Jan 222012
 

So, recently I’ve had a few conversations with people (most notably Samir) about why I enjoy Apple products.  I’ve been given a bit of crap about loving my iPhone and shunning Android.  Apparently this is seen as anti-geek, a step away from the tinkering fool I once was.  My argument has been, for quite some time regarding the iPhone and the Mac (I’ve had both for about two years now), that I simply don’t have the time or energy to deal with the nuances and bullshit of Windows and Android.  I don’t want to hunt for drivers, verify version compatibilities, change out this, that or the other thing, anytime I want to install a new app.  I want it to “just work,” and it does.  This pleases me.

Another thought has been creeping out from my subconscious lately about the simplicity involved here.  Sometimes it’s a matter of visual appeal – simple, clean interfaces – though Windows has been making great strides to this effect as well of late.  Sometimes it’s a matter of overall simplicity.  Last week I downloaded Pages rather than get a new version of MS Word for Mac.  I love Word, I know Word… some might say carnally.  Word and I have been involved for a very, very long time.  I can make Word do just what I want it to, when I want it to, almost every time.  The thought of moving to a new word processing app made me apprehensive, to say the least.  After only a week with it, thought, I can say that apprehension was for naught.  I still don’t have the working knowledge of Pages that I do of Word, but it’s just so… so…  pretty.  I don’t mean this in the typical geek way; I can’t skin it with Gears of War logos or a Star Wars font.  I can’t make the borders match my guild colors.  I mean it in an artistic way.  It’s clean, sleek, even minimal, and I love it all the more for those reasons.

Maybe I’m losing geek cred with every conversation I have like this.  If that’s the case, so be it.  My hardcore days are over.  I don’t use linux (despite the BSD shell in OSX), I don’t crack lines of perl out anymore, and I don’t play MMORPGs into the wee hours of the morning.  Yeah, I said it.  What now?!

Jan 212012
 

Zynga, the company behind the atrocity that is Farmville, is a company that most gamers despise.  Their claws latched into casual gamers around the world, the bilk people of hard-earned dollars with micropayments for silly things like orange pigs and green alien cows.

Sadly, when looking for a Scrabble-like game on my iPhone a long, long time ago, the best I could find was Words with Friends.  At that time, it was developed by Newtoy, Inc.  Eventually, though, Zynga ate them like a hearty appetizer, and spawned a whole category of “with Friends” games.  Now I own them all: Words, Hanging, Scramble, Chess.  I hate that I feed their eager maws, even without paying for microtransactional coins and bits and doodads.

HOWEVER, these games are really good.  Scramble with Friends, the newest word game (like Boggle, more or less) has been beneath my grubby fingers several times a day since it came out.  So, I recommend buying it.  It’s good.  It’s okay to hate Zynga, and still feed them.  They’re obviously hungry after all…

Jan 182012
 

Sadly, this post is not about tasty Latin American treats. It’s about legislation that endangers the free exchange of knowledge that the Internet offers us. The basics of SOPA and PIPA entail the ability for the US Department of Justice to require immediate take down of sites and domains, including rerouting DNS and preventing payments to them, when it appears a site infringes on US Copyright laws in any form. The details, however, are far less fuzzy. Under the guise of this bill, the government could kill off sites that link to news articles (aka Fark), or use images or text from other articles (aka ArsTechnica), or for any other reason impede on the “rights”, real of imagined, of the lobbyist agenda.

Will it happen? Nobody can say for sure. But why even give the government the power to make such decisions for us? Take action – call your congresscritters today! There’s not much time left. Next year, your favorite site might be closed for business.

Jan 162012
 

If you have an iPhone and need a case, I recommend one of these:

http://www.redbubble.com/people/burbskate/works/8280100-steve-jobs-in-carbonite

I almost got one last year, but the maker got a C&D from Apple. They are back on the market now, and if I hadn’t just spent a bunch on another sweet case, I’d go for this bad boy. If you want something a little more subtle (or more expensive), I also HIGHLY recommend these:

https://www.elementcase.com/Vapor-Pro-iPhone-Case-a/276.htm

I love mine. Peep has the Vapor Comp, which is also sweet, and slightly cheaper.

So, Steve in Carbonite – recommended on a cool factor. Element Cases – recommended from use.