Despite the sound being horrible all night - it seemed to get muddier as the night progressed; there was also an ear-splitting feedback incident which seemed to have taken out Conor's right ear for the night (the show must go on) - I really enjoyed the set. I didn't quite see the fifteen-piece orchestra, but the overall ambience created was good (the actual acoustics was shite of course). They played pretty much the entire Lifted album, with some of the songs translating better than others. For the encore, there were one or two new songs that I'd never heard before.
My friend commented that he couldn't figure out if the arrangements were really good or bad because he was hearing lots of unisons, but it could have just been because the sound. While I'm not going to judge Conor's compositional genius, I did notice that a lot of the harmonies/counterpoints (not to mention lyrics) didn't make it through the board. What a total mess.
I also learned that yellow loading striped zones are not ticketed at night around there. This trick apparently doesn't work around the tourist areas in Hollywood anymore because too many people had been catching on.
Just some other random hiptop rumination. Using it as a phone is pretty awkward. The more I think about it, the more I wish they had put the microphone/speaker on the back of the device. It just makes so much more sense. Even as it is, it is fairly natural for me to be able to hold the Sidekick in my hand w/o touching the screen. A slight molding, and it could work perfectly (holding it symmetrically, with the pad of your palm across from your fingers is slightly awkward, but holding it with the pad of the palm against the bottom corner and your fingers wrapping around actually feels pretty good).
Mobile Junkies Reshaping Society? - Wired article on new Rheingold book.
Rheingold also makes the case that mobile technology has altered teenage etiquette. After a series of talks with cell-phone-toting Tokyo teenagers, Rheingold concludes that being on time is no longer a matter of concern for the mobile crowd. As long as one is reachable by short message service (SMS) or phone, being late is a non-issue.
A couple of months ago I was having dinner with a friend who had just gotten back from a stint of 'converting the heathen' [*snicker*] in Taiwan, and he mentioned how weird it was that people don't SMS in the US.
Hmm, seeing as I've gone at least two post without mentioning the hiptop, I'll just say that this might change things...
In a bizarre turn of events, the /. discussion on Eldred v Ashcroft has a great number of very insightful, interesting and astute observations. Perhaps Lessig truly does embiggen us all.
Recently, Anil kicked off a small furor based on my complaints about how the hiptop handles CSS media-types (I had sent a note to Danger on that a while ago). Despite it's severity, I could still let it slide (hiptop, I forgive you because I love you). But now this, this is just unacceptable. Can't you respect the love and care and vision that has gone into this page? Its visual fidelity, the background and foreground elements, the very message are completely obliterated! Unacceptable!
Some weekends the blog gets love, some weeks it doesn't. This will probably be one of those doesn't weeks. I've imposed a crazy deadline for myself at work. Also teaching a Basic Photoshop class again later today (I wasn't intending to teach these but my partner had jury duty. Oops. Oh hey, today, I went through most of the Intermediate stuff yesterday...). Dinner Wednesday. Bright Eyes @ the Henry Fonda Thursday. Maybe I'll get around to either some spare-time coding on Friday, if I don't go out. Oh, and I need to do some lawyer-hunting in between as well.
Of course, I'm sure that schedule doesn't compare to some others. If there's one blog to be following in the coming months, it's Lawrence's.
The irony about scottandrew's post on the Web Standards blog about the hiptop happily mangling CSS is that of course it happily is. The post is unreadable on the hiptop. (I was testing to see if my referer viewer worked on my hiptop during lunch [it does] and noticed the incoming link)
Iraq's Dr. Germ - the deadliest woman alive. Thank you Mr. Reagan!
Back then, secular Iraq was an ally against Iran's Islamic fundamentalists, and the Reagan administration okayed the mailings of dozens of samples of anthrax, botulinum toxin, E. coli, a gangrene-causing bacteria and West Nile .
Hmm, topical: The great cell phone tax ripoff
Cam mentions that the RIM thumbboard suing business might affect the hiptop. My understanding is that because it's laid out horizontally, the hiptop doesn't use angled keys, so a lawsuit is pretty unlikely.
Anil's shower comments are great. My favorite is #3:
Sometimes I like to clean the shower while I'm in the shower. It makes me feel like I'm returning a favor.
Brad Choate just released Sanitize, a MT plugin, which is just a reminder that I was gonna repackage and release my own sanitizer... um, about 6 months ago. Ok, upping the priority on that.
Also at Brad's site, this is great: Nasdaq Threatens to Delist Nasdaq.
The MSNBC phone service comparison article makes for interesting reading. It's interesting that they rated Verizon Wireless as the best of the bunch (under the "better" category). Due to my experiences with Verizon, they are one of the few companies that are on my permanent shit list, and that I will never recommend that anyone do business with. Truly scum. On the other hand, my SprintPCS experience has been fairly innocuous. My billing has never been screwed up, although wait times are slightly long (and getting worse), when I've contacted the customer service, the front-line reps have all at least been courteous and are often helpful and knowledgable, and reception in the LA area is nothing less than phenomenal (it's also almost always been acceptable when I've been travelling). Of course, their site is down a little more often than I would have liked, and Claire really is horrible, but comparatively speaking, Sprint's online service was lightyears beyond Verizon's. A year and a half ago, when I dumped Verizon forever, they didn't even offer invoicing and usage details on their site. Can you imagine that?
Having only been with T-Mobile for less a week now, it's perhaps a bit early to pass final judgement, but right now, I am very satisfied with the customer service. The website is sorta not quite there (the Sidekick component is run by Danger anyway, so it's not a super huge deal) although I am rather disappointed by how they report minute usage (as a lump sum, not separating out service calls or peak/offpeak times - you can, however find out by talking to a service rep - what a waste of everyone's time). I'll talk about the customer service when I do a full writeup of my hiptop (it's gonna be looong), but I have to say, response time is great (average of about 2-3 minutes to the front-line, no matter what time of day), the reps are helpful and are quick to forward you to the proper 2nd-tier groups when necessary (for the times I've called, there has been no hesitation in sending me to the wireless data group), when I was escalated to L3 tech support, I had a great chat w/ the WDS engineer (who escalated my problem to Danger and called me back to follow up, as promised). I'm fearful of what'll happen to this service if (when) they merge with Cingular.
Speaking of which, while the network seems a bit weaker (part of it is because out in California they are using Cingular's network, part of it is probably also due to the Sidekick's reception - it's hard to follow up on the Motorola Timeport's reception though, that thing was a tank. And the debug modes rocked) Overall, it's not too bad. I get decent coverage at home and I actually get reception in 'the cave' at work where even my trusty Timeport fails me.
Now that I'm on T-Mobile, I need to try to figure out whether I really need my SprintPCS phone anymore. I want to keep the number, as it's been my primary number for the past year and a half. SprintPCS offers a $5/mo Vacation Plan, and call-forwarding for $0.10/minute, which I think would be okay. Going through my invoices, I noticed that of the usual $53.82 I pay every month, $8.83 (over 16%) was going towards taxes and other regulatory fees. Here's an example:
|Taxes and Regulatory Related Charges|
|Los Angeles City Utility Users Tax||4.33|
|California 911 Tax||0.32|
|California Universal Lifeline Tele Service||0.63|
|California Teleconnect Fund Surcharge||0.13|
|California Relay Service Device Fund||0.21|
|California High Cost Fund Surcharge||0.62|
|California State Excise Tax||0.16|
|USA Federal Tax||1.38|
|Other Surcharges and Fees|
|California P.U.C. Tax||0.05|
|USA Regulatory Obligations & Fees||1.00|
Now, taxes are all well and good, but what I want to know is, if I'm paying this much every single month (as well as other cellular customers), why the hell is service so bad? And why is the FCC pandering to the telecommunications companies, and are not accountable to us, the taxpayers (which according to the CTIA, as of the writing of this post is comprised of 137,458,902 subscribers)? To wit:
Hopefully, we can all agree that telephone number portability is a good thing for the consumer. It saves him the hassle of changing his number and prevents him being held hostage and staying with an otherwise crappy service. The Telecommunications Act in 1996 made number portability a statutory requirement, and gave a deadline of December 31, 1998 for land lines, [according the FCC FAQ] wireless numbers were exempt from these deadlines (see Illuminet Whitepaper (PDF), FCC Telephone Number Portability FAQ). Now sometime after (I dug through dockets, but 1) I'm lazy, 2) the FCC search engine sorta sucks. Try FCC 98-82 (PDF) and FCC 97-74, FCC 99-19), the FCC actually called for a deadline on Wireless Number Portability. Here's a Bellcore press release (selling solutions to meet WNP) back in September, 1998 talking about the upcoming Phase I deadlines.
In July (FCC 02-215), the industry was granted another forbearance. The November 24, 2002 deadline was shifted a year. The current deadline is November 24, 2003. According to this CNET article: "This is the third occasion on which carriers have been given more time to make number portability occur. The FCC issued its first delay in 1998."
Now, if you believe the telco lobbyists (led by Airtouch and GTE, now Verizon), phone number portability is a bad thing. They say stuff like:"...the U.S. wireless market is already highly competitive and that no substantial barriers exist that prevent customers from choosing the wireless service that best serves their needs." Also, from the same article is this laughable piece of FUD: "The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has stated that wireless carriers must implement WLNP in November 2003, giving carriers little more than a year to make the necessary network and OSS upgrades that will allow for number portability." Yes, it's one year if you don't count the past 5 years they had already been delaying. Who are they kidding? If the competition is so great, then why do all the carriers sucks so much? (I've written about my Verizon experiences before) Has it occurred to any of these people that maybe the reason there's so much churn is because they provide horrible "service"? "Over half (52 percent) of subscribers responding to the survey said the availability of number portability made it more likely they would switch carriers." Doesn't that number itself practically scream that Wireles Number Portablity is in fact desperately needed, and that not having it is anti-competitive?
Here's some extra links I found while getting this out of my system:
Oh, hey, just saw that I had missed this link, here's a Newsletter from January 28, 2002 entitled A Number Game that covers the same topic.
Hey, the alltheweb contest got extended! I should get crackin'. Lemme just close some browser windows first...
La la la, ultracompact cameras... A lot of stuff at dpr's Photokina 2002 show report. It's a shame that a lot of the camera's I'm comparing don't have start-up and shot-to-shot times.
|Minolta Dimage Xi||Casio EX-M1||Fujifilm F402||Sony DSC-FX77|
|Lens||37-111mm eq||37mm eq||39mm eq||37mm eq|
|Shutter||2 - 1/1000 sec||1/4 - 1/6400 sec||1/4 - 1/2000s||1/30 - 1/1000s|
|Sensitivity||ISO 50-400||?||ISO 200-400 (800-1600 @ 1MP)||ISO 100-400|
|Res||3.2MP||1.3MP||2.1MP (sCCD 4MP)||4.0MP|
|Size||85 x 72 x 20mm||88 x 55 x 11.3mm||77 x 69 x 22mm||98.1 x 71.0 x 27.0mm|
|Extra||MP3||macro||Bluetooth, Zeiss Lens, swivel|
|Price||$350?||$300?||$350||Unavailable in US|
Right now I'm tending toward the F402... f3.2 (slightly disappointing), but being able to shoot decent ISO 1600 (check out these sample pictures from a similar class imager? Tempting... The Sony probably has the best image quality (nice Carl Zeiss lens), and the Bluetooth/BIP support and swivel are very tempting, but it looks like it's not available in the US right now (Japan and Europe only currently). Canon has a new IXUS coming out soon, I believe, but we'll have to see. It's unfortunate that none of these cameras use CF (the Canon does).
An article on the world's funniest joke. Here's an interesting excert:
“You saw a lot of activation in the prefrontal cortex,” he said. “We know when there’s damage to that area, people lose their sense of humor, and they don’t understand why a joke is funny.”
I think there might be a lot of that kind of damage within USC.
Hmm, I'm #1 on hiptop on daypop, which sorta makes sense I guess, seeing as until recently this blog has been a fairly well respected, mediumly trafficked tech/web blog that has, over the past week turned into the Hiptop Junkie Blog. Which is not too bad, as a few weeks before it was the 'tired of doing this, taking way too much time, time to go into reruns blog' (still in the plans, sorta).
Speaking of boingboing, saw a post entitled Sidekick's browser blows that was slightly misattributed/misconstrued. I saw this post (while I was showing my friend about Blöödhag) and posted a reply in the discussions on my hiptop so the browser can't be that bad.