Saturday, December 17, 2011

What Phone should I buy?

Ok, I just made a post about why I don't like Apple.  But that's not really the post I wanted to make today, I mostly really wanted it there as a reference for later when people ask me,  but hey if any of you find it a good read then that's good. 

I just finished reading a post in one of my favorite Tech Blogs about what phone people should get, I thought it was going to be a nice informative post but turned out to be crap.  The guy basically says he recommends people the iPhone because there is a chance of having less questions with it. 

So I figured I'd make a post with my own views since Christmas is almost here and some of you probably still want to get new phones.  I will say this however, all my experience is with iOS and Android, I don't know anything about the Windows phones other than the fact that being called "Windows" is probably hurting them. I'm also not that familiar with Blackberry phones.  But the right phone for you may very well be a Windows phone or a blackberry.

That's actually the first thing you need to understand, there is Apple with iOS, there is Google with Android, there is Research in Motion (RIM) and Blackberry OS and there is Microsoft with Windows Phones.  Windows Phone is just the name of their mobile operating system, it is NOT phones running the windows you see on your desktop.  There is others but I'm not going to sit here and mention all the others because honestly they don't matter right now.

Apple makes the iPhone which is the only phone using iOS. 
Research in Motion makes the Blackberry phones and they are the only ones running the Blackberry OS.
There is a lot of manufacturers making either Android or Windows phones. 

So right away we need to understand that if I make the phone and the software, then everything is going to work better because I had full control.  If I just make the software but others make the phones, then things might get more difficult.  That's certainly the problem with Android, too many phones out there running it so it can be more problematic.

So once again, which one is the right phone for you?

If you are the kind of person who just wants to make phone calls and nothing else, then by all means stay away from any smart phones.  I have yet to see a smart phone that worked for making phone calls as good as the old flip phones.  Seriously, too many times the touch screen opens up and you start clicking on things with your cheeks.  Also during the winter unless you have special gloves you wont be able to do much with your phone using regular gloves.  So I'd save myself the frustration and just get a regular flip phone or something like it.

If you are the kind of person who wants to make phone calls but wants to do the occasional web browsing maybe to check on your teams scores.  Or you want to be able to play some games while you wait for something, or you are a big iTunes fan but you are just not that much into technology and you don't care to do anything out of the ordinary with your phone, then by all means get an iPhone. 

If you are the kind of person who is really into music and really into games and is not afraid to do anything with the word "hack" in it, then I still recommend an iPhone.  Android has come a long way with games but I still think the iPhone has the best games. 

If you are the kind of person who just loves to push your limits, you love to learn more about how things work, you like to web browse a lot and you like to completely customize your phone, you like having a lot of options for whatever you are going to do, then Android would certainly be good for you. 

If you are the kind of person who is always on the go and needs to be able to do a lot more from your phone, then Android may also be the best thing for you.  With services like Google Voice being so integrated with Android and having the ability to so easily access files it's easy to kind of run your little office from the phone. 

If all you want is your work Email on your phone, then by all means I'd say go with Iphone again.  I would have said Blackberry but honestly there is nothing I can think of that blackberry would be better for.  I should mention that Android also does handle Enterprise email just fine, but if that's all you want then why bother with any of the other Android issues? 

So there you have it.  Think about what you want and then if an iPhone can satisfy all those needs then I certainly would recommend one.  However, I always have to strongly recommend you check out what an Android phone can use, because too many times I see people who got an iPhone because it was great for them but then later on realized Android did things they never even though about, but now that they know about them, they seriously want them. 

As much as people HATE hearing this, because they usually want a simple answer, my best recommendation is go to store with someone who is familiar with phones and try out the phones, see which one you like best.  But make a list of what you MUST be able to do first. 


Why I dislike Apple

So a lot of people think I hate Apple and the fact that a lot of times I've said "I hate apple" probably has something to do with it.  But the truth is I don't HATE them, I just really dislike some of the things they do, while at the same time knowing that they have every right to run their business however they want.

But, a lot of times people want to know why I feel about them the way I do so I figured I'd make a post about it, so that in the future I can just copy and paste.

The dislike really started back in the Personal Computer world.  Apple computers were always so expensive and I just couldn't understand why people wanted to buy them when they could buy a much cheaper much better PC.  Better in my opinion anyway.  A lot of people were always under the belief that if you want to do work in things like Photoshop or video editing then getting an Apple computer was a must and that's simply just not true, Photoshop works perfectly fine in Windows and there are many very good video editing programs out there. 

A lot of times I'd hear talk about how when you get a computer with Mac OS you get so many things for free like Garage Band and iPhoto and a video editing program.  But when you are paying hundreds of dollars more for the computer, it's not exactly free. 

My biggest issue with Apple came with the smartphone and tablet world. 

Imagine you buy a new computer.  You paid good money for that computer, but now the company you bought it from is telling you that you can only install programs that they approve of and you can only buy them in their store.  So if you find something that's interesting outside of their store, too bad, you can't have it. 

This is the case of the iPhone.  I used to have an iPhone and I hated the idea that I could not load anything outside of the App Store.  True there are ways around that and I sure as hell did it, but normal users shouldn't have to go doing all that. 

Then there is all the bullshit that comes with Apple, here are a couple of examples:

Example 1: When I had my iPhone 3G I could take pictures but I could not record video.  But later I did jailbreak the phone and found out that the phone could certainly handle video.  Apple just wouldn't allow that application in their market because they felt it didn't work good enough.  I didn't care if it didn't work 100%, it still allowed me to take some pretty good videos. 

Then when the iPhone 3GS came out, they advertised the crap out of the fact that it could do video.  And I had to listen to all these people talk about how great this new phone because now you could record video.  And yes, it recorded video better than the 3G did but again using it on the 3G should have been my choice. 

Example 2: Good old Flash.  Steve Jobs didn't like flash content on websites, therefore you couldn't use Flash at all on the iPhone, still can't.  Steve felt that HTML5 would be replacing flash.  And he was right, HTML 5 will indeed replace Flash as the standard people use for videos and other things online, but at the time flash was still the most used method.  It still is today, it will be dead in a few years but it is still very widely used. 

Now, I'll agree with Steve on the fact that flash uses too many resources and would just slow down the phone.  It's true, my Android phones have been able to do flash and it always slows them down.  Now they are fast enough that they can play most of it fine but it used to be slow.  But at least I had the option of using flash on a website if I wanted. 

Example 3: Siri, yes, Siri. This is nothing but just another App, a pretty cool one if I may say so myself, but they make it seem like phones could never do any of this stuff before, Android has been doing voice commands for ever, but I'll admit that Androids voice command don't come close to what Siri can do, yet.  However, that's not my point here, my point is the fact that Siri can work on previous generation phones just fine.  We've seen siri run on an iPhone 4 and we've seen it run on an iPod Touch 4th generation and I do believe I've seen it run on older stuff.  However up until recently Apple had been blocking these hacked versions of Siri from using their servers.  They finally recently opened up their servers, although we still don't know if that was just a mistake. 

Point is, they have made it look like Siri could only be powered by the iPhone 4S (Even though the iPad 2 is more powerful) when it could run on older hardware just fine if they wanted to allow it.  It's not even an issue of it being too  much work to let it happen, it's an issue of they just plain don't want other people using the service.  Like their old customers are not worthy of using their new thing. 

Basically: To put it in very basic terms, in my opinion, Apple treats their customers like dumb idiots who MUST be protected because their are too stupid to figure things out on their own.  Like their customers just bother them.  Lets not let them use their cameras to record because they are  just going to complain about it being laggy under low lights, lets not let them use flash because they are just going to complain that it's running slow, lets not let them use siri because otherwise who's going to buy our new phone?

And you know what?  This is both good and bad.  Obviously when you make sure that you only put things that work good on your phone, then things will mostly work good on your phone.  It provides a good experience for the user and that's a great thing.  But in return there is so much that people are giving up on.  The iPhone has an amazing little screen, something like a live wallpaper would look amazing there.  Having an App Tray and being able to organize all your icons however you want shouldn't be so difficult to do, but they just don't do it. 

Some of us are fine with just being able to do a few things.  But obviously a lot of us feel like if we paid for the phone then let me just do whatever the hell I want to do with it.  Give me the options. 

This is why I like Android, even though carriers and Phone makers keep trying to mess it up.  Android is supposed to be open, a do whatever you want kind of thing.  But the carriers and phone makers always want to impose their own regulations, which I dislike as well.  But at least I still get to do a lot more than I ever could on an iPhone. 

For the most part:

If I want to switch the battery I use, I can do that.
If I want to switch the desktop (Launcher) that I use, I can do that.
If I want to copy files directly from a computer to the device, I can do that.
If I want to change the keyboard I use on the device, I can do that.
If I want to view flash content, I can do that.
If I want to try out a file from a website that may or may not be safe, I can do that.
If I want to install a different application store, I can do that.
If I want to have different SD cards for different things. . . . well I used to be able to do that, my new phone doesn't have an SD card :( 
If I want to drain my battery by downloading stuff on a blazing fast internet connection like 4G, I can do that.
If I want to set a live wallpaper that may also drain my battery if it's made wrong, I can do that.
If I want to have cheap micro usb cables all over the place so that i can always keep it charging, I can do that.
If I want to get turn by turn directions on how to get somewhere, I can do that.
If I want to organize the files in the device, I can do that.
If I want to download things right in the device and move them later to my computer, I can do that.
If I want to completely change the lock screen of my phone, I can do that.
If I want to be dumb enough to use a pattern to unlock my phone, I can do that (seriously though, don't do that, smudges on your screen give your pattern away). 
If I want to switch my Images application or camera or text messaging or so many others, I can do that.
If I want to browse the files in my phone from my phone, I can do that.

Basically, if I want to modify just about anything on my device I can do it.  But I can also completely screw up my device, although to completely screw it up, you'd have to actually try to be screwing it up or be very very dumb installing things from places that don't look legit at all.  But if that's the case then you probably mess up plenty of computers as well.  

I've recommended Apple products to plenty of people for plenty of things.  If you know exactly what you want to do and an iPhone or iPad can certainly handle those needs, then I have no problem recommending those.  And there are certainly people that ask me what I think they should get and if I know these are not computer savvy people at all, then I'll gladly recommend an iPhone or iPad.  What I really hate is when I see very smart people buying those simply because they are not aware of just how far Android has come. 

Of course there is always very tech capable people out there that prefer an iPhone or iPad, again, this becomes a personal preference and I'm cool with that, at least they know of the options. 


Monday, December 12, 2011

More Google 10 cent apps!

Ok so I'm still keeping an eye on the Google 10 for 10 for 10 deal where for 10 days they would be offering 10 premium apps for 10 cents. 

The last couple of days have been kind of dissapointing since all I see are games that I don't really care about.

But I did want to let it be known that today Beautiful Widgets and Sound Hound are up for 10 cents again.  They were 10 cents a couple of days ago and if you missed them then this is your chance now.   Along with those I'd also pick up the Flight control game and maybe Doodle jump or Block Breaker 3.   The rest are other games and that i'm not that familiar with, but hell for 10 cents why not?


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Best Ribs in Milwaukee!!

Ok so I've never written about restaurants here, as much as I love food, I'm certainly not a food critic.  I'm not a very picky eater, I either like what I'm eating or I don't.  I certainly never talk about much in my local area either, but I felt like not talking about this place would be wrong!

The Place: Ashley's Barbecue
The Location: 1501 W. Center Street, Milwaukee, WI 53206
Contact: (414) 372-7666

The Ribs?


Again, I'm no food critic, but I do like to eat BBQ from time to time and I've gone to plenty of good places, and this is certainly one of the best places I've been to if not the best.  The flavor is not really something I can describe, it's this tangy, smokey flavor, it's just really good.  The ribs although not as soft as you find them in some other places, they are still very soft.  I think if you make your ribs in some other way and then throw bbq sauce on them you can certainly get the falling off the bone experience so many people like, but when you slow smoke them this is really as good as it gets!


For the birthday party we were having we decided to get 2 family meals which are around $35-$40 each.  We did this because we had NO idea how big or small the portions were.  They say it's for around 7 people but you know how so many places say something is for X people and it's really not.  So we wanted to be safe.  Well, we ordered WAY too much, these pans are actually pretty darn big and 1 pan of ribs can certainly easily feed 10 people, 7 really hungry ones.  So seriously, $40 may sound like a lot, but when I order pizza or chicken for a few friends it usually ends up being around $30-$35 anyway.  For $5 more you are getting the damn best ribs you can get in Wisconsin and many other states.  The family meals do come with a side of coleslaw and baked beans, if you like either of these things, you may want to order extra, those portions are NOT very big.


The Location is the one thing that may scare a lot of people.  Ashley's is a small place in the middle of a not so nice area. The parking lot is not very big and I had to park on the street next to some shattered glass.  Inside it is a carry out only place, there are absolutely no tables, just some chairs for waiting and a couple of really old arcade machines, and Mrs Pac Man was out of order which pissed me off! Inside you will also find that all the workers are behind bullet proof glass.  You pay through a little door kind of like at some banks or doctors offices and they have a rotating bulletproof glass to give the food to you.

With all that said, the time I was sitting there waiting all I saw was some nice local people come in.  They all seemed to be regulars who knew exactly what they were coming for.  So all the bulletproof stuff is a little intimidating at first but they've just been there for a very long time and sadly reality is that they need the protection because in that area stuff could happen.  But honestly I wouldn't be afraid of going in there during the day.  At night when there are more drunks out there I'd be more weary, but than again that's just a rule you should follow anywhere.


Knowing that this is a small place that has been there for ever and that probably gets really busy, I was a bit worried making my first phone call.  Because I had some questions about what I wanted to order and honestly I was expecting some rude jack ass one the phone who just seems to be in a hurry and makes me feel like I'm wasting his time.  But to my surprise, when I called the guy sounded super nice, he was very professional answering all my questions and he was very honest with me, I told him I wanted to pick up my order at around 3:30 and he told me I'd most probably have to wait a few minutes, which I did but not too much more.

When I got there the guy remembered my order without problems.  Since my sister wanted to pay for half of it and I wanted to pay for the other half we asked if they could split the bill and the guy did it without any problems.  At the end, once my orders were done, two of the guys actually came out of their protected environment to bring the orders to my car for me.  I thought that was so extremely nice of them!


My conclusion is that we had a very fun birthday party for my brother in law, and we had some seriously good food and I was afraid of ordering from here because I had never done it before but the service was so great that at the end I felt like I had always been a regular at this place.

They sell a LOT more than just ribs by the way, some day I'll have to check out their cat fish, but they have ribs, tips, shoulder, outside, and a ton of other stuff.

If you live in the Milwaukee area and you like good food, I'd certainly say check out this place if you haven't.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Android Apps for 10 Cents!

This Week Google's Android Market passed the 10 BILLION Downloads mark, and to celebrate Google has been having quite the deal!

For 10 days (which already started on Tuesday) they would sell 10 paid apps for only 10 cents each.

On Day 1 they had some very good apps like Swift keyboard X which is my personal favorite keyboard App.  They also had the Sound hound program which is amazing and finding the music you are listening to for all those times you know a song but can't remember who sings it.  The Mine craft game and a few other games were also in there.

On Day 2 they had Beautiful Widgets which basically has a lot of very good useful weather and clock widgets. Also has some very nice toggle widgets to change things like sound or WiFi or Bluetooth.  They had Airsync which is an application that allows you to sync your iTunes library with your Android phone via WiFi.  They had games like Fruit Ninja and NFL Rivals and even a very neat and beautiful Christmas Live Wallpaper!

Today on Day 3 they have the ADW Launcher EX  which is a very good Launcher Replacement for phones or tablets and they also have a bunch of games.  Tetris, Can Knockdown 2, Reckless Getaway, Space Physics and more.

Most of these are applications that normally sell for a lot more than 10 cents.  I've already purchased a lot of these but I'm taking advantage of getting all the ones that I haven't.  Remember also that even if you don't need a specific program now, once you buy it, it's yours for good so paying 10 cents for it now may be better than paying who knows how much for it later.

I do have to mention the fact that the Amazon App Store does give away 1 paid app for free every day all year.  And while usually whatever they give out for free tends to be crap, every once in a while you get something really good.  I am pretty sure that most of these apps, if not all, have at some point been the free app of the day at Amazon.  So even if you can't enjoy these deals  now, you should still install the Amazon App Store for Android on your phone and check it daily.

I will try to keep you all updated on the deal for the next 7 days :)


Monday, November 28, 2011

STUFF: Thanksgiving Weekend


Thanksgiving day came and went and I have to say I had a great thanksgiving weekend.  There was lot of great food and there was lots of friends and family time.  I am specially thankful for that last one, my family and friends are just the best out there.

One of the things I found funny is how packed all the stores parking lots were around here when I was coming back from my sisters Thursday night/Friday morning.  I know it happens every year but it just seems like each year it gets crazier.  On black Friday I did stop by Best Buy at around noon after a nice ihop breakfast just to see if there was anything left.  Honestly I was hoping they still had some of those $200 Blackberry playbook tablets.  I had been wanting a 7 inch tablet for a while because sometimes my 10 inch tablet is too big.  But I wasn't totally convinced on the Amazon Kindle Fire.  Don't get me wrong, for $200 it's a nice price, but it's really more for people who aren't familiar with Android OS or iOS.  I already come expecting certain things from a tablet and the fact that this one is only $200 doesn't seem to blind me from the other things that I wish it had no matter how unrealistic my expectations may be.  But a Blackberry Playbook for $200 would have been nice.

Well, surely enough there were no Blackberry Playbooks left,  however, while looking for a playbook, I saw something that caught my attention.  They had a bunch of Asus A100 tablets for $190!  These are 7 inch Android Honeycomb tablets that are in my opinion much better than even a Playbook.  So I was very happy to get a hold of one!  I've been using it probably more than my 10 inch.

Another thing that I got to do this weekend was play the Super Metroid game with my friends Luis, Victor and Elijah.  Now, I'm not saying we played the game on an emulator, noooo, I had purchased a Japanese Super Famicon version of the game (because a Super Nintendo version costs too much in good condition).  So I modified one of my spare Super Nintendo consoles so that it could play the game (really it's just cutting two things), and we played the original game on the original console.  We spent a good chunk of Friday night playing and a bunch of time on Saturday.  In total we finally beat the game in 7 hours.  Of course not in a row, we took breaks.  We took a moment to enjoy some good food at the Tilted Kilt. . . yea. . . the food. .. .

On Sunday I got to enjoy another Thanksgiving dinner at my sisters house, a smaller one this time because we wanted to do something with my brother in law whom was unable to join us on Thursday.  It was just a very good weekend and I just wanted to share some of it with you all.



Tuesday, November 22, 2011

iTunes Music Match & Google Music

So last week I talked to you guys a bit about iTunes Music Match and Google music.  I’ve been testing both services for a few days now and I thought I’d share my overall impressions of both.

iTunes Music Match:

You have a computer with iTunes at home and you have a collection of music there.  You can p ay $25 a year (less than 3 bucks a month) to use iTunes Music Match.  This looks at all your songs and it decides which ones iTunes already  has, if it has them, it doesn’t upload them because it already has them.  If you have any files that it doesn’t have then it uploads them.  This then allows you to go on your iOS device (iphone, itouch, ipad, another mac computer) and download the songs and play them from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection to download. 

Good: Price is actually not bad, it saves you a LOT of time by finding the files you don’t need to download.  If you have a copy of a song that you ripped from a CD but it didn’t quite come out right, it’ll download the iTunes version of that song on your other devices so you’ll have a great sounding song.  If you rate a song in one device that rating travels to all the devices.   Same with playlists.  From my 13,000 song collection it only needed to upload 3,000 songs.

Bad: No streaming, it downloads all the songs you play.  Until you play them they stay in the cloud be once you play a song on your ios device, it’s downloaded.  This makes playing it later better but also takes up room on your device.  I have yet to find an easy way to delete specific songs from the device after they’ve been downloaded.  I also uploaded all my songs from my laptop using my external USB hard drive, once I removed the hard drive, the original laptop can no longer play the songs, but the other devices can still download them from the cloud, I kind of wish I could do the same with the laptop as well.  You can only use it with your iOS devices.

Google Music:

I have all my music in a folder called Music in an external USB hard drive.  I downloaded the Google Upload manager program to help me upload my songs.  I told it to upload everything in that folder.  About 13,000 songs.  From those 13,000 songs it couldn’t upload about 200 because they were protected files, understandable.  However it did have to upload all the other ones.  So I really don’t think Google does do any type of music match.  Maybe it does once uploaded, but certainly not for uploading.  It took about 3 days to upload all 13,000 songs.  However, now that I spent the 3 days uploading I have all my songs in the cloud and I can play them all I want on other computers or other devices. 

Good: It’s free storage for up to 20,000 songs!  It allows me to stream my music or download it so music only takes up space in my device when I decide it will.  The Google Music app is working better than ever as well.  I can log in to the google music web site from any computer and play my music.  You can access the website from iOS devices as well.  It can look at your iTunes library and upload that so even if you are an iTunes fan, you can still take advantage. 

Bad: It doesn’t match your songs, this makes the upload process take a lot longer.  No iOS app. 

Conclusion: I think these are both very good services.  A lot of people do mention the fact that Google Music is free and iTunes Music Match is not.  I honestly don’t think this will be a huge deal for anyone, less than 3 bucks a month won’t kill anyone.  I guess the benefit of either service comes before or after the upload.  With iTunes match your upload is much faster and you can store up to 25,000 songs.  So the $25 just seems worth it that first year after saving all that time, not to mention that you just gained the ability to convert all your songs to good high quality DRM free songs.  With Google Music you took longer to upload them but you no longer have to worry about doing that again and now you can stream like crazy without having to worry about the songs taking up space in your device.  Personally I’m more a fan of being able to download or stream, so I seem to be enjoying Google Music the most so far.   But to be fair, I don’t have that many songs I’ve downloaded from iTunes. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Movie Review: Immortals


I went to watch Immortals today so I figured I'd let you know what I thought of the movie.  I will start off right away letting you know that it is a rated R movie and even though there is only one short nude scene, there is quite a bit of gore, so you certainly don't want to just take your younger kids to see it.  

I didn't go expecting much from this movie because in the past most movies based on Greek mythology always ends up being very much the same.  However, I'm glad to say that I came out rather glad I went to see it.  I caught the 3D version of the movie and I must say it looked great.  Normally I'm not a big fan of 3D movies and I would have enjoyed this movie probably just as much in 2D, but it was nice at the same time to see that they were not trying to force the 3D to work, as in, I didn't notice them trying to make any special shots in the movie just to show off the 3D.  The 3D was simply there and it looked nice, it wasn't a gimmick.  

I don't know why but looking at some of the sets right away my mind started thinking they were just miniature sized sets and they just added people to it to make it look bigger.   Like I seriously started thinking some of these may as well be made of Lego.  And it's not that they were bad, they weren't, and maybe it was the 3D making it feel like I was just looking at a box with a model in it but that's just what some of it felt like.  With that said, most of the movie looked amazing, it had some really good special effects, the gore at times seemed a little unrealistic but still fun to watch if you are into that.  

Story wise there really isn't a whole lot going on here.  You have this King who at some point had his family sick and he prayed to the gods but they never answered his prayers, so now he wants to release these Titans so that he can kill the gods.  There is also a mortal man who is destined to save the world.  Zeus believes in this man and he himself goes to earth as a mortal to help train the man.  Then there is War and love and all that good stuff.  Actually there wasn't much love going on in this movie, they focused more on action, which was nice.  The thing that really makes you think about the story is, you are a mortal king who has all the money you could want, and have all the women you could want and you have an army that no army on earth could stand a chance against, but you want to release these Titans so that you could try and kill the gods.  However, who decided that these Titans were so loyal that they'd do what you want them to do and not kill you?  Sure, you could argue that the Titans would want to kill the gods anyway, but then they'd still want to go kill you.  

To watch and enjoy the movie you don't really need to know anything about the Greek gods, they hardly mention them, so as long as you understand that these are gods, you'll be fine.  However, knowing some basic mythology sure does make it a lot more interesting.  Hearing familiar names like Zeus, Aphrodite, Athena and Poseidon is always nice.  Towards the end there is quite a fight between the Titans and the gods and if you know the gods then it becomes even more enjoyable.  If you are a fan of Athena for example she does some major ass kicking.  The fact that they don't mention all of these gods by names makes it a bit difficult at times however because you are just wondering which one it is.  For example on this one scene Ares gets disciplined by Zeus, but I didn't learn it to be Ares until later.  

One thing I really didn't enjoy was the casting for some of these gods.  Zeus for example: 

How am I supposed to see that and think "Zeus"?  I think of Zeus and I think older big strong powerful guy, not THIS!

Here is one worse, Ares!!

How am I supposed to see this and think "god of War"???

All joking aside, this was a pretty good movie.  Not a Great movie in any way shape or form, but still very much enjoyable.  It did have some interesting points that can certainly be brought to normal day Religion.  For example, Zeus mentions that he doesn't want to intervene with humans because he has faith in them.  A lot of us are always talking about how we have faith in God but we never think about God having faith in us as well.  

Action on this movie I'd give it a 4 because it's certainly got plenty of that. 
Story I'd give a 2 because there just isn't all that much there. 
Cinematography I'd give another 4 because it does look very good. 

I'm not going to count Drama, Comedy, Romance or anything else like that because this just isn't that type of movie. 

Final Score: 3

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Google Now sells Music!

Ok, been wanting to get back to writing for a while but I just haven't really had anything interesting to talk about.  There are a couple of things that I will want to talk about later but right now I can't really talk about them much.  One is a new camera I bought, a Canon Elph 310, once I use it for a bit longer I'll be able to tell you guys more about it, but so far I'm pretty happy with it.  The other thing is the Super Mario 3D Land game for the 3DS, bought that last week and I've been having a lot of fun with it, but I need to play more before I know if it's a game I'd recommend or not. . . . .ok ok I already know I'll recommend it but darn it I need a reason to play more :)

Google Music

Anyway, today Google announced their Google Music app is available to everyone and they now have a music store.  There are quite a few labels already in the store so finding the music you like shouldn't be too much of a problem.  The big question is, are they too late?

We all know that this is Apple's land.  There are many music stores out there but for a lot of people i-Tunes IS the place to go for music.  On top of that, you already have Amazon who has been in the market for a bit as well and then you have companies like Spotify also competing.  So, why would Google even want to get into this market?  Well, why does Google do anything they do?  They tend to just try things.  They seem to believe that if you never try then you'll never know if you could have done it or not.

Honestly I don't see Google now becoming the place to go for music, I see music services like Spotify becoming more popular than music stores.  But fact of the matter is that a lot of people out there hate Apple, and if they can go buy their music elsewhere they will.  I may not see Google taking over this market, but I can certainly see them becoming a big player.

Prices of songs vary anywhere from 99 cents to 1.50ish.  Just like on Amazon when you buy a song it automatically goes to your cloud drive where you can then listen to it on any of your devices.

Cloud Music

Remember, Google Music started out as a cloud music service where you needed to upload all your music files to them and then you'd be able to stream them to your phone or pick some to download to your phone.  They were allowing you to upload thousands of your songs to the cloud for free as a beta tester.  Well now that it's off beta, the service is still free!

The other good news is that just like Spotify and iTunes Match, if you have a song that Google already owns, it will not need to be uploaded, it will simply let you stream the one they already have, which should be a nice high quality 320kbps song.  That should save a lot of time!

Google Plus Integration

A lot of times we have a Song that we want to share with friends.  Most of us tend to go to youtube and find some video with the song and post that on our social networking sites.  With Google Music you will be able to share your music in Google +.  Your friends will be allowed to listen to the song only once however.  So I'm not really sure how this will work out.  Yea it's nice that you'll be able to easily share your song, but the whole friends only listening to it once thing kind of sucks.  And yes I understand that the music labels wouldn't want to have people sharing music like crazy and have Google + become some sort of Kazaa or Napster, but again that's what people do with videos in Youtube and that seems to be ok.

Google Music is probably not the best music service out there, but it's 100% free, so if anything I'd at least try it :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Religious Arguments

Ok, normally I make very long posts and Religion is one thing I actually do like to talk about.  So get ready, here I go.

Religious Arguments are Stupid, so quit fighting with people about them.

Ok that's all I have to say about that one.  Ok I'll elaborate a little just to make the click worth it.

I have my beliefs that I feel very strongly about.  You probably have your beliefs that you probably feel very strongly about.  They may not match on everything or anything.  Nothing makes my belief better than yours.  Nothing guarantees me 100% that what I believe is true.  That's why it's called a belief, because you just believe in it.  When God himself shows up to the whole world and makes it very clear that he is God and he tells us things himself, then we can go and call those things facts.

So have your believes, it's great to believe in something, even if your belief is that you don't believe in anything.  But quit trying to force everyone to have the same belief as you.  I'm not saying don't preach and don't have debates.  Debates are fun if both parties can remain civilized.  And when preaching, it would be really helpful to learn the difference between saying "If you do this you'll go to hell" and "It is my belief that if you do this you will go to hell".


Thursday, November 3, 2011

STUFF: Do we think for ourselves?

It's time for another one of my little rants here.  Today I want to talk a bit about how much I dislike the 24 hour news stations that we have now a days.  You know, the people who are constantly telling us what to think about what.  They tell us what is "cool" to think about also.

The Biography of Steve Jobs is now the number 1 selling book.  Now, don't get me wrong, Steve Jobs was certainly an interesting character and all, but do all the people who buy this book really care?  Or are they buying the book because that's what the media has been talking about?  Is Steve Jobs even the person we should be trying to learn more about?  The man cared about his company and making money, that was his whole world.  He worked there till he could no longer work.  Meanwhile you have people like Bill Gates out there who decided to leave his company and start spending Billions of his dollars helping his wife try to solve world problems.  Bringing much needed medicines to poor countries, hospitals, education.  The things that Bill and Melinda are doing for the world are amazing and extremely needed, but no one cares, no, lets focus on the guy who said he'd spend all 40 Billion dollars in Apples arsenal in trying to fix the wrong that Google did to them by "Stealing" their ideas.

Now we also have the Herman Cain thing.  I don't really care if he had to settle a sexual harassment allegation in the 90s.  Hell I wouldn't care if he had to do it last year.  I mean seriously, we all do stupid things at different points of our lives.  If you look deep enough you'll find something bad about anyone.  Also I've seen plenty of people get away with large settlements for things they didn't really have much of a case on but they lied good enough.  Point is, I don't care about this, but I've had to hear about it over and over and over for way too long already.

Then there is the Kardashian thing, I mean, seriously, who cares.  I don't care about her.  I don't care to know if Michael Jackson killed himself or not either.  These are all things that really are not in any way shape or form important to me.

I want to hear more about things that do matter.  Like the stupid things politicians say and do that we hardly hear about.  And I'm not talking about tweeting a picture of their penis to anyone, I don't care what they do in their private time, I'm talking about dumb decisions they make in their jobs.  I want to know about why certain laws pass and why others never make it.  I want to know more about just how much profit companies make from the stuff we buy.

Why is it that lately if you want real news you have to look for bloggers online rather than the big news networks?

Remember people, don't allow the 24 hours news stations tell you what you should be thinking about, reading about, watching.  I don't care what color, religion, class you are or what political views you have, you should always remember to think of something because you want to.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Amazon Kindle Fire

I've been meaning to talk about this Tablet for a while and I think seeing how it releases on November 15th, it's about time I do it.

Lets start off however with a little bit of History.  As we all know, Apple made the current tablet system we have now popular with it's iPad.  Ever since then all these companies have been trying to make an iPad killer.  Just that tablet that will make people say "I want that instead".  And just like with the cell phone market, these companies have looked towards Google and Android to help them with this vision.

The biggest problem in my opinion is not that these tablets they are making are not good, I have a Motorola Xoom and I love it.  I think the real problem is that they keep wanting to make as much money off them as Apple does.  I feel the main purpose of a tablet is to read emails, browse the web, maybe read some books and play a few movies.  And the iPad does all this just fine.  So when I'm trying to tell people why an Android powered tablet is better for them, it makes it a lot more difficult when the option I'm presenting costs as much as the option the media has been telling them to get.  You can not try to fight Apples marketing department with a product that costs the same.

Now, int he past there have been a lot of Android powered tablets out there that were cheap, brought to us by companies like Archos.  But it's hard for me to recommend such devices because I'm not even sure where to go buy them myself.  Not only that, but I used to have an Archos Internet Tablet and the updates were always so behind where everything else was.  They also tend to get abandoned pretty quickly.

On November 15th however here comes Amazon with the Kindle Fire!

This is a 7 inch tablet.  So it's not the bigger 10" that we are so  used to seeing.  But I've found 7" to be just great for most basic tablet uses.  I actually feel that my 10" gets a bit heavy at times. . . . and now this is starting to sound really bad. . . .

This tablet comes with a very nice screen similar to the one on the iPad, so you'll be able to really enjoy magazines and movies.  It runs Android but it runs a totally modified for Amazon android.  This tablet will not look like any other Android device out there.  You also get free cloud storage in the Amazon cloud, so you can use services like the Amazon MP3 Streaming, or just keep your books in the cloud.  You also get 8GB of actual storage to keep any MP3s you want to keep in the device or books or movies.  You have access to Amazon Prime, which is like Amazon's Netflix service that allows you to stream movies or TV shows.  Lacking a little but for $75 a year it's worth it.  With an Amazon Prime account you also get free 2 day shipping on most items.  Don't forget that Amazon is mostly a bookstore so there will be plenty of books to chose from.

There is also the Amazon App Store for Android.  Since I said this was a VERY customized version of Android, there will be no signs of Google here.  So you will not be seeing an Android Market.  Instead you'll get your apps from the Amazon App Store for Android.  Which has all the apps you could possibly want along with the Daily free paid app.  Basically every day they have a new paid app that they are giving away for free.  If you don't have the amazon app store for android on your regular android device, I'd go ahead and get it, because it's actually kind of fun to see what surprise you'll find when you wake up and check what the free app is.  Sure, most of the time it's crap, but every now and then there will be something pretty awesome. Once you download a free app, it's yours for ever.  So if you delete it, you can still install it again later.

The Kindle Fire also has a dual core processor, so this thing runs pretty fast.  It also has a new kind of browser technology where the Amazon servers do most of the hard work for the browser, allowing web pages to run faster.  Honestly I have no idea how good that is.

So what is so special about this Amazon Kindle Fire that I have to write this post about it?  The Price.  The Amazon Kindle Fire price is $199.  Paying $499 for a table that we'll probably only use for email and some web browsing may be too much for a lot of people.  But at $199, the Kindle Fire does start to look a lot more interesting.

Keep in mind, this is certainly not going to be a tablet for heavy users.  You wont be able to take pictures with it, which no one really does with their tablets anyway, but a front facing VGA camera would have been nice, at least you'd be able to skype with people.  But if you are just looking for a device to check emails, browse the web, look at pictures, listen to music, watch some movies, play some games or read some books with, then this is certainly something to think about.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cell Phone Batteries!

In the last couple of weeks I've been seeing more reports about poor battery life on the iPhone 4S.  You'd think that right away I'd like to make fun of Apple for this.  But I really can't, Android phones have the same problem and usually a lot worse.  If anything all I could really do is say "HA! Your phone's battery sucks too!".

Today I was reading a blog about battery life on cell phones and decided I'd like to make my own post about this because I think this is certainly something we should all be demanding.

Apple keeps adding useless stuff to phones and calling them new.  Motorola now is going to be selling the Razr, a very thin phone.  Samsung is working on Flexible displays.  You know what?  I'm pretty happy with phones the way they are now.  We don't really need quad core processors, we don't need our internet to be any faster, we don't need our displays to be any fancier right.  How about, instead of focusing on all these things right now, we take a break from all that and we all work together on making a battery that will be able to handle all of our needs?

I've made posts about how to save battery life on your Android phone.  Keep the screen light low, use less widgets, sync less accounts, bla bla bla.  These are all great things to do in order to get a better battery life, but I shouldn't have to do any of this.  If my phone can handle syncing all my emails then it should do so.  If my phone can handle a bunch of widgets then it should have a bunch of widgets.  My screen should be able to go around at 100% power showing off how nice it is.  But no, we can't do that because we'll run out of juice.

Seriously, we need to let these companies know that we are pretty happy with our phones the way they are now, they are so much more than what they were 3 years ago.  So just take a year or two off and come up with a really good battery.  A battery that will allow my phone to work at 100% power for at least a full 24 hours.


Monday, October 31, 2011


There are certain things in this world that everyone has in common in one way or the other. I think love for music is one of them.  We may not all like the same type of music, but I do think that in some way or another we all like some sort of music.  

I'm in no way shape or matter a musician, but I do like a little bit of everything.  And sometimes I wish this wasn't the case because keeping a music collection organized is hell when you want to have some of EVERYTHING in there.  The fact that I listen to music in English, Spanish and Japanese (even if I don't understand what they are saying) doesn't help.  

This is where music services like Spotify are actually a great thing for me.  For $10 dollars a month I can stream all the music I want from their huge music library.  Now this means that I'll be using up my data plan in order to stream the music from the "cloud".  However I can create a bunch of playlists and if I ever want to keep a certain playlist in my mobile device, I can set it up as available offline.  Which means it will download the songs so that I may play them all I want without having to use my data service.  So, before a trip to Mexico, I can download a bunch of play lists so that I know I'll have plenty of stuff to listen to.  

I can also set up to 3 different mobile devices to one account.  So I could listen to music on my Thunderbolt phone or my ipod Touch or my Xoom.  Or if you were married you could set up your device and your spouses under the same account.  

I've been playing with the PC Application as well as the Android application and the iOS application and I must say that these are all very well made.  They all run very smoothly and playing the music starts very fast on all of them.  Spotify is certainly not the only music rental service and for a lot of people it is not the best, but personally I have found their applications to work better than anything else I've tried.  

Another thing I like is how I can set up a playlist to download only to a specific device.  So if I have PlaylistA set up to download on my Thunderbolt but I'm using Spotify on my iPod Touch the same PlaylistA will not be downloaded into my iPod Touch. However, if on my iPod Touch I add a song to PlaylistA, it will automatically start downloading to my Thunderbolt as soon as I run the Application. 

Another feature I like is on the desktop.  It will look at all the music files you have in your computer and if it recognizes the album as something it has in it's library, it will allow you to add it to any of your playlists.  So lets say I have a song in my computer and that same album is in the spotify library, it will allow me to add that song to my PlaylistA and it will automatically download that song into my Thunderbolt.  No need for me to connect anything.  

Now, if I have a song in my computer that the program doesn't recognize, it will still allow me to add it to any playlists, but I will need to connect that device to the same network as the computer in order for it to move the files to the device.  However the wireless syncing that this application offers is the simplest to use I've ever used.  Simply connect the device to the same network and open the application on both the computer and the device. 

Of course, this is music rental, so if you ever decide to stop paying for it, you will lose whatever music you downloaded (Max of 3,333 songs is what you can download).  The $10 a month service isn't the only one either.  There is a Free service which allows you to stream music over your PC only.  But very much like Pandora you will get advertisements.  There is also a $5 a month service which is basically the same as the free but without the ads.  

Spotify isn't perfect, I've found some albums that I was very surprised to find, but I've also not found others that I was also very surprised to not find.  It is also lacking a music discovery service like Pandora.  But Pandora is free so I just keep that app in my phone as well.  

Personally I think that if you are like me, where your music taste just changes week after week, then this service is certainly worth the $10 a month.  Yea you could download plenty of songs in other ways for free if you wanted to, and I certainly used to, but now, it's just easier to just pay the $10 a month and not have to deal with it.  

For those of you who are already thinking 'Dude I can't afford $10 a month", think again.  I'm sure you will notice that you spend $10 on much worse things.  Why is it that we feel spending $10 a month on something that will entertain us all we want all month is so horrible but spending $5 on that Mc Donalds breakfast and another $5 on that Starbucks coffee that lasted a few minutes seems so ok?  


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Top 15 things I prefer about Android over iOS

So last week I spent most of it in North Carolina on an inventory trip, but the week before that I finally convinced my brother to drop that iPhone and get himself an Android phone.  Now I'm a bit jealous because he's on AT&T and he was able to get a Galaxy S II.  But it's ok, I'm waiting for my Galaxy Nexus. 

Anyway, he mentioned he hadn't really found anything really cool that would make him really glad he switched to Android.  So I thought I should write down a list of my personal favorite things about Android so that I could then give it to him to get him started.  But then I thought "Hey, if you are going to make such a list, may as well make it a blog post".  So here is my list!

1. Free GPS with Turn by Turn navigation.  

Can the iPhone do this?  Yes of course, but I don't know of a single free application that is worth anything available for the iPhone. Just about every Android phone, if not every android phone, comes with Google Navigation.  I've used plenty of GPS systems in the past and I must say this one works beautifully.  Well, in the US anyway, as long as you have an internet connection.  You can still download other applications if you want something that wont need the internet.  

2. Replaceable Battery.

I am so sick and tired of seeing all these iPhone charging gadgets out there that cost so much.  With most Android phones, if your battery runs out, just switch it with another one.  Simple as that.  The batteries are usually not very expensive and finding a docking station that will keep a second pair of batteries fresh for you isn't that difficult.  

3. Micro USB cable. 

The Micro USB cable that powers most Android devices is simply a lot cheaper and easier to get than an iPhone cable.  This makes it very simple to keep a few at home and at work and in the car and just about anywhere you feel you may need to charge your phone a bit.  

4. Keyboards. 

Don't like the onscreen keyboard in your iPhone?  Tough.  With Android you can change the keyboard and there is a LOT of different ones.  Plenty of free ones, but lets be realistic, chances are you will need to pay for the better ones.  But at least there is an option. There are keyboards that will guess most of the words you are trying to say, there are keyboards that will recognize your hand writing, there are keyboards where you just swype over the letters you want to type with one finger and it figures out the words.  Or there are some that have much better voice recognition.  Point is, there are options.  People are not expected to just use one way.  

5. Market. 

For the longest time one of my favorite things that I could do with Android that I couldn't do with iPhone was in the Market.  The ability to re-download anything I had previously purchased.  Well with iOS 5 Apple finally made it so that you can easily re-download anything you've previously purchased.  That's great news. However, there is still one feature about the Android Market that I wish the App Store had, and this is the ability to preview software.  In the Android Market if I pay for something, I can test it for 15 minutes.  If I don't like it in those 15 minutes, I can simply delete it and ask for a refund with the click of a button.  Can you get your money back with iOS?  yea I'm sure you can, but it's certainly not THIS simple. 

Another thing I love about the Market is the online market.  Makes it very easy for me to browse everything right from my browser and buy it as well.  It then automatically sends the stuff to my phone and installs it. 

6. Widgets. 

Widgets are both a great thing and a horrible thing for Android.  I think a lot of people abuse the widgets and because of this they end up getting poor performance and horrible battery life.  But well used widgets can truly simplify your life.  If I want to turn on or off my Wi-Fi or GPS or sound or so many different things, all I have to do is click on that widget and it'll take care of it for me.  No need to go into setup.  Or maybe I want to completely change my screen brightness with just 2 taps.  Or maybe I just like having information right there without me having to go into a specific app.  Things like my Emails, or Facebook or Twitter or weather or so many other things.  

7. Customization. 

Don't like my desktop?  I can change it.  And I'm not talking about just the background picture or placing my apps wherever I want here.  I mean the whole program (called a launcher).  I can make my desktop look totally different each day of the week if I want.  Each launcher comes with it's own unique features too. Something like Launcher Pro comes with some very neat effects each time you switch pages, while something like GoLauncher has a ton of different themes.  There is other things you can change too.  Don't like the default messaging app?  You can change that.  Don't like the default camera app?  You can change that.  There is very little in Android that you can't change. 

8. Google Voice. 

I am a big Google Voice fan, and I LOVE how integrated it can be into Android Phones.  I use it as my only voice mail program.  But I really like how I can make it so that all my calls are made using google voice or only international calls or I can have it ask me before every call if I want to use Google Voice or not or of course I can just tell it to never use it.

9. Sharing.

There is nothing here you wont be able to do with an iPhone, but in Android it sure is easier.  For example, lets say I am looking in my gallery and I find a picture I want to post on facebook.  Right from the gallery I can click on share and I get a ton of options of different ways I can share this.  I click on facebook and it gives me the ability to add some text to it and then sends it.  I can click on Share right there again and email it to dad.  I can click on share again and send it to my sister via a Text.  I can post it in Google Plus real quick too.  Or maybe I want to send it to Flickr or Picasa or Tweeter or who knows what else.  It's all right there.  

10. File Access. 

Call me old fashioned if you want, but I like the fact that I can plug in my Android Phone to my computer and it allows me to see and read all the files in the SD Card.  From there I can see and manage all my MP3 files.  Or all my videos or all my pictures.  I can put everything in nicely organized folders and know exactly where all my information is.  All my pictures are in the Pictures folder, while all my MP3s are in the Music folder and all my documents are in the Documents folder.  

This is probably a turn off for a lot of people, now a days people don't want to deal with folders, personally I NEED to be able to see all my folders.  I'm glad the iPhone allows me to have quick access to my pictures, but I want quick access to everything.  

11. Other Markets.

I like the Android Market, but I also like knowing there are other markets I can use, like the Amazon App Store for Android.  A free paid app every day?  Yes please!  Sure, most of the time they are crap apps anyway, but every now and then there is something really good.  Every morning you wake up and think "Oh I wonder what we'll get today!". 

12. Google Apps

When iOS 5 came out, Apple was making a really big deal about the iCloud.  To me the iCloud is just trying to do what Google has been doing for years.  Linking everything to my 1 Gmail account.  If I add an appointment in my calendar using my phone, I already see it in my browser at home.  If I add a contact to my Google Voice account it's already going to be in my phone.  My emails are always synced also.  My google docs documents are always in the cloud and Google Music takes care of streaming all my MP3 files that I uploaded.  

But if the iCloud allows for a lot of this to happen now, why do I have have it in the list?  Well, because iCloud only syncs up some of your devices.  Google keeps everything in the cloud so that I can easily access all of it with my web browser from any computer. 

13. Choices & Budget

Not really an Android feature, but certainly one of the main reasons why Android has become so Popular.  Not everyone can afford to waste money buying an iPhone 4S when they already have an iPhone 4.  Some of us want our next phone to actually be better than our previous.  Like, a lot better.  Some of us like bigger screens, some like smaller screens.  Some just need blackberry like keyboards while some of us have to have a physical qwerty keyboard.  Some of us like white, others black, others red or yellow or blue or whatever.  Some of us want a higher resolution screen while others just want our colors to look much better.  Some of us want to buy the 16GB version and then upgrade the SD Card later.  

14. It's not Apple. 

Don't get me wrong, as much trash as I like to talk about Apple, I'm glad they are there, I certainly respect the company.  But Apple just has this bad vibe to it.  Personally I honestly lose a little bit of respect for people when I see them with Apple products or say they want an Apple product.  If they get it just because they want simplicity then I'm all up for it.  But when I see people that buy Apple Products because they honestly think the product is superior, that to me is a bit sad.  

Depending on the product and what the person wants to do obviously.  Even I have recommended a few people to get Macbook Airs.  They are great little devices if you are looking for something easy to carry around with great battery life and a quick boot up.  But if you are getting a Mac to do video editing just because you've heard that Macs are the best for that, then I'm sorry but I will lose some respect for you. 

15. Developers and Community.  

I used to have an iPhone for a couple of years.  It was Jailbroken and I enjoyed some of the things I could do with it.  So I certainly don't want to disrespect any of those developers, I think they do great things.  But when I moved to Android and started dealing with Rooting, it's like I found a new home.  All these developers and the many Android communities out there on forums are absolutely amazing.  So many people helping each other out. It's like no matter how bad the carriers try to screw us over, the community always comes out ahead.  

Final thoughts: 

I wanted this list to be of things that do NOT require rooting your devices.  Everything I have talked about here are things you should be able to just do without any kind of hacking.  I am glad to say that there were some things I was unable to add to this list that I used to because Apple has finally been catching up.  The Notifications was one of them, but with iOS 5 Apple decided to put the Android notifications system into iOS.  But don't worry, they still called it "NEW" and "Magical". 

I also made it a point to not add FLASH to the list.  Don't get me wrong, FLASH is a HUGE one.  But I think flash is so overused in these lists that I just didn't want to use it. But Flahs is a huge part of the internet. Maybe it wont be for ever, but right now it is, and to have a browser that doesn't support it, is just wrong in my opinion.  So I'm very happy my Android phone and Tablet both can do flash just fine.  

Well that is it for now.  I'm sure that as soon as I publish this I will start remembering other things that I would have liked to add to the list.  But, that always happens.  


Monday, October 24, 2011

STUFF: Modjeska and Genesee Theaters

I wanted to make a post today but I didn't have anything special I wanted to talk about, so I figured I'd just kind of just say hi.

I could talk about how Microsoft will now be making some $$ out of most Android phone sales and how they'll probably end up making more money out of Android than they do out of their Windows Mobile OS, but that's just too much business crap to talk about.

I can tell you about the awesome Concert I went to yesterday. I headed over to the Genesee Theater in Waukegan, IL to go watch Tenth Avenue North and Third Day (Christian Rock Groups). It was a ton of fun. Thank You again to my friend Geovanni who came up with the plan and made it possible for a few of us to go. Both of these groups are really amazing.

I wasn't just excited about the groups though, I was actually also excited about the Genesee Theater. I had been wanting to go there for so long and I never had a chance. So it was really nice to finally get the chance to do that.

There is a Theater in Milwaukee called the Modjeska Theater. It's in what is now known as Historical Mitchell Street. This Theater was constructed in the 1920s and for many years it was THE place to go to. In 1989 when I arrived to Milwaukee it was DEAD. In the 90s they tried to turn it into a movie theater. This is where I first was able to go inside this beauty and I just fell in love. I thought it was beautiful. However it really wasn't that great as a movie theater. I recall going to watch Mortal Kombat in there once. The movie stopped about 3 times. Movies were always super late also. So the whole movie theater idea didn't last very long. It just went back to being closed.

Today the theater is still there, but it's still very abandoned. It does get some use, I do believe they bring a lot of high school plays there, but that's about it.

When I first came to Waukegan in 1998, I saw the Genesee theater and it reminded me so much of the Modjeska that I liked so much. Just from the outside, they looked very similar to me. I did some research and noticed that the Genesee was also made in the 1920s.

However, the Genesee was much luckier! 23 Million dollars went into renovating this theater. In 2004 it opened its doors again to a very sold out Bill Cosby show. Ever since then, I always wanted to go in there, just never really got the chance to. Whenever I'd find someone that was coming in, it was too late. The Genesee was able to become what so many times I wished the Modjeska would become.

I'm going to keep on hoping something gets done with the Modjeska, until then, I know now that I certainly want to go to many more shows at the Genesee!


Saturday, October 22, 2011

A world without Android

Today I was reading a bit more about how Steve Jobs hated Android and felt Android was ripping off his iPhone ideas. In a Steve Jobs Biography that should be available to the public soon, Steve Jobs is quoted saying the following:

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

Now this comment in itself is a little ridiculous considering how many ideas Apple has taken from other places. They certainly didn't create the computer, or the mouse and even their biggest seller, the iPod is still just going on previous ideas. Don't get me wrong, they took a lot of these ideas and made them so much better, but they are certainly not new ideas. The iPhone was certainly not the first Smartphone ever either.

All this however made me wonder what the world would be like today without Android. I remember when the iPhone first came out and how so many companies were trying to come up with similar things that were not even close. All of a sudden Android comes along and it was like all these phone hardware companies saw a bright light coming to save them.

Today with the help of HTC, Samsung, Motorola, LG and others there are more Android powered phones out there than iPhones. But it has basically taken all these tech giants to be able to compete against Apple. Remember, even though there are more Android phones out there, Apple is the only manufacturer of the iPhone, so Apple is still the largest Smartphone manufacturer in the world right now.

This is where I wonder what would things be like if there was no Android?

Would RIM (Research in Motion, makers of Blackberry phones) be doing much better? Would all these manufacturers eventually have picked some other OS? Would I be writing now about how Windows Phones are so much better? Would all these manufacturers make their own OS? In that case, what would developers be doing? It seems to be hard enough as it is to make an app and port it to both Android and iOS. Or would developers simply go with iOS because it was the biggest and not even bother with any of the others?

Personally I'm glad Android came by. I like options, but if we had 1 HUGE option vs a bunch of little ones, then I'm pretty sure the 1 HUGE option would always win. Android kind of levels the playing field. But then it has also made it more difficult for others to play. RIM is not doing too good right now, they are losing market shares like crazy. Microsoft also hasn't been having a very good time getting their own OS started. Would webOS have been a success. Lets not forget about them, PALM made a very good OS that has just not been given a fair chance.

Again, in my personal opinion, I'm glad I got Android. I'm glad it's Google the one fighting here and not Microsoft. Google has always had a much more friendly feel to it in my opinion.

One thing I know for sure though, a world without competition is a horrible horrible world. As much as I complain about Apple, I'm glad they are there. I will always give them credit when they make good things. Siri for example, Android has had voice recognition for ever and it can certainly do a lot of the things Siri does. But Apple took the idea and made an amazing system that is very well integrated to so many functions of the phone. They did a really really good job. I still think it's useless unless you are driving, at which point the noise wont let it work too well but it's still very well made. And that's where Apple shines, once it takes an idea, it will make it well. And for that I am thankful. Because this is what causes companies like Microsoft, HP, Google, HTC, Motorola, Sony, Acer, Gateway, Asus, LG and so many others to make better products.

Now, this is where you would expect me to say "And in the end, we are the ones who win". And in a way this is true, but lets face it, in the end, they all win because we are the idiots buying all this crap! :)


Movie Review: Paranormal Activity 3

Ok since I moved my blog from a account to a blogger account and I didn't bother importing any of my older posts, I feel I should explain real quick what I mean when I review a movie.

I'm not a professional reviewer, I watch a movie and if I feel like it I'll come and talk about it here and basically just tell you what I honestly felt about the movie. Instead of stars, I normally give out STUFF awards . I also rate from 1 to 5.

Paranormal Activity 3

I went in to watch Paranormal Activity 3 without much expectations. I had seen only half of a trailer once and that was it. I knew it would be a prequel to the other two, but other than that I had no idea what the story would be about.

One thing you realize in the movie real quick is that in this family we have 4 main characters. A husband, a wife and 2 daughters. These two daughters are the young versions of the Paranormal Activity and Paranormal Activity 2 movies. So right away you know nothing horrendous can happen to them because obviously they are alive later. This is one of the things I hate about prequels, kind of kills the excitement of knowing if someone will live or die.

While watching this movie I found myself surprised a lot at the lack of anything going on. There were certainly a lot of parts where I figured something would happen, only to find out that nothing happened. I would say that during 2/3 of the movie, nothing really happens. Yes we see something like a few lights go on and off on their own and a door open and close and even a kid talking to someone that's not visible, but certainly nothing of any substance.

Even though they surprised me by not doing something "Spooky" at a lot of times when I expected it, they still didn't surprise me when I didn't expect it. Everything still happened at very expected moments. All the usual scenes this movie is known for. The doors slamming, the ceiling falling, the spooky person standing there for hours, the outside scene (yes there always has to be a spooky outside scene).

Finally towards the end we start seeing some action, but it all happens really fast and not a whole lot of it is explained. There was no real drama between any of the characters. For a little bit the husband wanted the wife to see the proof that something was wrong but she would refuse until she has 1 scare and all of a sudden it's lets go time.

I was very disappointed by the lack of anything going on through most of this movie. I was also disappointed by the lack of explaining the origin of this curse. I was disappointed by the lack of new effects. I was disappointed by the lack of any real exploration as to what is actually haunting the home. I was also very disappointed that there was no merging between the end of this movie and the events of the first two. I really liked how they did that with Part 2.

With all that said, I did not HATE watching it. I don't expect much from Horror films anyway. I think this kind of movie is still fun to watch and normally even with it's flaws I would have given it a 3. But seeing how it almost feels like they didn't even bother trying, I can't do that. So I am giving this movie a 2.


Friday, October 21, 2011

My Next Phone! The Galaxy Nexus

Well this may or may not end up being my next phone. There is still no release date or price for it so that could certainly change. But earlier this week, this beauty of a phone was unveiled.

For those of you not familiar with the Nexus brand let me explain it a little bit.

Apple makes the iPhone. Apple also makes the Operating System that runs the iPhone, called "iOS".

Google doesn't make phones. But they do make an Operating System called "Android". This operating system is basically free to be used.

Companies like Samsung, LG, Sony, HTC, Motorola, they all make Phones, but making a good operating system is very difficult. None of these companies can use the iOS operating system because it belongs to Apple and Apple alone. But here comes Google offering an operating system that's just as good if not better for free and they all jump in.

So Samsung, LG, Sony, HTC, Motorola and many others decide to start making phones and putting the Android operating system that Google created into them. However, all these companies want to make their phones look like their phones. So they all take Android and modify it by changing how a lot of it looks and also changing a lot of the applications. They also tend to name their modifications. For example, HTC calls their modified system "SENSE", while Motorola calls it "MOTOBLUR" and Samsung I believe calls theirs "TOUCHWIZ" or something like that.

Google must have felt that there was a need out there to have a phone that was Pure Android the way they originally made it. And thus the idea of "Nexus" came up.

Google went over to HTC and basically asked them to make a phone for them. Gave them all the specifications of the phone and HTC made it. It was called the Nexus. This phone was pure Android. It was released in January 2010.

The beauty of this Phone was that it would always be getting the Google updates before anyone else. Most cell manufacturers take for ever to implement Google updates on their phones.

In December 2010 a new Nexus was released. This time made by Samsung. It was called the Nexus S.

Now the 3rd Nexus arrives. The Galaxy Nexus. Also made by Samsung.

This last phone comes to us with some very good specs. Like a Dual core 1.2Ghz processor and 1GB of Ram. Also a beautiful sharp 1280X720 Resolution screen. I will not get too much into the details because as I keep saying, the idea of this blog is to keep things very simple.

This phone also comes with the Newest version of Android, version 4.0 which is also known as "Ice Cream Sandwich". I will have to make a separate post just about this version of Android.

But basically this phone runs very smoothly, Android 4.0 is the first android version enhanced to work with Dual Core processors. Like I said the screen is beautiful. It has a 5MP Camera, which I know, sounds a bit old but remember, MP means nothing, it's more about the quality of the sensor.

It does shoot 1080P video. When taking pictures it has 0 shutter lag, so you can take one picture right after another one without having to wait really. It has a NFC chip so that you can easily transfer data from one phone to another or in the future make payments using your phone.

It does come with a front facing camera for video chat, and a decent size capacity battery. It will be available in a 16 Gig version or a 32 Gig version. This is where normally I'd say it doesn't matter because you will be able to expand using the micro SD card anyway, but this one doesn't seem to have one, which I find odd because every android phone I've ever seen has one. It does not come with HDMI out either, which I found a bit disappointing. However I have HDMI out on my Motorola Xoom Tablet and I've only used it once, and that was to test that it worked. I can't see myself really using it.

Well, just wanted to share about what I hope will be my next phone and I also wanted to give you all a little bit of history about what Nexus means to Android fans :)


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lytro Light Field Cameras

As many of you should know by know, photography is a big hobby of mine. I've known about the concept of Light Field Cameras for a while but I really didn't think that such products would be around anytime soon or that they would be at a rather affordable price.

Now I understand a lot of you are probably wondering, What is this guy talking about?

I'm not going to try and explain all the technology that goes into this because, well this isn't that kind of blog and I certainly don't know all the technology that goes into this. But here is the main idea.

A lot of times we take a picture of what is supposed to be a very special moment only to find out that we messed up on the focusing and our picture came out of focus. We can try to convince ourselves that the out of focus style kind of makes the picture look more special but we all know in reality we are just pissed at the fact that our picture is out of focus.

Other times, we want to take a quick picture of something but our camera can't seem to be able to figure out where it wants to focus, so it keeps focusing in and out and by the time our picture is taken the special moment is way gone.

Well, what these Light Field Cameras do is they take up light from basically all parts of the picture. It captures a huge amount of light. It then processes all the information from all parts of the picture. Meaning the camera doesn't actually focus, it basically takes pictures of all possible focus points. Later on you can click on any part of the picture and it'll focus it for you.

This means that when you need to take a picture, it takes the picture real quick because there is no focusing required.

These cameras start at $399 for a 8GB version and $499 for a 16GB version.

But really I can't explain this enough myself I'd go on over to their site and play a little with the gallery.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Android Tips

Mostly anyone who knows me even a little bit knows I'm a big Android fan. But I understand that a lot of people have some very bad impressions of Android based on either past experiences or just plain not knowing how to really use Android.

One of the things that I do like about Android is the fact that it's a OS that we have really seen evolve. I joined the Android bandwagon when it was still in version 1.6 and each new version I always see something new and exciting. However, I do understand that someone who used a Android 1.6 phone at some point, may think Android is simply the worse thing ever. I honestly feel that if these people would try out one of the newer phones they would be very surprised.

The other big reason I believe people have issues with Android is the lack of knowledge on how to use it. So here are some tips.

Task Killers: All these apps that kill tasks you are not using in order to free up more memory for the phone. These are horrible things to use. Android DID have the need at one point to use them, however Android does manage all of it's memory by itself. When you use a task killer you are running the risk of killing very important system task. This of course results in a phone that doesn't work very well.

Live Wallpapers: They are nice aren't they? But they can also be very bad for your phone. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of very good very well made live wallpapers out there that wont bog down your system and steal it's battery power. However I would say the vast majority of the ones you find out there are very poorly made and even though they look great, they are most probably killing your phone. Personally I prefer to either stay away or use one of the google provided ones.

Widgets: Widgets are one of the main things I like the most on my Android phone. I love having all this information right there when I turn on my phone. But with widgets, you also need to be careful. It's more of a "Just because you can do it doesn't mean you should" rule. Having a widget there displaying statuses from your Google + account is most probably ok. But if you have one widget showing Google + statuses and another one with Facebook statuses and another one with your Twitter and another one with your emails and so on, then you are killing your phone. Can the phone handle it? Sure it can, but it will use up a lot more data trying to keep all these things updated and it will also use a lot more battery power. Too many people complain about battery power and then you look at their phones and they have a ton of widgets there.

Accounts: Be it a Google + account or an Email account, every time you add more accounts to Android it is more things that it assumes it needs to sync up for you. You need to go into the settings and tell it not to automatically sync whichever you don't really need it to automatically sync up. This is once again for the same reason as the Widgets, more emails that it has to download = more data and more battery used. Another thing to keep in mind is how often these accounts are set up to sync up. You have to ask yourself, do you really need to know what your friends posted every 15 minutes? or would you be ok knowing once every hour? Or maybe once every 2 or 4 or 6 hours. Or maybe you could just have it set up to manually check only when you feel like checking.

Screen Brightness: This is not really an Android thing, more of an overall smartphone thing. But with widgets Android does make it super easy to change the brightness of your screen. So I strongly recommend downloading a brightness selection widget and keeping your brightness at a rather low setting unless you really need it to be higher. This will go a long way in saving battery power. Personally I use a widget called "Brightness Level", it's very good and free if I remember correctly.

3G is not so bad: Most of us in the Android world live in a 4G world. And we LOVE our 4G speeds. However, keep in mind that if you are going to be away from a desk most of the day and you don't think you'll be doing any heavy web surfing, then switching your phone to 3G mode might be a good idea. 4G is fast, but it also requires a lot more battery juice than 3G.

So basically LEARN how your phone works and how you can make it work better. Unlike Apple and iOS, Google doesn't assume it's users are idiots that will simply mess up their phones if allowed to do certain things. Google gives you the option of doing a ton of different things to your phones, but obviously if you do them all then you will have problems. Apple doesn't really want to hear people complaining so they just limit the hell out of iOS. Apple also doesn't like bad marketing. So yes, their phones usually work better because they don't have a whole lot of anything to process. And Apple LOVES to have people talk about how their phone just works.

Now I'm not going to bash the iPhone. The iPhone 4 is an amazing phone and I'm sure the iPhone 4S will be as well. Android is certainly not for everyone. Plenty of people out there need something like the iPhone, simple and easy to use without too many bells and whistles. But when I see a young smart person follow apple simply because they believe all the hype, that's just sad in my opinion.