Ribbed for No Pleasure

iPad: Meh

by Tobias on April 6, 2010

I am writing this blog post on the iPad. (I am also going to try to use it in landscape mode while I try to touch type.)

[NOTE: I have made some edits to the post on my laptop as the WordPress app for the iPad wouldn’t let me do everything I needed to. All embedded links have been done on my laptop and some other formatting.  I will try to keep this clear. I was only able to type in content & insert an image.  All other controls were missing.  All modifications will be in italics whenever possible so it is apparent what was done on the iPad verses on my laptop. All hypertext links were done on my laptop and NOT on the iPad. All formating changes, such as bold text are done via WP on my laptop.  Note that WordPress on mobile Safari was not useable enough to do this.]

My general conclusion is “meh”.

As I Type on the iPad

This is me writing this post on the iPad.

The first thing I noticed was that the screen PPI is far lower than the iPhone. [Editor’s note: The iPad is 132 ppi and the iPhone is 163 ppi.] I would have expected there to be an increase rather than decrease in that department. The second thing I noticed, because I am a UI nerd, is that once a menu item is activated, clicking the same button does not deactivate it. Some apps have apparently noticed this and fixed it while others have not. A small thing, but definitely a sad oversight on Apple’s part.

It is indeed a nifty device, but nifty doesn’t cut it for this price range. The WiFi model does not include GPS, so have fun getting directions on the go (not to mention there is still no way to save maps locally on the device, neglecting the obvious GPS downloadable apps that would be useless anyway). The lack of a camera is by far the largest problem as I have mentioned before.

My review of the iPad


Borrowing Without Asking

by Tobias on February 23, 2010

For some reason, this video has played in my mind a few times lately in seemingly unrelated context.  If you did not grow up in the Bay Area, then it is likely you have not seen it.  If you did, and within the right time frame, then you most likely remember Charley and Humphrey.  They taught me lessons as a child I’ll never forget: Get lots of glue if you want to really get high after you steal something.

Their creator, Pat McCormick, was a staple for those who landed on KTVU in the 70s whether it be for Dialing for Dollars or Charley and Humphrey 1 minute interludes of puppeteiring and moral lessons.

Check out more videos of Charley and Humphrey here on YouTube.


West Coast Tour

by Tobias on February 21, 2010

Now I sit in the upper levels of a home in Maryland looking back on a well worn trip across the glorious Western Coast of the United States.

The Bay Area, Los Angeles, Portland & Seattle.

I consumed as much friendship, family, good food, good cheer, warm hugs, a wedding, hotel rooms, fine champagne, Scotch eggs, celebrated my birthday, and overall just had a blast.

I will be writing more soon.  There is just so much to write about that I have the cloud of a large winged beast of pleasure hanging over me.


iPhone Camera icon

iPad: No Camera is a Bad Idea

by Tobias on January 27, 2010

Today Apple announced, with little surprise, a tablet computer called the iPad.  Some nifty things going on, but very little in the “knock me over the head with Wow™” going on.

One thing in particular is lacking: A camera[tech specs]

Now, this at first glance does not seem to be much of a big deal.  The device is straddling the fence of the iPhone and the MacBook lines, both of which have a camera.  The obvious similarity would be with the iTouch which lacks a camera, but I’m willing to bet that many iTouch users will understand my complaint.

iPad: No Camera?

Steve Jobs says iPod touch didn’t get a camera because “it’s a great game machine” –engadget

The iPad will be a wonderful platform for application development.  Take all of the wonders that have come from the iPhone developer community and amp it up ten fold.  e.g., You can now make a device that a doctor carries around from patient to patient and can easily access information, charts, etc. on the fly and with more granularity for drilling down to specifics or complicated interactions.

A camera provides a very useful input source for such applications.  QR Codes, augmented reality, business card scanning, face detection, object detection, and all of the other wonderful things that we haven’t even thought of yet are now all closed off. A very large door for innovation has been closed in our faces before we even went to open it.

Will I need to have a camera dongle if I want to, say, make a Doctor Application™ that allows them to take photo graphs of injuries to be entered into the patient’s file?  The Wine Taster Application™ won’t let you take photos of the label of wine you just drank that blew you away.  Of course the lack of video chat via iChat is a striking feature set that is missing.

The built in camera on my iPhone is an integral part of my experience with the device.  To have taken that integral tool out of the iPad was a very sad mistake that Apple has made.


Stuck in the Cold

by Tobias on December 23, 2009

Here in Laurel, MD it is currently 20° (F).

I came back to my friends’ place late and was unable to get inside.  I tried every entrance, but no luck.  I wondered if I should call and wake up my friends at such a late hour.

You may ask yourself, “Why on earth would Tobias hesitate to call his friends to let him in no matter how late the hour when the evening may dip into the teens?!”

The answer is this:

I was wearing Altama boots, two layers of socks, a sweater, a scarf, a wool Swiss army coat meant for winter warfare, I, by chance, had an emergency blanket in my jacket pocket, and best of all…I had a plastic bag full of ~20 chemical hand warmers.

They would have found a very funny looking man wrapped up in a silver blanket, dreads down to his ankles and his body littered with star shaped chemical pocket warmers cuddled up in a patch of 2ft snow.

I then remembered that I had my laptop on me and it wouldn’t make it through the cold so I called my friend and woke him up to let me in.



Freude, schöner Götterfunken!

by Tobias on December 16, 2009

In honor of Beethoven’s birthday in 1770, I would like to take note of my personal favourite of his works:

Symphony No. 9 in D minor

As we all know, D minor is the saddest of all keys*. That being said, I find the 9th to have the ark of life; a life well lived with nothing but highlights, of course, as there are no boring parts.  It would be nice if life were actually to have this ark with no boring parts, but I’m sure Beethoven didn’t want to highlight the wonderful moments of “brushing of teeth” or “waiting in line at the DMV”.

(Hit play now and enjoy the music while you read and continue to enjoy while you surf elsewhere.)

The piece starts as if the strings are being tuned as they fade in, and, like a slap on the ass, the music comes screaming into existence.  Happiness forms like worms in your ear.  Sadness dances under the guise of melody. The end is a climax of pure joy; a true “La petite mort” in almost every way, except being “petite”.

The poem it is based on is a celebration of life which Beethoven modified.  When it is time for my friends and family to look back upon my time on this earth, I hope they can listen to this song and revel in a life lived.

Lyrics bellow via wikipedia. Words written by Beethoven (not Schiller, the original writer of Ode to Joy) are shown in italics.

German original
English translation
O Freunde, nicht diese Töne!
Sondern laßt uns angenehmere anstimmen,
und freudenvollere.
Freude! Freude!
Oh friends, not these tones!
Rather, let us raise our voices in more pleasing
And more joyful sounds!
Joy! Joy!
Freude, schöner Götterfunken
Tochter aus Elysium,
Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum!
Deine Zauber binden wieder
Was die Mode streng geteilt;
Alle Menschen werden Brüder,
Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.
Joy, beautiful spark of gods
Daughter of Elysium,
We enter drunk with fire,
Heavenly one, your sanctuary!
Your magic binds again
What custom strictly divided.
All men become brothers,
Where your gentle wing rests.
Wem der große Wurf gelungen,
Eines Freundes Freund zu sein;
Wer ein holdes Weib errungen,
Mische seinen Jubel ein!
Ja, wer auch nur eine Seele
Sein nennt auf dem Erdenrund!
Und wer’s nie gekonnt, der stehle
Weinend sich aus diesem Bund!
Whoever has had the great fortune
To be a friend’s friend,
Whoever has won a devoted wife,
Join in our jubilation!
Indeed, whoever can call even one soul,
His own on this earth!
And whoever was never able to, must creep
Tearfully away from this band!
Freude trinken alle Wesen
An den Brüsten der Natur;
Alle Guten, alle Bösen
Folgen ihrer Rosenspur.
Küße gab sie uns und Reben,
Einen Freund, geprüft im Tod;
Wollust ward dem Wurm gegeben,
Und der Cherub steht vor Gott.
Joy all creatures drink
At the breasts of nature;
All good, all bad
Follow her trail of roses.
Kisses she gave us, and wine,
A friend, proven in death;
Pleasure was to the worm given,
And the cherub stands before God.
Froh, wie seine Sonnen fliegen
Durch des Himmels prächt’gen Plan,
Laufet, Brüder, eure Bahn,
Freudig, wie ein Held zum Siegen.
Glad, as His suns fly
Through the Heaven’s glorious design,
Run, brothers, your race,
Joyful, as a hero to victory.
Seid umschlungen, Millionen!
Diesen Kuß der ganzen Welt!
Brüder, über’m Sternenzelt
Muss ein lieber Vater wohnen.
Ihr stürzt nieder, Millionen?
Ahnest du den Schöpfer, Welt?
Such’ ihn über’m Sternenzelt!
Über Sternen muss er wohnen.
Be embraced, millions!
This kiss for the whole world!
Brothers, above the starry canopy
Must a loving Father dwell.
Do you bow down, millions?
Do you sense the Creator, world?
Seek Him beyond the starry canopy!
Beyond the stars must He dwell.

Seid umschlungen, Millionen!
Diesen Kuß der ganzen Welt!
Brüder, über’m Sternenzelt
Muss ein lieber Vater wohnen.
Seid umschlungen,
Diesen Kuß der ganzen Welt!
Freude, schöner Götterfunken
Tochter aus Elysium,
Freude, schöner Götterfunken

Be embraced, you millions!
This kiss for the whole world!
Brothers, beyond the star-canopy
Must a loving Father dwell.
Be embraced,
This kiss for the whole world!
Joy, beautiful spark of gods,
Daughter of Elysium,
Joy, beautiful spark of gods

*Lick My Love Pump – Nigel Tufnel

Spinal Tap – Lick My Love PumpFunny videos are here

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by admin on October 14, 2009

I have had many words to say and write over the years. I have thrown them around, sometimes with great care, in various places. I am creating this site to be my home base, my helipad, my notepad, my empty beer coaster…

Hopefully I will help share, enlighten, and explore with you.