Friday, March 6, 2015

Life Lessons Through Technology

I'm in college currently to be a Computer Information Systems major, or something like that. Basically, computer guy. You'd think that I must be amazing at computers to want to go into this field. Well, I'm really not. Most of the time, I'm just really good at guessing which buttons to press. Some of the time, I'm really not. I was trying to get this old Hi8 camcorder to turn on, and it just wasn't working. I couldn't figure it out. I tried making sure the connections were all solid, I tried turning it on and off, I even tried turning the power switch half-way on thinking the connection inside the switch was broken. I gave up. It simply cannot be turned on. That is until I put it down and my girlfriend picked it up, and immediately realized the hold switch on. Oh.

Even just now, I couldn't understand how my i7 laptop with 8 GB of memory could be so ridiculously slow. I yelled to the world "What is wrong with Windows 7?!" Then for some reason I thought to open the battery menu and noticed it was on power saver, with the "high performance" option just not on below it. Ah.

So the moral of the story is there's always something new to learn, and you're not always as smart as you think you are. And sometimes you really need to stop and just read what is in front of your face. Otherwise known as patience. I really need that.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I switched back to an iPhone... again.

You can go through the archives of this site of mine and find that, through the years, I've changed my mind quite a bit. Particularly on phones. My first smartphone was an iPhone 3G. After I had gotten angry at the slowness of said 3G, I decided to make a bold move and just switch over to Windows Phone, and purchased a Samsung Focus on Amazon for a penny. At the time, it was the current generation Windows Phone, it's just no one was buying them so they lowered the price, and for the first couple months, I couldn't understand why no one gave Windows Phone a chance. I still believe that Windows Phone is the most stable mobile OS out there; apps just don't crash, and the device never slows down. Fluid animations every time you enter or leave an app. It was great in a design point of view, but there were a very limited selections of apps. While everyone had Instagram and Draw Something, I had Angry Sharks and other alternatives to games and social networks. I got used to seeing the "no apps found" message while trying to search for something in the Marketplace. Angry, again, I switched back to an iPhone, this time a 3GS. By this time, the 3GS was beginning to show its age, and I was beginning to be annoyed by it. So I made another bold choice, and switched back to Windows Phone with a Nokia Lumia 920. I said "I don't need apps, I need a great device with design and user experience in mind." Not that I was wrong about some of what I said, but I frequently peaked over the fence to see that the iPhone still had apps that just didn't show up on Windows Phone. The only thing I could really brag about was the camera, which even by today's standards is fantastic. Luckily I still had my old 3GS if I really needed to use Snapchat or whatever I didn't have, until Rudy Hyun came along and brought over some fantastic third-party apps so us poor, desperate Windows Phone users could finally have access to Instagram, Vine, and Snapchat, in a really well designed app. It was great! Then after my replacement 920 started to crap out, AT&T graciously sent me a free Lumia 1520 with a two-year contract, of course. Now I had an even better camera, a better screen, and some of the apps. But I became unhappy, again, with Windows Phone. I had the Windows Phone 8.1 preview, so I had Cortana, and other stuff, but it just felt that Microsoft was slacking. They were making promises that things would get better with Windows Phone 10, but that didn't help today. So I decided, coincidentally around the same time as Ed Bott on ZDNet, that I was done. I was tired of being a guinea pig on a platform that no one else seemed to care about. I went to Best Buy and bought myself a Motorola Moto G 2014. I read reviews online that said it didn't feel like a budget smartphone, and that is was fast. I fell for it, and for a couple months, I was an Android guy. Now I don't know what these people classify "fast" as, but this thing was far from fast. The phone froze up CONSTANTLY. I had been used to waiting a second or two from my older phones, but this thing would more often than not take over 15 seconds to reload the fucking home screen. And it's not like I had a shitload of widgets, just a clock, and news and weather widget, and a bunch of folders. Not to mention if you kept apps open in the background, the whole thing would slow right down. What pissed me off to no end was when I was driving with the GPS on, and music playing. It simply couldn't do those two things at the same time. Music would stop playing, so I'd leave the Maps app, and reopen music. Then it seemed I was waiting an abnormal amount of time for some direction to be given to me, so I reopen the Maps app, and IT FORGOT THAT I SET A DESTINATION. There's nothing better than going 50 MPH and fighting with a phone that just doesn't want to work. I had the phone for maybe two or three months, and already I hated it. So for my sanity, I saved up money from work, and from Christmas and my birthday, and paid the price for a gold iPhone 6 Plus 64 GB. Sure, it cost almost as much as my Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro when it was brand new because I bought it unlocked, but goddamn it, it was worth it.

I can't tell you how much I don't think about using the iPhone. It just works. I do miss some things from Android and Windows Phone, like the keyboard shortcuts without needing to open a second menu, and the dedicated back button, plus the fact that iOS still feels a bit stale, but it just works. And to my surprise, iTunes has gotten a lot better. It's not great, and I'd much rather drag-and-drop in an Explorer window, but it gets the job done. Maybe sometime down the line I'll go back to Windows Phone, but for now, life's pretty good right now. I have a phone that can handle playing music and telling me which turn to take, and I don't feel like smashing it on the ground every time I use it.

Oh, and for a brief time I tried using a Mac. My reactions to it are similar to LinusTechTips: it's oddly harder to use, and it's on par to the performance of Windows 8. In fact, a lot of animations and other system tasks take longer on a Mac. So, I'm a PC.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

It's a Sad Day For America, Everybody: Goodbye Late Late Show

I'm a big fan of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. I always loved how it was the anti-talk show. Although every night would open with a cold open, a monologue, viewer mail, interviews, and a "what did we learn on the show tonight, Craig" 30 second closer, you really didn't know what was going to happen next. The show was always hilarious, fresh, and, most importantly, smart. He didn't treat you like you were an idiot, and he certainly didn't do stupid shit which featured [insert celebrity, meme, or nostalgic thing]. I think you can figure out who I don't like all that much. What matters is that Craig Ferguson has just completed his last Late Late Show, and the entire time I was watching it, I legitimately felt upset. Craig Ferguson is just such a natural at what he does. Sure, in the beginning he was a bit rusty, but so was Conan O'Brien and look where he is now. The great thing about Ferguson is he has instant replay value. He is a fantastic story teller. Just look up his past monologues and watch the ones where he talks about the passing of his parents, how he almost committed suicide, and even him pleading to the public to leave Britney alone. You know what he's talking about, but you have no idea what he's going to say next, and he does it in the best way possible. He's even a natural at interviews. Even if you don't know the guest, his casual attitude and ability to not ass-kiss keeps you entertained and laughing the entire time. Not to mention his gay robot skeleton sidekick Geoff Peterson. That alone is fucking brilliant. I'm really going to miss this show. Much like when David Letterman left Late Night, there's really never going to be anything on television quite like that show. Watching the last monologue of Craig Ferguson really genuinely made me sad. There's not many Carson-like hosts on TV anymore, and we're losing one of the best right now. Well, he did hint that this isn't the last time we'll see him, but it definitely won't be the same. All I can say is James Corden, you've got some big shoes to fill, but make the show your own. Do what you think is the best for late night, not what everyone else is doing. That's why I loved Ferguson, and why I hate NBC's late night lineup.

I really don't know how Jimmy Fallon has been as successful as he has been. It's a genuine mystery and concern to me. Are people really this dumb? And yes, that is a bit harsh, but honestly. Watch Jimmy Fallon's "Best Of" DVD, and I put quotations marks around the words "Best Of" because it's really the only salvageable sketches he was in. Sure, he did some funny things, but he's really not that funny. He's a wonderful impressionist, but lacks comedic abilities. Watch him laugh the only line he had in the "Cowbell" sketch, in fact, watch him laugh in pretty much every sketch. Before Fallon, laughing in a sketch was hilarious, because when a cast member did it, you knew it was hilarious, and it was just funny to see them react to it. Then came Fallon, and it became a regular shtick of his. He left to pursue a movie career which went nowhere. Watch the trailer for the movie "Taxi," and that will sum it up pretty well. Then, Conan decided he wanted to leave Late Night and take over The Tonight Show. Who would take over Late Night? Could it be the talented and admirable Carson Daly, who hosted Last Call at 1:35 AM? Nope, SNL creator and crazy-man Lorne Michaels opted for Jimmy Fallon, because he's got nothing else to do. Now, okay, Lorne also chose Conan to take over Late Night, maybe Fallon's better at talking than he is at being funny. Nope. Even today, you can still see a very nervous and sweaty Fallon stammer his way through an interview while ass kissing the guest. I mean honestly, every sketch on Late Night and The Tonight Show is chuckle-worthy at best, and he still isn't funny. He has no idea how to say a joke, and every funny thing that gets viral on YouTube is a guest rapping to something from the '90s or playing some stupid party game. It's not so much funny, but nostalgic, so long as you're young enough to get the "joke." Plus, he's tame enough that old people will tune in. On paper for NBC, it's a no-brainer. Fallon is as vanilla as you get. He's a corporate puppet. It makes me crazy how people would rag on Leno for being a team player for NBC, but they don't give a fuck if the spinless Fallon does it because all the cool kids love him. If you can say anything good about Fallon, he's great at bringing young internet-savvy people to television by frequently referencing social media and nostalgic bullshit. All things the internet loves. Jimmy Fallon is the human version of Buzzfeed. Even his band The Roots can't understand how the show is still on the air. It's insane. And Late Night with Seth Meyers is just Weekend Update every weeknight. Stale shit that people will tune in for because it's familiar.
Unfortunately, Letterman has lost his touch. It's sad to watch him now, especially when you watch clips from when he hosted Late Night, the show was groundbreaking. Now, it's like listening to an old man talk about things he doesn't like, such as politics and sports. At least Alan Kalter is funny. Honestly, the only late night hosts worth watching now are Jimmy Kimmel and Conan O'Brien. Jimmy Kimmel's dry humor is similar to Ferguson's, but very much unique. And Conan is still as funny as he was on Late Night. I don't care for political humor, it's just biased unfair bashing towards a party, so if you're into that, watch Jon Stewart and/or Stephen Colbert. But don't watch Bill Maher, he's a pompous douche. Oh and if you can get AXS TV, watch Tom Green Live, he's a surprisingly great interviewer.

Speaking of Colbert, what the hell was CBS thinking? They've immediately turned off anyone who didn't find his character funny on The Colbert Report, and we really don't know anything about the guy. And who the hell is James Corden? Now this could be another Conan O'Brien, but seriously. CBS late night is dead. All I can hope for is Fallon dips in the ratings, and Jimmy Kimmel or Conan reign as number one late night show. But that will never happen. People would rather watch Jimmy Fallon play Catchphrases with Jennifer Garner than genuinely laugh.
Craig, thank you for making the Late Late Show your own thing. You've proven that smart humor still exists, just not everyone appreciates it. You made it a great day for America, everybody. I'll still tune in to Celebrity Name Game, and whatever you end up doing in the future. Thank you, and balls.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Snobs and Fast Food

I’m a big fan of Penn and Teller: Bullshit and the movie Fat Head, a follow up to SuperSize Me for a couple of reasons. One of which: I’m absolutely sick of people telling me how to live my life. Watch a couple episodes of Bullshit, and you’ll see how people that want to tell other people what to do are mostly pretentious assholes with an endless supply of cash. They’ll argue that fast food companies are tricking people into eating the food because it’s cheap and we’re stupid. Well, they got one thing right: it’s cheap. Yes, for most of these snobs, it’s hard to see what life’s like in another person’s shoes, and food is expensive. Not everyone can afford to buy all natural food, especially for an entire family. Not to mention that most expensive restaurants serve meals with higher calories than fast food. And whenever a person who wants people to make decisions for themselves comes on the show, they don’t present their ideas in a way to make you feel stupid, they do it in a way to make you think differently. You made the decision to eat the food; McDonalds did not drag you in. Beyond that, I don’t understand why fast food and soda companies are the only ones being scolded. Why not target ramen companies for selling salty soups at insanely cheap prices?
People that want the government to tell us what to do scare the shit out of me. We were all told at a young age to mind our own business, and that’s just what other people need to do. Who cares what I eat, or if I smoke cigarettes (not that I do), or if think people should be free to make whatever choice they want to make? This is America. While freedom of speech protects those that want to protest against fast food, you are still free to purchase whatever you want. Don’t limit the rest of the nation just because you don’t like something. It’s either all okay, or none of it is. The same goes for censorship too, but that’s a rant for another day.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Lack of Motivation

Back in 2009, I started the YouTube channel “AnthonyGVideos.” I made it to share my thoughts on technology and to get my voice out there. It was a time when if you worked really hard, you could gain a decent viewership. The YouTube community, while still trying to make money, really was just doing it for the fun of it. YouTube comments were easy to read, and feedback was easily heard. The great part about it was I never felt like I was talking to a brick wall. Most of my videos would get 300-500 views, because the platform allowed for users to discover new people. It was really fun.
Fast forward to today, it seems YouTube is on a downward slope. It’s harder than ever to get noticed, and even big YouTubers are noticing a rapid decline. Google+ just makes it so hard to find actual engaging conversations because it only puts comments that get the most attention at the top, and most the time, they’re just trolls that get these mass amounts of idiots responding. Now I’m lucky if over 30 people watch my videos. Don’t get me wrong, you have no idea how much I appreciate the people who take time out of their day to watch or read my posts, but it just doesn’t feel fun anymore.
I don’t know if it’s just that I’m getting older, and I’m more concerned about finances, my education, and the future, but making content on my blog here, GeekOnIn, and the YouTube channel, I just have very little motivation to do so. It just really makes me wish I could go back to those days where it really felt like YouTube and Twitter were there to help the community, where you could find new people, and the existing people could still be found. Now, it just feels like they’re trying to make the most money they can by only promoting a certain group of people, and everyone else seems to be losing.
I’m not going anywhere; I’m certainly not leaving the internet. Partly because we just got FiOS, and it’s fantastic, but mainly because the internet is a fascinating place all around. So I guess if you want to hear more about what I have to say about things, stay tuned to my Twitter account.
I feel I’ve rambled on a bit too long.

Monday, July 21, 2014

I'm Going Full Microsoft

I don’t know what happened in the past week, but something hit me, and I started to really get into Microsoft services. In order:
  1. I use OneDrive for everything, mainly because Windows Phone backs up all my photos to it, so I use it anyway.
  2. I put all my songs on the XBOX Music app thing.
  3. I’m using a lot more Metro apps than before.
  4. I’m using Bing as my default search engine.
  5. And this one might shock some people, I’m using Internet Explorer.
You’re probably wondering what drugs I’m on to be using IE and Bing.
First of all, I don’t do drugs. Second of all, IE is not as bad as you think. Okay, that makes it sound bad. It’s very good. And it makes text look really smooth on any device. And it’s nothing like it used to be. It’s much faster and just does things really well. So honestly, give IE a good try, as long as it’s IE 11. I can’t really speak for anything else.
Oh and Bing is honestly just as good as Google. Much more cleaner. Although I’ll admit, sometimes the results aren’t as good, it’s still much more pleasing to the eye. That, and I get free money to Amazon through their rewards program. I’ve even shown some people side-by-side results of Bing and Google, and most of the time, they pick Bing. Try it yourself at http://www.bingiton.com/
Don’t be closed minded, and give Microsoft a fair shake. They’re not that bad.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Why I Decided Against a Surface Pro 3

So here’s the deal-e-oh. I wanted to purchase a top of the line Windows 8 tablet. Why? Because I’m a Microsoft fanboy, and honestly, I think the Metro UI is the best touch experience out there. So when it came to researching for a tablet, immediately there was no contest. The Surface Pro 3 was first on my list for many reasons. One, it’s made by the same people who make the operating system, so it’s gotta be good, right? And two, it’s extremely well designed. But the only thing that made me hesitant was the price. For a mid-range Surface Pro 3, we’re talkin’ $1,299 for an i5 256 GB model. And that’s not including the $149 keyboard cover, which is essentially mandatory for a good Windows 8 experience. Nonetheless, I was ready. I came this close to clicking the “buy” button, when I stopped, looked at the price, and said “eh, might as well go check it out in person.” So I hopped in the AnthonyMobile and drove to Best Buy. And there it was, the same Surface Pro 3 in stock, with a keyboard cover. I started using it, and just was not as impressed as I thought I would be. I don’t know if it was the price or if I’m not too sold on tablets as a whole, but I just stopped and looked around Best Buy. I thought “why not go for a Mac?” Then I looked and saw that the MacBook Air 13 inch was about the same price for the Surface Pro 3, and it didn’t have touch, and I’d have to install Windows on it anyway. Not only that, but I’m already in the Microsoft ecosystem, so I voted nay on the Mac. Then I looked all over and simply wasn't impressed by anything else. Then I found the Lenovo section. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve got a thing for Lenovos. Maybe it’s the fact that they own the ThinkPad line-up, or maybe they just make really good computers, but I was impressed with the selection. Then I found the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro. I had heard good reviews on CNET and was interested, and I started using it, and it was a really cool computer. And I saw the price of $1,199 and thought it was an amazing deal to get a touch screen, with a keyboard, and an i7 processor, and 256 GB of storage, AND a transformer design to fold into whatever the hell you want it to be, I was sold. Well, I would’ve been sold if they had it in stock.
So, the moral of the story is if you’re looking for a great deal, check out Lenovo and the Yoga 2 Pro. And if you’re thinking about buying a Surface Pro 3, use it first, and see if you can justify what I feel is an outrageous price. Especially without the keyboard cover.