grayhawkfh: (Tech matters)
I read your recent blog post today (About the iPhone – a Letter to T-Mobile Customers) regarding the iPhone. Now, having been a satisfied customer of T-Mobile for 5 or 6 years, I'm not really looking to switch carriers at this time. I would however, like to make something crystal clear:

As one of your customers who would really like to see the iPhone on T-Mobile, I do not give a tinkers damn about the Samsung Galaxy S II, the HTC Amaze, or any non-iPhone device. At all.

Are we clear on this? I really hope so, because the only way for me to be any clearer would be for me to tattoo it on your forehead backwards so you can read it every time you look in a mirror.

I own exactly one Apple product (an iPad). I'm not a particular Apple fanboy, not one of those so many have derided as "worshiping at the altar of Jobs". To be honest, I'm not 100% certain that it will meet my smart phone requirements. But I'd like to have the opportunity to verify this. To compare it against your other offerings.

Do your customer base a favor: Don't tease us with tech we're not going to get, and don't trot out other tech which isn't the tech so many want. Quit with the "you can't have this, but you can have that instead". It's annoying, condescending, and doesn't endear you to your users.

Miracle Whip ain't mayonnaise, but each have their fans and haters; some even like both.

Same with Apple and Android.

Best regards,

Frank N. Huminski
grayhawkfh: (Tech matters)
OK, so I got my iPad on Friday. For the record, it's the 64gb 3G model.

My purchase was based on a few factors:
  • Now that the kids are older, I can start doing more gaming cons again, and therefore more demo work. This can help me
    • keep track of demos and play reports
    • keep track of rule sets, errata, FAQs, and the like.

  • I see it being an aid to other gaming I do as well, including when I start up the home campaign again.
  • There are several apps available for sysadmins; if they work reasonably well, it may make my life a little easier in not having to bring a laptop with me.
  • I'll admit it: Being able to play Plants vs. Zombies when/where I want is cool.
  • Also see it being useful for taking notes at meetings, whether work related or con related.

As I've said before, netbooks, while cheaper and providing much of the same functionality, are too small for me. Leaving my girth out of the equation, I have hands that are wide and strong. My handspan is bigger than many netbook keyboards. I fat-finger stuff all the time on those things. This was a viable alternative for me.

While I picked it up from FedEx on Friday, I didn't do much with it this weekend, as I was camping with my son and his Cub Scout pack. Therefore, I give you my impressions on it based on 2-3 nights of use.

Short version: This thing is freaking cool.

Longer version:
  • Physical: very light in my hands. I'm left with a strange combination that this feels fairly sturdy,'s not hefty enough to make me believe it. There's enough screen real estate that I'm not struggling to read anything. The overall effect is that I'm not working on a computer, but have a direct window onto the web.
  • Controls: As someone who hasn't really dealt with a Apple product since 1992, the controls are reasonably intuitive. The screen rotation lock is definitely appreciated. The keyboard is responsive to my touch without being oversensitive. While I won't ever hit my top typing speed on it, I'm managing to hit a decent speed.
  • Overall usability: So far, so good. I have yet to find the lack of Flash to be an issue. The few apps I've downloaded have been good. Apps open quickly and work as intended. I haven't downloaded a lot of apps so far, only:
    • PvZ
    • Small World
    • Tweetdeck
    • Marvel Comics (and they look REALLY sweet)
    • PDF Reader
    • The Elements
    • Kindle
    • Netflix
    • Pages
    • Fnorder
    • Munchkin Level Counter

    When I get home tonight, I'll be checking out the .pdf reader and how well it works.
  • Battery life: After several hours of PVZ, I wasn't even below 60%. Battery life seems to be good.

Time will tell if this was a good investment for me. But based on the early results, the answer is yes. I'll revisit this after Origins.
Yeah, I've been meaning to try and post for a few days weeks now. Thing is, every time I was up for writing, I was either not near a computer or bogged down with work. When I had the time, I had no interest.

Hate that crap, I do.

Enough, I say. Time to put fingers to keyboard and get some of this crap rollin' about in my head out and down on e-paper. And, I think, time for a Bullet List of Doom (tm)!Cut for length and stuff )I think that's about it for now. I'm a-gonna see if I can crank out one or more of the posts alluded to above.

I remind you all to have a good day. The very fact that you woke up on the proper side of the grass this morning makes it a great start to a good day.
So, haven't updated in a while, I know. I really would like to get back to posting on a regular basis. Just need to get off my ennui-riddled ass and type.

So. Hi there. How the hell are ya?

Not gonna go into exhaustive detail of the last few weeks. That'll bore the snot outta ya. Instead, I'll just go for the Bullet List Of Doom (tm)!
cut to spare your f-list )
That's all I have for now, mah fwiends!

I remind you all to have a good day. The very fact that you woke up on the proper side of the grass this morning makes it a great start to a good day.
grayhawkfh: (Tech matters)
OK, so let me preface this by saying that I haven't held one, seen one in person, played with one, smelled one, or even touched the pallet that they shipped on, ok? All I have is what they showed yesterday at the conference.

I'm also tired of the fucktards masquerading as tech analysts who are crying that because it doesn't have the features/capabilities/widgets/doodads/pink unicorn horns that *they* think it should have, it's a complete and utter failure.

Right. Didn't you jackasses say that about the iPhone too? STFU and DIAF.

Stupidity, in all forms, irritates the ever-livin' crap outta me.

That said, I think the iPad fills an interesting market void, and the possibilities interest me.

I agree with the idea that this is not a netbook replacement, but a netbook alternative. I hate netbooks. Hatehatehate. A lot of that is size related - I have hands, that when balled into fists, are larger than the average grapefruit. My big ol' meathooks do not do well on a netbook keyboard. Neither do I like the average screen size. And it's not...usable to me in a portable sense. I can't just hold it up and use it. It's awkward. And then there's the issue of how long until I break the hinges.

You get the point. For me, they don't work. I know plenty of people who they do work for, and that's awesome. I'm happy for them.

It also so happens that not long ago, [ profile] mousecat0 & I were discussing the possible merits of getting a Kindle or similar device. For my part, one of the things it has to be able to do is read .pdf, .doc, and .docx documents, because there's *so* much good stuff coming out for RPG's and other games in e-formats (especially .pdf), and I don't like sitting at my desk and reading them there. I read most of my gaming stuff in bed, to help me wind down before sleep. The fact that it will be an e-book reader, and I'm willing to bet there will be some app available for .pdf viewing, is one feature that makes me consider it.

I also see it being useful from a gaming perspective. Not talking about video games, but for tabletop games - board, card, RPG, hell even a LARP. Let me break this down a little:
  • Board & Card games: If you play a lot of games, like I (try to) do, keeping track of errata and FAQ's can get...annoying. Yeah, you can print them out and keep them with the games...assuming they don't get lost. And where the hell do you put errata with card games (that aren't Dominion - which I still need to buy). For some games, there have been videos made of how to play - I remember there being one at TCEP 15 that [ profile] byronczimmer was playing, but I don't remember the name of it. I remember people gathering around [ profile] bulsi's iPod touch to watch it. Bet it'd would've been easier to see on a larger format. ;-)
  • RPG's: Man, this could be a GM's dream. Wanna show a picture to help illustrate what the PC's see? A lot easier to do now, and no trees need to die. A lot of recordkeeping and notes can be done on one, and it's lighter than most laptops. Again, this is not an laptop/netbook killer, but an alternative.
  • LARPS: I'll put this one simply: If you're GM'ing a LARP, which would you rather carry around: a 3-ring binder, a netbook, or something like the iPad. I know what I want.
I think any decision on whether or not I get one will ultimately depend on my actually getting to hold one/play with one. I really want a better feel for what I'm working with. Until then, I may decide to start putting some cash aside for one (and if I do, I'll be getting the 3G enabled version; better to have the capability and not need it than to bemoan it's lack thereof later). If I don't get it, I'll use the cash for something else.

Either way, I'm still gonna mock the pundits mercilessly. That won't change. Mocking stupidity is its own reward.
So, hi there.

Yeah, I feel like I should update. And I actually feel like updating.
But it's been a while, so behind the cut it goes )
No, I'm not going to continue the lolspeak. I don't have a titanium spork to carve my eyes out.

So, Hi. Been a while.

Not much. How 'bout you? Really not sure why I call...

*slap* stopthat!

What, me? In a wierd headspace? Couldn't be.

So, yeah, I know I haven't written. Every time I tried, the words just wouldn't flow.

OK, time for a BULLET LIST OF DOOM (tm)
But I'll be nice and put it behind a cut )
Remember: You woke up on the proper side of the grass this morning. By definition, that makes this a good day.

Peas. Out.
grayhawkfh: (Tech matters)
I'm sure you know that we just went through Patch Tuesday from Microsoft.

I'm also sure you know that it was a record number of patches (13 bulletins [8 crit, 5 imp] addressing 34 vulnerabilities).

What you may not know is that KB974571 will cause major problems with Live Communications Server (LCS) and Office Communication Server (OCS). The current recommendation is to delay installation of this until a fix is found.

More information can be found here:
(and this is by no means an exhaustive list - just what's cranking me now)
Click at your own risk )
Good afternoon, dear friends. Welcome to the latest installation of my ramblings, wherein I set down some thoughts about where I am and what I will be doing in the near future, and perhaps about what I done did.

Or some crap like that.

First, need to get some administrivia out of the way: Welcome to [ profile] hai_kah_uhk & [ profile] shaharazad, two lovely people whom I met last weekend (details on this to follow). Pull up a chair and rest a bit. Hope I don't bore you! I generally suggest that people read this post if they want to know more about me.

I think a bullet list is in order:
  • Me: Still doing well. Seem to be dropping more weight, as the pants seem to be looser and more prone to be affected by gravity.
  • Family: Also doing well. Kids enjoying summer camp. [ profile] mousecat0 still doing well with her job. The summer progresses... ;-)
  • Work: Did very well on my 90 day review, so I am no longer on my probationary period. Moved cubes earlier this week in an effort to insulate the engineering & sysadmin staff from the userbase.
  • Last weekend: The big event last weekend was the wedding of [ profile] pleasantlyevil and [ profile] deceptiverose. They were kind enough to invite the 4 of us to the wedding, and so on Friday, we drove to my parents house in NJ, where we spent the night. Got up the next morning, got ourselves together, and headed out to the site of the wedding. We made one stop en route to consult maps, as the directions we had from Google Maps became slightly confusing. (This is what prompted the question regarding GPS devices earlier this week) Got there just in time. Sat behind [ profile] servergirl and family. The hawaiian shirts the groomsmen were wearing were the same ones that we wore for [ profile] stoooooooo's first wedding - this brought a lump to my throat. The wedding went well, with the only issue being the wind not allowing the candles to be lit. The reception was a lot of fun as well, with the couple having the good sense to sit [ profile] blackpaladin & [ profile] cassildra at the same table us (which also then precludes inflicting us on the other guests), as well as [ profile] hai_kah_uhk & [ profile] shaharazad, two more good peoples cut from the same cloth. Yes I snarked and made ribald comments, and yes, I did get my traditional dance with the groom in. As they say, a good time was had by all.

    We stopped on the way back to my folks at a Stewarts for some root beer floats. Yum. Spent Sunday vegging out at my folks place, then headed home.
  • What's coming up: Taking my Technician's class Amateur Radio License test on Sat Morning. Got a Barking Mad Staph meeting on Saturday afternoon. [ profile] mousecat0 & B are, I believe, going to MSD HQ for the monthly game. Sunday will be some well deserved quiet time and cleaning. Next weekend will be a Baysox game.
  • Gaming: Finally got a copy of Carcassonne, or rather, the Big Box "2", in a package that came with the Tower and Catapult expansions as well. Looking forward to introducing the kids.
  • WoW: Well, I was invited to my first 25 man Ulduar raid last night. Despite my misgivings at possibly being undergeared, things seemed to go decently. Died more than I would have liked, but am still unsure how one of the deaths came about. Whatever. If they'll have me back tonight, I'll be happy to continue.

And, that, as they say, is that.

Remember: You woke up on the proper side of the grass this morning. By definition, that makes this a good day.

Peas. Out.

Convention Countdown
TCEP 16: 51 Days!
Early bird pre-reg ends at the end of the month!
Question for the masses:

If you have a GPS unit, what model do you have?

What features do you like?

What features do you dislike?

What features do you wish it had?

Thinking of getting one before the MD Lighthouse challenge, as I will be traveling in parts of MD that we have never set foot in before...

Convention Countdown
TCEP 16: 53 Days!
Early bird pre-reg ends at the end of the month!
grayhawkfh: (Tech matters)
Check this out:

USB 2.0 to IDE/SATA adapter.

It supports both 3.5- and 2.5-inch IDE and SATA drives. Data recovery/transfer is a lot easier with this little gadget.
So, the headphones I've been using for several years now (AIWA HP-CN6 Noise Cancelling earphones) are dying. I think the cords got pulled too far in the last move.

In any case, I find myself in the market for headphones. Anyone have suggestions?

And please, no ear buds. I hate those damn things.

(Also posted to my twitter feed)
Really, this sums it up beautifully:
cut to spare you from WhinyHawk )
Three items caught my eye today:

Item #1: Eyebrows raised over city school policy that sets 50% as minimum score
1+1=3? In city schools, it's half right
Monday, September 22, 2008
By Joe Smydo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pittsburgh Public Schools officials say they want to give struggling children a chance, but the district is raising eyebrows with a policy that sets 50 percent as the minimum score a student can receive for assignments, tests and other work.

Now, I'm not directly knocking Pittsburgh public schools for this (1). Mainly because it's also policy in Montgomery County, MD! I learned about this idiocy last week at the "Back to School Night". The reason given was so that "students didn't get themselves into a hole they couldn't get out of".

Once again, I call BULLSHIT. This is more useless coddling of someone's Precious Snowflake so that they never fail. Guess what, you jackoffs? Failure is a part of life as well. What's worse, this also lessens the achievements of the students who did well. Now, I know that some people don't test well, and everyone can have an off day. But I'm willing to bet that most of you don't get any slack for that in the real world.

Funny how so many of us did just fine with no minimum score.

Item #2: Fake popup study sadly confirms most users are idiots
By John Timmer | Published: September 23, 2008 - 05:15AM CT

For most of us, security issues happen to "other people"—we block popup ads, we carefully examine dialog boxes and, for those of us on the Mac platform, we snicker when confronted with something that attempts to mimic a Windows system warning. But everyone knows that they are exceptional—what's the behavior of a more typical user like? Some researchers have tested how college students respond to fake dialog boxes in browser popup windows and found that the students are so anxious to get the dialog out of the way, they click right through obvious warning signs.

If you've ever worked Customer Service or Technical Support, there's nothing here to surprise you. It merely confirms what those who have already knew.

Item #3: T-Mobile, Google finally unveil the first Android phone
By Jacqui Cheng | Published: September 23, 2008 - 09:56AM CT

T-Mobile, Google, and HTC finally officially launched the first Android-enabled mobile device to hit the market. As expected, the first Android phone will be the HTC Dream (also known as the T-Mobile G1), a device with a large touchscreen and a slide-out physical keypad that will run Google's new mobile platform. The Dream will be available through T-Mobile and will launch "simultaneously on both sides of the Atlantic."

I've looked at the list of cities covered by their 3G network by October 22. DC is not among them. Can't seem to find the list for November.

So let me say that again: One of the most populous areas of the Atlantic Seaboard that has one of the higher concentrations of Tech geeks doesn't have 3G coverage for your new tech toy?

Way to go, T-mobile! You've just ensured that I won't be getting the phone anytime soon.



(1) I mean, it's just too easy. It's PITTSBURGH. They barely have indoor plumbing, a quarterback who thinks that his head can survive a collision with a car, and a baseball team that is better suited for 43-Man Squamish...

(Yes, [ profile] junkpc, [ profile] blackpaladin, and [ profile] psywildfire, you know I hadda. Is Big BenBruise gonna play anytime soon?)
Many of my long time readers will remember Skippy's List.

(And if you don't, go read it! But do not eat or drink while doing so. I will NOT be responsible for cleaning or replacing your monitor)

Well, he went and posted an IT version in his blog! See it here!

Same disclaimer applies!

FireFox 3

Jun. 17th, 2008 01:09 pm
Attempt 1: 1306 hrs EDT. Unable to reach site.
Attempt 2: 1311 hrs EDT. Unable to reach site.

Heh. As much as I support Firefox, their world record may have problems...

DDoS, anyone? LOL!


Oct. 24th, 2007 12:37 pm
It's a cool, gray, wet day here in the greater Baltimore - DC area.  And while we need the rain, the weather patterns are not doing anything for my mood.

Which is, as the title implies, "bleah".

Don't know why though.  Except for the fact that my uncle is in the hospital after having a heart attack, things are actually going pretty well for us. 

I just...don't wanna be here. 

In other news, back at home, I'm trying to take up a lot of the chores at the moment, since [ profile] mousecat0 comes home pretty tired 3 days a week (from Starbucks).  I know it's gonna take her some time to get used to the routine.  After all, the jobs she's been working have been pretty much desk-type jobs.  Now she's up and going for 8+ hrs a day, and it gets tiring some days.

Meanwhile, California is burning.  I'm half expecting that asshat Fred Phelps and his hate group...I mean WBC to picket there, claiming that this is part of "God's Anger".  Here's hoping that everyone gets to safety, that no more lives are lost, and the weather cooperates to bring it under control.

My main page is now iGoogle.  My cubemate uses it, and hooked me.  This happened about the same time as Yahoo changed the format of My Yahoo and pissed me off. So, yeah, iGoogle. 

Bumper sticker seen on the way to work:  I never thought I'd miss Nixon.

Oh yeah.  From the "Piss me off" files:  Fearmongering.  Or, more to the point, alleged news sources asking if we're worried about and/or ready for a terrorist attack.

Personally, no, I'm not worried, and I'm not taking any "special precautions".  There is no such thing as a "safe life".  Hell, that new super-bacteria?  A direct result of trying to live that "safe life".  At any given moment, I could die.  A truck could go out of control, lightning can strike, comets can fall, asshole cow-irkers can mix up the ground and hot leads on electrical wiring. 

Every moment we have on this earth is a blessing, because every moment could be our last. 

If I was to worry about everything that might happen, I'd be paralyzed.  I'm not going to worry about terrorists because thats what they want you to do.  I'm not going to worry about supergerm, because I'll either get it or not, and my body will fight it or not, and there's not a whole lot I can do about that, either. 

So here's my message to all the sheeple:

Stop living in fear and start living. 


Frank N. Huminski

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