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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Awesome Thing #1: Playoff National Anthems

If you have any nationalistic tinge in your body, you must get goosebumps when you hear your national anthem screamed by 18,000 of your drunkest countrymen in anticipation for a battle of brain and brawn on ice.

This is one of the best examples of what I am talking about.

This may be the proudest moment in Canadian history, at least, until the next men's hockey gold medal we won. That was the proudest moment in Canadian history.

There is no Canadian bias here, Americans know how to belt out an anthem. Too bad it's musically composed to be inaccessible to 90% of human vocal ranges.

No matter how nationalistic you are, that does not give you an excuse to disrespected other nation's cultures and customs.

While we'ere on the topic of national anthems, this is one of the most beautiful moments I have ever seen.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Town

I just saw a commercial for ABC's new series, Happy Town. Without any research - my preferred research method - I am guessing that the show is set in a town with a mystery and the inhabitants are stranded in this city where a series of weird occurrences (typically lasting 20 minutes each) happen forcing these inhabitants to slowly unravel this mystery as the audience learns the backstory about the characters. As a knot is untied, five knots appear in its place forming a puzzle inside an enigma inside of a paradox taking one wonder whether this knot is worth being untied.

I have basically described ABC's soon-ending Lost except substituting a town with an island. Is this a coincidence or am I completely wrong about what this show is about? Only time will tell.

If Happy Town is canceled then I get credit for saying it sucks because it is a Lost ripoff and if it becomes the next Lost then I get credit too.

"To me that's the win-win.
The next time you see a homie and his rims spin,
Just know my mind is working just like them.
(The rims that is)"
- Jay Z

Friday, April 2, 2010

10 Reasons Why the iPad Sucks

On April 3, 2010 the iPad was finally released in the United States. However, unlike past anticipated launches of the iPod Touch and iPhone, there is as much skepticism as there is excitement surrounding the iPad. In an online poll of over 1,300 people, 58% of respondents said that they will not an iPad while 25% will have to think about it. The early reports are in and the verdict: The iPad is nothing special if not a waste of money versus a netbook.

Here are just 10 of the reasons why:

10 ) Minimal selection of external ports

The available connections are the dock connector and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. There are built in speakers and a microphone but no separate jacks to plug in your own. Even USB (remember the "U" stands for universal) cables need a $30 adapter to connect to the iPad. This this is supposed to be a cross between a smartphone and a netbook but has less connection capabilities than an iPod.

9) Bluetooth Headset Required to Make Calls
The iPad itself cannot make or receive external calls. However, users can still make calls by downloading a VOIP application and using it over a wireless network or 3G. Bluetooth headsets either look geeky or douchy on people and would totally not look cool for Apple users. Furthermore, there are the many limitations of VOIP compared to cell phones

8) iBookstore Only in the United States
Despite being available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK the iBookstore will only be available in the United States for the time being. Although there may be extra legal complications involved with expanding the iBookstore globally Apple is alienating their global markets by providing a limited product. Some could consider it discriminatory pricing as the price points are generally the same worldwide but the products differ slightly. The iBookstore is supposed to be the literary version of iTunes - a major factor in the iPod's success and a primary function of the iPad is to read e-books.

7) Can Only Download Software from the Apple Store
How can the iPad be a cross between the smartphones and laptops when it can not even download and run third-party software. The Apple App Store has been notorious for banning popular applications such as Google Voice. iPad users can not even change the default browser. The lack of this functionality makes the iPad too much like the iPhone and less like an Asus Eee.

6) Battery Policy
Like iPods and iPhones, the iPad's lithium-ion polymer battery loses capacity with each successive charge. However, unlike iPods and iPhones the iPad's battery cannot be replaced when it is dead. Instead, Apple while replace your entire iPad with a new one for a charge of US$99. This is a killer for the underground economy of stores that replaced Apple batteries for cheap prices. Furthermore, some people may develop a sentimental attachment to their iPads - some may even personalize their iPads by giving them names - and would not accept to replace their iPad let alone pay $99 for it.

5) No Camera
How hard is it to put a camera on the top? Having a camera function turns the iPad in the essential item to take everywhere you go. Currently that position is taken by cell/smart phones which is win because they are smaller and more focused on communication. The iPad would have been perfect for video chat as you could have held the iPad right in front of you and feel like you are face to face with the person you are video chatting with. The lack of camera only magnifies the iPad's inability to emulate a computer's creative capabilities.

4) No Widescreen
The screen display is no doubt beautiful and a attractive feature which is disappointing to hear that there is no16:9 widescreen aspect ratio on the iPad. In an era where practically everyone owns a LCD or flatscreen monitor or television, the iPad will look like the old, clunky 4:3 TVs again. Watching movies on the iPad should be an enjoyable experience however the improved comfort may not be worth the video quality trade-off.

3) No Flash Support

Flash is integral to so much that is currently on the Internet and many computer users know that Flash support is usually one of the first add-ins the get with a new browser. The iTouch and iPhone did not have flash support either but they were a music device and smartphone respectively and were not positioning themselves as a competitor with netbooks. Although sites like Youtube have become less dependent on Flash and can be viewed without Flash support, the iPad will still provide an inferior web experience.

2) No Multitasking
For a company that is so beloved by the youth population they sure do not know a low about their target market. Generations that have grown up with the technology of the late 1990s and early 2000s are ADHD-freaks whose focus darts between hundreds of things a second. We need to listen to music while we read e-books and to to surf the net while working on a word document. Most people know what Alt-Tab does because it is so vital to their multitasking usage. Having no equivalent "Alt-Tab" on the iPad is silly and should be frustrating for many young users.

1) Not Sexy Enough
Is the iPad really a mobile device? With a 9.7 inch LED display, the iPad is hardly a device that you can keep in your pockets or purse. Then again, the iPad does not have the same design genius of the iPod and iPhone and does not necessarily scream cool. There has been much ado about the fat bezel that surrounds the touchscreen. Combine these physical imperfections with the lack of widescreen, flash support, and no camera and the iPad is no longer a must-have, mass-market product and more of a niche for early technology adapters.

In other words, the iPad will not become the cultural symbol the that iPod and iPhone have become because it is simply not cool enough nor useful enough. This plagued another Apple product - the Macbook Air - which turned out to be mostly hot air when consumers realized that it was a $2,000 paperweight of a computer. The iPad may just be the victim of intense expectations. I am still confident that Apple can be the company that brings tablets and touch-screen technology into the mainstream but sadly, their first iPad is only a small step in the right direction.