Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Fall of Gandalf

There are many out there who take issue with the Fall of Gandalf bit from Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings. They argue that the Balrog's whip is too long, Gandalf couldn't have fallen the distance, etc. Read the link and you'll see their methodology. The math is fine, but the assumptions are not. Let's go over this with a different set of assumptions and see what it nets us. Did someone say math + LOTR? Let's do this!

So, we know that Gandalf fell for 17 seconds, and that he was head down (which is more aerodynamic than the spread eagle most skydivers perform, which is what the nerds used for the initial equations). This gives a terminal velocity of ~200 mph, or ~90 m/s. We'll find out some stuff with just this.

So, we have a terminal velocity equation for Gandalf of:

This gives us a coefficient of drag of 0.2847 for Gandalf. It will take him 9.2 seconds to reach this velocity. That means, in 17 seconds, we have a distance of:

So Gandalf has fallen less than a kilometer to catch up to the Balrog. This also tells us something about the Balrog's decent, since we know that, adding up the numbers for how long he fell (12 s until the whip, 30 s until Gandalf's fall, 17 s until Gandalf catches up), the Balrog fell 832.5m in 47 s.
Almost there . . . a little more math to go.

Here's where our conjecture comes in, but it'll be a little bit of it and should make sense. The equation, with unknowns, is:
​Now, we don't know what the terminal velocity and the time to it are. However, we can make some educated guesses. First, the terminal velocity is going to be nowhere near Gandalf's (or else Gandalf wouldn't have been able to catch up). Here's a list of some possibilities (vT = terminal velocity, vS = time to get there):

vT    vS
20    5.4
30    21.8
40    35.9

I'm going with 20 m/s because of the wings (feel free to do the math for any of the other possibilities). This also makes sense as the Balrog is made of fire, so he probably doesn't weight that much (otherwise he would essentially crush Gandalf when they sword fight). It could be even less while he's falling initially since he could open up his wings and drift like a parachute; I'll cover that in a sec.

So, assuming a terminal velocity of 20 m/s it would take the Balrog 5.4 s to get there. That makes the distance equation for falling for the initial 12 s:

This would put the Balrog's whip at about 1.5 football fields, which is still ridiculously long; even accounting for some magic stretching which we might expect.

It also means that Gandalf slams into the Balrog with a closing speed of about 150 mph, which would be fatal (or, at least, catastrophic). But these are fairly simplistic calculations for bodies falling. We need to take some other things into account.

The Balrog has wings. While he obviously can't use them to fly, it's silly to assume they do nothing. If he could fly, he would have flown back up and incinerated Gandalf, the Hobbits, et al in a barrage of fiery doom then gone on to find the descendant of Smaug and had an all out, aerial death battle. Now I wish that happened.

I digress. The Balrog had wings, and we can't assume they're useless. If they were to, say, act like a parachute, he would have an almost immediate terminal velocity of ~5 m/s, or about 11 mph. If you watch the clip again, you can see that the Balrog initially falls slowly, then falls rather quickly once he hits Gandalf. It's reasonable to assume that the Balrog flared his wings out in order to get one, last ditch shot at his foe. 5 m/s for 12s is 60m, but that's the distance his feet travelled. He looks to be some 4 m high with arms that are about 2 m, so that gives us 6 m less, give or take. So we're talking a whip length of about 54 m.

The actual fall time is more like 8s, because the initial 4s is more the bridge crumbling (again, watch the clip). So a spread-wing fall could be more on the order of 40m, giving a whip length of some 34 m give or take. Now, this may still be longer than it has a right to be, but the whip did appear out of seemingly nothing, so there's obviously some magic involved. It doesn't take that much suspension of belief to say that the whip could expand from, say, an original length of some 20 m to a bit over 30 m.
I could buy this whip being >30m

Also, once the Balrog saw Gandalf in pursuit, he could have furled his wings for a more aerodynamic profile and thus sped away quicker. Gandalf as well could have splayed out before getting to the Balrog to slow his descent.

I'm not going to do the calculations for all that, but it's entirely reasonable that the scene went down just as we saw it. To say it's physically impossible is to assume, I think, more than one has a right to.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Issue with Math

OK, got this sorted and ready to go.  Enjoy!

Mathematicians can do some amazing things, but some have been accused of living too much in the world of theory rather than fact. Here's a neat video:

Basically, it says that:

1-1+1-1+1-1+1-1+1... = ½

Here's the "proof," in a nutshell:

1-1+1-1+1-1+1... = S

1-S = 1-(1-1+1-1+1-1+1-1+1...)

1-(1-1+1-1+1-1+1-1+1...) = 1-1+1-1+1-1+1... = S


1-S = S

1 = 2S

S = ½

Pretty straightforward, right? Plus we know the series oscillates between 0 and 1, so a number of 1/2 makes sense (as it would be the average, as it were).

Not so fast, Mathicus Maximus!
It's a new superhero I'm working on.
The issue here lies in treating S like a natural number; their premise in finding S assumes that S indeed exists and is not simply conceptual. This is a problematic assumption, which I'll demonstrate.

So, let's do us some math wrangling. Buckle up; it's math time!
Please, Hammer, don't infinite Riemann sum them.
It's assumed in the video that one can take S and perform basic arithmetic on it like an algebraic variable. Let's apply some of the same logic and play with the equation some more.

First, let's take 2S. In the video, this is treated like 2*S, thus we can solve:
2S = 1
S = ½

OK, all fair and good. Or is it? Let's do some fandangling with 2S and see what we can see.

S = 1-1+1-1+1-1...
2S = 2(1-1+1-1+1-1...)
2S = 2-2+2-2+2-2...

OK, here's the fun part:
2-2+2-2+2-2... = (1+1)-(1+1)+(1+1)-(1+1)...
(1+1)-(1+1)+(1+1)-(1+1)... = 1+1-1-1+1+1-1-1...
1+1-1-1+1+1-1-1... = (1+1-1-1)+(1+1-1-1)+(1+1-1-1)...
(1+1-1-1)+(1+1-1-1)+(1+1-1-1)... = (1-1+1-1)+(1-1+1-1)+(1-1+1-1)...
(1-1+1-1)+(1-1+1-1)+(1-1+1-1)... = 1-1+1-1+1-1+1-1...

And, by definition:
1-1+1-1+1-1+1-1... = S

2S = S

If this is true (which it is, based on the definition of S and the logic used in the video), then we have:
1-S = S = 2S
1-S = 2S
1 = 3S
S = 

We could get any number of possibilities for S as logic dictates that nS = S (n being 1 or an even integer, at least; haven't tried it with odd integers).

The video treats the equation 1-S = S like we can algebraically manipulate it, but we can't do that and still get real results. This is because they assume that there exists a value S and then go about using that value, but they never actually prove that S exists. If we try the same thing with other abstract concepts/numbers, like 0, we get:

4(0) = 8(0)
4(0)/0 = 8
0/0 = 8/4 = 2
0 = 2(0)

Now to substitute 0=2(0) in our original equation. We still haven't committed any math ills, here.
4(2(0)) = 8(0)
2(0) = 8(0)/4

Now let's substitute again.
2(0) = 8(2(0))/4
0/0 = 16/8 = 2
1 = 2

In this way, we have "proven" that 1 = 2.

Since this is false, one or more of our premises or calculations must be false. We know that it's the division by 0; you can't take 0/0 = 1. The premise from the video commits a similar math sin. Namely, it assumes that S+S = 2S (that S is a number which can be added like that).

However, we have shown that S+S = S, and is in keeping with how the sequence is defined. We cannot simply treat S as a number or we run into the same issue we did above with 0. The defined definition of S will not allow us to simply manipulate it like an algebraic variable. We arrived at the conclusion that 1-S = S through non algebraic means; it was part of the concept of what S is. Similarly, we arrived at the equally valid conclusion that 2S = S. There is obviously more going on here than simple addition or multiplication when we perform arithmetic with it. Therefore, we must either reject the premise that S = ½, or we must accept that S = ¼, or any other value we can manipulate it to give.

Monday, January 14, 2013

How I Left Verizon

This is a story all about how my life got flipped; turned upside down. Wait, that was the Fresh Prince. No matter; this is the same sort of thing. I’m going to tell you how I got rid of my Verizon contract and not only avoided paying an ETF, but made money in the process. Top that, Will Smith! All you’ve got is that mildly entertaining but ultimately forgettable movie “Hancock.”

He must have super shoes, too, since they didn't get damaged.

Verizon, for me, has often been something like a relationship with a hot but psychotic girlfriend. One minute you feel like the luckiest guy on earth while enjoying the . . . benefits (I was going to say “coverage area,” but that doesn’t really transfer over as an analogy without a lot of imagination). The next, you’re jumping through hoops trying desperately to not cross some made up line that gets you in trouble. It’s incredibly expensive and you most certainly can’t have it your way. When the going’s good it sure is great fun, but the rest of the time you’re left feeling trapped, manipulated, and wanting out. After a long enough time, even the plain-Jane T-Mobile girl starts to look enticing. Sure, she’s not as flashy as Verizon; but she’ll get the job done and still let you play video games. My analogy’s wandering, here, but you get the point.

So what’s a guy to do? Simple. Manipulate back. What I’m about to divulge is completely legitimate and above board. This is how to get out of your Verizon contract without any tomfoolery and without leaving a huge dent in your pocketbook. As to how you’ll get out of that toxic relationship with the crazy bikini model? You’re on your own for that one. Sorry.

Did I mention my new Share Everything plans? What's yours is mine . . .

Verizon’s definitely a clinger. Try to step out on your own and BAM! $350 early termination fee (or ETF, as it’s known by Verizon employees and internet dorks). I had heard of several ways to dump your line without eating the ETF, but each seemed problematic to me. There was the old “lie to Verizon and say you’re moving to Antarctica” trick, but that involved lying (staying above board here, remember?) and, from my research, not everyone was able to get away with it. There’s the tried and true complaining about fee increases (since the little penny fee increase here and there could arguably constitute a change in agreed charges during a contract period, which would get you off the hook), but not only have people had very limited success with that, but even if you made a huge stink over $0.02 Verizon could simply offer to refund it to you. No dice there.

I think it's easier to simply walk into Mordor.

After nearly giving up, I stumbled upon the end-your-contract-without-an-ETF holy grail: Assumption of Liability. Clean, simple, effective. Only one problem: you need a third party. You see, an Assumption of Liability (AOL to us dorks; not to be confused with how you got online in 1995 when Mom was off the phone) is when someone takes over your line of service. The contract then transfers along with the line to the new owner, leaving you scott free to frolic about in the meadow. Now, you just left Verizon so frolicing is all you can do since you have no coverage all the way out there, but I digress. The point is an AOL lets you give away your line to another party and be completely free of your Verizon contract; no muss, no fuss, no ETF. Just once and done.

“OK,” you ask, “what good does that do me? It’s not like I have a family member I can dupe into donning Verizon Red shackles.” Not to worry; I’ve got you covered. You see, grandfathered Verizon unlimited, and even grandfathered tiered Verizon Family Share plans, are pretty coveted out there. I won’t go into the reasons why people want them because, well, it should be pretty obvious. If you’re not after the latest unlocked device and money isn’t an issue, it’s hard to do better than one of these grandfathered Verizon plans. OK, I lied; I did go into the reasons. In any case, if you have an old unlimited or other Verizon plan, there are people out there who want what you have. And they’re willing to pay for it to boot.

I only accept Ninjabucks as payment.

I was sitting pretty on a 700 minute Family Share plan with no texting (Google Voice ftw!) and two lines. One line had grandfathered unlimited data for $29.99, the other 4GB a month for $30. But that shiny new Nexus 4 came out, and it had me salivating over T-Mobile’s $30 a month prepaid plan. Not to mention the disco-ball back. I’m a sucker for all things disco. I was at the time paying, before taxes and fees, $129 a month to Verizon for the privilege of accessing their mobile network. That’s pretty good compared to some of the newer plans, but still a decent chunk of change more than $60 a month for two lines with T-Mobile prepaid. After some research I found a couple of active marketplaces where people were selling their phones and lines like a Somali black market sells AKMS rifles. The best two I found were Howard Forums and Cell Phone Forums:
Howard Forums
Cell Phone Forums

I posted my Verizon plan particulars (just prices and features; no personal stuff) and watched the PMs pour in. OK, it wasn’t that easy, but in all honesty it was pretty darned close. In not too much time I had a few offers for the lines, and I worked out a deal with two separate parties on Howard Forums; one for the minutes and 4GB line, the other for the unlimited line. I got paid via PayPal, had everything handled with Verizon’s AOL department, and viola! Contract free. I ended up making $100 off of the deal, too. Had I gone the ETF route, I would have been looking at over $600 in fees to Verizon to simply walk away. Going my route, I ended up pocketing $100 and still being able to sell my now clean ESM phones (that just means they can be reactivated on Verizon) on ye olde Craigslist and pocket another $350. Easy peasy.

For those of you willing to brave this method, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, the risk. You’re dealing with random strangers on the wild internet, so there’s always the possibility you could get scammed. Someone could pay via PayPal and then dispute the payment once they have the line. Someone could get your line, then refuse to deactivate your device rendering it unsellable (though you could use it on their dime, so I don’t know how likely that is). Someone could use your information to track down your cat and force it to learn how to fetch and make a YouTube video about it and show it to all of your cat’s friends, which would be very embarrassing and emotionally hurtful. Use your head and don’t do anything you’re not comfortable with. I take no responsibility for any harm that comes to you or your cat.

Be wary or face the wrath of Grumpy Cat.

Second, Verizon has some rules for transferring grandfathered lines. First, you can’t transfer just the unlimited data line to someone and have them keep unlimited. It has to either come along with your minutes plan or the buyer has to have an existing Family Share plan to add it to. If neither of those things exist, then the person taking over the line will be forced onto a tiered data line (though not one of the new Share Everything plans). Second, the person doing the AOL will have to pass a standard credit check and the line will be under a 1 year contract. It doesn’t matter if your line had 6 months left or 18 months left; the new contract owner’s contract will be 1 year. Third, the phone number on the line will have to transfer with the line; if you migrate the phone number before the line is AOL’d, then you’re hit with the ETF. More on that later.

OK, let’s talk logistics. Say you have a buyer and you feel comfortable doing the deal. How do you go about getting it done? It’s actually surprisingly easy. I expected Verizon to make me jump through hoops on fire and juggle knives (metaphorically; though I wouldn’t put it passed them to make me do it literally), but they didn’t do any of that. I simply called 888-832-4540, which is Verizon’s AOL line. I verified my information and then told the rep the name of the person I’m authorising to take over my line and which line they’re authorised to take over. The buyer then called the same line, gave the rep their information, passed a credit check, and went on their merry way. I have to give a huge thumbs up to Verizon for how smooth and hassle free the process was; I’ve never done it on another carrier, but I can safely say they all should strive to make the process work as well as Verizon does.

It was a nice experience, but I don't know that I'd go this far in my VZW love.

The whole affair is all very simple and straightforward except for two little things: your existing phone, and your existing number. Both will be tied to the line that you transfer, so unless you’re selling your phone with the line and you’re already using Google Voice for all of your calls and texts (which you really ought to be, in my opinion), you have another couple of steps to go through. First, in order for your phone to be free from the line it’s attached to the buyer will need to activate another device on that line. One of my line buyers had his own iPhone that he wanted activated. He’s obviously a crazy person, so he’ll have fun with the metaphorical crazy girlfriend. The other had a Galaxy Nexus, which is far more sensible. In both cases, I had to wait for them to activate their devices before my associated phones were free and clear to sell. Not a big deal, but definitely something to be aware of.

As for the phone number, that’s a little trickier. Like I said, you can’t migrate the number or else the line will get hit with an ETF. However, the new owner can migrate their old number to the line once they take it over. This frees up your old number for migration. Once it’s free, why not migrate it over to Google Voice? This way, you have it as your texting number for free SMS over data with the Google Voice app, and when you make phone calls people will still see that same number. If you go with an unlocked device on prepaid like the GSM Galaxy Nexus or the Nexus 4 (provided Google Play gets off their duff and sells you one), you can switch SIM cards between AT&T, T-Mobile, and Straight Talk without ever worrying about having to switch your phone number over. It’s a one-time fee of $20 and well worth it if you’re going prepaid (heck, even if you’re going to a new contract). Google Voice integrates very well with Android, so you’ll never have to give friends and family a different number again; regardless of switching phones, carriers, plans, lines, etc. Or, you can simply get a new line of service with a different carrier (or even with Verizon; this is a nice way to get a device upgrade when you’re mid contract, but you’ll be forced to also get a Share Everything plan) and have them migrate your now freed up number to the new line.

Take your Nexus weapon; strike me down in your anger and your journey toward the Dark Side will be complete!

I get the allure of Verizon’s network; I really do. This article is not meant to convince people to switch from Verizon to another carrier. Verizon has a killer network and their LTE speeds are pretty stinkin’ awesome. It’s like that hot but wacko chick; I get why you stay with her. Heck, I dated her for years and her insanity never really got to me. But for those of you for whom her charms have faded, you don’t have to feel trapped. There is a way out that doesn’t involve her keying your car or posting defamatory images of you on Instagram. Enjoy the freedom, Android friends. And besides, she’ll always be right outside your window watching you sleep if you ever want to come crawling back; she’ll just make you pay for it in the form of Share Everything plans. And you’ll have to take her Mom out for a nice steak dinner.

I know this image isn't the most relevant, but it's awesome. Deal with it.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Solar Flare!

Cell phones, get ready for dropped bars. According to, we have an X-Flare headed our way, tomorrow. It's just the Sun reminding us how awesome it is compared to us.

Aren't we just adorable next to all that fusion?

Speaking of awesome, how cool of a URL name is

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Motorola: Make This!

I could be accused of a bit of Monday night quarterbacking when it comes to mobile tech manufacturing. I'll admit that I have never created, marketed, and sold a mobile device on the open market (though I have listed a phone on Craigslist). Perhaps, then, I am not qualified to tell Motorola what they ought to do when it comes to making a smartphone. I should be sorry for my actions, and never tell a multi-billion dollar corporation how to best develop products again.

I'm as sorry as Keanu is here; no amount of cats will displace my shame.

But I'm going to anyway.

I do what I want!

Motorola made my current smartphone, the Droid RAZR. For that, I sincerely thank them. It's a svelte pice of awesome; Kevlar and Gorilla Glass wrapped Android thin enough to fit in a hipster's jean pocket. A truly great device.

But it's not what they should have made. It has several limitations that seem almost arbitrary, and it could have been so much more with presumably just some minor changes. The Maxx comes to mind, but even that doesn't do it all justice (after all, I still prefer my RAZR's thin profile to the "bloated" Maxx, which is still thinner than the Galaxy Nexus and iPhone).

I'm here, Motorola, to help you out. You're one of the few manufacturers going out on a limb and coming up with something new, form wise. Sure, you flop now and again, but that's what promotes greatness. Like when Luke messed up at first when he tried to defend against the remote with the blast shield down.

With the patent dispute down, how am I supposed to compete?

I'm not here to say you should have used Samsung's sAMOLED+ panel if you weren't going for HD resolution, or that you ought to have used coding resources to get vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich onto your device rather than Blurred Gingerbread. That would be beneath both of us (and also a bit disingenuous, since I love my RAZR). No; I'm here to tell you what the most awesome handset in the world would be, with current technology. Use it as a litmus for where your development future will go. I expect my consultant check in the mail.

First thing first: you need to make something without limitations, but that's still unique. You don't want people to say, "I'd like it if only it didn't have . . . " Instead, it's OK for people to say, "I just don't personally care for . . . " It may seem subtle, but the difference is huge. People need to feel that the device made no compromises in its design. If there's something there that's against their alleged tastes, that can be dealt with (remember when people thought 4" screens were too big?). If it's something that they like that could have been better, then you failed to uphold your device's perception in the public eye.

Just because your marketing team says it's awesome doesn't mean we have to believe it.

No compromise. That's the perception you need to cultivate. Apple's done this with their iOS brand, and people have bought it. Mainly that's because Apple doesn't compromise within their sphere. You can't find a better 3.5" screen than the LG made IPS LCD panel in the iPhone 4/4S. The GPU in the A5/5X is second to none. The design is preference. As much as I don't like iPhones, this is a winning combo.

I'll let you in on a secret, Motorola: you have more to offer than Apple does.

I just blew your mind. I know.

This is not to say you need to copy Apple; not in the slightest. I'm just saying that Apple has successfully marketed themselves as a no-compromise manufacturer, and you should strive for this, too. Plenty of other companies have done the same, so this isn't an Apple corner in the mobile space. Basically, you need to be the best Motorola you can be. Go get 'em, big guy! You can do it, slugger!

Besides, no one likes a bad copy.

First thing's first: design. This is an easy one: don't change a thing. There is not a single handset out right now that holds a candle to the RAZR design. From the materials to the look to the nano-coating for water resistance, you guys really hit it out of the park. Bravo.

Anyone who thinks this isn't a great looking phone needs their vision checked.

Next on the list: screen. This is by far and away the most important part of a phone, these days (though there are a few contenders for a very, very close second). Your screen needs to impress, to awe; to make a grown man cry from its sheer beauty.

And it needs to be huge. No hyperbole, here; I'm dead serious. The majority of people that seem to "prefer" a smaller screen are those who haven't used a larger one. People knocked the HTC Evo's screen for being practical-joke big, and now it's the standard size for smartphones (and it made HTC a dollar or two).

Of all the panels out there, one that is currently in production comes to mind.

Take note: I like puns.

The 5.3" sAMOLED panel on the Galaxy Note is nigh perfect. Take this screen and make it non-pentile matrix and you're set.

Next: radios. You guys are the standard for radios, so do this portion in-house. Use one of the smaller die processes for your LTE radios (28nm, preferably). This is paramount because of our next point:

If I had a dollar for every time I saw this screen, I'd try to see this screen more often.

Battery life is key. What you've done with the Maxx is a step in the right direction, but if you pair that with 28nm die LTE modems (and other parts, obviously), you would take this into the stratosphere. This isn't exactly an epiphany, so expect other manufacturers to be hard at work on the same thing. Get to market first and you'll be known for it.

Of course, Andy's already been to the stratosphere.

Next up: CPU/GPU. I know you all like to play nice with Texas Instruments, but their combo screams "compromise!" So does nVidia. For that matter, so does just about everyone. Samsung is the only company I can think of that doesn't, and that's only with their Exynos processors. Be our hero, Motorola. Come out with an A15 dual core that has a killer GPU.

Software is also important, and I must commend your choice in using Android (since you've been acquired by Google, I'm doubtful this will change). However, I also have a bone to pick; two, in fact. Blur and bootloaders.

"Blur" rarely makes one think, "that must be really polished and awesome."

Blur is actually not bad, but you really ought to focus more attention on serving add ons to the OS rather than a complete refresh of it. I know you think that it "differentiates" your device, but you've misunderstood. The consumer couldn't care less about Blur, Sense, TouchWiz, etc. No one goes from a Samsung Galaxy SII to a Droid RAZR and says, "Wow! This new theming is the best!" Go ahead and make a new launcher and do a few small tweaks like allowing swipe to camera from the lockscreen on Gingerbread, but leave it at that. Spend your time on making Smart Actions more polished (and who cares if it ends up a pirated *.apk; that means you're making something others envy!).

For the bootloaders, unlock them (well, decrypt the signature). The people that want it will love you for it, and they are few. The people that would be trouble with an unlocked bootloader won't be doing anything that requires one. Keeping it locked up is basically a no-advantage scenario. If you're worried about more tech support issues, just be sure to send a new device, pre-release, to the heads of some of the usual suspects of awesome ROMs and they'll handle the tech support side (AOKP, CM, MIUI, etc.). It'll cost you a grand total of something like $4500 retail (less, since it'll just be your cost plus shipping), and it'll also be free advertising to boot. That will probably be the best $4500 you'll ever spend, equating to thousands if not more handsets sold. This is a no-brainer and a really, really easy and cheap way to be the #1 make amoung the tech and Android enthusiast blogs and forums.

And please, none of that stupid "developer device" crap sold without a warranty and no carrier subsidies. That just pisses people off and makes you look cheap (remember: no compromise perception).

You could be King of the Nerds, Motorola. Embrace your destiny.

Last but not least: the camera. This is an easy one: use a Carl Zeiss lens and a Xenon flash. Yes, the Xenon will take more juice than an LED. It won't matter. People don't use the flash enough to make a giant dent in battery life, but they will notice the difference in their nighttime photo quality. That's also why you'll use the Zeiss lens: picture quality, picture quality, picture quality. This is key. You'll need competitive MP so that you don't fall short on silly spec sheets, but the picture quality will make you a legend in the blog world. And, since you're Motorola, you'll find a way to make it look sexy and not like, well . . . a Nokia.

This is one of the few things Nokia got right, and they're universally praised for it.

The rest is fluff. MicroSD slot vs. internal memory, HDMI port vs. PDMI, etc. don't mean too much. If Apple's shown the world anything, it's that you can compromise on connectors and most people won't care.

So, to sum up, make us a device with the following:

  • RAZR Maxx build (battery included)
  • A15 with a killer GPU (a real benchmark-buster)
  • 5.3", HD, sAMOLED+ screen
  • Carl Zeiss lens with a xenon flash
  • Vanilla Android with a custom launcher and some basic tweaks
  • Unlocked bootloader
  • Advance devices sent to leading devs in the ROM scene
Do this, and you'll be awesome. Do it not, and every one of your handsets will die this day.

True story.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Waving Goodbye

This morning, my inbox (and probably yours, too) greeted me with this message from the Google Wave team:

It says, "Dear Wavers,

More than a year ago we announced that Google Wave would no longer be developed as a separate product. Back in November 2011, we shared the specific dates for ending this maintenance period and shutting down Wave. Google Wave is now in read-only mode. This is a reminder that the Wave service will be turned off on April 30, 2012. You will be able to continue exporting individual waves using the existing PDF export feature until the Google Wave service is turned off. We encourage you to export any important data before April 30, 2012.

If you would like to continue using Wave, there are a number of open source projects, including Apache Wave. There is also an open source project called Walkaround that includes an experimental feature that lets you import all your Waves from Google. This feature will also work until the Wave service is turned off on April 30, 2012.

For more details, please see our help center.

Yours sincerely,
The Wave Team"

Time to pour one out for the best collaboration software money couldn't buy.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Robuntu: Android Gets in Touch with its Linux Side

Welcome to the future. No flying cars, mind; just some sweet digs for your computer/smartphone.

Canonical, the dudes who brought us Ubuntu (and many of its derivatives), have shoehorned a fully functioning Ubuntu distro onto an Android device. Big deal, right? We've seen this countless times before. Heck, even my Dell Streak 7 has an Ubuntu install floating around out there.

You shut your mouth. It is a big deal.

What Canonical has done here (and will show off at the upcoming MWC) is more than a simple port of a popular Linux flavour onto a handheld device; they've successfully married the smartphone and the desktop computer. Ubuntu doesn't dual boot, here, but it actually runs alongside Android when you dock your device (ala Motorola's Webtop, but this actually works well). Carry your device and it's Android; dock it and it's Ubuntu. Awesomely, when you're in Ubuntu mode you can still run Android apps and receive Android notifications. You run off of your Android's hardware, and can do anything it can do (texts, phone calls, Angry Birds, etc.). If you dock it to an HDTV, it'll automatically use Ubuntu's TV interface (doesn't look like Mythbuntu, but it still looks pretty cool).

What are you waiting for? Check out the video!