Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hi, Dad.

Hey, Dad. I miss you.

I wish I could have known you better. It seems like it was only a little while ago when I heard you had passed away, in a little rehab place in Texas. They said that you had been doing great, that you were a big help around the place, that you had been clean for a long time.

I wish you had thought of me! I wish you had tried to contact me. You remember your dad-in-law? He would've had a number for Mom, you could've gotten a message through to me somehow.

If you'd tried, you'd have found out that I was huge into the Internet; I had a username on every major IM service, and like 6 different email addresses at any one time. We could have talked, we could have shared new technologies as father and son! We could have talked about games, about phones, about the Internet.. We could have learned programming languages together, we could have competed, we could have partied up in some MMO somewhere! I could have had so many good times with you, even if only online!

We would have had such a special relationship, one that I wouldn't have had with anyone else, one that I would have kept so near and dear to my heart for years and years, one that I'd never ever forget about or let slide, one that I'd constantly work at and grow!

I want to talk to you, I want to listen to you. I want to hug you, and feel your whiskers scratch my cheek. I want to smell your hair. I want to shake your hand, and arm-wrestle you. I want you to tell me when I'm messing up, and what I should do, even if I don't want to hear it. I want you not to like my music.

I want you to see my brother all grown up, and his new little baby boy, who is the cutest baby I've ever seen, even with his one arm. I want your eyes to shine when you look at him and play with him. I want you to meet my beautiful wife, and talk to her, see how smart she is, and tell me how pretty she is in a whisper when she leaves the room. I want to go to a store every year and pick out the perfect Christmas gift to give you. I want to email you about every interesting news story I find, and every funny lolcat I see-my wife is so good at making those!

I want someone to play games with. I want someone to talk to, to give me advice, and chastise me when I'm wrong. I want someone to push me to finish school. I want someone who loves me unconditionally, so I don't feel like I have to bend over backwards to earn the approval of every peer group I come in contact with.

I love you, Dad. I miss you so much. Are you in heaven? Will I get to see you and talk to you when I get there? Nothing would make me happier!

Oh, God, I miss you so much. I'm so sorry for what you did. I don't understand why you left me here alone! I missed so much of your life, and you missed so much of mine!

I MISS YOU. I loved you, and I'll always love you. I love you SO MUCH, and I miss you, Dad. I can't wait to see you again.

I love you, and I miss you. Goodnight, Dad. Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Windows Mobile rant

Wrote this some time ago, but I still feel this way. I've been using my old Windows Mobile 5 touchscreen PDA phone (Samsung i730) for about three months now, and it's good and bad...

I've done it for half a year now, and I'm tired of it.

I am giving up my new Windows Mobile smartphone, my Verizon Wireless smt5800. Probably selling it, in fact.

Why would I do this? There are a few reasons.

1. The availability of decent games.
Before I had any PocketPC phone, I had an LG VX7000. This was right before Verizon's VCAST service debuted, and this phone was one of the last high-end phones they made without the service.

I used to buy one or two games every month for my device using Verizon's Get It Now application. I didn't worry too much about space on my phone, though it was very limited, to be sure. If I chose to download a new application or game, and my phone didn't have enough space, automatically Get It Now would remove the local content for one or two existing applications on the phone. Those apps were not gone; they still appeared in the list, in fact. But in order to run them, I'd have to redownload the content, which was free.

So it was definitely more convenient than juggling license codes. But that's not the only reason. The GAMES AVAILABLE through that service were just about amazing.

Here's a brief rundown on some of the most appealing games still available for my OLD phone, the VX7000 I got about four years ago:

Sonic the Hedgehog, VZW Chess, Frogger, Namco's Pac-Man, Tetris Mania, Scene It?, Dig Dug, Ms. Pac Man, Castlevania: Order of Shadows, SimCity (Used to have it, was AMAZING on my phone), Worms 2007, Might and Magic 2 (the original was so great), God of War: Betrayal, Doom RPG (played most of it, it was great), Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Paperboy, Insaniquarium Deluxe (I don't care if it's casual, it's still addicting), Metal Slug M3, Sims 2 Connected Edition, Guitar Hero 3, Solarola, Metal Gear, Age Of Empires 3, Puzzle Quest: Warlords, Sega Columns Deluxe (actually Columns and Puyo Pop), and this is all not to mention the fact that I still have Ys 1 & 2 on this phone, which is no longer available.

Are any of these titles available in some capacity on Windows Mobile or Smartphone platforms? Well, some are: Pac Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Dig Dug, and that's all I can think of off the top of my head. So, that's what, 10% of the titles available on my old phone?

Let's say those few games available for smartphone are all I'm interested in; let's say I'm not the semi-hardcore gamer that I am. This brings me to my next point:

2. Games: Price

This is the secret behind all those PDA phones on the market.

With Get It Now games, available now on most Verizon phones, there is a bit of a strange pricing scheme. Two prices are offered for most titles, one for an "unlimited" license and another for a "subscription" license. The features for each are identical, the programs aren't different in any way. The difference in the license merely refers to the payment scheme used to use that program.

A single game might cost $5.99 for Unlimited, or maybe $2.99 for Subscription. If you know you love the game, and want to buy it for keepsies, click on the Unlimited license. You pay a one-time fee of $5.99 on your next bill, then the application's yours, you never pay for it again. As long as you don't remove it totally from your phone (cancelling your license for it), it doesn't even have to take up space on your device; if you need the space it takes up, your phone will delete the local content, keeping the license intact, as explained above.

If you're not sure about a game/app and you just want to try it out, or you don't think you'll keep it long enough to warrant buying it Unlimited, you can purchase it for the Subscription price, which is usually about half of the normal price (or less). With this model, you'll pay $2.99 on your next bill, and $2.99 a month after that for every month you keep the program on your device. That provides kind of a protection against crappy games or all-but-nonfunctional apps; if you're not sure, pay the lower subscription price, and if you hate it, delete it; you've only spent $3 rather than $6 to find that out. Sure, it's not as good as a free demo, but it's a start. For mobile games that are beatable, if you can beat them in a month, you can get away with paying the subscription price for what is essentially the full game. I did this with the first Might and Magic title, actually, and loved every minute; that's a great mobile game, and deserving of every accolade it receives.

Here's the most important part of this: Average game price for Get It Now titles is from $5-7 Unlimited, $2-4 Subscription.

Average price for games on Pocket PC/Smartphone (Windows Mobile) platform? $20.

That's right. Same basic content, FAR more limited selection, MORE THAN DOUBLE the average price. The only redeeming factor with PPC/SP software is that most programs or games DO come with free trials, which are usually extremely limited; they're either missing some crucial feature found in the full version, time limited to work for an extremely short period of time like 3-5 days, or BOTH at once. Also is the fact that, even if a program is purported to work 100% with your flavor of Windows Mobile, there's a chance it doesn't work at all on your device.

This is the thing that drove me away. I could live with the reduced software catalog, if lots of the better programs were free or very cheap. I could live with the disadvantages of carrying a Windows Mobile device over a normal phone, of which there are many from where I sit. I could even live with the need to reformat my phone once a month, which is totally rediculous for a handheld device.

But I can't live with $20-30 games for a phone.

For these reasons, I am listing my smt5800 smartphone on Ebay. I can get at least $200 out of it selling it there, I believe, even in its used condition, even with the slight scratches on it. For a phone, I will use my still-working VX7000, which I love. For a PDA, I will use my old i730 with the phone radio turned off, running Windows Mobile 5 with a fast 520MHz processor, accessing Internet with a built-in wifi antenna.

I hate to do it this way. I don't want two seperate devices. I'm all about convergence, wherever it may be found. I BELIEVE in the possibilities of a combination cell phone & data device; I'm still excited by the prospects of the upcoming Android platform, as well as the possibilities offered by the recent unlocking of iPhone development tools.

But I've been locked out by software pricing geared to the super-rich, and selection that caters to only the most casual gamer. I've been beaten down by exhorbitant $45-a-month data plan pricing by my carrier, and their physical removal of other data options (wifi) that are present on other iterations of my phone. I've had it with the hangups, the slowdowns, the ignored taps and button clicks, the crashes, the frequent reformats, and the cell-phone-side inadequacies of Windows Mobile in general.

Therefore I am relinquishing my new device, purchased all of four months ago, and moving to what I honestly believe is a better way of doing things. I came to Windows Mobile for the freedom, the possibilities, and what looked like greener pastures; it was a great heartbreak to me to learn that the possibilities are ignored, the freedom is all but free, and the pastures are actually much greener back where I started.

Adeiu, Windows Mobile. Sorry it didn't work out.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I am so tired.

I am tired, but i'm not going to let that stop me.

If you see an occaisional misspelling or capitalization error, reference the title. Silly rabbit, no one reads this blog!

I woke up last night at 2:30am or so, and didn't go back to sleep until I made myself do so at 6. I then had to get up at 7:15 to barely make it to work on time, which I did, to my surprise. :) Had a fairly uneventful day. Like a typical nerdly, I had to play with new toys in entirely inappropriate situations, which lead me to use the new invitation Evernote 3 beta Windows client to take all the notes for an important software meeting. Speaking of which, now I have to log in and check on it, because I am somewhat of a jittery person.

Now I have to go open Scrybe, because it made me think of it.

And now I'm back. Evernote online is kinda like Scrybe without the calendar, which actually may make it a little less valuable. Although, Evernote has what seems to be superior tagging and search capabilities, especially image search stuff. But I think it was Scrybe that first introduced us to the concept of web clipping.

The world feels like it's happening to someone else. Everything is slower-moving than normal. Sounds don't seem to have any definition; everything sounds like a new CD, mastered into a dynamic flatline.

I read the news today, oh boy
About a lucky man who made the grade
And though the news was rather sad
Well, I just had to laugh
I saw the photograph

Things have been coming down from the rafters. The world roars, the buildings groan as they lean into the wind. Rain flings itself with abandon at the windows. Ten inches of rain is unheard of in these parts..

He blew his mind out in a car

Somewhere, there's a boy, and he's crying. He sobs as his eyes run down the grooved channel on the side of a dull black pistol. He knows there are ten bullets in the clip, and that not a one will look the same after it has been used as before. Bullets are beautiful at first; the machined grooves shine with a warm, brassy glow. The casings look like gold.

He didn't notice that the lights had changed

I am a police officer. Whatever else I want to be, first, I am a cop. My job is to stop evil people from doing unfortunate things to the innocent. I was at a woman's house earlier, I almost lost it. Her husband was both drunk and coked out of his gourd, and he had been whipping her with an extension cord. Her nose was purple, one of her eyes was bleeding from the bottom lid when we got there. We pushed him into the car, behind the bars, and he wouldn't look at us, or at her. She fought us as we did, and spit on us when he was safely inside. It took everything in me, much more control than I thought I ever had, not to physically knock her out with a single punch for her stupidity..

A group of people stood and stared

Something was there, that couldn't be contested. Some people thought it was some animal, crawled down into the sewers and lived forgotten for years before struggling back up to the surface. Some people said it wasn't real, some kind of ghost or something, even as others poked its obviously solid body with a stick. Some even said it had been a child once, or an alien, or both. But the fact was that the guy, the college-looking kid with the beard, had actually watched it pull itself desperately out of a storm drain and crawl pitifully to the curb before it stopped moving with a high-pitched sigh..

Nobody could really tell if he was from the House of Lords

The Cloth of Sacrament goes up, over the head, drapes on the back of the chair. The robe unbuttons behind the neck, and goes on the wooden hanger to hang in the tiny cedar closet. The skullcap just pulls off, and hangs on the back of the chair. The necklace goes into a small drawer in the closet, the talisman to be stored away for the next service. It depicts a goat's head with a knowing smile, tiny ruby eyes set in pewter sockets. The ritual complete, it's time to eat a Ding Dong or two and drink a tall glass of cold, whole milk..

I'd love to turn you on

I kneel in a closet. No one knows I do this. Well, I say that, but He knows. He and I alone share this secret. I don't let my left hand know what my right is doing. My knees hurt, but that's hardly a poor trade. I know what I'm doing is right. I know what I'm doing is beautiful to Someone, and I do it alone, in a secret place. And, here's the kicker; half of what I pray for can only benefit other people.

I am tired. Good night. We'll see you later.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A party of American explorers once decided to explore the rich jungles of darkest Africa. They found a guide who spoke English to lead them through the most remote parts of the jungle.

As they piled into jeeps to drive to the start of their journey, the guide asked for their attention. "I have something VERY, VERY IMPORTANT to tell you. Here in darkest Africa, we have a very special bird. It is sacred, most sacred being in this part of the world. You must not disturb this bird, and if it lands on you, you must never brush it away. It is considered very bad luck if you do."

One of the explorers, incredulous, asked, "But if it lands on us, won't it just poop on us?"

"Sometimes," said the guide. "If it does, you must never wipe it off, for it is considered VERY, VERY bad luck to do so."

"What is the name of this bird, Guide?"

"It's name is difficult to pronounce, but you may call it the Fou bird."

The exploration party drove to the start of the journey, and everyone filed out of the cars, shouldering their backpacks and gear. They started to tromp through the jungles, marvelling at the strange plants and mysterious sounds they heard.

After an hour or so, a brightly-colored bird the size of a basketball landed on the lead explorer. The guy stood very still, but sure enough, the bird dropped a load all over his safari hat. It flew off, and almost immediately the explorer took his hat off, disgusted. He tried to clean the poop off as he walked. After five steps, he fell into a sinkhole that swallowed him up forever.

The rest of the party was a little rattled, but they decided to continue the expedition.

After another hour, a brightly-colored Fou bird landed on the new lead explorer. This one pooped all over the man's shoulders, soaking his kahki shirt with nastiness. Startled, the guy waved his hands and the Fou bird flew off. He wiped as much of the crap off him as he could, though it still had soaked through to his skin.

Ten steps later, he was bitten by a deadly green mamba snake. The party tried to save him, but he died almost instantly.

After about an hour, the explorers rounded a bend and came face-to-face with a beautiful waterfall. They noticed scores of brightly-colored Fou birds in the waterfall's pool, bathing and sunning themselves. They froze with fear, but the Fou birds flew up in a flock, startled, and shat all over the entire party of exlorers.

They were about to clean themselves off when the guide suddenly yelled, "WAIT! Remember what happened to the other two men! You must NOT CLEAN IT OFF until this day is out!"

Uncomfortably, they agreed. The party tromped back through the jungle, and at sunset, washed their crap-ridden khakis. No further misfortune befell the party, and the remaining men returned happily to America to share the story of their African adventure.

The moral of this story? If the Fou shits, wear it.