Archive for August, 2008

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Windows Mobile 6.1 on your desktop!

August 25, 2008

I love to mess around with my Windows Mobile phones.  My first WM phone was the HTC Apache, which I used on Verizon’s network.  It was awesome.  It came loaded with WinMo 5, which was an okay OS.  UTStarCom never offered Windows Mobile 6 or 6.1 for this phone, which basically killed the phone.

However, several amazing people found ways to get around that and they developed their own home-brewed Windows Mobile 6.1 ROMs for the Apache.  These people share their time and their work on sites like ppcgeeks.com and xda-developers.com.  They even went so far as to make it relatively easy for the rest of us to do the same thing by creating an easy-to-use application called BuildOS, which they refer to as a “kitchen” where you can “cook” your own ROM and throw several applications into the firmware image, then flash it to your phone.

Now, I’m nowhere near as hardcore as these guys.  But I do still like to enhance my phone with a number of their tools.  I’ve moved on from the Apache and now use the Sprint Mogul.  As I said, I like to mess around with my phones, which means I install and uninstall a lot of software.  To keep my phone from getting messed up, I generally test any new software in a WinMo virtual machine.  Microsoft provides these virtual machines free of charge, so it’s a great way to play with Windows Mobile and any new apps without having to commit to a full PDA phone.

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Just what is a nerf herder? How do you herd nerfs?

August 22, 2008

A long time ago, when I was just a teenager, I was walking through my local Borders bookstore.  I’m not really sure what I was doing in there in the first place.  I think I was probably waiting for my dad to pick something up.  As I blindly walked through the store, something caught my eye.  It was something I had never seen before.  It was a big box set titled “Star Wars: The Original Radio Drama”.  It was presented on 13 audio cassettes, if I remember correctly.  I remember thinking at the time, “Star Wars?  Radio drama?  How the hell did they manage to pull that off?  Star Wars has so many visual effects that a radio drama would be pointless!”

Well, I was wrong.  Apparently, back in 1981, National Public Radio broadcast this radio drama.  They managed to get some of the original cast to perform the voice acting, including Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and Anthony Daniels (C-3P0).  Other characters received new voice actors, including Perry King (playing Han Solo, a part he also auditioned for for the original movie version) and Brock Peters (playing an incredible Darth Vader).

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I’ve got a hankerin’ for some readerin’! (Book sites)

August 19, 2008
Books

I’ll admit that I’m not the most dedicated book reader in the world.  That title will always belong to my father, who can probably breeze through Bertrand Russell’s A History Of Western Philosophy in an afternoon.  At any given time, my dad will be reading three or four books for pleasure, in addition to reading hundreds of pages of legal briefs from his day job as a lawyer/legal consultant, and term papers and quizzes from his night job as a legal professor.  He’s a freak of nature.

I, on the other hand, tend to get bored halfway through a comic book.  Sometimes the apple does fall far from the tree.  Maybe I’m the product of the Internet generation, where information flashes before my eyes at the speed of copper.  I can be reading a page on germ warfare in WWI one minute and get instructions on how to build my own storage bench the next.  Constant channel surfing and web browsing has left me with an attention span of about 32 milliseconds.

But sometimes, when I really focus, I get the urge to read a book.  A full book.  No pictures.  No pop-ups.  No audio books.  Just an honest-to-goodness Gutenberg offspring.  The problem with not being part of the book culture is that I have no clue what new books are out, which ones have been favorably reviews, etc.  So I don’t always know where to start when shopping for a new book.

This is where the Internet comes to the rescue!  In a desperate attempt to marry my love of digital information with my occasional urges to read something with a deeper plot than a cereal box, I have come across several sites that offer some assistance in locating good reads, as well as offering several books for free online!  So here is a quick run-down of some of the best sites I’ve come across.

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More dollars than sense

August 15, 2008

There is an article over at Ars Technica about what Apple needs to fix on the new iPhone 3G.  Apparently, the new super phone is plagued with problems, including a sluggish interface, system freezing, and spotty 3G service (which may or may not be a problem with AT&T).

I’m glad that I held off from my momentary lapse in judgement and didn’t buy one.  Not only is the phone overpriced (when the REQUIRED contract is taken in to account), but it’s a piece of crap in a shiny package.

The entire premise of the Ars Technica article is flawed, however.  Apple doesn’t need to fix anything.  Why bother?  Idiots with too much money will continue to buy any shiny plastic shit with an Apple logo on it regardless of it’s ability to actually, you know, work.  Why should Apple spend a dime on fixing these problems when they have such a stupidly loyal fan base?

I know this post sounds bitter, but I’m just starting to get really fed up with Apple’s lack of commitment to quality and customer service.  You’d be hard pressed to find a recent Apple product that hasn’t had a major widespread problem, which Apple has only fixed when the flaw made the evening news.  Only when Apple is faced with a PR problem do they step up and do the right thing.  They’re motto “It just works.” should be changed to “It just works…well, we’re working on making it work.  Wait for version 3 or 4 and it’ll probably do 40% of what you need it to do.  But, oooooh, it’s shiny!”

I’m moving on to the Touch Pro, whenever it comes through Sprint.

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Why does Google need to know my underwear size?

August 15, 2008

Lifehacker ran a story yesterday about the top desktop search tools as voted on by their readers.  Now, ever since I’ve switched to Vista, I have sorely missed the old simple search tool in XP.  Most people would probably think I’m crazy as the XP tool wasn’t that powerful.  But you know what?  It did exactly what I needed it to do and didn’t waste a lot of time or space.

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Let’s go exploring!

August 11, 2008

Calvin and Hobbes

I’ve always loved the newspaper comic strip Calvin and Hobbes.  I have bought several of the treasuries, which compile some of the best strips.  But I’ve always been left wanting more.  There’s just something about the kid and his stuffed tiger/imaginary friend that comforts me.

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Failure To Launch (A review of the current state of Linux)

August 7, 2008
Failure To Launch poster

Linux. Windows. Linux vs. Windows. It’s a debate that has raged across Internet forums for what seems like an eternity.  Which one is better?  Does Linux deserve to be on the desktop?

For those who don’t know, Linux is an operating system, just like Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X.  Linux started way back in 1991 as a project by a man named Linus Torvalds.  Essentially, it started life as an open-source clone of UNIX (technically, it was based on another operating system, called MINIX, which was itself a clone of UNIX).  Even today, the basic structure of Linux is very UNIX-like.

However, Linux is a long way away from UNIX now.  It may look similar, but there is more happening under the hood.

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