Apple Tools

June 13, 2010

I think Apple users are tools. Apple fans are even more tools. And shame on Apple developers, for not only buying into the marketing, but helping to perpetuate it as well.

Apple users are tools because they ignore the fact that their products are overpriced (Macs), underpowered and under-featured (iPhone), and completely closed off, in favor of the marketing assertion that Apple products “just work.” Unfortunately, the “just work” part isn’t true at all, and what users get, especially in light of far better alternatives now present, is only a very shiny but of comparatively limited usefulness device.

I’m not a all-in-one fan. I find that specialized things are better at their specialty than jack-of-all-trades devices. I find that it is a bit more expensive to buy the best of everything separately, but that I don’t need the best of everything, only the best of a few things. I have a phone that will make and receive calls fairly decently. I have a gaming console that plays great games. I have an MP3 player (not the Cowon S9 BTW, despite my earlier ranting and raving on how it’ll be mine) that plays music superbly. I have neither want nor desire for all three functionalities present and available at once much less on one device. I know I’m not going to be playing games while listening to music–games come with their own sound and music, and it would ruin certain games if I was blasting Beethoven’s 9th while trying to hunt zombies.

Therefore, people who buy the iPhone for its so-called versatility are tools. It truly is a jack of all trades and master of none. Its sound quality sucks. Its touch feature is good, but limited in it having a capacitive touch screen. It’s missing a huge chunk of business-oriented features. It has a whole ton of general features missing (like MMS until late last year, and multi-tasking, which hopefully will show up later this year). So here I’m wondering what’s so great about it, and why people are so into it if it’s not really that good at anything.

Therefore, I have to conclude that “hip” people eat up marketing the way midwesterners eat up McDonalds, and that they are all tools–ignorant, foolish, at the hands of the puppetmaster Steve Jobs, but still somehow under the firm impression that they’re in control of their lives and future. I have to wonder how a true democracy can survive if these are the kind of people in it?

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Still alive.

October 11, 2007

Yup, I’m still alive. I have a few long entries in draft form. Articles, I would prefer to call them, but they’re entries nonetheless. Not that anyone really reads this. Ergo, no one cares at the moment, but I still should account for my absence, if only for posterity…

I’ve been busy. Working. Sleeping. Taking up new hobbies and learning new crafts. I’m going to learn how to carve wood. That way, I can create a wooden model of the sword hilt that I’m designing. From there, I’ll send it over to China where I can get it made for cheap, and made well at that. And then, we’ll see where that goes.

Things have gotten interesting since my last entry. Poodle disappeared for most of the summer. And things seem to have changed after their little vacation. I’m not sure what it is, and I’m not sure I like it, but what the hey, it’s none of my business anymore.

Anyway, the interesting part comes from the few new students at the PKFS, as well as increased recognition for the SKFS. It seems a prominent name in the kung fu world wants to meet Sigung. Which can be a double-edged sword. I hope to be there when they meet. I hope things will turn out well, but there’s always that chance…

As for the two new students, I sometimes wonder if I actually was like them in the beginning. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t. I already had the foundations when I began learning; the concepts of chi and ging were things I had “discovered” on my own when I was much younger. It comes from having a natural inclination, a genetic desposition for athletics. And, it came from not having brute strength. These new students have showed me exactly how much work it is to train someone from scratch, and exactly how far I’ve come since I began. Senior has props from me for building up my foundation well. At the same time, it’s quite frustrating when they simply don’t get something that’s so natural to me. That, and when they don’t remember… I must’ve said this several times already, since we’ve had a steady flow of new students in PKFS over the past two years. This’ll be the last time, until they get to where I am now, and I can say, ha, it only took me half that time…

I’ve improved over the summer. Slightly. I think. I recently took a break from everything. And the first day I was back, I could feel a little of the power that I had before my injury. And then, it was gone. It’s depressing. But at the same time, it means that if I work at it, I can get it back, permanently.

These days, the hottest tech item is the iBrick. I think this will be a kink in Apple’s road to success. They’re trying to be the control freaks that they’ve always been. It didn’t work with Macs. It’s not going to work with the iPhone. The iPod is not an exception. In actuality, it is the one thing that Apple didn’t lock in. The iPod supports mp3’s. If it only supported AAC, no one would’ve bought one, regardless of how “cool” it might’ve seem to have one. In order for the iPhone to reach the levels of success the iPod has, Apple needs to open it up, development-wise. Or it just won’t compete well in the marketspace Apple is targetting, i.e. mid-range, almost-smart-phone, all-in-one.

Now, the iPod Touch is real interesting. But until they slap a real HDD onto it, and maybe allow 3rd party games, it’s not worth so much as a penny in my book.

Looks like Guiliani is going to have a little trouble getting the presidency if he wins the primaries, which I’m forecasting he will win. The neocons don’t like his pro-choice stance, and they’re the ones who carried Bush in ’00 and ’04. It’s going to be a Democrat president, likely Hillary, but not necessarily. It very well could go to Obama or even Edwards. I’ve got this fantasy that the neocons are finally going to split from the Republican party that they’ve dragged down. If that happens, Democrats aren’t going to rule for long though, as the radical left elements are going to leave a bitter aftertaste in the center’s mouths, and we might even see a split of the Cali-left from the Democrats there. That might be for the best, and we might just finally end the bipartisan system that’s plagued the US government since Washington’s second term ended. Or, the neocons might realize that they won’t have a voice anymore, and somehow come back stronger than ever… Which would spell the utter demise of the US.

Finally, I’m going to point to this really cool Lego set that just came out: a scale model of the Millenium Falcon. It costs $500, and is some 3000 pieces, but it looks awesome. As soon as I have some money, I’ll be picking up one for myself.

Pre-Chinese New Year Update

February 11, 2007

It has been some time since I last wrote anything, for a variety of reasons. Primarily, Chinese New Year is coming up very soon, and our training at PKFS has largely turned to practicing lion dance routines. While we’ve had several lion dances already for various Chinese New Years parties, our time has largely been spent training overtime–trying to squeeze in as many puzzles and such as possible before the real party begins. As such, I doubt I’ll have much time–if at all–to update during the height of the lion dance season, as we like to call it. I’m forcing myself to write this as it is.

I realize I ended the previous entry on a sour note, and I’d very much rather not carry such things over to the new year. In fact, things have largely normalized, besides my strained relationship with Pug and Poodle, if it can be described as a relationship at all. That, by and large, has made this year’s lion dances a little awkward. I think we’ll survive though. Pug might get upset at my involvement in certain affairs that she might thing were her province, but I firmly believe that getting upset is her problem. I’m not trying to be spiteful, or some sort of donkey, but I’m not about to expend extra energy working around her mostly-justified but still annoyingly unproductive discomfort around me. What needs to be done needs to be done, and if I can’t enlist her assistance, that just means I’ll have to work a little more and a little harder. Fortunately, there’ll always be people willing to help, if not for me, then for Sifu and the school.

In other news, Sifu decided to split Hung and Ching up this year, for some reason. He’s paired Hung with Pug, and Ching with myself. Not a particularly big deal, except that the pseudonyms I’ve created for them can no longer be a source of nearly as much amusement. Ah well.

Much has happened during my period of absence that I’m bursting at the seams with thoughts and comments. Without much time to complete this entry though, I’m just going to breeze though them. I believe the largest thing in this period is the “bomb” scare in Boston over a marketing stunt by Cartoon Network. The idiots there thought some flashing LED boards in the image of cartoon characters were bombs, and treated them as such. The worst part is, even after they were called out as idiots for thinking these obviously unsophisticated pieces of electronics could somehow turn Boston into a raging inferno, the top politicians and officials continue to insist they were right, to the point of calling it a “hoax” and arresting and charging the two guys working for the marketing firm who actually put up the light displays. I don’t think the word means what those idiots think it means, as many others have noted before me. Anyway, what really occurred is that the idiots got called out on being idiots for the overreaction, which made them mad. In turn, they’ve shifted the blame to Cartoon Network, the marketing firm, and the two poor saps who built the light displays and went around town putting them up. By doing so, they’re denying that the unwarranted overreaction was at all their fault, and that somehow, based on the fact that there’s an epidemic of terrorist attacks in the US, it’s perfectly justified to call in the big guns for some flashing lights powered by a small battery. Sounds familiar, right? Might as well just call them WMD’s and use them to justify the war in Iraq. The most absurd part is that the CEO of Cartoon Network’s resigned because of this mess. I think those idiots in Boston should resign next, but that might be too much to hope for.

In other “news” (because it’s actually old), Vista was released into the wild. Apparently, it’s built-in antivirus program sucks. Not surprised at all. Supreme Commander is going to ship soon, and I’m really psyched about Spore, which should come out around the time I finish SupCom’s single player. Final Fantasy XII has been my recent source of electronic entertainment, but I near completing that, and I’ll soon be in need of a game. I think that’s all I can think of for now. There’s stuff that deals with Steve Jobs on DRM that I think is utter BS, and rumors that EMI is about to release some of its music in MP3, and I can go on and on for a while about the whole thing, but all I’m going to say is that iTunes probably isn’t going to sell MP3’s regardless.

I also had something to say about security and privacy, but I’m going to leave that can of worms for another day. Obviously, being an anonymous blog, this is a big deal. So I’ll return to the subject another time, preferably when I can present my arguements in a coherent manner.

On a more personal note, my family keeps changing the New Years dinner date… Indecision is the hallmark of one side of my family, and it has the potential to really interfere with my lion dance schedule. Family comes first, of course, so whatever day they pick, I’m still going to go. However, I wish they wouldn’t come to a decision only at the very last minute, utterly nullifying my existing plans and reducing my credibility with the others at PKFS.

It is also getting particularly close to that day of the year. I don’t have plans to spend it with anyone, even though there actually is one person… It would make me very happy if I could spend that evening with her, if only for a dinner, but I’m almost certain she’s beyond my reach now. One can still dream though, and dream I most certainly do…