Posts Tagged 'Rant'
2012-02-12

When faced with the dilemma of trying to differentiate one's product from other products on the market, or when trying to sway popular opinion on a subject, it may become necessary to implement some fancy marketing wordsmithing. AKA make up some crap in order to "sell". The following are some of my favorite examples.

It's not a car, it's a Volkswagen

Q. What has 4 wheels, is made out of steel, has an internal combustion engine, is operated by a driver, and travels on roadways?
A. a car! Even if it is manufactured by Volkwagen, it is still a car. Hell, "Volkswagen" means "people's car".

My automobile is an early 60s Volkswagen Karmann Ghia, and while I certainly appreciate the fine craftsmanship and engineering (the body of my car was made by humans and not by robots), I am fully aware that I own a car.

51 years old : 40HP engine : 32MPG : booyah!

I'm a PC, and I'm a Macintosh

Q. What do you call a computer that's not a server and is used by an individual?
A. a Personal Computer. A Macintosh is just a personal computer (PC) made by Apple Inc.

According to this bit marketing, anything that isn't a Macintosh is just a PC, and that would include the iPad, which although it is made by Apple, is not part of the Macintosh line.

When ever someone refers to the plethora of non-macintosh computers running a variety of different operating systems as PCs, that person is showing a gross misunderstanding of computers in general.

No one ever asks "Hey, do you own a Volkswagen or do you own a car?" or "Do you think I should buy a Vollkswagen or a car?". Similarly gasoline is never advertised as "Works in Volkswagens and cars", so software marketers are complicit in this as well.

Piracy

Q. what do you call making a copy of a file and sharing the copy?
A. file sharing

Q. what do you call hijacking a vessel, killing the vessel's crew, and stealing the vessel's cargo?
A. piracy

This association between making a copy and committing theft and murder was a brilliant marketing coup for the mass media companies. Copying a file has now become evil and villainous. Even if the file copying is for personal use, the media industry want you to be treated like a thief or murderer.

Talk to any parent that has a toddler, and a DVD collection, about how quickly a DVD can be destroyed and you will learn just how important it is to make backups for personal use.

If you pirate a Volkswagen from someone, you have removed possession of an object from it's owner. If you copy a file from someone, the owner still possesses the object, and you might have violated copyright law.

To sum it up; Possible copyright violation is not the same as theft and murder, please stop referring to it as such.

Now quit reading, and .... oh. Now quit being a sucker for marketing, and go read.

Comments
2012-02-15 x1101:
So let me get this straight, you want me to quit reading and go read?
2012-02-15 jezra:
yes, although I probably should have been a bit more specific about *what* to read.
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2011-09-28

So.... MeeGo is dead. bummer.

As you may recall, in May I went to the MeeGo Conference in San Francisco and at the time (Nokia had already abandoned MeeGo) I felt MeeGo could finally go in a decent direction. Let me explain....

In the beginning, MeeGo was a joint venture between Intel: an x86 processor manufacturer, and Nokia: a manufacturer of phones that use ARM processors. Nokia also owns Qt, a framework used to create computer programs, and all applications written for MeeGo were supposed to be created using Qt and programmed with the C++ programming language.

Nokia was working on a version of MeeGo(sort of) for phones, and Intel seemed be interested in a version of MeeGo for tablets and netbooks. This means that there were two different versions of MeeGo that looked strikingly dissimilar. There is/was a MeeGo version for automobiles, but that isn't part of this story.

The Nokia version was written using Qt and the tablet/netbook version used Clutter and GTK. It should be noted that even though MeeGo apps were supposed to be written in Qt, most if not all of the tablet/netbook apps were written using GTK and one of the many languages with bindings for GTK.

Once Nokia left, I was hopeful that the MeeGo project would finally start moving in a more productive direction. Only one Captain steering the ship..yada yada yada

I've used the netbook version and I liked it, sure, it needed some polish, but it was a good usable Linux distribution with a very usable Desktop Environment designed for smaller screens. However, if none of the apps that come with the base distro are Qt based, why would I as a developer write Qt/C++ apps for MeeGo? I won't. However, Heybuddy ran just fine on MeeGo and looked at home with the other apps because Heybuddy uses GTK for its interface.

Intel walked away .... again

Before Intel was involved with MeeGo, Intel was involved with Moblin. Actually, the netbook/tablet version of MeeGo was just a continuation of Moblin. Now Intel is working on yet another Linux distro with Samsung called 'Tizen' ... sigh.

Intel, stop reinventing the wheel, you aren't going to get it any rounder. Take what you have, finish it, and get it on devices that people can buy. Unless that isn't what you are really interested in.

hardware doesn't make much money

(if you have some salt handy, take a grain of it because this is just my opinion) Intel may not want to make their money by selling devices. The nice thing about joining with Nokia (and forcing devs to make Qt/C++) is access to the infrastructure of Nokia's OVI application store, and if we've learned anything from Apple, it's that apps make a lot of money.

From the Tizen about page :

Tizen will provide a robust and flexible environment
for application developers, based on HTML5 and 
Wholesale Applications Community (WAC).

I'm not sure what Wholesale Applications Community means, but it has 'sale' and 'applications' in the name so I will presume it is some sort of store.

HTML5?

Hold on, I'm going to get side tracked for a bit

Didn't HP have some devices with apps created using HTML5, javascript, and CSS? Yes, Yes they did (past tense). Personally, I don't like javascript and I don't think that having all of a devices application written in HTML and Javascript is a good idea, and it is certainly not a new idea. The first time I delved into writing an app with javascript and HTML (OK, it was called a widget at the time, and it used XML) was with Konfabulator and was soon followed by coding for Apple Dashboard.

For a small widget/app, HTML and Javascript is fine, but for a larger more robust application, I much prefer just about any other language.

As the fat bald sweaty guy yelled: Developers Developers Developers, and it really is about developers.

When Apple came out with their iPhone there wasn't really anything like it on the market, and Apple said (figuratively)"if you want to develop for iPhone, you have to own a Macintosh computer and code in Obj-C". Since that was the only option, developers did Apple's bidding.

Then Google came out with Android (based on Linux) and said (figuratively) "hey developers, you can create Android apps on an OSX machine, on a Windows machine, and on a Linux machine... but you have to write your apps in Java". Finally, a competitor to iPhone.... and devs were happy.

Then, once iPhone and Android phones complete took control of the smartphone market, HP/Palm came out with WebOS (based on Linux but with a proprietary user interface) and said (figuratively) "hey devs, why don't you write stuff for our OS? By the way, you have to use javascript". Write apps in javascript for a device with no market share? no thank you; not even as a hobbyist programmer.

Alright, back to the point...

So here we are with Tizen, where most apps are to be written in Javascript. However, from what I've been able to gather, it will also be possible to write native apps for Tizen, although I have yet to learn if developers of native apps will be limited by a "required" graphical toolkit or programming language.

Tizen (and Intel) to compete with iPhone and Android, you are going to need developers, and a lot of them. If you limit developers by requiring that they develop using the "approved" programming language, you will probably fare about the same as MeeGo or WebOS.

Comments
2011-10-05 ohmpossum:
I first read about Tizen today and I have the impression it IS webOS re-branded. It is under the Linux Foundation and HP is a member. They say they expect the first versions out early next year. Too soon for a lot of development so they are likely starting with something that already exists. WebOS with a new name.
2011-10-05 jezra:
Tizen is most assuredly *not* WebOS rebranded. WebOS uses the Linux kernel but has a proprietary UI. Tizen, on the other hand, will have a fully Open Source UI. However, since Tizen is a joint venture between Intel and Samsung, and considering that Samsung has recently made deals with Microsoft, I find it rather unlikely that Tizen will see the light of day.

REF: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-09-28/microsoft-samsung-to-share-patents-work-on-windows-phone.html
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2010-01-07
In the past (and unfortunately in the present as well) someone, somewhere wants to know when our society will advance to the point that we have flying cars. The answer of course, is a very hopeful never. Aside from being a terrible waste of fuel and energy, I'm hoping the flying car of the future never leaves the ground, or at least not in my lifetime.

Let me tell you a few things about the last 10 years. The average number of motor vehicle accidents per year in the United States, that resulted in at least one fatality, was about 37,000*. The yearly average of pedestrians killed by motor vehicles per year in the United States is well over 4000*. I never knew walking was so dangerous. There are a lot of negligent drivers on the roads, and apparently on the sidewalks as well.

At night, when I turn off my lights and go to sleep, I feel safe with the knowledge that, although it is ever so slightly possible, no one is going to get behind the wheel of a car and accidently drive into my house. The flying car changes all of that.

I fear the day that any idiot can fly through my neighborhood. What happens when they run out of gas, or the driver passes out while flying home from the a bar? Down they go, into my home, or my neighbor's, or maybe they crash onto the children playing hopscotch on the sidewalk. Won't someone think of the children?

Don't darken the future with a sky full of flying death machines, let the future look bright.

*statistics from http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/
Comments
Let's think bright, then. Transporters!
2010-01-07 jezra:
Fun, but still requires too much energy consumption.

How about Buckminster Fuller's rail system?
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2009-10-19
In the last two weeks, I've sent three emails to AOL regarding emails from a domain that I maintain on a shared host failing to be delivered to email addresses in the AOL.com domain. In my emails I asked if AOL could tell me why the emails where not being delivered and no bounce-back was sent to the sending address.

In response, I received nothing, nada, zilch, zero, zip, null.

People with AOL addresses also asked AOL tech-support why the emails weren't being delivered. The answers received from AOL tech where useless and simply said go to http://postmaster.aol.com/ where honestly, the problem was not addressed.

All AOL needed to say was that the "Return-Path:" in the email header needed to be set to an email address on the originating domain. Because the domain is on a shared host machine, the Return-Path was set to the default sender of the shared-host machine.

So, if you have a site on a shared host, and emails from your site aren't being delivered to people at aol.com, check the Return-Path in your outgoing email headers. If it doesn't contain an email address from your domain, change it.

AOL, I hate you, thanks for nothing.
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2009-07-28

Have you ever seen what a tornado can do to a building?
It isn't pretty. Look at the image and ask yourself why you only see the foundation of a house? I'll tell you why, because an F5 tornado came through and removed the house and all of the contents of the house. By removed, I mean the tornado ripped the house to shreds and dumped the pieces of house about the countryside. Since you are online right now you might want to see images of tornado damage.

Carry on my wayward son
In the heart of the USA is an area that gets hit by so many tornadoes that the area is called Tornado Alley. In the middle of tornado alley is the State of Kansas, and within Kansas, the Department of Homeland Security wants to build a research facility for the study of highly infectious pathogens . ( according to the Washington Post )

Honestly, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that studying pathogens that are lethal to humans, animals, and crops should not be done right smack in the middle of the North American agricultural heartland; especially if the area is prone to having buildings literally ripped from their foundations by 200 mile per hour winds. One unfortunate tornado, and we could be looking at a staggering loss of life as well as a sizable destruction of North America's food source.

Security? Homeland?
I fail to see how putting a ticking time-bomb of destruction in the middle of the US will in any way increase the security of the entire nation? Who the hell honestly thought that this crap was a good idea? Research facilities like this (Plum Island, Gruinard Island) are sequestered from the mainland for a very good reason.

<sarcasm>
Hey! I live in an earthquake prone area, perhaps the DHS should set up a research facility on top of the San Andreas fault line.
</sarcasm>

Comments
2009-07-28 Michael "Good grief" Howell:
The "name" says it all.
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2009-07-08
A few months ago, while practicing bagpipes at my favorite practice spot along the Petaluma River, I pick up someone's discarded aluminum* cans. Damn litter bugs. Normally, I put my aluminum cans in the recycle bin that is provided by the local waste disposal service, but since I was a few miles from home, I though it would be best to simply take the two cans to the closest recycling service.

Fifteen minutes later, I walked away with 10 cents and the the desire to save and redeem my aluminum can. Hey, if I put a 5 cent deposit on a can, I want that money back!

Fast forward to today.....

With bags of cans in hand, I pedaled to the closest can redeemer. A few minutes after arriving, I was pedaling away with almost $7. Hey, one of the pennies was a 1947 wheatback! Lucky me.

On the ride home, I stopped at a traffic light and waited for the signal to change. As I was waiting, a very impatient cellphone talker decided he didn't need to wait for a green light so he crossed the street. Yapping on the phone and looking to his left, he completely failed to look to his right. As cars from the right screeched to a halt and drivers hit their horns, the jaywalker kept talking and looking to his left.

A few hours later, someone who didn't look left or right decided to walk across the street in front me.
Options:
  1. weave into the oncoming traffic lane
  2. run into the jaywalker
  3. weave between the jaywalker and the parked cars by the side of the road

I took the third option and rode between the jaywalker and the parked cars. I was thanked with an expletive by the jaywalker. Sorry Mr Jaywalker, next time you violate the law I'll just run into you; jerk. Is it really that hard to look left and then look right before stepping blindly into the street?

Oh well, no one was hurt and I still have a 1947 wheatback. Actually, it is a 1947 S wheatback.


*you may know it as aluminium
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2009-05-16
For years, the Motion Picture Association of America has been bitching and moaning about people making fair-use copies of movies. This complaining culminated with the Digital Millenium Copyright Act that made it illegal to circumvent copy protection on DVDs in order to make a legal fair-use copy of a movie. The MPAA also argues that any copying of a movie is illegal.

Now it would appear that NASA some how got a copy of the new Star Trek movie, made an illegal copy of the movie, and then transferred the illegal copy to other computers on their network ( illegal distribution). For some reason, the MPAA hasn't said a peep about this blatant infringement of copyright.

I wonder if the copy of the movie included the "don't steal movies" commercial that I have to sit through when I go to the movies.

NASA are a bunch of movie pirates
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2009-04-07
Seriously, remove your child's training wheels, they are hindering the process of learning to ride a bicycle. Riding a bicycle consists of a few basic principles:
  • pedaling
  • steering
  • balancing
  • stopping

The most important of these principles is balancing and the least important is pedaling and with training wheels on a bike, a child only learns how to pedal ( and a few really bad habits).

It's all about balance. Without balance, a cyclist will fall over and won't have time to pedal, or steer, or stop. Unfortunately, when using training wheels, balance is never learned until after the training wheels are removed. If one learns balance first, everything elses will be a lot easier to learn.

Steering isn't learned when using training wheels? That's right. turning a bicycle left and right, especially at higher speeds, requires a cyclist to lean into turns. Since training wheels prohibit leaning over, a child will not learn how to properly navigate a bicycle.

Stop! The bike was moving and now it is not. What is the first thing a new rider should do? Put their feet on the ground. Because training wheels prohibit a bike from leaning over, one doesn't learn the importance of putting their feet on the ground when a bike is stopped and instead learns the bad habit of keeping their feet on the pedals.

A dandy horse doesn't need training wheels; teach the dandy horse method.

By removing training wheels from a bike, a new rider will need to learn to use their own legs to keep from falling over and at the same time they will learn how to balance on a bike. For propulsion, the child can simply run while seated on a bike. I shouldn't have to say it, but I will for safety sake: avoid hills when teaching a child to ride in this manner.

Happy Riding.
Comments
2009-05-22 Anonymous:
All so very true Mr. Obvious, but incomplete. A bike can be terrifying to a child, preventing them from wanting to learn. I believe the training wheels make the bike less intimidating to their short legs, lack of patience and underdeveloped muscle coordination. Once these obstacles are overcome the child normally wants the training wheels off, naturally moving to the steps you've outlined.
2009-05-22 jezra:
Anonymous, if the child can't put both heels on the ground while sitting on the bike, then the bike is too big. Short legs mean that the child needs a very small bike.
2010-03-05 Luc:
I've recently seen something that looks like a great alternative to training wheels. Seems to be the best of both worlds, although I can't speal from personal experience: http://www.cleverandeasy.com/Simply-Original/teach-kids-how-to-ride-a-bike-using-gyroscopic-wheels.html
2010-03-05 jezra:
The great alternative to training wheels is *no* training wheels. Anything that tries to augment the rider's balance should be avoided, since it is balance that is the most important part of riding a bicycle.
2010-07-02 Yasmin YasYas:
2 wheel are for girls and trianing wheel ore for boys
2010-07-03 Jezra:
What does that even mean?
2012-04-13 Char:
Erm yeah, I don't get why you'd say that Yasmin?...
Anyway, I need some help I think.
Agree with all the above re training wheels - but unfortunately my daughter has them! In brief, she's 3 but fairly tall and certainly very physical and able... (she zips about at pace with good lean steering on her mini-micro scooter since before age 2 etc)
Anyway, we were in the bike shop where I was thinking a balance bike, but she immediately showed interest instead in the pedal bike (with training wheels) and hopped on and rode it round the store, pedalling steering stopping and all...and from this the salesperson told us that we'd missed her window for the balance bike....and so proud as punch her dad there and then bought her the purple pedal bike...which she loves!
So, now thing is she loves riding it, even going quite fast but I am nervous as anything as she has had a fall going round a corner; I think probably she turned too sharply while upright and the bike fell over (outwards)...and I've seen a couple of more nearly falls when at speed she's taken a curve and I've seen some leans (inwards) where the bike looks like it nearly tripped itself over its training wheel!...
What am I to do... tell her to go slowly, especially in the turns? Or go back and purchase a balance bike and lay down the law insisting she use it instead? (of the nice purple one..) Or try and get the pedals off the purple one? (not even sure this is possible given the back-pedal braking set up there also?)...
I just don't know where to go with this now. Please help. I certainly don't want to cramp her natural ability to learn! What do I do?
(and sorry for not being so brief in the and after all).
2012-04-13 jezra:
take off the training wheels
take off the pedals
lower the seat until she can place both of her feet flat on the ground with her knees slightly bent.

There is no need to purchase anything
2012-04-16 Char:
Thanks!

Happens someone has now lent us a FIrstBike...which she is enjoying playing on and coasting about a little even, so yes I reckon it won't be long at all until I move to what you recommend, and then in due course give her the pedals back:
btw any guidance on when to be sure that a child has reached the stage when they're ready for the pedals?...
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2008-09-12
I just received an automated telephone call that informed me that my motor vehicle warranty is going to expire soon and I should press "1" to speak to a representative or I could press "2" to no longer receive call regarding my motor vehicle warranty.

Here are some facts:

  • My motor vehicle is 47 years old: any warranty on my vehicle would have expired before I was born.

  • My phone number has been in the "National Do Not Call Registry" since the registry was created: the last renewal of my "do not call" registration was almost a year ago.

  • Telemarketers are required by law to give the name of the company they are calling for and the phone number they are calling from.


I gave the autodialer the benefit of the doubt and thought I should inform the "representative" that my number is on the Do Not Call List, so I pressed "1". The conversation went like this...

telemarketer: Blah blah blah vehicle warranty division, may I have the make and year of your vehicle?
jezra: No. May I have your telephone number?
telemarketer: one eight hundred go to hell [click - telemarketer hangs up on me]

hmmmm.....
1-800-GOTOHELL is
1-800-468-64355, Hey, that's too may numbers! But I dialed it anyway and was greeted by a recording telling me to check out a diet website.

A quick search on the internet for "vehicle warranty calls" turns up a gaggle of news items and complaints and in almost every article there is a link to the FTC for filing a complaint. So far, the FTC doesn't seem to be doing anything.

Dear FTC and FCC,
The Motor Vehicle Warranty telemarketers are in gross violation of the law. Please fine them out of existence and help fill the Government coffers and reduce the immense debt of the U.S.A.
Sincerely,
Jezra
Comments
2009-01-07 Anonymous:
I received this same call and am also on the "Do Not Call" list. As long as the government does nothing we will continue to receive calls from telemarketers like these guys. I'm sure their legit, NOT! 1-800-468-6435-5 ? Nice telephone number.
I have seached and finally I found that Protection Headquarters is better than others.For vehicles it is the best warranty providers
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2008-08-29
Please change the Olympics.
There are certain problems with the Olympic games that can easily be fixed by either changing specific rules or by removing events all together. Fortunately, I've compiled a short list of issues that, when remedied, will make the 2012 Olympics slightly more bearable.

  • Equestrian Events
    Seriously, get rid of this crap. The Olympics is supposed to be a celebration of the physical feats of humans and in no way does riding a fast horse show the world any specific human prowess. However, if you wanted to add some more events to the olympics that require the same amount of human skill as the equestrian events, I would suggest:
    1. Falconry : hunting with birds is an awesome skill.
    2. Auto Racing: if you can steer a horse, you can steer a car. Vroom Vroom!
    3. Sheep Herding : One animal is for sissies, real athletes control an entire herd.

  • Swimming:
    Dispense with all of the different strokes races. Swimming races should be about going from point A to point B in the shortest amount of time and it should be up to the swimmer to decide which swimming style is the most efficient for them. Let's face it, the butterfly, although quite a physically demanding way to swim, is utterly pointless and inefficient in a distance swim. However, if you would like to add events to the olympics that are as important as the various strokes races, I would suggest:
    1. Backwards running: it may be pointless, but it is a physical challenge
    2. Joggling: jogging while juggling, the coolest running event I have seen that isn't an Olympic event
    3. Walking on your Hands: do a handstand, now try to "walk" 50 meters

  • Pole Vault and Highjump:
    Woohooo! Two for the price of one. Require the athletes to land on their feet. If you can't land it, you didn't do it. However, if you don't feel like making athletes land on their feet, might I suggest not requiring a landing in the following events:
    1. Gymnastics: hey, a flip is a flip, don't worry about the landing.
    2. Ski Jumping for Distance: if you go the farthest, you win. Landing is for suckers.

    Another option, although not quite as good as requiring a landing, is to remove the big soft cushy landing mats that the athletes use. Flop on that, suckers!

  • Professional Athletes:
    Don't allow athletes to compete in a sporting event if they have ever received a monetary payment for playing that sport. What this really means is that professional basketball players should not be on an Olympic basketball team and professional hockey players should not be on an Olympic hockey team. However, it would be quite alright for a professional tennis player to be on an Olympic ping-pong or badminton team.


Well that should do it for now. Stay trashy and keep taking bribes.
Sincerely,
Jezra
PS. Can you please ask London to change their ugly as all hell Olympic logo?
Comments
2008-08-21 Perry:
Yes, Joggling in the Olympics!!

Sign me up.

<A HREF="http://justyouraveragejoggler.com" REL="nofollow">Just Your Average Joggler</A>
Perry, 44
2008-09-01 mjjzf:
Just in from LR forums.
Indeed, who gives a crack about landing on their feet? Stronger, longer and higher must be the main issue.
Seriously, this post was pretty funny.
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