January 28, 2010

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January 26, 2010

Server move ()

by fluffy at 9:30 PM
So I got kind of annoyed with how slow my legacy Dreamhost account was getting, so I finally gave in and eschewed a working Bogofilter setup for actually being on a new server which wasn't a horrid NFS-cross-mounted mail-server-on-web-server-storage piece of cruft with constant load levels over 20. Dreamhost was happy enough to oblige, and the server seems to have been migrated just fine. If anyone notices anything wonky, though, let me know, of course.

January 25, 2010

January 21, 2010

Homemade soda ()

by fluffy at 11:32 PM
I just realized I neglected to post this here: lately I've been experimenting with homemade soda. I had a few really bad results the last time I tried this (a year ago) but I decided to try Alton Brown's ginger ale out. After I assembled it all, I felt like experimenting with my own base as well. I'd been thinking of making root beer, but then had a flash of inspiration and decided to make chocolate mocha soda.

January 20, 2010

Some positive customer experiences ()

by fluffy at 10:46 AM
So, I needed some stuff fixed around my home, namely my kitchen light fixture and my furnace's flame sensor. I went to Cole Hardware's referral service, and they referred two very good local businesses for that: Brookline Electric and Peterson Heating.

In both cases, the issues turned out to be minor things which I thought I'd ruled out (a defunct switch and cruft buildup, respectively), and if I hadn't been so overconfident in my diagnostic abilities and just went and did those basic repairs myself, I would have saved a lot of money, but that's my own dumb fault. At least I'm supporting the local economy somewhat.

January 19, 2010

Topic For Debate: Chili (, )

by fluffy at 11:10 AM
  1. Should chili have beans?
  2. How strongly do you feel about this?

January 18, 2010

Nexus One minuses ()

by fluffy at 2:19 PM
So, after several days with this, there are already a few bugs cropping up. Nothing severe, but hopefully they can be dealt with:
  • The placement of the microphone hole happens to be where my pinky naturally goes during a long conversation. I'll have to get used to not moving my pinky there.
  • The phone seems to reboot overnight, no explanation given. I lock my SIM, so I always find that my phone is completely inactive until I unlock it. For now I've just unlocked my SIM, since the phone has the pattern-unlock and I don't care so much about locking my service anymore since it has nearly unlimited service and there's a PAYG-enforced cap on things that aren't unlimited. This is an issue that others are reporting too.
  • Sometimes the phone goes to complete silent (not even vibrate) mode when it's in my pocket. Hopefully I can figure out what causes it. I have a feeling that it's one of those dumb human factors problems, since if you hold the power button for several seconds (even when the phone is locked) it brings up the silent/airplane/power menu, and the touchscreen is sensitive enough that it detects my skin through my pants pocket. That is definitely something to complain to Google about; a similar issue is what led me to finally abandon the Ericsson R520m (which I was otherwise perfectly happy with, although granted I wouldn't be happy with it now).

January 14, 2010

Nexus One ()

by fluffy at 11:42 PM
Because I just can't resist temptation for pretty shiny things, I have already upgraded from the myTouch 3G (aka HTC Magic) to the Google Nexus One (aka Google Nexus One). Yeah, it was expensive, but whatever.

I'll just keep it brief here since there's been plenty of other people reviewing it too.

The positive points:

  • Many of the issues with the myTouch 3G are gone. Plenty of RAM and CPU means that even with the extra eyecandy and so on, the device stays responsive most of the time (there's still occasional bursts of lag but they're on the order of around half a second, as opposed to the myTouch which could often be unresponsive for as much as a whole minute)
  • The UI is really shiny. A lot of stuff has been updated and tuned and refined and is just generally better.
  • The built-in IMAP client is way the hell better. There's a unified inbox (with per-account color coding which works extremely well), it's fast and responsive, and just generally great.
  • The web browser is also much improved. The keyboard finally gets next/prev buttons for form entry (rather than a catch-all "done" that sometimes goes to the next field but usually submits the incomplete form)
  • The OS supports multitouch! Or at least, Dolphin Browser does a good job of faking it somehow. None of the built-in apps use it.
  • The dock connector promises to make for some very nice future charging cradles.
  • The first-party weather+news widget is very nice, much better than any of the battery-sucking CPU-chewing third-party widgets I had tried.
  • 5 launcher screens means I don't need folders to organize my apps (for now)
  • Sound quality on headphones is way better than on the myTouch. It's still nowhere near as good as my iPod Classic, but at least it will do in a pinch without making me feel like there's sand in my ears. It also doesn't seem to have the floating sample rate issue over A2DP that the myTouch had.
  • Tactile feedback on the touch buttons almost makes up for the fact they are no longer physical buttons. Almost.
  • It actually stays connected to WiFi without me babysitting the connection!
  • Battery life is about as good as the myTouch...
The negative points:
  • ...which means I still have to recharge it daily.
  • The calendar app still sucks (especially the date and time pickers!), although it's improved.
  • Still no built-in Exchange ActiveSync for calendars (there is ActiveSync for email but I don't care about that) so I still have to sync Outlook to Google which causes weird issues
  • The external speaker isn't as loud as the myTouch, so I'll need to come up with a better alarm clock sound than Bell Chime
  • Just when all my devices were using USB Mini for everything, making it so I only ever needed a single USB Mini cable with me in order to use or charge any one device, along comes USB Micro...
The WTF points:
  • Okay, I get why there is this nice unified "easy access" app which offers clock, calendar, alarms, music playback, weather, and a few other things. But why is that app called "Clock?" And it has some weird behavior if you use the pattern unlock (as I do); if you lock the screen while "Clock" is running, then when you unlock, it's in that app, until you try to use any of its widgets, which is when it shows the unlock screen. If you're not running that app in the foreground, there is (apparently) no way to get to it from the unlock screen. It would be really nice if there were an option to go into that app after unlock if you locked it from the home screen, but there doesn't seem to be an option for that (or any options for it at all, really).
  • I have mixed feelings about Google releasing an awesome first-party phone that they were developing in secret while partners were working to get awesome third-party phones out. I am sure that many of your development partners are more than a little ticked off right now, especially since Google's platform enhancements were basically hidden from the partners and always released only when "done," meaning that the other platform consumers were (and likely will forever be) a few steps behind the bleeding edge. I thought this was supposed to be an open platform for the future, guys.

How not to have a corporate Twitter presence (, )

by fluffy at 9:55 AM
  • fluffy: Yay, my Nexus One is out for delivery! Only a few hours before the crushing disappointment of not having an immediate state of bliss.
  • fluffy: My Nexus One has been out for delivery for THREE HOURS where IS it COME ON FEDEX
  • FedexAl: @fluffy This is FedexAl. Would you like for me to track your package.
  • FedexDolores: @fluffy Hello this is FedexDolores would you like for me to check on your Nexus One for you?
  • fluffy: .@FedexDolores Yes, I totally need a spammy bot to walk me through continuing to reload the tracking page on a package that I already got.
  • FedexDolores: @fluffy Please call 1-877-339-2774 this is our technical assistance number. Our representatives will be glad to assist you.
  • fluffy: @FedexDolores I don't think you understand a single thing I said. I have no problems with FedEx, but fuck off if you're going to spam me.
Anyway, yeah, it looks like FedEx is trying their hand at Twitter by having a number of customer service representative idiots who do nothing but search for FedEx and try to improve customer satisfaction by responding to every single message they see about FedEx in a way that only comes across as disingenuous at best and spam at worst. My first assumption was that it was a couple of bots that were trying to get my package tracking numbers so they could divert the delivery. That could still be the case; I would certainly hope they're not legitimate FedEx representatives because if they are, it's pretty damn damaging to them in my mind.

Sure, out of context I guess my second tweet could have been seen as a complaint about FedEx, but why would two separate CSRs decide that they need to immediately make sure that I'm happy with FedEx service when clearly I know how to track a package and am just being impatient? Maybe they have real customers who demand to know where their package is down to the street level, or don't understand that delivery takes several hours. But I was just joking at my own expense, which anyone who knows me (from actually being a legitimate follower on Twitter — meaning, someone who saw something I had to say and decided I was worth reading for some strange reason) would have understood.

Twitter is a communication tool, which I happen to use to keep in touch with friends and random Internet acquaintances. To me, it is not a B2B marketing tool or a customer service tool or a way to generate revenue or eyeballs or whatever, and every time some business decides they need to monetize the community assets in order to generate customer-facing goodwill or whatever other bullshit leads to these ridiculous decisions, they only serve to ruin yet another thing that people just do for fun.

Bill Hicks had the right idea.

January 11, 2010

January 9, 2010

January 7, 2010