A belated thank you to ThinkGeek.

In stumbling across my action shot that I sent in to ThinkGeek after getting my new-in-box Dreamcast (my third system, it was my favorite console of that generation), I remembered that I was going to post a public thank you to their impeccable customer service division, and never got around to it. So I’m doing it now.

The reason I had to deal with CS at all is because some of the Dreamcasts had that not-so-fresh feeling, you know? And instead of being douches (wordplay!) about it, they were exemplary in how they handled everything. After a bit of an outcry on the Internets, they offered to replace them, no questions asked, and I was among the few who needed new systems sent out. It came before I even had a chance to put my laptop on standby, and they were awesome throughout the experience, in constant communication through Twitter DMs and emails, and even offered me a gift certificate to the site.

So in a nutshell, ThinkGeek deserves crazy respect, in this day and age of absolute garbage CS, with people rushing to get rid of you so they can post their numbers. Thanks, ThinkGeek. You rock.

And here’s the awesome shot of me with Declan, enjoying the sheer glory of the most underrated home console ever.

 

The great iPhone turn-by-turn nav app showdown has ended.

After deliberating over which turn-by-turn app to get for the iPhone, and hearing from a lot of people that a dedicated nav unit was a better way to spend the money, I decided to get Navigon Mobile Navigator North America, which is currently $69.99 until August 31 (iTunes link). I spent way longer than I probably should have investigating the options, and decided based on a lot of reviews and opinions gathered from people. It’s a solid app, if in need of a few updates. I won’t go into exhaustive detail, since it’s already been covered by many blogs, with a great review up on The iPhone Blog.

I used it all weekend and I like it. It worked pretty well for me: re-routing occurred easily, voice prompts were very clear, and the lane assist function is nice, since it helps you when you need to be on one side of the road or another before making a turn or getting off/on a highway. Handling calls is a little weird, as you leave the app completely, and understandably a limit of the iPhone running background processes, but what I can’t understand is this: if the iPhone doesn’t allow 3rd party processes to run in the background, but will allow things like the iPod to play in other apps, why can’t I get a nav app that takes calls within the app and has basic call controls (as with the iPod pop-up window)? It should be supported, since Apple has no issues with their own apps running in the background, and would make the experience even more seamless. I’m holding out for an update with something like this, but I’m also not holding my breath.

Overall, not the cheapest app, nor the most expensive (for now), but very solid. If you want it, get it before the price goes up.

Hulu needs to get it together.

They were a fledgling challenger to the throne of online video, in a time when YouTube was all anyone knew. Well, not really, but you know. And in those halcyon days of yesteryear (early 2008), life was bliss. You could watch hundreds of hours of TV from years past. I recall watching the entire run of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia based purely on the raucous laughter of my friend Dave when he told me about it. I caught up on an entire run of a show over the course of a couple of years in a few days over the summer. Brilliant! It’s all I ever wanted from TV: be there, when I want to watch you, and I will. Hell, I’ll even sit through ads. I didn’t care! It was the greatest thing to happen to TV since the remote control, as far as I was concerned. I was in on the early beta, and it just got better and better as the weeks went on.

But then something happened. Videos started mysteriously disappearing, replaced with cryptic blog posts and half-hearted apologies. Software that was poised to thrust Hulu into the spotlight even more, like Boxee, was quietly (at least in the beginning) crippled from showing Hulu content over and over. We all speculated why, since the commercials weren’t stripped out, so the idea that the big, archaic content provider logic was decreeing it such wasn’t holding up to scrutiny. Even though it’s often to blame for the asinine decision to only show the last few episodes of a series, as though this would prevent the cannibalization of DVD sales. (PS: I wasn’t buying the DVD anyway, and still won’t, guys, so that incisive, Custer-esque strategy kind of failed. Physical media is dead to me.)

Then the big announcement. Hulu desktop. We got all flustered and downloaded it, and you know what? It’s not that great. Every machine I run it on, Mac OS or Windows, has some issues. Sure, it gets revved up after a while and seems ok, but the experience is just not as smooth as it needs to be. But it suddenly made sense why they would want to kill the Boxee connection. They had their own ball, and Boxee wasn’t allowed to play with it anymore.

So it begs the question: with Hulu limiting/removing available content at any given time based on an ever-changing labyrinth of copyright agreement, and their desktop client not really outpacing the competition in terms of usability, and people clamoring for more, more, more – even to the point of loudly announcing that they would pay a monthly fee to get a better Hulu (myself included) – what exactly is the plan here?

Hulu, seriously. Pull it together. I want to sing your praises from the rooftops again. Please, for the love of all that’s holy in the nerd-tech-TV world, be a force for change and make things work better for all of us. Don’t squander that early lead.

I miss my life.

The one I used to have when I was an idiot kid, and my only concerns were driving my crappy car, listening to music, and girls. I miss the mystery of what hot summer nights could bring. I miss the novelty of having an impromptu party happen around you as people show up to wherever you are. I miss the challenge of figuring out ways to get drunk, and the unbridled excitement and potential that an eagerly awaited liquor delivery from an older brother or friend used to bring. I miss having adventures that involved nothing more than driving around a town that wasn’t mine, and finding fun and trouble. I miss meeting a cute girl and having that moment of unsteady realization that she might like me. I miss sleeping late and being a bum, and having a job that served only to pass the time, until I could hang out with my friends again. I miss reading incendiary books and feeling cool for doing so. I miss defining my existence by the concerts I chose to see, the movies I chose to watch (whose posters undoubtedly adorned my bedroom walls) and the band t-shirts that spoke volumes about me, or so I believed…

Most of all, I think I miss the person I used to be. Not that I’m not happy now, and not that I would give up any of what I’ve worked for, but the world changes you. And those people who prance around like Peter Pan telling you “it doesn’t have to, unless you let it” are retards. It does.

I miss the blind acceptance that cool things will happen because I’m young, and the world is rife with possibilities.

So much time passes so quickly, and none of what I’ve said is new or original, but it’s no less true. Our lives continue to accelerate around us, and we all move at a quicker pace, to what end?

Just got to thinking about some summers past tonight, and the people that filled them, and how young I was as life happened around me, and how I didn’t try to orchestrate. I just let it go. Existential, beat life. Just go.

Truly, I love my life. But I miss that person, too.

Sorry about that overly personal nonsense, but I let my mind wander. It happens sometimes.

A small, well-reasoned update.

When I launched this site earlier this year, my intention was to have a place to expound on topics that interested me. In the time since I began, I’ve added a series of social networks and other sites to my daily use. Most significantly, a Tumblr, and Posterous. Tumblr was supposed to be a place for pithy little observations and pics as funny things happen around me. Posterous snuck up on me because its use mechanics are so ingenious, and having discovered it, I was instantly smitten. As time wore on, I realized that most people’s attention spans (mine included), not to mention their time allotments for Internet leisure time, were not large enough to always accommodate the longer format. Even my hardcore blogger friends are expressing a feeling of change, since Twitter effectively killed all of our motivation to do any extended writing.

So in light of these events, I’ve decided to make MoS more of a destination than a specific tool. Squarespace is such a great platform, I felt like if all I was doing was simply writing a little here and there then I was wasting its potential. It’s extremely extensible, and in spending time with it, I’ve enjoyed fleshing it out a bit more. I’ll be posting from a variety of places now, including Flickr and Posterous, but pushing the updates here and will use the Tumblr as a “sister site” for shorter ideas or funny things that may come my way. Of course, I’m already changing my mind about things, so who’s to say it won’t change again, but for now, I think it’s of more value to the occasional interested reader or friend who wants to see what’s quite literally going on in my head. I know I personally find it tiring to follow a series of sites for every person I’m interested in following, so in an effort to stem the infoverload (which was, in fact, a motivation behind this whole project, AND a term I’m totally coining right now) I’m trying to streamline while still being able to feel like I’m being at least a little creative.

I’m constantly fighting the battle of content vs. clutter, though, so there may by more changes afoot as my design sensibilities change. Be warned.

That being said, in the interest of full disclosure, I spent the entire day inside at the beach, trying to keep my flows of ideas moving, and completely wasted some beautiful weather. Absolute summer FAIL. At least today, I have something to show for it.