All posts by swalloda

iPad for a day was interesting

I don’t know if it was a resounding success but it was definitely functional. The worst part of the day was getting off of the train. I had my bag, iPad and headphones to deal with when the stop arrived and my departure was definitely not as elegant as when I have my iPhone.

The keyboard dock at work was key to doing any chat and email. I still don’t have a good (free) rss reader on the iPad so all of that goes through work. Which is probably a good thing as it keeps me focused at work.

I did bring out the iPad to a bar last night and I must say it shined very well there. It was super fast in looking up bar conversation trivia and let me chat pretty effortlessly with Su.

iPad for an iPhone

Today I left home without my iPhone. Why? What Lunacy crept into me over the night?

The short answer is that my iPhone is having all kinds of stability issues and this morning I decided to wipe the slate clean with a full factory install. And in order to get to work at some reasonable hour I had to leave the phone to probably keep syncing for another hour or two. (was that the short answer?)

Anyway, this should be an interesting test of the wifi only iPad. This will allow me to read email and chat at work. The only downside is no SMS. But between all of those chat programs on wifi I should be able to coordinate all of my post work activities while still at work.

Heath Ledger is Oscar material

I just came back from a 3:30am showing of A Dark Knight and it did not disappoint. Though it was a bit on the long side, the movie packed a punch both in terms of action and acting.

The top actor was Heath Ledger. I’m sure there will be comparisons to Jack Nicholson’s Joker, but really, Ledger’s performance was just plain better. His mix of mannerisms and voice combined to create a dreadful, scary, clever character that kept you wondering what would happen next. And whatever it was, would be unexpected yet completely correct.

Though he may win the Oscar posthumously due to his drug overdose, that asterisk shouldn’t diminish the part he played.

This has been the summer of really, really great action movies. I thought the top movie would be Iron Man. The way that Robert Downey Jr. balanced comedy and action was unique. That being said, when compared to A Dark Knight, the movie seemed too simple. I haven’t seen the remake of The Incredible Hulk, but I have heard good things.

Anyway, my vote is cast. Hopefully, he won’t be forgotten at Oscar time.

iPhone 3G woes

Well, I tried again today to get a new 3G iPhone for Su. We went over to the Michigan Ave. store in Chicago and tested our powers against fate. An Apple employee in an orange shirt said: “let me start by saying some things:

  • From this point in the line (and there looked like there were maybe 30 people in front of us), the wait will be 4 hours.” Ok, annoying, but doable since we gave up last time(on Friday) because of the wait.
  • “We are out of the 16GB black iPhone.” Non starter.
  • “We are the only store who has iPhones left in Illinois.” Wow, did Apple really underestimate the sales volume?

So what do I think of all this?
I understand that Apple(well, really AT&T) doesn’t want to sell phones without a plan. But there are *so* many ways without making people go through all these hoops. They could have:

  • Asked people to pay the full unlocked price. Then when you sign up with AT&T, you get a credit for the subsidy.
  • Asked people to sign up online at home with all the information they need to buy the right iPhone and the right plan. Then you just go to the store and give them an activation number. Done and done.
  • Provided more iPhones to AT&T stores. There are a lot more of them and would have made more people happier sooner.

Why didn’t Apple think of all this and just get it done?

  • A lot of people tend to balk at a large outflow of money (even though they would get it back right away).
  • Generally speaking, your average consumer is an idiot and doesn’t know how to sign up for all this stuff on-line. That being said, I hear that a lot of purchasers are previous iPhone folk so theoretically they should have *some* idea what they are doing. On the other hand, AT&T web sites are totally crap.
  • Given that they are running out of iPhones anyway, this point might be moot. My other suspicion is why not let people buy all their iPhone accessories at your store rather than AT&T’s store. Not to mention, they might be inspired to buy more general mac hardware.
  • Apple likes to make people wait. I attended WWDC 08 and there was nothing short of a long wait to get inside to watch the keynote address. Waiting creates lines which creates hype in the news which (I guess) sells more iPhones.

So what are the next steps?
Probably wait a few more days and see if inventory levels of the proper 16GB black version become available. Maybe, just maybe, it’s worth waiting for the 32GB version?

NYC to Chicago move

During a rough week of farewell parties, it was time to pack up and prepare for the move back to Chicago.

Here are the significant moments:

  • Farewell gathering at George Keeley’s: I think this is the best bar in NYC. Perhaps I’m biased by the easy location (2 blocks away). Perhaps I like that they have a great selection of Belgium beers. Perhaps I like that they have DirecTV and provided a mechanism to watch the Bears play when they weren’t broadcast nationally. Perhaps I like the free popcorn. Perhaps I like the hot and tasty home fries. Perhaps I like the tasty bacon cheddar burgers and chicken sandwiches. Perhaps I like the great bar staff who always remembered my name and gave the occasional free round. Perhaps I like the spicy bloody mary’s (which weren’t Uncle Bill’s recipe, but a solid second place). Perhaps I always had a good time when going there. Anyway, it was a good time had by many(all?) with Yat, mr. and mrs. schwardo, the Potts’, the Petko’s, Erika, and Su and I.
  • Packing up my full-scale library of books: Not much for me to say about this as the main (full) effort of packing was done by Su. I’ve got a lot of them and now (thanks to Su) there is even some kind of inventory list.
  • Packing up the stereo: This is now the 3rd time my entertainment system (receiver + speakers) has been moved. Some would say that Dolby Digital 5.1 is outdated technology, but if one must live off of OTA(over the air) broadcast, then that is the best one can get anyway. Suffice it to say that the cardboard has held up and probably no surprise that the styrofoam hasn’t degraded in the least.
  • Farewell party #2: One party is never enough and it was necessary 🙂 because not everyone could make it on Sunday. What could only be construed as a grammar error (OR vs AND) made this effort a bar/pub crawl. We began the event at Bra Bar. Mike is the great bartender there who has never left us dry or poor. This event was attended by kucerado, Peri, Adam, Su and I. After several rounds, we made our way to bar #2: St. James Gate. Though this bar is relatively new, it is destined to become a local favorite due to its location and friendly authentically Irish staff. The food isn’t bad either (but it’s no Keeley’s). Several more rounds of drinks and the addition of Adam’s girlfriend’s new roomie and we got the signal from kucerado that it was time to go. (As a side note, for any future bar crawl, kucerado is the guy you want in charge. His unique combination of time management and drinking prowess keeps the crawl on schedule.) We tried to go to Keeley’s next, but for some reason they were crazy busy. This wasn’t the end-of-the-world because we had a back up bar of Prohibition. They make a lovely (yet expensive) mohito and their ‘works’ burgers are pretty damn tasty. Since this was the ‘last’ bar, several rounds became many, and there was much drinking to be had. The live music was great. In true kucerado fashion, he went out and bought food so that he could make dinner at home. I’m way too lazy (and drunk) to do that kind of thing on a drinking night, but he’s got game. Adam’s gf showed up and our group size was maxed out. It was snug in the booth, but it’s amazing how that didn’t matter at the time. Mission accomplished.
  • Getting rid of the furniture: Friends of Kevin came by on Thursday night to take all the furniture that we no longer needed. I’ve been through a lot with the black couch. I would say that falling asleep on it with the TV running will never be the same again, but I’m fully optimistic that another couch will rise up to take its place. The desk, the chair, the table and chairs (for poker), the couch, and the futon(that should have been a Lazyboy) now begin their new life with new owners in new locations.
  • Packing up the wine: Though not as ritualistic as the stereo, packing up the wine was itself a sacred and important task. Because I don’t know when I will have the ‘new’ place in Chicago, all of the stuff going with the movers may sit in a truck/storage for 1-2 months. Any wine drinker worth anything knows that you can’t mess around with temperature. Sitting in a truck for the hottest summer months seems like it would destroy the collection (and basically mean writing off major $$$). To avoid all this loss of wealth, we purchased a 10 boxes (each holds 12 bottles) to keep the wine safe for the road trip.
  • Last NYC Domino’s delivery: Now I’m sure that most of the NYC faithful will roll their eyes that we (Su and I) order from Domino’s. But really, it’s the best delivery pizza one can get in the city (at least in the Upper West Side). I won’t go so far as to say it’s the best pizza in NYC (I think that Patsy’s and Grimaldi’s do a good job), but it’s definitely up there. Say what you want about chains, but Domino’s (at least this location) really had their game on. When you add in the cheesy garlic bread and the chicken kickers, it was really hard to find a more satisfying quick and easy delivery meal.
  • Real movers show up: The arrived Friday morning to do the rest of the packing (which wasn’t much, but they sure did make it last). I left Su to go to work, but Su said they did a ‘good job’.
  • Street meat lunch: Pretty sure this is the best street meat in NYC. You get a monster platter with meat salad, rice, pita, white sauce and hot sauce. If you don’t want the rice, they just give you more meat. The best part? Only $5. As with most street meat, it is a proper drinking base.
  • Farewell party #3: This was a work gathering, so a bit more toned down than the previous ones. Nonetheless, it provided a good opportunity to say goodbye to a lot of my co-workers.
  • Moving day: Without going into a lot of detail, it’s safe to say that I wasn’t 100%. We got up (too) early to rent the truck and load it up with the wine, relevant electronics and clothing. This was a tiring and sweaty experience. In case you didn’t do the math, it was 120 bottles of wine and 2+ levels of stairs to units that have 14′ ceilings (what does this mean? lots of stairs). We started driving at 9am, but not before I snapped off a bunch of pictures of my now empty apartment. I drove for 2.5 hours until we were safely on I80. After that, it was pretty much Su driving the rest of the way. As kucerado is to the crawl, Su is to the move. She gets the MVP for her skill in packing and driving. We made it to Chicago by about 9pm local time. With the assistance of Chris we were able to wrap up the move.

What a week!

WWDC 08 — all wrapped up

So I’m writing this final blog about WWDC 08 sitting comfortably in my NYC apartment.  Things were a bit too busy yesterday and I was trying to maximize time with my program and the Apple engineers.  After that, I unfortunately had no wifi access to do blog posting.

Due to the excessive partying that occurred on Thursday night, I unfortunately missed out on the two really interesting sessions (Master Table Views, Tips and Tricks). Ah well. I should be able to catch the videos in a day or two.

I had one more session with Apple User Interface engineers which (though not as productive as the first session) added some new ideas.

The rest of the day was spent in the iPhone lab implementing those and other ideas.

So…final thoughts:

  • Developer conferences are exhausting. Aside from the Thursday night debacle, there is a lot of work keeping up with all the sessions. Though there is a lot of energy in this environment, it also takes a lot of energy to get the full value add. This was a similar experience to the Java One conferences I attended several years ago
  • Don’t wait until the last day to buy apparel at the Apple store. They don’t have much selection and all the sizes that make sense
  • iPhone platform development is big. There are a lot of people trying to get in it because they see the vast potential.
  • This has to be the only event I have attended that included an usually large number of men with pony-tail hair cuts

That’s all for WWDC 08. Later.

WWDC 08 — Day 4 wrap up

I started the day with a session looking at the address book api. No big surprises, but I was excited to learn that I could leverage the ‘viewers/editors’ without actually saving the data to the database. I think that the ‘contact’ viewer/editor is actually a great ad-hoc widget which has applications outside of the address book space.

Next, I went to yet another session about debugging and profiling iphone programs with xcode and the associated tools. Session didn’t teach me too much, but occasionally you see some feature and go ‘yeah, that’s cool’. I left early so that I could ask all of my address book questions in the lab.

While in the lab, I met some guys that were doing professional iphone development(Kyle, Oskar). We talked a lot and their experiences and advice were very useful. Conversation went through most of lunch, so I ate quickly and headed to the next session.

Probably one of the first ‘not a beginner’ sessions was ‘Mastering View Controllers’. It wasn’t really mastering, but it was a refreshing change of pace from the ‘here is a view controller’ session.

I spent the rest of the day in the lab trying to improve the Wine Tool program. Well, until about 6:15 pm when the lab was closed for the party.

The party was at Yerba Buena gardens. It was crazy filled with people, which isn’t really surprising when you consider 5000+ attendees and associated apple engineers and related staff. I drank some crappy red wine and listened to the Bare Naked Ladies. They claimed to be Apple afficianados and were cracking jokes about Apple stuff all night. I liked their music and had a pretty good time (with the one exception of being really cold–San Francisco has crazy weather). I even got interviewed for some company in Santa Monica(I won’t be moving there any time soon). I bumped into Aaron and Curtis (and new guy Danny) at the end of party and we hit a bar (Dave’s). Let’s just say that I was over-served, but there were some good times.