Hilarious Hollywood computer faux pas rundown.

There was an article I came across recently about the guy who designs the insane UI mock-ups for movies, and then I stumbled across this beauty by simply mistyping something in my browser bookmarks. I can’t believe its pure genius lay buried in my beautifully nested folder structure for so long…

What code DOESN’T do in real life (that it does in the movies)

One highlight: “If real life were like film I’d be able to port wordpress to my toaster using a cat5 cable and a bag of glitter.”

Brilliant.

Nexus One naming issues.

I love Blade Runner, Philip K. Dick, and all associated androidery as much as the next nerd, but this is dumb.

The PKD estate is getting all uppity because they think that Google is biting off the Nexus name for the new phone.

nexus: 1. the means of connection between things linked in series; 2. a connected series or group

one: really? Come on. For our purposes, let’s just say it’s the first of its kind.

Given what Android (and Google, both with Chrome and in general) is trying to do, by converging your data and unifying your user experience, I feel like the PKD estate is a little overreaching here. I know you have to defend trademarks to have them at all – that concept isn’t lost on me – but the name makes sense within the confines of the definition.

A brief history of being a nerd on the go (pt 2).

My next foray into the world of smartphones came in a chunky little body. The PPC-6700 was the successor to the 6600 I spoke about in the last post and surpassed its predecessor in every way. The OS was Windows Mobile 5, which allowed for more customization and some other things I don’t remember because evidently they weren’t important enough to commit to memory. But I remember being excited simply because the overall UI was improved – things like fonts were clearer and icons looked nicer. Those kinds of little things can’t be underestimated when you use a mobile device as intensely and as often as I do, since your eyes are always on it, detecting any and all imperfections and flaws.

The real draw for me was the form factor of the phone. It had a stubbly little antenna with a stylus tucked inside and a slide out keyboard on the side. When you slid out the keys, the screen would rotate to accommodate the new perspective, but it never was quite enough. Sometimes you would be waiting several seconds (like three) for the screen to catch up with what you had wanted to do, and by that point, you just gave up, or got angry because of the wait time and the hiccup in your user experience. But it was one of the earlier devices to do such a thing, and I remember peoples’ eyes bugging out when I did that in public. “What is that, some kind of tiny laptop?!” Keep in mind, this was before the advent of the netbook, when the only other devices that had keys like this were things like the HP Jornadas and other palmtop thingys. But only business guys carried those, and they definitely weren’t phones. First of a new breed of form factor. (6700)

But for the time, it did have a decent keyboard, and more onboard memory than the previous model, which allowed for some more programs to be installed. It also added a miniSD slot as opposed to the full-size SD slot on the other phone. Which, though exciting, basically meant that you had a leftover SD card now, and had to buy a new card from Newegg. The miniSD card market was nascent at that point, and capacities were certainly not like they are today. The other cool thing was that this phone had Wi-Fi, which was omitted from the 6600 (you only had the CDMA network as an option). So you could sit on Wi-Fi at home, and switch it off when you went out, which was good, but a bit of a pain, as the networks never quite handed data off as seamlessly as you’d hope, and WinMo wasn’t exactly adept at toggling these settings easily. Unless you mapped something like that to a hardware button, you were yanking out the stylus to poke a tiny icon.

Oh – the camera was improved, too. I believe it was a 1.3 megapixel model, and it even had a little physical switch on the back so you could take something approximating macro shots. Again, a great idea that fell short, but you had to hand it to them for trying something like that. And by them, I mean HTC, who was still making a name for themselves in the public, as this was long before they started actually running ads on TV like the ones you see now for the Android phones they produce. The only people who even knew that name were nerds like me and people who wrote about tech, like the writers of Engadget, Gizmodo, et. al. It’s kind of interesting how that company’s grown, but that’s another post entirely. If anyone has stuck by WinMo longer than they had to, it’s that company, and if anyone’s done more for that operating system than Microsoft itself, it’s HTC. They even had better names for the devices (and still do) – this phone was known as the Apache before it became the 6700. It would have been a lot cooler with a moniker like that, for sure.

But as I said, that’s for another post. Next up: The Treo that wasn’t, and Palm gives up the goat.

A brief history of being a nerd on the go (pt 1).

We’re so obsessed with our mobile gadgets lately, that we sometimes forget it wasn’t so long ago that most people carried only a phone, or nothing at all. I’ve been thinking about this lately, and decided to take a brief look back at some of the other geek boxes I’ve carried in my pants over the last few years. For those of you who can’t stand hearing about this, feel free to zone out and think of Christmas. But don’t think of all the crap you still have to do before the actual holiday, or you’ll just stress yourself out.

We’re going to do this by operating system, otherwise it would just get out of hand, and the three of you who might still be reading would lose all interest. I probably won’t get as technical as I could, either, because this is more about a brief hit of near-nostalgia than an outdated processor pissing contest. Plus, again, most of you wouldn’t care.

If you’re still here, let’s begin with an old favorite, Windows Mobile (aka Pocket PC) 2003. I didn’t really get on the PDA bandwagon with Palm, so my first real foray into the world of mobile computing came with an HP iPaq 4350. I looked at a ton of them before I finally settled on this one, as it had the best keyboard of the lot at the time, and also a decent screen. It ran Pocket PC 2003 (which was what they called WinMo before it became WinMo and eventually Windows Phone), and for all its quirks, it was a solid little system, even with its blazing 64 MB SD RAM, and 32 MB flash ROM. 

Such fond memories. NES FTW! (4350) 

Naturally, the majority of my time with it was spent running NES emulators and loading ROMs onto an SD card, along with DivX movies and some MP3s. I wasn’t nearly as much of an important big-shot type as I am now, and having a 5-way rocker button and hardware keyboard made NES action simply divine on there. I remember taking it on a tour with my band at the time and being so amazingly thankful for both Metroid and headphones.

 

From that device, I jumped to my first PDA phone, which was the Sprint PPC-6600, also known as the Audiovox (or later UT Starcom) 6600. It ran PPC 2003 as well, but it was the very exciting SE (second edition) which added exactly zero interesting features. Not really, I’m sure, as to which some internal MS and Sprint marketing literature would surely attest, but as a user, you saw very little difference. This device also had a keyboard, but was a bottom-slider, which made it weirdly long when typing, but still somewhat usable.

First of the phones, the lovable brick. (6600)

Not by today’s standards, of course, where I would have compared the device to a freshly prepared plate of excrement, but then it was pretty cool. Heavy and bricklike, it served its purpose, but was quickly supplanted by the much sexier, slightly smaller, yet still brickish 6700, which we will discuss later, as thinking about Windows Mobile this much makes my brain cry.

Plus, since it was technically running Windows Mobile 5, we could (and MS does) consider it a different OS, even though it was pretty much freaking identical with the exception of a few minor polish points. But it did do some cool stuff, too, even if it meant sacrificing the quality of the NES action.

What was your first serious mobile device? I’d like to hear about it. (I’m a dork that way.)