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August 27, 2009

A true monster of webcomics ()

by fluffy at 8:21 PM
Tonighht I went to the Cartoon Art Museum to get my Perry Bible Fellowship book signed. Nick Gurewitch is a nice, talkative fellow.

While I was there I wandered around the exhibit a bit (very briefly, since it was getting crowded due to the signing — I will definitely go back later to actually explore the museum in the future, possibly this weekend), and on my way out I ended up chatting a bit with Andrew Farago. Unfortunately, all I could really think to talk about was his wife's comics, and also hamfistedly thanked him for accepting my stuff into the exhibit. (I think I come across as a bit of a jerk and/or creepy weirdo when I'm overcompensating for nervousness due to my whole "uncomfortable when not with at least one friend" thing.)

Anyway, Andrew did mention thinking about having some sort of group thing for local web cartoonists, so hopefully that will give me another avenue for my social life.

August 26, 2009

Which track to submit? ()

by fluffy at 1:39 PM
For a while I've been thinking about submitting my album to Magnatune for distribution and licensing and the like. The thing is that for their submissions they want just a single track from the album, and I'm not sure which is the single best track on the album.

So if everyone could just list their top three tracks from it, and which of theirs is their absolute favorite, I will factor that into my decision process.

Everyone I've talked to about my album seems to have a different "this is the best track!" opinion but maybe if there is enough overlap between top-threes that will give me a better idea of which is most likely to be accepted.

August 24, 2009

Charging dock design ()

by fluffy at 10:59 PM
So, because of my new phone, I decided to get a third-party generic knockoff charging dock for it.

The travel charger which came with the phone was a bit dumb in that it's a little wallwart puck with a USB jack, and you still need to carry a mini-USB cable around with you to plug them together. This charging dock is a bit dumb in that there's an integrated USB cable (for plugging into the computer) and a separate mini-USB jack for plugging in the included AC adapter (which has an integrated mini-USB lead). Fortunately, those dumbnesses cancel out — I plug the integrated USB cable of the charging dock into the included OEM travel charger, and use the charging dock's mini-USB-plug charger as my travel charger with integrated cable. Both problems solved. (Of course, I generally don't use a travel charger anyway — my netbook makes a perfectly useful USB power source, and I always have a mini-USB cable in my bag.)

The other problem is that there is a bright blue LED at the bottom of a little hole (which seems to be intended to showcase the clear plastic stylus which came with the dock, which is funny because the HTC Magic screen is capacitive and thus doesn't work with a stylus). Fortunately the hole is also the right size for a cotton swab to be stuffed in, and failing that there's plenty of other ways to plug the hole (putty, electrical tape, etc.).

August 20, 2009

HTC Magic updates ()

by fluffy at 12:38 AM
Now that I've had the HTC Magic for a week, I can provide some more real-life information and observations:
  • Music playback via A2DP is kind of assy. It has buffering and CPU load issues, and seems to be constantly adjusting its playback rate to try to keep the buffer exactly the right size for what's needed, which makes the pitch shift and flutter. This offends my ears.
  • The built-in DAC also kind of sucks. It sounds like it's only precise to 12 bits or so. So quiet bits and fades tend to sound grainy. And the headphone adapter is surprisingly cumbersome, especially with how the mic is placed on it.
  • So today I did the unthinkable and went back to my second-generation iPod Nano for music listening, and I'd remembered how great the Nano is. It's small and light enough that I really don't mind carrying an extra device, especially since it just does shuffle-by-album directly, and it's much less of a hassle to sync with.
  • Finally, by using the HTC Magic as a normal, non-geeky, light-data-usage-and-a-little-phone device (since I was listening to music on the iPod), after a full day the device's battery had only drained by about 3%, making its real-world battery life significantly greater than the iPhone (which would have been drained 25% or so at least under the same usage patterns). Hell, this is about as good as my last non-smartphone (Sony Ericsson W580i) was in terms of standby time.
So, yeah. as an iPhone (phone, Internet device, and media player) replacement it's pretty good, as long as you don't care a lot about sound quality. As a smartphone (phone, Internet device) used alongside a separate media player, it is astoundingly phenomenal.

I did run into a somewhat major issue with the alarm clock this morning, though. If a notification (such as an email) comes in while the alarm is playing, the alarm just sits there in silence. Fortunately I set my alarm early enough that even oversleeping by an hour didn't make me late for work anyway. But it's definitely something to watch out for. The Android bug tracking system is full of alarm clock-related issues, though, and in the meantime I might just finally learn Android app development enough to just Do It Right anyway.

August 14, 2009

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Maddeningly typical ()

by fluffy at 12:58 AM
Perhaps a year ago I had misplaced my right wrist brace, although I knew where my left one was. This wasn't a big deal until my wrists went bad again, and I looked high and low for the right brace but couldn't find it, and ended up just buying a new pair, since I figured that since the left one was kind of worn down I should just have a nice fresh pair.

So a month later (i.e. just now), I thought it would be nice if I could find my noise-canceling headphones, which have similarly been rather hard to find for quite some time. I started looking for them, and thought, "Wait, I shouldn't do that, because the law of irony states that if I do, I will immediately come across my missing right wrist brace."

But I thought that was silly, so I started rooting around for the noise-canceling headphones...

and immediately found my missing right wrist brace.

August 13, 2009

A better alarm clock sound ()

by fluffy at 10:27 AM
So, the Android alarm clock is pretty good, but it has the problem that all the built-in sounds are rather hostile and invasive and just plain loud. Fortunately, it turns out that it's pretty easy to install your own mp3 alarm sounds — simply make a folder "alarms" (all lowercase) on the SD card and put your mp3s in there. So I made a very simple, gentle, ease-you-into-waking up sound which is just a simple sinewave chime that goes every 30 seconds, which you can grab right here.

August 11, 2009

A few hours with Android ()

by fluffy at 8:11 PM
So I've spent some time with Android now, via my G2 HTC Magic myTouch 3G, and while comprehensive reviews have probably been done to death, here are the things which stick out at me:

first post from the G2 ()

by fluffy at 1:36 PM
Android isn't an iPhone killer just yet but it's well on its way.

August 10, 2009

"Delivery Intercept" ()

by fluffy at 7:53 AM
So when I ordered my new phone, I brainfarted and used my home address instead of my work address for delivery. As soon as I realized this (within minutes) I called T-Mobile and asked them to change the shipping address, and they were happy to oblige — but because of their ordering process the tracking number and the like had already been produced and sent to UPS.

No big deal, though, as they were able to send a "delivery intercept" to UPS immediately to change the shipping address. UPS listed this as such before the item had even left the origin.

Fast forward to the following Monday, when I was really hoping to get my new phone since I've been without phone service since Friday, and I'm greeted with the following message from UPS:

THE DELIVERY INTERCEPT REQUEST FOR THIS PACKAGE WAS SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED / THE ADDRESS HAS BEEN CORRECTED. THE DELIVERY HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED
What does this mean? Are they going to delay the package for a day because it has been "corrected" even though the new address is only a few miles from the original address, and even though they already had the new address at the beginning? Hopefully it means they've "rescheduled" it to a different truck in San Francisco on the same day, and the fact I don't currently have a delivery date isn't a problem, seeing as how both home and work are serviced from the same UPS sorting facility.

I really hope I get my new phone today, because there is a lot going on for me right now and I'm expecting some pretty important phone calls. I really hope this is just a stupid boilerplate thing of theirs and a bad process. Of course, if someone had to get their package shipped to an entirely different city, does this mean that the package, even if it could have been rerouted before it left the building, would end up going to the original city and then get reshipped to the new city only after it arrives?

I realize that package logistics are a pretty complex thing, especially when dealing with 15 million packages every day, but it seems like there's still a lot of opportunity to fix things before it becomes a problem later.

Of course, T-Mobile could have just canceled the first shipment and replaced it with an entirely new one. Better yet, I could have just not been an idiot to begin with.

August 7, 2009

I'm done with AT&T, yay ()

by fluffy at 7:05 AM
Number porting could go a little better.

I bought my new phone online, and selected the number porting option. To be helpful, T-Mobile pre-activated my service. Unfortunately, I don't have my phone yet, but this means that AT&T have already canceled my old line. So now I have no phone until Monday. Oops.

On the plus side, AT&T didn't charge me an ETF, or at least they haven't yet, so maybe the whole "unsubsidized equipment" thing means they're being reasonable by default even though they claimed they wouldn't be. I was ready to be all indignant about that, but I guess all my front-loaded indignation is enough.

August 6, 2009

Monsters of Webcomics (, , , )

by fluffy at 7:39 PM
Thanks again for submitting your work for the Cartoon Art Museum’s Monsters of Webcomics Virtual Gallery.

I’m pleased to say that your work has been selected for inclusion in our exhibition, and will be featured in the Virtual Gallery along with a wide array of webcomics from around the globe. This historic exhibition will include over 100 artists, making this one of the largest exhibitions in the Cartoon Art Museum’s 24-year history, and we’re thankful for your participation.

I am pleased as well! My stuff will be in a museum! I think this is only the second time this has happened.

Here's a full press release of the exhibit, and also you can read more about the goings-on at the Cartoon Art Museum on their LiveJournal.

I will have to finally go to CAM and maybe even meet Shaenon and Andrew in person!

August 2, 2009

Forum names ()

by fluffy at 11:18 AM
Just FYI, since many of the people who regularly comment on my blog have changed their usernames in other places, the forum here has always allowed you to change your username, if that's the sort of thing you care about.