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Great literature on iPhone? You bet!

August 25, 2008 Leave a comment

All iPhone fan boys love trolling for new and interesting apps. So do I – and I am now reading “Great Expectations” on my phone. Dickens may have just rolled over in his grave – please accept my compliments on the tome, Chuckie D. Solid, solid work.

Over the last few months, iPhone has really trained me to read on a small screen. As long as I can zoom in and really bury my face in the device, no problem. I mean, I’d be crashing into street lights and mailboxes while walking around *anyways* – I may as well read and learn something interesting while risking personal injry and looking like a jackass.

This is why I was so excited when I came across the “Books” category in App Store. While its selection is NOWHERE near what you’d find if you purchased a Kindle, it contains a small but powerful set of books that are generally accepted to be great literature. My guess is, the copyright on those titles has run out so you don’t have to deal with pesky-ass publishers if you are the guy developing the app.

Reading Great Expectations has been a lot of fun so far. And I always have it with me, in my pocket. Yay! The part that sucks is that the developer should have made it easy to look up terms in a dictionary. It is just too damn painful to find an obscure word, kill the app, go to browser and look up dictionary.com. Boo!!

But overall, well worth the 2 duckets.

Categories: apple, life, tech Tags: , ,

On iPhone 2.0, Shazam and the future of music

August 8, 2008 2 comments
Shazam!

Shazam!

Like every other Valley Apple fan boy, I’ve been spending lots of time downloading, discussing and evangelizing iPhone apps.

My favorite app right now, bar none, is Shazam. I cannot believe that the list of fawning servile fans of this app is so small, but let me be the first in line. Not only is the app usable and ridiculously useful, IMHO it points to something the music industry should have been working on for a long time.

What is Shazam? its an app that you install on your cellphone and run whenever you come across a track that you can’t recognize (which happens ALL the time to most of us at the gym, the car radio, and if you are a major Kenny G fan, in elevators). Once the app “listens” to a few seconds of the song, it sends the audio fingerprint up to the server and figures out the actual song and sends it down to the device. You can then proceed to purchase the track (at least on the iPhone you can) or watch a YouTube video.

This is great, but it is rendered more powerful by the iTunes model of music. Several commentators smarter than me have commented on how the album – a collection of songs sold as a whole – is still a valid form of music retail.

Based upon my personal behavior over the last 2 years, I call bullshit.

Purchasing music now is like purchasing a stick of gum while standing in line at Safeway. Or the National Enquirer if you want to be trashy about it. In other words, music purchases are starting to be impulse buys. You hear a great track, you WANT TO BUY IT RIGHT THERE. Given the low price point of 99 cents, you don’t think twice about making a purchase RIGHT NOW.

This impulse has been around since iTunes started to take off but its been dormant. I hear a great track on Entourage, I have to do the heavy lifting of remembering the stupid lyric, Googling the lyric (game over right there), finding the track on iTunes and then paying 99 cents for the privilege. Uhh, no thanks.

On the other hand, Shazam greases that impulse better than anything out there on the market right now. Plus, it retails for FREE via the appStore.

What’s not to love??

Categories: apple, life, reviews, tech Tags: , , ,

On my first day on the SF Baby Bullet to Mountain View

March 25, 2008 Leave a comment

Don’t have time to do an extensive post, but here is the ride by the numbers:

  • Number of passengers in coach: 8
  • Number of iPhones: 4
  • Number of laptops: 5
    • Number of Macbooks: 2
  • Time spent aboard: 45 minutes

Social comparisons to any other train system anywhere are probably irrelevant. Too many iPhone toting jackasses in our part of the world – including yours truly.

Categories: apple, life

Oh Lord the Apple iPhone SDK is here. Well almost.

October 18, 2007 Leave a comment

Did I mention to yall that I have an iPhone? Not sure if I raved like a little teenage girl about how I arrived late – yet happily – to the iPhone party, but I did. I have one. I love it. I don’t give a shit about corporate email or the fact that the calendar is worthless or the fact the speakerphone stinks or that the phone really isn’t such a good, well, phone. It is worth it. It is sooo well worth it.

Anyhow, thank god the SDK is here! Think its going to be as crazy as the launch of the Facebook platform? What about an iPhone fund? Now there’s a sign that the VCs are really turning into goats that just love to get herded around.

Categories: apple, iphone

Is Life Really Worth Living Anymore? Fake Steve is Outed

August 6, 2007 Leave a comment

It’s been a fairly non-techy weekend for me. No wonder, then, that I heard about the outing of Fake Steve over email! Thanks to my ex-intern Zain for bringing to my attention.

Sigh. Is life really worth living anymore? Who else is going to say stuff like “I’m going to tear Squirrel Boy a new one” now? And now his goddamn blog is moving to forbes.com???! Great. There’s a domain that aligns nicely with Steve’s chakras and Buddhism.

Looks like I’ll have only Valleywag to snigger with from now on. Damn.

Categories: apple, fakesteve

Aptana Plus Mac Equals Piece of Shit

August 1, 2007 11 comments

Update: If you were landed onto this page, I apologize for the strong title and language. I was just really frustrated with Aptana on that particular day and let loose on this post. This information is a few months old, so I give these guys the benefit of doubt. Just read below for caveats and past experiences.

I should know better. I really should. After using Eclipse for eighteen months, I decided that it was a necessary evil for the following reasons:

  • It is free and has a thousand plugins.
  • It has relatively good support for JSF. Wanna know more about JSF? Beat yourself against a rather sharp rock for a full day, then give yourself a paper cut over your existing wounds. Then I will consider you qualified to read up on JSF.
  • If you run it for a full day, it takes down about 600M of virtual memory. Sweet! Nicely done, you assholes.

I have to say; Eclipse was one of the reasons I quit writing code full time and switched to email/powerpoint as my IDE of choice. Okay, I’m just kidding but you get the idea. Eclipse blows worse than LiLo.

But then I slipped after a few months of non-usage and downloaded Aptana, an Eclipse packaged product that can run Ruby on Rails apps (this is likely not an accurate description but who gives a rat’s ass? The damn thing is supposed to run RoR). I download it on my Mac, and sure enough it takes up 900M virtual memory in the first minute.

Step One: Undock.

Step Two: Delete from Applications folder.

Step Three: Poke pins into my Eclipse IDE voodoo doll.

Categories: apple, aptana, eclipse, ide, tech

Ratatouille – Movie Review

July 8, 2007 2 comments

When I first saw the preview for Ratatouille, I wasn’t so impressed – a movie about rats? No thanks, I’ll pass, I said to myself.

Then I saw the Metacritic reviews with all these critics lining up to drool over Brad Bird’s new oeuvre. It might be worth it after all, I thought to myself.

But this didn’t prepare me for the wonder and glory that Ratatouille brings to the silver screen. I don’t remember the last time I sat in a movie theater so mesmerized, so enveloped by what Fake Steve would call “a sense of childlike wonder”. The story holds its own against the fantastic animation work throughout the movie – no small task, since Pixar has done a fantastic job of imagining Paris in Pixar-land. Cobblestone streets, little European cars, lovely fountains and rude Frenchies – they’ve got it down to the last little detail, as is their wont.

For those who are joining us late – the movie is basically one rat’s quest to go from scavenger to culinary master, from a French countryside cottage to a chic restaurant in Paris. In order to make it happen, the rat must use a young garbage boy who can’t cook worth a damn but has, ahem, a nice heart.

Sound cliched and disgusting? Don’t worry, that’s only because I don’t know how to write. Go watch this one.