I Am Bismark

2010-02

Rooting for Android

An app called “a Hands Heater” has been sitting in the iPhone App Store top 25 of the paid apps for awhile now. It’s a stupid gimmick app that makes the screen appear like a set of heating coils emmitting heat. Amazingly the app ’s description takes three paragraphs before it mentions that it doesn’t actually do anything. Kind of a slimy thing for the developer to do.

The really sad thing though is how many people are buying it and subsequently leaving reviews saying “Doesn’t actually work, I want my money back!” Though the reviews certainly have worse grammar and spelling; think YouTube comment level of English mastery. The developer is raking in cash due to stupidity. I dunno who to fault more.

Anyway, aside from making me really fear for our world, this makes me really want Android to win. If Android were to become the Windows of mobile devices, all of this crapware could go over there. Have you ever tried find a quality, well designed piece if software on Windows? It’s a joke. Every search brings up results for crap shareware on stupid sites like download.com. I love how they present advertisements with “Download Now!” buttons that are larger than the link for the software you actually want. Barf.

On the other hand, it seems like there is always at least one beautifully designed piece of software for all genres and needs on the Mac. I’ve paid for many pieces of independantly developed Mac software, and they all are a joy to use.

It may sound elitest, but I think it would be great if Android wins the marketplace so the App Store can start losing the cruft and just be filled with beautifully things I want to buy even if I don’t really need them.

Handy AppleScript + FastScripts + Taskpaper = Inbox Zero. Refreshing.

All Missionaries in the Chile, Santiago East Mission are safe and accounted for. Today will be a day of service for all of us…

Thank you for your prayers and concern, and please know that we love our missionaries with all our hearts. They are the Lord’s army, and we are blessed to be among them and learn from them. They are blessing the lives of so many of our Father’s children, and they are powerful examples of all that young people can and should be. Don’t worry! Our missionaries are prepared, and “if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.” (D&C 38:30)

Chile Santiago East Mission: “If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.” D&C 38:30

Good luck and stay safe little brother!

Little bro Adam is reported safe in Santiago. Please pray for the people in Chile and lets be prepared to help how we can.

My Review of “The Hurt Locker”

I was obviously not happy when I wrote this and it was also 2:30 AM, so read accordingly. But I can’t see anything I necessarily disagree with so I will leave it as is.

I’m lying here in bed feeling empty, depressed, and angry. This was not an easy movie to watch. But I think everyone should. Some might say “Why would I want to watch a movie that makes me feel that way? I will stick to Disney.” And if you are one of those people, you more than anyone else needs to watch this movie.

Why? It’s real. It’s the reality of what is happening right at the very moment you are reading this. How can we ever hope to stop it if we always hide ourselves away and pretend like all is well in the world?

War is horrible. It destroys humans. Mentally and physically, right at this very moment humans are being destroyed by a war funded by my country. It’s disgusting.

This movie is about the psychological destruction of humans caused by war. Think of one of the people you love most: spouse, sibling, child. Now realize there is someone just like you whose person they love has had their humanity stripped from them by war.

The scene that got me the most was toward the end as he is standing in the cereal aisle of the grocery store. We talk about honoring the veterans for preserving our freedom quite a bit in this country. This scene just made me think not only of the absolute evil of the things veterans have had to endure, but of the desicable shallowness of the things we use our freedom for. Filling our bodies with fake food while we consume fake sex and violence for entertainment. Another human destroyed so we can have our premade meals and our porn.

Well this has been a rant instead of a review. I guess that’s shows how the movie made me feel.

I recommend this movie, not for entertainment but as a reminder of why we are all responsible for denouncing war and proclaiming peace.

It’s amazing how much more I get done when I close Mail.app for a majority of the day.

Clone of the Atari 2600 game Warlords for the iPhone is underway… I have a bouncing ball on the screen!

hmm second time the homeless dude has been hanging out in one of the bathroom stalls this week.

Only on the BYU Unix Users Group mailing list can a conversation go from email security to privacy law to quoting scriptures about agency..

well forgetting to turn off my headlights ended up being an expensive mistake. had to buy a new battery :(

perhaps this second time sitting for hours at Walmart waiting for my battery core charge to finish will teach me to turn off my headlights.

Aava Mobile’s Intel Moorestown prototype hands-on

This has been sitting in my drafts for a bit, so I better post it…

I remember when these guys came to Intel to talk about this device. One of the engineers on our team was giving a presentation on the Moblin stack, so intern #2 and I decided to go listen in. We snuck into the back of the conference room, but someone saw us and decided we should introduce ourselves to the Aava mobile team.

Well, intern #2 has some of the best salesman skills I have ever seen, so he starts talking up some project that he did that has some direct correlation to the Aava mobile guys and thus justifies his existence in the meeting.

Next they turn to me and I am like a deer in headlights. I mumble something about doing a variety of projects and the Aava mobile people just stared at me… thankfully one of the other engineers piped in with some of the projects I had done that made me relevant. Really I had done quite a bit, I was just a bit caught off guard.

Of course everyone on my team made fun of me the rest of my internship for letting intern #2 make me look like an idiot.

False Doctrine in Hymns

Here is a question for my LDS readers:

Does anyone else feel like there is false doctrine in the second verse of “Choose the Right” (#239):

“There’s the right and the wrong to every question;”

Every time I sing it I am like, wait, really?

Also, what is otherwise a very beautiful hymn, the second verse of “Lead, Kindly Light” (#97) sometimes rubs me the wrong way…

Final Fantasy on my iPhone?!?! I just deleted Plants vs Zombies today because it was such a time waster… Why oh why must I be tempted so??

community menu

To organize all of the new Reply, Ask, and Submit… | Tumblr Staff

So, Tumblr now allows replies for on posts via the Dashboard. I have yet to see an example of what a reply looks like, but I assume it looks similar to a comment at the bottom of a post?

I’ve enabled it, but here is the catch: you have to have a Tumblr account and you have to have been following me for two weeks (I only have one follower currently… Hi June!). So, do I turn off my fugly and slow Instant Debate comments and say to my dear friends “Stop using Blogger and get a real blogging platform if you want to reply” (probably something no one will do)?

I still am not quite entirely sold on blog comments either….

seriously considering selling my copy of Things and switching over to TaskPaper… I like simplicity of it.

nothing like a cornish pasty to fill you up on a cold wisconsin night.

“Rumor mongering with dormant death certificates”. I really wish I could say that this paper is as exciting as it sounds.

When I have to stop working on a programming project and read a research paper comparing maintaining replicated databases to spreading disease, I wonder why I decided to go back to school. :/

what the… a java app on the olympics website???

I swear, as soon as I turn up the volume on my music, my officemates start talking louder… so much for a quiet place to study.

people should make commercials like this more often.

first attempt at jelly donut pixel art

Ok, since no one liked my old school theme idea, I am trying something else. It’s a jelly donut! This is my first attempt at pixel art, and the lighting is completely wrong in the bite of the donut and the jelly looks stupid. But I think I did a good job with the frosting and sprinkles. Feedback and criticism is welcome. It is a work in progress.

comment on techcrunch: “Did you just wish death on Steve Jobs because boobs were just taken out of the app store? That’s rough bud.” heh.

wait I just spent the last hour playing plants vs zombies? ok deleting this from my phone immediately.

I know it’s still two months away, but for some reason I feel like spring is coming as I am walking home.

finished Cocoa Programming for Max OS X. Good book, time to start working on a real project.

One of my comments was linked to on the 100 hour board just three days ago! I feel so special!

So glad the BYUMUG list is finally talking about something worthwhile: Flash Gordon.

BTW, the interviewer said I was overdressed… :/

Apparently I haven’t hit my Twitter backlog limit! That means I should tweet more.

another interview today. to dress up or not.. hmm.

just blew the dust off of my 100 hour board account and asked a question.

Am I the only one who doesn’t understand the weird black border on the top and right hand margins on the the Win Mobile 7 screenshots?

website mockup

This is a mockup I made for a new possible theme for my blog. Let me know what you think.

not exactly sure what most of what I ate was, but it was tasty.

getting some food at a Vietnamese lunar new years party.

sadly C&C red alert is pretty much unplayable. time to try tiberian sun.

Why are my Command and Conquer downloads going SO SLOW? Argh!!!

It really bugs me that Farmville uses “their” as a singular pronoun.

so i am interviewing with zynga next week so i figured i should try farmville. sorry for the increased noise.

exam proctoring is mind numbingly dull. can’t concentrate on something else because freshman have wandering eyes and cant follow directions.

Oh Andrew McMahon, you always knew how to say what I was feeling.

Yeah, ok, so most of my music collection is from 7+ years ago. So what?

2:45 and productivity is grinding to a halt. need some sugar in my blood. little debbie brownies perhaps?

Cheating Husbands

Mamajorca was a small, tight knit city, in fact small enough to hear a single gunshot from the opposite end of town. Every married woman in the city was a perfect reasoner, having passed an extremely rigorous set of pre-marital academic tests. However, some of the men were not as smart, and they began cheating on their wives. Of course in such a small city, gossip about the cheating husbands quickly spread amongst all the married women. Each of them knew if one of the other wives was being cheated on, though none of the wives were able to discern whether or not their own husbands were being unfaithful.

The great queen of the city, Henrietta I, who was always truthful and to whom all the women were always obedient, decided to put an end to the problem of the cheating husbands in her city. One day, she gathered all of the wives to the town square and announced to them that there was at least one or more cheating husbands in the city. From that time forward, if a wife discovered that her own husband was cheating, she was bound by law to shoot him at midnight of that same day. Despite all of the wives knowing about all of the other cheating husbands, they were all forbidden to speak a word of their knowledge lest the unfaithful men catch wind of the plan and escape their punishment.

Given that there are n (where n > 0) cheating husbands in the city, how many nights will it be before they are all killed?

So, this is a paraphrase of part of the paper I read for my distributed systems course today. It is about determining when information is common knowledge amongst a set of nodes. At least computer scientists know how to make theory somewhat entertaining.

And the answer is on the *n*th day. The proof is left up to the reader.

props to Facebook for adopting an open standard for their chat.

Things get pretty wonky when I use both Google Apps and a Google Account with the same email address.

I am adding “Complaining about Facebook changes” and “Complaining about no Flash on the iPhone” to the list of things that really annoy me.

I have lost all respect for Google’s Android version naming scheme. Cupcake, Donut, etc are all great. But Froyo? Craptacular.

iPhone on Verizon

Ok, I am just going to come out and say it: there will be no iPhone (or iPad) on the Verizon network anytime in the near future (say, less than five years).

I really gain nothing from making this statement: if I am right, no one will remember, if I am wrong, everyone can come back and mock me. Yet I still want to write this post in order to perhaps educate some of my readers who don’t understand the technical reasons behind this. Now, I am sure there may be some political reasons behind Apple choosing to stay away from Verizon, but I really believe the root cause here is an engineering one. Ok, first let’s establish some background/terminology (I will keep this high level and hand wavy, so in case a real wireless networking geek ever reads this, please bare with me):

In the United States of America, there are two “types” or standards of wireless phone networks: CDMA and GSM. The two major CDMA networks are Sprint and Verizon; the two major GSM networks are AT&T and T-Mobile. To a lay person, the major difference between a GSM phone and a CDMA phone is that a GSM phone uses SIM cards while CDMA phones do not. Of course, the differences run much deeper than that. The two standards use different radio hardware, different radio frequencies, and different ways of encoding and transmitting data through the network. So obviously this means that a CDMA phone cannot possibly be used on a GSM network.

Everyone throws around the term “3G networks” a lot, but that means rather different things on the two types of networks. For CDMA, the 3G network technology is called EVDO while for GSM, it is called HSPA. Of course there are minor differences between the two, such as HSPA allows for simultaneous data and voice connections and it has theoretically faster speeds. One interesting thing is that all of Verizon’s towers are EVDO, though some are a slower, older version. However, not all of AT&T’s towers are HSPA. This is why you see such a big difference in the Verizon “There’s a map for that” commercials.

Now we are starting to hear about “4G networks”, the next generation of wireless standards. And of course, there are going to be two competing types in the United States: WiMax and LTE. But here is where it gets interesting: both Verizon and AT&T have decided to use LTE for their next generation network. LTE is a GSM type of network (WiMax isn’t CDMA… the next generation of CDMA never really made it outside of the research labs), so when Verizon starts rolling out 4G coverage, it will likely start using SIM cards.

Ok, so hopefully that is enough background to get back to the original topic: the iPhone on Verizon. First let’s look at a 3G iPhone on Verizon and then a 4G version.

As everyone knows, Apple likes simplicity, control, and minimalism. This paradigm even goes down into their hardware technology: right now there is only one version of the iPhone sold everywhere in the world, the GSM version. CDMA is basically only used in a handful of countries, with the US being essentially the only significantly large market. GSM is used everywhere else. If Apple were to make an iPhone for Verizon’s 3G EVDO network, that would mean creating a new phone with a completely different wireless radio inside that could basically only be sold in the US. Anyone who knows Apple’s culture knows that such a move goes against basically every thing they stand for. Apple will not create a second type of 3G iPhone.

But what happens when LTE starts rolling out across the United States, couldn’t Apple just create one phone that will work on both carriers? Well, unfortunately not. Any phone with a 4G wireless radio will still need to have a 3G radio to fall back on in places where there is no 4G (just like the current iPhone has a 2G radio in addition to the 3G). For a phone to work on Verizon, it will need both an LTE radio and an EVDO radio. Phones for AT&T’s network will have an LTE radio and an HSPA radio. So once again, we run into requiring two types of phones, which is something Apple will not do.

Could Apple create a phone that has both CDMA and GSM wireless radios? The engineering to do such a thing is certainly feasible and there are phones on the market today that have both. However, it would add extra bulk and weight to the phone, something I am sure Apple is loathe to do.

All of this leads me to believe that we will not see a Verizon version of the iPhone until the exact same phone can be run on both of the two largest networks in the US (aka, LTE coverage is complete for both networks), and by the time that happens, who knows what the state of the wireless and mobile industry will be in.

Actually, I think we could see the iPhone (officially) expanded to T-Mobile within a year or two. Sorry Verizon lovers.

you all told me the many ways to hide facebook ads. now does anyone have a way to autohide the twitter trending topics? they make me cry.

hey NSDocument, wanna actually save my NSCoding implementing objects for me? kthx.

attempting to grok cocoa bindings and key value coding.

“The work described below is intentionally being done over this weekend so as to interrupt DoIT and CS operations and disturb people.” O_o

professor just shot me down for a research assistant position for the summer… time to start looking for plan b…

I keep seeing people claim that the iPad requires a seperate computer to use. why? iTunes store and app store take care of any content.

one of these days I will remember to pack my lunch..

I get a lot of satisfaction from closing the ads on Facebook and marking them as “irrelevant” every time I log in.

Actually I pretty much rocked that interview with HP.

Mac OS X keyboard viewer, do you really need to be using 100 MB of memory?

what I love about this semester’s schedule: time for a good breakfast, workout at the gym, and a nice shower all before going to campus!

car works! thanks to Sean for the right tools, the ride over to Walmart, and for waiting around while the battery recharged! w00t!

I hate spam. If I didn’t ask you for your catalog, then yes, it is spam.

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