Archive for year 2013

Why I Choose the iPhone

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had the conversation with people asking “Should I get an Android phone or an iPhone?” on social media. Every time it happens I’ve thought “I should just make a blog post so I don’t have to keep typing out my thoughts on the matter,” so here it is!

Short answer: iPhone

Long answer:
Before I made the jump into the smartphone market, I did a lot of research because that’s how I am. Hell, I do the same thing if I’m thinking of a new toothbrush. I always painstakingly research and read and think, and ponder and weigh proc and cons and get opinions and check forums and reviews and try things out and everything else I can think of to do. In the end, I decided (and still feel) that the iPhone is the best smartphone out there. And this is coming from a PC user who loves all things Google, so that’s saying something. I’m someone who wants to love Android, someone who constantly re-evaluates and dips my toes back in the water hoping that this is the time that I finally convince myself to make the switch, but as of yet that hasn’t happened. Why? Well, that’s hard to answer and it’s all subjective anyway so there is no right or wrong, but for better or worse, I’ll try to remember as many points as I can.

First off, let me say that everyone is different. What we like as individuals is different. Our needs, wants and how we use our phones is different. For this reason, it’s really almost impossible to base your choice off anything other than experiencing it yourself, but unfortunately, most of don’t have the luxury of “living” with two different phones for an extended period of time and seeing which we personally like better. Before I had my own iPhone, I had played with many friends phones to at least get a taste. I dated someone who had an Android phone and so had a lot of experience playing with her phone and helping her with it (I’m a very naturally technically apt person so I end up being tech consultant to lots of my friends as well). I’ve borrowed friends’ phones as often as I can to play with them as well.

My first reason is choice of phones. If you get an iPhone, there’s nothing to choose really other than whether you get the latest model or an earlier one. With Android, there’s overwhelming choice. Which brand? Which version of Android is it running? Which “overlay” user interface do they use on that phone? Normally, I’m all for choice, but for me personally, I don’t like this. I feel the iPhone is an easily definable quantity and you know what you’ll be getting and the experience will be the same no matter what. I am not a fan of Apples benevolent dictatorship attitude of “we know what’s best so you don’t need choice” in general, but for me, it’s a good thing when choosing a phone and they have gotten better about that over time, introducing at least a little more freedom and options but still nowhere near Android. That being said, I still like the iPhone best.

In all my experiences with Android phones, it just felt clunky and kind of pieced together. I found the user experience often unintuitive and clumsy, especially for any non-tech-savvy people. And it will vary greatly from phone to phone. Overall, it just never “felt” as good as an iPhone to me.

9 times out of 10, when I wanted to suggest an app or play a game with someone on an Android phone, that app was not available for Android. In the best case scenarios it became available later, long after the iOS version was out. Being that iPhones seem to be the dominant phone, most app developers tend to concentrate on it first. I have only ever encountered the reverse scenario once (I want to play Ingress, dammit!). Most of my top used apps are not available for Android.

Intercompatibility between iPhone users is better and more consistent. This one is harder to explain, but there’s things like Facetime (not that I really care about that), iMessage (which can be handy, especially if you have a limited text plan and don’t want to use some third party app that many times requires others to have the app as well and/or won’t show as your actual phone number), but more importantly there all kinds of little things that just work like they should. Again, with Android, you’re at the mercy of individual manufacturers, carriers, OD version, etc. For example, I can text contact, addresses, a Google map location (yes Google map, not Apple maps) and such and it just works. I remember some of these simple operations just didn’t work when sent to a friend’s Android phone. They would get the text but couldn’t open the information. Now, I have no idea where the breakdown is and it very well could be Apple’s fault in the way they implement it, or maybe not. I don’t know. The point is, I know certain things will work with other iPhone users but will be hit and miss with Android users (who knows which of the various phone/carrier/etc combinations they have).

I’ve found so many tiny, little things about iOS that are just great thinking and programming, but are so mall that people may not even know about or notice them but just take them for granted. So much so I have a hard time thinking of them right now. One is the fact that the camera knows its own orientation (which I’m sure is probably true in Android as well). If I want to use the back camera to take a picture of myself (I refuse to ever use the word “selfie” as it makes me cringe…just typing it made me wince a little), it’s very awkward and precarious to hold your phone right side up from the bottom of the phone, with the back facing you and try to press the camera button on the bottom of the screen. So on a whim, I turned the phone upside down, so now I could hold the whole phone as normal but my index finger could easily reach the camera button which was now at the top of upside down phone. When I snapped the picture, it was saved with the correct orientation (i.e. no matter which way I’m holding my phone, the picture is right side up and wasn’t taken upside down even though the phone was upside down.) I’ve often discovered simple little things that made me think “that’s smart programming.”

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there is a lot about Android phones that are awesome, and probably some things that I would like even better but overall, nothing has been able to touch the iPhone experience for me. For you, it might be a completely different and opposite experience. Even as long as this post is, I’m sure it’s only the tip of the iceberg and just what I could think of off the top of my head. Nothing is going to tell you what your experience with a phone will be like or how much you personally will like one over the other. If you do seek out opinions though, try to find opinions based on facts, usage, etc., and not just blind preference for one over the other. I find that most people on both sides of the fence don’t offer much that is helpful but just zealous “Mine rules and other one sucks!” In fact, I find this subject so volatile and often Jihad inducing, that I’m disabling comments on this post. I hope this may have been helpful i some way and that in the end, you end up with a phone that you are happy with, no matter what it is!

I also really like the new “ear pods” that come with the iPhone 5. I’ve always thought the default iPhone earbuds were actually really great quality but the Ear Pods are the best yet.

And I know I didn’t even touch on Windows phones but, frankly, they’ve never entered into these conversations. In my limited experience with them, I thought they were actually quite cool but they’re just too much of an underdog for me to ever consider using one. If I had that much trouble with apps not being available on Android, I imagine Windows phones would be exponentially worse in that regard.

If other things come to mind (as they surely will), I’ll update this post.

Specialized Google Alternatives

0

This is my brain. This is my brain on a random Google tangent. It likes to take these flights of fancy and just keep on going.

If you want your search results to all be within the last 24 hours, then use Noogle.
If you are searching about ghosts, Boogle.
There’s a lot of false information on the internet. For only true and factual results, Troogle.
If you need more information about the Hebrew culture, Joogle.
For only search results about the Blue Man Group, Bloogle.
Wondering what kind of glue is best for the job? Gloogle.
If you only need results relating to brass horns or sickness symptoms and remedies, Floogle.
Need to find the cheapest online pricing? Froogle.
Want only results about cows, Moogle.
Find the nearest public restroom with Loogle.
Need a lawyer? Soogle.
Want results that are positively affirming? WOOgle!
Train schedules? Choogle.
What’s that smell? Pyoogle.
Oh, that’s what that smell is. Where did that fecal matter come from? Poogle.
Interested in all our planets animal species? Zoogle.
Dating sites? Twoogle.
Spoon collector? Spoogle.
Alchemy? Broogle.
Need new footwear? Shoogle.
Need to hire people for you new crab boat? Croogle.
Trying to solve a mystery? Cloogle.
Mr T’s favorite search engine? Foogle.
Hopping marsupials? Kangaroogle.
Info on the bands playing this year? Bonnaroogle.
People directory? Whoogle.
Want to see what’s on the internet about you? Yoogle.
Want search nothing but 5-7-5 syllable poems? Haikoogle.

I can’t stop. And after reading this, you probably won’t be able to either. I’m sorry.

My thoughts on the show, _Louie_.

0

I finished season 3 of Louie last night. This has to be one of the most original shows on TV in a lot of ways. I think it’s an example of what can result when you just let someone take something and run with it and not be afraid of experimenting or not following standard formulas. It really feels like his show that he made on his own the way he wanted to make it without network notes and suggestions and all that crap. It often feels raw, real and imperfect and it is perfect in its imperfection.

Dream Theatre 15, Guest Starring Felicia Day

0

In my dream last night, a group of friends and myself were all staying at a really cool hotel celebrating my birthday. The dream took place the morning after as we were all checking out. There was a lounge area in the lobby next to the main desk and a few of us were hanging out there for a few minutes on our way out. I was extremely nervous because somehow Felicia Day had come to my birthday celebration and was there in the lounge. I don’t think I had really got the nerve to talk to her much, so I remember at this point still feeling pretty aloof and not sure if I could really just chat with her. I think I was a bit starstruck and shy and didn’t want to bother her and all that. There was also a bathtub in the lounge which my cousin, Casey was sharing with my old high school friend, Eric MacGilvray (there was no water in the tub, though I can’t remember if they were clothed or not). At one point, Casey was being goofy and made a classic Casey goofy face, at which point he rolled over and kind of smooshed his face on Erics. I remember thinking that was kind of odd in that they were now, kind of kissing but in the framework of being silly and comedic.

I eventually said my good byes and left. I hadn’t got far when for some reason I decided to go back. I know that for at least the last part of the journey, I walked while controlling a toy remote controlled car back to the hotel. When I got there, everyone had left their keys sitting on the table in the lounge (that was what you did when you checked out) and I remember seeing Felicia’s room and rental car keys sitting there. I thought “Hmm, there’s still 9 minutes until noon, I could take her key and go see what her room was like!” It was sort of that sentimental idea of being able to go “Whoa, this person slept here! Whoa, they used THAT towel for a shower!” (No I am not actually a creepy stalker in real life, and I seriously hesitated to post many of these details but, come on, this is a dream where all kinds of weird things happen with seemingly unfathomable logic like my cousin and an old high school friend sharing a bathtub in a hotel lobby/lounge and more than that, I want to be as detailed as possible in my dream recountings and I want to be the kind of person who isn’t uncomfortable worrying about what people will think…if someone is going to judge me based on some weird detail in a crazy dream then chances are they would probably judge me even harsher on much of my real life! Nervous, rambling rant over.)

The hotel itself was also very cool. Not at all like a normal hotel. The rooms were all very down home and unique and felt more like rooms in a house. They all came off a single Hallway but yet I remember a distinct labyrinthine feeling as well and that maybe there were more floors or something. I think that this was the hotel in the MSC on the Texas A&M campus (though it had been completely redone and didn’t remotely resemble that place in real life, past or present).

I remember that distinct feeling of sadness after a party is over, or after a wedding or when a vacation comes to an end. “The morning after” when it’s all over and you’re collecting your things and checking out to go home.

Dream Theatre 14

0

Last night I dreamt that I was at a party with the crew from a movie I was working on. Everyone, including the director, decided to shave their heads into Mohawks. I went along with it. Mine ended up being a very wide Mohawk where it was really more like just having the sides shaved. Then the thought struck me that we were in the middle of filming this movie! We weren’t done yet and now I had just pseudo-Mowhawked myself! Not only that, but I also had 2 other films in progress and how could we possibly deal with my hair suddenly being so drastically different! For the film I was on, I started thinking that since my character was about to head out on some kind of hunt or chase in the desert (or at least hot Texas) that we could justify the change with a line or quick scene. Since the director had been there and done it too, I wasn’t too worried about getting in trouble, but for the other two movies that still had some scenes to shoot, I was sure they would not be happy.

Resistance Against Evolution – Oppressing The Digital Revolution

1

Today I had an experience that has me feeling unsettled. I spoke to a guy putting together a band about possibly playing guitar for him. I liked his music, he seemed to like my playing and singing. Then we got to discussing equipment. He was looking for a specific sound and was not convinced that my digital modeling gear was sufficient. He said this was a “pro-level” gig and that there needed to be real Les Pauls through real Marshall stacks. We chatted a little about it and basically parted ways amicably with the decision that I wasn’t the guy for the job.

However, this exchange continued to bother me and I tried to analyze why. I certainly don’t begrudge him his opinion or knowing what he personally wants in his band. Then I realized that it resonated with something deeper in me. An insecurity. I’ve encountered this attitude before from people. People who don’t take me seriously because, in their ears, they don’t take my equipment seriously. I realized that I was bothered because I felt like I had been dismissed, or looked down upon as less than a professional.

I consider myself a professional musician and I know many who would serve as references for my skills as “pro-quality.” I’ve always had a very well developed ear. I am self taught on all instruments and have always learned by ear. When I’m in bands, I’m always the one (or one of the people) that others turn to when there’s a question on how something is played or some sonic detail. I’ve spent the last 30 years honing my ear and one of my talents that I’ve been hired for from time to time is the ability to copy, replicate or produce something that is “like” something else. However, it’s all subjective. Something that sounds good or “correct” to me, may not to you. However there are opinions, and there are facts. “A digital modeler can never sound as good as the real thing” is an opinion and can not be right or wrong. I felt bummed and irritated that this guy who I don’t even really know might think less of me than I deserve. That’s stupid, but yet I know that’s one my own issues and insecurities common in many areas of my life. I really don’t know how to not care what other people think of me. Obviously I have some weird deep-seated insecurity of being the person that everyone is pointing and laughing at or something. “Yeah, this guy is obviously an amateur. I mean he uses those digital toys.”

I often have various other people who may disagree with a guitar tone I’m using. They think it’s too trebly, or needs more mid-range, while I think it’s fine and just what I wanted and was going for. I’m always open to opinions and collaboration but in the end I feel like I’m the guitar player and that’s my arena to decide. Sometimes I don’t particularly care, so I don’t resist, but while I may offer my opinion on another musician’s parts or sounds, I’m certainly not going to dictate to them how I think they need to set their gear if I respect their own opinions and abilities. Basically we all have opinions, and I don’t want to be made to feel like mine is somehow wrong or inferior when I have dedicated a large part of my life to learning and honing my skills and my ear.

I’ve always loved technology. When I heard about the first “Digital Modeling Amplifier,” the Line 6 AxSys 212, I got one and loved it, even though it wasn’t perfect. Over the years, technology has come a long way and I’ve stayed with the times. I now play a Line 6 James Tyler Variax that can digitally model many different guitars and I use a Line 6 POD HD-500 that digitally models amps, effects, speakers, mics, etc. I personally think that technology has come far enough now that there is no perceptible sonic difference. When I switch my guitar to a “Les Paul” setting, and stomp my footswitch for a “Marshall,” it sounds and feels like a Les Paul into a Marshall to me. I’ve seen blind sound tests when people could distinguish which was real and which was digitally modeled.

Some people have their minds made up that nothing can ever sound and feel like the real thing. That is probably technically true on a microscopic level but I personally disagree as far as a human perceptible level. I believe that so much of what we perceive is colored by what we want or expect to perceive. If you have your mind made up that a movie is going to suck, then you’re probably not going to like it. If you think that a piece of gear is not going to sound as good as another piece of gear, then that’s probably the conclusion you are going to reach. Even if you think you’ve “given it a fair chance” it’s probably affected by your subconscious bias.

This, of course, goes for me as well. Maybe because I want to love the digital revolution, I hear awesome sounds that are just as good as the real thing. I try very hard to be open-minded and listen to feed back. I mean really listen and take it in and consider it and not just get knee-jerk defensive about my own opinions but I’m human and I’m sure I’m still susceptible to subconscious preference. I wonder if there will be a day when people look back and say “They used to use amps powered by vacuum tubes! Can you believe that? How antiquated and steam-punk is that?”

I have chosen my place as a digital warrior and I love that I can get so many (accurate, in my opinion) sounds out of one guitar and one amp/effects simulator. In 2 pieces of gear, I have the equivalent of a truckload of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of sounds. And more so, the guitars and amps aren’t based on “average” models, they are based on particularly “exceptional” sounding models so it’s not just like have a Strat and a Marshall, it’s like having an exceptionally awesome sounding Strat and Marshall. They even model all the knobs to respond exactly like the knobs on the original equipment. When you get into the guts and details of Line 6’s digital modeling, it’s actually amazing what technology can do.

I could easily go on for hours about this stuff and how amazing it is and how it’s allowed me to experiment and discover tones and guitar and amps I may never have had a chance to before and how I can, in an instant, go from a Les Paul/Marshall combo to a Gretsch Duo-Jet tuned to Open E into a Park-75 amp with the flick of a switch and they all sound just like the real thing. I could ramble on about opinions, subjectivity, snobbiness, and any one of the other hundred talking points I’ve touched on here in this meandering diatribe.

I definitely have my share of insecurities about so many things, but I suppose I should be happy that at least I don’t doubt myself. I have pride in my own abilities and talents, even if I sometimes think that others may not see or appreciate them. I am fully entrenched in the world of digital modeling music gear and have no desire to change that, as are many top pro players. I guess if someone is going to look down on me for that, then they aren’t someone I was meant to be playing with anyway. It’s still kind of a bummer though.

Imminently Forgettable?

0

I’ve noticed a strange trend in my life. I am often “forgotten.” Accidentally left off of invites, left off the credits, etc. Now first of all, let me say that this is not me whining, or “whoa is me,” or “nobody likes me,” etc. That is not my point, nor how I feel. It is more a genuine bafflement with this ongoing phenomenon from an analytical point of view as I feel it happens often, or certainly more than normal. There must be a reason for this.

If I were to hazard a guess, there are many factors that could come into play here. First, I tend to be a major homebody and isolate myself from the world quite a bit. I also, in general, tend to want to be unobtrusive and not bother people or force myself on them. I only like to be where I am welcome and wanted. Consequently this can sometimes come off as being aloof or distant or maybe disinterested.

I am not generally an initiator and if I do initiate, I will only do so 2 or three times, maximum and if that does not produce results or at least some initiative from the other party, then I will give up and assume I should leave them alone (lunch dates or meetings for example).

While, admittedly, I do sometimes enjoy the spotlight, I don’t like asking for it, competing for it or fighting for it so if there is someone who is bigger, louder, more gregarious, then many times I’ll meld into the shadows. In my acting, for example, I strive for a Gary Oldman-like career of variety and disappearing into characters more than being some blockbuster star.

Of course, some may posit the argument that maybe it’s no “accident” that I get left off of invites, but in the examples that I’m talking about here, I do truly believe it is not intentional for a variety of reasons.

Does it suck sometimes? Sure. Does it play on my own insecurities? Absolutely. But in the end, I truly believe it’s merely the effect of some cause within myself. I don’t mean being a bad person or anything like that, but just my own isolation inertia.

And just so I don’t seem completely myopic, believe me, there are many people who never forget me and plenty of times when I’m always included. Perhaps I’m not “forgotten” more than anyone else on the planet and there is no real phenomenon at all other than the human phenomenon to focus on the one negative aspect while being blind to the 10 positive positive aspects. That’s probably it.

Dream Theatre #12 and #13

0

#12: A few nights ago, I dreamt that I went to a party with my friend, Richard. My friend Eric was also at this party but at some point they both ditched me, leaving to stand around alone and awkward. I was approached by a band of foreigners who had a kind of gypsy air about them. There was definitely a Nordic blonde with the, and a few other women as well as some scragglier Slavic men. They started showing me some apps on an iPad as well as little tchotchkes as well as magic/performance/art tricks. I got the distinct feeling this was leading to them trying to sell me something.

#13: Last night I dreamt that my friend, Oryan, was dating a woman we both know. He somehow knew that she really wanted to be with me (I’m not sure if they’d had a conversation about it or if he just knew, or exactly how that came about) so he nobly told her to go to me and be happy. She did and I remember we kissed as if our lives depended on it. Like starving people getting a meal. Like a levee breaking and releasing the raging waters. We were in a kitchen (that seemed kind if dated, though I can’t pinpoint the era). She was sitting on the counter to the right of the sink, which was in the center of the counter and had a window above it. I was standing between her knees and since she was on the counter, she was about a foot above me as we kissed. I woke up with a smile and thought, “That was nice.”

Epic Nerdsplosion

0

Heath posts:
Lunch with the moving and shaking Carlos A Samudio, then tonight, Star Trek IMAX with Greg Risley and Christopher Thompson! Socializing is good!

Erick Muñoz:
What time are you watching it?

Heath:
8p

Erick:
Boo, I’ll watch it at 11

Heath:
If I see you in line I’ll be sure to shout fake spoilers. “OH MY GOD! I CAN’T BELIEVE SPOCK HAS UNICORN BLOOD!”

Erick:
Wait, the unicorn blood isn’t canon?

Heath:
No, no. They attacked the enemy ship WITH a unicorn blood cannon.

Erick:
Live long and may the force be with you.

Heath:
Did Gandalf say that?

Erick:
It was actually Ra’s Al Ghul. Common mistake.

Heath:
Ah, right. That was when he gave Harry Potter that z shaped scar.

Erick:
That was my favorite scene in The Lion, the With, and the Wardrobe.

Heath:
Yeah but I was pissed when the witch killed Wash.

Erick:
They had to write him off. It started getting weird when they found his Cylon clone.

Heath:
Yeah but can you blame him? I mean he had to protect himself from the Terminator.

Erick:
Yeah. After the Terminator took out uncle Ben, it was kinda the only option he had

Heath:
He should have known that Deckard would recognize his cylon clone. I mean that’s what Deckard does.

Erick:
Wait, was this before or after Frodo fought at the great battle of Westeros?

Heath:
Well sort of both since The Doctor took them in the TARDIS.

Kevin:
“Took them” in the Tardis?

Heath:
Saucy. But yeah, took them into the TARDIS where they both existed before and after the Chig attack on Earth.

Erick:
You’re confused. It wasn’t the Chig, it was the Chitauri.

Heath:
Well the Chigs had an alliance with the Chitauri and The Gentlemen.

Erick:
Oh shit! I forgot about that one! That was in Day 4 around 7pm and 8pm, right? When Jack Bauer had to join the battle?

Christopher:
WOO

Heath:
Yeah and him and John Crichton have a love triangle with Aeryn.

Erick:
Man, it broke my heart when Crichton finally made it to Earth only to realize he was destined to become Ultraman and never see Aeryn again

Heath:
Well he wouldn’t have wanted to stay on an Earth inhabited by intelligent apes any way.

Erick:
I thought it was a bit of a cop out though, when they got rid of the Cesar storyline by bringing Bill and Ted onto the story.

Heath:
Not as much of a cop out as no one being able to figure out that they were Batman and Robin.

Erick:
Well, that kinda made some sense considering that Alan roophied them after Vegas.

Heath:
Yeah they were totally screwed until Lara Croft saved their asses!

Erick:
And that, kids, is how i met your mother.

Erick:
-Scene- Great job, everyone. That was a fantastic post. Save it for posterity.

Heath:
This could literally go on all day, but that, my friend, is a perfect ending. applauds

Inspirational

0

quote-cover

Go to Top
BLAH!