Google Chromebook is pretty cool

Google Chromebook

Google Chromebook

If you are looking for an inexpensive laptop experience, the Chromebook should be considered.

I like how it accepts you as a new user by using your Google account.  That’s it.  You are part of the family.

Of course this means you need to signup with Google to create an account.  If you have not experienced all the apps and tools that Google offers, you should check it out.

For example, I have an Android phone and moved all my music to the Google Play app.  I can stream my music from any internet connected device and on my phone (with the ability to download songs and playlists to the device locally for those times when the internet is not accessible).

If you need to know, the touchpad is your mouse and there are no buttons.  If you need to right-click, use <alt>+<tap touchpad> or a 2-finger-tap (requires some mad skill).

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Does Size Matter?

The sizes of the cell phone technology has come 360 degrees.

In the 80’s, we had the large Bag Phone.  This was a cell phone in a bag.  It was the cell technology that made its way out of the ‘car phone’ to something mobile we could use while on foot.  Then again, it was somewhat heavy and nobody wanted to carry it around.

Bag Phone

The bag phone made a cameo in “Lethal Weapon” when Sgt Murtaugh used it in the field.  He was a strong tough guy so the weight meant nothing to him.

Sgt Murtaugh Bag Phone usage

As phone technology got better, the devices got smaller and smaller.  The bag got dropped from the form factor.  Batteries got smaller.  Antennae no longer needed to be included.

Cell Phone history

Will Ferrell parodied the smallest cell phone on SNL in the 90’s.  It was his attempt to show the hipness of having a small phone.

Will Ferrell

Phones got so small, we started hanging them off our belts.  Not sure if this was a status thing or a convenience thing.

Then around mid 200’s, the iPhone and Smartphones came on the scene and started getting a bit bigger.  Screens got larger.  Touch screens etc.

Smartphones

We were confused.  Is the device supposed to be a phone or a computer.  It served both purposes.  Texting reigns supreme, phone calls are actually a nuisance.  People carried around phones to play games, text, and listen to music.

Enter the tablet.

Tablet

People now haul around their tablets much like we did with bag phones.

Full circle.

It’s time to end Daylight Savings time…this time.

End Daylights Savings time

I work in Information Technology and I have to monkey with this time change event twice a year.  It’s a hassle and as you look deeper into why we do it, you realize it is silly and no longer useful.

The origin of this concept was Ben Franklin in 1784.  The old goat felt that changing the time would save on candles.  He was probably right, but he could have as easily awoken an hour later to begin his day.

During the World Wars, DST was used by some countries as a cost savings effort to help fund their war efforts.  FDR called it “war time” and it was enforced after Pearl Harbor bombing.  After Japan surrendered, it became known as “peace time”.

Daylights Savings it confusing for obvious reasons.  It’s 4 oclock here and 5 oclock there and we are 2 miles from each other (bordering cities).  Not all of the country participated originally.  It was 1966 when Congress passed the Uniform Time Act and it was modified in 2005 by extending it by a month.

The modern reality:

Energy consumption savings from DST is minimal and can be easily offset by energy efficient bulbs, appliances, and adding solar energy sources.  Let’s stop this antiquated practice of adjusting our clocks.  If local governments, schools, and businesses want to make use of the daylight hours why not adjust your schedules instead.

If you want to see an end to DST, visit the White House Petition site and sign it.

http://wh.gov/PSYc

 

Bluetooth Audio

I was tired of wires from headphones.  I listen to podcasts almost all day long and tugging my phone all over the place.  Wires wires wires.

There exists bluetooth headphones and headsets but I didn’t want something large and bulky.  I wanted to avoid the DJ look.

Instead I went for the Ohura look (Star Trek reference).  BTW, Google (images) “Ohura” and you will get a pleasant busty surprise.  I digress.

I found a simple Samsung bluetooth earpiece for $20.  I figured it was a Samsung and I have a Samsung Galaxy S2 it would all work together.

Well it didn’t.  I could pair it up and make calls like expected, but no music audio.

Google Google Google, found the answer.

There is an app in the Play store called BTMono that did the trick.  It’s free and easy.  Blam!  Listening now.

Communicating via IM, email, or mouth.

Gratuitous Image

Sorry for the image.  Caught your eye right?

This is a followup to this old post ( http://craighope.com/wordpress/?p=1390 ).

I like Instant Messaging (IM) and I had it.

I like the “instant” feedback (duh).  I like that you can have multiple convo’s simultaneously.  I like that you can archive the conversation.

I dislike IM because it can be intrusive, bothersome, and too interrupting.  When you get an IM, you feel you have to respond immediately as opposed to email or a phone call.  Where you have multiple convo’s (a like) it is also a bother when you are having a convo and someone IM’s you and interrupt.  They don’t know you are having other IM’s going (not their fault).  I wish I could see how many convo’s others have going so that I can think twice about my need to IM then.

In my opinion, the best way to IM is to open it up during a conference call and have side conversations with your colleagues.  You can have a little sidebar while the conf call is going on then engage with better info.

People often misuse IM.  If your question, comment, whatever is something that can be responded to later, send an email.  When you send an email, people have the courtesy (mostly) to respond to do you in a timely manner.  An email (in my opinion) is something of a task that sits in my inbox that I will get to eventually.  Priorities range.

One thing I can’t stand is this.  I will send someone an email of minor importance but requires a response and that email NEVER gets responded to.  That pisses me off.  When you never respond, I interpret that as “I am not that important”.  To that I say F off!

Moving on…

I’ve witnessed this phenomenon where people refrain from using email for the reason that they don’t want their words “recorded”.  I don’t get this line of thinking at all.  In my estimation, no matter how you communicate your message will be remembered no matter if it is an email or not.   If you write, say, communicate something that later changes in nature of fact etc. that’s fine.  You have the right to retract or change your message.  Maybe its because people are afraid of being wrong.  I get that, but I also respect you more if you can admit you were incorrect about something.  Moving on…

What have we learned?

Use email when don’t need immediate feedback.  Use IM only if necessary, don’t overuse it.

 

Roy Blunts SOPA response

Stop SOPA

I emailed my senator via congress.org to express my opposition to the SOPA legislation.  As it appears now, the SOPA is an overreach effort to stop piracy and could potentially effect the entire internet.  As understood in the legislation, a foreign website can be accused of piracy (copyright, counterfeiting, etc), the US then blocks the DNS (domain name service) to that site.

Problem:  1. that website could be falsely accused thus creating a huge mess with internet communication.  2. If the website is pirating goods, there are ways around DNS to get to those sites.

In the response below, I would like a deeper inspection to the claim of “$135 Billion lost revenue”.  How does one come up with that figure?

>>>

Dear Craig,

Thank you for contacting me regarding S. 968, the Protect IP Act.

Intellectual property industries employ more than 19 million people, making it an integral part of our economy.  Rogue websites dedicated to the sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and pirated content are a direct threat to these jobs and to entrepreneurs growing and building legitimate businesses online.

Businesses have lost $135 billion in revenue annually as a result of these rogue sites.  Customers have also been harmed by these sites; for example, online pharmacies that don’t adhere to U.S. regulations have been reported to cause a rapid increase in prescription drug abuse.

I am a cosponsor of the Protect IP Act which would cut off foreign websites dedicated to counterfeiting and piracy that steal American jobs, hurt the economy, and harm customers.  It would allow the Justice Department to file a civil action against those who have registered or own a domain name linked to an infringing website.  The bill does not allow the Justice Department to target domain names registered by a U.S. entity.

Innovation is a cornerstone of our nation’s economic growth.  Proper intellectual property protections and incentives ensure that inventors develop products that benefit consumers.  Without such incentives for innovators, we risk falling behind places like China and India.

Again, thank you for contacting me. I look forward to continuing our conversation on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SenatorBlunt) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/RoyBlunt) about the important issues facing Missouri and the country. I also encourage you to visit my website (blunt.senate.gov) to learn more about where I stand on the issues and sign-up for my e-newsletter.
Sincere regards,

Roy Blunt
United States Senator

<<<<<

Site got hacked on 10/19/11

Getting hacked can suck.  Especially if you run a commerce site and you make $ online.

In my case, I am just a stupid blogger who posts rants about politics and tries to make a joke once in a while.  Not a huge loss if my site goes down.

On the other hand, I could be flattered.  Maybe I caught the attention of some disgruntled international nerd who decided to whack my ideas.

I thought I did everything right.  I kept my wordpress version updated.  I deleted any spam.  My PC is virus protected.

In the end, I was only offline for about 22 hours.  I want to thank JustHost.com for their quick response to restore my site.  I want to also give Kudos to the human that answered the phone when I called their tech support.  Frankly I was shocked I got a human so quickly.  They were helpful and got my issue working and resolved.

On the dark side, I read many reviews and posts that JustHost had a weak security scheme and susceptible to these hacks.  Maybe so, but I would argue that many web hosting providers will run into these issues.  I trust they are working to fix the holes they have.

I am staying with them for now.