Friday, November 30, 2007

Somebody Check the Temperature in Hell...

It was announced early yesterday that Verizon Wireless plans to open its network to "any apps, any device" in 2008. All I can say is it's about damn time.

What this means is that any company (heck, even any individual with the means) can produce devices for direct-to-consumer sales, provided that said devices meet the technical standards to be set forth by the carrier. This of course is welcome news to many technophiles out there. Many of us have a bit of a love/hate relationship with VZW in that while we love the wide coverage area and solid network performance, we hate Verizon's history of removing/disabling features from phones as well as replacing elegant manufacturer-designed interfaces with their own God-awful UI.

Now with this announcement Verizon has pledged to work with anyone who chooses to purchase a compatible phone from a source other than directly from the wireless company. New Android-powered ├╝ber handset out? No problem. Just ask Verizon to activate the phone for you. What I wonder though is how much this would cost. Right now, customers in many places (maybe the whole country) are subject to a $20 charge just for activating a phone on their existing phone number (a process which basically entails the Verizon rep keying in the ESN/MEID of the phone to be activated, a process which takes about 30 seconds in most cases). Would this charge (and only this charge) apply? Time will tell. Let's just hope Verizon makes good on what could really be some truly pro-consumer pledges.

Ideally this could usher in a new era of competition and innovation among handset makers, which should result in more choice for Joe Consumer. Of course the downside is that device prices could be substantially higher (Verizon subsidizes the prices of the handsets it sells). Again, time will tell. I believe it will be quite some time before we see any great selection of available "open" phones on the market. I will be watching and waiting with great interest.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

What Was That, Hart?

Today was going to be the day. The day that a stellar Michigan team, led by returning seniors Mike Hart, Jake Long, and Chad Henne as well as a slew of others was going to beat Ohio State. After years of sub-par performances and blown opportunities, they were finally going to kick the Buckeyes' asses. On their way to a BCS Championship game, no less.

At least, that's what today was supposed to be coming into this season. Hart Henne and Long stayed at UM for an extra year instead of entering the NFL draft because they had something to prove. They had things to accomplish. Above all, they had a score to settle.

Ah, what a difference 12 weeks have made. Michigan, after screwing the pooch in weeks 1 and 2, has capped off a mediocre season with a loss to their arch rivals in Scarlet and Grey.

Today's victory over the Wolverines tastes especially sweet given the trash talk coming from tailback Mike Hart ever since last year's loss to the Buckeyes. Running a measly 44 yards on 18 carries against a stout OSU defense, Hart delivered one of the worst performances of his career (and Michigan delivered one of their worst performances against the Buckeyes). Granted he isn't fully healthy and hasn't been for much of the season, but then again the same is true of Beanie Wells.

So now that it's over, what will Mike Hart have to say about today's game? I hope that for once, he may actually have learned to keep his mouth shut.

I believe this photo sums Hart's experience today perfectly. Eat it, Wolverines!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Buckeye Hangover

After last night's unexpected loss to the Illinois, I (like everyone else in Buckeye nation) have been asking myself what happened. The answer I keep coming back to is that we simply couldn't stop the spread. It's that simple, folks.

I thought that after last year's national championship game debacle against U of F, we had learned a few things about the quickly proliferating spread option attack. Apparently we needed another lesson, as was made abundantly clear last night. A fair amount of blame should be placed Todd Boeckman's three interceptions as well as the officiating crew's terrible job (and it was terrible), but the fact remains that play after play, they ran right over us. 3, 5, 7 yards or more at a time, they ran right over us. It was January 8th all over again and we let it happen. We have seen all season what Illinois was capable of, and we failed to stop it.

That being said, if there is one Big Ten team that I would want to lose to this season it would be Illinois. They are no pushovers-- this was not as huge of an upset as some might think-- as they have proven against Wisconsin, Penn State, and Michigan what they could do. The narrow loss to Michigan was the result of Illinois' own mistakes: penalties and turnovers. Had the Illini played a cleaner game, they would have easily bested the Wolverines as well. They are a quality team and they came to Columbus to play.

I am, of course, disappointed to see our national championship hopes dashed but we were arguably not ready to face a team like LSU. With all the criticism the Big Ten has been receiving for its lack of quality teams, I am in fact glad to see a new contender in the conference. We need more strong teams like this upstart Illinois squad if we want to get respect nationally. Not to mention the fact that playing crappy teams like this year's MSU and Northwestern teams is just plain boring to watch.

I say congratulations to Ron Zook and his team. You played a tough game and you beat the #1 ranked team in the land.

Of course next year, the gloves are coming off. 11/15/08 the Buckeyes are coming to Champaign, and we'll be out for blood. You can bet on it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

More "bad" things that are good for us

Livescience has put out a list of the top 10 bad things that are good for you. Hooray for numbers 10, 9, 8, 4, 3, 2, and 1!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Macros are a godsend

Throughout my work day I spend a significant amount of time working in a web-based CRM. Because the vast majority of my work is tracked through said application, it serves as the program in which I spend most of my day working. So naturally, there are a few required tasks I perform repeatedly (often dozens of times per day, hundreds of times per month). Tasks that which are not by any means difficult but become very tedious. Mind-numbingly tedious.

So it was with great delight that I stumbled upon iMacros for Firefox, a powerful macro-writing extension for the popular browser. Within a few minutes of downloading I was able to fully automate one of my most hated tasks— closing a completed activity then sending an accompanying email that is chosen from a list of available templates— the one that I perform most in my day-to-day activities. Now all I have to do is run the macro and I save about 90 seconds and 15 clicks per task!

I highly recommend the extension: it is well laid out and easy to use and is exceptionally well documented. It even comes with over 15 demo macros pre-loaded. I find interface, which is presented via a sidebar, to be easy to use and intuitive.

It's times like this that I'm so glad I work for a small company. Time-savers such as this (as well as others I've put together while working here) would not be possible if I didn't have the freedom to install whatever applications I choose at my workstation.

Friday, November 2, 2007

About

I'm a 20-something-year-old tech support lackey at a small company in Ohio. Like any good geek, I live for things tech-related. My idea of a fun night in is toying around with Linux or organizing my music collection. Football season is my favorite time of year (Go Bucks!). Ohio winters can EABOD.

Hello (again) World!

After a hiatus of roughly 3 years, I decided to have another run at this whole "blog" thing. A lot has changed: some will be written about, some will not. I can say that WP has certainly made some big improvements. Here goes nothing.