Archive for June 2007

iPhone: Any positive experiences, anywhere?

Has anyone had a positive experience with the iPhone yet?

Just looking at my Twitter feed, it seems unlikely:

cubrilovic from the apple store: iphone “Estimated Ship: 2 – 4 weeks” doh!

steverubel So to recap today’s events: 10 hours on line, $600 and an iBrick. Priceless.

davewiner text is impossibly small. no way anyone with mortal eyes can read it. what were they thinking! out of box experience SUCKS

Jim Dalrympleswitched his business account to a personal account specifically so he could get an iPhone. The real WTF here is why Apple would want to deny the people who are going to make the most calls, run up the biggest bills, and be the most reliable payers, from having their phones… but anyway, he now has a useless phone, because iTunes claims that his account type is not permitted to use an iPhone. Okay, so the other real WTF is that he has to use iTunes to configure his phone.. No, wait, it’s the fact that he’s spent lots of money to get the hardware, and now they’re refusing to let him use it. Wow. Anyway, he’s getting the runaround from AT&T, with every person he talks to giving him a different reason why he needs to talk to someone else.

Julie Gomoll paid $200 to get a spot at the front of the line, and now is waiting for AT&T to deal with the volume of authorisations expected.

Some random payperpost hack (I couldn’t see a name) hasn’t been able to get activated – but only discovered this after they’d upgraded both OS X and iTunes to the latest versions, a process that took about 40 minutes.

This commenter has even worse issues with activation, and this commenter is being forced to change their phone number. This commenter has had to break apart their family plan, lose accrued ‘rollover’ minutes – only to be later told that not only was that unnecessary, it also doesn’t help, because they’re on a business plan.

The post they’re all commenting on is about the first reported DOA iPhone.

Wow.

Just to re-hash:

* You need to have an account with AT&T to get a phone

* Not just any account, but only personal accounts

* You can’t do anything with it until it’s activated

* You can’t activate it until you use iTunes to register with Apple

* Even then, you may be waiting days to get it activated – assuming AT&T haven’t screwed with your account completely.

* Even then, it only uses EDGE, not 3G

Over here, ‘personal accounts’ tend to have higher rates than ‘business accounts’. I’m assuming that’s true for AT&T as well – so any business user who switches their account to a personal account is going to be paying a higher bill for the same amount of talk, just for the privilege of having an iPhone. Sounds like a great deal!

Wow…

Okay, while writing this, I’ve seen three positive comments Steven is thrilled, Scoble and his son both seem happy, and Jason Calacaniscalls it “Stunning”. So, apparently some people are happy.

To laziness: an ode

Last Friday was my last day at my previous employer, about whom no more will be said.

Next Monday will be my first day at a small search/ads/apps company you may have heard about, called Google.

In between, I took a week off. I had some crazy plans at one point – I was going to migrate everything from the server it’s currently hosted on across to a new server, for instance. But, when the time came to either get out of bed and work on that, or to not get out of bed… well, I can work on the server next week but I can’t sleep in next week, so guess which won out?

I’ve had a very nice week doing very little. It’s just a pity that the weather has been so crappy lately..

I should get around to migrating over the next month or two. Along the way, hopefully I’ll find out why the pages on this site render so damn slowly – I’d never accept this performance on any of the sites I’ve looked after professionally, and there’s no reason why this site should be so slow.

Lazyweb request: iTunes breaks track ordering on my shuffle

Dear Lazyweb,

Prior to iTunes 7.2, I had my loading-tracks-on-shuffle workflow down pat:

* Download the latest episodes of all podcasts

* Mark all new episodes as “Skip when shuffling: No” [1]

* Jiggle slightly: eg, the new KATG episodes (daily) need to be bounced to the top, as they’re the first thing I hear on my way to work. Kermode episodes (weekly) go next, and everything else pretty much stays in the order in which it came in.

* Plug in shuffle, sync.

Now that 7.2 is out, I’ve had to add an extra step:

* Fix the fucked-up ordering that iTunes has applied to the tracks on the shuffle, “Copy to play order”, resync.

That’s right; when it copies from a playlist onto the shuffle, it doesn’t respect the order I so painstakingly created – it randomizes the tracks!

There’s an option for this: It’s labelled “Choose items randomly”. If I wanted this behavior, I’d choose that option – but I don’t want it, so I leave it unchecked. Still, my tracks get rearranged. This latest time, it seems to have sorted the tracks in Album order: all I have to do to fix the order is choose to sort by that-column-on-the-left-with-numbers-in. Despite the fact that the numbers don’t change, the tracks associated with the numbers rearrange themselves into the right order, magically. So, I know that iTunes knows the order I want – and I know it’s choosing to give me some other order instead.

So, my dear lazyweb, can anyone tell me how I can make iTunes revert to sensible, pre-7.2, behaviour, that preserves the order of the tracks?

[1] That’s a darn nuisances, that is. Apple promote Podcasts heavily; Apple promote making it easy to get your podcasts on your iPod heavily. iTunes[2] marks all downloaded podcast episodes as “Skip when shuffling: Yes” when they’re downloaded, so that they don’t pop up in party shuffle unexpectedly (quite a good thing, really – who wants their non-stop Kylie/Madonna/Debbie Summers megamix to be interrupted with 45 minutes of Science Show in the middle of the org^H^H^Hparty?). Then they go and make iTunes refuse to load “Skip when shuffling: yes” onto the best podcast player they’ve got, the shuffles. I can’t get over how stupid this is.

[2] So what’s the go when the first word of your sentence has unusual capitalization? Should that be ITunes?

Picture of the mo(o)nth

Via the BABlog:

So *that’s* how they move it.

This blog rated G – but it might change if I talk about more donkeys

What's My Blog Rated? From Mingle2 - Online Dating

Mingle2Online Dating

The site mentions that:

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

* ass (1x)

So… the thing most likely to up the rating of my blog… is the fact that I mentioned a donkey, once?

Right.

Facebook: Not for adults, not for non-Americans.

I’ve just been convinced to join Facebook.

The interface is very slick; AJAX where it’s appropriate to avoid page reloads, asks intelligent questions, workflow after registering quite sensible. Grabbed contacts from my gmail account and added those who already have a facebook account as a friend; it offered to spam my 600+ other contacts, but it’s easy to skip that (and it makes it very clear what it’s about to do and warns you to consider if you really want to do it before you do anything).

But… Dave Winer has blogged about the fact that Facebook doesn’t support adult relationships.

It also doesn’t support anyone who lives outside a few select countries. I have to pass a captcha each time I try to add a friend. If I could verify my mobile number, I could bypass that – but that’s only supported inside the US/Canada. Well done!

I can put my mobile number into my profile for my friends to see; but it insists on formatting it as an American number (614.071…) rather than the international number it really is (+61 407…). Not everyone lives in the US, not everyone should have their phone number listed that way.

My high school doesn’t exist. I can suggest they add it, but it’s in a town that also isn’t in their list, and I can’t suggest adding a town. So, I’m forced to go with “Queensland” as a town – a town that covers about 1/5th the land area of Australia. Brisbane, Bundaberg, both Coasts, and a few other cities (some barely bigger than my hometown) are listed – but not my hometown, and I can’t add it.

It won’t believe that I actually attended the uni I claim to have attended, because I don’t have an email address in that uni’s domain any more. Well, I should say “college”, because it forces me to use the US terminology – even though “College” has a very different meaning here.

I can list my website; however, when I choose to change the privacy setting for this link from “Only my friends” to “All my networks and friends”, it then reloads the whole page – losing, along the way, my website, my phone number, and other information I’d already filled in.

I can’t enter my current workplace, because it doesn’t exist in their database. I can’t enter previous workplaces, as I no longer have email addresses there.

Not very impressed, so far. LinkedIn does a much better job of dealing with adult relationships and workplaces.

"Benedict Effect" – not neccessary, already exists

Stephen Dubner wonders whether the Vatican’s 10 Commandments for Driving might prompt an analogue to the Peltzman effect, and make these drivers take more risks because they feel more protected.

I assert that this wasn’t necessary. I grew up a fundie Christian. I had observed as early as about age 17 that the stronger a driver’s faith was, the more reckless was their driving.

Pronouncements from the Vatican aren’t necessary for this particular effect, it seems – just a firm, unshakable belief in the afterlife as a better place.

Shrek the Third

Shrek movies used to be a lot like an ogrenion. On the outside, a pleasant, innocous kids movie, straight-forward anti-fairy-tale plot, and a happily ever after ending. For the adults, there were layers and layers of innuendo and allusion to popular culture, makinng the movies a treat for all ages.

Now, not so much. Less with the allusion, more with the illusion. The CGI in this film was stunning – the people were more realistic than ever, the scenery looked almost real.

Unfortunately, there was a compete lack of humour, on any level. I wouldn’t take kids to see this: the dope-smoking high-schoolers are enough reason for that, as is the ‘royally fucked’ joke when Shrek learns to be a father.

It’s not for the adults either: the Python homage barely makes it on screen, even with 2 Pythons in the cast. The LotR reference was barely a glimpse – literally a 1-second shot.The Charlies Angels sequence that was so clearly being set up never came.

There weren’t adult jokes either, unless you count the aforementioned ‘royally fucked’, and maybe two more.

The movie doesn’t even manage to maintain a coherent sense of place. Early on in the movie, the dead frog-king is given a burial at ‘sea’, floating in a Foot Locker shoebox in a fountain, while a choir of Warner-Brotheresque singing frogs belt out a James Bond theme. No, I don’t understand why, either.

I’m very dissapointed. One baby dragon/ass out out of five.

Startled Deer opens it's mouth, inanities fall out.

Watching the 7:30 report. Helen Coonan (aka the startled deer) is being interviewed about the Govt’s plan for FTTN, WiMax etc. The poor woman talked about broadband connections with “One Gigabit of power”.

*sigh*

Good to see that, as per usual, our coalition government has given us an IT&T minister who knows nothing at all about their portfolio.

Update 19/06/07 – Transcript of the interview is available; search for “gigabyte” to find the quote. I heard gigabit, they heard gigabyte… but we both heard power.

Favorite line from the interview:

KERRY O’BRIEN: And it’s only taken you 11 years to get to this. You must cringe a little today as you try to sell the Government’s credentials…

There’s video on the site too, and if you’re on Internode (as I am), such things on the ABC site don’t count toward download quotas, so feel free to watch.

Oh, and J.Ho isn’t much better. There was one point on an earlier story when he was being shown a broadband device, and asked “Is it fast enough to download movies over?”. I’m curious about JHo’s p2p network of choice.

There’s also this gem:

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: … a system called WiMAX.

BROADBAND EXPERT: It uses 5.8 GHz.

JOHN HOWARD: That’s an… Optus?

BROADBAND EXPERT: It’s a class license spectrum. So everyone is free to use that. Plenty of spectrum to play in, that’s the good part about it.

JOHN HOWARD: Ohhh. That is good.

Again, check the video for some classic shots of JHo peering inquisitively at this WiMax thing, stroking his chin, and asking if this thing is an Optus – it’s all around 1:50-2:00.

Updated again: Stilgherrian has a much more insightful comments about the 11 years remarks:

So how come back in 1995, Australia was third in the world in terms of Internet bandwidth and computing power per head of population, while today after a decade of Howard at the helm we don’t even make the top 10?

What record?

Reading the SMH this morning and I stumble across this:

Rain over Sydney city hit a record-breaking 352 millimetres for the month, the wettest month in Sydney since 2001 and the wettest June in Sydney since 1975

Exactly what record was broken here? It’s not the wettest month – we clearly had a wetter month in 2001, hence it being the wettest month since then. It’s not the wettest June – we had a wetter June in ’75, and this is just the wettest since then.

How is it record-breaking then? Surely they don’t mean that “Wettest June since 1975” is a record? If it is, then today is going to be record breaking as well – it’s shaping up to be the wettest day since yesterday!