Monthly Archives: March 2010

Why is every smartphone still so stupid?

Most people don’t actually realize how much processing power the typical “smart” phone has these days. They are capable of a lot more than what they do today. But when it comes to the evolution of the phone, I feel like the focus is on all the wrong things.

Watching video on a phone makes me feel like a palm reader in training

Yes, there are occasions where it’s convenient to watch a YouTube clip of a cat doing stupid shit on your phone so that you can show your friends on the train home. Of course, this is simply to wet their appetite for the real epic cat video watching session, which will happen on a much more appropriately sized screen.

Even so, the fact is, you should be watching things on a large screen. That is why large screens were made. No one wants to watch a 2 hour movie on a 3 inch screen. No one. So why is there so much effort and emphasis toward video capabilities in the phone? This is just another example of lack of focus. The truth is, cell phone manufacturers love to implement new functionality which falls into the bucket of glittery unicorn features, whose sole purpose is to distract from the utter failure of modern day cell phones to do what they were designed to do: successfully make calls.

There is no such thing as 3G

I’m not sure where in this world a 3G network actually exists that delivers 3G speeds (which might justify emphasis on technologies like streaming video), but it certainly isn’t on this continent. Instead, the most popular apps are ones that are based solely on sending a maximum of ten words to the internet in hopes for some meaningful response. This is actually a very popular trend, mainly because every other person is also unable to get any videos to load and thus resorts to the only reliable form of communication today: text messages.

Cell phone carriers charging for text messages is like McDonalds charging a toll for the freaking drive-through

The fact is, carriers like AT&T will provide customers with unlimited data for $20 / month, yet charge them $0.10 for each text message. I cannot stress how convoluted, absurd, and downright satanic this is. I don’t know why there aren’t class-action lawsuits against text messages. The cost to transfer a single message is so miniscule, the fact that they even measure it is just plain ridiculous. To give you a sense of the numbers, I’ve constructed this handy diagram below. It compares typical text message usage to typical data plan usage. Of course, in order for a slither of a bar to even appear on the graph, I have added a couple of measures for more trigger-happy texters.

I’d like to point out that if you were to get charged for your data plan usage at the same rate as text messages, you’d be paying a whopping $10,000/month. I guess we should be thankful?

A phone that only talks to other phones is essentially a racist

If I am sitting in my living room, and I want to change the channel, and I have my phone in my pocket, I should be able to take out my phone and change the channel. It should be that simple. You can buy a freaking universal remote to accomplish this task, and yet the microprocessors inside today’s phones cannot accomplish the same feat.

I want to be able to control the lights in my room with my phone. I want to control the volume on my speaker system. I want to play music on my phone and have it play on my speaker system. I want to view pictures on my phone and then have them show up on my TV. All wirelessly.

Yes, I understand there are complexities in getting such things to work. But I feel like if you want to make a “single device for all your needs” actually serve your needs, it needs to stop trying to emulate personal computers and televisions (which were kind of designed to do things like watch video), and instead innovate on being a control system for more specialized devices. The phone should be a communication device not just between people, but between devices themselves.

What pisses me off the post is that phones cannot even manage to send and receive calls without problems. Dropped calls, shitty phone quality, weak bars, these are just part of the normal phone experience. Despite this, all the innovation goes toward stupid shit like making everything a goddamn touch screen.

I long for the day when I wake up and my phone sounds its alarms on my speakers, turns on the weather channel on my TV, turns the heating off, and flashes a message on its screen telling me how many minutes I have left until the next bus comes. And no, I am not asking for too much. It’s two thousand freaking ten.

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Airlines to begin charging passengers for oxygen

What’s amazing about the title of this post is that I had to actually spend a minute thinking about what would be ludicrous for an airline to charge for. Ironically, everything from your checked baggage to in-flight movies to freaking peanuts is already not free.

Yes, peanuts. This one upsets my soul. First of all, any company that cannot afford to give people free peanuts should probably not be authorized to maintain a fleet of aircraft. Secondly, you will usually have to pay some insane fee like $5 for peanuts on an airplane. Peanuts are supposed to cost peanuts. It’s an expression for a reason.

Once upon a time, I used to actually look forward to flying. It was alluring, filled with the romantic excitement of being thousands of feet above the ground. Back then, everything was complimentary. You would get free snacks, free meals, free headphones, free drinks, free checked bags, and more. Once you stepped into an airplane you were given a level of comfort that you simply didn’t get anywhere else.

Nowadays, flying is an experience everyone dreads. And it’s not just the airplanes. Airports have now become like the entry gates to jail. You get stripped, scanned, interrogated, and humiliated, and even if you somehow get through all that, you’re headed straight into a crowded hell-hole where you will have absolutely no privacy, a bathroom the size of your nightstand, and meal selections which consist of various cardboard-based cuisines.

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The TSA is the warden of that jail. They love making up all kinds of dumbasstacular rules to compensate for the fact that they have yet to actually stop anyone who posed a real threat to a flight. Even when that Nigerian stuck some Pop Rocks in his pants and triggered an “explosion”, it was the handiwork of nearby passengers, not the TSA, that stopped him. The TSA has since banned passengers from carrying this new, deadly weapon.

The latest decree from TSA included restrictions which prevents passengers from using the in-flight entertainment system (at all), having items on their lap, or using the bathroom in the final hour of the flight. Also, things like Wi-Fi will no longer be allowed at any time.

PRO TIP: When carrying passengers on flights which may last many hours, it is generally not a good idea to place them under conditions that actually promote suicidal tendencies in normal passengers. In addition, if there ever is a hijacker on the plane, this genius set of rules will ensure that they are bored, hungry, groggy, agitated, dying to pee, and eagerly anticipating the opportunity to karate kick every single thing in sight just so that they stretch their freaking legs out.

I think the biggest indicator of reaching sub-neanderthal levels of intelligence is when even FOX news is making fun of you. Speaking of retarded, Sarah Palin finally admitted that she is, in fact, mentally challenged and checked into a facility where she will be surrounded by her kind. But wait, it gets better. She recently made an appearance on Leno (insert scathing anti-Leno pro-Coco remark here). While on the show, she stated her reason for joining:

“I think that the mainstream media is quite broken and I think that there needs to be the fairness, the balance in there. That’s why I joined Fox.”

Two words: Irony Explosion.

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