Feb 222011
 

Microsoft has been stamping their wares on silicon longer than the Gizmodo editorial board has been alive, which is to say that they should know what they’re doing. Windows Phone 7 is Microsoft’s way-late entry into an already-crowded smartphone arena, so you’d figure the seamless execution of its first software update would be the company’s top priority. Unfortunately for Redmond, despite the centuries of experience and the pressure to get everything right for any shot at a foothold in a market dominated by Apple and Google, Microsoft fucked up their first update – bigtime. How big? According to Ars Technica:

“For lucky individuals, the process merely hangs on step seven (out of ten); rebooting the phone resurrects it, albeit without the upgrade. For a minority of unlucky users, the process fails at step six, and corrupts the phone’s firmware. What’s worse is that for some of them it appears to be bricking the phone completely, rendering it useless.”

I also found this bit about how to find out if your smartphone is going to implode when updating entertaining:

“Figuring out which firmware version you have is a somewhat awkward procedure. From the phone’s dialer, type ##634#, then press the call button. This will start up Samsung’s Diagnosis application.

In the Diagnosis application, type *#1234#. This will show a screen of detailed version information. It’s the first three version numbers (for “PDA”, “Phone”, and “CSC”) that are relevant here. If the firmware versions are older (JIx, JJx) then the update probably won’t work; if they’re newer (JKx) it probably will.”

Sounds a lot like a troubleshooting procedure for a certain desktop OS. To all you IT dickheads who stood by your man and sold this bag of turds as the enterprise solution to your company, please commence sucking it.

In a way, I wish Microsoft would throttle back on the cock-ups, lest parties concerned about the direction of the company become alerted and attempt to seize control. To date, it appears that investors and the all-star board of directors are content to watch this flaming car wreck unfold in slow-motion frame by hilarious frame.

Nov 292010
 

Sure you could go to Gizmodo and find out what cool toys are available this Holiday season. They usually have a pretty unbiased presentation of…

Oh. Well, it does explain a lot. And a brother’s gotta eat, right?

Anyway, I give stuff and I get stuff. I have WordPress and a keyboard, so that qualifies me to make a tech gift guide. Let’s start with things you shouldn’t think of giving someone, or should give if you want the message to be “I loathe you intensely”. 10 sounds like a nice round number. Because I don’t hate you like CNet or Silicon Alley Insider does, I’m not going to try and artificially inflate my pageviews by extending the list to 10 pages. That’s not entirely true. Since I don’t know how to extend the list to 10 pages and haven’t figured out how to put ads into my content in a way that doesn’t look retarded, you’re getting the list all on one page.

10. Digital Photo Frames Nothing says “Home” quite like a picture frame surrounding a shitty LCD display with an AC adapter tail, cycling poorly-lit cellphone pics of your kids. Place one on a doyley for added kitschy charm.

9. Wireless Charging Bed Jamming an adapter into my iPhone so I can place it in a specific location wirelessly is the same as jamming an adapter in to my iPhone and tethering it to the wall. And about $90 cheaper.

8. Netbook Stab at some undersized keys on an underspecced laptop with shitty but relatively operable Windows XP, less shitty but stripped to the asshairs Windows 7 or some Linux distro (for those you truly hate or the neckbeard that hates himself) and watch your productivity soar! /cue sarcasmmetershatter.mp3

7. Windows 7 Phone Contrary to what the Gizmodo Tit in Redmond wants you to believe, this app-less exercise in UItardery is a 3-year-too-late and several-dollars-short death rattle from Ballmer’s asphyxiating Borg.

6. Bluetooth earpiece Attention soccer moms and pinstripe gelheads: this ear apparatus (earparatus: judges?) dismisses any doubt that you are a douchebag. Buy a rig for your car and put the phone to your head when you want to yap on about your thoroughly uninteresting lives outside of where it’s appropriate – namely your house and out of earshot of TMA.

5. Tilt to Live for the iPhone or iPad A former friend recommended this game to me. 24 hours later I woke up having topped 5,000,000 points, but divorced, bankrupt and packed in a bathtub filled with ice. Inflict this game upon those whose productivity you aim to destroy.

4. iPad Case I’m sure you mean well, but do you really know how someone works well enough to choose from the 3 billion iPad cases on the market? Spare the person for whom you are buying from having to make the lose-lose choice of not using your gift and having you resent them and using it despite the fact that they don’t want to and having them resent you.

3. Anything involving physical media CD, DVD, BluRay: it doesn’t matter. People shouldn’t have to put a disc into a reader to consume content. Yea, yea 1080p yadda yadda. If the difference between 1080 and 720p means that much to the person you’re buying for, they’ve probably already got something 10 times more expensive than you can afford to give them. And they’re probably uppity and shallow to boot. Find a new friend.

2. Nook Color or Kindle DX What’s not an entry level e-reader, definitely not an iPad and is likely to be the last nail in the coffin of at least one major media retailer? Something you’re hopefully not buying for someone that you care about. If you’re cheap and they’re nerds, get them a Kindle. If you care: iPad.

1. GoogleTV device One of the most influential players in technology decided to release a family of devices running a version of Android that sits atop your TV and lets you take in all of the networks’ online content for free…uhhh…let’s you watch YouTube for free. For $300. From the UI geniuses behind Wave. C’mon, people: there’s enough hate in the world.

Jul 152010
 

Tech’s most popular head-to-head pairing, Apple vs. Google, is a battle originating and fought mainly on the mobile phone battlefield. The iPhone OS and hardware are made by Apple, and despite its problems with AT&T in the U.S., its carrier relationship is the envy of every other phone maker in the industry. This integration of hardware and software, leveraged relationship with its carriers and the closely-curated nature of its App Store allow Apple to deliver a consistent, fluid user experience.

Contrast this with the relationships Google has with its Android partners. Google supplies the OS, HTC or Motorola provides the hardware and any one of a number of carriers provides the service. Its App Store is a loosely-managed free-for-all of copyright-challenging ringtones and mostly minor titles from fringe developers.

So what’s the worst that can happen? Motorola’s recently-released Droid X provides some insight. Gizmodo, who I generally despise precisely for its gratuitious fellating of Google, absolutely panned the device as a giant (5″ x 2.6″, 5 1/2 oz.), spec heavy, performance retarded amalgmation of Android 2.1 (even though the vastly superior 2.2 has been available on the Nexus One since mid-June), Motorola’s Blur social networking overlay and enough pre-installed crapware to make Sony blush.

On paper, the Droid X is one of the best Android phones ever made. But unlike Apple, who controls every facet of the product experience aside from the carrier, the up-and-coming OS’s implementation is a victim of several unleveraged relationships. God help me – I’m about to quote Gizmodo:

The software—a discordant melange of the not-so-fresh Android 2.1 and various bits of the Blur “social networking” interface from Motorola’s lower-end Android phones—is the shudder-inducing poster child for the horrors that can occur when most hardware companies try to make software. It’s ugly, scattershot, and confusing. It feels almost malicious.

If Google had manufacturer and carrier control, they wouldn’t have to deal with this shit, which is why I imagine they took a shot at selling the Nexus One themselves. This phone would ship with Android 2.2 and be stripped of both the crapware (which I suspect was not Google’s idea) and Motorola’s joke of an OS overlay. Instead, a device that’s a specification juggernaut is transformed into a Frankensteinian shitshow that makes everyone involved look stupid.

And that’s what I mean about 2 degrees of fragmentation – and if the carrier was actually responsible for any of the crapware pre-installed on the X, that would be 3. There’s the experience of the Android OS from Google, which has limited control over it (which is why there are 3 major versions of Android in circulation) and there’s the Blur overlay forced onto the device courtesy of Motorola (HTC also has the Sense overlay for many of its Android devices, but it’s not nearly as obtrusive or shitastic).

So when people ask their friends about “an Android phone”, they might get the enthusiastic answer version from a geek running Froyo on a Nexus One or the serious buyer’s remorse answer from someone who was marketed a superior device that’s hamstrung by an old OS and an aneurism-inducing faux UI provided by their meddling manufacturer.  And despite what Google execs would have you believe, fragmentation is not a fairy tale. It pisses consumers off and makes people wipe their asses with your brand. Then again, as long as people are granting Google the right to exploit their search habits and identity, I don’t think they care how many different versions of their derivative OS exist – as long as all of them keep pumping the ducats into Google’s coffers.

May 032010
 

It took the original iPhone and the Droid 74 days. It took the iPhone 3G 3 days and the 3G(s) a weekend. The Nexus One hasn’t even seen it yet. It’s the magic number of one million. According to Apple, the iPad has gotten there in just shy of a month.

There’s a couple reasons why this is a big deal. First, this is a device with a very limited release. Although it’s not explicit in the announcement, the timing of it suggests that the majority of the devices sold were WiFi-only (3G iPads shipped starting at the end of April).  The iPad is also currently only available in the U.S., further limiting the number of potential sales. Secondly, the iPad is not a subsidized device like the iPhone 3G and 3G(s) was/is. People are shelling out a minimum of $500 for one. To sell a million of these devices is pretty amazing.

Of course, if you ask stolen property purchaser tech blog Gizmodo to assess the milestone, they’re a little more conservative with their praise:

“Not bad for a giant iPhone. The question, really, is how well it’s still selling next month, now that all of the early adopters and Apple nerds have theirs.”

Yes – that’s the real question. How many more millions of units will you sell next month, or the month after that, or whenever your “disappointing sales” can provide us with the link-bait we require to make money?  WHEN WILL YOUR SUCCESS FLAG?!

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