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“Sent from my Apple iPhone”

Posted on : 04-26-2012 | By : Andy | In : pop culture, random, tech

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Sometimes pop culture grabs on to something that I just find so annoying or ridiculous that I can’t help but point them out. Why? Because people often get suckered into doing things that make them look rather foolish, all the while thinking they’re cool, or not having a clue how to fix it.

Case in point: the automatic advertisement posted at the end of all your emails that says:
“Sent from my Apple iPhone”
“Sent from my Apple iPad”
“Sent from my Asus Pad”
“Sent from my Android Phone”
“Sent from my 4G LTE HTC Incredible Smartphone with Google Android and Haptic Feedback technology enhanced by Verizon’s Next Generation network”
“Sent from my TRSDOS-80″

Now I know that you may want all your friends to think you’re cool because you have an iPhone, but that email signature does not accomplish such a goal. When your email program shamelessly broadcasts that fact to every family member, friend, acquaintance, business contact, or stranger you email, it screams “PRETENTIOUS JERK.” We don’t care that you have the same smartphone as half the rest of the world. You announcing that to me does not inspire respect, or awe, but rather scorn. In case you missed this lesson in preschool, announcing your accomplishments or possessions to the world in order to make people think you’re awesome is called bragging, and it really just makes people see you as shallow (and definitely not awesome). They may be jealous of your iPhone, but they’re certainly not jealous of your personality.

The other alternative is that you don’t know how to get rid of that message, since every smartphone, tablet, and pc manufacturer in the world sets it as a default these days (don’t get me started!). If this is the case, Google it. There are instructions out there that are easy to follow and take next to no time to find and implement. Quit being a sheep, offering blatant, unpaid advertising free to the manufacturer who overcharged you for your device in the first place. If this is still too hard, ask a neighbor kid to get it off your phone and they’ll have it done before you can say “Jack Robinson.”

I don’t care what phone, tablet, laptop, mainframe, or cerebral implant you’re sending your email from. So quit telling me every time you send an email. It makes you look bad.

Baby stopped using her one arm? Dr. Google to the rescue!

Posted on : 07-19-2011 | By : Andy | In : parenting

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After her nap this afternoon, Ingy was a bit out of sorts, and wasn’t using her left arm. Since she always uses both together to pick stuff up, we figured something must be wrong. Bending her left arm would result in her crying.

Our Doctor’s nurse never picks up when we call, so after leaving a message we just googled it.

Turns out that a very common injury in infants and kids younger than 5 called “nursemaid’s elbow” was probably the issue. It’s a minor dislocation of the elbow, and a ligament gets jammed in the wrong place–easily happens if one arm is pulled to strongly, such as catching a falling kid or picking them up by their hands.

The best part is the fix–it’s super easy, and seems to me to be harmless if the problem isn’t nursemaid’s elbow. NOTE: I am NOT a doctor and this should NOT be understood to be qualified medical advice.

All we did was this: I bent Ingy’s elbow to a 90 degree angle, holding the elbow lightly in one hand. Then, I rotated her hand until her palm faced upward. VIOLA! The effects were almost instantaneous! Within a minute she was bending her left arm again, and using it to pick things up, and had stopped crying.

Thank you, Google. Thank you, KidsGrowth.com.

The Death of all things Web

Posted on : 06-27-2010 | By : Andy | In : pop culture, random, tech

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I set up a new blog today over at eustaceclarence.com to provide easy updates on my first kid, and it got me thinking: thankfully, the personal blogging craze has largely died.

To wit: of the 5 links in my blogroll as of the time of this writing, the last updates were written:

  1. October 31, 2007
  2. March 29, 2010 (Previous before that was Jan 2, 2009)
  3. September 27, 2009
  4. July 22, 2009
  5. …and one blog is no longer available on the internet

All of these blogs were written by guys involved with technology at a higher-than-average level: they could all probably tell you what AJAX is, and why IE6 is the bane of all that is internet. Yet, like 99.9% of people who started blogging in the last 5 years, none of them blog anymore.

Why? Because no one has time to write (much less write well), and for those that do…nobody cares. The only posts on this blog than anyone reads are the ones written on how to fix annoying computer problems, not the ones about my thoughts on the latest political whatnot. The only personal blog I read anymore is my sister-in-law’s, because she puts up great pictures of her kids all the time. (Ideally, Eustace will get similar treatment from me).

What it really boils down to though is that no one has enough time for all of that. Myspace died when everyone realized that the cacaphony of colors, spam, ads, and random musings available there was an utter waste of time. Twitter’s in vogue, but I’m pretty sure most people use it for a month or two before they realize that, too, is a completely ridiculous way to waste every spare minute of peace and quiet you might stumble upon during your day. I’m moving on.

I think Facebook is the big thing with the best chance, but I’m hearing a lot of people who are sick of it and despise the time they waste on it (me included)–it’s an addiction though, like a crackberry, and will likely last a few years before the next big thing comes along. It’s darn handy for planning class reunions or the like, but for doing anything else worthwhile? Not so much.

Sooner or later we’ll all melt down from the stress and insanity that comes from being plugged into too many people, too many streams of info, and too many responsibilities 24/7. As for me, I’m just hoping that a move back to the Dakotas/Minnesota might bring a few more years of sanity…

For an actually well-thought perspective on this over-saturation phenomena, you could read the paper I wrote on it for a class I took (Like Butter Spread Over Too Much Bread: Multiphrenia in America 10 pages, .pdf)…or you could just ADHD your way back to your Twitter feed and forget I mentioned it (though, kudos for lasting this long if you made it to the end of my post!)

Rechargeable or Alkaline Batteries?

Posted on : 11-03-2009 | By : Andy | In : random, tech

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I’m trying to find out what the performance specs on Sam’s Club Member’s Mark batteries is–the best I’ve got so far is some hearsay from a forum post about them being made by Duracell.

BUT, in my search I found a post discussing rechargables vs. alkalines, claiming that 1 AA could save you up to $500. The post is interesting, but bears some observations.

  1. Energizers might cost you $1/each in the grocery store, but a 48 pack of AA batteries is $10 at Sam’s (confirmed by me today) — that’s about $0.21/battery, and means your max savings is down to about $100/battery
  2. At $3 vs. $0.21, you’re not saving any money until you recharge the 15th time: saving $100 is only going to happen if you actually recharge that single AA battery 500 times.
  3. Rechargeable batteries eventually lose capacity. I’m going to assume that they’re relatively useless after three years of use. (Just look at your cellphone battery) You COULD go on using them, and you might, but they’re not going to last long enough to be worth your while.
  4. What are you going to do while your batteries are recharging? You’re still going to end up sticking alkalines in your devices every once in a while to tide you over, whether that be for 1/2 hour or 14 hours, depending on your charger–so, your savings will be less than indicated.

OK, so what does that look like then?

  1. Remote control:
    • Average time to change batteries? Maybe twice a year.
    • Time to savings: 7 years
    • Capacity of rechargable batteries after 7 years (if they even work after 7 years)? 0
    • Savings: $0
  2. Battery-hogging Wireless Mouse (2xAA):
    • Average time to change batteries? Once a week
    • Time to savings: 4 months
    • Useful battery life: 3 years (150 actual charge cycles)
    • Savings (life of 1 set of 2 rechargeables): $57
  3. Clock (1xAA):
    • Average time to change batteries? Maybe once a year.
    • Time to savings: 14 years
    • Capacity of rechargable batteries after 7 years? 0
    • Savings: $-1.53
  4. Wii Controller (2xAA):
    • Average replacement? (@25 hrs of gameplay = between 3 – 30 days)
    • Time to savings: 42 – 196 days
    • Useful battery life: 3 years (between 36 – 365 charges)
    • Savings: $15 – $150

Bottom line: some things are worth using rechargeables for. Some things aren’t. $500 in savings per battery is a bit sensationalistic though–it’s more likely you’ll see $50-100 in savings over 3-5 years per battery if you use them consistently and vigorously: and that assumes that the rechargeables last as long as the Alkalines do, which may or may not be true depending on usage.

It’s also interesting to note that some things (like Wii Controllers) may be worth using both for. Let’s say you have kids who play 24/7 with two controllers, but you have two controllers for the parents or friends to use, which get used maybe 4 hours a week. It’s going to take you 2 years of use to justify buying rechargeables for the mostly-unused controllers, assuming they get consistent weekly usage. If they’re not going to get that kind of use for more than 2 years, use alkalines for the rarely-used devices, and stick rechargeables in the others.

Thanks to the Always Frugal lady though for bringing it up again! Even at dirt-cheap $10 for 48 AA’s at Sam’s, I probably should invest in a rechargeable system for two Wii controllers. Just don’t go counting $100-500 in savings per battery as you pick up rechargeables for every electronic device in your household!

HP Online Store: Amazing Customer Service

Posted on : 07-31-2009 | By : Andy | In : random

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It’s easy to find horror stories on Customer Service issues all over the internet–I had just a great experience with the HP Home and Home Office Store that I felt almost obligated to share it with the world (or, the small percentage of people that read this blog).

To make a long story short, I placed an order for some ink after reviewing some information that was a bit misleading. After discovering that the “Custom” ink cartridges actually contained less ink than the normal cartridges, I contacted HP to return the item.

On the first phone call, the lady (whoever you are, Sandy, thanks!) actually listened to my situation, noted it in my account, and agreed to process a return. Here’s where it gets amazing though: she processed a refund right there, and told me I didn’t have to return the item! She called it a token of their appreciation of me as a customer. All I can say is, I appreciate them as an above-and-beyond sort of company.

Since I will likely never purchase another (overpriced) Apple laptop computer, HP may have just won themselves my future purchases. Certainly, I will continue to shop their store, and recommend it to anyone who will listen! So, here it is: I heartily recommend the HP Online Store, http://www.shopping.hp.com/

HP Customer Service: 6 stars out of 5

Pumped.

Posted on : 12-18-2008 | By : Andy | In : random

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It’s nearly 1AM and I can’t go to bed. I just did 121 pushups (in groups of 20-30) and I’m all pumped up! If you’re wondering why I’m doing that many pushups… check it out.