Category Archives: Technology

iPhone 3GS: the missing features.

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of the iPhone 3GS for some time now, and I’ve been keeping up with the fanboy and rumor sites, trying to gleen any crumb of info to help make the wait bearable. After yesterday’s announcement, I’m still eagerly awaiting the ship date (and plan to buy one that day), but I can’t help but wonder what happened to some of the rumored features, specifically: Continue reading iPhone 3GS: the missing features.

Social Networking Gone Bad.

Totally Clueless
Totally Clueless

I’m a fan of social networking sites. I’m not big on Facebook and Twitter and MySpace – but I have a presence there, largely because they’ve each reached critical mass. They are useful for keeping track of old friends. That’s all well and good, but I’m far more interested in business-oriented sites. Keeping in touch with business contacts and former co-workers is a networker’s dream. It’s something that’s really useful, especially when you’re looking for a job, or seeking a way into a company to grab and account. Continue reading Social Networking Gone Bad.

Who gets Jeep?

The American Legend.
Jeep: The American Legend.

Let’s be honest. Chrysler is RIP. Today’s announcement that Chrysler has 30 days to make a deal with Fiat does nothing but forestall the inevitable. To get the Fiat deal done, creditors must allow Chrysler to default on loans. Why would they do that, if they simply force Chrysler into bankruptcy? After all, 10 cents on the dollar is better than nothing. So let’s assume that Chrysler is heading for that big Chapter 11 (or 7) in the sky. Now what?

I think it’s pretty safe to say that we won’t see anybody buy Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep lock, stock and pistons. Nope, the parts will be worth (marginally) more than the sum of the companies. Chrysler itself is worthless – the only two vehicles they have that are in anything close to what resembles demand are the Town & Country minivan and the 300 sedan. Neither is currently considered best-0f-breed. Chrysler can sink into the sunset with few tears from the great unwashed. Continue reading Who gets Jeep?

Project Momentum.

There are two things I hate regarding the realities of business. I hate having to stop work on a project before it’s complete. But I hate having to return to a “cold” project after being away from it for a period of time that’s long enough to make me forget everything about it.

I’ve been working on a video game project lately. It’s not rocket science, but like all projects that require coding, you get into a thousand different decisions and judgment calls that force you to have to go back and remember what you did, why you did it, and rethink your choices.

In a way, it’s more difficult to come back to a project and work on it again (even if you comment your code religiously). It’s kind of like how they say it’s more difficult to relocate down the street than it is to move across the country. Familiarity breeds contempt. Something like that.

I crack open the source code, and I have to spend an hour or so, reviewing what I did – and why I did it. And of course, if I’m adding something, odds are, I’m going to have to either hope I was prescient enough to write code that can be easily adaptable, or code that was designed for expansion.

In a way, it’s kind of an out-of-body (out-of-mind?) experience, akin to the concept used by SciFi writers, where the protagonist is thrown into an alternate universe, where things are almost the same as the way they are back home. But not quite.

No big point here, fans of reason. No solutions offered. No revelations revealed. Just observations. And a wish that it wasn’t so bloody hard for me to go back and edit old code. Sigh…

TyperActive.

I love typography. Always have. From a very early age, I’ve been fascinated with letterforms. When I was in elementary school, I used to rubber-band two pencils together to create a crude way to draw Blackletter (a.k.a. “Old English”) lettering on posters. While other kids decorated their textbook’s book covers with drawings of muscle cars, military tanks or alien spacecraft, I decorated mine with words in a variety of typefaces. Blackletter, calligraphy, Cooper Black, Bodoni, Futura – you name it, and I experimented with it. As I grew into a career as a freelance artist, I discovered that typefaces could provide a subtext (no pun intended) to ad copy and headlines. The face I chose to design something had the power to communicate meaning, context, and even tell people how to think about the words on the printed page, before they’d even read them.

Waaaaay cool. Continue reading TyperActive.

Read All About It.

I hear that the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, like many other once-proud newspapers, is up for sale. Even worse, if it’s not sold inside of 60 days, it will cease to exist in print (but might continue in a greatly scaled-back online form).

Sad. Very sad.

I was thinking the other day about how the newspaper biz has changed since I was a kid, throwing a paper route in Shreveport, Louisiana. It’s changed a lot – and not for the better. Of course, you could argue, and many do, that the Internet killed the Newspaper, just like it’s kill(ing) CDs and will soon kill DVDs. But if you’ve ever tried to get all your information from the web, you’ve probably seen that there’s something that you lose, when you ditch paper. So, I’m not convinced the problem with newspapers lies at the feet of the World Wide Web alone. No, I think it’s something(s) much deeper, and will, in fact, cause the destruction of an entire industry in no less significant a way than what happened to the dinosaurs. Continue reading Read All About It.

Flying blind…

I recently (four days ago, to be exact) updated the software this blog runs on, to the latest and greatest version – i.e., WordPress v.2.7. The upgrade was surprisingly easy to do, and by all appearances, went off without a hitch. Um…ALMOST without a hitch. Seems that one of the things that got trashed along the way was the settings for my Google Analytics code. Whoops.

I usually check my GA stats on a daily basis, just to see what’s going on. Check more often, and it will drive you nuts. Less frequently, and you stand to miss a trend…or a problem.

It had been four days since I’d checked my GA account. Color me “surprised” to learn that I’d (according to GA) gone from a significant readership to ZERO hits for the last four days. That’s like going from 60 to zero in, oh, about 0.0 seconds.

Once I saw the stats, I knew something was wrong. I dialed up the New! Improved! control panel, and found that my GA settings were pooched. No code – no tracking. No tracking – no results. No results – unhappy blogger.

I’ve restored the tracking code, and all should be right in my world.

But I’ll keep checking. As Joe Bob Briggs (Drive-In Movie Critic of Grapevine, Texas) says, “Without eternal vigilance, it can happen here.”

CSS Hell.

If, as Voltaire once opined, “God is a comedian, playing to an audience afraid to laugh,” then CSS (Cascading Style Sheets for you non-nerds in the audience) were written by Geeks as some kind of convoluted “you can’t get there from here” joke on the rest of us. I’m sure God finds it funny. I don’t. 

Back when the World (Wide Web) was young, all you needed to create websites was a copy of Notepad, a copy of Photoshop, and nerves of steel. Creating anything past the simlest of pages was a study in frustration. Editing or updating a page was worse. Torture. Client requests to “make all the body copy one point larger” could make the strongest web geek’s blood run cold. Make strong men cry. Turn weaker men to ashes. You get the picture. 

Then along came CSS. The promised land for web designers – style sheets, where you could divorce the data from the style elements. Create the pages once, then change one line of code in a style sheet and watch the changes ripple through the other pages, as if my magic. 

That was the promise. The reality is something else. Continue reading CSS Hell.

Sellout!

I’m a conservative. I’ve been a conservative since waaaay before it was unfashionable and politically incorrect to be one. But when I say “conservative,” what I mean is that I adhere to the principles of smaller government and self-reliance – not the kind of “compassionate conservatism” and borderline soft Socialism that has been masquerading as conservatism lately.

And I’m mad as Hell this morning.

Tell you a little secret…I voted for George Bush four times – twice for Governor and twice for President. I thought – and still think – that he’s a good man, and the best candidate for the job. At no time, however, did I ever believe that he was a genuine conservative. Oh, sure, I acknowledge that he’s more conservative than Ann Richards, Al Gore, or John Kerry. But he’s far from a believer in the kind of conservatism I believe in.

Case in point, the automobile bailout decision. Continue reading Sellout!

What’s good for General Motors…

Chales Irwin Wilson
Charles Irwin Wilson

…is good for America, or to be completely accurate, “What was good for our country was good for General Motors and vice versa”, or so said Charles Erwin Wilson, Ike’s Secretary of Defense back in the 50’s. He believed that anything that was good for GM was good for America, because the two economies were inexorably intertwined. But what is good for General Motors?

I’ve been following the bailout of the Big Three for a long time. And I’ve got some ideas on a REAL solution…not this three-card Monte they’re playing in Congress. Real solutions. Here’s my ideas: Continue reading What’s good for General Motors…