and I need to spend another $10 to get it to do something my Centro and Treo 650 both did?  Oh, and if I want the matching Things desktop app it’s like another large chunk of change.  And it won’t push sync with the cloud.  Eat me, bitches.
  3. No IMAP-based push email.  I could  do MobileMe – but MobileMe isn’t smart.  If MobileMe was smart it’d be like Blackberry works (I think) so that it could go out, log in to your mail account, get the emails and then push them to you.  I don’t want to move all my mail to @me.com.  I like hypergeek.net.  And I doubt the email client will be as pure Awesome as Chatter.
  4. I can’t change the sound for my text messages?  I have 6 stock sounds to chose from and that’s it?  Srsly?  Like many folks who work in Operations I use my phone as a pager.  Apple has made the iPhone ill suited for this.
  5. Apple are clearly a bunch of control-freak Nazis that like to shit on their developers.

Items 1-4 are ALL things that I can do on my Centro.  Other things that my Centro can do that the iPhone can’t (yet): Turn by turn directions (Mapopolis still works on my Centro with my bluetooth GPS), Talk to the file system, use flash cards….

Now I suppose you ask: Hey John, if you feel that way why are you getting the iPhone?  It’s sexy – it really is.  The App Store is pure geek porn.  And while I have hope for the Pre it’s just not there yet.  It’s time to upgrade and right now I’m picking the iPhone.

But I’m also waiting for the “Google Ion” to show up on the develop connection – if I can get an unlocked Ion for $400 from Google I will rock that like a hurricane.  

iPhone: Ordered (and still shat upon by AT&T)

I ordered an iPhone 3GS (no space, I keep it old skool) on Monday.  I’m excited – every time I play with one I want one badly.  Real bad.  Scary bad.  So I’m getting one.  Yay me.

However, what pisses me off is that you can’t cancel the order with AT&T. And they’re sold out.  But the frigging Apple Store has them RIGHT NOW.  I could have one already.  If I went and got one then guess what – I’d have to pay a 10% restocking fee. 

Thank you, AT&T.  I don’t even have my iPhone yet and you’re already pissing me off.

Star Wars – it doesn’t have to suck.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

OK, watch this:

Yeah, so it is a game trailer.  A game I have no intention of playing – PC MMORPGs don’t work for me.  And the game will look nothing like that.

But that’s not the point.  The point is – isn’t that AWESOME?  And wouldn’t you LOVE to watch that movie?  George Lucas made a point in stating that the Star Wars universe is VERY old.  The Sith have risen and fallen a few times in it’s history.  And it’s oddly stagnant – in games like Knights of the Old Republic (by the guys who made this trailer) things look pretty similar to the universe we know, just sightly off.

If the success of the latest Trek movie has shown us anything it’s that regardless of how stale and weak a franchise has become as long as you give us a great story and a great movie we’ll welcome it with open arms.  I think that’s even *more* true for Star Wars than for any other SciFi franchise.  I didn’t camp out for Star Trek.  I did camp out for Star Wars.

George Lucas wrote and directed Star Wars.  He tried but really couldn’t repeat that success.  The best movie of all 6 is the one where he just provided the story.  And I know it’s his baby and all, but in the right hands I really think he could give us a Star Wars that’s slight different, but perhaps even more awesome than anything we’ve see yet.  This universe he created has so much awesome in it – if he’d just let it out to play.  

So many games, so little time…

Modern Warfare 2 Logo

So E3 2009 is upon us and I’ve watched the press shows.  It didn’t really change my mind about anything – it just made me more excited.  Here’s my “list” – games that I consider “Must Haves”.  If it’s multiplatform and I haven’t noted a platform it means that I haven’t made up my mind yet.  I was sure, for example, that AC2 would be a 360 title for me but then Sony mixed it all up.  And these are just games coming out in in the near term – there are some 2010 titles, like Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, that I will be getting but are just too far out to list now.

Anyway, here’s the list in the order they will hit my pocketbook and free time:

  • Halo 3: ODST (September 22, 2009)
  • Bioshock 2 (November 3 2009, 360)
  • Assassin’s Creed 2 (November 17, 2009 – PS3, because of what’s next…)
  • Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines (November 2009 – PSP – and it interacts with AC2 on the PS3…)
  • Modern Warfare 2 (November 10, 2009 360)
  • Mass Effect 2 (“Early 2010”)
  • MAG (“Q4, 2009”)
  • God of War III (“March, 2010”)

Nothing here should surprise anyone who knows me.  A lot of shooters in there – I like shooters.  On the other hand there are couple of things on there that I’m surprised about.  I didn’t expect to be as interested in ODST as I am.  It seems pretty cool, though, *and* it comes with Halo 3 Multiplayer with all the Map Packs so far – and I haven’t bought those.  So it makes it a bit of a better deal for me.  (Kinda like the Fallout 3 GOTY pack gives you $110 worth of gaming for $59.  Bastards.)
 
However, that’s a lot of games.  More than $420 worth (insert weed joke here) between now and Q1 2010.  How much will I spend on any other hobby?  No where near as much.  What I’ll probably do is “prioritize”.  Modern Warfare 2 can’t wait, and I need to play the PSP Assassin’s Creed game before I can start in on the PS3 version.  So I’ll put Bioshock 2 and AC 2 on the Christmas List.  It helps out the parents to be able to go to the Gamestop next to the grocery store and get me presents. 🙂 

Oh, and that was just the “must have” list.  Other games I have my eye on:

  • Infamous (already out, I know)
  • Prototype (June 9, 2009 – maybe a birthday gift?)
  • Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack In Time (“Q4 2009”)
  • SOCOM: U.S. Navy Seals Fireteam Bravo 3 (“Q4 2009”)

Another thing of note – Sony is making it way too easy to buy stuff for my original old school PSP.  I think that (and I could be totally wrong) one will be able to buy *any* PSP game that comes out new on the Playstation Store and download it.  With an 8GB card in there that could hold 6 games at once.  I need to go buy that 8GB card, though – I bought FF7 tonight and sure enough I didn’t have enough space.  It may also get me to look at a PSP Go.  More evil…

SF Muni can blow me.

Come June 12th I will have been at Metaweb for 3 years.  All that time I’ve commuted via Public Transit.  Go ahead and tell me I’m not green because I don’t own a Prius – I take public transit EVERY DAY to get to work.

My boss has asked me to be in around 10, which is fine, but it means I can’t park at Caltrain.  (I could go earlier or later and park at the station, which would certainly make life easier.)  So my commute consists of going to VTA Light Rail, which I take 2 stops (I wait 5 minutes for a 4 minute train ride), then I get on Caltrain, then I take a bus.  My commute, usually, takes over 90 minutes in each direction.  It takes 3 different transit agencies.  My green commitment is not to be questioned.

However, my commute often shows just how completely fucked up public transit is in this country.  None of the three agencies involved ever talk to each other and try to co-ordinate things to make life easy for people.  Of course not – that wouldn’t make any sense. 

When I started at Metaweb there were 2 lines I would take from work to get from the office to Caltrain in the afternoon – the 10 and the 15.  They both stopped at the same stop.  The 15 ran twice as often as the 10.  Getting a bus to Caltrain was not a problem.  These days it’s not quite the same and its going to get worse.

First they cut the 15 completely when they brought up some new trains.  They really want us to take the train.  The problem with taking the train is that it’s a 3 block walk (takes me about 15 minutes, since I’m slow) and then it’s a 15 minute or longer train ride.  To do the same thing the bus does in 5 minutes (if no traffic).  And the bus stop is about half a block away. 

Now, due to the budget mess, they’re going to cut the 10 in half.  As it stands right now the 10 is always standing room only.  And often I have been left standing at the bus stop because the bus was too crowded to get on.  Now they’re going to cut the number of runs that bus makes in half?  Really?  So now the bus will always be completely full and never even stop at my stop.  That’s a win.

If I push it, I can probably get a handicapped placard out of my doctor.  This would be win.  I could then drive up to the city and park for free on the street.  Driving, if I don’t have to pay for parking, costs about the same as the train and takes a lot less time.  Gives me more freedom.  Oh, and I would be putting more traffic on SF’s streets, adding smog and carbon, and not giving the city any money.  All this because Muni is too stupid to get their shit together.  Between what they’re doing and what Caltrain is doing (cutting service, killing weekends completely) I think we’ll see a complete death of public transit in the Bay Area.  Yay green!  

The Long Way Home

So this weekend I went to visit some friends in the North Bay.  It was the first time I had driven the R32 in a few weeks (since the Jetta has been fixed it’s back as the daily driver) and as I was crossing the Golden Gate Bridge I was thinking that maybe I should try taking a different way home.  So I ended up doing this:


View Larger Map

It was a VERY fun drive.  While I’ve spent plenty of time playing in the Santa Cruz Mountains I had somehow never really taken Hwy 1 all the way down past Half Moon Bay and I really enjoyed it.  There are some cool little towns in there like Montara that I had never been through.  Places like that are high on the list of places I would want to go shopping for a house if I ever won the lotto.  Also, since that stretch of road will be going away I want to drive it a few times before it does.  (Somehow a dark ugly tunnel won’t be the same.  Especially when tanker trucks explode in it.)

Taking this little detour helped to remind me why I like Northern California so much and the central coast especially.  There’s something about the coastline here that is just different and it just strikes me as being amazingly beautiful.  And right around here is where you get the blending of the central coast vegetation combined with a bit of the redwoods that you see farther north.  Of course, since this wasn’t planned, I lacked a camera.

The only real flaw in my plan was that I was coming back a bit later than I had hoped.  I underestimated the time it would take.  So by the time I got to Page Mill Road…it was dark.  And I had forgotten just how technical that chunk of road is.  Doing it in the dark did make me a bit nervous, but there are a couple of turnouts where you can see a very nice chunk of Silicon Valley.  Usually when I’ve done Page Mill in the past I’ve noticed that while the view is nice but the haze gets in the way.  At night, however, it was all twinkly lights and pretty pretty. 

Stuck on the train during the week it can be pretty easy to forget how beautiful things are around here.  There are worse places to live.

Movie review: The Day the Earth…sucked.



day_the_earth_stood_still_ver4

Originally uploaded by Cine Fanatico


I know I haven’t said anything about movies I’ve watched recently but…wow. This was really bad.

First off, I hated the kid. I was kinda hoping Bill/Neo/Klaatu would just off him. I hope that’s not like he is in real life or the Fresh Prince needs to start laying down the law. The thought of this kid and Jackie Chan in a Karate Kid remake is just repulsive.

Of course Jennifer Connelly’s character was at fault – the first time the kid got fresh she should have put the smack down. I think parents should be allowed to taser their children. Yeah yeah, she’s just a stepmom and dad’s dead….don’t care. The upside of his head – let me show it to you.

Secondly, the special effects were just meh. The nano cloud of death was ok, but a lot of the compositing was off. On Blu-Ray at least, at 1080p, you could see how out of place the helicopters looked. I just was never impressed. If the goal was to be a special effects masterpiece…it wasn’t. Weta has done better.

Thirdly there was Keanu. Ah, Keanu. What can one say? You should have stopped with Johnny Utah. Srsly.

Finally there was the “green” message. The aliens are here to kill us because we’re harming the earth. They, of course, had their own crisis and developed nanotech. They want to knock us back to the stone age. Hey, guys – I’d think a species that valued life would care about sapient beings and not want to wipe out six billion of them.

Oh well, movies like this are why I have Netflix. I will happily put this one back in the envelope and send it back from whence it came.

Don’t laugh, it’s paid for



IMG_1876.JPG, originally uploaded by Meatwad650.


I got my tax refund yesterday. Today I paid off my car. It may not be stimulating to the economy, but it’s stimulating to me. 4.5 years and one tree later she’s all mine. There are only about 43,000 miles on the clock and with my old car back running it should stay low for a while. I hope to keep this car for several more years.

So Say We All



Battlestar_Over_Africa, originally uploaded by purplebeard59.


Yes, it’s a cheezy post title. Ask me if I care. Oh wait, I can’t hear you.

I waited a week to watch the BSG finale.  The idea being that since my best friend was coming down for the start of the F1 season we could watch it together.  Last weekend was kinda bad – I feel like I missed out a little on a chance to watch it with all the fans at once.  And as hard as I tried I did get spoiled a little – I knew that Lampkin was going to be President and I knew that Laura died in a Raptor flying over some planet.  That, uh, left a lot of stuff in between.

All in all I liked it.  No, it didn’t wrap everything up in a nice neat bow. Some fans aren’t happy if there isn’t a lot of pseudoscience in their science fiction.  Calling them “angels” and the particular force behind the scenes “God” (although supposedly “he doesn’t like that name”) may seem a cop out to some – but they don’t get that it was never about what exactly Kara was.  Or who/what “Chip Six” was.  It was about these people and their journey. It’s like the folks who read David Webber over Lois McMaster Bujold. 
Bujold has 4 Best Novel Hugos, Webber has none.  Why is that?  It’s about the characters, stupid.

And I don’t understand what the folks are upset about?  You had a full hour+ of awesome military sci-fi.  Epic battle.  Guns.  Robots.  I mean what the hell did you people want?  I suppose they may have wanted more of a “Ship of Lights” thing – you know, you can’t actually have beings who have evolved into Gods but don’t need a magic spaceship…

The coda (in Vancouver/NYC), though – that part I didn’t really need.  It was cute, I suppose, but I could have done without it.    Then again, it’s not my show.  One thing, though – I wonder if the Star Trek franchise is kicking themselves right now?  They had this amazing storyteller working for them.  Just think what they could have had if they had let him off the leash?  Oh, that’s right – they could have had perhaps the finest SF TV show EVER.

One thing I gotta say is that I found was this thread on the official SciFi forums where Ron Moore (the creator/showrunner of BSG) answers fan’s questions through the intermediary of his wife.  It would seem his wife has been engaging fans during the seasons – the woman must be a saint.  Talking to SciFi types?  On the intartubez?  She’s crazy.  Clearly she needs to be informed of the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory.  After the emotional rollercoaster of seeing such an amazing show end the last thing either of them need is to be doing is trying to talk to annoyed fanboys.

It’s like Watership Down meets MGS4…

Chris showed me the manga before, but I wasn’t in to it.  It was released in the US as Apocalypse Meow, but the Japanese title was Cat Shit One.  The original manga is set in Vietnam.  This is, obviously, Gulf War – although I’ve seen rumors that it is also Iran Hostage Crisis.  (But that wouldn’t make sense with the 1991 time frame.)  I just keep expecting Solid Snake to wander in.   I think it looks very good, and would be fun.  They’ve gone for a very realistic look and it’s just awesome to see some hardcore tactical action offset by…bunnies.

Update: A friend said “whoever came up with that must hate furries”.  I hadn’t even thought of that.  And I wish he hadn’t.  It’s…disturbing.

Update 2: Chris says that there is a rumor that our heroes are part of a PMC.  He then asked, “Does that make this Blackwatership Down?”  When he gets here on Friday I think he’s earned a slap.