1) An interesting change here at Casa de Nyquil: a 12 year old boy is now turning our cozy little twosome (9-some, if'n you count the rodents and birds and feline) into a trio (Dectet?). So far this has only meant more Wii time, as only one day has passed. Today D and 12yo are off to the beach, meaning I've got the place to myself for the evening. Updates as to problems/benefits of a child to follow.
2) I'd just like to take this time to point out the value inherent in knowing your audience. As a Dreamhost Blog reader, I saw that Crazy Josh Jones was waiting in line to purchase an iPhone he didn't even want, and that he was giving it away in an amusing little contest: make an image showing the real reason behind the mysterious downtimes all Dreamhost customers fondly recognize. I saw an opportunity -- not to win, mind you -- to make Josh laugh, which is something he's caused me to do on any number of occasions. I entered the contest, making reference to something pretty much only he would find humor in, and did it in bad pun form -- which, after being a customer of Dreamhost for several years and constant reader of at least eight "monthly" newsletters, I know he has quite a proclivity for.
This, apparently, is the trick to winning prizes from him, cuz he's now mailing me his unwanted 8gig iPhone.
I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do with this monstrosity, for after spending like an hour at a Cingular store trying to get all the deets from the peeps, I've learned that there is not a comparable plan to the one I currently enjoy thru T-Mobile (0 minutes, unlimited data for $29.99), and the best I can do is 200 minutes unlimited data for $59.99. That's a pretty steep monthly increase, but maybe the super-cool new features the iPhone provide are worth it. Steve would have me believe so. (When you pay $600 for a device, you get to be on first-name basis.)
The two demo models at the store were both borked already, so that's probably not a good sign, but before I did a hard reset on the semi-working one (requiring some Cingular employee to eventually re-enter the WiFi security key. Sorry, future iPhone demo-ers!) I did get to scroll and zoom around things. It is pretty neat.
Safari crashed after loading half of nyquil.org, so I'm not entirely sure how well that works. Most of the apps on the phone actually use Safari to operate (which Blackberry customers will be all-too familiar with) meaning that you can't switch back and forth betwixt a web page and and the cool GPS screen. Or any screen, for that matter. There doesn't appear to be any sort of multi-tasking, as the only button on the unit just takes you back to the menu, where clicking on the application again gives you a new, blank window. Perhaps I am just stupid and couldn't figure out how, though. (But aren't us retards the exact demo Apple's products are targeted to? That smarmy Mac guy on TV is constantly telling John Hodgman how much less-smart (inversely proportional to how much more cool you are) you need to be to use Apple products. Maybe I'm just not cool enough?)
Overall, after the 10 minutes I goofed around betwixt crashes, I was actually pretty danged impressed with the interface. The virtual keyboard is very nice. I've used a lot of portable device keypads, and really, the lack of tactile buttons is far less off-putting than I expected; I was pretty quickly two-thumbing out things like a pro. This will probably be more irritating as I try to compose longer, less "test test 1 2 3 4"-type things... we'll have to see when I actually get mine.
I also learned the crucial bit of info for which I trekked out to a store in the first place: I can activate the phone, try it for 30 days, and then cancel the mandatory two-year contract, enabling me to re-sell it on eBay should I not like it. Yes, even if you are not buying the phone at this time, you are still required to sign a multi-year contract just to activate it.
I'm not sure who is crazier: those loons at Apple or the nutjobs (like me) who can't wait to use their equal-parts shiny/shitty products. Updates to follow.
You got a twelve-year-old boy? Why do I feel like a chapter was left out somewhere?
In other news, from what I've experienced in the past two days, the primary function of the iPhone is to turn its owner into a drooling Apple shill who wants to show it off to anyone who will listen (and many who won't).
My friends tell me that one night when I was extraordinarily drunk, I declared, "Steve Jobs can suck my iDick." I'm sober now, but I'm going to stand by that.
And I don't care how flashy it is, I'm never buying a goddamn phone that costs more than any one of my first three cars.
I'm a long time Mac user and love the look of the interface but I just don't have a use for the iPhone and don't own an iPod and anyway it's not available in the UK yet and bound to be the same price in pounds as it is in dollars.
I can see how you were led astray...Yellow Pages ads used to exhort you to "let your fingers do the walking," the point being that instead of schlepping from store to store to find what you needed, you could just pull out your 4-lb. phone book and make a few calls first.
You can get unlimited data + no voice plan. I know because I just ditched my voice plan with AT&T (so it's just a flat $0.40/min, which is fine with me since I was paying for about 440 minutes/month I didn't use) and kept the unlimited data (mine's more at $44.99/mo without a voice plan, but I know there are different flavours if you want to use it as a PC hookup). They didn't want to let me do it, and in fact, the first guy I talked to didn't mention it as a possible option when I said I wanted "any way to not have to spend $40/mo on minutes", but it's totally possible.
The folks at the store told me that they "used to" offer a data-only plan, but that they recently discontinued it. Perhaps you are grandfathered into a defunct plan?
Also they've said that Apple is pretty strict about the plans for the iPhone.
Even the prepaid plans are only available to iPhone customers if they've ALREADY FAILED the credit check. (I'm going to fail said credit check by inputting an invalid social security number when I get mine.)
So even if the plan is still available, It's not unreasonable to beleieve that Apple is requiring the voice plan as a kind of burnt offering to the folks at AT&T -- who, after all, make most of their money selling minutes and texts. (This is also likely the reason ther eis no iChat on iPhone. Why would anyone pay for text messages when they can just iChat?)
THanks for the input, though, and I'll certainly do all I can to to investigate further, provided I even want to keep the iPhone, which chances are, I won't.
Hmm, possible, although I just cancelled the voice plan a few days ago, and she was very clear that there wasn't a way to "transfer" to this plan, that she'd have to actually cancel everything I had and then re-add the new data plan. This is the page with the data only options: http://www.wireless.att.com/cell-phone-service//cell-phone-plans/data-connect-plans.jsp
But yeah, wouldn't surprise me if things were pretty locked down with the iPhone specifically, good point.
Dude! Regardless of what the product is, you just wrote something, and made at least $600! I think hearty congrats are in order.
The single thing I like about the iPhone so far, because I don't like phones, or Apple products, typically, is how fast, and smoothly things zoom around on the screen. That's what I wanted from my Dell Axim x50V, which is why I paid something like $600 for it a few years back. I wanted to code up all my own stuff in things like Flash, or Processing, and make them fullscreen, and have a Leela-like wearable arm computer that hooked to electronics on my body, and made me flash lights, and play my own motion-controlled theme songs, and lots of other stuff that ALL turned out to be impossible.
Even dumping to it a bunch of images from my camera locked it up for hours. I couldn't use the image viewing tool, because it just sat, and sat. I'm hoping to put Linux on it someday, because it's still a razor-sharp VGA screen with decent specs, but the guys working on that haven't made very much progress.
I want a device that's totally open, like an XGP, and smooth as silk, like the iPhone. I think by the time I get one, they won't be cool anymore.
In actuality it's much lamer than simply getting $600 for writing something; in actuality, I made a really crappy "photoshop" image out of an even crappier joke :)
So while I'm happy that I won, I do feel somewhat guilty that some of the funnier/better/less-Josh-Jones-specific entries didn't win. Not that guilty, though :)
I too like the flashy whooshy things, but at the end of the day I need to be able to type to people and read the things they post on their blogs. That's pretty much it. No amount of wooshing is going to make me pay $60 a month to not be able to do both of those things. I am considering writing a GAIM plugin to generate an iPhone-compat AJAXy web interface, though, which would go a long ways towards solving my problems.
Only in the loosest sense of the word. I can grok code easily enough, and as long as I can find suitable examples to show how to do most of the things I can usually accomplish what I want to. I just never retain the language knowledge that I learn, always having to look how I did it last time.
I've written a couple gaim plugins over the years (but they've changed the API a few times since then), so it is within the realm of feasability. Whether I'll actually DO it, on the other hand, is not so much in the realm of feasability.
I think the easiest thing to do would be to have gaim manipulate an sql db, maintaining a list of open chats, the content of those chats with timestamps, etc. Then have a php front-end read the db, using AJAX to poll the db for updates since the last seen time-stamp. That way you'll always have the same chats open on your desktop as you in mobile interface. Maybe do the same with the buddylist, and clicking the buddylist would then tell gaim to open a chat with the desired user. That way when you close the tab, you you don't lose anything. Come back later, login and it then shows you everything since you last logged out.
The author lives in Vancouver, Washington, USA with his girlfriend and a menagerie of cats, rats, fish, birds, guinea pigs and robots.
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