CategoryTechnology

Quick AirPods Thoughts

The basics: I like my AirPods. They were easy to pair, the sound is decent, and they’re secure in my ears. The case is cool and will fit nicely in my backpack. I am not an audiophile, so if you are maybe you want something better, but they’re fine for me. I’m not going to be a huge fan of pulling my phone out of my pocket to change the volume, but I think I can live with that.

The really interesting thing is how unobtrusive they are. I could possibly have one of these sitting in my ear all day; it wouldn’t cut off outside sound and it wouldn’t be annoying. If Siri was really awesome, this would be the at-hand personal assistant as described in Oath of Fealty, which would be kind of cool. Siri is not that awesome yet, however, and she’s not tuned for voice communication. Like, I should be able to say “Where is Susan?” and Siri should tell me where she is instead of making me peer at my screen. (We have Find my Friends, it’s not creepy.)

Anyhow, lightweight: that’s the cool bit about this device. They’re a wearable that fades into the background. Or maybe they’re a signpost on the way to that wearable.

Redhat Openstack Install

Redhat has a shiny new Openstack install process, which includes an all-in-one configuration. This beats DevStack on Ubuntu for me because it’s persistent, which DevStack is not. And I’m a bit too lazy to work through the install by hand if there are options available. I’m pretty sure this guide would have been useful if I wasn’t lazy, FWIW.

Anyhow, I’m running through the install now. Only one snag so far; the Quickstart fails to tell you that you need to install puppet. Do this before step 3:

sudo yum install -y puppet

No problem rerunning the packstack step if you didn’t install puppet the first time through. Two minutes later I had an instance up and running, and most of that time was downloading the image.

Quest for LTE

Did you remember that Ron Perlman was in Quest for Fire? Me either, but he was. This post is not about cavemen, though. It is a note on an AT&T LTE provisioning problem in the interests of helping other people get the problem solved.

I upgraded from my iPhone 4 to a spiffy new iPhone 5 on AT&T. It was great except LTE wasn’t working; I just got 4G and nothing better. The first week I had it, I went to Austin and Las Vegas which kept me a bit too busy to bug AT&T. I did call AT&T tech support from Vegas a couple of times, but neither time was very successful. (Do not foist me off on Apple, dude! Uncool.) My research said that a number of things could be wrong: my sim card might not be provisioned for LTE; I might not be on an LTE data plan; or the sim card itself could be hosed.

In all these cases except the broken sim card, it’s reportedly possible to get a phone support person who can fix it. I believe this is true because ultimately it was a phone support guy who solved the problem, but none of the ones I talked to in Vegas were clued in. So I finally went down to the AT&T store in Palo Alto today and chatted with this awesome guy named Chris Dubon. He swapped out my sim card and double-checked my data plan with no luck. I offered to hit the Apple Store, since at this point I was suspecting hardware, but he was all “nope, let’s eliminate anything we can eliminate before you leave.”

So he called tech support and they said “hm, we don’t see that sim as provisioned for LTE.” He swapped in another one, and they reset the whole profile. Bam: LTE.

The key thing here is not to go bug your AT&T guys with the magic words I’m not even sure I got right; what I’m saying is just hit the AT&T store directly and let them be smart about fixing the problem. They can pull out a replacement sim card on the spot, they’ll get through to the right tech support people, and so on. It took like 45 minutes but it was time well spent.

The Federal Internet

I’ve been reading a lot of AlternetHistory.com lately. Someone challenged the board to come up with an AH in which the Internet was unrecognizable with a point of divergence later than Jan 1st, 1989.

I couldn’t do it; by that time you already have at least two regional ISPs. If you somehow prevent Bob Rieger from turning Netcom into a business, Barry Shein still gets The World underway. I don’t think the One Great Man theory applies to consumer-oriented ISPs.

But if you’re willing to push the POD a couple of months earlier, you might be able to do something. None of this seems deeply likely to me, but I think it’s vaguely possible.
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Instapaper Fiction

I like fiction delivered to a convenient and elegant place to read! So:

  1. Go to ifttt, log in/register/whatever
  2. Create a new task.
  3. Choose the Feed trigger.
  4. Choose New Feed Item.
  5. Use the Feed URL http://hilobrow.com/tag/world-shook/feed/, on the assumption that you want to read HiLoBrow’s H. Rider Haggard serialization.
  6. Feed it into Instapaper (or Readability if you like that). You can leave the default field values alone. If this is your first time using ifttt, you’ll need to register the channel first.
  7. Give it a description.

Or just go ahead and use the recipe I made.

Price Awareness

I don’t get the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7. It’s a pretty standard tablet, with LTE as the standout feature. It’s a 7.7″ model. It runs Android 3.3 — in theory ICS will come in the future, but we hear that a lot. At 16 GB of storage, it retails for $499 with a two year contract. How does that make sense when the 16 GB iPad 2 is selling for $580 no contract at Best Buy? And where’s the cheaper WiFi model?

Streaming VIDEO_TS?

Oh mighty Internet: is there a preferred solution for streaming VIDEO_TS directories? Boxee does it but support is rumored to be flaky. Plex maybe does it? I can handle more or less any platform although OS X or Linux are more desirable.

Big Apple Bite

Gruber has been more accepting of the new iOS App Store rules than I am, but I like his latest post on the subject. New information to me: there’s a limit of 3,500 items in the in-app purchase catalog for any iOS app. As he notes, this has obvious implications for Amazon. It also occurred to me last week that the 30% Apple cut wouldn’t work terribly well for the oft-rumored NFC implementation. If Apple wants us to use iPhones as payment devices everywhere, they’re not going to be taking 30% of all transactions made via the iPhone. So I keep on thinking there’s more to the picture than we’ve seen so far. I’ll say this: Apple continues to be annoyingly opaque.

Yet More Apple/Kindle

Apple’s released its new subscription/purchase rules. Interesting commentary here. He drills in on the one sentence in the press release which refers to anything other than subscriptions: “In addition, publishers may no longer provide links in their apps (to a web site, for example) which allow the customer to purchase content or subscriptions outside of the app.” If Apple hadn’t rejected the Sony Reader app, I’d assume that “content” referred to subscriptions, but since Apple clearly does care in some unspecified way about non-subscription content I can’t feel confident there.

30% is a huge cut. If you’re getting something for it, such as payment processing, it’s not unreasonable. If you’re a small content provider and this frees you from having to worry about PCI compliance, processor gateways, and so on? Sure! But if you’re a big content provider or aggregator (hi, Amazon), you are not getting value for that money.

More Apple/Kindle, Still Some ?

Apple said something somewhat confusing that nonetheless implies that the way in which they enforce the rules has changed. Gruber summarizes. If Apple means what they seem to mean, that’s alarming. Also difficult to enforce. If Amazon removes the store button from the Kindle app, but still sells Kindle books pushed to the iPad via their Web site, is the Kindle app still offering the customers the ability to purchase books outside the app? I can buy ePub books from various sources without involving Stanza, and then download ’em to Stanza. Does this violate anything?

This wouldn’t have happened when Jobs was around.

That’s a joke.

Mostly.

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