Category Archives: Tech

My Cellular History

I, like 91% of you out there, have a cell phone. I know that is not exactly news.

That is not the point of this post. Instead, I decided to go back in time and take a peek at my whole history of phones and see where technology has come. That should be fun, right?

 

1998

My first phone ever. I vividly remember having to convince myself that it was a necessity and not a frivolity. I was still delivering pizzas at the time and thought it might come in handy. Prior to that, every time you took a pizza to someone’s house and they didn’t answer the door, you had to leave their house and either find a pay phone or head back to the store. Talk about a pain in the ass. Anyway, one fine day I walked into an AT&T store and picked out the most standard phone of the day. The Nokia 5100.

Talk about your functionality! It could both make AND receive phone calls! Imagine!

Wait, there was a game on there, Snake, which you could play with the 2,4,6 & 8 keys, steering a snake around the screen to eat dots. Quite the triumph.

The big selling point of this phone however was you could buy new snap-on face plates for it. Yeah! Customization baby. I had a green metallic cover that was pretty sweet.

This phone lasted me a few years until it was time to up the ante.

 

2001

My next phone was one of my all time favorites, and to this day the smallest phone I have ever owned.The Nokia 8210.

I really loved that phone.

It was small. It made great phone calls and had terrific reception. Really it was everything you could have wanted in a phone in 2002.

 

2004

When the time came to upgrade again, this was the first time that I needed to do some research. Nokia phones had kinda dropped off the quality scale and a lot of newcomers were making phones. So, in my usual method, I spent an inordinate amount of time reading reviews and trying to decide what phone to purchase.

Somehow, despite all that work, I was still able to buy a phone that did nothing but make me crazy. I “upgraded” from one of my favorite phones of all time to the one that I hated the most.

The Samsung SGH-E317

This thing was so bad that I even devoted an entire blog post as to how nuts it drove me.

This was my first flip phone. That was one aspect that I did enjoy… it gave me another thing to play with. Constantly flipping it open and closed. This phone had a nice motion to it. It was also great for displaying a little anger when needed because you could really close it hard. You know, kinda like slamming down your house phone. (Yes kids… there was a time where people had house phones and those phones had cords. Also, there was no button to shut them off, you actually placed them back on the hook to hang them up. Crazy talk, I know).

This phone holds the dubious distinction for being the only phone I’ve dumped before my contract was up. That’s how bad it was. I paid full price for its replacement rather than use it anymore.

I do have to say, it was on this phone that I received my first ever text message. It was from Jess. We were barely dating, and I was at a Boise State game. I felt my phone buzz and make a sound I’d never heard before. I didn’t know what it was doing, until I saw a notice that I’d gotten a text. Text? I don’t even know where to find that!

But, I did, and the rest is history.

2006

Next up was the super sexy Motorola Razr v3.

Hooo boy… I’d call this one my first modern type of phone. Great for calls, and terrific for text.

This phone had it all. A web browser (such as it was back then). MP3 ringtones. You could connect it to your PC and perform functions on it. Manage your contacts. Add and remove pictures. For a geek like me, I was in heaven with this phone.

Super thin. Super light. Great screen.

Just an all around great phone. This has the distinction of being my last regular cell phone. From here, it was on to… SMARTPHONES!

 

2008

Here we go. The big daddy. Yes, the Apple iPhone 3g.

I had resisted buying the first generation iPhone, even though I really really wanted it. I’m of the mindset that whenever new technology comes out, it’s best not to buy version 1. There are undoubtedly bugs and quirks and things that will get ironed out. Thus, when the iPhone 3g came out, I jumped on that like a dog on a bone.

You can read about my excited countdown here, the procurement adventure here, and the day of the arrival here.

2011

As the pace of technology has increased, the once beloved iPhone is really showing its age. What was once the jewel of cutting edge, is now slow and plodding and kinda driving me crazy.

As recently as a month ago, I was on board with Apple and waiting patiently for the iPhone 5. I didn’t want to fork out the cash for an iPhone 4 just to have that become obsolete in a few months when the 5 was announced. But, iPhone 5 has not been announced yet. Everything is rumors and conjecture at this point.

As I’ve been waiting, I’ve been examining why I might continue to be in bed with Apple, when there are a number of super awesome Google Android based phones out there. There are many drawbacks to Apple. They lock everything down to the point where there is no customize-ability. iTunes is an absolute steaming pile of crap on the PC and sucks as both a music management and phone management platform. You can only sync your phone to 1 computer. So on and so forth. And really, I don’t own any other Apple products. I’ve been a PC guy from the very get go. The first Apple anything I’ve ever owned was this iPhone. I think I’m just weary of how Apple does things.

It was about a month ago Jess got an Android based phone from her office and I got to play with it. Turns out, I really like it. Obviously, I haven’t “lived” with it yet, but I’ve been doing a bunch of reading about Android and I really like what I hear. Android is growing by leaps and bounds. More users. More developers. More applications.

So, I’ve decided to divorce Apple for good. I’m gonna be an Android man.

And the phone I’m patiently waiting to purchase, once it’s released in the US, is the Samsung Galaxy S II. If I thought the iPhone was sexy, this thing will blow my mind. I won’t totally geek out about it here (you can read all about it in that linked review) but suffice it to say, I’m very excited. I love new things and this will be a total departure from my safe iPhone land.

Unfortunately, there is no official release date yet. The phone is out in Asia and Europe, but us unwashed Americans are going to have to wait. Hopefully not too long…

I’m sure I’ll be posting my thoughts about using it here once I finally get it.

Tech Support Secret – Revealed

This comic has been floating around the net lately. It is totally funny and remarkably accurate.

I really love this.

XKCD.com bills itself as “A webcomic of romance,sarcasm, math, and language.” I’d add a healthy dose of technology, web, pop culture, and about a dozen other things.  A total geek favorite. If you click on the above comic, you can visit the site.

So, there you go.  If you can follow a flow chart, you to can be a computer expert.  And if you need help following a flow chart, here is a guide to understanding flow charts, in flow chart form…

Enjoy!

IE 6 Needs to Die

internet_explorerI have spent at least part of every day for the last week and a half at work wrestling with the sites I’m building in order for Internet Explorer 6.0 to play nice.  I’ve had it.  Fed up.  If IE6 was a horse, we could have shot it a long time ago.  But, it keeps hanging on.  Tormenting me.  Creating hours of extra work and dozens of extra headaches.  I cannot describe how mind-blowingly frustrating it is to design a site which looks perfect in every modern browser only to have IE6 trundle along and blow the whole thing up.

It… just… won’t… die.

Looking at the browser statistics, it appears that still 17% of users out there are still clinging to this horribly outdated browser.  In fact, looking at my blog’s own stats, I’ve had 66 visits in the past month from users sporting that devil-spawn of a browser.

I’m not going to get into all of the reasons IE 6 is bad.  Unless you’re a web developer the reasons wouldn’t make much sense to you.   Suffice it to say, I’m not the only one that feels this way.  A quick google search points to almost 1,000,000 hits on the search terms of “IE 6 die”.

IE 6 is an ancient technology.  Seriously.  It was released all the way back in August of 2001.  Read that again… TWO THOUSAND AND ONE.  In case you weren’t aware, it is now 2009, you know… just fyi.

For reference what 2001 means in web-years, take a peek at what the web looked like all the way back in 2001.

Do YOU want to be using a browser designed to display sites like those?

I ask each and every one of you to do this.  If you are using IE, please click up on the “help” button at the top of the browser, go to “About Internet Explorer” and that will pop open a window.  A version number will be listed there.  If it starts with “Version:6.0…” for the love of all that is holy, please please please please please please please please please update your browser.  Even one fewer IE6 user will make the world a better place.  Browsers are free.  Yeah, they don’t cost you one red cent.  Newer browsers have all kinds of user friendly features that IE6 can only dream about.  Trust me.  You’ll never regret it.

Get IE7 (you don’t even have to go to IE8 yet, ignore that IE8 ad at the top).  Get Firefox (which will keep itself updated, by the way).  Get Google Chrome.  I implore you.

Consider it your good deed for the week.  Plus, you’ll be on your way to assisting me to retain what sanity I have left.

Much appreciated.

More Dorkiness

It’s well established that I like all things tech.  Thusly, it should not surprise you that when Chris Hillman talked me into getting a Facebook.com account, I originally balked, but soon caved.

Now, I’m enjoying it, especially the little piece where you can update your “status”.  And now, since I have gotten the Facebook App for the iPhone, I can mobilly update my status whenever I feel the urge.

Which made me think… perhaps there would be a way to incorporate that information into my blog…

Well, scan your eyes to the right, just below the picture of your glorious author.  What you will find there is my current facebook status.  Fun right?

What this means for you is even if you don’t have facebook and add me as a friend (or if you do, go here: http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason_Haberman/1300160722) you can still see my status.  Even better, there will often be at least a little something new for you to see on every single visit, as I am tending to update that thing multiple times a day.

Cheers!

Someone Call Delta IT Stat

I’m typing this out on my iPhone in airplane mode for posting later but wanted to get this down.

Delta needs better IT guys. See, we roll into our plane to take us to Maui and I am exceptionally excited to see the seat back screen entertainment system. I’ve never been on a plane with them before. How sweet! TV, movies, games, music. A veritable cornucopia of entertainment choices, and me with 6 hours to play with it all!

Not so fast, smart guy. While we can navigate menus and see everything that’s available, the minute you choose anything the damn thing locks up then goes through the entire reboot process. A process that takes over 5 full minutes, by the way.

So, we get nothing. But wait, it gets better. Not all seats are having the problems. In fact, there are at least 5 people I can see from my seat enjoying all the goodness to be had. A few watching Kung-fu Panda or Ironman. One lady is already onto her second chick flick. I’m sorry but that friggin sucks. Yeah, I know it’s a minor deal in the grand scheme of things, but still… To sit here trapped and teased is torture. Some people with working screens are even choosing to not use them! I think that in the interest of fairness they would turn them all off. I could deal with all of them being down better than just mine.

So while Jess snoozes I’m banging out a blog post. Hillman, this thing is running Red Hat Linux, and part of me can’t help but think you could troubleshoot this thing. Maybe I overestimate your skills but at this point I’m desperate. We have 4 more hours of time to kill! Even though I know it doesn’t work like this, I’m holding out hope it will somehow magically fix itself.

Thank god for the iPhone.

Blog Updated

So, I have finally updated my blog.  No, I don’t mean writing a new post.  I mean I actually upgraded the WordPress software running this thing.

I always hesitate to do this, because it can cause all sorts of strange errors or problems with incompatible pieces.  But, since my brand new iPhone has a native application that will allow me to mobile blog even more efficiently, and there are numerous security updates, I finally went from version 2.3.3 to the full fledge version 2.6.  No, it doesn’t sound like much.

What does this mean to you, dear reader?  Well… nothing.  Although, I have removed the anti-spam captcha words that were on the comment form.  Ok, well, I didn’t choose to remove it, that plugin was incompatible with the latest version.  Hopefully, I won’t be innundated with spam, but time will tell.

The only problem I have now is that the permalink structure (aka: the path that shows up in your browser address window) now sucks.  Due to 2.6 and IIS not playing nice together, I’m unable to go back to the cooler way of linking (/2008/7/30/Blog-updated) and have to stick with the default (?=414).  This is quite aggravating since I have numerous links from elsewhere on the web that point to the old structure.  I’m going to have to do some more investigating.

Anyway, there ya go.  Not all that exciting, but news none the less.

Update:

I figured out and implemented a fix for the ugly url deal.  Much thanks to this guy.

And Still Counting…

So, upon reaching both of the AT&T stores here in town and finding rather long lines out the door, I’m going to have to wait a little longer for my desired iPhone.

I really want one, but I don’t want one bad enough to stand in line with some of those guys.  Can’t do it.

The new plan is to head over to the store at like 11 and hopefully find the line diminished.  If the line was like 10 people, I would wait in that one.  I ain’t waiting in a line of 150-200 people.  No dice.

Stay tuned.

Update – 11:51 am.

I went by the nearest AT&T store at lunch and was surprised to find there was no line.  Hmmmm.  So, I walked in and was able to talk to someone.  Of course, I found out why there was no line… they were sold out.  Doh.  So, instead of waiting for the next shipment and trying to scramble down there and get my grubby little fingers on one, the sales guy told me I could do a “Direct Fulfillment Order.”  What this basically means is that I have paid for one and one iPhone will be specifically shipped to the store with my name on it.  All reserved for me.  It’s like a pre-order, but after the item has been released.

The guy mentioned that it could be there as soon as tomorrow, but that may have been bullshit just to make me happy.  Let’s say, I’m betting it will be Monday.  But who knows?

Bummer.  Oh well.

19 Hours and Counting

Apple iPhoneUntil the iPhone 3G.

Yes, I am going to attempt to get one first thing come 8am tomorrow morning when they all go on sale.

Now, this is a new thing for me.  I mean, as much of a tech geek as I am, I have never been the first to jump on something.  For example, the xbox 360 was out for over a year before I jumped into that pool.  I have never been one to always have the latest and greatest, nor am I one who buys into hype.  It probably doesn’t help that I don’t really like battling crowds unless I absolutely have to, and that’s what these “hot” launches attract.  Crowds.

That is the strange thing about me.  I love gadgets and technology, but I really haven’t gone out of my way to acquire them.  For example, I have never owned a laptop personally.  Granted, Jess has one that I get to use, but it isn’t “mine”.  I’ve just never bought one.  I almost did this spring with the US Government’s “Tax Stimulus” deal, but that money ended up going to the new house.  Also, I have never owned an iPod.  Not one.  Since they first launched with the first generation in 2001, over 170 MILLION iPods have been sold.  7 year old girls own them. Grandmothers own them.  I never have.  I just find that odd.  Sure, I’ve had a couple different “MP3 players” but never that little Apple beauty.

Of course, that should hopefully change tomorrow.  As you may or may not know, the iPhone 3G is the second generation iPhone, which came out a year ago.  I almost bought one then but that strange barrier in my head prevented me.  I have been tempted tempted many times, most horribly about 4 months ago.  We were out having drinks with some friends, and I was given an up close demo of Alex’s iPhone.  I very very nearly bought one the next day.  But, there was scuttlebutt on the net that supposedly sometime in 2008 Apple was going to release the 2.0 version.  So, I swallowed that desire and settled in to wait.  2 months later, they officially announced it.

Now, the waiting is finished, and I’m leaping into the 21st century.   Honestly, it is the mobile internet feature that I am most excited about. (Full Feature List) That is the “killer app” that is really pushing me to get it.  I mean, I really don’t like phones.  I don’t dig on talking on phones.  As it stands, I probably use about 40 minutes a month of actual talk airtime.  But, to be able to email people and surf the web?  That’s what I’m talkin about!  Not to mention mobile blogging… imagine.  I’m waiting in line at the DMV one day, and you might get a hillarious real time post on this here forum about how the goober in front of me in the overalls with no shirt wonders if he can take his drivers test in his tractor.  How great would that be?

So really, this isn’t just a gift for me.  It’s a gift for us all.  May we all bask in the all powerful glow of iPhone.

18 hours 38 minutes…

Views of Boise

This post is for all my fellow Boiseans.

Many of you may not be aware, but we have some very cool new online tools that provide us some interesting views of our beloved city.

Used to be, the best you could do was a grainy, top-down satellite view. Kinda cool, but the resolution is bad. Isn’t all that useful or interesting. Fortunately, we’ve got options now!

Google Maps Street View

I’m sure you are all aware of Google Maps at this point. Who hasn’t gone there when looking for directions somewhere. But what you might not know about is a feature called Street View. Basically, Google takes cars and drives around a city to photograph all of the streets. It is actually much cooler than it sounds. For example, see the map below. That is obviously downtown Boise, corner of Capital and Main Street. Click and drag on that pic below… play with it a bit.


View Larger Map

They started with major cities like San Fransisco and Chicago. But, they have been regularly adding cities and Boise just recently came online. With pretty solid coverage too. All of the blue lined streets are available to view. More than likely, if you live in Ada county you can probably view your house.

But thats not all!

Not to be outdone, Microsoft’s Live Maps site has their own twist on this. They call it Bird’s Eye View. This gives you literally a bird’s eye view of a particular region. And since I’m writing about it, you can guess that Boise is now included. (Click the image to go)

boise-birdseye.jpg

Instead of driving around on all the streets like Google, they chose to rent a small plane and film from about 1500 feet. Still very cool. By the way, Boise in the summertime is a beautiful place.

So, now you know. Go out and try to find your house, you know you want to.

Man, I love the internet.