Posts Tagged ‘results’

Try Again

7 September 2011

Dear J-

The few small successes I’ve had with backing devices are usually undone by something as simple as an upgrade or bugfix that requires me to go through an endless cycle of hacking and rehacking without an end in sight. I rooted my phone so that I could run a custom ROM and connect to a Bluetooth HID keyboard which worked great yesterday yet today requires an endless dance of pairing, unpairing, connecting and not connecting. This in turn leads me to think that maybe there’s a fix for this or a hack and please say that it’s not going to require me to re-load the ROM because then I lose all my settings and applications and …

You know, there’s just not enough time in the day to deal with all of that. I’ve been using a bluetooth keyboard (to be precise: the SAME bluetooth keyboard) for years now with several different devices, from a Treo 650 to Nokia N800 and now to this Android phone. A good keyboard is worth its weight in gold; devices, not so much. Given that time spent fiddling is not time spent using, there’s something inherently wrong with any device that requires you to spend more time setting up than using. The measure of success should be how quickly you’re able to get it working, and at the moment, iOS is winning that race. Note that it’s probably ludicrous to carry around a keyboard that’s larger than your phone in order to type efficiently, but we won’t get into that.

I remember this with the PSP, which sounded great at the time, promising emulation action — finally, here you could have a portable 16-bit Final Fantasy. The problem was two things happened: Square started going crazy with SNES/SFC remakes on the DS, and Sony started waging war with the hackers by forcing firmware upgrade after upgrade to play the latest games (and you could count a third cause, too: the PSP hardware was a battery-sucking hog on the order of the Nomad or Game Gear) and you had to choose: legitimate games or retain the hack? I eventually chose neither and the PSP has been sitting in a box somewhere for years now. It is why I’ve been so hesitant to root the phone: I’m sure it can be done. I just don’t have the time to deal with it.



Multiplex Division

13 May 2010

Dear J-

I’ve been thinking about Google lately; if you remember before the browser wars, there were competing search engines all around, from the first efforts of Jerry Yang’s Yahoo! to various spidering sites like Inktomi. The one that I used reliably roughly fifteen years ago was Altavista — this probably because I had a soft spot in my heart for Digital Equipment Corporation, at one point the number two vendor of computer equipment behind IBM and dedicated to going it on their own path — from the semi-PC compatible Rainbow 100 to the speed-is-everything Alpha chips — before being swallowed up by Compaq.

Google changed that; from the first inklings of how broad it was to the fascinating depths it could plumb, it soon became my default go-to engine. When I was little I learned that the term ‘google’ meant the number one followed by a hundred zeroes (1E100, if you rather), and it felt like the secrets of the Internet were laid bare in an unassuming little text-entry box. Although no one’s quite replicated the secret sauce that brings back bushels of hits, the current commercials from Bing are amusingly spoofy: there’s still a lot of work to be done to separate the chaff from the wheat, although a lot of people prefer doing just that.

I suppose that’s part of their success: everyone’s developed their own algorithm to sort through Google results; better to include everything rather than feel as if some robot somewhere is deciding what’s important. It’s funny that we’d accept that, but then again this is the land of super-sizing and SUVs: better to get more than you might need: you’ll grow into those shoes, kid. It works for search engines (as wide a net as you can cast is never a bad thing) but now Google wants to be Microsoft (everywhere, all the time) and I’m not convinced that their corporate motto (“Don’t be evil”) and generic bigger-is-better philosophy is sufficient any more.


Coaching Thought

27 May 2009

Dear J-

Team does bad, coach gets fired.  Simple.  Whether rightly or wrongly — no matter what the players feel, it’s about results, and without results, you’ll be seeing the outside of a lot of doors.  Thus, the perilous coach’s life:  one eye on the wins, one hand soothing the owner, one ear listening to the press, and one foot ready to boot the players as needed, balancing and juggling all the time.  Some people love it, the pressure.

One tactic I can’t stand is the coaches manipulating the game not through direct means — players on the court/rink/field — but by winning the battle of the press.  Those post-game conferences are good for some coaches:  build up enough rapport with the press and you may drip some acid that stings the officials and league officials with impunity, maybe tilt a few calls your way the next match.  But it’s another arrow in your quiver in keeping your job secure, so you can make a case for using it, but it still smacks of desperation.

So, then, work; what parallels do I draw there?  Where are we sitting tonight?  Make your case with the charismatic leaders, the scrambling directions we’re given, the ineffective results.  Only this time I’m not sure the coaches are taking the fall.


Another Test

2 January 2009

Dear J-

I’m going to have to stay away from these folks for a while.  Either it’s inflating my ego, or deflating it; I’m not sure which right now. says I'm an Uber Cool Nerd God.  Click here to take the Nerd Test, get nerdy images and jokes, and write on the nerd forum!

Thanks as always to Darla, who comes up with the most interesting stuff to quiz.