Archive for the ‘droided’ Category

Love ya, Amazon

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Easily my 2 favorite companies right now are Google and Amazon. Google seems to get smarter by the day…have you seen the new Google Docs stuff they got goin on? It’s crazappy! And then there’s android (you’re soaking in it, since I’m writing this on my droid). And Amazon just seems to have most of the stuff I need, er, want right now (what can’t you buy on Amazon?). I think we got half of our Christmas on Amazon this year, and I get all my mp3 downloads from them now. But what happened yesterday just blew my mind.

I got my wife a kindle for Christmas…you know, Amazon’s cool, eBook eReader…the one with the display that looks like real paper & ink…the one that can hold something like 1500-2000 digital books…the one that lets you hook up with Amazon’s amazing bookstore, click a button, and download a book in seconds, all without a network anywhere nearby? Well, she loves it and has been kindling away for almost 7 months now. But then, a couple of weeks ago, tragedy…her screen froze on a nasty looking image of one of kindle’s screensavers, with horizontal lines covering a good portion of the screen.

Being the typical tech support rep that I am, I did some investigating and found out that this problem has been occurring with other kindle users for several months now. I told her we’d have to call Amazon and hope they honored their warranty. And being the typical husband that I am, I waited for over a week before I got around to it.

To tell you the truth, I was dreading the conversation I would have to have with a support rep, probably some dude from India who’s way smarter than me but has just enough of a language barrier to turn a 2 minute conversation into 10. So I sent an email from their “Kindle support” page first, and thought I might get lucky and get back an email with detailed instructions…no such luck. Instead I got back an email that essentially said “sorry you’re having trouble with your Kindle…please give us a call…” Crap.

Ok, here we go…gotta call ‘em after all. Luckily I noticed the details in the email that suggested I could initiate the call from the support page, and they would call me back. Really? That’s different…so I gave it a try. Wow…what a support experience. I entered my home number, and about 2 seconds after I clicked submit, my phone rang. An automated message told me there was currently a wait time of less than a minute, and about 30 seconds later a guy came on live…his name, Mike…his accent, American…his help, perfect. They ended up overnighting a new Kindle, and told me I could ship the dead one back (for free) in the same box. She even had access to all the old books she had on her old one, so she’s back in business, less than 24 hours after I contacted Amazon…now that’s customer service.

Scared by the Nav-Hag

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

So far I love almost everything about my new droid phone, and I’ve already written about my shock and awe over the Google-assisted navigation capabilities. But I have 2 rather humorous asides about that nav piece, or maybe about our tendency to tire of the things we once loved and our ability to turn the formerly miraculous into the increasingly mundane.

I was heading into Indy to go to a credit union I don’t typically use, and even though I’ve been there before, I looked it up on the droid and asked it to navigate me there. This was partly because it will estimate the driving time and I was on a tight schedule…ok, it was also because I still love to say things like “navigate to the credit union on West 56th street in Indianapolis, Indiana” and watch it do its thing. Yeah…still cool.

Anyway, I fired up the droid navigation thingy and got on my way. Well, about 10 minutes down I65, I was deep in thought and completely lost in my little mobile world when some awful-sounding woman, who seemed to be virtually sitting in my lap, shouted at me, “IN ONE AND ONE HALF MILES TAKE EXIT ONE TWENTY FOUR…” I nearly jumped off the seat, and it took me a second to realize it was the female synthesized navigation voice coming from my droid, which was literally sitting in my lap. I have to tell you, it really scared the crap out of me. Then I laughed at myself…I’d been scared by the voice I now refer to as the Nav-Hag.

I promised myself I wouldn’t let her scare me like that again, so I intentionally left the navigation on even as I got closer and closer to my destination, well past the point where I needed it anymore, just so I could get used to it. And as I got closer, and it kept telling me things I already knew (I even found myself talking to it irately…”yes, I know I need to turn right on Lafayette Rd! You think I didn’t know that!?! Shut up already!”), I came up with another name for it. I called it my Nagivator.

Not much of a gamer, but the bouncing cow is pretty dang fun

Friday, February 5th, 2010


I haven’t added a ton of games on my droid, but I have to admit the Alien Abduction game is addicting. Just goes to show you don’t need anything spectacular to keep you occupied for long periods of downtime.

So why a cow? Why is it bouncing? Why is it being abducted by aliens? I dunno….it’s just fun.

Hold the power…pump up the bandwidth

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

As netbooks, tablets, and smart phones mature and begin to establish themselves in more and more households, offices, and pockets, I’m beginning to formulate a vision. While just a few years back what we all thought we needed was beefier PCs (more CPU, more RAM, more storage, more graphics), I think our power requirements are levelling off. I think what we need is more bandwidth…put simply, we need to move more stuff to and from the net than ever before, and I think that need will continue to rise.

I wrote earlier about Google’s vision of a cloud-based, device-neutral future with the emergence of their Android and Chrome OSes. I think those pieces of the puzzle will continue to mature, but it will never work until we have usable speed on devices running those OSes, and the usability of that speed will depend on connectivity more than productity or scalability.

Find the nearest awesomeness

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

GPS = cool
Google = useful
GPS + Google = amazing

One of the coolest things about my new droid phone is the GPS and mapping capability. The marriage of GPS with real-time access to google’s massively indexed search info is just an absolutely beautiful thing.

When you can speak into your phone (android’s speech recognition is also amazing) something like “find the nearest pizza” and it instantly pops up a map with markers for pizza joints overlaid…well, that’s just downright cool. But it blows my mind when I can touch on any of those markers and it brings up the address (with an offer to navigate there), and the phone number (with an offer to call automatically), and reviews, and the web address, and a ‘street view’ of what the place and its surroundings look like…you have to see it to believe it.