Tech, Autos, & Gear in Layman's Terms Since 2006

Rants and Raves Category

106

January 26, 2014 • Rants and Raves

Google’s Achilles Heel: It’s All About the (Multiple) Accounts

If any company wants to go right for the jugular with Google, they should focus on the poor experience of using multiple Google accounts. Google has struggled since inception to get this right. Multiple accounts  kinda work — but only intermittently and awkwardly; add the desperate prompt to create a Google+ account for every email, …

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143

January 24, 2014 • Rants and Raves

Is It Time to Stick a Fork in Windows Phone 8?

It seems everyone who reviews Windows Phone 8 loves it, they just “aren’t in love with it”. And Nokia Q4 2013 sales figures show a product category limping so badly it couldn’t eek out a sales gain during the recent holiday quarter.  No doubt Microsoft will keep pushing Windows Phone, but is that enough? 

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93

September 7, 2013 • Editorials, Rants and Raves

5 Things About Apple That Drive Me Crazy!

With a 37-year history, Apple’s story is intertwined with the personal computer and consumer electronics. It has loads of melodrama, huge personalities, and sweeping highs and lows. Right now we’re entering ‘new iPhone’ season with expectations and rumors running rampant – but instead of speculating on new products I’m shaking my head and gritting my …

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69

September 3, 2013 • Rants and Raves

How NOT to Sell a Car

We’re shopping for a new vehicle, and with just a very basic bit of research from Cars.com, I learned that a salesman lied to our faces today. Needless to say, we won’t be shopping there for this or any future vehicle… Sarah and I have a bit of a dilemma. We need a bigger car. …

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109

August 28, 2013 • Rants and Raves

The Tenacity of Cablevision Door to Door Salesmen

Door to door sales used to be a fairly common occurrence, but they are much rarer these days. So you'd think that a company using direct sales would make sure their salespeople were properly educated and respectful of people's space and time. You'd be wrong, if the company in question is Cablevision. How did I …

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91

August 12, 2013 • Rants and Raves

Is “Textspeak” Ruining Communication?

At the risk of sounding curmudgeonly, I can’t help but rant about the creeping specter of textspeak in everyday communications. With smartphones and full keyboards, there’s no excuse to not spell out your words! I have a big fear about the future of the written word. No, I’m not about to give you an anti-eBook …

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87

August 6, 2013 • Rants and Raves

Do You Still Miss Google Reader?

It’s been over a month, and I still miss Google Reader. I’ve found a mostly-good replacement in using Mr. Reader on my iPad, NextGen Reader on my Lumia, and Feedly Cloud on a computer, but it’s not the same thing. My work PC can’t open Feedly Cloud, so I browse my RSS feeds while hunched …

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89

July 29, 2013 • News, Rants and Raves

Muzik Socially Integrated Headphones – Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should

“Just because you can include some technological advance in your consumer product, it doesn’t mean you should.” That’s really the thought that came to mind when reading about a pair of new, upcoming headphones. Muzik (while I’m on a rant… I hate it when companies intentionally spell words incorrectly) just announced their first product – …

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56

July 10, 2013 • Editorials, Rants and Raves

App Store Reflections Five Years Later

Do you know where you were exactly five years ago today? I do because I had just finished spending three days loading every single one of the initial iTunes App Store apps into a data base. I was right here, at my kitchen table in the mountains of Pennsylvania. I had just started my summer …

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124

July 9, 2013 • Rants and Raves

Bing’s SafeSearch Filter Issues Explained!

A few days ago I pointed out some very odd behavior in the Bing SafeSearch filter. Certain words, like “Lesbian” were being summarily blocked, while insulting or hateful words came through just fine. I had the chance to chat with someone from the Bing SafeSearch team today, and I learned a few important things: One, …

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81

July 7, 2013 • Rants and Raves

Bing Thinks ‘Lesbian’ Is a Dirty Word

Update 07/09/13: Please see Microsoft’s Response Sarah and I were chatting this morning about parenting books, and we wondered what resources were out there for lesbian moms. So I pulled out my trusty Lumia, hit the search key, and typed in “Lesbian mom blogs”. Imagine my surprise when Bing informed me that “Your current Bing …

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73

June 29, 2013 • Rants and Raves

Rural Internet at Its Best

After three to four months of iffy WiMax Internet service from West Central Net, a local wireless internet provider, we are down to no Internet service most days. WCN has sent multiple service techs out here over the past few months, and even after swapping out our equipment, nothing has helped. The tech that came …

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132

May 30, 2013 • Rants and Raves

Apple Decides to Kill Remaining Market for iPod Touch, a Rant in Two Parts

  Part 1. Dan’s Rant. I have long been a proponent and advocate of the iPod touch. Since it was first announced, I have owned and used each successive generation of the “iPhone without a phone” and currently have, and use, a 32GB current generation iPod touch. I love it. I love having tons of music …

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111

May 21, 2013 • Rants and Raves

The iPhone Doldrums – I Think I’m Ready for Something Different

A bit less than two years ago, I excitedly drove to my nearby Verizon store to give up my Motorola Droid and jump ship over to an iPhone 4s. I was sure this would be a great match, and my days of smartphone-hopping were over. And they were, for quite a while. But over time …

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58

May 15, 2013 • Rants and Raves

Brick and Mortar Stores Aren’t Enough, You Also Need Customer Service

This morning on the news, I heard a report of a retailer who has thus far been an online presence only. Now they are opening a brick and mortar store because they understand that customers like to see, touch and compare the actual products. Fortuitously, an experience I just had at Best Buy served as …

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58

April 30, 2013 • Gaming, Rants and Raves

Pizza Hut Delivery Application Released on Xbox 360 … Really?

I recently saw an article from USA Today on a new “Create Your Pizza App” Xbox 360 app that lets users order food from Pizza Hut right from this game console. This free app includes the full Pizza Hut menu. The app caught my interest while the justification for the app was laughable to me. …

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The Right and Wrong Way to Do Post-Disaster Fundraising

Much has been written about all of the amazing people who stepped up after the Boston Marathon bombings, as well as companies in the area that opened their doors for stranded runners and other impacted individuals. We have since seen both good and bad examples of those who claim to want to help. The obvious …

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65

April 16, 2013 • Rants and Raves

EXCLUSIVE – The HTC First Facebook Phone Comes Up Last

I watched the Facebook Press Conference during which Facebook Home and the HTC First Android Phone with Facebook Home launched two weeks ago with a bit of amusement. I’m not a huge Facebook user, but my amusement really wasn’t just about my lack of being a Facebook fanatic at play; the idea of Facebook being …

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71

April 4, 2013 • Rants and Raves

iTunes, the Cloud, and Forced New purchase Downloads

As more and more information storage moves into “the cloud” — that is to say, you aren’t necessarily storing all those movies, TV shows, books, and whatever else locally on your system, but pulling them in from the Internet at need instead, using other people’s storage instead of your own hardware — it’s interesting to …

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156

March 22, 2013 • Rants and Raves

Google Reader and Google Keep, You Get What You Pay For

Google Reader and Google Keep are two different services, but when placed side by side they offer a cautionary tale for anyone using the web. There has been a good deal of chat among the Gear Diary team on our backchannel, and  Judie, Mike, Carly and I have been further discussing the demise of Reader …

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64

March 13, 2013 • Gear Bits, News, Rants and Raves

SXSWi New York Times Talk on Gated Content

In which Doug attends a talk by New York Times reporter David Carr (above) on gated content at South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) One of the talks that I had really been looking forward to at South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi)–as a contributor to an online site as I am–was David Carr’s talk, “Gates of …

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