Rants and Raves rss

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? 

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 teeth about Apple in general…. Read More ›

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. See, if we want to… Read More ›

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 learn this? See, there's oblivious,… Read More ›

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 screed; you’ll never see me… Read More ›

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 over my iPad. Meanwhile, despite… Read More ›

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 – a pair of “smart headphones”…. Read More ›

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 vacation and my partners and… Read More ›

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, the SafeSearch filter isn’t as… Read More ›

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 SafeSearch filters out results that… Read More ›

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 in on the 20th walked… Read More ›

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 me watching various companies adapt…. Read More ›

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 Heaven, Gates of Hell”,on how… Read More ›