Archive for June 2013

 
 

Sorry, Pepsi

I love Diet Pepsi. And this summer, they have a contest going where you can collect codes under bottle caps and redeem them for chances at prizes on their website. So i went to the website to register. I logged in via Facebook, but they still needed all my information and a new password. Not sure what the point of Facebook then was, but I’ll live.

The form had a captcha, though. And everytime you failed the captcha, you had to fill out a new one AND re-enter your intended password (8 character minimum) twice. I started taking screengrabs after I failed the first half dozen times. This system of captchas is broken.

Please note that Pepsi doesn’t give you the option of choosing lowercase characters. Maybe THAT’S the problem?

captcha1

captcha2

Google Reader Update

I haven’t found one that’ll work in IE8, which is what I’m stuck with at work.

I haven’t tried Feed Wrangler yet, mostly because it would cost me $24 to try it and I kind of doubt it’ll work on IE8, too.

So, maybe I’ll be going cold turkey on reading the news starting Monday.

Sad

Google Reader dies next week

The Voice Semi-Finals Results

The judges have run out of interesting things to say by now. They’re just repeating themselves, and the honesty is long gone. Also, we can drop Shakira. She seems nice enough, but she never says anything interesting. Aguilera can be annoying at times, but at least she adds something to the show.

Sasha’s Whitney song wasn’t nearly as good as the judges hyped it up to be. And the second song — well, Judith Hill lost when she decided to be a techno dance music singer instead of the power balladeer diva everyone wanted her to be. Sasha didn’t learn that lesson.

Amber’s version of “Sad” was amazing, but nothing that would ever get her votes. And “Firework” was painful for the first 3/4ers. That’s NOT a song that anyone should ever do in a singing competition without a major rewrite of it.

Danielle and The Swon Brothers gave their voters more of what they like. Ditto Michelle Chamuel. They go through to the finale. Who wins? Michelle has a chance with the inevitable vote splitting amongst the country fans. But the country fans LOVE to support their people. I think Danielle has the best chance to win it.

Can we please now stop with these group singalongs? They’re awful. “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” could have been awesome if just Sasha sang it. Maybe Michelle could have pulled it off as a solo. The Swon Brothers might have been an interesting country version of it. But having them all trade off lines meant the song never went anywhere. Just when you had a clear direction and a strong voice (usually on Sasha’s line), it immediately got reeled back in so someone else could have their turn, or so that the group would sound in harmony. It was painful. And it’s just as bad on Idol.

Oh, and the returning contestants who have EPs ready to go soon because the world moves too fast to wait for a full record and The Voice’s season ends soon as does their window for best publicity? They all need to learn how to write better bridges, because all their songs sounded the same for those three to four minutes. Very little variations or breakout moments in there. I liked Adam’s guy (Tony Lucca) the best.

Power Mac G5 Unboxing

Stumbled across this and felt the need to post it on the eve of WWDC 2013.

powermac_unboxing_vands

This is from my first Apple computer purchase/unboxing. Pictured are the Power Mac G5 box, extra RAM from Crucial, and an OS X “Missing Manual” book I bought at Amazon. This picture is from September 2004.

These days, I’m on a 27″ iMac. That PowerMac was replaced a couple of Christmases ago, though it’s still on the floor underneath my desk.

My iWatch Prediction/Guess

The tech industry is a funny place. It reads the rumor sites to see what Apple might do next, and then attempts to beat Apple to the punch. The latest case of this is the iWatch. While Tim Cook just recently hinted towards a wearable computing device, Apple hasn’t otherwise said a thing about making a watch. Or a necklace, for that matter. This is all hype fueled by rumor sites and random guesses from analysts. (Gene Munster is still convinced that an Apple TV set is just around the corner. That’s based on, uhm, any random thing he can read into what anyone even loosely connected to Apple might say or hint at.)

I’m not saying that Apple isn’t working on a watch of some sort, but I highly doubt it’ll be the standard watch you’re all thinking of. Watches have two immediate problems that Apple would have to work around:

They’re fashionable and they’re waterproof.

iPods and iPhones are notoriously not waterproof. They have exposed ports for recharging and for headphones. And then they have little sticker inside there to tell when water has hit them, voiding the warrantee. Would an iWatch run on batteries. No, of course not. It would need to be recharged somehow without a hole in it. Does that mean Apple might finally get into the game of making a wireless charger? One of the Android phones has that now, where you just place it on a pad of some sort and the thing magically charges. It’s possible Apple could do that, using the iWatch as a test case for such technology before rolling it out on a grander scale to the iPod Touch and the iPhones. iPads require so much charge that I think they’d be the last to use such technology. Plus, there’d likely be a revolt from people who use third party add-ons that utilize the port. On the other hand, Apple just switched out the old 30 pin adaptor for the Thunderbolt adaptor. So it’s not like they haven’t shown they can do that.

A phone doesn’t need a headphone jack, so that’s not a problem. But is the technology there for the touch screens to be waterproof?

Second is the fashion thing. Current styles go chunky large for men, and smaller for women. The problem isn’t just a pipeline and fashion thing, but a whole user input thing. Unless the whole thing is run by voice control, the watch will need a display most likely larger than what a woman’s watch would normally be. I don’t see Apple disrupting the fashion world in that way.

All of this leads to my theory of what an iWatch is: An iPhone accessory. It’s a bracelet that you wear on your wrist with a bunch of sensors in it that communicates automatically with your iPhone. At best, it has a small one-line digital display of the time on it somewhere. You could make it in black and white. You could make it in a few different lengths to accomodate different wrist sizes. But inside, it has a GPS chip and an accelerometer and who knows what else?

The secret to the product isn’t the hardware, but rather in what software Apple comes up with to utilize the “iWatch.” It has to do more than just what the current market for pedometers and health checkers offer. Maybe that small display (underneath an extra layer of something that’s clear and water protectant) tells you who’s calling before you pull the phone out of your pocket. Maybe swiping your finger along it turns the volume up and down on your iPhone that’s currently playing your favorite song.

And it charges wirelessly, but requires so little power that it easily lasts the whole day and recharges while you sleep. That’ll be the trick. This watch will be an eighth the size of an iPhone, yet still contain sensors and a memory chip. There’s not that much room in such a device for a battery. Keeping it powered will be a trick. But the lack of a display — or a small one, at most — will be a big help.

That’s my guess. In a few months, I may be proven wrong. Or, I’ll stand by my earlier prediction: This is all a fake-out from Apple to keep the competition busy in R&D making a product for a market that won’t be interested in it.