Saturday, August 28, 2010

The "like" button...

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that the most used feature on Facebook is the "like" button.

We "like" for many different reasons, and NOT always because we like something. In fact I find it kinda weird when someone posts something disappointing like a death in the family and underneath you see "3 people like this"...

I know that when it comes to playing Facebook social games, I "like" a post as a reminder that I already clicked on it. Other times it is to show the poster that I participated in their war, barn raising, dish spicing, etc. It's a whole lot easier than actually writing, "I helped."

The "Like" button has been interpreted by some to be the "I wanna know where this conversation goes" button. Yeah, when you have nothing constructive to add to a comment, and you only want to see how someone else is gonna comment this is what the "like" button turns into.

And then the "like" button could actually mean you like the post! who knew?

My question is this; why call it the "Like" button. The only definition that comes close to its perceived use is this:
- corresponding or agreeing in general or in some noticeable respect...

If Facebook continues to be a social networking juggernaut then one day in the future a extra definition will need to be added:
- a notification to one speaking that you have taken notice of their statement, and would like to subscribe to further thoughts on the matter.

Yeah, yeah I like how that sounds. I'm really liking that definition...

Which brings me to my next inquiry. Why do people like their own comments? I like to think about what I say before I say it, so, in a way, haven't I already established that I approve of my words by the fact that someone else is reading them? Maybe that's just me though... Seems to have no other purpose...

(I like this stamp too...)

Do I think the "like" button is unnecessary? Not at all! Sometimes you just don't have anything better to say. I like a lot of comments I see on Facebook so the "like" button, to me, can also be a indication to the poster that I enjoyed reading the post and look forward to reading more of their future posts.
It's always nice to know that someone is enjoying the effort you put into posting. Your less inclined to feel like your wasting your time. What do you think?

Oh by the way! On a COMPLETELY unrelated note, I added a "Like" Button to these blogs. :) So when your too busy to add to the blog with your comments, at least take an additional second to "like" it if you wanna see more in the future...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Interesting Apps Episode 2 - TeamViewer

There's only so much a iPad can do. But there's always a way to make it do more...

Enter TeamViewer

"TeamViewer - the All-In-One Solution for
Remote Access and Support over the Internet
TeamViewer connects to any PC or server around the world within a few seconds. You can remote control your partner's PC as if you were sitting right in front of it."

It's like having my home computer wherever I go! I could seriously do commercial for this app!

All you need is a Internet connection for your home computer as well as the free software installed on both your computer and your iPad, iPod, or iPhone. You are given a unique ID number and password and using this you can connect to your home computer from your iDevice no matter where you are, (as long as you can get on the internet.)

You're then able to control your computer just like if you were right in front of it. This includes all keyboard controls, as well as full mouse functions. Slow connection speeds affect the picture quality but under normal circumstances your desktop is displayed exactly as it would be from your home monitor.

Now why do I use this program? Four big reasons...

1. Quick photo editing on the go. - sure there are tons of photo apps for the iDevices, but nothing beats the processing power of a home computer. Especially when your home computer is a Mac :). I can send and open pics in aperture or Adobe, do some touchups and upload them or send them right back to my iDevice.
I recently did this while out of town and it was a lifesaver. I also can access by backup drives and access older albums that I don't keep on me.

2. Flash enabled Facebook games. (Cafe World, Mafia Wars, Treasure Isle, etc.) -
DON'T JUDGE ME! Lol I'm not gonna take my lunch break to go all the way home just to take my Strawberry Cheesecake off the stove before it spoils.

3. Remote Assistance. - Here's the scenario: a friend calls me because they are having problems with their PC. They download Teamviewer, I log in, problem fixed, and it's back to business.

4. Website maintenance. - because I gotta maintain my websites. Yep... That's about it.

Final verdict? Buy now... HOLD IT!!!!!! *Phoenix Wright impersonation*

This app is Free, for personal use only. Rather than explain the many ways, just believe me when I say there are many practical ways to use such a program in a commercial sense. That being said this app is also directed to businesses with a price tag of 99 dollars for the iPhone/iPod version or 139 dollars for the iPad version.

Wow! Talk about enforcing the honor system. Both versions are identical, (from what I hear. Sorry my wallet has a 5 dollar cutoff when it comes to apps.) When you install the program on your computer it will ask you via "Terms and Conditions" if you are using it for private or commercial purposes and you are reminded to "Play Fair" after each session but it just makes me wonder how many sales they get at that price tag?

Anyway, the FREE version is well worth a download, even if you just want to get a few kicks making your wife think the PC has a mind of it's own while you laugh to yourself in the other room (not that I've done anything like that, just say'n. Lol)

See ya next blog...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The N Word...

It is virtually impossible to shelter children completely from the racism that exists in the world today. So it seems only natural that television would explore this topic time and time again in a effort to, in some ways, offer a additional form of education in real world issues, that has often been neglected by parents. IamRandomosity made a excellent blog on who should be allowed to use the N-Word, but something I saw on TV had me thinking about another extreme. Should the N Word be censored when it is used in a effort to educate people on its negative impact?

While recently watching Nick@Nite, a episode of Family Matters came on that brought back memories. Laura was attempting to get a Black History class added to the school curriculum when she was found her locker had been broken into. She found a letter reading "If you want Black History, go back to Africa", and it then cut to a commercial.
But wait, there was more to that scene. Here's the complete scene...

On the Nick@Nite edit, the locker door was never shown. This is the only occurrence of the N Word in this entire episode and Laura's reaction to it really defines the rest of the episode. It was not used in some joke, rather to define the severity that comes with racism. The easy answer would be that the network has made it a policy to remove the word no matter where it occurs, but in doing this, they are actually taking out what may be one of the rare occurrences of when that word could be allowed.
Should episodes intended to educate a younger audience on the negative power of that word be edited just because they use the word? Share...



HALO - Social Networking Evolved
Halo would be a free game.
The only available weapon would be the plasma pistol for the entire game (single and multiplayer).

A few months after the release Zynga adds that after reaching a certain rank you can now use a pistol. BUT if you didn't want to take the time to reach that rank you could spend "Spartan" points to unlock it immediately. How do you get "Spartan" points? With cold hard CASH!

You spend the next few days leveling up and you finally unlock your pistol but now Zynga released 7 other weapons. They also figured they would be generous by offering up to 5 "free" Spartan points if you play the game 7 days in a row.

They also want permission to post on your Facebook account every time you kill a elite so that your friends can get a exp boost.

After playing a few levels you are halted by a message saying, "In order to advance further into Covenant territory you must 'recruit' 5 Facebook friends to play with you."

By the time you get your 4th weapon Zynga releases 5 holiday themed weapons that are only available for the next 3 days. Hope you have Spartan points…

After 6 more months of gameplay Zynga teases you with more levels, but before you can play them you have to "prepare" by recruiting 5 more Facebook friends…

Somewhere in-between scheduled maintenance and teasing new levels Zynga finds the time to release 7 more weapons. But this time the only way you can get them is if your Facebook "recruits" help you. Each weapon requires 10 of four parts and each "recruit" can only send one a day. Hope you have a ton of "recruits"… (Oh did I forget to mention that you can get individual parts for Spartan points.)

Zynga finally releases new levels in the form of a new planet but because of the harsh environment of this new world you need all new weapons. (Yeah you know what that means. Level up and spend those Spartan points.)

---- It's sometime around this point that you realize you lost 25% of your Facebook friends because they're tired of hearing about how you assassinated a grunt and would like to share the wealth ---

Your still playing? Ok then Zynga would like to reward you by giving you a defense boost for every active "recruit" you have on your team. Those spartan points are also 10% off for a limited time…

Zynga announces that online multiplayer will be reconstructed to support larger vehicles. In order to finish the fight your gonna need make roughly 10 requests a day for 2 weeks or 100 dollars worth of Spartan points to complete your new dropship…

Zynga releases the Christmas Covenant Cannon which is available for only two days. $$$$

--- Unscheduled Maintenance due to cheaters ---

Zynga releases their new level but you can't play it until you recruit…

(Sign's off to play COD4)

Monday, August 16, 2010

"Clear", super fast mobile Internet? - part 5

While we wait for the results here's a nice little picture of how 4G is supposed to work...

The results are in!

The iSpot is not the MUST HAVE iDevice accessory that Clear wants you to believe it is...


Under certain circumstances It can be a extremely useful (and cost efficient) device.

First off let's cover the worst use of of an iSpot. If your only iDevice is a iPhone this is a terrible investment. Keep in mind that you STILL have to pay for a data plan just to have a iPhone with AT&T. Now I seriously doubt facetime and high quality YouTube videos is worth a additional 25 dollars a month. Clear should consider removing the iPhone in their advertisements, but then again there's one born every day, or minute, hour, ok I can't remember how often a sucker is born.

Next up, do not buy the ispot if your considering using it when you go out of town. This is a 4G only device and coverage is not everywhere. Check for coverage in the area where you live and work and plan your investment around that.

Ok the third one depends on your current cellphone. If you have a Palm Pre Plus, a Droid X, a Sprint Evo, or any other new phone that allows wifi tethering then the $99 dollar price tag for a ispot is pointless. Sure the ispot offers unlimited internet, but will you really be doing more than 2gb of downloading on a iPad or iPod touch? Consider this example:

Pandora Radio is one of the more popular iPhone apps that uses a ton of bandwidth. 60 minutes of nonstop music is approximately 38.9mb of bandwidth. That would give you a little over 2 full days of nonstop streaming music. Breaking that down, you could use Pandora a hour every day in addition to checking email and surfing the web with little to no fear of going over your monthly allowance. That's not bad...

Now granted, Netflix could probably be worse and downloading movies from iTunes would be completely out of the question, but how often will you be doing that? That's what I thought...

While in the subject of cellphones, wifi tethering on the Sprint Evo would surpass the iSpot by leaps and bounds. Both use the same 4G network but the Evo will switch to 3G when 4G is not available. Other 3G only phones still have a upper hand on the ispot simply because of greater 3G coverage. If you can make a phone call you'll probably be able to surf the web.

One last cellphone suggestion. If your ready to upgrade and purchase a new phone, the the 99 dollars you could spend on a iSpot could be easily used toward a phone that allows wifi tethering. That's one less device to keep track of.


- If you are not in the market for a new phone (like me)
- Using a iPad or a iPod touch throughout the day while away from home in a area with Clear coverage (like me)
- you have more than one device that could benefit from the iSpot's unlimited Internet plan (*cough* MAC spoofing *cough*) (like me)
- and if you use more than 2gb surfing the net, streaming music, streaming netflix, of even using a remote desktop client, (like me)

then the iSpot could be for you...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"Clear", super fast mobile Internet? - part 4

Day 6 - (yeah day 6, I skipped a few days, "big whoop, wanna fight about it...")

Ok last Friday I found out that Clear released a firmware update that was supposed to fix the problems many customers had connecting their devices to the ispot. In my case it did a little more. Let me explain.

As I have explained before the ispot device is designed only to accept connections from iPod, iPhone, and iPad. I have since found out that this is accomplished by the ispot recognizing only a certain number of MAC addresses. (if you don't know what that is, Wiki is your new friend) My hypothesis is that before the firmware update the list of acceptable MAC addresses was far too restrictive and the device ended up denying access to devices that, for some reason or another, had a different address from the standard.

Now after applying the update, not only was the before mentioned iPod touch working but ASLO my iMac (that's right, my home computer.) Apparently the default address of my iMac is acceptable to the ispot. Now there ARE ways to manually change the MAC address of both PCs and Laptops so I'll just leave the possibilities to your imagination. (Google is also your friend)

The other adjustment the firmware update made was a improved performance in signal. Thursday night the device could only get a zero bar signal (red light.) Now I can get a two bar signal, (yellow light.) I've been clocking in speeds of 2.5Mbps at home, which is a vast improvement from pre-update tests in the same area.

So what have I been up to with this device over the weekend?

Towson- connected to iMac. Excellent signal. Checked email and updated websites. Uploaded pictures relatively fast.

Dundalk- connected to 1 iPad and 2 iPods. Hit and miss the closer you got to the city. Decent speeds browsing Internet.

Baltimore to Glen Burnie via Harbor tunnel- connected to iPad (serious disclaimer: do not operate devices while driving, just say'n.) medium to excellent signal, even in the tunnel itself. Listened to Pandora radio flawlessly. (and yeah I know Pandora buffers your playlist in advance and that it is possible that I had a bad signal but couldn't tell.)

Perry Hall- connected to iPad. Ok as long as you stay on the main streets. YouTube playlists were ok as long as it wasn't attempting to handle high def.

Ok I think it's time to wrap this up. Stay tuned for the thrilling, the exciting,... alright informative conclusion...

Friday, August 6, 2010

"Clear", super fast mobile Internet? - part 3

Day 3 - AM
Lemme start today by showing you this snapshot...

That is what the Clear forum currently looks like for a problem related to the brand new iSpot. Now last night you read my first impressions and this morning it looked bleak for this device. Using my Ipad as the test device, I went out and tested the connection speeds throughout the city. Main streets like Belair Rd. Shown excellent signal strength but download speeds were under half the advertised speed, clocking in at 2.5Mbps.

I'm not going to say this is a terrible speed. In fact, it's pretty impressive for the needs of the iPad. Short YouTube videos ran flawlessly but high def video crawled. Streaming Netflix was possible, but you could see that the video quality took a severe hit to stream without pauses.

Today was going to be a busy one for me so I decided to loan the iSpot to a friend in order to get some insight on how the device worked when used with a iPod Touch. Well, that's where the problem came...

By the time I was able to get home after dropping off the iSpot, I got a message saying, "yeah this thing sucks... It keeps telling me that I'm not using acompatible device but I'm on a iPod. Sucks..."

I hopped on the Clear forums to find a topic stickied to the side bar. Clicking on in gave me this message:

"iSpot Connection Problems Firmware Upgrade

We are aware that some of you may be experiencing issues with connecting your Apple Mobile Device to your iSpot.

If you are one of the few customers experiencing this issue, updating your firmware should correct this issue. Step by step instructions can be found below.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused
Thanks for choosing CLEAR."

"I like when things work how they're supposed to the first time." -iamRandomosity

I couldn't have put it better myself...
(To be continued...)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

"Clear", super fast mobile Internet? - part 2

Day 2

FedEx delivered my iSpot sooner than expected. The unboxing was recorded today but I doubt I'll upload anything. It'll depend on wether or not this thing really impresses me.

Before going any further I must reiterate that this device is intended for mobile use. Furthermore the specific device I'm testing is designed to support ONLY iPod, iPad, and iPhone devices. Clear does have other devices and plans for home service, laptops, as well as 3G support. All testing is being performed in the Baltimore area and your results could vary. Moving on...

The device was fairly easy to set up. Instructions were clear and
understandable. After turning the device on I was greeted with two LED lights, one red, one blue. A convenient chart on the back explained that the red light meant I had a weak signal and the blue light indicated the wifi was operating. I downloaded the Clear app and got a detailed summary of my connection.

Ok where's the super fast 4G signal? Oh wait a minute, maybe it's because I am indoors after all. Lemme put the iSpot at a window like the instructions suggest. Let's try this again.

Wow big difference... Yeah, so far I'm not impressed.

Looking at their coverage map I should be receiving a much better signal. I'll run more tests away from home tomorrow and I may have a final verdict sooner than I expected. There's no point in trying to compare Clear to AT&T, Verizon, or even Comcast for that matter if they can't come anywhere close to what they advertise. After a speed test under the current conditions my average download speed is less than 1Mbps. Totally unacceptable! Stay tuned for the next blog...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"Clear", super fast mobile Internet? - part 1

A lot of buzz has started circulating about a new device called iSpot by Clear (What you haven't heard?)

If you are reading this blog on August 4, 2010 then you probably still have the chance to pick up one of these devices up at 70% off the regular price of $99.

What is it? Hold on, I'm getting to that part...

"iSpot is your very own 4G hotspot that let's you connect up to eight of your favorite Apple mobile devices, giving you freedom to use Super Fast Mobile Internet on the go anywhere Clear has coverage... Pair with the iSpot On-the-Go Service Plan. Get unlimited data usage and 4G speed all for $25/mo."

Sounds pretty good to me. Especially since I'm a Ipad user. Let's do the math:

My 32gb wifi only iPad costs $599, the 3G version would have been $729. That's a $130 difference to have the ability to use AT&T's 3G service. Now AT&T has abandoned their "unlimited" service for a 2gb plan that costs $25 a month, no contract. Still with me?

Now then, since I bought the cheaper wifi only version of the iPad for $599, I could, theoretically, invest in a $29 wifi 4G hotspot as well as pay $25 a month, no contract, for UNLIMITED service. The end result, a cheaper overall investment with faster speeds.

If this sounded as good to you as it did to me, I say, give it a try! I'll be giving this device a in-depth review when it arrives, (yeah, I bought one), and we'll see if Clear can back up their claims of Super Fast Mobile Internet. I'll also do a break down of 3G vs 4G speeds, complete with pros and cons, as well as sift through the fine print of both AT&T and Clear's service contracts.

Check out this device yourself at

That's all for now. See you next blog...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Terrible Apps Episode 1 - Rate my Photography

I like critique. Especially in my photography. It's something I often wish I could have more of. DeviantArt is great, my website gets a few hits... a month, and I can always depend on friends to comment on my photos once they become someone else's profile pic. That's what drew me to this little app store program called "Rate my Photography" by Pistol Shrimp Ltd.

Here's the app description:
"Join the craze and download Rate My Photography today. Scroll through endless pictures of the beautiful, amazing, funny, weird, interesting photos from all over the world uploaded by users like yourself!"

They then boast that you can rate photos by other users as well as upload your own photos to see what other people think.

Where's the problem you ask? Well there are two MAJOR ones.

First you cannot delete the pictures you upload. That's a major flaw. How hard would it be to add a delete button? Now this company published this app alongside other free ones that follow the same formula of uploading and rating pictures. Examples are: Rate My Kitten, Rate My Ride, Rate My Bike, Rate My Shoes, Rate My Funny Face, etc. Now the reason I mention this is because a few of these other apps have "premium" versions that you can pay $1.99 to buy. What's the difference? "No Ads", "Manage the comments for your photos", and "DELETE YOUR PHOTOS!"

You've got to be kidding me! Your actually going to make a person pay for a app just so they can delete pictures? The primary reason you would want to delete a pic in the first place would probably be because you didn't like the app and you wanted to sever ties with the program. That's like eating a free cheeseburger but in order to take a dump you gotta pay a dollar!

The second problem is directly related to this statement...
"All photos are screened by our team so please make sure you upload photos that are relevant to the app."

That makes a ton of sense and I completely agree. My question is, HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO APPROVE ONE PICTURE!
I downloaded this app a month ago, uploaded three pictures and I'm STILL waiting for approval. No problem If you don't want to approve them I'll just delete them and... OH YEAH... I can't delete my own pics!

Final Verdict...
This company is a complete joke. They haven't answered any of my emails and their website appears to be a broken link these days. The average rating for the current version, which was updated July 8, 2010, is 3 stars. My rating? 1 star is too much for this garbage, but hey, maybe if I buy the premium version I'll gain the ability to give it a zero star rating...