Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Black Petroleum Stain

Picture a room filled with sexy women, naked and undulating in a way that indicates they are hot and ready for love. The women are beautiful in a diverse way. Whatever your ideal of female beauty is, she's there. They look nice, they smell nice, you're sure they'll feel nice, too. Some of the women have name tags (it's not clear how the tags are attached). You see Rita and Katrina, Civil Rights, Integrity, Diversity, Truth, Iraq, Compassion, Tolerance, Education, 911, Liberty, Justice, Equality, and Freedom, just to name a few. Aside from the name tags, it looks like your basic porn shoot, just absent the dicks.

Suddenly, a small band of naked, grossly overweight old men barge in, their bleached white, corpulent bodies rippling as they charge at the women, who are clearly startled, trying to maintain their composure and the passion they had been feeling just moments before, while trying to contain the dismay and horror inspired by these trolls.

The trolls have dicks that are so tiny they are nearly invisible beneath the revolting folds of flesh that cascade like great tubes of grease around each of their disgusting frames. Instead, all that can be seen where their balls should be is inflamed skin, a rash of bubbling sores oozing poisonous green and yellow puss, reeking of death. Their faces contorted in a shark-like rictus of unchecked indulgence, a feeding frenzy, they launch themselves at the women, groping and fucking any part they can lay their greedy little hands upon, smearing their diseases all over the untouched beauty of the women. Fat fingers still sticky from whatever they had been rolling in just before grasp the soft, clean limbs, pulling them into uncomfortable positions, soiling them, making the women wince and cry out.

The trolls are a paradox. Despite an obvious lack of good health and well being, many showing obvious signs of horrific diseases in full bloom and evidence of multiple surgeries, they have limitless energy when it comes to despoiling. They are relentless. You can hear them barking and swearing what alternately sounds like racoons growling and angry old men saying, "Go fuck yourself!"

The women suffer, and cannot move away. Their cries are muffled and they soon begin to fade. Their beauty slips away and their energy ebbs. These pinnacles of desirability slowly succumb to the diseases and the abuse the trolls have thrust upon them. They have no chance. No one comes to save them. They are abandoned.

In time, the ladies are all dead and the trolls reluctantly pull away, seemingly satiated. They lazily wipe congealed drool from their chins, absentmindedly scratch at the running sores and festering boils that blanket their bodies, their bald heads shining with the sweat of their ill-efforts. They look at one another and then gaze upon the corpses, flies buzzing around the dead that have already begun to decay.

For a moment, something like a glimmer of recognition seems to pass behind their eyes, almost as if they can see the horrible waste that they are and that they've caused in their disgusting rape of all that is good. They look at each other. They look back at all the destruction they've wrecked. They look at one another again, chuckle, and get right back to fucking things up, high-fiving and glad-handing each other all the way back to those decomposing corpses where they jump on and start fucking like there's no tomorrow, their terrible industry casting up an almost tangible cloud of horrific stink, enveloping them and blanketing everything they touch with a slippery, black petroleum stain.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Stupid Things About The Tungsten T5

I just upgraded my PDA. I had been using the T3, but now I've got the T5. You may ask, What happened to the T4? And I do not know.

What I do know is: you can't expect Palm to get everything right, ever.

They got a couple things right with the T5 that they wiffed on the T3. For instance, they provided a "drive mode." Drive mode allows you to transfer files from your computer to your PDA. Wow! What a revolutionary concept! Imagine being able to transfer files from one computing device to another. Golly! That's when you know you're really living. It's like they're connected or something. Really neat. I'm sure this concept will catch on, and when it does I predict it will be called connectworking or something like that.

Another thing they did right: they did away with the slider portion and now the T5 is just one big juicy PDA with a 320x480 screen, all-color, all the time. The T3 had this slider thing that concealed or revealed part of the screen. I suppose a "gee-whiz" factor existed there, but I never felt it. I felt sure from the beginning that nothing good would come of this and I was right. It was only a matter of time before two of the four screws that held the damned thing on fell out and I became one of the many upset T3 owners. Apparently, Palm will be happy to repair the device for $125; yeah, that's a good deal. Fortunately, this guy sells replacement screws cheap. I added a tiny bit of liquid teflon to help keep them from falling out again.

Aside from that, a processor that is 16MHz faster (Woo!), and considerably more memory (256MB up from 64MB), the T5 is hardly different from the T3. It even lost a few features that were cool and perpetuated a couple things that continue to be stupid.

At first, the fact that it was just a big screen and didn't have the slider thing made me happy, but I soon found that it didn't fit in my hand as comfortably as the T3. Not sure why. It is .13" wider than the T3 and .03" thinner, but I wouldn't expect such tiny amounts to have much impact. Nonetheless, the T3 is easier to hold.

It came with a free wireless card as a special promotion, a $100 value. Wireless is cool, but it'll be cooler when I have a decent browser to use. It comes with Blazer which has a tendency to say things like, "This Web site is too big! I will crash the entire OS now. Fatal error." The wireless card is tiny, too, wafer thin and roughly 1x2". With something that small, one wonders why it wasn't integrated into the unit like my wife's iPaq (with which we can replace all of our remote controls in the living room).

One of the most obvious things that was missing: the cradle. And this is a very stupid omission. The cradle for the T3 was challenging due to the slider. It was really hard, nearly impossible with just one hand, to remove the PDA from its cradle. It would expand instead of detach and force you to work much harder than is reasonable for such a rudimentary task. But at least, with the T3, you got the cradle.

With the T5, you get no cradle, but Palm offers a "cradle kit" for $50. That's right, $50. Are these guys high? Why on earth would anyone pay that much for a cradle when you can get one from this guy for $20? I actually got mine via ebay for $12, so if you need one, check there first. What's more the eforcity cradle allows you to charge your PDA via its USB connection to your computer. I don't think we need to call Scotland Yard to figure out why this is better. Anyone who has lived with computers has lived with power adapters that take up three spaces on a normal power strip and a rat's nest of cables beneath and on top of one's desk. An opportunity to make one or more of these things go away is always welcome.

The stupidity of Palm's cradle kit requires additional paragraphs. Palm thinks that you will see shelling out $50 for this "kit" as a good idea because they sweetened the deal. Oh yes, they did. In addition to the cradle, lucky consumer, you will also receive an assortment of adapters to allow you to power your device all over the world! Yay! Truly this is a fantastic windfall of fortune!

Except for the fact that they included the adapters with the unit. Yes, that's right. These adapters are already in the box taking up space where the cradle might have been. High? The marketing department must have been snorting Ajax when they came up with this idea.

As a side note, I am actually glad they have begun to realize that they have users outside of the United States. I let the smoke out of the original power supply for my T3 in a hotel room in Rome (blowing the breaker and leaving us in darkness) because it couldn't handle the current over there. Every other electronic device, even my wife's hair dryer, was 240v compliant, so it's good that Palm is finally catching up.

Anyone who has ever used a Palm device, or anyone who has been near a person who owns a Palm device, knows what the alarm sounds like. It's something like an ascending fourth sort of trilled like a triplet with a swing feel and a rest in the middle. It's nothing to shout home about, and turning it off is usually the first thing I do with my new PDA. That's why the vibrate feature is nice. Oh what's that? No vibrate feature on the T5? You don't say. Well, sucks to be you. WTF?

As if that wasn't bad enough, they also did away with the voice recording option. Pictures are great, but the sound recordings I've made at various candid moments actually contain greater emotional memory. I am very upset to see this feature go.

The screen on my old Compaq iPaq could be adjusted, which was important because on full power it would eat through the battery in about two minutes. On the other hand, it was bright enough to be used as a headlight on an airplane, and you could easily read the screen in full daylight or a well-lit room with the backlight turned off. The Palm screen is almost impossible to read in direct sunlight, easy to read only when indoors, and has no adjustment of any kind that I'm aware of. This is lame and should have been addressed long ago.

Finally, the one cool thing that I miss the most specifically from the T3 is the stylus. The T3 stylus conceals itself in such a fashion as to leave just its very top exposed on the top right of the device. It looks like a button and when you push it the stylus pops out a little so you can easily grab it. My old iPaq did something similar but used a tooth-and-groove setup that eventually wore out, $50 to repair. The T3 stylus used a much smarter design that did not rely on a tooth that could be worn down but rather an internal two-step spring that seems much more robust. The T5 uses that same old boring stylus that has been used on PDAs forever, like on my Handspring Visor. Hello? Are we still in 1999?

A few superficial omissions:

  • No LCD. Charging the T5 is largely an act of faith because there is no light of any sort on the case. Try Battery Graph. It's free.
  • No microphone vents and no record button. Already mentioned, but visually it is obvious that the T5 does less than the T3, not more.
  • No embossed Palm logo button on the case. Obviously no reduction in functionality, but it makes the case look cheap, not like the flagship Palm device.
  • Recessed power button. Half the time I try to turn it on I have to try twice because the first push failed to turn it on.

So, there ya' go. I'm not sure why I'm still using a Palm device, to be honest. The iPaq line seems to offer more variety and functionality. I think the only things holding me back are Plucker and Space Trader.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Sympathy for the Disaster

I express sympathy for those who are in support of our president. He has called himself a "war president." Clearly, George W. Bush is "The Disaster President."

Young George has set the disaster bar at an unprecedented level. Never before has so much destruction and shame been wrecked upon America. For it all to have occurred on a single president's watch is truly an unparalleled achievement. And yet, he may even bring more.

The amount of cognitive dissonance his supporters eat each day for breakfast, in order to continue believing in the nincompoop and his band of buffoons, must be extremely detrimental to digestion. On top of which, the resulting inability to appreciate irony must rob life of so much depth and color. It is very sad to consider, and I am very sad for all of those people.