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Comment No CurrentC for me (Score 1) 631

I have never liked QR codes (just... stupid), nor how they are used (too hard to align the imager when my hand is unsupported - too picky a system).

I also have zero interest in giving merchants more power, taking all responsibility for the transaction unto myself, or tying anything public to a checking account or debit card.

In other words, you will never see me, nor my family, participate in a CurrentC transaction. In the absence of NFC I will just keep using credit cards at the POS until Chip & Pin finally happens in the U.S.

Comment Not all devices are ready for the real world (Score 1) 180

I tried out the Jawbone UP band in its first generation, and it was a disaster. The smartphone apps that were designed for it were severely lacking; for example, food items had to be (slowly) downloaded for every meal you wanted to input. My first band stopped syncing after 10 days, and two resets did not fix it. Jawbone sent me a replacement band, but it was the wrong size. They finally got me the correct band, but it would not sync at all.

As if that wasn't enough to trash the whole experience, the online seller I had initially purchased the UP from would not process my refund. This was due to me previously following Jawbone's instructions upon the first RMA return, meaning that I had already sent them the original packaging, etc. it turns out that they won't accept returns from their channel partners without the packaging, so this put my seller in a pickle. After several emails and phone calls I was not able to straighten any of this out, and ended up charging the purchase back via my credit card issuer. I know that stuffed the seller, but I feel that the issue lies purely between him and Jawbone, so I will let them figure out it.

When this is someone's first experience with wearables it is not hard to understand why their adoption and usage rates are low right now. I will not get into another wearable until both the manufacturers and their products mature.

Comment Th eMinnowboard has many issues (Score 1) 214

We were just playing with freshly unboxed Minnowboards at LinuxCon, and it was not a pleasant experience. Here are he issues we uncovered as a group:

1) The boards do not boot consistently. It sometimes requires reseating power and/or the SD card multiple times.

2) The included parts kit has a 3 Ohm resistor instead of 3k Ohm, so the included LED will not light up with what's in the box.

3) The Atom chip runs quite hot, enough for the other side of the board to be uncomfortable to touch. This is despite the huge heatsink on it. I cannot imagine this processor ever being used in a mobile, battery-powered device.

4) The GPIO ports are as flaky as they come. High one moment and low the next despite no input and no touching.

When you add in that this unit costs more than 6x what the high end Raspberry Pi does, or twice with Adafruit's whole Pi kit does, I cannot find a reason to like the Minnowboard.

Comment Google Voice rocks for this (Score 1) 242

I've been using Google Voice for texting and call forwarding for several months now, and it is flawless except for not yet working with email-to-SMS (which has only caused a problem twice so far, with a workaround available in both instances).

The associated Android app works nicely, making this a no-brainer for me. It's also wonderful to be able to type a text on a full-sized keyboard while using the Google Voice site.

Comment Re:Is there really a use case for single-providers (Score 1) 100

I hear you, and the absolutely limited experience that the entire Kindle line offers (e.g. the Kindle Fire HD, which is all things Amazon to the exclusion of all things Google, even though it's running on a (severely outdated) Google OS) does not bode well for a set-top box, especially when it has to compete with totally usable, cheap, all-in-one solutions like the Roku line.

Comment I know how I would use Google Glass (Score 1) 496

It's too early to tell what we will and will not be able to do with Glass, but I have have imagined how I'd use it:

1) GPS overlay while driving. I bet some folks will balk at this idea at first, but what's worse, taking your eyes off the road to look at a small screen, or having it overlaid (unobtrusively, of course) over some or all of your field of vision?

2) Access to the Internet is so locked down where I work that BYOD has been the employee's saving grace. I would rock Glass while at my desk as I could interact with the things I want without having to go for my tablet. This, of course, depends on how well I can control Glass by hand. The only time you will ever find me giving voice commands to Glass is on the trail, and even then only when hand commands are simply impractical.

3) Many desktop-based games do their damnedest to trap focus in the game window. It would be easier to do things like look up or track game info within my field of vision. The same would apply by default to console gaming.

IMHO Glass, and things like it, are a natural progression heading towards wetwiring. Mainframe -> desktop -> laptop -> phones and tablets -> wearable -> implantable.

Comment Re:Sad day (Score 1) 299

That sad day already came and went many times in the past. Here are two previous examples:

I'll never forget when I was in the SW:G beta. My wife asked me one day how I felt the game was coming along. I replied that it still had 6, maybe 8 months to go, and how it would be wonderful if the devs were given as much as 11 months. The very next morning I had an email from SOE/LucasArts letting me know that it was going retail in two weeks. It was a true "WTF?!" moment, and we all know how things turned out for SW:G.

Fast forward to SW:TOR. Yay! Another SW MMO, but it's being done with gaming companies that I trust to deliver a decent experience with or without LucasArt's involvement. Imagine my shock during the pre-order phase of the beta when I discovered that those low-rez, low-detail toons from the early footage were the actual retail experience, along with a questionable physics engine, very little PvP content, etc. This wonderful intro was followed closely by the much-feared patch & nerf cycle that has plagued other MMOs, and that some game companies just can't seem to move past. I managed to hang on for four months because I wanted to like it, but I just couldn't do it.

My only surprise is that it took this long for someone to shut LucasArts down.

I've got a bad feeling about this.