Friday, September 23, 2005

They've been workin' on the railroad

The building I work in is shared by the offices of a major railroad company. After working here for about a month, I have ALMOST become used to hearing the gentlemen who work there talking on there cell phones as I walk in the bathroom.

This is no subtle thing, no two-second, "Yeah I'll pick up milk on the way home," conversation with their spouse. They take and make business calls while stall-bound. Their very loud phone rings, gas is passed and deals are done all apon the porcelain throne.

Now, I'll admit I've had a conversation or two while dropping the kids off at the pool. But those calls were mainly to annoy friends and the calls always originated prior to the door being shut and the fan turned on. These guys are sitting there, doing their thing and must think, "Oh yeah. I need to call Jim over at the plant." Pulls out phone, dials.

"Hi, Earl? It's Jim." At this point a loud, gastrointestinal noise ricochets off the walls and causes the stall walls to vibrate. I hold my breath as I feel it rush past my face. Surely this warrants some kind of explanation or apology.

"Do you have those widgets Earl? We need them delivered ASAP." Jim must be about done, because I can hear toilet paper being yanked off the roll, in only what I can imagine must be huge handfuls. The sound of the roll spinning against the plastic holder is evident.

"OK. Well we're going to need to double the order and," Jim pauses here, grunts, and then starts pulling more TP off the roll, "get a half a case of sprokets too. Can you do that?"

Earl must be explaining some kind of trouble he's having getting the sprokets, because Jim doesn't say anything for a bit and continues to unroll toilet paper furiously.

"Could you call the other guy?" asks Jim, standing and pulling up his pants. "But what if the sprokets don't match the widgets? Then we'll be up a creek."

And then he flushes the industrial-strength, 586 psi, guaranteed never to get clogged toilet. The sound is deafening.

"Right, Earl. Thanks." And Jim hangs up the phone.

If Jim had only waited four more seconds to flush, poor Earl wouldn't have had to live with the memory that he'd listened to the whole process.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

What you blog is who you are?

I just realized the majority of my few postings are about weird technology that doesn't exist. This lead me to think, "If someone were to read this, and not know me, how would they invision me?" Here's the picture I've painted of myself, based on my postings:

A small, pale man. Balding. A weak beard is starting to grow, but amounts to nothing more than a few wiry hairs low on his cheeks. Wears socks with sandals and believes florescent twisty bracelets are gonna come back in style any day now. He blogs from his mother's basement. Whenever he emerges to forage for food he has to squint as he scurries around the kitchen, trying to avoid being hit by direct sunlight.

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. Not far from accurate either. I'm a man. I'm sure I'll go bald. I only have to shave once a week and I'm kinda pale. But I only lived in my in-law's basement for a couple months, so HA!

Monday, September 12, 2005

O, ROKR, you are so cruel

Now, I am quite the Apple fan. I love my Powermac, own an iPod or two and have been religious in upgrading my OS. So, when an iTunes phone is rumored to be coming out, naturally I wet myself with excitement.

Then I learned it was going to be a Motorola phone.

And it would only be carried by Cingular.

And then I felt stupid for wetting myself.

Motorola and Cingular are the last two companies I would have wanted touching my precious iTunes phone. Motorola has the worst UI on their phones that I've ever had the displeasure of using. It's completely confusing and difficult to navigate. Very un-Apple. Why could it not have been Samsung? Or, if the heavens aligned perfectly, Sony Ericsson?

Cingular. Ah, Cingular. You have done such an amazing job of marketing yourself. You sponsor everything under the sun and hit that 20-something crowd oh so well. In reality: your service blows. At least around here. And your customer service isn't much better based on what I've heard. Your plan prices are on the high-end and you need to be some kind of royalty to be able to afford your data features. I would have been thrilled for Apple to choose ANY other cell carrier to launch their debut into the wireless world. Nevertheless, my beloved Apple had come out with a new product and I must try it out.

I went into my friendly, neighborhood Cingular store and fiddled with the ROKR for a bit. The phone is much smaller than I thought it would be. The buttons big and feel sturdy. The UI sucked, as was expected. The iTunes bit seemed, well, like iTunes, except for a very noticable drag while sliding back and forth between menu items.

The 100 song cap seems absurd. Why would you lay down $250 hard-earned dollars (or, in the case of Ryan "sat on my lazy arse and did nothing" dollars) for a phone that can only play 100 songs? There are any number of phones out there that have memory card slots large enough to hold at LEAST 100 songs, and for much less.

The only reason I can see buying the ROKR is if you're somehow obsessed with the iTunes interface. Other than that, this is just another ugly Motorola on an expensive service plan. Save your money for the Sony Ericsson W800.