Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Thinking of upgrading from the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 to the Note 3?

Here are some things that I have noticed after a few days with the Note 3, coming from the Note 2:

  • Samsung Account - Makes it easy to share S-Notes from your phone to your Note tablet and vice-versa.
  • S-Note - redesigned. Note taking space now takes up more of the available screen space, while the interface takes up less. 
  • S-Note - The Pen is WAY more accurate thanks to the redesigned pen interface. 
  • S-Note - Erasing things is so much easier now. The eraser just wipes out the letters you run it over, so there's no more hitting the lines above and below it, or making the eraser head so small that you have to scrub the line multiple times. 
  • Touch keypad - WAY more accurate. (Just like the pen!) I cannot tell you how frustrating it was to try to type texts and emails on the Note 2, there are no words. The Note 3 is much easier. 
  • The Note 3 is slightly longer due to the increased screen size, but it weighs less and it's noticeable. (5.7 inch screen vs 5.3 on the Note 2)
  • The screen resolution is much better. (1080p)
  • The flip cover for the Note 3 has a front window that allows you to answer calls and use some basic functions without opening the cover. 
  • I feel better about myself because I now have the latest technology. 
I'm kidding about the last one, but the differences are not subtle. I was hesitant, and I only upgraded due to a special they were running, but once I was using the Note 3 I was happy I did upgrade. I use this phone to run my business, so I have to be comfortable using it for everything. 

Edited for excessive comma overuse. Parents are advised to monitor their children.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Little Sister

OK, this is something I have been thinking about a lot recently due to the crazy amount of government abuse our freedoms have taken. We all know - if you don't please leave now, thank you very much - about George Orwell's 1984. We're all pretty aware that a good many of the elements from that story actually exist now in our modern life. Big Brother really is watching you, or at least your cell phone, email, You Tube, Facebook, and other electronic communications.

The classic question is "Who watches the watchmen?"

The answer should be a very simple "We do."

We pay - and I mean PAY - for ALL of these government programs that infringe upon our freedoms. The police officers that raid the wrong house, shoot your dog, and frighten your family half to death in the middle of the night? You paid for that. The state trooper that drive 110 miles per hour down the highway and then tickets you 15 minutes later for doing 75 in a 65? You paid for that. The DHS guy harassing you at a roadblock two hours from the border? You paid for that.

I'm not saying that there aren't law enforcement officials out there doing a good job, but I am saying the potential for abuse is so high that it is more common for law enforcement to abuse their position than it is for them not to abuse it. Think I am wrong? Visit any LEO forum on the internet and see what their definition is. How many officers think speeding is a perk and not abuse? How many states have laws that allow LEOs to do one thing while forbidding citizens from that same thing? Governor Cuomo in New York recently stated that because he gave verbal permission for DHS brass to carry pistols in violation of NYS law, that it was OK.

What is the solution? I think that we should turn the tables. We need to find local, state, and federal politicians willing to sponsor legislation requiring ANY law enforcement officer to wear a head-mounted camera when on duty. That camera should stream live video to a public website that allows the public to monitor the actions of law enforcement. The video footage should be archived just like the NSA archives all of our data.

Big Brother may be watching, but Little Sister should be watching right back, preventing Big Brother from abusing the citizens of our country.

Yes, I am aware of the "issues" law enforcement thinks this may cause. They're not really issue, because anything you think you shouldn't be doing on camera is something that you shouldn't be doing, period.

Yes, this means an end to the "No knock" warrants and middle of the night raids. Those should end anyway, considering they endanger people on both ends of the raid. 
Yes, this means your war on non-violent drug offenders will be effectively over. We cannot afford your war anyway.
Yes, the treatment of law enforcement as a better class of citizen will end. There is only one class of citizen, and there never should have been special treatment to begin with.

Share the word, bother your local, state, and national representatives. Make law enforcement accountable!

Little Sister is watching!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The word: Retard

Overly sensitive people, leave now.

One of the things that kills me about political correctness is the inability of people to deal with the fact that other people use words to insult each other. Half of the time they are complaining about people using one word while they use other words to insult those same people. A bit hypocritical, but that's humanity.

Our word today is: Retard.

Retard comes from the term "mentally retarded' which is a term for significantly impaired cognitive functioning and deficits in two or more adaptive behaviors. Before the term mentally retarded - or just retarded - came into fashion, terms such as "idiot", "moron", "imbecile", and "cretin" were used to describe mentally handicapped people. 

Of course, using those words to describe someone whom they do not actually describe is a form of insult. And as we use a word more and more to insult people, the term shifts to try to move the insult away from people afflicted with disabilities. 

This is what we call a "euphemism treadmill," which basically means that as you come up with new terms to describe something to get away from the negative connotations of the old terms, the new terms will be gradually used as insults and you will keep coming up with new terms ad nauseam.   

Look, what it boils down to is that you can start calling mentally handicapped people "rainbow unicorns" and people will start calling each other rainbow unicorns as a form of insult. So just stop already. Instead of vainly trying to stay ahead of the name-calling game, how about you choose to ignore the insult and teach others to do the same?  

Do you get mad at every Disney movie out there? I can't count the number of times some cartoon character in my daughter's movies has called another character a moron, an imbecile, or an idiot. 

Being insulted is something you choose to do. If someone calls someone else a retard and you are insulted, it's because you choose to be insulted. Isn't life too short to be wasting so much of it being angry over being insulted by things that weren't even aimed at you? 

Now excuse me, I have to go slap some damn rainbow unicorn that is messing up my inventory. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Reset parental code on an Xbox 360 Elite console with the newest dashboard:

Reset parental code on an Xbox 360 Elite console with the newest dashboard:

Go to Settings
Console Settings
System Information

Scroll all the way down

using the controller, press:

Left trigger, Right trigger, X, Y, Left Bumper, Right Bumper, Y, A, R(on D-Pad), Y

This will bring up a prompt to reset the console to default.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Dell u3014 30" LCD monitor

So, my new, new monitor arrived yesterday. I happily set it up and began experimenting.

And then the disappointment set in. The resolution is 2560x1600. Same pixel width as the u2913wm monitor I just returned, and yet it shows LESS because the height is 1600 and the screen is set to a 16:10 ratio. The 29" is set to a 21:9 ratio, and so it shows more to the sides. Granted, 1080 pixel height is less than 1600, but I really noticed the lack of width, and not really the added height.

I played around in a few games trying to convince myself this is the better monitor for me. Bioshock Infinite can be tweaked to show more width with an FOV edit in the ini files. Battlefield 4 is supposed to have a working FOV slider, but I found that it did nothing for me. Guild Wars 2 looks fantastic, but again, you are stuck at the 16:10 ratio. Diablo III looks amazing at 2560x1600, however, and is probably the only game I tried that worked for me at that resolution.

Don't get me wrong, the u3014 is a fantastic monitor. The pixel density, resolution, and colors are amazing. I love that the touch sensitive buttons are little nubs that light up so you can feel when you touch one. I love that the power button is actually a button. The monitor itself is lighter than my 2009 27" Dell LCD due to the thinner body. (LED vs CCFL)

But, the things I didn't love outweigh the things I did love. I really want an ultra-wide resolution for games. I liked the missing bezels on the sides of the u2913wm. The 30" has pretty big bezels. The 30" also has some massive light bleeding at the bottom corners; Much more noticeable than the 29".

In the end, I ordered another 29" u2913wm from Dell. Hopefully this one won't have the power on issue. The 30" is going back next week.

I have heard rumors of a 34" ultra-wide Dell lcd in the works though. Stay tuned!

EDIT: This monitor also seems to have issues. The backlight will flicker for 15-30 minutes sometimes. It reminds me of old CRT monitors with low refresh rates. It gives me an almost instant headache. It's kind of ridiculous for a monitor this expensive to have an issue like that, although I have been reading reports of many issues with this model; Scan lines, backlight problems, and now the flickering. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Dell U2913wm - Update

So, I discovered a minor issue with my new monitor; I can't turn it off and then just turn it back on when I want to. If I turn it off, the power button does NOTHING when trying to turn it back on.

Being that I used to work in IT at a support desk, I went ahead and troubleshot the thing on my own. It turns out the DP (Display Port) connection is bad. If I have a DP cable connected, the monitor will not turn on. I need to unplug the DP and power cables, then just insert the power cable and turn the monitor on, then insert the DP cable.

Needless to say, this is unacceptable to me, and the monitor is getting returned. It was a great monitor otherwise, but I decided that as long as I was experimenting, I would just get the next size up.

Stay tuned for my review of the Dell U3014 30" LED LCD. 2560x1600 resolution, here I come!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Dell U2913WM Ultra-widescreen Monitor

I had a bunch of credit at Dell after buying some PCs and things, so I decided to check out the 29 inch ultra-widescreen monitor.

For the curious, this is potentially replacing my Dell Ultrasharp 27" LCD.

The screen size on the 27" model is 23" x 14 1/2" compared to the 29" at 26 1/2" x 11 1/4". So you are pretty much trading off about 3 inches of height for 3 inches of width.

Other differences:
The bezel size - 3/4" on the 27" and 1/4" on the 29
LED backlighting on the 29 vs the tube lighting on the 27"
Resolution - 1920 x1200 on the 27" vs 2560 x1080 on the 29

So far the colors appear superior on the 29", but of course it is a few years newer than the 27" with all the advancements in panel technology built in. I haven't really missed the height in games too much, but I really noticed the added width. There's just a lot more on the sides that you would have to run to see before. It really helps in shooter games.

I think if you want to try an ultra-widescreen resolution without investing in 3 LCD monitors and the video cards to drive them, this is a less expensive way to go.