Tuesday, January 25, 2011


My friends,

I had not intended to discuss this controversial subject at this particular time. However, I want you to know that I do not shun controversy. On the contrary, I will take a stand on any issue at any time, regardless of how fraught with controversy it might be. You have asked me how I feel about whiskey. All right, here is how I feel about whiskey.
"If when you say whiskey you mean the devil's brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster, that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean the evil drink that topples the Christian man and woman from the pinnacle of righteous, gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, and despair, and shame and helplessness, and hopelessness, then certainly I am against it.

If when you say whiskey you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips, and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer; if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old gentleman's step on a frosty, crispy morning; if you mean the drink which enables a man to magnify his joy, and his happiness, and to forget, if only for a little while, life's great tragedies, and heartaches, and sorrows; if you mean that drink, the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars, which are used to provide tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitiful aged and infirm; to build highways and hospitals and schools, then certainly I am for it.

This is my stand. I will not retreat from it. I will not compromise.

-- Noah S. Sweat, 1952

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

iPad through the eyes of Android user, part 2

It is extremely easy to put something onto iPad.



It is not.

You need iTunes and a platform that it works on. Windows or Mac. Linux won't do.

Files in formats that are not forethought by Apple will have trouble getting onto iPad as well. In other words, forget about using it as just storage.

But wait, that's just the good half of the story.

The bad half starts when you need to retrieve the information from it.

Either you can't at all, or you can only in a crippled form (two words: "optimized photos").

Homework for the inquisitive reader: find a way to back up the content of your iPad without paying Apple for their services.

So now tell me: why can't I just mount(8) the damn thing, again?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Beyond The Obvious

Some years ago every new device came with its own charger - a unique one. Even different devices from the same manufacturer.

Now it seems that manufacturers have eventually agreed that it is possible to get away with just one charger - the one supplying USB voltage. Yeah, sometimes you need more than usual, sometimes can't figure whether it is upside down or downside up, the struggle (or a lag) between Mini and Micro is not yet over.

But still, every bleeping device comes with its own charger - now a USB charger. I have more USB chargers now than a small African country needs, and they keep coming, and coming, and coming.

I wonder when is this going to stop.

Dear God

Dear God:

My prayer for 2011 is for a fat bank account and a thin body.
Please don't mix these up like you did last year.

-- Source unknown

Monday, January 17, 2011

Google Voice + Qwest Security Screen = Oops, $$$

Steps to reproduce the problem:
  1. Have a Qwest landline;
  2. Have the Anonymous Call Rejection and Security Screen on;
  3. Initiate a Google Voice long distance call from your computer;
  4. Wait in disbelief while nothing is happening;
  5. Knowing that GV is flaky sometimes, repeat the attempt a few times;
  6. Give up and use a different way to make a call;
  7. Only to realize later that you've been billed for all attempts to make a call, with no calls being actually made, as far as you are concerned.
Investigation showed that starting a couple of months ago numbers used by Google Voice started being recognized as "Out of area" by Qwest. At this point it seems that Qwests' Security Screen kicked in a voice playback to the caller prompting them to enter their number, and Google's calling service wasn't expecting that, and still continued the call establishment on the target side, thinking that the calling party has picked up the phone.

Likewise, for some callers (not all), your line with Security Screen on it doesn't ring.

It is interesting to note that disabling the Anonymous Call Rejection (*87) doesn't actually do anything - the call still doesn't go through, and you still get billed for the attempt.

However, removing Security Screen from your account helps. It was a useless service anyway - whereas intended to give your possible legitimate callers a way to complete the call, it, in fact, gives illegitimate callers a way to spoof the Caller ID - the number they enter may be anything, and not too many people even remember the meaning of a double ring nowadays.

Why the hell does one keep the landline anyway?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Second Coming of iPhone

Everyone and their uncle is making predictions about the fate of iPhone on Verizon and, in that light, Android. Let me make mine (consciously avoiding citations pro or con, and deep technical issues that are already aplenty):
  • There will be an initial surge of people that are just out of contract (or were waiting for iPhone) on Verizon;
  • There will be an initial surge of people that will switch to Verizon because they didn't want to switch to AT&T, but want an iPhone, who are just out of contract or were waiting for iPhone;
  • This surge will be somewhat sustained for the next few months as more people come out of contract;
  • The surge will then be dampened as they realize that iPhone (or Verizon, or iPhone on Verizon) is not all it cracked up to be, and relay their experiences to their friends;
  • Android acceptance curve will not be significantly affected because the target audience and market segments for Android and iPhone are different.
UPDATE (2011/02/14): Initial surge was weak, with two major reasons to blame: cold weather and people waiting for iPhone 5. Of course, we'll live to see whether more Verizon iPhones will be sold as the weather gets warmer, and what would be the iPhone 5 impact.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Quote Of The Day: Kinds Of Biking

I like muddy trails over rocky trails because I'd rather be wet and muddy than dead and bloody.

-- DT