Clients from Hell 2.0
The blogosphere has been rampant since rumors first came out that Yahoo was weighing an acquisition of microblogging platform, Tumblr. Now, the latest reports is that Yahoo’s board of directors has approved a $1.1 billion all-cash deal. Assuming the deal goes as planned, Monday’s scheduled press conference will likely be an official announcement of the acquisition.
Tumblr would not follow the same pattern of companies that Yahoo has acquired since CEO Marissa Mayer assumed the role just under a year ago. Companies like Astrid, GoPollGo, and Summly didn’t have the hundreds of millions of users and track record of Tumblr. Their teams were mostly small and most of the services were shuttered.
The founder of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg, shared some interesting details about the possible merger in a blog post yesterday. Specifically, he noted that since the news first broke out, imports of posts from Tumblr have increased from a normal rate of 400-600 an hour to over 72,000.
That statistic shouldn’t come as a surprise to many though. Yahoo isn’t exactly the coolest kid in Silicon Valley these days. With botched takeovers of beloved services like Flickr and Delicious, people are rightfully skeptical of the company’s plans for integrating Tumblr into their core businesses. Will Tumblr suffer the same fate of its predecessors?
Clients from Hell 2.0
My life has changed
The past week, I received an early graduation gift, a Nexus 4.
But, but…you’re an Apple fanboy!! How could you do this??
I’m going to save that for another day. I’ve been playing around with it and will have a review posted in the coming weeks on LonePlacebo.
Anyhow, after doing some due diligence on my carrier options, I narrowed it down to T-Mobile. I made a preliminary visit to a local store to get a feel for the environment and ask some quick questions. I knew from experience that signing up for carriers is always an arduous back-and-forth process of exchanging personal information, debating options, arguing, and more questions. I figured that a quick, first visit will ease some of the anticipated pain of signing on the dotted line.
When I arrived at the store, the setup was your typical cell phone store. Most of the salesmen were busy with a customer so I took the opportunity to wander around aimlessly, even checking out the highly touted HTC One. After about five minutes perusing the store, I was greeted by a salesman asking me if I needed any help.
Yeah, so I got this Nexus 4 phone and I wanted to activate it with T-Mobile.
Okay, so you have an idea what plan you want?
Yeah, tell me about the $30/month plan.
Oh, that’s offered by Walmart only.
Hmmm…really? [scratches head]
At this point, I was starting to doubt whether or not I should continue to believe what he was telling me. I had done my homework earlier and I remember various mentions of the plan, although it is well hidden on T-Mobile’s website, beneath their standard $50,$60, $70 trio.
So, one more question for you. Are there any monthly charges, fees, or taxes I should be expect?
Nope, it’s just the flat monthly fee.
Normally, I would expect salesmen to inundate you with a boatload of information, hoping that bogging you down with endless information will eventually force you to succumb to some ulterior plan. Paranoid, I know.
Maybe, this was part of T-Mobile’s “Simple Choice” schtick. No tricks, no hidden agendas, complete transparency. Perhaps years of experiencing abuse from carriers have made us weary of becoming too comfortable in any relationship.
On that particular day though, I left the store with more questions than answers. I eventually did return a couple days later and had the phone activated. It took about an hour before I could finally walk out the door. When will the day come when we can activate our phones in under half an hour?
In an Android app, with little work on the developer’s part, you can share to just about any app or social network present on your phone (like Dropbox). And of course, you can pick whichever email client or chat app you’d like to use to mail an article. Additionally, installing Instapaper for Android adds an “Instapaper” button to the Share menu when you’re inside other apps, like the web browser, so you don’t need to install a bookmarklet in order to save articles while you’re browsing on the go.
One disadvantage of iOS’s sandbox model is that it prevents you from integrating the apps you have installed on your phone with the user experience in any app.
Photo by Benoit Larochelle
Tommy could feel the butterflies start to enter his stomach. Sitting behind the wheel, he glances nervously at his side view mirrors and tightens his grip until his knuckles start to whiten. Beads of sweat forms under his shirt despite the chilly 50 degree weather outside.
In the car were Tommy’s parents, sister, and grandmother. They had just finished lunch and were on their way home. Since Tommy recently obtained his drivers permit, he had assumed the unofficial role as designated driver for every trip. On this particular occasion, he was not particularly fond of one impending obstacle course: the freeway.
Inhaling slowly, he hit the gas and started to move toward the ramp leading to the freeway. He had calculated that it would last only 10 minutes. Not the worst thing in the world, but petting a honey badger seemed more doable at the moment.
So far, so good. Not a single hiccup or incident and Tommy started to relax his shoulders and lean against his chair. As he neared the final stretch, a fleet of cars emerge from an entrance.
“Crap…” Tommy muttered under his breath.
Opting for the safer alternative, he figured he would avoid the challenge of speeding ahead to pass the merging vehicles by switching lanes prematurely. ‘Amateur’ he imagined his dad would say if he could read his thoughts.
Calling upon his Driver’s Education class, he followed the textbook procedure by heart: glance at the side view mirror, look over shoulder, signal, wait three seconds, merge.
As he began steering the vehicle to his right, an angry bluster of horns blared in response to his innocent move.
“BEEEEEP!! BEEEEEEP BEEEP BEEEEPP BIP BEEEEEEEP!” a tiny blue car shrieked at the top of its lungs.
“Son of a—-!” Tommy yelled as he completed his merge. The White Knuckles had returned. Glancing at his rearview mirror, he met eyes with an angry bald guy shouting muted words as he shook his fist in his direction.
“Ohhh boy…” Tommy shuddered.
Baldy was furious. Tommy watched in horror as his worst nightmare proceeds to speed up to catch up with his vehicle. His breath was starting to become shorter, his eyes unwilling to blink. What did this vengeful monster have in store for him?
Tommy didn’t have to wait long to find out. Little Blue torpedoes ahead several more car lengths. Then, as if looking to test the strength of its bumper, Little Blue brakes hard. Tommy couldn’t believe what he was witnessing.
Tommy slows down in time to avoid a collision. Barely. Baldy smiles sheepishly and accelerates forward. He wasn’t done just yet.
Little Blue is now driving directly in front of Tommy’s car. Baldy keeps glancing back at his rear view mirror as if not wanting to lose sight of Tommy.
The exit is fast approaching and Tommy turns on his blinkers to signal his move. Bad idea. Little Blue catches this fatal mistake right away and proceeds to get off the freeway as well.
With fear gripping his throat, Tommy notices how quiet his family had become during this unfolding crime scene. As he pulls up forward to a stop near the end of the exit lane, Little Blue parks in front and its overlord master kicks open the door.
“No way…” Tommy stifles a cry.
Baldy eyes his victims as he menacingly stalks forward, likely counting the number of trophies he will soon be taking back to his lair. Then, stopping at about three feet from Tommy’s door, he unleashes his final attack.
”#$%#$$ #@&#$$% @$#@&#$$%$ #@&*#$$%! #$%#$$! #@&#$$% @$#@&#$$%$ #@&*#$$%!” the crazed creature explodes in a torrent of expletives and verbal assaults. Tommy is in utter shock, his mouth gaping open like a child told his favorite cartoon show had been cancelled.
“DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME, @#@#%^$%@??! I’LL #$%#^@# YOU UP SO BAD….” his assailant continues in terrible, blistering passion.
Badly bruised and bleeding from the inflicted wounds, Tommy is relieved as Baldy returns to Little Blue and speeds off out of view forever. Blinking at last, he slackens his grip on the steering wheel he has strangled the life out of during the precarious ordeal. Turning his head slowly to his right, Tommy is met with the same shocked expression from his fellow passengers.
The jarring horn from an impatient driver snaps them back from their stupor. Tommy slams on the pedal and heads home wondering when Google’s self-driving cars will finally be ready for the world.
Towards the end of high school, I built a computer from scratch which I lovingly called TDM, Tony’s Dream Machine. With its gargantuan video card and unnecessary blue LED lights, one might surmise that it was a gamer’s mad creation. I didn’t build TDM to play games, although it was a great excuse to purchase Grand Theft Auto 4. I built it because it became a hobby for me, and soon thereafter, paved my interest in technology in general.
A friend from high school introduced me to the world of building custom computers. During lunch every day one semester, we would talk endlessly about configuring BIOS, choosing the right vendor to shop for parts online (Newegg, then Tigerdirect), and what video cards would be necessary to play what video games. I probably spent more time on this then I did with college applications. It was an obsession and I loved every bit of it.
After successfully building the computer, I wrote an exhaustive guide to my entire process, which I titled “The Partial Guide to Building a Computer.” Reading through this four year-old article (holy cow, time flies!), I can’t stop shaking my head as I read 17-year old me welcome the reader with such florid encouragement:
After being consistently frustrated by the lack of finding your ideal computer at a local Best Buy, Electronic Fry’s, or Circuit City (RIP), you have finally come to the simple and common conclusion of many computer enthusiasts: It’s time to build myself a computer. Basking in the glory of your newly discovered calling in life, the limelight suddenly dissipates with the daunting realization that you have no idea how to build a computer. Slamming the door and kicking your neighbor’s cat in anger, you drive your 1998 Mustang around the neighborhood trying to blow off steam, without resorting to any Grand Theft Auto style hit-and runs. But fear no more, young Jedi. I was also in your footsteps only a mere four months ago. Accomplishing this task is no simple chore at all. It requires dedication, passion, and of course, listening to the printed words that your eyes will soon fall upon as they pore through this awesome guide. If you are not up for the task or have too much money to spend or your time is just too damn precious, please stop reading and never come back.
If you are reading these words, then your journey has now begun. I will be your Professor Oak to your Ash Ketchum. I will be your Sam to your Frodo. I will be your Professor Dumbledore to your Harry Potter. Alright, that’s enough.
In the last four years, we have seen huge shifts in personal computing. Smartphones have freed us from our desktops. Computers now fit in our pockets! We’re also seeing another emerging trend with wearable computers. For example, Google’s ambitious and controversial Glass will open the floodgates to even more accessible information.
Where exactly does custom built computers fit in all of this? In recent years, a cheap $35, bare-bones computer called the Raspberry Pi has taken the world by storm. With over a million units of these sold, the Raspberry Pi has captured the imaginations of tinkerers and electronic hobbyists worldwide.
How is the Raspberry Pi different from building your own computer? Well, for starters, it’s heckuva a lot harder to setup and get working. It lacks a power supply, monitor, keyboard, and is about the size of a credit card. Also, you get acquainted to this thing called the kernel, which in case you’re wondering, isn’t about popcorn.
I think people will continue to build their own PCs for the foreseeable future. Its spirit will continue to evolve in new and exciting ways. The Raspberry Pi has shown that you don’t need to spend an outlandish amount of money just to learn how electronics work. Whether you’re a gamer, a casual techie, or simply looking to discover a new interest, there are greater avenues today than every before for immersing yourself in the fascinating world that is building your own computer.
The last desktop PC game that I played and loved was Grand Theft Auto IV. Since then, most of my gaming has consisted of iOS games like Letterpress, Doodle Jump, and Angry Birds (all the gamers reading this have now left).
Recently, Steam had a 75% off sale for both versions of Portal. I’ve never played any video game on my Mac, not even the Chess game that is included on OS X. Serious gamers don’t use Macs anyways, right?
Lured by the deal, I decided to purchase both games, for less than $7. Low risk, especially for a desktop game. Besides, I still had a long ways to go before the Mac version of SimCity arrives and the $60 price tag plus the litter of negative reviews have mostly cooled down my eagerness to play the game.
So, I downloaded Portal and so far, it’s been an incredibly fun experience. For those unfamiliar with the game, Portal is a first-person puzzle game. You have a weapon that can shoot “portals” that allows you to travel to various locations in your surrounding. For instance, let’s say you’re trying to reach the opposite end of the room. You shoot one portal at a wall at your destination and fire another next to you. When you enter the latter portal, you exit out the other end.
Each level of the game, you find yourself in another level of the storyline’s Aperture testing building. An unidentified voice serves as your guide throughout. My favorite “characters” by far are the turret robots. They look like the robots from Star Wars that roll around. They are also hilarious. “Where are you? Are you still there? I see you! I won’t kill you…” Although they aren’t mobile (thankfully), their accuracy is deadly. They have laser pointers that indicate their range, and when you mistakenly walk into it, you’re dead meat!
My favorite scene by far is when I hopped into this chamber with four doors on all sides. Several metal barrels were strewn on the ground in one corner. “Hmmm…I wonder what I’m supposed to do here?” Next thing I know, I see a red laser shoot out of one of the doors and reflect on a wall near me.
One of the doors open and there stands a turret. “I seeee you!” I see the laser beam start to move towards me and before I know it bullets start to rain upon me. I ran towards the metal barrels and crouch behind them. “Phew, that was a close call!” Then, another door opens, and there stands another turret, it’s gun trained on me. “I won’t kill you…”
Well, that’s all I have to say about Portal. I’m nearing the end of the game I think. I wonder when Portal 3 is coming out?