What About the Other Underdogs?

Let this be the post that finally breaks the silence. Also, disclaimer, this is all entirely based on my memory of events from months past, and some of the information in this article may not be accurate.

The recent news in the past few months has gotten me thinking about the state of progress in the mobile platform market. There has been much attention put onto the now-mainstream fight between Apple and Google, but it seems that beyond that, there hasn’t been much focus on the other major players in the battlefield. Those three players are Microsoft, RIM, and with their great acquisition of Palm and its WebOS, HP.

HP seem to be the best at innovation in this field. Last year, under Mark Hurd’s tenure, HP broke away from its partnerships with Microsoft and Google to use their respective mobile OSes when they decided to buy Palm and its own innovative webOS, an operating system that has received many accolades for its think-outside-the-box approach to common UI effects in mobile phones, from having notifications slide from the bottom to using cards as a visual representation for multitasking and switching to another application. Unfortunately, for all the praise it received, it hadn’t had much attention from consumers in the marketplace, resulting in low sales for a comeback Palm and an eventual acquisition offer from HP. What it did help to serve, though, was to give a way for HP to break free from the ‘oppressive chain of the OEM license,’ as I’d like to put it, and give the company a seed for regaining control over its own products and software, a move the company wisely decided to take when they announced version 3 of their newly-rebranded HP webOS in February, along with a new product line to serve it upon, and introducing a new tablet for it to compete in the tablet sector currently led by the iPad.

While I applaud HP for taking the initiative to reject the OEM method and embrace their own path, I do question some of their decisions that they announced at their press conference in February.

  1. Their line of webOS products looks to be diverse, but too diverse. I’m a bit wary of their choice to release a whole line and splinter it with customized options. I’d find it preferable for them to start out slow with their line, and not go out rushing in with too many product options that may confuse consumers.
  2. Release in the late summer. Not a good idea to release about a few weeks before Apple holds their annual fall iDevice conference. Also, by then, the hype for your product might have already died down.
  3. webOS for desktop computers. For obvious reasons, I think it’d be best to leave this field for Microsoft to claim and continue claiming, and focus more on more modern areas of development.

Overall, Apotheker, you’re doing one hell of a splendid job with your new direction for HP, and I hope you continue with whatever you’re doing right now over there.

Moving on, let’s just take a look at the sorry state of affairs at RIM and leave it at that. Ignoring the fact that there exists a dual-CEO partnership in the company (instantly a bad sign), their strategy is one that increasingly looking more and more unfocused by the minute. Consider their recent tablet released to compete against the iPad, the Blackberry Playbook. It supports (count ‘em) 5 platforms for development: C/C++, HTML5 apps, an Adobe Air SDK specifically geared for tablets, Blackberry Java apps, and now Android 2.3 apps, for god’s sake. While diversity is usually favored by the market as a good thing, this much diversity makes it look out to be less great and more baffling.*

Don’t forget about the fact that you need a Blackberry tethered to the Playbook in order to do even something necessary like checking email. Already, RIM are establishing that this is a device ultimately meant for existing Blackberry users, and not meant as a device aimed gain new customers. The question is, will the existing Blackberry users follow and buy RIM’s new offering in the tablet sector?

Shockingly, the business sector, their most important base of revenue, have recently been switching to other platforms, with some of their IT departments going with the iPhone and others moving to Android. Maybe businesses have had enough of their dated offerings and have decided to take the bold step into other modern affairs.

Finally, we arrive at Microsoft’s strategy, and all we can do is either laugh or sigh at how badly their plan has taken them so far. Unlike RIM, Microsoft have billions, and thus lots of time, to throw at the problem, but like RIM, they are being pretty inefficient at actually fixing it. Their lack of getting any significant market share in the past 8 months since launch is telling. More importantly, though, are the problems within that actual small, insignificant share that they hold, most notably their unfulfilled promise of hassle-free software updates untied to the carrier. Not only have they seemingly given up on passing the carrier barrier, but the sheer amount of time between updates is enough to make a person wonder, “Are they actually supporting this damn thing?”

And yet, at the same time, we see the Windows Phone software department doing amazing things with the Metro UI, and making impressive work with interconnectivity with other Microsoft platforms, from Messenger to Xbox. But what success do they have to show for it, when their marketing department can’t seem to captivate their intended audience into buying their product? But then again, this is the same marketing department that didn’t want to use the Xbox name at all (See section 1999-2001: ‘ANYTHING BUT XBOX’) for the original console.

UPDATE: Just look at this. When even John Gruber notes that it’s some great stuff, you know that you have the potential for an amazing hit.

In short, HP looks to be making some good moves at the moment but the future of the webOS department depends on how well HP’s marketing department can connect with consumers. Microsoft needs to shape up their marketing and play on their strengths, lest they continually get ignored. And as for RIM… it’s been nice knowing you guys, but maybe you could get some kind of salvage deal in the next few months. (For all your recent woes, your tactile keyboards still rock.)

*Don’t forget. It also runs POSIX natively. (See quote at 4:32 P.M.)

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The Diary of My Wisdom Tooth Extraction

(Adapted from my recent forum post: My Jaw Surgery LOG! (Also Known as Wisdom Teeth Extraction))

Welcome to my recounts of my experience yesterday, and in here, I will proceed to detail you the whole trip that I went through!

(All times are military PST, date: 2010.07.19, except where notified; All positions are according to my POV)

I had the angular profile for my lower two wisdom teeth, while my upper two were vertically set.

Types of Wisdom Teeth Emersion

So basically, what happened is that my two lower wisdom teeth in the back were wicked hooked into my 2 lower 2nd molars. What the dentist recommended was to remove all four emergent wisdom teeth, since removing the lower 2 would render the upper 2 useless, and they had already stopped growing anyways.

NOTE: I was NOT put to sleep during this operation. I was entirely awake the entire time.

    1730: They inject my mouth 7 times with some antiseptic that numbs my gums so that I would not feel anything. 

    1753: Operation on the left lower wisdom tooth commences. I hear cracking, and lots of drilling. I soon feel the smoke of the drill burning the calcium of my wisdom teeth around my gums, causing me intense perspiration.

    1805: Lower left wisdom tooth removed, and dentist sews in the gums with thread. Operation commences on the left upper wisdom tooth commences. I feel a slight pain for the upper jaws, since the majority of the injections occurred for the lower gums.

    1816: Upper left wisdom tooth removed. Pooling blood is sucked out of my gums. Operation commences on the right lower wisdom tooth. The same operation is applied to this one.

    1827: Right lower wisdom tooth removed. I have the opportunity to rinse my mouth, and to finally notice how much blood I am seeping from my gums. Operation commences on right upper wisdom tooth.

    1841: Right upper wisdom tooth removed. Gauze is applied to both gums. Operation is complete. One-use ice packs are administered to both cheeks, though it is the left cheek which I later realize would require more assistance.

    1855: I depart the dental office, gauze still in my mouth, which will soon prove to be a total bitch to hold in place due to my saliva. I am sad that I cannot eat the Bánh Kẹp Lá dứa my dad had bought at Van’s Bakery in Lion Plaza. :(

    Also, many ounces of blood kept pooling and I had to keep spitting it out. :(

    1954: I arrive back at the house and start talking to [redacted] and everyone on ##kotakuites IRC.

    2207: Blood flow slows down to a trickle. I rinse my mouth with salt water and go to bed. (Sort of.)

My left gum needed more assistance with biting down on the gauze than the right gum, which I could do without. But now, as of 1948:11 2010.07.20, I can safely drink soup, move my jaw with limited direction, and swallow stuff! (Spitting out is another story.)

So now, please, tell me your stories with Wisdom tooth extraction below.

Posted in Daily Ramblings | 2 Comments

My Evaluation of Andersens Bakery Wi-Fi Service

My evaluation of Andersens Bakery Wi-Fi today:

Good:
◊Their password consists of “andersen” plus the number of the building. Hooray, easy password haxxorz!!
◊FAST FAST ULTRA SUPER FAST (586 KB/s!)

Bad:
◊Their uploading speed is terrible. (Could be a symptom of downloading at the same time, though.)
◊Can’t connect to any torrents or use Skype (oddly enough)
◊No electricity outlets. :(

Meh:
◊You have to buy something to use the internet, but that can be said for many shops, so it’s not really a complaint.

Goodbye Starbucks and Borders, it’s been nice knowing you, but with a hot download speed of 500 KB/s, I’m in love with Andersens (again*).

*I fell in love for the first time when I ate their delicious and scrupulous sandwiches. :)

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The Sunday of 23 May 2010, Well-Spent in Sydney

The crows are depressing. They sound SO MUCH MORE DEPRESSING than in America. (Mostly due to their lower pitch-tone. Blargh.)

So far, this is the city that ALWAYS rains for some reason. It seems to FLOOD with the downpour of a million buckets.

It’s too damn bad that this hotel/apartments/condo (courtesy of the Grand Mercure) does not have any internet at all. Goddamn, there’s not even any ethernet over here, arrgh. Fucking cheapasses. I hope you guys rot in hell.

Just a while ago, I was watching Frost/Nixon. Entertaining docudrama about a recorded interview between interviewer Frost and interviewee Nixon. Set in 1977.

The previous night I watched the majority of Watchmen, only because I watched the Eastern (or New Zealand? Probably not.) broadcast of it, but then I discovered a Western CLEANER broadcast of the damn bugger, so I was able to rewatch some parts that I missed. Let it be known that John/Dr. Manhattan’s transformation (with his circulatory/skeletal/muscular systems exploding, time ticking down and all) was FUCKING SCARY. Like, good god how could a man survive that explosion is beyond me. Also, it was fucking obvious that his colleagues got cancer from asbestos (crazy ‘50s, huh?). Thank you Ramses II, for revealing everything in the end! (Asshole.) Also, squeeeee Macintosh inverted!!

(Strange how Nixon was in both movies, though… What is this, Nixon week? He seemed much nicer and down to earth in Frost/Nixon, though.)

Also, I watched a James Bond movie set in Japan, called You Only Live Twice. Hella awesome, and I mean HELLA.

On the flight here the day before… WHOA. I skipped a total DAY. O_O (No Friday for me ;_;)

But the Qantas airline flight on the Airbus A380 was AWESOME. Total double decker plane?! WANT.

Snack bar FTW baby. But the best thing was the In-seat entertainment.

Yeap, free albums to listen to, and free movies to watch. ALL INCLUDED IN YOUR TICKET PRICE.

(I watched Nowhere Boy, a documentary about John Lennon. His mother’s death was so sad, being freakin’ RUN OVER BY A CAR. Caught me in the tears. ;_______;

Let’s just say I have MUCH more respect for the man now. He’s up there with George Harrison now, in my eyes. Sorry Paul, but you’re still an old asshole.)

Guns n’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction, Ella Fitzgerald’s Ella Fitzgerald, and Queen’s A Night At the Opera (mostly “Bohemian Rhapsody”)… ahh~

And I got to learn my Vietnamese, too! Thank you, Berlitz World Traveler for your expertise.

Ultimately… HOLY SHIT THE AIRPORT IMMIGRATION/CHECK-IN AT SYDNEY WAS HEAVEN!!

Japanese student group came in… LARGE group of people… Half Japanese boys… and half Japanese GIRLS! Teenagers, too! And they were even wearing their little uniforms too! Their ties… their suits… their SKIRTS… on Saturday, I think I finally died and went to heaven… <3

All in all, it was a pretty boring day otherwise, but the city market next door was OK, at least. BUT. The Japanese GIRLS… my highlight of the day… *ayiii sigh~* ^_^

Posted in Daily Ramblings | 2 Comments