This is going to be harder than I thought…

Keeping up with blog posts isn’t easy.  I’ve, once again, fallen behind.  Maybe going from zero posts to daily posts was a bit much.  But I do have a backlog of stuff to send your way, So let’s put out a few updates today and see what else I can get done for this week, huh?  Thanks for staying tuned!

It’s 2011… Why do politicians have jobs?

I don’t care what side of the isle you’re on, some things just don’t make sense.

 

When the United States was founded, because we were all spread out over hundreds and hundreds of miles, we had people speaking on our behalf.  You remember grade school, right? “No taxation without representation.”  We gave our input and our representative was supposed to vote how “we, the people” wanted them to vote.

 

Here in 2011, we have a voice of our own.  We can vote from a computer, or a mobile phone, and the results are instantaneous.  Just look at American Idol.  True, more people vote for than that WOULD likely vote for something like H.J. Res 37, but the point is: do we really need someone to “represent” us?  Don’t we have a voice of our own yet?  Anyone can be swayed by lobbyists, it’s obvious.  And it doesn’t take much to sway the American Public (as evidenced, again, by the popularity of American Idol), but I can’t help but think of that law of averages – checks and balances are built in to large sample-groups.  One lobbyist with deep pockets can have a much bigger effect on one congressman or senator who can’t resist a good bottle of scotch, or some fancy new clothes, or whatever other perks they seem to be giving out these days.

 

People are swayed by advertising, it’s true – and elections will continue to be bought and sold for generations to come, no matter what the voting system would happen to be.  But did the framers of our Constitution believe so firmly that the misinformed few should be represented in an electoral college by the easily tainted fewer?  I suppose they have their legitimate reasons: after all, a disturbingly large number of Americans still have no idea what the vetting process consists of and believe that Obama is a Kenyan-born Muslim.

 

obc

 

So, some things just don’t make sense…  why don’t we do the voting ourselves, through “vote.gov” or something?  Then again, you can reason your way through it pretty quickly when you realize just how easily misinformation spreads.  But, perhaps someday, the world won’t be filled with as many stupid people, and we’ll be able to answer for ourselves when asked important questions like what to name that new courthouse in Yuma, Arizona.  Voting isn’t pointless, it just seems like it sometimes.

New Blog Format

Here’s what to expect in the very near future:

 

Sunday – Xbox Tip of the Week – while this could change, I plan on making it a brief, weekly post with some useful information I’ve picked up during my time as an Xbox Ambassador.  Think of it as an FAQ from users, with a new question being answered week to week.

 

Monday – Music Monday – each week, something new or something old, but undoubtedly something you should hear.

 

Tuesday – Tips from the Help Desk – If you didn’t know, my full time job for the past several years has been “IT Guy.”  These are the tips, some for general users, some for the more advanced, but all useful tips I have gleaned solely from my time having to figure them out in the past.

 

Wednesday – App of the Week – As an Android user, there are tons of Apps to choose from.  I’ll make it simple and give you a weekly recommendation of something you should check out.  Whether it’s a utility to make your life easier or a game, each Wednesday you can look forward to downloading and playing with something new!

 

Thursday – Random Thought Thursday – This could get dangerous, folks.  But Thursdays will be reserved for typically my most personal of thoughts, opinions, whatever.  These could also appear from time to time on their own, but Thursday will typically be where I discuss some news from the week and try not to bore you to tears.

 

Friday – Frag Friday – Let’s roll in to the weekend the right way: video gaming tips and news!  A little bit of what I’ve been playing, what I’m looking forward to, and other grumblings from the underground of gaming.

 

Saturday – Video of the week – you’ve got to see this.  It might be funny, it might be fascinating, but it will be the video of the week.

Re-Launch, coming soon…

After a few months of dealing with family emergencies, relocating, starting a new job, and who knows what else I’ve left off the list, I think I’m finally going to sit down and get back in the swing of things! Expect more regular updates to come back to the site soon. Even better? The content will be more varied, combining a bit of what you’ve seen sparse bits of here, with what you know from WinBreak.com! So stay tuned, as the site really becomes the blog I’ve always wanted it to be. Check back soon!

Where Microsoft's "to the cloud" ads fall short

I think most people get that I’m a Microsoft Fan-Boy. A self-admitted Windows lover, Xbox lover, Windows Mobile addict, Microsoft product junkie. That’s why I don’t like being critical of Microsoft, but they just keep missing the point.

Android, and specifically even Motorola Droid commercials, often advertise how Product X is “just one of thousands of apps” available on the Droid. They plug the product, tell you what it does, all kinds of great things – and this is putting money in someone else’s pocket (though I’m sure some sort of scheme was worked out to get a product promoted).

Meanwhile, Microsoft gives all the glorty to “the cloud” – without ever telling you what it is, how it works, or how to actually use it.


Get Microsoft Silverlight

Now, I know the concept of the cloud is still a bit abstract for many home PC users, but when Microsoft shows off some great video conferencing software, it sure would be nice if I knew the name of it so that I could start video conferencing with my parents (note: I, frankly, still have no idea what cloud-product is being featured in this ad – can Live Messenger share a video while 2 people video chat?). I just think that the ads should at least feature the name of the Windows application that actually lets you do these things. It’s out there, it’s self promotional, it’s easy. Why is it so hard for Microsoft advertising partners to figure out?

Want better Gmail / Google Calendar on Windows Mobile? Try Google Sync

Are you jealous of all of your friends with their fancy Android phones, while you’re stuck with Windows Mobile? Do you wish you could sync your calendar and contacts to gmail just like them? Do you wish there were an easier way to import your contacts from Windows Mobile to Gmail so that when you buy an Android phone you can have it automatically download your contacts? You’re in luck.

For whatever reason, Google Sync seems to be one of the best kept secrets on Windows Mobile. After a download-free, quick, and painless setup, your Windows Mobile phone is syncing contacts, emails, texts, tasks, and calendar events like there’s no tomorrow. You can practically ditch Microsoft MyPhone* if you want. Details about Google Sync can be found on it’s website, http://www.google.com/mobile/sync/ – visit the page for easy instructions on setting the service up for multiple devices. Keep in mind, setting up for Windows Mobile is very easy!

Google "accidentally" reads your email, then Analyzes it?

Hey Google! Stop peeking at my data!

Back in May, the story broke that Google had… let’s say “accidentally” captured data from home and business wifi networks. As the “street view” camera cars drove around and mapped a few things, Google admitted they ‘may’ have captured some data from wifi networks in the area. Google had originally said that only data from unencrypted networks and hot spots were captured, and that, according to PC Magazine: “A Google spokesperson said the Street View cars have been collecting the information since 2006 in more than 30 countries… [Google’s Alan Eustace said] ‘As soon as we became aware of this problem, we grounded our Street View cars and segregated the data on our network, which we then disconnected to make it inaccessible.'”

Many, many people have said over and over that a computer can only do what it’s been told to do, and that “mistakes” of this nature don’t happen – and certainly would’ve been noticed more than 4 years ago. If you capture data from wireless networks, you’re going to see a large amount of data – much more than the standard photo data. Someone had to have noticed this. But, fine, whatever. Let’s all accept that Google made a mistake. No harm, no foul, right? So we thought.

Google recently admitted that they may have captured more than just ‘bits and pieces of data’ but entire emails, personally identifiable email address, and even passwords. It’s not the “admission” of this that’s bothering me, it’s the fact that GOOGLE IS STILL ANALYZING THE DATA THEY CLAIMED THEY HAD ACCIDENTALLY CAPTURED! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Stop it! Stop looking at it! Delete it! Demagnetize then shred the hard drives! Lose the data, my data, anybody’s data – four years and 30 countries with of data!

The fact that people are reporting on this, and overlooking the fact that Google is clearly harvesting this data like any other search data that people come to their website and give them or agree to the Terms of Service in their GMail account is absurd! More journalism and technology outlets need to condemn Google’s actions, not just report on them. It is unacceptable that Google is treating this data like anything else in their possession when it was obtained, if not illegally, certainly questionably. Why aren’t more people reporting on that side of the story? I can only assume nobody wants to anger the big machine – but I hope that someone notices what I’ve noticed, and takes Google to task for it.

Why Tablets that aren't iPad Aren't Affordable

So in the last 24 hours, we got an announcement about how the HP Slate is finally considered “real” – and that it’s going to cost almost eight hundred bucks. We also recently heard that Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab will be sold at the $600 price mark.

It’s a fundamental fact of hardware sales that you need to be willing to lose some money to get your product “out there.” The problem is companies like HP and Samsung can’t afford to do that. It’s not that they don’t have money in the bank to take a few quarters of losses; the problem is if they do lose money, they have no way to make it back.

In 2008, Sony admitted losing $130 on every PlayStation 3 console sold – and analysts thought it could be much more than that. Even earlier this year, we learned that Sony was still losing $18 for every PS3 sold. It was estimated by BusinessWeek that Microsoft was losing in the neighborhood of $125 on every Xbox & Xbox 360 sold. We have no idea how much the iPad costs to make, and how much money Apple is losing by selling their lowest end model at $500.

Some of you are thinking I’m crazy, wondering why on earth anybody would sell a product they’re going to lose money on. Because they can make it back with services they bundle. When Microsoft launched the original Xbox, it was more of a marketing ploy to lose money – and hope to make the money back by selling games and software licenses. With the PS3 and Xbox 360, they have great money making services like the PlayStation network and Xbox Live to make them money hand over fist. Even the Apple iPad has the App Store.

But what about Slate, Galaxy Tab, and all of the others trying to get in to the market? They will fail. You can’t take a loss when you sell a product like those, because you’re going to be using Google’s “Android Market.” That money goes to Google. If you make a Tablet running Windows 7, you can kiss all hope of making money through software sales goodbye. So if you can’t subsidize the cost of your tablet with anticipated software sales, you can’t price it low enough to compete with the iPad. If you can’t be priced to compete, you can’t expect to succeed.

It is, unfortunately, all too straight forward. This market will continue to be dominated by Apple until Google or Microsoft decides to get in to the hardware game and make the kind of decisions that can only be made if you have another revenue source.

I'm going to TEDxRochester!

The speakers have yet to be announced, but if you know anything, anything at all about TEDx, you would already be excited, too. I just got an email notifying me that I have been accepted to attend TEDxRochester, Monday, November 1st, 2010.

TED is the “Technology Entertainment Design” conference. It’s free to attend, but not necessarily easy to get in to.

Anything can happen at TEDx, from the stone-face-serious, to the stone-faced-serious-looking hilarity, featuring someone such as standup comedian and part time NPR contributor, John Hodgman. In the piece below, he discusses what he believes were his three alien encounters.

In the past, even Melinda Gates has shown up to tell us what non-profits can learn from Coca-Cola.

And Stefana Broadbent has explained to us How the Internet Enables Intimacy, a presentation which actually deals with some of things I discussed in my blog post, Why do Teens Text?.

I am extremely excited and honored just to be attending TEDxRochester.