Vers mini-review

In 2000 I asked someone to pick up an alarm clock from Target—something simple, stylish, and loud. Of the three, it was only the latter. Now you can’t unset the alarm! Argh! And I’ve since learned to wake up to much less noise. In my life I’ve averaged about an alarm clock every decade.

I purchased the Vers 1.5R clock radio from Feel More Human.


I’m hoping my desk and bed won’t be next to each other forever

Continue reading about mini review after the jump

Kindle hits the iPhone

One of the iPhone updates I downloaded last night was the New York Times app. Trying to figure out how it was better than the previous version I was hit with the announcement that there is a Kindle app for the iPhone.

Here are some screenshots with commentary:

Kindle on the iPhone

The Kindle icon is nice. I put the app next to Stanza which is, by far, the best free book reader for the iPhone. Yeah, my battery is running out.

Startup screen

This screen is the same as the Kindle 2’s UPC symbol.


All my purchased books are synced and the covers are in color. Nice.

On the other hand, none of my sample chapters synced, none of my documents synced, and my magazine subscription The New Yorker didn’t sync. I was hoping to see the latest cover in color on the iPhone. 🙁

Where's the color?

Kindle app wirelessly synchronized my page position from my Kindle 2. Slick! You flick tap to change the page, tap hold to pull up the menu. They’ll probably have to change the navigation UI to be more in line with other iPhone readers.

For some reason the scroll is too slow for page flipping. You flick to fast you just get a white screen. You can change the font size but you cannot rotate the display.

Images on Kindle books are supposed to be color. Not for me! Maybe it depends on the book, but the print version of this book is clearly color, while the Kindle version is black and white. Also you can’t pinch zoom or tap zoom any of the images. So much for using the Kindle for my pr0n needs. Argh!

Go To…

There seems to be a bug where both “Beginning” and “Cover” jump to the cover. Beginning is supposed to jump to the first readable area.

Note that the app syncs my notes and marks from my Kindle 2.

The jump menu is the only thing clearly better on the iPhone. I can jump to the section with just a flick and tap. Those of you who take a lot of notes know how frustrating it is to navigate the Kindle 2’s eInk display.

BTW, there is no text-to-speech. This is disappointing. I know the iPod has spoken menus and there is a way sync high quality voices to it. I’d love for a high-quality voice like Alex read my books while I’m driving (and then sync my book position back to my Kindle 2.
[If I have time I’ll archive my notes later in this article]


Well the Kindle 2 came out today so I preordered it.

This morning two people IM’d me about it so I decided to give the first my Amazon referral bucks. I give Amazon bucks semi-randomly to various friends and he asked me how I do it.

I use a “Buy from Amazon” bookmarklet I wrote to make life easier.

You can drag that into your toolbar if you like. One nice thing is to remove the second prompt and just replace the href with the tag to yourself. I keep it this way so that I remember to put the associate ID of one of my friends since I put them on rotation. Kindle 2: Amazon's New Wireless Reading Device (Latest Generation): Kindle Kindle 2: Amazon's New Wireless Reading Device (Latest Generation): Kindle Store

Anyone else wonder why Amazon decided to call it the Kindle? Shouldn’t it be something more akin to Treehugger? I thought Green was in.

Continue reading about My take on the K2 after the jump


Even though it’s been a month, I still have yet to write down my New Year’s resolutions. I think that’s because last year I only completed one of four, after being three for three in 2007, I’m demoralized.

If I were to write one, the resolution would center around becoming a person more honest with myself and, by extension, with others. So far, I’ve found it relatively easy to do the physical aspects like “workout” but rather hard to do emotional ones like “letting go.” This is compounded by the fact that it is relatively easy to write achievable goals for the former, but not so easy to for the latter.

iPhone Gratitude App

I stumbled across an application this morning after working out. It’s selling for 99 cents on iTunes.

The idea is to write five things a day you are thankful for. Every so often (every day?) after writing in the journal it gives you an inspirational quote. I guess the idea is that if you focus on the positive you can create an abundance mindset and thus be happier. As for me, I just think that we don’t focus on our inner selves enough.

We cannot exercise the physical heart directly, so we do so indirectly with large muscles moving. Perhaps we cannot exercise the emotional heart directly, so we do so indirectly with small gratitudes giving.

Maybe it’ll help, and, if you’re in the same boat, maybe it’ll help you too. The nice thing is, you can even do this without an iPhone.


This iPhone application is amazing:

I remember growing up with Rubik’s cubes in grade school. In college, a friend showed me how he came up with his solution at my age simply by inventing algorithms to transpose any two corners or sides. I never managed to get past two rows myself—a shame to my alma mater no doubt.

Rubiks cube (unsolvable)

It goes a long way to show the sort of person I am that as a kid I would love to “solve” cubes by cracking them open and putting it back together delta a single side piece which I would flip. I would then mix the cube up and put it back.

I guess you have to be a geek like me to get the humor in that one.

Features I wish the iPhone had

Yesterday, after the iPhone 3G announcement, someone at work made a comment, “For $200, there is no reason not to get an iPhone.”

I thought that shows we engineers have a serious lack of imagination.

The reasons I gave at the time to him are no different that this Gizmodo article.

Still shows a serious lack of imagination.

On my way to work, between swigs from my water bottle and wondering why God turned up the brightness and volume on the world today, I decided that the deal-killing feature the iPhone 3G was missing is a free “booty call” feature.

iPhone 3G

I wish phones came with that.


Last night I met Dom of iPhoneDevCamp. He mentioned that a lot of people are registering for iPhoneDevCamp 2 (August 1-3 in San Francisco) and will likely be filled up before the event. So register now.

Perfect Ringing (This iPhone)

At work today Mark Kater and Sarah were joking that I’ve been as sick as long as I’ve had my iPhone. I guess my iPhone has bad Feng Shui.

Then Mark mentioned that the song in the iPhone television commercials, gives him the classically Apple 38 seconds of “all is good in the world” before he wakes up back to reality. I hadn’t heard the song, but when I mentioned this to our graphic designer, he said he hears the song in his sleep. The song is “Perfect Timing (This Morning)” by Orba Squara.

Hmm… that would make an awesome ringtone. 😀

Perfect Ringing

Perfect Ringing
North Beach, San Francisco, California

Nikon D70, Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D, Canon 500D close up filter
1/45sec @ f/1.4, iso200, 85mm (127mm)

It was indeed “Perfect Timing” because today was also when someone posted a desktop app for customizing the iPhone ringtone.

Some notes:

  • To get the song, there are a lot of ways. I purchased it in iTunes Music Store, burned to CD, and reimported as MP3
  • Intel Mac binary only. No PowerPC, No Windows
  • “There is no Step 1.” 😀
  • If your unlock fails, you have to click the “skip” button the second time around. Else it will keep playing the pig zapper sound.
  • The “Put the iPhone into Recovery Mode” means to hold the home and sleep buttons on the iPhone for 25 seconds until you see the recovery mode icon
  • Just kill “iTunes Helper” so iTunes doesn’t start up on you
  • Remember to select the ringtone (a green + appears next to the ringtone)
  • The iPhone speakers have a shitty bass

Have fun!Continue reading

The iPhone

I was talking to Dru about that today. He said he’s not worried. “Apple says it’ll be fine as long as you go to a Cingular store and not Apple Store on the day of launch.”

Web 2.0 lunch

Web 2.0 Lunch
Chinatown, San Francisco, California

Nikon D200, Tokina AT-X PRO 16-50mm f/2.8 DX
1/640sec @ f/2.8, iso100, 16mm (24mm)

“Maybe in podunkville. This is San Francisco, the geeky New York City. I don’t think is enough space in the stores to house all the phones people are going to want to buy. I love it when pundits say that the iPhone is going to bomb. More! More of that! I wish more would say that so I’d actually have a chance at getting one.”

*laughter* “I have an engineer who said it was too expensive and all that. And then this morning, he downloaded the guided tour. I haven’t seen it yet, but he has—it’s like twenty minutes. After he watched it he said, ‘Blackberry is going to get crushed.’”


When I got back from lunch, I so had to check out the video. When we were watching, Gerry kept saying, “That’s sick!” The demo of the new earbuds are especially impressive in its cleverness.

When the video got to this fictitious SMS conversation between the speaker and Johnny Appleseed about having a drink before going to Sushi Ran. The place?

Let’s meet at Kell’s

“Let‘s meet at Kell’s.”

Coincidentally, my last SMS message reads… 6/21/07 09:51PM. A: “Kels, jackson and montgomery.”

Yes, I just got drunk there yesterday after the RockYou! party.

Morgan and Jia

Morgan and Jia
Thristy Bear, SOMA, San Francisco, California

Nikon D200, Tokina AT-X PRO 16-50mm f/2.8 DX, SB-800
1/25sec @ f/3.2, iso2000*, 16mm (24mm)

Maybe God is trying to tell me something…

I read you loud and clear, Steve. 😀

(Speaking about New York and San Francisco, I went to my first baseball game in 18 years and it was between the New York Yankees and the San Francisco Giants. Last time I went, I saw Barry Bonds play also, as my friends heckled him from the corporate boxes. This time, I noticed I had no reception on my cell phone and I thought to myself…hmm, I’m switching to AT&T soon. Bonds hit his 749th home run.)

Got a new iPod for Christmas?

iLounge has a great overview of their site’s resources.

Their Free iPod Book and Buyer’s Guide are my favorite because they’re drool-ready and a free download. Remember when this stuff was published in book (and later magazine) and you had to pay for it?

I’ve been using them since I got my first iPod in 2001—they were iPod Lounge before Apple laid down the law(yers)—and they’ve gotten better and better. My only complaint is that I wish their RSS feed had images.