Archive for July, 2010


July 31st, 2010, 7:44pm by Mike

About 3 weeks ago, I got an iPad, which I wanted to wait for but knew was more or less inevitable. It’s been a fun couple of weeks, and I’ve learned that while there are some really nice things about the iPad as a platform, there are definitely some substantial limitations.

This is a long post, so click through if you want to read the rest.


New Bank

July 31st, 2010, 6:31pm by Mike

In case anybody’s looking for a new bank, we’re in the process of switching from our friendly neighborhood bank to Schwab’s High Yield Investor Checking for our main checking account, and so far, so good. Read on if you’re curious.


Showing off his Chinese

July 22nd, 2010, 4:11am by Kelvin

Here’s Lucas singing about 2 tigers (I think). It always cracks me up to hear him use his Mandarin. I’m sure his accent is terrible.

(I tried to embed the Flash video from Facebook but the html kept getting stripped out, even when added from the web dashboard. Oh well, here is what might be more mobile friendly version).

What can webOS do for you?

July 19th, 2010, 7:24pm by Jake

Lots of chatter on Twitter today on future webOS devices, real or imaginary, kicked off by HP’s filing of a trademark for Palmpad. Now, it’s all but certain that HP will eventually release a webOS-based slate. And there’s still hope that Palm actually releases a new phone before the Pre hits its 2-year anniversary. Of course, HP is all but certain to stick it on some of their printers. But what else?

Seems to me that the easy, low-hanging fruit is a photo frame. There’s always a question of hardware requirements, but my guess is that bill for Pixi-like components won’t run into triple figures excluding the display. A lot of the cost is in miniaturization & battery, and plugged in photo frame (w/ a 10-minute battery) would avoid those stumbling blocks. Beyond that, it’s less clear. Sure, it could be the backbone of an Audrey II, complete with integrated Touchstone chargers. But that’s really not so different from a slate. Now, one area where software could make a difference is in digital cameras. It would be nice to have the full suite (well, once there is a full suite) of webOS apps to instantly edit & upload select photos, or quickly reference optimized (or downloaded) websites for help. HP was once a respectable niche player, and if they could provide a differentiated product they might get back in the game. Of course, the iPod Touch 4 might fill that hole given the quality of the camera in the new iPhones.

What other form factors could HP create where webOS can shine?

Lies, damned lies & statistics

July 16th, 2010, 11:09pm by Jake

Today, watched with some amusement the latest edition of Applepalooza. Been pretty amusing watching the coverage the first week, especially when the complaints centered on the number of bars displayed. That was humorous to me, for a couple reasons: 1) In digital, if you got a connection you got a connection. Although w/ CDMA you use more power with a weak signal; 2) With previous phones (see: Treo 700p), the number of bars was pretty much completely unrelated to the likelihood of dropping a call. I’d drop calls with 5 bars, and have flawless calls with one bar. The “more bars in more places” a campaign certainly killed it as a useful indicator of, y’know, signal strength as it turned into a purely marketing ploy.

And while it was pretty funny to see how Apple handled the situation so poorly (Step 1: hold different; step 2: DO NOT OFFER FREE BUMPERS; Step 3: It’s a bar display issue, suck it up or return it… we DARE you), almost as silly was the massive coverage, leading to letters from Senators (no joke), Consumer Reports withdrawing a “recommended” rating & front page coverage on the New York Times. So let’s just get out of the way.

Now, take a look at the chart above. We’ll start at the bottom & work our way up. The iPhone 4 does drop more calls, but per Steve Jobs it’s less than 1 for every 100 calls. We’ll just assume it’s an extra 1 for every 100. Now, if AT&T users really do drop 4.5% of their calls— which is epically bad– that’s only a 22% increase in dropped calls. On the other hand, if the iPhone is so super that it only drops 2 calls out of every 100 (Verizon’s numbers), that means that there are 50% more calls being dropped. That’s a pretty big deal.

Next, we see the return rate for the iPhone is 1/3 of the 3GS return rate. That’s pretty impressive, but… I wonder how much that may have to do with people returning phones at the end of the 30 day window, which no one has reached yet. But unless we know that it’s a real Apples-to-Apples comparison (return rates at day 21), it’s not terribly useful.

Finally, the big one. Only 0.55% call AppleCare about antenna issues. Well, that’s great. But how many people purchase AppleCare w/ their phone, how many know about it, and how many have called AT&T instead? Sure, AppleCare is free for 90 days, but I don’t know how many are aware of that. Another statistic without context, which makes it really difficult to understand the meaning of any. That’s really what the so-called RDF is– the ability to provide context-free data and have the public or press repeat it back credulously. Maybe the press will learn and start ignoring numbers that are provided w/o explanation.

Buzz Lightyear’s new friend

July 9th, 2010, 2:13am by Kelvin

We took Lucas to see Toy Story 3 a few weeks ago (his first real trip to the movies) and he’s been obsessed ever since. And he should be– the Toy Story movies are really great (and the 3rd one was awesome, even for adults).

Two weekends ago, when Jake was here, Lucas happened to see a Buzz Lightyear action figure at Target and started pestering us to buy it. Jake made a deal that if Lucas behaved himself for a week, we’d buy it for him. Well, I don’t know if he was good per se, but he was probably better than normal, so we held up our end of the bargain. Check out this thing– such a cool toy!


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