Monday, February 24, 2014

Friday, October 28, 2011

First World Problems: Toothbrushes

Ok, I dont watch a lot of TV. Actually hardly zero TV. I canceled my cable TV some time back and honestly it is fantastic and one of the best things I've done.

That being said I dont see hardly any commercials. Some shows I do watch I do so via Hulu, or other means. Well last night I was catching up on Modern Family and was patiently waiting for the commercial break to be over for the rest of the show.

That's when this came on:

The most important part is the opening. This is where a commercial should really snag you and get you latched into it's content. It should be clear and concise and really speak to a deep emotional reaction to the viewer. Typically this is where a common problem is revealed, then your brain thinks that the rest of the commercial will be how there's a new super duper way to solve the problem.

If you haven't clicked on the commercial above, let me quote the beginning line of the commercial for you.

"Choosing a toothbrush can be confusing."

Really? Have you, or anyone you've known been that perplexed by this choice? I realize there are ones that are more ergonomic than others. Ones with soft to hard bristles, different colors and things. Some spin on their own and some *gasp* make you use your own muscles to use. But seriously, has anyone walked into the toothbrush aisle at the store, took a brief look around and just threw your arms up in the air and said, "Oh, fuck this!"

Luckily a professional dentist was on hand at this store to help this lady out. However if you find yourself in this predicament might I offer a few suggestions on making your choice a little easier:

Cory's Handy Guide to Toothbrush Purchasing:

  1. It's a goddamn toothbrush, just grab one at random and go home and brush your damn teeth.
  2. Use the extra brain power you didnt spend on your tooth brush choice to teach your child, cure cancer or club people to death that make these types of commercials.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Willy Wonka

"You have Willy Wonka songs on your Zune?"

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kayak Trip 2: Electric Boogaloo

Kayak trip numero deuce is under my belt.

I now have 4.3 miles under my belt on it so far all thru paddle power.

As you can see by the map (click the image to the left) that I inserted at the aqueduct in Saint Marys. This device is a series of tubes and waterfalls that carries the water of the canal over top of the Saint Marys river, as well as provides the river with overflow water from the canal. When properly functioning it helps maintain the canal at a normal level even during very very heavy rains.

The insert depth was roughly 2 to 2.5 feet with the same basic layout as my previous trip. Heavy decaying-organic mud on the bottom, shallow murky water, several fallen limbs and of various sizes.

On this trip I saw two things that I didnt see on my previous trip and it really is amazing just how different living things can can exist less than a mile from each other. However I'm sure it's easier now with humans creating artificial boundaries all over.

The first animal of note was a wood duck. This little critter comes to our area to nest and raise a family. So I saw 1 male and 2 or 3 females and several ducklings.

It was funny, as I would move down the canal, the mother would hustle the ducklings down the canal further on and they would scamper across the water surface trying to fly.

I tried to stay a safe distance back because I didnt want to stress them too much, and I've seen ducks attack swimming dogs before and didnt want to repeat that behavior. Two ducklings got separated and hid along the shore. When I passed they came out and squawked and announced their displeasure with me now being between them and their mother. All along the canal in this area the edges were much too steep and tall for the ducks to scale. Their mother didnt seem too happy with our new positions either and she didnt seem to want to adopt me. I made it to 66a, my goal was on past a few hundred feet away, so I decided to just turn around and not stress them anymore.

Things I learned from this trip:

  • Make sure your new spray skirt fits right before hopping in the kayak and trying to mess with it in the water.
  • Canal water is relatively clean, but will still stink after awhile on a kayak haul.
  • Better paddle control.
  • Trust the kayak to be stable standing in it.
  • A little bit of wind at your back can move you around.
  • I need to a bungie net on the deck to carry stuff easier.
  • People dont typically expect to see a person cruising down the canal in a kayak.
Oh and one last thing, there were some awesome purple wild flowers growing on several bushes down there.
They were more towards the spot I turned around at, so I picked one. Just like in the Batman movie, I had a quest that resulted in me picking a flower. So I think I am just that much closer to being a super hero.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My First Kayak Trip

So the other day I did something that, apparently, a few people didnt think I would do, or like to do, or be interested in or whatever.

I went on my first kayak trip.

Over the years me buying a kayak has sort of become and inside joke and way to tease me. Like I said before I dont think many people thought I was serious about doing it or would be into it. But now I own one and I have officially went on one more kayak trip than most of the people reading this blog post.

As you can see by clicking on the map on the left, I took a trip down the Miami-Erie Canal in my hometown of St. Marys. I used the My Tracks app on my Droid to record this trip. Unfortunately I only recorded the one way, so just double the map's distance and path. I took off from the red point, went to the green and back to the red.

It was a very nice and relaxing time. I saw a lot of interesting things on the canal including wood peckers, some wild rocket lilies (well semi-wild) and a couple of small fish jumping out of the very shallow water.

The canal water was about 1.5 feet deep with a very thick mud at the bottom that is unlike most mud you would encounter. It's thick and black and wont let you go if you get into it. So I definitely took it easy in the kayak and did my best to not tip it over.

I'm using a Pelican Break (80) that I bought from a nice lady south of here thru Craigslist. The kayak seemed to track well and was very stable even has I bobbed it from side-to-side in some more interesting moments.

Now what sort of trouble could I get into on a long since used waterway? Well I'm glad you asked. At the green marker on the map is a tunnel that leads underneath State Route 33.

The interesting thing about this tunnel is that it's very similar to a pedestrian tunnel that is on the towpath along the left side of the canal. A tunnel that I've ridden thru on my bike or walked thru several times in the past. So I thought, "What the heck? I can fit and I can see the other end, so let's try it."

The bow of the kayak is in, it's an 8 foot kayak so this isnt going to be very dramatic. A few more light paddle strokes and I'm in. It's dark, the noise is strange from the traffic above. The light reflections bouncing around on the sides are interesting and my paddles make a weird ding off the metal sides when I accidentally bump them.

Then I hit my first spider web. Face first. No big deal. I'm not afraid of a little spider ... or a medium sized spider. Heck even large spiders dont bother me, so I press on. Oh look, there's one of my spider friends right now hanging from the next cobweb. I'm about 12 feet in, roughly under the first lane of traffic, and am now face-to-face with...

Yep. Dun, dun, duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun. The brown recluse. Not incredibly poisonous, but has been known to bite and cause some damage. I pass him slowly. He doesnt seem to know what to make of this person on a big piece of orange plastic invading his pristine home.

My mind races with what could be worse and pleased that my own personal Shelob had let me pass safely. And then I looked up. In the corrugated bends of the steel pipe I am in hangs the reason that I left the tunnel. Well the several reasons.

I present, to the uninitiated, the Orb Spider. This guy doesnt pack the potential problems as the Brown Recluse that I passed earlier, but they are much nastier looking. The abdomen was at least the size of the end of my thumb. Oh and notice how I am using plural pronouns? Yep, you guessed it, there were a LOT of them. I counted at least 15 directly above my head as I spun my kayak around ... there's 3 more ... weird splashing noises start echoing thru here as I hustle myself out of this womb of web weavers.

So I turned around and began heading home. Back the way I came. The canal had one last surprise in store for me though. A good sized snapping turtle leaped from the water, glanced off my back, hit the kayak's stern and slid into the water. Yeah, I think I was attacked by a turtle.

So all-in-all, a nice little trip. No rapids, a casual paddle down calm waters and a few close calls with some local Ohio wildlife. It was fun. I'm hoping to go out tomorrow to another section of the canal south of town. This part goes under State Route 66, a railroad another road and out to the feeder from the lake. I'm hoping this one will have less spiders.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Go for the gold.

We were talking about being a world class athlete and having an accident during competition.

Co-worker: "I would kill myself if I shit at the Olympics."

Thursday, May 06, 2010

FCC pushes ahead with Net Neutrality

Big ups to the (Obama) FCC today for pushing thru the re-classification of America's broadband access under Title II. With this they can exert control over the broadband providers to make sure the net stays neutral.

The telecom's are upset with AT&T suggesting if the FCC wants this they should go ask Congress to pass a law regarding this. The same Congress who is bought and paid for with lobbying paid for by AT&T. Ugh.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Motorola Droid Review

So I've had my Motorola Droid for a few weeks now and thought this would be a good time to write a quick review.

Hardware Pros:
  • Two words: GORILLA GLASS! Wow is that stuff amazing. I never tired of amazing family, friends and random strangers that I can take a utility knife blade to my screen and it not even a mark. I wish the rest of the phone was as sturdy.
  • The screen's resolution and color depth is AMAZING. This is by far the best screen of this size that I've seen yet.
  • The slide action has the perfect amount of friction and a very satisfying final "lock" when fully out.
  • I like the sort of rubbery coating on parts of the phone to keep it from being so slippery, yet not too "sticky" you cant jam it in your pocket, etc.
  • External audio is loud and very clear and doesnt sound too bad for a cell phone.
  • Great CPU and Memory.
  • Good size overall.
  • Playing with the dock and the magnets is neat.

Hardware Cons:
  • The BIGGEST issue is the physical keyboard. It is barely usable and is just horrible. I had an issue with the G1's keyboard being so off-centered and this one is just as bad. The D-Pad and the "Verizon" overhang on the phone take too much room and push your thumbs unnaturally off-center. The tips of each thumb should be able to touch the F and J keys naturally. The buttons could also be a bit more raised and "clickier" when pushed.
  • The outside speaker is too hampered by the phone laying flat and muffling the sound. Put it on a couch or in a case and you really reduce the volume this thing can get to and trust me this little speaker can be LOUD.
  • The metal that the screen bezel is made out of is WAY too soft and dents and nicks and chips paint WAY too easy. Next time just make the whole phone out of Gorilla Glass. You could get a nice case though for it.
  •  The "Verizon" overhang bit is just ugly and really useless.
  • The overall design reminds me of a VCR from the heady days of VHS. It's not entirely ugly, but it's not pretty either. Thank the gods the screen is so big and can distract you from how clunky the design of the phone is.
  • The power button is aimed backwards a bit too much and can be hard to easily reach around press sometimes in certain positions.
Software Pros:
  • The Android OS is amazingly mature for as new as it is. I love this OS, but coming from Windows Mobile anything would be an improvement. Using Windows Mobile devices compared to this seems a bit like self-flagellation.
  • This phone is snappy, yes that's partly hardware, but also this OS can handle memory and app usage fantastic.
  • Easy, consistent and great design. I love how a lot of the default phone features or the official Google apps have an extra little button here or there that just make sense. You really get the feel that there was a person or a team saying, "Ya know, it's annoying when X happens, so this phone should do Y."
  • Lots of great apps and more and more coming. Over 70% of all current mobile app developers are now working on Android apps. Not to belabor the apps too much here, as this is a phone review, but I havent found a situation yet that I couldnt find an app for to help. And of course there are lots of GREAT time wasting ones :)
Software Cons:
  • I'm putting this in the software section, but I dont know if it's more hardware, but man is it hard to move a cursor to a specific location with a big old finger instead of a small stylus. I really wish these phones supported a stylus option and e-ink. Would be handy to sign things or tap VERY small areas when needed.
  • Long Press to select text, cut, copy, paste, whatever gets a little weird sometimes. Sometimes you think it copied everything and it doesnt (try to copy out a phone number from a txt message to manually do something with).
  • There needs to be a way to view currently open apps to move between them easier.
  • Um, Google, you're rich - make your own damn file manager.
Okay I'm bored with this post now. Final score A. Go buy a phone powered by Android 2+ and you'll be g2g.

    Monday, February 08, 2010

    Dont tell me ya love me ...

    Here are some Random Thoughts ...
    • Lotta snow out there. Just shut up and shovel.
    • Sony, in an effort to try to get me to hate them again, invented a way to wirelessly transfer data INSIDE a device instead of using circuits. WTF?
    • Sarah Palin recently spoke at the Tea Party "convention". She was paid to speak there, the promoters are a bunch of GOP billionaires (read grassroot common folk). The whole time she had simple notes written on her hand and even used them later at a paid sit-down interview. The next great part is she was "interviewed" on Fox News, where she IS PART OF THE PAID STAFF and then it only can get better when CNN picks up the whole story and writes it centering around that she did an interview on Fox News and teased her running as President (read only claim to fame). Ugh. Seriously. That's not even a knock about Sarah Palin, it's a knock at an American society who just passively lets stuff like this go on.
    • I've never seen an episode of Demetri Martin's "Important Things" but I've seen every TOSH.0. I feel like a piece of shit for this.
    • I loved the Super Bowl, except I couldnt shake the feeling that pro football is fake. But as a long standing fan of pro-wrestling, Go Saints!
    • Is it some kind of law that whatever device I want to buy always ends up having half the amount of memory as the thing that comes out 3 months later? I know things update fast, but at least let ME have the most RAM for awhile.
    • I know someone who's in Australia right now and I'm having a hard time not writing "let's put another shrimp on the barbie" in one of my emails.
    • Is Google Chrome good or is Firefox just getting on my nerves lately? Or both?!?!
    • FDR was an AMAZING President.
    • Kingdom Holding Company is getting ready to buy into News Corp. You know, News Corp, the company in charge of Fox News, The Wallstreet Journal, etc? Yes you do. And if you knew that I bet you knew that the head of Kingdom Holding Company is Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, nephew to the king of Saudi Arabia. See and I didnt even need a chalkboard.
    • Windows Phone Series 7 is very interesting. I'm not buying, but it's neat.
    • Spicy Chili nugget sauce from McDonalds is awesome.
    • I accidentally bought two things at Wal-mart that were made in the USA. If I were a big chain retailer, I would make a "USA Only" section where everything is 100% US made.
    • The need to pass a law that makes all package and marketing material for products sold in the USA to list the top 5 countries the product or portions of it were made and the percentage next to it. And no, I'm not on some Lou Dobbs crazy pills, just trying to help protect our jobs.
    • if you havent checked out lamebook, do so now.
    • I once worked on a computer where I had to open the case and inside was a half-eaten Big Mac in its box sitting half on the video card. The person told me he put it in there to keep it warm.
    • I watched King Kong vs. Godzilla, wow. What a low point in special effects for Kong. Seriously I'm pretty sure I could do a more realistic ape suit. Spoiler Alert: It ends in a tie, sort of. It's hilarious though.

    Thursday, February 04, 2010

    Why Apple makes money ...

    ...because you're an idiot. If you buy Apple products, they bank on you being an idiot.

    The iPod and iTunes. You had to have one. So did everyone else and Mac sales went up. However when Apple finally realized the iPod wasnt going to drive Mac sales, they released iTunes on the PC about 2 years later. The iPod exploded.

    The only problem is that iTunes locked your music to itself and your iPod. "Your" music wasnt yours anymore, but the device and software's music. Oh and Apple started ads hating on the PC (you know the platform that made their iPod what it is?).

    Then you're messiah Steve came down from on high and said, "Let there be no longer DRM." and there was much rechoicing. All previous sins were forgiven and everyone was glad that they had to pay money AGAIN to unlock their DRM songs. But they were happy to do it to free their music because they knew Steve Jobs is the Abraham Lincoln of MP3s and they are happy to obey.

    Then came the iPhone. Let's get real honest here. No one would buy this thing without Apps. And presto the App Store was born and everyone said "OH I gotta have these apps!". And the few people that said, "uh wait, this is a DRM'ed fully enclosed monopolistic marketplace where Apple is the only gatekeeper," they were ignored because Steve Jobs didnt decree this to be an issue. And remember one of these apps was Apple's Safari web browser (it's important for later).

    And now we come to the iPad. People now debate on whether they will buy one or just get an iPhone or keep their iPod Touch. And no one cares about the Apps only running in their enclosed and protected universe.

    And no one, seems to care or realize that all the way back to OS8, the common web browser allowed you to purchase and download digital content from any website. And that Apple could've used that all along for their delivery method. Even using their own Safari web browser to do it. But no, they closed the system and continue to leave it closed the entire time so they can make money. And everyone just lets them go ahead and get away with it or get a free pass. Wallstreet's making money, Taiwanese and Chinese companies (with child labor) are making money building all these things, hell Steve Jobs even has made so much money that he bought himself a new liver. He bought himself a new liver with part of your money.

    You didnt even need an App to move the files to your device because your Operating System supported that already too. You didnt have to buy all new wires or docks or connectors because USB had that all taken care of too.

    So the next time you buy an Apple product or you agree with or assert that they helped revolutionized the industry, just remember these things:
    • USB cables can do everything just fine.
    • Your OS can move files between one thing and another just fine.
    • A web browser can (and should) display any web page on any platform.
    • Apple didnt invent the idea of ditching DRM
    • Apple charged you to de-DRM your already bought tunes.
    • A lot of people made Unix for free and that is the backbone of OSX.
    • The iPhone and iPad are closed systems where Apple is in control of what apps are allowed on the device.
    • People buy them because they are "Apple" or are "sexy" doesnt explain why the key trendsetters initially bought enough of them to make them popular. If you cant quantify sexy it can no longer be used as a dismissive way of explaining this stuff when you dont have any other ideas.
    • Steve Jobs was once quoted as saying that doing LSD was "one of the two or three most important things [he had] done in [his] life."
    • Steve Jobs is now rich enough to buy his own liver and did. His own liver. Think about that.