Saturday, March 28, 2009

My first job: landscaping

This is my first experiment using the website to help avoid "blogger block" by answering their daily prompts. The prompt that, um, prompted this post was "What industry ushered you into the workforce?"

I worked the summer I turned 16 for the landscape maintenance division of a local real estate developer. I made a little over $6 an hour and was the only native English speaker on the crew. For the first three weeks of work my dad had to drop me off at the yard in the morning and pick me up in the afternoon because I was still 15 and hadn't gotten my drivers license yet.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Who has time to vote for town hall questions? Oh yeah, stoners!

Yesterday, President Obama hosted an online "town hall" campaign stop, er, meeting where he took questions submitted by the public and answered the most popular ones. In addition to the obligatory softball questions, thanks to the winners over at NORML, many of the top rated questions had to do with the legalization of marijuana. As Politico reports:
In this moment of national economic crisis, the top four questions under the heading of “Financial security” concerned marijuana; on the budget, people voted up questions about marijuana to positions 1-4; marijuana was in the first and third positions under “jobs”; people boosted a plug for legalizing marijuana to No. 2 under “health care reform.” And questions about decriminalizing pot occupied spots 1 and 2 under “green jobs and energy.”

Luckily, even though Mr Obama does have some experience in the drug world, he stuck to his political and reasonable guns and answered the question directly: "'The answer is no, I don't think that is a good strategy to grow our economy,' he said, as the audience in the room applauded and joined him in a laugh."

Even though I think that the "War on Drugs" has been an abysmal failure and is really misdirected in its goals and tactics, I am still against the blanket legalization of pot and most other drugs, and this was certainly not the format for it to be addressed. It does seem kinda obvious though that it's the pot-heads that have the time to vote those questions to the top of the list.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Blackberry Upgrade, A Week Later

Okay, so last week I posted about the firmware / operating system upgrade from 4.2 to 4.5 that was offered to Blackberry Curve users (and others, I would imagine). Well, after a three hour installation process (hands off, thank God!), having to reset my ringtones and alerts, and fiddle with a few apps, I have to say that I am quite pleased with the upgrade!

I'll go through the features and give my impression of each:
  • Video recording capability - Freakin' cool! I've never had a phone that could do that before, so it's a lot of fun to mess with. Not the best quality, but I've also seen worse.
  • HTML email for
    Internet email accounts - I know what this should do, but since I have my mail working with the Gmail app, I'm unaffected by this one. Only thing I'd like Gmail on my phone to do better is to be able to click on embeded links.
  • Music and Video Streaming video capabilities - Also freakin' cool. YouTube and other embedded flash video on a phone that's not an iPhone. The quality is pretty crappy (as it is on the iPhone), and it doesn't quite go full screen, but it's spiffy nonetheless.
  • New browser home page design - I could take or leave this. Could be good for non-tweakers, but I had my iGoogle page setup for my phone, and it worked perfectly. Luckily you can reconfigure this to your liking.
  • Improved downloading experience - Seems quite a bit faster... that's all I can tell.
  • Improved UMA and data performance - Definitely faster. Feels like you're on a 3G connection when you're really still on the older EDGE. I'm impressed.
  • Attachment downloading and document editing - Downloading good, haven't tried editing yet, but the upgrade did include Word To Go and Slideshow To Go, so it should work.
So now my only gripes are with Google. You can view attachments sent via Gmail, but that's it. No saving, editing, etc. But, I suppose if that's the worst thing, it's still not that bad.

In conclusion, good work, RIM!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

BlackBerry Upgrade!

Finally, BlackBerry sent out an upgrade to the newest version of its operating system (4.5) to upgrade those using the older (4.2) version. There's some sweet new stuff in this upgrade, including video recording and video streaming (YouTube?).

Here's the new features list for my phone, the Curve 8320:

  • Video recording capability
  • HTML email for internet email accounts
  • Music and Video Streaming video capabilities
  • New browser home page design
  • Improved downloading experience
  • Improved UMA and data performance
  • Attachment downloading and document editing
These are all fancy things that the new BB Bold is supposed to do, and I couldn't understand why they didn't push an upgrade out to their existing users sooner. However, in hindsight, I should have known that it was a ploy to get users of older phones to upgrade to the fancy (and expensive) new models instead of waiting for an update. I'm glad I waited it out!

I'm currently installing it on my phone and I'll follow up with my impressions.