why are people so fanatical about their smartphone choice? and other pressing questions

In the comment sections of tech websites I have noticed the alarming regularity of people getting rude, fanatical and bananas about their chosen variety of smartphone. Why does this happen? My theory includes: 1. All smartphones are essentially the same. Standard functions like phone calls, text messages, take a photo or check the weather — they all do that. 2. They are a luxury ie. fairly useless. One could argue that toilet papers are all fairly similar but (in modern society at least) it is considered an essential and so we don’t feel the urge to populate comment threads with our ravings on toilet paper, which leads me to my third and final point. 3. We do in fact feel like suckers for buying these things and desperately need other people to agree with us about being correct in owning “X” phone.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/9626426402/” title=”overpriced by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5508/9626426402_afcc840d7a_n.jpg” width=”279″ height=”320″ alt=”overpriced”></a>

I have to say app prices have really jumped the shark too. They used to be 99cents if not free. Then a few came in at two bucks. And now I keep seeing the price $5.49 pop up. It’s not the minimum price, there are still free and cheap ones but developers seem to think they can get away with a five dollar price tag for what can often better utter shit. Then there’s the odd one that asks forty dollars or similar, for a computer program you’re going to look at on a tiny phone screen.

Yesterday I was looking at an app called, “Zombies, run!” which is a fitness program that encourages you to go jogging and if you don’t keep your pace up you’ll get infected by zombies. Apparently there are little story bits and encouragements that you listen to on earphones that give you the hurry up. I like stories. I’m trying to get a bit fitter and if I ended up wasting $2 on this thing then it’s not the end of the world is it? But the last time I tried to do sustained running – about 6 years ago – my knee started to get really sore. And if there _was_ a zombie apocalypse why couldn’t I ride my bike to escape them? I didn’t get the app.

spaces in Lion

Apple, you idiots. Why did you wreck up the spaces function in the new version of os x? People think three dimensionally. You should’ve been working towards designing for that. You had spaces working two dimensionally via a grid of four desktops and that was good, but you went backward to one dimension.

I’m all for new features but make sure that the status quo can be maintained by those who want to stay with it.

 

People, if you agree, please leave a comment. Maybe apple will see this and think about re-implementing the old 2×2 spaces.

Tea time won’t be the same without my Donna

During the hols my ipod went on the fritz. I wasn’t sure it was dead, but wouldn’t seem to wake up. I suspected it got a bit of water in it. It didn’t come good after a couple of days. It was roughly 3 years I’d had it. It was an 80gig black “classic” model. I was waiting til I got back home and plugged it into its homebase before concluding that it was really in trouble, thinking that perhaps it was the strange voltage in Aust. that was impeding its recharge and return to health.
I plugged it in here and for a moment it said, Recharging, and had a little picture of a battery but that only lasted momentarily. I left it plugged in, hoping that something good would happen. Later that night I woke to go to the toilet and noticed that in the dark the ipod screen was flashing intermittently — every 10 seconds or so — as if it were trying to communicate with some far off creator.
Three years is a short life for a device of its price. I usually think along the lines of, if I get a lot of use out of an object, or if it provides me an invaluable service, then these are the things that make up its real worth. That is, price is less important. But I’m starting to reconsider the worth of Apple and their iPods.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/5452753952/” title=”IMG_0124 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5176/5452753952_6d4703b7b0.jpg” width=”500″ height=”374″ alt=”IMG_0124″ /></a>

I wasn’t left totally music-less while in Au. I did have some 60 or so more-or-less random songs on the ipod part of the new iphone. This included Amon Tobin’s Monthly Joints series. Ten tracks that I actually bought and like. Also on there was Something Else, by The Kinks, some Russian rap: Shaiba and a bunch of single tracks like Polk Salad Annie by Tony Joe White, Apache – Incredible Bongo Band, and Bule Bule by Los Rockin Devils.

I got to know that stuff pretty well. It reminded me of times in the past when I actually bought most of the music I had and the arrival of new music was much more irregular. I’m a boy of the cassette era. Skipping tracks on a cassette took time and was imprecise.  Consequently I didn’t skip tracks. Sometimes a cassette would be bought on the strength of one or two tracks. I’d get it home and find that the rest of the album was nothing like the singles, but I’d paid hard-earned, shopping trolley-pushing pocket money to buy it so I’d listen to it and eventually the rest of the music on there would eventually grow on me and find a time and place in my life.
I compare that to some of the music I’ve latched onto in the last year or so and the pattern is different. I D/Ld Iggy Pop’s Lust For Life album and I like it but I rarely listen to anything on it apart from the tracks Lust For Life, The Passenger and Fall In Love With Me. With New Values I went that one step further and deleted all of it except for I’m Bored and The Endless Sea. I think Roxy Music’s self-titled album would get into my top 10 of best from last year but the first five tracks have been listened to twice as often as the second half.

So anyway, in normal circumstances all I would bother with on Something Else by The Kinks is the last track, the classic Waterloo Sunset. But in Melbourne, stuck on the god-awful slow and inefficient Met and V/line I had little other choice than to listen to the rest of the album, and found it grew on me. Same with the Russian rap. As a language, its sound suits rap well. It’s easy to picture those young <strike>turks</strike> Russians all attituded-up and gesticulating with their fingers.

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So apart from the fact that the damn things keep breaking on me, I’m debating whether its such a good thing having the whole 80gigs of my music collection at the ready. There’s whole days of stuff in there that I never listen to but it’s difficult to find because iTunes’ filing structure is so primitive and inflexible.

I might just stick with the hard-disk space that’s available on the phone, or perhaps get a nano.

exhale

Interesting that apple aren’t going to service computers that’ve been in smokey environments now. I read that they say the internal components get covered in a goo that stops the machine from venting heat. Don’t remember if they said ‘goo’ exactly but whatever the wording was, it left a pretty vivid little picture in my head, and a nasty one.

This is a 1981 Bullet, fender guitar.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/4151107619/” title=”81bullet1 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2741/4151107619_91f5759c73.jpg” width=”340″ height=”453″ alt=”81bullet1″ /></a>

I was pretty keen on buying it a while back but the chumps wouldn’t post overseas. These aren’t _cool_ yet but I predict they will be. Something about the wear on this, the chipping of the paint on the pickguard, and the combination of colours reminds me of an old plane that’s crashed into the side of a foggy south american mountain and created a cargo cult. I don’t know if this particular guitar lived in a smokey environment.

The way inanimate objects get stained makes me think how well the human body is able to take in this stuff and somehow push it back out, but at the same time, how crazy it is to do it at all. Strange that I did for 11 years.