Phone News ala Frood Part 3 of 3: Bird in Hand

The waiting is done, I’ve been the happy user of the Pebble Blue Samsung Galaxy S3 with 32GB of memory for three days now.  Verizon is my service provider.  I don’t have much to gripe about with this phone so far but I’m still getting to know what it can do.

Screenshot of my Samsung Galaxy S3
Wallpaper from Victor Hugo’s Iron Man Render

Size/Display: The display seems to be the largest size a display can be while allowing me to use it one-handed, I’m glad I didn’t get a galaxy Note.  The display gorgeous, I can only see the pixels with the phone an inch from my face.  The auto-brightness acts weird sometimes, randomly dimming then brightening back up, but I don’t really mind it that much.  I can comfortably read text on my phone for an extended time, so that’s good.  Also, it looks pretty good with Victor Hugo’s depiction of Iron Man on the background.  Since discovering desktop folders I only use one icon screen.

Battery Life: This was a biggy for me so I’m pleased to see that at eleven hours since being on a charger the battery displays at 69%.  This is with moderate use: I read during lunch, flung some Angry Birds through space a couple times, and used the phone to look things up when my work proxy blocked me.  I’m not sure how it will hold up on the road with GPS or relying on LTE 4G, I’ve been on wifi almost constantly because I’m paranoid of going over the 2GB on the family data plan.

Update 20120720: Since writing this I’ve payed more attention to the battery indicator before plugging it in at night and even with heavy-moderate use I’ve only seen it go down to 25% at night.  That was with 2-3 hours of games, an hour or so of reading PDFs and articles online, and off and on checking of social media.  This battery is pretty solid in my book.

Durability/Style/Build Quality: The build doesn’t feel very robust to me so I’ve handled it pretty carefully so far.  Luckily the shape of the phone is easy keep a hold of.  The phone does hold steady when flexing the corners so what I feel could be deceiving.  The plastic back panel is surprisingly flexible almost to the point of being alarmingly rubbery so that probably offers back protection.  The front screen, I know from reading, is Gorilla Glass 2 which protrudes from the body of the case which is pretty bold.  Front and back are extremely easy to wipe clean of fingerprints or other hand-goop.  Also I like the blue finish, which looks nearly purple in some lights.  The home button is a dark purple, not blue.  I like that the coloring is dark enough to not stand out, but colored enough for it to not just be another black brick either.

Application/Speed: I haven’t noticed any slow downs that can be attributed to the phone itself.  Applications have had their hangups, I managed to crash Facebook yesterday.  The Samsung Keyboard is nearly useless with the dictionary turned on.  As I typed letters it would fill in the word for me even if I typed the exact letters I needed in their right order.  When I turned the T9 off I am my normal useless self when it comes to spelling.  I got a third party keyboard based on ICS, it seems to be doing much better.

S Voice/Google Voice: Other than fooling with S Voice just to laugh at it, adding alarms is only way I’ve seriously tried to interact with the feature.  That is way easier and faster than doing it by hand so I’ll probably keep it around.  Google Voice, activated from the keyboard, is pretty fantastic for dictation.  It’s guaranteed to get something wrong, but it can be easier than manually typing notes or ideas into mind map programs or whatnot.

I haven’t really used the camera yet.  I have not tried to conference call yet.  I haven’t really played any music on it, but the ringtones I set up sound fantastic.  And… that’s all I can think of at the moment.

I still look forward to seeing the Razr HD come to market, but I don’t expect it to be much better than the S3.  I do kind of feel like I’ve sold out in a way since their advertisements are so narcissistic and Apple-esk.  But the only actual constricting elements of this phone seems to be Verizon bloat, locked boot loader, and lack of root access.  Since I never enter my apps menu I haven’t really noticed to be honest.  It’s an Android phone, and I like it.

Believe in Observation: Intro

Education seems to be a controversial subject in this country.  It’s as though people think that we can shape children by filtering the information they’re exposed to.  But parents and guardians should be abundantly aware that their children will inevitably leave the nest and so our job as parents or influential community members is to prepare them for solo flight.  This deep existence we all share with infinitely diverse perspectives which all exist globally online in honesty and/or as trolls.

Should parents be allowed to use their kid’s portion of public funding on schools which teach a restricted curriculum?  Should these schools, or any schools, be encouraged to teach as our forefathers have done and present right as divinity and wrong as demonic?  In the end censorship disguised as education will always look like obstruction and diversion, the opposite of integrity or grace.  I guess I could be biased but truth is truth regardless of what others say or believe.  Truth can’t be sifted away because reality is the water in which experiences grow, bob, or sink.

I would like to attempt a blog series presenting observations of humanity without narrative or interpretation.  It’s just an idea, I have no idea whether I can pull it off.  But I hope it can be used as a reference to springboard past the baggage of the changeable human interpretation of various controversial subjects.  My first project will be a topic I’m fairly familiar with: Evolution.

This is a long term thing, don’t expect and update on this in the near future. 🙂

Is Duplication Stealing?

This started out a comment response to Jax’s blog who basically blogged her agreement with this blog post that is attempting to make a case against copying music.  The original analogy in the post against copying music talks about a distributor who doesn’t lock up at night and has their product stolen with the aid of various other companies that charge for services such as maps, roads, or whatever else.  This analogy doesn’t stand up because the distributor doesn’t loose any product.

An artist’s official online Youtube channel, Hulu, Netflix, band website, or whatever is distributing data so it can be reproduced and displayed by your computer, X-Box, Wii, TiVo, etc. Taking a step back to talk about physical media doesn’t really change the story since music is data.  Copying data comes standard issue on every computer since forever because that’s what computers do.  Fact of the matter: Making something easily accessible means making it easy to produce.  You can’t have your cake and eat it too.  I have the same feelings for entertainers and artists that I do for any producer of a easily replicated product that everyone likes enough to copy but not enough to wait for innovations or pay for it.

I made another analogy of my own and I got it to a point that it was pretty solid.  But it was also overly elaborate.  It contained nanobots that could keep pastries fresh forever as long as people didn’t swallow which lead to people copying every kind of food including raw meat products.  In the end butchers and food artisans get the shaft since the copy machine replicated structure.  The bakers and other innovators aren’t as hard hit because they their product can adapt as time goes along

Mad as a Hatter

Life has stayed kind of crazy since we had the Austrian exchange student stay with us two months ago.  Becoming a house of five seems to have kicked the world’s timing into a higher gear but even though he’s been gone for a month and a half it doesn’t feel like things have slowed down any.  The weekend after that my sister was in town and we went to Canyon Beach, Oregon.  My father was also in town only he was around for two weeks.  Memorial Day weekend we drove around the Olympic peninsula in Washington to see the Twilight (book) locations before arriving in Seattle to hang out with an old friend and show our German exchange student the big city.  In subsequent weeks we’ve also gathered a bunk bed, done a thorough cleaning of rooms to Goodwill cloths away.  We also picked a dining room table up from Craigslist in preparation for a baby-shower.

We’ve also been doing some major prep for the baby in addition to the bed and crib.  The baby shower, which is coming up, will call for a major rearrangement of stuff and we have a full-on finance plan to follow now so that my wife can take 6-8 weeks off come baby-time.  Luckily it includes specific allowance for replacing my 2.5 year old phone.

Our German exchange student has been learning to drive while she’s here because it cheaper here.  They have to take classes in stuff in Germany.  With only a month left we’ve been trying to get her on the road as much as possible.  Her test is the day or two before she flies away so the pressure is on.

Somewhat related to our German exchange student I’ve recently discovered of a way I can immerse myself in a language and I started giving it a go last Sunday night when I loaded up the German version of Skyrim.  I’ve been taking screen shots and translating the subtitles when I’m not playing so lingual structure and vocabulary will eventually get more recognizable.  That’s the theory anyway, we’ll see if it works.  It’s the bee buzzing in my brain right now, I want to get that train moving while I have a German in the house to make sure the process is getting me straight.  Also, Skyrim doesn’t get much better than when you have Orcs with two-handed hammers taunting you in German.  It’s fantastic fun!

My buddy up in Seattle energized another bee in my head which is still buzzing, only lightly waiting for it’s turn. He’s working and coding up a project of his own and having someone to converse with about learning languages set me on course to actually start laying some track and set up a Java development environment on my computer.  I almost had it right but wasn’t getting the results tutorials suggested until my brother-in-law came back from college he showed me what I missed.  I’ll get right on that after the momentum for my German Skyrim Project has established a sustainable momentum of it’s own.

Another kind of silly occurrence is that everyone in the house now plays Draw Something with each other.  That’s been going on for over a week now.  My wife just drew me a sniper; hopefully she can guess the Yoda sent back to her.  But the game is pretty awesome.  It brings families together.

I’m sure there’s more cool multi-day stuff taking up my time which I’m forgetting.  This blog is actually a relatively new occurrence too I suppose.  I’ve also gone back to using Personal Brain as my mind mapping tool of choice.  I was using Evernote but the way you can associate ideas and whatever else in Personal Brain makes it easier to jump from one thing to another, or simply link it without having to move anything anywhere.  Evernote still shines because it auto-syncs using the internet.  With Personal Brain I have to sync files from one computer to another using phone storage because I don’t want to pay for the tool just yet.

That’s it for this update.

Waiting for Dovahkiin

Have you ever heard of Skyrim?  It’s an adventure world of swords, dragons, and Nordic-medieval grit and you get to play the dovahkiin, a human with kinship to the dragons.  It’s basically your job to adventure around and beat things up with the ultimate goal of saving the world from a pending apocalypse at the hands of an evil dragon.  It’s pretty awesome if you’re into that sort of thing.

Anyway, I was doing something monotonous the other day and amused myself by wondering what it would be like to be in the game as one of the random town people, bandits, or various other things you come across as a player.  Dragon’s don’t show up until he starts his reign over the land and even then they don’t come to town until the %#$ dovahkiin comes along bumping into people, knocking things over, and pawning pillaged wares on our shops for every scrap of gold.

Generally speaking the non-player characters don’t associate you, the dovahkiin, with their overall hardships.  On the contrary you’re the guy who helps them.  This morning I helped a town leader by paying off hired blades squatting in his town’s mine.  As a reward the town leader pays me more than what I payed the mercenaries, so the guy was able to help himself the whole time if only he had the programming.  And I have no sympathy for his workers, who were complaining about going back to work.  I started off in wandering around in rags and bindings and managed to make a decent amount of coin as a vigilante doing odd jobs for people.  Contrary to what you’d think based on my previous paragraph towns and shop keepers don’t seem to mind my bloody pilfered goods as long as I didn’t steal it from society.

There is a minor point to this post besides just bsing my tales in Skyrim… there are quite a few people that I have ran into in my life who remind me of non-player characters.  Content to live a life without variation where change is a matter of anxiety because it’s outside of their control or willingness to reach out and take control.  In reality each individual is the protagonist in their own life; there is no way to walk out of your own story.

Government Commune

I wonder what would happen if voting got tied in with paying taxes via what I’ve started calling in this article a “tax ballot.”  With the development and availability of modern information technology it’s possible for voting and taxes to occupy the same time frame for every state, provide a “paper trail” in the form of a series of digital exchanges that the voter/tax payer initiates and can track personally.

A system like this would also open the door to true government transparency.  I spent a while trying to figure out where my tax dollars go and couldn’t get further than the typical pie-graph of defense, medicare/medicade, social security, and various other black box systems voted on by representatives.  Whatever happens in the black boxes obviously money goes into the pool and expenditures come out another side, for many of them to the aid or paycheck of another citizen.  In the system I’m wishing for privacy precautions should apply which means that the system shouldn’t be able to display on basis of individual or business except for the case of the individual or business logging in.  Displaying pools by county with additional drop down pools for public offices and organizations as well as fed and state tax expenditures.

In time this kind of system can be revised and expanded to include functionality for bidding in or out various services that are new or obsolete in local government which can be expanded wider until it reaches a federal level.  This process would give tax payers some self-representation and, therefore, personal responsibility for the  way the local, state, and federal government distributes services.  A government for the people could start to becoming of the people and by the people.

Status Update of June 2012

It seems inevitable that I make blog posts when I comment on another blog since every time I do that I go through a massive effort to find the password that works for my account.

I updated the blog theme so it looks less like an OSX desktop.  The leatheryness seems oddly cozy some how.  Like I could drink some grog and tell stories of killing dragons in it.  Yeah, I started a new char in Skyrim because playing the Diablo III demo put me in the mood to play a hack-and-slash but I didn’t care for the story or game dynamics of the game.  Using alternate beginning and no fast travel mod while cranking the difficulty to master has made it a different game.  Good fun, but probably boring.

Following up on past posts, I’m still awaiting a new phone.  I’m almost certain that I’ll be purchasing the S3 this weekend as a fathers day gift but since it’s a pre-order I wont actually get it in my hands until July (hopefully).  Apple is being a punk and using copyright law to keep the S3 from getting into the states, hopefully I don’t have to wait longer than the official launch date.  I’m getting the pre-order because I want to keep my unlimited data plan.  I’m getting the S3 because it’s the only phone worth it’s money that’s out at vzw.

Things seem pretty mellow in my head right now.  On the philosophical wandering side of my interests I mean.  Christianity has lost much of it’s mystery and challenge and atheism is a non-starter without the contrast.  I’ve turned my interest to human history but tools I need to record and link things while I explore don’t exist which means I’ve slowly… oh so slowly started to learn Java/Android development.  So pretty much all that I’m interested in on the philosophical front is waylaid until I get a grip on databasing in Java to put together dynamic interface I want but doesn’t exist to my knowledge.

In other news, Avengers is awesome, Snow White and the Huntsman (Bella and the Thunder God) was okay, and Silence of the Lamps was pretty interesting.  Yeah, I didn’t get around to seeing Silence of the Lambs until this last weekend.