Ryan Jones Blog – dotCULT.com Ryan Jones Blogs About Internet Culture, Marketing, SEO, & Social Media

June 30, 2007

Making The iPhone Better

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 10:33 am

Guariba Update: As I use this more, I have a few more suggestions, so I’m adding them now.

Since the web is filled with praise for the iPhone right now, I want to try to be one of the first to offer suggestions for making it better.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s clear just seconds after turning it on that the iPhone is the best phone on the market right now, and I love mine – but there are a few ways it could be better.

  1. The keys on the keyboard all show in uppercase – even when I’m typing in lowercase. This is confusing
  2. There’s no way to make or edit my own ring tone. There’s also no way to download or purchase ring tones. Fix this quickly.
  3. A zoom on the camera would have been cool. I tried taking some kitten pictures but found that I had to be really close to her to get them to frame properly.
  4. Import bookmarks from FireFox. I imported fine from IE, Outlook or Safari, but why not FireFox?
  5. Offer me a number pad option on the keyboard as well. It’s hard to enter certain information using the top row.
  6. It’d be cool to offer 2 checkboxes in iTunes so I can auto sync with my iPod and iPhone. I have more music & videos than will fit on my 8gig phone, and I don’t want to have to sync either one manually. As it is now, I find it easiest to have a playlist called iPhone and just sync that – but I shouldn’t have to do it that way.
  7. Why no instant messenger support?
  8. Where’s the games? The ones on the iPod were awesome.. and I’ll greatly miss the tetris game on my last phone.
  9. Add some radio. Cingular was able to give me FM radio, but you’ve got internet and iTunes already has streaming radio… so let me access those same stations

Other than that, it’s a pretty neat phone. If you have one, please feel free to share your thoughts about it and any possible improvements you’d make.

June 29, 2007

So I Bought an iPhone

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 8:43 pm

UPDATE: It seems that trying to buy $800 worth of stuff and ship it to a different address raises a fraud alert with my Chase Visa card. Thus, my iPhone order was canceled. As it turns out, the local Apple store didn’t sell out last night, so I just went in and bought one this morning. Total time at store: 25 minutes.

Combine that with the fact that most people who waited in line yesterday still haven’t activated their phones due to an AT&T backlog, and it looks like it worked out better for me. I got the same result without waiting in line.

Driving by the local AT&T store today I saw more people in line than iPhones were delivered. Calling the mall revealed over 200 people in line at noon. I still refuse to wait in line for a phone so I logged on to the Apple store at 6:00 PDT tonight and purchased my 8gig iPhone that way. It looks like I got there right in time too because the site is being slow as syrup tonight.

Sure, I won’t have it right now… but I can wait 2 weeks to get it. My current phone may be still randomly not allowing calls – but I’ll deal with it for another 2 weeks. I’ve already dealt with it for a month or so.

Apple does a good job of sucking you in for accessories though. After adding the bluetooth headset, a rubber case, and an AC power adapter I spent almost $850 total at the site today. Unfortunately the online store recomended that I buy a dock and a headset (2 accessories that come with the iPhone) but after realizing I didn’t need them, it was really painless to cancel just those items without affecting my entire order.

I’m sure Apple will suck even more money out of me as time progresses. I just hope somebody is home to sign for it. I’ve had problems with never being able to get my Apple store products and having to drive to downtown Detroit to pick up my shipments.

June 28, 2007

On Not Wasting Rice

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 9:15 am

Yesterday I went to my favorite Thai restaurant for dinner and I was surprised when my portion was much bigger than usual. When the owner came to chat with me she mentioned “the cook gave you extra today because you didn’t waste rice last time.”

It’s true. Last time I was there I was so hungry that I almost licked my plate clean.

She then went on to tell me about how much rice she throws away daily from people who just don’t eat it. She said that in Thailand it’s very disrespectful to leave rice uneaten on your plate. Since most rice there is farmed by hand, the people respect all the work that goes into producing it by trying to waste as little as possible.

I was a bit taken aback by the culture difference. In America we waste a ton of food with each meal. The general attitude is “I work hard, I deserve this. If the rice farmer doesn’t like to work hard for me to throw it away that’s his problem. I bought it, I can do what I want with it.”

In Thailand, it’s not like that. They respect hard work and realize that without that rice farmer they wouldn’t be able to have the meals they have.

I think that’s a viewpoint that many Americans could benefit from taking up.

Either way if you’re ever at a Thai place, make sure you don’t waste any rice.

June 27, 2007

Did You Notice The Silence?

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 12:29 pm

Internet radio fell silent today. Did you notice?

Thousands of Internet broadcasters turned themselves off today to protest the new bill in congress that would demand outrageous royalty fees from Internet radio stations. The way it’s currently worded, an Internet radio station would have to pay a small fee per “performance” of a song. That sounds fair until you read the definition of “performance.”

Basically, a radio station that had 500 listeners would have to pay 500 royalties per song. To give you a feel as to how much money this is, if you went retroactive to the time most stations started they’d owe a collective fee bigger than the GDP of the United States.

Unfortunately, this issue isn’t getting enough attention. I don’t think anybody I’ve met, chatted with, or encountered today has said anything about the Internet radio silence. Sure a few tech bloggers noticed, but that’s it. And that’s not enough to influence congress or the RIAA.

June 24, 2007

When 40% off is 10% More

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 10:26 pm

If you haven’t heard the news about Farmer Jacks closing down all over the place – they are.

The grocery store company was recently bought and they’re closing down most of the stores (at least in my area). It seems that most Americans would rather shop at stores like Meijer where they can buy their milk just steps away from where they buy their underwear. To each their own I guess.

Anyway, my local Farmer Jack is having a 40-60% off everything in the store sale (excluding beer, liquor, & drugs)

Since I needed food, I decided to stop in today. My God was it a zoo.

Mostly anything worth buying was gone, but I did stock up on some things like canned soup, light bulbs, Gatorade, cat toys, noodles, and beer (it was still 10% off)

I also decided to buy a few cases of pop (ok ok, I bought 8 cases of soda)

When I got home I noticed my receipt.

You know how most places offer 3/$10 on 12 packs of soda? Farmer Jack did last month (the last time I went grocery shopping)

When adding up the prices of my pop though, I realized that the “regular price” for each 12 pack was about $5. That made my soda more expensive that the same stuff at Meijer even though I was getting 40% off at Farmer Jack.

Is it possible that they raised all their prices before the 40% off sale? That seems pretty shady to me.

June 23, 2007

New Site: Drug Slang

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 10:22 pm

I’m sure most regular readers of my blog have familiarized themselves with NoSlang.com – my Internet slang translator.

If you haven’t, it’s been pretty popular. Perhaps you’ve seen it in the Yahoo site of the day, heard it on Kim Kommando, or read about it on CNET. It’s been featured on all of those.

Today I took the site one step further by launching NoSlang Drugs. It works just like the regular NoSlang site, but it deals strictly with drug slang terms. It’s still rather new right now, but in a few days I hope to have the “add slang” feature up and working so that users can submit their own drug slang terms to the database. The goal is to have the most complete, historical, and up to date database of drug slang terms.

So how did I come up with this idea? Well, NoSlang gets hundreds (if not thousands) of slang terms submitted on a weekly basis. Every time I go through I notice many drug related terms, but I’ve always denied them because they didn’t fit the theme of Internet slang. Not anymore! I recently downloaded some free government slang databases and started saving my own user submissions.

Whether you’re a concerned parent, educator, journalist, law enforcement officer, or just a curious teenager NoSlang Drugs will let you peruse and learn at your own pace. Hopefully I’ll get some good resource links and articles up there as time passes.

I just wanted to share it with my blog readers first so I could get some feedback. Any feedback at all would be welcomed.

PS. I also launched NoSlang Rejects where you can browse all the words that weren’t good enough to make it into the dictionary.

June 22, 2007

Cool New Toys

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 7:52 pm

Now that I’ve started a new job I decided it was a good time to splurge and buy some of the geeky toys that I’ve been wanting or needing lately.

First off, I wanted a wireless keyboard and mouse. When I saw the good deal on the Microsoft fingerprint reader desktop I couldn’t resist. The keyboard isn’t wireless like the mouse, but it does have a fingerprint reader built in. It’s pretty neat. Instead of remembering passwords, I just scan my finger.

Just like everything Microsoft it didn’t support firefox, however I did manage to find a neat little extension called fingerfox that made it work nicely. (if you can handle a little bit of French)

Since I was updating my computer, I noticed a Belkin 900VA UPS system on Stootsi and it was decently priced – so I picked one up. I’ve lost 2 computers lifetime to power surges/brownouts. Most recently I lost my 2 weeks out of warranty Dell when the power line behind my house went down. It was time to get a backup.

Then, I spoiled myself. I headed over to woot and noticed they had one of those USB Rocket Launchers for almost half price. I figured why the heck not – it’ll surely annoy the interns at my office. (that guy in the video isn’t me. It’s just the first youtube result that showed the thing I bought)

It came in the mail today and my cat is not too happy with me at the moment 🙂

If I get time I’ll post a couple of reviews or videos of some other things. I’ve been meaning to write up the Mazda iPod adapter (and mention how they could improve it) but I just haven’t found the time to take the photographs… maybe sometime this weekend.

June 20, 2007

Happy Belated Juneteenth

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 3:53 pm

What is Juneteenth you say? juneteenth is a holiday celebrated on June 19th to commemorate the abolition of slavery in Texas. Sadly,it’s still creating violence (as indicated by today’s CNN news.)

Anyway, go read about it.

June 19, 2007

Thank Bill for System Restore Points

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 6:45 pm

If you’re like me you barely noticed the system restore point feature of windows XP – unless of course you noticed the amount of space it took up and turned it off.

Last night I was very thankful that this computer came with it enabled by default.

When somebody asked me if they could use my computer to check their MySpace I thought nothing of it. After all my default browser is FireFox, I have Avast Anti Virus, and Spybot Search & Destroy. I’ve even got every Windows update – including Windows Defender. What could possibly happen?

The worst spyware I’ve ever seen happened, that’s what.

Somehow my friend managed to start IE (which is hard on my computer since it’s not the default browser, and not on the desktop or taskbar) and visit her MySpace page.

Next thing I know, I was looking at ads for blacksingles.com, arcade software, and spyware removers every 30 seconds. I even had something in my system tray called “windows spyware something or other”

All of a sudden it started going crazy. It said some spyware was being installed would I like to block it. It then presented me with 2 buttons: Allow this spyware or buy the full version of this software to block it. There was no way to close this alert. The close and exit parts of it’s menus were restricted to paying customers, and killing it’s process didn’t accomplish anything. They were forcing me to pay to not get their spyware!! What a concept!

A quick run of spybot found 34 NEW things installed. 34!!

It removed all but 2. That’s where the ingeniousness came in.

This particular piece of spyware did a few creative things:

1.) It renamed itself to a random string every time my PC booted.
2.) It got involved in the boot process early so it was already running when anti virus programs tried to boot prior to windows.
3.) It didn’t leave a trace in win.ini, or any other part of the msconfig utility.
4.) It didn’t add anything in the Run or RunOnce sections of the registry.

After 3 hours of looking at affiliate pop ups I was about to look for my windows CD. Before I did that I looked at the properties of my computer (because I couldn’t remember if this was XP pro or home… I know my laptop, like that huawei laptop, is one and my PC is the other) when I saw the restore points.

Thank God they were enabled! 10 minutes later and I was good to go. Just in case I now lock my computer every time I leave the room – both at home and at work.

June 14, 2007

magsforless.com ripped me off

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 9:05 pm

We’ve all seen those ads online for cheap magazines right? About 17 months ago I saw them myself.. and decided that the offer was too good to be true. Guess what, it was. It’s been 17 months since magsforless.com charged me $15 for subscriptions and I’ve yet to receive one single magazine.

I have, however, received a couple of emails from them. The first one asked me if I was satisfied with my subscription and wanted to extend it.

I replied that I haven’t received it and was contacted by somebody from the company. She said there was an error and that she resubmitted my subscription. She also gave me 15% off of my next order.

Sadly, it’s been 4 months now and I still haven’t received a magazine. In fact, the site now shows no mention of my order whatsoever and emailing the woman who contacted me sends back a reply of ” This is not a monitored email box.”

Has anybody else been burned by this company?

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