chronovore: (sweater)
Printing is not fun. What's the opposite of fun? It's that.

I bought an Epson printer which supports AirPrint, among other transmission formats like Google Cloud Print, and some Epson thing they've done on their own. I set up the printer, no problem. Print via wired connection - it wants Letter paper. I'm in Japan. No-one uses Letter. Why is it asking for Letter? I think it is related to system language somewhere on my wife's Win7 machine. It's a Japanese Win7 machine, but I may have told it somewhere to prioritize US English, because Epson's installer ran in English. I don't know why.

Anyway. It did.

I switched the PC's printer default to want A4 paper. That worked. Then I told the printer to print its own report. "Letter, please." I burrow down all the printer's own onscreen menu items until I find its internal preference: Letter. OK, set that to A4 as well. Now the printer knows it prefers A4 paper.

Print from iPad: "Insert Letter." WTF. Where is Letter defined on my iPad? I don't have a page setup option on iOS Safari's Print my iPad. The printer defaults to A4, so why is it asking for Letter?

It turns out FileMaker Go, at least, allows me to perform page setup before acting, so I was able to set A4 there and get on with things. Now I have to figure out why it's printing two pages and bleeding off the side, but that's a minor issue.

Anyway, yeah: Printers. I hate them.
chronovore: (mouthy)
(OK, it looks like this is a 3.1 issue; I thought I'd installed 3.1 at launch but apparently I was running 3.0.whatevs until this morning.)

TLDR version:I hate being made to feel stupid. Why do engineers ever think it's a good idea to put multiple search fields available in an application's user interface? iTunes does some weird crap, but even iTunes knows enough to make Search contextually sensitive to location within the app. In your Library? I'll search the library. In the Apple Store? I'll search the store. It probably also isolates if you're in your iPod or iPad...

One of the things which irks me a lot are shortsighted UI changes which look efficient but are actually confusing. Like MS Office "ribbon"? I hate that thing. It may be great for new users, but for users who are accustomed to Office, suddenly it's just about impossible to find my own ass with both hands, a flashlight, and a GPS.

Thunderbird mandated a "minor" revision this morning (actually with 3.1) and its search functionality has changed. Until this morning, it had a single search field, and the magnifying glass icon was a drop down for Search Type, e.g. search all messages, message body, subject, to: and subject, etc.

In today's revision, in addition to the Search field at the top, now there's a Quick Filter bar underneath it, with the ability to show only mails with attachments, tagged mail, mail from contacts, etc. The whole Quick Filter bar can be minimized/hidden, so you don't have to see it all the time. It also has its own Search field for text entry.

The functionality for Quick Filters was previously inherent to the universal search field, but now the various drop down Search options are now buttons. These are displayed only if text has been entered, so what was one step is now a progressive isolation of search results. That's not inherently bad, but it's a big change.

But now there are two fields for text entry when searching: "Search All Messages" field and a "Quick Filter" field. I just don't see a reason why this wasn't included in a "Search" bar. Anytime a user has to go multiple places to find things, it's confusing. And I can't believe the change isn't advertised in mile high flaming letters on the greeting screen.
chronovore: (furious)
At work we have fingerprint reader locks at the entrances leading to the building's common spaces such as the elevators and hallways leading to the building's restrooms. Unfortunately they are kind of a pain in the ass, because the registration of the fingerprint alignment is quite finicky, and the bond between the glass and finger does not work well if the proffered digit is overly dry, there is no user feedback from the lock while it scans (Is it reading now? Did that go through? Is it active, or is it warming up to read? Do I need to try again?), etc. I've joked that, if these locks were used in a horror movie where the main character is fleeing from the monster or alien, in movies they always open at the last minute but with these locks the character would just get eaten. They are really uncooperative locks.

So it's quite a stroke of when I'm returning from the restroom and someone else is leaving the dev floor. All they have to do is push a button and the door unlocks, but from the opposite side you have to go through Fort Knox procedures to get back on the floor to work.

Sometimes, however, there will be someone standing on the dev floor side, waiting... they can hear the beep-beep-beep of my employee number being entered, they can then hear the long delay after those beeps, while I fumble my finger around on the glass, trying to find a position that the lock accepts my fingerprint. They're planning to open the door, but they're waiting for me to do it. WHY? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? PUSH THE FUCKING BUTTON AND OPEN THE DOOR. DO YOU THINK HANS GRUBER IS OUT HERE WITH A BAND OF TERRORISTS, ABOUT TO KICK IN THE DOOR? DO YOU THINK HANS FUCKING GRUBER IS GOING TO BE WAYLAID BY A FINICKY FINGERPRINT LOCK? OPEN THE GODDAMNED DOOR FOR ME, JOHN McCLANE.
chronovore: (Default)
Gartner forecasts phones overtaking PCs as most common web browsing device by 2013 -- Engadget:
and that by as soon as 2012, 20% of businesses will "own no IT assets" -- meaning that employees would be using their own personal computer, and that the businesses themselves would be relying on cloud-based services.

spinning

Oct. 6th, 2009 03:30 pm
chronovore: (Default)
Decided to download Google Earth to my iPod, then proceeded to enter my sister's home address in its search function.

The globe spun, slowed, then twisted lazily inward, zooming in on the address nestled in the low California hills, showing the street leading up to it which has been the last leg of so many visits, the driveway I've parked in, and the house where my sister and Lee provide safe harbor against the jetlag and fatigue, plying me effortlessly with coffee, baked treats in the coziest breakfast nook in the world, and endless love and acceptance. I am so overwhelmed with sudden homesickness, it has brought me to the edge of tears. I wonder what exactly is technology enabling, in my case.
chronovore: (Default)
I am stupid in love with my iPod right now. I've had a "Recently Added" smart playlist for some time, which contains only the stuff added in the previous 30 days. When I spend much time perusing the MP3 blogs, it briefly swells with a few interesting tracks, some of which I like, others get tagged for deletion after a couple of listens.

Recently I joined eMusic, which has resulted in some crazy cool finds. Right now I've got Peter Murphy's "Alive Justforlove" live album, St. Vincent, AUTECHRE, and Khate blowing me from breezy female vocals to Peter aurally twiddling my pleasure centers, and AUTECHRE and Khate leading me by the hand through frightening, blown-out desolate audio landcapes.

And just when all hope seems gloriously lost, recent free lightweight pop downloads from iTunes music store or Last.fm (Parachute, Moby, Jessie James), recently acquired The Cars' (1978) eponymous first album, or Radiodread's reggae covers of Radiohead come on, appearing like a cartoon bluebird of happiness.
chronovore: (mouthy)
Popgadget Personal Technology for Women: Privacy protestors block Google Street View "spy" car:
Street View, Google's attempt to index the entire world in 360 degree photographs, hit a snag this week in the small village of Broughton in Buckinghamshire, England.

Residents formed a human wall, stopping Google's vehicle from entering the village or capturing any useful pictures of its outskirts.

Paul Jacobs, who spotted the Street View car and called an impromptu demonstration, says he was motivated by a fear of burglary, as the area has seen three burglaries in the last six weeks: "If our houses are plastered all over Google, it's an invitation for more criminals to strike."

What do you think of Street View? I know I've had fun using it, but perhaps I'd feel differently if my house were clearly visible. Or if I had anything worth stealing.

Via The Guardian.

Oct. 31st, 2008 05:28 pm
chronovore: (Default)
OMG - Webmonkey: google adds SMS chat; I'll be nickel-and-diming you all to death soon.

squEee!

Aug. 27th, 2008 02:42 pm
chronovore: (Default)
ASUS | Eee PC: I'm seriously thinking about getting one of these for email/web use around the house. The Wife loves the little Panasonic Let's Note r4 which work provided to me, but it's work's machine, not mine -- and by extension "not hers."

Do any of you have an opinion on these little buggers, or suggestion of alternatives for similar functionality?

Edit: xposted to [livejournal.com profile] tech_support
chronovore: (mouthy)
My ISP just sent me a lengthy email detailing in outline form all of the new features they'll be upgrading my service to next month. The entire letter is a giant PNG file, not text. C'mon, Rambo. Are miniscule variations on sans-serif typefaces THAT important to you? Or are you just utterly stupid?

...Can there possibly be a technically reasonable explanation for sending out a mail in graphic form, in this day and age? I mean, I can't even search my files for its text, should a need arise. Jackasses.

Edit: One main point in the mail is that my hosted website will be "frozen" from July 24 to August 5; nearly TWO WEEKS... and they're giving me apparently 8 hours notice about it. Double-Jackasses!

jerks

Jun. 16th, 2008 06:49 pm
chronovore: (mouthy)
MPAA wants to stop DVRs from recording some movies:
MPAA has pressed its Petition for Expedited Special Relief on behalf of Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal City Studios Walt Disney Studios, and Warner Brothers. How did these media companies get an FCC proceeding so fast? Ars bets that hiring former FCC Commissioner Kathleen Q. Abernathy as their attorney helped. Abernathy supported former FCC Chair Michael Powell's drastic relaxation of the agency's media ownership rules in 2003, along with Kevin Martin, now head of the agency.

Movies go through a timeline of staged releases that lasts about three years. First they go to theaters; 60 days after that they start showing up in airplanes and hotels; in 120 days from their theatrical release they transfer to DVD and Internet download; about a month later to video on demand/pay-per-view; by the end of the year to premium subscription systems like HBO and Showtime; and eventually to basic cable and free TV.

MPAA says these studios want to release their movies to multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) "significantly earlier and prior to DVD release"—although the trade groups' filing won't say exactly how much sooner. But in exchange for the accelerated service, MPAA wants permission to obtain SOC blocking of recording capabilities. The group promises that once said movies have reached the home video sale/rental stage, the blocking will stop. (remainder of article) (via /.)
I know there's a bunch of you who think Cory Doctorow's a loudmouth, but he's got one thing right about DRM and copy protection: nobody wakes up and says to themselves, "Gee, I really want to do less with my media today." And that's all this is about; the MPAA wants to be able to restrict your ability to use the technology you bought in a way that you've already been using it. Horse puckey.

I'm going back to books. Well, videogames and books.
chronovore: (mouthy)
Sony delays PSP Skype in Japan // GamesIndustry.biz:
Sony Computer Entertainment Japan has delayed the launch of the Skype service for PSP users just 24 hours before it was due to launch.
The company had prepared two first-party microphone packages for launch day, but neither of these has met specifications defined by Skype.
Huh? How does Skype's parent company not know that the microphone is not up to their standard until the day before launch? How man units were manufactured and will now need to be destroyed?

I'm just flabbergasted that Sony made a first-party bit of hardware kit for Skype and somehow it's not good enough for the brand. It seems backward.
chronovore: (mouthy)
Wired Gadgets: Macworld Confirms Growing Trend of 'Hardware as a Service':
Apple's iPhone update revamps the Google Maps application to give it a GPS-like "Where am I?" feature that uses cell towers and WiFi hotspots to triangulate the phone's location. It also includes the ability to add custom icons to the phone's "home" screen.

Apple is providing the iPhone and AppleTV updates for free, but is charging $20 for the iPod Touch upgrade.

Because of general accounting practices, Apple generally can't provide new features without charging for them. But last year, Apple adopted an unusual subscription-like accounting practice for the iPhone and AppleTV. Instead of recording revenue in the quarter the devices are sold, the company amortizes the revenue over 24 months, like a subscription. The change allows Apple to add new features for free without running afoul of accounting regulations.
That last paragraph really caught my eye; Apple was only able to rationalize adding value to existing hardware due to an unusual "subscription-like" means of handling their own accounting processes. This is really curious, because software doesn't entirely seem to follow this model; MS and Apple both will "add value" to their software such as Media Player and iTunes, respectively.

I don't fully understand the difference why MS and Apple are willing to write off ongoing software expenses (for "free" software at that), but do to an accounting perspective, have been previously unwilling to provide a similar experience to people who buy their gadgets.
chronovore: (furious)
Every time I get stumped and resort to Altavista's Babelfish or Google Translate to translate Japanese to English, I feel like a complete genius for understanding what little I do of this language. The stuff that comes out of the automatic translators is like Burroughsian cut-up poetry.
chronovore: (mouthy)
With Google Web History enabled, I worry that Google knows more about me than I know about myself.
chronovore: (mouthy)
This has got to be one of the most bullshit pieces of fearmongering, wrong-headed tripe I have read outside of a Bush presidency State of the Union transcription:
Wi-Fi piggybacking widespread: Sophos has revealed new research into the use of other people's Wi-Fi networks to piggyback onto the internet without payment. The research shows that 54 percent of computer users have admitted breaking the law, by using someone else's wireless internet access without permission.

According to Sophos, many internet-enabled homes fail to properly secure their wireless connection properly with passwords and encryption, allowing freeloading passers-by and neighbours to steal internet access rather than paying an internet service provider (ISP) for their own. In addition, while businesses often have security measures in place to protect the Wi-Fi networks within their offices from attack, Sophos experts note that remote users working from home could prove to be a weak link in corporate defences.

Stealing Wi-Fi internet access may feel like a victimless crime, but it deprives ISPs of revenue. remaining claptrap )
Sharing is not a crime; if I have a phone and am entitled to limitless free local calls, and if I choose to let my neighbor come over and make free local calls whenever they want, or even give them a satellite phone so they can use it without bothering me, that's not a crime. As for the EULA, I'd be hard pressed to believe it would hold up in a court.

I lock up my computers, but not my WLAN. I'm willing to let people use my WLAN as long as no-one goes crazy-abusive on it.

Edit: Apparently this is an IT security blog in the UK, where accessing a wifi network without permission is illegal. This is not /generally/ illegal in the USA, though there have been exceptions (see commments).
chronovore: (mouthy)
Salt Lake Tribune - Apple's new OS has its claws out for Microsoft:
Time for an OS smackdown. Turn to page E3 for a point-by-point comparison by Tribune staff writer Vince Horiuchi, who has tested both systems.
chronovore: (Default)
Nerd Chic Arrives on TV - New York Times:
The Web, which has been seen as an ancillary medium for brands established elsewhere, is becoming an incubator of media properties that can extend over any number of platforms.

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