Archive for December, 2014

Past the peak of smartphones.

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

The motorola droid 3 is probably the best machine we will see for a while.

I think the phone was only available for 6 months or something like that, and that’s probably when motorola and/or google figured out their mistake.

For a while there was a race to the top, the most stuff in the most phone for the most money. Reasonable business plan. You cram a lot of features into a device and then charge a lot of money for it. This pays for the R&D for the next round.

Except somewhere along the way, somebody figured out that giving the end user lots of cool hardware was probably not in their best long term interest. Apple makes the example obvious. No apple device (phone, tablet) has ever had an SD card slot. Why? Well, why would you ever need to take any content off your phone? Especially without Apple’s ok. If you want more storage, then buy a gizmo with more memory, but allowing you to add removable storage is just bad news for the ecosystem.

I think motorola or google eventually joined that bandwagon, because I notice that the newer the device, the less crazy over the top hardware it has.

The newer devices don’t seem to have HDMI ports on them. Or SD card slots.

I noticed that the droid 4 comes with 8 gig of internal storage whereas the droid 3 came with 16 gig.

So I figure the droid 3 was near the pinnacle of the best hardware that anybody’s ever going to make for the mass market.

And since they can be had on ebay for $30 now, it seems like an incredibly good deal, until they make interfacing with them impossible.

What I mean by that is that I have a samsung captivate glide, it’s only 2 years old, but since it runs android 2.3.something I can no longer download the latest google calendar app, so I can no longer sync the calendar on my phone with my google calendar.

I figure we’ll be seeing more and more of google moving towards their walled garden ecosystem like the one apple as created for themselves.

After all, that’s where the money is.


Buying a lottery ticket isn’t such a bad idea.

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

Buying a lottery ticket is a tax on people who can’t do math.
So they saying goes. And it makes sense to some degree. I have a friend who is a genius math guy and he says you have about as much chance of winning the lottery as you have of having the winning lottery ticket fall in your pocket.
He’s a smart guy, I believe him, but I recently started buying the occasional lottery ticket anyway, and here’s why.

Some of the money that collects in the new york state lottery pool ends up going towards schools. It’s not half like I thought, but I looked it up and it’s a good chunk. Billions of dollars a year are spent on schools that come from the money spent on lottery tickets. It doesn’t amount to a whole lot from the school’s point of view (4% of the revenue per school district said one article), but it’s better than nothing.

Of course this is a big joke in one sense, because the money spent on schools from the lottery is money that doesn’t have to come out of any other budget, and I’m sure whoever owns those other budgets happily pisses away the money on thing’s I’d rather they not.

But here’s the point: Some of the money spent on lottery tickets goes towards schools and it’s one of the very few ways you get to decide how your tax money is spent.

Yes, you could give money directly to your school and will have more of an effect but this way… I have a chance of willing a million dollars. 🙂


The inversion of entropy.

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

I have a pile of electronics and wires from things I’ve taken apart over the years. Adapters and plugs, and cables for all sorts of things.

Any time I go near the pile invariably the wires are all tangled up.

Numerous times I have gone through the pile and wrapped up each cord individually so that it would not tangle with anything else.

Some of the wires stay wrapped, but some will eventually unravel and then start to tangle with other wires.

I figure at some point there is a limit to how tangled the wires will get, because they never seem to wrangle into a solid mass. So there must be some universal tangle constant to which wires will naturally tangle to, no more no less.

Given a pile of wires, they will tangle together to some natural pressure and then modulate between more tangling and less tangling so they stay tangled at or near the tangle constant.

I notice that wires never ever untangle themselves, but left to their own devices, they will naturally start to get wrapped up in each other.

This has been my experience, what do I know.

Despite all this, for some reason, my shoes always untie.

It would seem to make sense to make shoelaces out of wires and cables.