azurite: (cat: what the shit is this!?)
So May is the month for humor, apparently, because Wired's Humor Issue features not just SNL's Andy Samberg, but also the uproarious kicker "How Android Beat the iPhone." Being the curious sort (and someone who has been using Android phones for over 2 years, currently works for Apple, and just switched to her first-ever iPhone), I flipped to the article, and I have to admit, I'm a bit mystified. Is it really humor, or are they being serious?

A few points that they make as to why Android is "better" than the iPhone's iOS platform:

There are approximately 170 devices on the market that run the Android OS.

Uh, is more supposed to be better? I think it makes it more confusing! Sure, there are more carriers with Android devices, but how do you know who has the better PHONES? If the software is so awesome and the carriers vary depending on where you live and how much you pay, doesn't it really come down to the hardware, and how capable it is?

My mistake was sticking with a carrier that I loved, and that had good coverage where I lived. I heard good things about Android, but T-Mobile simply didn't have phones with hardware capable of running the software properly. I got stuck with a myTouch 3G (the HTC Magic), which SUCKED. It's hardly worthy of the moniker "smartphone," and is only a hair's breadth better than its predecessor, the G1.

Android gives the carrier 30 percent of app sales, minus credit card processing fees, while Apple keeps that 30 percent for itself.

Someone please explain to me why the carrier deserves ANY of the cut of app sales. Here's how apps work:

(1) A developer makes an app to work on the software's platform. Either Android's OS or Apple's iOS.

(2) The developer submits it to Apple for review, or Android for placement in the Android Marketplace.

(3) If/When it's accepted/posted, people can then download it. Paid apps result in the developer getting paid for their idea and hard programming work, while free apps sometimes include ads, and other times just test out if a good idea can compete. People download apps while on a wireless network (usually "free," as-in, a home Internet service, an office network, or a local wi-fi hotspot like at an Apple Store, mall, or coffee shop; sometimes "paid" as at an airport and hotels) or using their carrier's 3G service. Since most apps are fairly small, this barely takes any time at all--maybe a few minutes, maximum--on either network.

(4) People rate and review the app, it gets more attention, and the developer makes more money, yay! And normally the other developer--the one that built the code base that the entire phone runs on--would get the other chunk of the profits. This is how it is for Apple, but Google gives their code away for free, and they don't "need" the money, apparently, so they give it to the carrier...because the carrier is SOMETIMES used to download things like apps (or apps which result in heavy load on their networks, like Netflix) to offset the cost of things like network maintenance. Bwah? What if someone downloads an app that never needs any additional network access, for anything? What if it's an app that requires the faster connection of Wi-Fi, not the carrier's 3G? Or what if it's an app that connects, but only at the user's discretion (when they connect to Facebook to download friend lists, for example), or only downloads a minimum amount of content--not streaming movies or whatnot?

This is what I don't get: if your network is too shitty to handle the load, upgrade your damn network! Don't try and pass that cost off (in any form) to the end users, who already pay you for their service in the form of ridiculously-priced data packages, overage limits, roaming, etc.! I guess it's Google's prerogative to give what should be THEIR profits away to whomever, but honestly? I think if they want to give something away, it should be to the developers who bother to use their crappy system (because yes, it's crappy. I would say it's "the Windows of smartphone operating systems," except Windows HAS their own smartphone OS, and it's probably even shittier than Android)!

I'm so sick of carriers whining about how they have all this work to do because people are flinging their money at them, making contracts and getting plans and then wanting to use the networks the way normal, connected people do nowadays. Get with the program! The hardware (network and phone) needs to be able to handle what the software (Android or iOS) throws at it. Apple's devices never seem to have a problem with this; why do the Android's partner manufacturers?

You could argue that Android runs on AT&T and Verizon, but also on Sprint, T-Mobile, and heck-knows-how-many other carriers out there, and this is true, but bad software--whether it's the apps themselves or the Android OS--will have more of a ping on an unstable, outdated network in small numbers than great software running on the best hardware currently available on the two largest, fastest 3G networks in the country. And if Android's marketshare is growing, that's even worse--all these carriers will have to upgrade to keep up, because people are going to demand BETTER networks, networks they deserved to have from the beginning. How is it the end user's fault if the carriers underestimated the phone's capabilities, even though the hardware manufacturers and software developers (well, the OS developers, anyway) should have known better?

I guess what makes it all the more humorous is that the article pretty much concludes by acquiescing that Android has all these failings--too many crappy apps in the open Marketplace, no guarantee that any given app will work on a phone, even if it has the latest Android OS available--all because carriers muck things up in their own way. It says that the Android OS doesn't have the largest marketshare of smartphones now, even though the growth is pretty amazing, and sales did, at one point, surpass sales of the iPhone. But then again, if you're only looking at iPhone sales vs. Android on ALL its devices (smartphones and tablets), that's not really a fair comparison, is it? Better to compare the sales of all iOS devices to the sales of all Android-powered devices in the same period, and then see who comes out on top. And yes, since Android is on more devices in general, on more carriers, it may very well win...but is that marketshare the same six months down the line? Has it increased or plateaued? How long do users put up with Android's bullshit? I know I did--for too long, and now I'm happy to have finally switched.

If Android has "beaten" the iPhone, it's by pulling one of those hitting-over-the-head-with-a-chair moves like in the WWE. And the iPhone may stagger a little bit, but it's far from out for the count.
azurite: (blue flower)
In 28 minutes, Ada Lovelace day will have come to a close. I pledged over at FindingAda.com to make a post about women in technology somehow, but coming up with a good topic has been harder than I thought. I was initially hoping to make a post all about female characters in video games, but my post about that sadly didn't get as much of a response as I'd hoped. I didn't hear about the Finding Ada website soon enough to make that other post as early as was probably necessary, to be honest.

When it comes to thinking of particular women in technology that I admire, that could be my heroines, it's actually challenging to think of a particular person or a name. I know there are awesome women behind the scenes at Dreamwidth, at AO3, at LiveJournal and Wikimedia and all those other companies and organizations that are making incredible sites and interfaces and experiences for people the world over. But they're all amazing--there's not just one particular woman who is more awesome than the others, or has done more than anyone else.

I'm pretty proud my own personal involvement with technology. I got a good start from a great teacher: my late sister, Michelle Smith, who helped me learn computers by way of our IBM Aptiva and playing games like DOOM II and chatting online using MTEZ for DOS. She took me to the Windows 95 "reveal," (where the head presenter was a WOMAN! Shock! She gave me a shirt and her card and I felt special even at age 9) and I can't ever remember feeling so excited to be in a room full of people who were unabashed geeks, knowing that we were--still are!--the future while everyone else thought we were weird.

Of course, my sister and I wouldn't have been able to do any of that were it not for my mom, who recognized that technology would be something great for both of us, and she struggled to make sure we both had every opportunity to access and use that technology, whether we had to go to a library or get a home computer ourselves to really experience it. I felt good, sitting in front of a computer and learning about American history through the original Oregon Trail, or imagining all kinds of worlds for stories that got printed on dot matrix printers and green-and-white striped paper.

When I finally started getting involved with computers--going on the Internet, attempting to write stories for others, build websites, and meet people--my foundation was comprised of the incredibly supportive network of young ladies and women that made up the Sailor Moon Romance Fan Fiction (SMRFF) mailing list. If it wasn't for them encouraging me to keep writing, keep reading, keep learning, I might have found some other interest to occupy my time. But because they gave me a reason to keep coming back online, to keep learning more and doing more, I made an effort to get better with technology. I may not be in touch with all of them anymore, but I'm forever grateful to them for getting me started and honestly making me feel comfortable and even loved, even if I've never seen their faces or heard their voices.

In high school, I asked lots of questions and learned a lot about technology. I started a blog, kept building websites both for myself and for classes, and even worked as one of the few female student aides to the school's Technical Adviser. In college, I was one of the few women who worked at the university's Information Technology Help Center, but by the time I left this past December, I was one of many girls. Not all of them were engineering or computer science majors, either, which seems to be the expectation for anyone that really "knows" computers: we had art majors, humanities majors, and people who, like me, just loved technology. It was a guy that gave me--a journalism major--a chance to be a computer "expert" and help people across the university, a position I held with pride. But I felt it was part of my duty to make technology seem easy and not so intimidating, so girls just like me could pick up a computer and feel like they knew what they were doing and that it was FUN to use computers and other devices.

So for this Ada Lovelace Day, I don't have one particular heroine or woman in mind that has inspired me through her use of technology. I think I probably have closer to a hundred, maybe more. I may not know all of their real names, but they have all played a vital role in my life, making me who I am today (for better or for worse, haha!).

Thank you, ladies.
azurite: (roses are red)
H'okay. Sho.

With the help of [livejournal.com profile] everything_lj (because with a name like that, do you expect any less?) I managed to get my lovely corkboard LJ layout (designed by [livejournal.com profile] stellastars) functioning and looking the way I want to. I decided to tinker with it just to try and add a site meter, to see more about how many visits I get. But because LJ is annoying with its restrictions on embedded media (e.g. Flash, JavaScript), I couldn't use the usual tools, like the Izea Toolkit. But Sitemeter offered a JavaScript and regular HTML tracking image, which suits me just fine. I replaced the syndicated module (that'd be the one with the RSS/Atom icons) and made sure my title images were displaying, and viola! Lovely layout. :) I kinda miss the days when I used Greymatter and could design my own layout (I still have my old one featuring Emily Strange), so I might end up starting another blog (hopefully something a bit more streamlined than this... LJ is just sort of my "dump" repository, where I post about everything) on seventh-star.net.

Read more... )

Then today, Juana, her sister, some of her friends, and Melina and I all went to L.A. Family Housing in North Hollywood, where we worked on Valentine's Day cards The original plan was to make Valentine's mail boxes, but they ended up too small... I think the cards were a much better idea, in the end, as more kids came and the cards offered more possibility for creativity. We stayed longer than we thought and made a HUGE mess, but we cleaned it all up in the end and had some very pleased kids. I think today was the first time in several years that I got so artistic that I actually had ink (from markers and stuff) all over my hands again. I used to be covered in colors in elementary school, so it was rather nostalgic for me.

And now, for some random lists:
Like

* The huge variety of applications on Facebook; I'm always finding more that are cool

* Sarah Brightman's new album "Symphony," but most especially the track "Fleurs du Mal," which (oh you're gonna hate me for this) has helped inspire a new arc for "Eternal Dimension," the third and final installment in the "What Doesn't Kill You" series. FYI: it starts with WDKY (36 chapters), continues with "Circle of Seven" (not sure of the exact chapter length yet), and ends with "Eternal Dimension." And that's all tentative at the moment, because there may very well be a new Yu-Gi-Oh series coming out, called Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters 5D's, though I have no idea what the 5 D's are. -_-. But GX (though I haven't really seen more than a few episodes of it, due to the cringe-factor) is most likely going to have its role to play in the WDKY-verse, so why not this new series, assuming it's halfway good and gets picked up and dubbed like GX did?

[livejournal.com profile] guardian_kysra, it's all your fault, you know. I like SB so much now that I not only watched her on Martha Stewart's show the other day (she performed "Storia d'Amour"), but I actually sat through the crazy opening sequence of "Pasíon," the Spanish soap-opera that SB sang the opening theme for-- in a duet with a countertenor whose voice sounds... very feminine. Plus, I got the entire Charmed: Book of Shadows OST because it had "Free (Swiss American Federation Remix)," and then the Free EP, which includes the song I'm listening to... but I wonder, which version is the one SB performed in the music video on LAUNCH! Yahoo? Have I mentioned I love remixes?

* The 795 colors that Diana's going to be featuring in Sailor X v2.08. She's already done amazing work (and been updating like a fiend) with 2.07, having just added the skirt stripes and collar stripes again. The ideas are plentiful, the colors almost endless! It's an absolute joy to take every weird senshi idea I've ever had and plug it into Sailor X... while not every single option is available yet, they almost certainly will be soon. Going back into the nerdy realm of Sailor Moon (and Otaku Senshi) has never been so fun! BTW, if you haven't yet checked out the official Sailor Xv2 DeviantArt account (or mine, where I post some of my creations), then look-see: Sailor Xv2 - me!

Dislike
* Having to send invitations to ANY amount of friends just to see my results for a quiz on Facebook

* Crappily-written quizzes, e.g ones with predictable answers, a limited set of answers (e.g. only 3 or 5), or terrible spelling/grammar (this applies to any quiz, anywhere). Actually, this applies to everything. I don't "relate" to anyone who can't be bothered to capitalize properly, use complete words (FYI, "ur" is not a word, unless you're talking about the ancient Mesopotamian city), or put apostrophes where they belong.

* Having to still be updating [livejournal.com profile] 30kisses for the New Year's 2008 Purge. Even having another mod on the team doesn't seem to have helped... is everyone just always busy at the same time? I hate feeling like I'm doing everything on my own.

* Not feeling organized enough! Argh, too much paper! Too many files! Everything, too complicated! (I suppose I should consider it a blessing that I ran out of paper for my printer. At least... I think I did.)

* Still having not heard from anyone at RPGClassics about my application to make the Star Ocean 3 shrine there. Not even on the forums. Hmph.

* Figuring something out moments after you resigned yourself to having done the best job you could do and "to hell with it." I did that with my first homework assignment for RTM 330, my first online class. I missed the whole "APA requirements" for assignments (or is it only papers?). Oops! I wonder if the professor will cut some slack for the first assignment? Then again, she seemed to have mentioned somewhere that the discussion questions aren't even graded, but I can't find out what really is graded, besides projects (like a genealogy paper). It's harder than I thought, keeping up with WebCT... maybe I ought to set it as a homepage this semester?
azurite: (mokuba's 1024)
Every time I've tried to arrange some online gifting for Christmas, it hasn't always panned out well. This year I've got a new Winter challenge over at Dragonfayth, and maybe some people will be nice and we can do a fic or fanart gift exchange.

But for those of you who
a) want some souvenir from Japan as a present (I obviously can't guarantee shipment by Christmas, unless you tell me NOW and I can find it SOON)
b) like giving material, tangible gifts as opposed to online gift credit, or files of some sort
or c) are just really, really nice people...
WOULD YOU GET ME ONE OF THESE!?
The bestest present in the whole wide world! )

"These" are these adorable colored thumb drives, and you can even get them CUSTOM LASER-ENGRAVED! (If you can't tell, I think that's one of the coolest features. Am I superficial or what?) They have them in pink, black, blue, gray (think charcoal colored), and silver. Being 'Azurite' I could totally go for a blue one. :D

And they're cheap! ($20.99 for 1 GB!) And I'm actually in need of a larger thumb/flash/portable/whatever you call it drive, anyway, because I was one of those poor suckers who bought a flash drive when they first came out, and I paid over $40 for a 128 MB one. It was just fine when it came to school work and things like that, because documents and other such files never get that big. But when I had to do computer-to-computer transfers, or if I wanted to work on a massive project like a Photoshop document or an entire website when I wasn't at home, it became a pain in the neck NOT to have a larger thumb drive. Plus, when I exchange files with my friends, a larger thumb drive makes it easier to store more, and stay more organized.

If anyone gets me one of these (engraved with whatever you please ^_~ the custom engraving IS free, after all), I will either get you one of your color/engraving choice, or b) get you a present from Japan. :)

And matter of fact, I think these make great gifts in general, too. I mean, first you have colors to choose from, which is always nice considering how many boring black or gray thumb drives are out there (though black and gray are two of the color choices, the casing seems to be "shiny," so it's not the same sort of "flat" color as I see on many thumb drives).

Second, FREE custom engraving. Nothing says "I honestly thought of YOU when I got this" than an engraving tailored to the recipient.

And third, they're cheap! Unlike all the other technology products coming out this holiday season, this one is actually affordable enough to get for MANY people, so it won't put a serious dent in your pocket.

Fourth is that it can be a gift for just about anyone-- friends, family, students, workers, whoever. USB drives are just one of those multi-purpose, multi-person kind of gifts.

Here's the tech specs, for those who are wary or simply wanna know:
-Available in 512 MB, 1GB, 2GB or *4* GB
-Prices range from $14.99 to $89.99
-Custom colors of pink, silver, black, gray, or blue for all size drives
-Compatible with PCs and Macs
-Hi-Speed (2.0) USB and Standard USB (1.1) compatible
-Plug-and-Play with PCs using Windows Me, 2000, or XP (no drivers!)
-Transfers files up to 480 Mb/second
-Security software included for you Windows users
-No additional power needed (gets its power from the USB port)
-Small enough to be convenient, but not forgettable (1.7cm L x 6.7 cm W x .6 cm H)
-Made of durable aluminum, so your data won't get damaged easily
-FREE LASER ENGRAVING!!!!

I know I want one, don't you?
azurite: (lois & clark look)
ETA (2/18/07): This post was formerly a paid post sponsored by PayPerPost. However, because such posts are against LiveJournal's TOS, I've removed the "ppp" tag, any sponsorship notices, and the link which I was paid to include. However, because the words and opinion in this entry are still my own, I'm keeping this entry up. I am still a member of the mailing list on the "Productivity 501" website, and I find it very interesting and helpful, so I recommend you Google it if you find this entry interesting.

I remember a few years ago, I started to believe that there was an anime for any subject. Go to OtakuWorld and you'll see anime listed under the most strange of "genres," like Flowers, Mega-Conglomerates, or Cooking. So it probably shouldn't be too surprising that there's a website for practically everything, too. But part of me is still a bit skeptical that people would take time to purchase, design, and maintain a website for something that doesn't bring them any money. But then, here I have my own domain that never generates a cent for me, my own LiveJournal, and plenty of other such places. I guess personal satisfaction is a big drive for many people-- and that's a very good thing, because if you truly want to be PROUD of something you present to the public, then you will do your best to make it visually appealing, and have content that's useful.

So go figure, I find one such site... about productivity. It's kind of strange saying it, but that's what the site's about-- being productive, becoming MORE productive, and HELPING you to increase your productivity. (I used to have a folder on my computer with all my Microsoft Office programs called "Productivity." For some reason, the more I say it, the more I grin. I wonder why?)

I browsed through the site, and right off the bat, I found something interesting: The Two Types of Technology Users. It's funny, because in my time working in "tech support," I've recognized that there are different types of people that use technology, but I've never thought to try and class them before. Now that I've read this, the two classes of tech users actually make sense.

What kind of tech user are YOU? )

Oh, and this made me giggle: The Sacred To-Do List. I always felt kind of silly making endless To-Do Lists. In fact, my obsession with little pieces of paper led to me writing all number of fanfics, sketching all sorts of things when I was supposed to be paying attention to class/work... but still, I thought of myself as productive, because I didn't attempt to REMEMBER, REMEMBER, REMEMBER! Having something written down and where I can see/find it ('find' being the keyword when you're disorganized like I am. Productivity and organization DO go hand in hand) was the best. At least now I'm getting better at actually crossing out the things I've done, and throwing the list out when EVERYTHING is done, so I don't have millions of scrap papers lying about my room. Am I really silly for putting such emphasis on a list of random things I think of? After reading this, I don't think so anymore. :)
azurite: (roses are red)
Saw "Snakes on a Plane" with Erin on Friday evening... even if I dropped out of the cult-following a few months ago, it was still fabulous fun, and I loved it. It was very much deserving of the R-rating, especially at the beginning of the movie, but it managed to be both suspenseful and unpredictable-- great, considering how many people judge the movie by its title (or its poster). And the band that won the fan contest to have their music video in the end credits-- that song was DAMN good! It's actually sort of stuck in my head! Erin said the band reminded her of the Black Eyed Peas.

What was fabulous was when EVERYONE in the theatre (and this was a big theatre, but not sold out by any means) -except Erin, who had no freaking clue what was going on- said The Line in unison "I've had it with these motherfuckin' snakes on this motherfuckin' plane!" Yes, even me. It was fab. Absolutely fab. And of course everyone started cheering afterward.

Spoilers, of course )

And now for something completely different...

I really would have thought that the damn "pink is for girls" concept would have DIED by now. First off, I, a self-respecting woman, HATE PINK. Especially cotton candy pink, Chibiusa pink, hot pink, or any derivative thereof. The closest I can come is maybe a deep rose color that I wear for blush or lip gloss. But then you have the freakin' PINK Razr. -_-; But hey, guys are wearing pink now... it looks weird to me, especially seeing ripped black guys wearing those AE pink polos, but whatever. Personally, I just don't like the color. But, to each their own.

Last night I got to cleaning my room, and of course I found tons of notes for fanfics, including WDKY. I had to go back and check to make sure that I'd made the changes I indicated on paper; I also had to add some "references" to the WDKY References page. Unfortunately I haven't been keeping up with the Changelog (the thing that I use to track all the updates I make to chapters, and what specific changes I make), but I can pretty much guess based on what I've added to the Reference log. I have random references in a lot of places, but at least I'm not Cassie Claire in this respect; I keep track of everything, and invent my own convoluted plot twists and references. I just wish there was a way to get Snakes on a Plane in there somehow. *snicker joke* Well anyway, I uploaded the new version of the References page to the old Darkness Rising (at some point, it will be under the new masthead of Epiphany, running eFiction 3.0), and later on tonight, I'll be updating Chapters 11 and 14 for some minor tweaks on all sites.

More fanfic-wise, I actually got inspired for a Sailor Moon fic. This kind of makes me feel better, considering how unsure I've been re: Only 16. Having a good idea (and getting started on it) would mean I have something to replace Only 16 in terms of Sailor Moon fics under my name; this would also be something dramatic and long, so it wouldn't feel like I'm shafting Only 16 into the oblivion (even though that's where it belongs). Actually, I thought of a way to combine this Very Good Idea with one that I wanted to do for [livejournal.com profile] sm_monthly (I never got past Chapter 1 of it, unfortunately, because WDKY has been keeping me on my toes; I don't want to get too distracted. I've already stopped reading the 200 days of Sailormoon posts at AFSM, and I'm backlogged by about 310 posts!). But I don't think I will, just because it would complicate things too much.

Finally, it looks like the next 2 people up for the Astrology, Blood Types, and Yu-Gi-Oh! feature on [livejournal.com profile] playthedamncard are...
* Ryou Bakura
* Katsuya Jounouchi
I'll try and get started on some of that now. Yesterday I bought myself the 2nd edition (2001) edition of Parker's Astrology, one of my favorite books on astrology. I've also been using Astrology Source to calculate things like midhavens/medium coeli, imum coeli, decantes, desendants, and other fun things. Takes all the hard calculating out of the game, so I can do more "character exploration." I have the book with me today at work (actually spent the first few hours of work reading it, because my phone was broken and I was on "standby"), and since all the old sites I used are on the previous posts, I shouldn't have any problem constructing Ryou's profile. I'll have to add things (like his Mystical Card number) later on, and I can always include new things each time-- numerology, tarot... ^_^ It's all related! Go ahead and read the last 2 posts on Yuugi Mutou and Seto Kaiba, and tell me what you think!

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