Steve Jobs: 1955-2011 

Steve Jobs portrait

It was October 5th 2011 in the late evening around 7ish. I had just gotten home from work and wanted some music in the background tonight. I turned on my MacBook, plugged my iPhone to recharge the battery, and grabbed my iPad to check my email while my MacBook booted up. I cleaned out my email box and turned my attention towards my MacBook. I turned on some tunes and decided to check the news.

In the top portion of the Google news sections were articles reporting on Steve Jobs’ death. At first, I was in disbelief, thinking to myself “this couldn’t be real”. There are fake celebrity deaths all the time and those false news spread like wildfire. But as more media outlets started publishing the announcement made by Apple’s board of directors, it started to sink in.

What bothered me the most was that I was inexplicably saddened by the death of someone I’ve never met before. And it seemed that many other people shared the same sentiments. Steve’s innate ability to connect with all of us on an emotional level is one of the reasons he will be greatly missed. He had a vision of what humanity could accomplish with the aid of computing. He shared that vision with us and throughout his lifetime, worked to make that vision a reality. Looking around my desk, I see the products of his vision all around me.

He was too weak to make it to the “Let’s Talk iPhone” event so he watched it from his bed. A single seat was reserved him in Town Hall. Apple executives knew of his worsening condition prior to the event and the somber mood of the iPhone 4S launch reflected that. He passed away the day after, on October 5, 2011 at 56 years of age. It was reported that he spent the last moments of his life with his family and closest friends.

One of the greatest visionaries of our time who was taken away from us, a breath too soon. The ripples of his creations are all around us and they will continue to reverberate for generations to come. He taught us not to settle for mediocrity, but to strive for excellence. He was one of the crazy ones. A misfit. A rebel. A troublemaker. A round peg in a square hole. He saw things differently. He wasn’t fond of rules. He had no respect for the status quo. You can quote him, disagree with him, glorify or vilify him. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore him. Because he changed things…

Tribute to Steve Jobs

What you did, changed the world...we thank you. R.I.P.

Sex & Smartphones

If you’ve been on the interwebs lately, no doubt you’ve seen the two videos below circulating around. The basic premise of the videos are to show the advantages and disadvantages of the iPhone and HTC Evo, but the videos go a little bit beyond that.

The videos were created from a website called xtranormal. They proclaim that “If you can type, you can make movies.” Well, since I can type, I decided to make a movie of my own. Since I thoroughly heart my iPhone, I figure I would jump on the bandwagon as well and bash some other smartphone makers while I was at it.

A recent study showed that iPhone users had more sex than Crackberry or Android users. What follows is a conversation I had with a friend. His voice and appearance has been altered to protect his identity. Enjoy.

Next Gen iPhone 4G HD Rumor Mill

iPhone 4G HD

It is that time of year again. No, not Christmas, nor is it your wifey’s birthday, nor is it your anniversary. It’s time for the rumor mill to start churning for the next generation iPhone that’s due out this summer. Even the rumor of an introduction of a new iPhone this summer is conjecture at this point. But if past actions predict future events, we should be ok. Apple has given us a new phone every year during the summer months. Hopefully, this year is no different.

Why?! Why God Why?! Why must I fork out mucho dollars to have the latest and greatest iPhone every year? Because you don’t want to be the lame one, carrying around the phone that could do everything last year but can only do so much this year. Apple has added enough functionality each year to really warrant the upgrade. Besides the usual bumps in camera resolution, chip processor speed, and larger memory, I don’t know what else they could add. If core functionality is most likely unchanged, a hardware refresh might be in the works to generate more sales. I would love for them to go back to using aluminum in some fashion. It would match up well with the rest of the Apple lineup. Freshening up the GUI would be another great way to liven things up a bit. I got bored rather quickly with the standard user interface and wouldn’t buy a new iPhone unless I was able to jailbreak it. A new GUI would keep me occupied for a little bit. I rather like surprises so let’s just wait and see what they come up with.

For the time being…I’ll try and capture all the rumors that float along my path and post them here. We’ll be able to create some sort of superPhone by the time summer rolls around.

Rumors…
>> to be named iPhone HD
>> 960×640 display
>> Front facing camera
>> Expose like multi-tasking in iPhone OS 4.0
>> A4 processor from the iPad
>> Global mailbox
>> Homescreen contacts
>> a CDMA Verizon compatible iPhone

Links…
CDMA iPhone being developed for Verizon!
A new iPhone screen size!
Huber Hints at Next Gen Specs…A4 chip?
To be called iPhone HD…front facing camera and multi-tasking baked in OS4.0!
How Multi-tasking will work in OS 4.0
More multi-tasking evidence!
Global mailbox & Homescreen contacts!
iPhone 4G mockup.

iPhone Concepts…
iPhone Concept
iPhone Concept
iPhone Concept
iPhone Concept
iPhone Concept

Apple Love

Apple vs Windows

Choose Your Poison

I had always hated Apple. I don’t know what it was. Maybe it had something to do with the way the owners had put themselves on high pedestals as they snickered down at the peons of the Windows world. Maybe it had something to do with the crazy operating system that was installed on their machines. It’s not Windows? Then WTF is it running? Hopes and dreams and rainbows?

It wasn’t until I received an iPod Touch that an epiphany awoke me from the Dark Ages of my Windows world. I had collected enough reward points at my current job that I was able to acquire said device. Can I say it had me at the Apple logo?

Once the device was charged and turned on (which I did at my office as soon as I got it), I couldn’t put it down. It was like there was this invisible super glue all over that thing and I couldn’t physically part with it. The hardware was gorgeous. Sure the shiny aluminum back was a scratch magnet, but it was so sexy. And what could I say about the user interface? It was intuitive. There was almost no learning curve involved. It did what you would expect it to do. Touch an icon, the app started. Hit the Home button and the app closed. Swipe left and right to find more pages.

It came to the point where I would carry my phone in one pocket and my iPod Touch in the other. So I thought to myself, why not combine both products? Um, hello! It’s called the iPhone. so I jumped at the first chance I had once my current contract was up and bought an iPhone. People raved about the iPhone being the best smartphone. People also raved about their Mac machines. If their phones are this good, their computers must be just as excellent right? So I jumped on the bandwagon and got a MacBook Pro to go with my iPhone. Can I say I’ve never looked back?

So what is it about these machines that draws people in? Apple not only designs the hardware, but also the software that they run on. That isn’t to say they make the chips or graphics boards, but rather selecting the internal components and creating the outer packages. Their software is geared towards that specific hardware configuration. It’s a semi closed ecosystem.

This is in contrast to Microsoft who writes software, sets the minimum hardware requirements, and lets computer companies hack them all together. I can attest to the fallacy of such an ecosystem where hardware and software do not marry together well. I’ve returned notebooks that couldn’t handle running multiple applications. I’ve had computers with weird bugs that cannot be repaired where the company simply states that it’s a glitch but does not affect the operation of the machine. What? So I’m just supposed to live with that? Not to mention incompatible/old/outdated drivers, hardware incompatibilities, and the blue screen of death.

The MBP has been a joy to use. I’ve always hated using the trackpad on notebooks. The multi-touch enabled deliciousness makes the MBP’s trackpad the best I’ve ever used. PERIOD. The only time I’ve reached for a mouse and when I open up Photoshop. And when I do use a mouse, it’s the Magic Mouse, another great multi-touch device from Apple.

I needed to print something out at the parentals and I didn’t have the drivers installed. I didn’t think it would work, but once I plugged in the USB drive, it recognized the printer and let me print. Can I reiterate how awesome that is. On a Windows machine, you would need to download the driver before the hardware components would be able to talk to each other. And my Sony camera, just plugged it in and transferred my images over. No driver needed here either. When people tell you their Mac’s just work, they really do mean that their Mac’s just work. They are computers simplified. They make computing a joy to use, not a chore like Windows machines.

The Apple tax? What about the Apple tax? I’m not going to do a cost by cost comparison. I’m just going to say you get what you pay for. Do you want to waste your time trying to get things to work? Shouldn’t they work right out of the box? What is your time worth to you? Apple innovates. Why is everyone trying to create an iPhone killer? Because it sets the standard in smartphone usability. They pay as much attention to their hardware as they do their software. Their devices are as easy to use as they are gorgeous to look at. In the computing world, you can have both brains and beauty.

Microsoft as failed to innovate. They have become stale. Their mobile platform has fallen behind. Their new Windows Phone 7 Series is just playing catch up at this point. And from initial announcements, it seems like a very rushed job. They are now playing catch up to the competition. The only way to get apps onto the new mobile platform, through their own governed app marketplace. Sound familiar? Microsoft, can you hear me? Create your own commercials, stop copying Apple. You’re a PC, and we all know it. Create your own stores, don’t copy Apple’s formula.

Unlearn what Microsoft has taught you. Life’s too short to spend it staring at the blue screen of death (or the red ring of death if you own an XB360).

Here are some current news articles:
Microsoft Workers Hide Their iPhones.
The kettle calling the pot black.
Apple’s Tech Support is ranked the best.
Apple works on wearable computing.
Macs cost less than PCs to manage.

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Motorcycle Noobstar

I got onto a motorcycle for the first time last fall (2009). I’ve been wanting to learn how to ride forever, but it’s an investment to start out with. First you need a motorcycle, then you need all the safety gear to go with it. Like the old adage goes, ‘better safe than sorry.’ And this is most true when you’re on a bike, one mistake and you could be eating concrete as your last meal.

Luckily, my brother was willing to teach me on his bike. Having never been on anything with 2 wheels besides a bicycle, I wanted to chronicle the trials and tribulations of the steep learning curve involved in learning how to ride.

Since I’m pretty much a noobstar (a higher level than just being a normal noob) at this motorcycle thingy, I’m going to use very simple terms. I think the biggest obstacle for most is the whole ‘shifting thing.’ Coming from a car with a stick shift, this wasn’t a problem for me. I understood the how and why it works, I just had to make the physical movements smooth.

Left hand – controls the clutch
Right hand – controls the gas and front brakes
Left foot – controls the gears
Right foot – controls the rear brakes

So every one of your limbs has a job. Missing a limb? Probably not going to be able to ride a bike. But seriously…there’s a whole other level of awareness when you’re riding a bike. Not only do you have to be cognizant of what all four limbs are doing all the time, but you also have to be weary your body position, road conditions as well as your surroundings.

One of the biggest obstacles in learning to ride a motorcycle? Working the clutch and changing the gears, definitely. What if we were able to take out that part of the equation to make the whole ‘learning to ride a bike’ just a tad simpler? Well, dual clutch transmissions have made their move into motorcycle territory. Never heard of or don’t know what a dual clutch is? Think of it this way (though its a total stretch). Imagine changing a tire with just one hand. That would be a considerable task with a single hand yes? Now imagine changing a tire with two hands. Quicker, more efficient, and a much smoother transition.

Honda VFR1200Honda has introduced this transmission technology in their new VFR1200. The new transmission features a dual-clutch configuration in which independent clutches are employed for the odd gears (1st, 3rd, 5th) and the even gears (2nd, 4th, 6th), respectively. The two clutches operate alternately assisting in gear changes.

A dual clutch gearbox on a motorcycle has the same benefits as it does on a car. Super quick shift times, single hand operated shifting, smooth clutch transitions and shifts. You also get a set of two different automatic modes, “D” for drive and “S” for sport. You get the best of both worlds; the convenience of an automatic with the performance of a manual.

As a purist, I up chuck at the thought of driving any thing other than a manual transmission. When one considers all the variables involved in riding a motorcycle though, having a dual-clutch transmissions has its benefits and can outweigh all the arguments for even considering a manual transmission. For a beginner, one who is struggling with making clean shifts, riding on public roads is highly dangerous. It’s your body against the elements and the bare metal of other traffic. One mistake and its your ass on the road or as a hood ornament on the car you’ve just met.

You can also eliminate the physical attachments to enable you to ‘heal and toe’ (i’m not sure what motorcyclists use for this term). I think that there is just too much going on for a beginning rider to have to account for that if we can eliminate the hard part, learning to ride can be a bit easier. This is not to say that we can’t go back to a manual transmission bike once we’ve mastered the other arts. I find a manual transmission to be the most engaging and entertaining way to drive, with 2 wheels or 4. Enjoy the ride.

The Art of Ink: My First Tattoo

Art is highly interpretative and as equally subjective. There is an art to the way that art itself is created. How do you capture what you only envision? How do you portray what you only feel? How do you describe what doesn’t exist? Art inspires me as much as music does. It provides an avenue of escape for the expressionist side of my personality.

I had always wanted to get a tattoo. Seeing that it was a permanent (though there are removal techniques) art piece that would be displayed permanently on my body, there had to be a meaning behind it. I didn’t want the random tramp stamp, however sexy that may be. As with others who have done the same, I decided to chronicle events that have affected my life in some major way. What better canvas than your skin to tell the story of your life? You can read (if you’re really bored) the impetus for the tattoo below. This work is done in remembrance to those who have been in my life. For better or worse, each one has had a hand in shaping the person I am today.
Initial Concept Design
As with most of my sketches, they go stages and revisions. What was originally going to be a work in progress (it was to be done in stages that was never really going to be finished) ended up being a complete piece. I didn’t want to have an unfinished work inked on my arm, and then have to explain what why that is and what it means. I only had 2 criteria: It had to be simple and symbolic.

It took me about 2 months from initial concept to the final design. As the design changed, so did the meaning of the tattoo. The work is broken down into 3 panels. Starting from the left, each representing the past, present, and future. The past is dark and painful, but life goes on. The present is a new day, but the past is still lingers with you. The future is unknown, bright, and full of hope. Life is too short to dwell on the past. Learn to live, love, and laugh.

A Piano & A Poem

Sketching is probably one of my more well known time wasters. I’ll doodle all day long as my mind wanders from topic to topic. It doesn’t matter if the sky is falling around me, I’m in my own lil world when I sketch. I also find solace in writing poetry and playing music. I was never versed at communicating my emotions verbally. Choosing the right words to say at the right moment was always difficult for me. I found that writing it down allowed me to capture my emotions in a more refined eloquence.

Something that I hated doing as a teen was playing the piano. Something that I love doing now (as a semi-adult) is playing the piano. Funny how that works out, right? I can’t play very well, but I do find time to sit down and learn new songs. This song is a cover of One Republic’s Apologize. The poem was written in November 2007 and were meant to compliment the lyrics of the original song. So you get a glimpse of the softer side of gvV@ki3 today.

(One Republic…)
I’m holding on your rope, got me ten feet off the ground
I’m hearing what you say, but I just can’t make a sound
You tell me that you need me, then you go and cut me down
You tell me that you’re sorry, didn’t think I’d turn around

I’d take another chance, take a fall, take a shot for you
I need you like a heart needs a beat, it’s nothing new
I loved you with a fire red, now it’s turning blue
And you’d say, sorry, like the angel heaven let me think was you

(gvV@ki3…)
I’m trying to find a reason, trying to find a way, a rhyme
How do I put away, four years worth of time, behind
I put you on a pedestal, I made you my queen
I gave you everything I had, left nothing in between

I guess that wasn’t enough, and you just wanted more
You picked your stuff up and left, while I watched from my door
I don’t know what happened, tell me what went wrong
How did it go from “I love you,” to “see you later, so long”

Where’s the ring, the one that was on your delicate hand
Is it trash now, thrown away into the bedside nightstand
How did you just turn off all those emotions that you feel
Why am I still drowning, when none of this was ever real

Standing aside, waiting for you to find someone new
Laying here alone, still madly in love with you
Do you think I’d be happy, waiting in the background
Just to watch you walk away, never to turn around

There comes a certain time, when you have to decide
From the beginning, I’m the one always by your side
I can’t fight for us forever, you just want to let go
Figure out what you want, because only you really know

Until then, this is the beginning of the end
You will decide, do we start over and make amends
Or do we say goodbye, and toss our history aside
And just give it all up, without giving it a second try

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