Tag Archive: iPhone


Oh How the Techno-Righteous Have Fallen


Son of....I cant watch the announcement I have Artic Lemming!!!

I started off my life as a techie nerd in Apple products working in PageMaker (yeah I was in the Year Book club, you wanna go?), HyperCard programming, Photoshop and Mark of Unicorn/Performer software.  This was partly because Mac was the leading platform in the recording industry and partly because of their monopoly in the education sector. I barely knew my way around a PC when I got to college in 1996. That was the last time I touched a Mac except to play the dinosaur game on my moms when I was stuck there for the holidays.

I came of age in my career as a Microsoft DBA and Database Developer which transitioned into a C# .Net development position (Microsofts Object Oriented Programming language) and while I dabbled in JAVA, I am and have always been a Microsoftie. Not by choice but merely by circumstance really. Its always been my contention that a Tool-is-a-Tool and if a tool is using a tool then of course it will suck. Yes, when benchmarking Oracle RDBMS against Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle processes more transactions or has better throughput.  Then again these tests are done with millions of transactions per second. Off hand I can think of 2 companies in the world this kind of data processing is relevent to (I would relate this to the Worlds Strongest Man competition, how many times does someone walk up to one of those guys and say “Hey can you pull this tracker trailer to the next block for me? Thanks buddy”).  In short, the technology is only as good as the user. And yes, Internet Explorer is more prone to virus attacks than Apples Safari, but then what decent virus coder is going to target 3.5% of the market.  Microsoft has also been slandered for the secrecy of their code with Open Source supporters saying they stole UNIX code. For years Ive heard the self righteous drone on and on about the evils of Microsoft but this year the playing field is being leveled. Evil is afoot at your local ISP. We are finally seeing that all major technology companies are code-hoarding, ego-maniacal, money whores trying the honey pot approach of “free” licences while others use divide and conquer and still some just go for the Jonestown Massacre approach.

 

Oralce

Sun Microsystems was recently purchased by Oracle.  This is no surprise as Sun was struggling financially and Oracle has aligned their platform with JAVA for years. Prior to this though, Sun declared JAVA Open Source. Of coarse, if you are a commercial company that wants to utilize the code you have to pay licensing fee, which in turn means you dont have to share your code modifications with anyone, thus creating an alternate JAVA universe where only the über rich corporations are allowed to venture and consequently, mature. So what does this tell us about our white hat Open Source friends?  Much like 1919 Chicago White Socks, JAVAs open source has a price to make it magically turn into a proprietary platform.

Google

Google has had a great year in taking over the Evil Empire, starting off with Androids “Open Source” framework which, according to Oracle, infringes on their copyright and patent by using JAVA apps in its framework and Google hasnt paid the toll (see above). Oracle is looking to recoup what they amount to “lost revenue” but what I think should be more accurately characterized as a forced loss of market share for Googles mobile aspirations.  Its hard to decide who is being more evil here.  In 2007, prior to the release of Android, Google formed the Open Handset Alliance, which seemed really kumbya-ish then, with people talking about how Google was creating a mobile platform that would enable us all to have free mobile service.  Yes and immediately following that we would all go out for ice cream and talk about our feelings.  Now, with the lawsuit looming, this seems like a shrewd way to defend themselves in court.  Its much more difficult to prove Google violated copyright and patent laws when T-Mobile, Sprint, Nextel, Vodafone, HTC, LG, Motorola, Samsung AND Google all developed the platform. By the time the court system figures this one out we’ll all be using nano computers running on corn syrup.

Not to let the skeptics sit and wonder who is more evil, Google has tried to solidify their place with their about face on Net Neutrality. Personally, I think the concept alone is delusional. You want to take the largest commercial market place in the world and try to get fiercely competitive companies to agree not too compete?  The Cincinnati Shuffle Google played on the FCC and the industry is one for the play books. “Yes we are all about internet access for all parties regardless of size, oooh one second Ive got a call I have to take……Yeah, Verizon, ok cool, we will wire that over to your account in the morning.”  Personally I have nothing against the move.  I think it was inevitable that this would happen, Google just preempted everyone else.  Now every content provider is scrambling to make a similar deal with any wireless provider that will talk to them.  The real depressing part is the previously incorrigible, if not technologically stifling wireless providers now have more power and money than ever before. Forget about choosing which provider has the latest and greatest phone you want.  You now have to decide which one will deliver ICanHasCheezBurger pics the fastest.

Apple

Now my favorite to slander. Its not so much the company that bothers me, its the users. Always talking about how superior it is, no virus, so easy to use, never crashes, they dont control the platform like Microsoft and on and on like its some wonderkin. This year Apple steps out from behind the curtain.

While nothing is new in this revelation, as its been a fact since the first iPhone in 2007, Flash is not supported on any of the Apple touch screen products (iPad, iTouch and iPhone).  Recently Steve Jobs sited (amoung other reasons) that it was nothing personal, its just they feel Flash was developed for the mouse and keyboard world which will be obsolete with the next generation handheld products and Apple didnt want to dilute their brand.  Oh right, you mean like developing a YouTube app to watch 15 second grainy videos of a 4 year old kicking his dad in the balls? Yeah, cause that really showcases the next generation of handheld gadgets.  There had been much speculation in 2007 and 2008 that Apple would buy Adobe. Perhaps its just conspiracy theory on my part, but I cant help but wonder if a deal was in the works and fell through, creating animosity for Jobs, who has a reputation for a short temper in business dealings. Either way, Apple is showing the same attributes of control and diseminate that has been attributed souly to Micrsoft over the past 2 decades.

The super secret announcements Apple makes on a quarterly basis are very reminiscent of a Jonestown cult type leadership.  Yesterdays event being limited to Apple OS running Safari is so brazenly egotistical and all just to announce a revamped iTouch and another version of a previously failed product? It seems that technology companies excluding users that dont strictly conform to their corporate policies and roadmap is now the norm instead of the exception.   

Regardless of your alliances, I am reveling in the fact that the market it so muddled with companies that cant decide whether to champion the purity of an open market place or get a leg up, that we cant even tell friends from foe. Maybe its time to go back to the wilderness and send each other smoke signals.  At least there is no debate about platform and methodology,  light a fire and get a blanket. Whats the battery life on that you think?

Advertisements

Consitution, Resolve and KL Envy


View from the room

 

Lida and I made another visa run this last weekend. This time we made sure everything was in order and went to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was a bit of a sad trip for me, as it will likely be the last “points” trip I take as Im down to about one or two nights in my Starwood account. It reminded me that at the end of the year I will effectively lose all my pride ellite status with United (1K Member), Starwood (Platinum), Hilton (Diamond) and Hertz (Presidents Club). Hertz already down graded me from Presidents Club status to the bourgeoisie 5-Star Club. Come on Hertz, dont hide behind your seemingly salutatory ranks, we all know that 5-Star Club really means, “Thanks for your money but you have to walk an extra 20 yards to get your car and sorry we were only able to upgrade you to an American luxury model, all the Mercedes, Audis and Infinities are rented out”. It was a great final trip though. 

Coincidentally the price of tea in China is directly related to the price of tea in KL

 

We stayed at the Westin Kuala Kumpur and got the obligatory room upgrade to the Executive Level with a perfect view of the Petronas Towers. Of course the kleptomania came pouring out, as it does with any girl that stays at a hotel (Rachael, you still have my coffee cup?). Every morning before leaving, the bathroom would look like a department store post-apocalypse with empty bath room amenities packaging littering the sink and floor, the complimentary water bottles all missing (“gee my backpack seems heavy today”) and a couple pair of slippers stuffed in my suitcase. At one point I think she asked “Can we take the cloths hangers?”. On the way down to the lobby one day I had to physically restrain Lida as the house-keeping lady went by with her cart. 

The first night we found out that KLs night scene is quite a bit more formal. No shorts, no flip-flops and no t-shirts. Of course The Dude here has nothing but, so we werent able to get into Qba, the hotel Cuban bar. We walked down the street until we came upon some kind of Middle East/Indian restaurant/bar. When we walked in there was a dance floor with about 6 Asian or Middle Eastern women dressed in formal Indian dresses taking turns dancing, by themselves, to extremely loud Indian music. Sitting around the dance floor was about 10-20, mostly Indian but looked like some Arabs as well, guys drooling and giving the girls money. So from what I gathered it was pretty much a PG strip club for conservative Easterners. Anyway, it was fun. There was actually a live band playing for a while. 

Chinise Clan Temple

 

The first day was spent in and around Chinatown and Masjid India. Chinatown is basically created for the western tourist and an outlet for all the worthless crap they make in China and cant sell to anyone else. Its an open air market with vendors selling knock off brands of everything imaginable and mostly for extortionary prices all with the intent to make you bargain. Every country and city Ive been to has this and they always claim that haggling is the accepted practice but Ive never seen it as openly accepted as KL. In Morocco it was almost a hostile practice, both Lida and I felt physically threatened at one point or another. Understanding that my resolve would lose me quite a bit of money, I let Lida do the bargaining and it was fun to watch. On average she could get them down 50% of their “final price” and she never wavered from her price no matter how much the vendor begged and pleaded. At the point in which I would have given in she refused to even budge 1 Rinngit (about $.33 USD). In the end most of the stuff we got was crap and Lidas bargaining skills got us everything at fair market value but the money spent was more about the experience than anything. 

Momma and baby just tryin' ta get a nut.

 

On the way back to the hotel that night we got a very nice Hindi cab driver named Samy. Lida, perhaps still high on her victories at Chinatown, talked him into taking us to a couple of spots just outside KL the next day for 200 Rinngit ($66 USD). The one nice thing about KL is the affluence of English speakers. While I blame only myself for the difficulty in communicating in and around Jakarta, its nice that so many people speak English there. They also seem to be, for the most part, very nice people. 

Bhagwan Vino in front of Murugan

 

In the morning we went to Batu Caves. Its a Hindi shrine built into the side of a large rock formation. You climb up 270 steps and into the cave and of course the best part is the monkeys that eagerly await the attention and food from the tourists. I think they were more of the attraction than the temple and shrine. We got there pretty early and beat the tourist buses that were arriving as we left. 

After that we went to Kuching Rainforest Waterfalls. There are about 8 separate levels of varying degree waterfalls. Really there are 5 actual waterfalls, the first is separated from the rest and the first 3 of the main section are fairly heavily populated as they have large pools at their base for swimming. We skipped those and climbed to the last level which was a beautiful isolated waterfall. Not large in flow but perfect to lounge on the rocks with a slight mist and just relax. It got a little awkward when 3 locals came up to take pictures of Lida in her bikini. At first she was ok but after 10 min it was just too obnoxious and she repelled them with her trademark stare. 

We got some great pics on the waterproof but I cant find the cable

 

That night we did some proper shopping. Again I sacrificed my basic morals and betrayed my constitution in buying a plan tshirt with a v-neck. Lida said I looked good, I thought I looked like “a gay”. We also went to an electronics mall and one aspect of this made me reevaluate my decision to live and work in Jakarta. KL has WiMAX

They serve Hefeweizen in the rainforest?! At the Rainforest Sports Bar they do.

 

Interlude: 

If you dont know what WiMAX is, dont worry, its been fairly low key in the states despite being production ready for nearly 10 years. My theory is that all the mobile operators and hardware vendors are still trying to eek out as much profit on their 802.11 (WiFi), 2G and 3G mobile systems and have made an industry pact to delay the release of consumer level technology for WiMAX as long as possible. I know this sounds like some alumnum-foil-hat-conspiracy but hear me out. 

In 2003 I first started reading about it and came up with a brain child for potential non-sequatar use of the technology. Some of you may remember the concept of using it to create digital radio broadcasting, develop hand-held receiver units , control advertisement revenue, then perhaps expand into paid service to allow customization of radio stations and even broadcast your own music. I met a guy in Denver in 2005 that was working for Motorola developing devices to operate on 802.16 technology, he said it wouldnt be consumer ready until 2010. Several cities are using WiMAX to deliver connections to local area networks, but you cant really define as consumer level since the consumer is still connecting via 802.11. 

The most basic functionality of WiMAX however is to deliver broadband internet access wirelessly. It touts the ability to deliver 10 T1 connections in a 30 mile radius for each WiMAX tower. This is equivalent to 100 broadband users. Not sure if this is still the cost but in 2005 equipment for 1 tower (not including the physical tower itself) was about $15-$20K. So you can see the overhead is miniscule compared to Satellite, Cellular or fiber-optic networks. This is great in locales that either have sparse populations that cant justify the capital expense to run lines or, if using the 802.16e variant, deliver a mobile connection. You can start to understand then why its a threat to the mobile service providers investments. With WiMAX, all of the sudden there is no need for the multi-billion dollar satellite infrastructure currently in place, all the cellular towers have to be upgraded and the iPhone (arguably the only thing keep AT&T Wireless in the black) is now just a bigger, slower, more expensive iTouch since you could get the same thing on iTouch by installing Skype and a $40-a-month WiMAX service. Then youre getting all the calls you want, even internationally, for a fraction of the cost and no lame 2 year contracts. 

Yeah, thats right. It says Titi. My name is Matthew and I hale from Lake Titikaka.

 

At any rate, KL has it. $40-a-month, you get a mobile router that you can turn on anywhere in the city and get broadband access. That combined with the excellent transportation system (Monorail and drivers that actually obey traffic signs), friendly people, clean streets and great attractions 10 minutes outside of the city, just made me wonder if I should relocate to KL. Just a thought thought. Its basically what my dream for Jakarta is, but doing it in a metropolitan city of 25 million (Jakarta) is quite differnt than doing it in one of 8 million. 

Ill post again about the Elephant Sanctuary on the 3rd day, which was one of the coolest things on the trip. Ive got tons of great pics from it but this post is running long and I gotta get back to work.  

She was so gentle and sweet.