Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Place To Be This Black Friday:

Home, in your fuzzy slippers.

Here’s the deal; there’s this thing called the interwebs, and you can get great deals with just the click of a button in the comfort of your own home, wearing your PJ’s and fuzzy slippers, no less.

All while chewing on a leftover drumstick.

It’s amazing!

Or, you can stand outside all night in the freezing cold, only to take part in an out of control stampede for a couple of loss leader items.


Seriously, Cyber Monday has been slowly spreading its wings, and the online deals are now available as early as Thanksgiving Day, just like in the brick and mortar stores.

We’ve gotten some tremendous deals online the last few Black Fridays, and the one time in recent memory we ventured out, it was to Paul’s TV inside Jordan’s Furniture. Great TV, great price, no lines, and the new TV and stand were delivered and set up, for free, before the day was done. Nice

So, if you can’t stay home, pick your spots.

That is all.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Samsung Galaxy S III

The Samsung Galaxy S III is a great phone, and currently the best selling smartphone in the world, outselling the iPhone 4s and all other comers. The figures aren’t in yet on head to head sales with the new iPhone 5, and that may change things, but I don’t see it giving up much ground once they are.

It’s got a huge 4.8” HD screen, and yet it’s easy to grip and surprisingly light at 4.7 Ounces. It’s a real head turner too, with lines more reminiscent of the iPod Touch, as opposed to the iPhones of late. The casing has a nice feel to it, slick and sleek without being slippery; it really feels comfortable in your hand.

This phone isn’t just another pretty face, though. With a 1.5 GHz dual core processor, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of ROM on board, and the Android 4.1 OS (Jelly Bean), it’s a fast and responsive device preloaded with Android Apps that rival Apple’s best, and blazing fast 4G connectivity (4G LTE and HSPA+ 4G/3G, depending on the carrier).

It transfers files with other devices wirelessly via Android Beam and S Beam (NFC based features) just by touching the devices together, and the DLNA function (WiFi Direct) allows you to display photos and videos on a Samsung Smart TV, which is pretty cool.

It also has a Smart Tag feature, which uses facial recognition to match faces in photos to faces in your contacts list, and then it automatically displays the contact’s latest social media status updates for you.

It has both front (1.9 Megapixal, 720p video) and rear (8 Megapixel, 1080p video) facing cameras that are very good, comparable to some point and shoots, and it uses the front facing camera for Smart Stay and Face Unlock, two more features that take advantage of the facial recognition software. With Smart Stay on, the phone looks back at you every once in a while, and if it can’t see your eyes, it puts the display to sleep, extending battery life. Face Unlock matches the user to their contact photo and wakes the phone up.

S-voice (think Siri without the dry wit), Custom Call EQ (the phone plays a series of high and low tones, you tell it which ones you hear, and presto, custom call EQ), the list goes on and on. For me though, the real selling points are; Micro USB connectivity, drag and drop file transfer, an external memory slot that holds up to a 64GB microSD card, and a removable battery.

I’m an iPod guy, love ‘em, have ‘em all, I’m like Gollum when I’ve got one in my hot little hands, so I was a little leery of going with an Android phone, but the ability to load files without connecting to a specific iTunes library, use a cable that isn’t proprietary, pop in an SD card and replace my own battery has totally won me over, and the newest Android OS (4.1) is clean and routine, a pleasure to use.

Samsung’s ad campaign that’s set outside of an Apple store on release day is great, a guy with an S III holding a spot in line for his parents, then sharing play lists with his buddy by touching phones as he leaves, it says it all; It’s not an iPhone, but it has everything you hoped the iPhone 5 would bring to the party.

Brilliant marketing, brilliant phone.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Unity Of Purpose

I’m going to deviate from my standard post topics tonight and I hope you’ll bear with me for a few moments, because I feel what I have to say is important.

Tomorrow is Election Day, and there are only two things that you absolutely have to do; the first is to vote, you have to vote. People have sacrificed a great deal, including their lives, so that you and I can live in a free society and exercise our right to vote for the candidate of our choice.

The second thing you have to do is to make the choice to stand behind whoever gets elected.

Why? You ask. I can hear you now; “Over my dead body, I can’t stand that other guy. I can’t stand his policies or his personal beliefs, and I’ll never acknowledge him as my President.”

The answer is simple, we’re in a dark place right now, and no politician or party can pull us out of that dark place without our help. Unity of purpose is the only way we’ll ever get this country back on track again. One nation, indivisible, that’s how we bill ourselves, and it’s what allows us to be great. Many hands working for a single purpose, that’s how things get done.

Right now, we’re a nation divided, but we shouldn’t be. The people on the other side of the political fence from you are not your enemy. They’re not crazy, and they’re not deranged, they’re just your friends, your neighbors, your coworkers, good Americans all, they’re just not all on the same wavelength as you, and you know what? That’s how it’s supposed to be.

If everyone was the same, thought the same, acted the same, there’d be no progress. It’s only through our exposure to others who think differently that we learn, and that helps us to make informed, intelligent decisions. Freedom of thought and speech form the bedrock of this great country. My opinion, or yours, or our party’s, is never the be all and end all. There’s always room to build and grow, none of us are perfect, and it’s how our forefathers intended it to be.

If you’re afraid that we’re going down the wrong path if one party or the other comes to power, fear not. The checks and balances that are built into our political system ensure that no one person, or party, can take us too far off track. You can start to work immediately after this election cycle to make sure the person or party of your choice makes it into office in the next cycle, but you are undeniably obligated to try to make things work in the meantime.

I look at it like this; say you work for a company that has profit sharing, and you get a new boss who you disagree with. Do you stop performing because you’re unhappy, or because you don’t like the direction the company is headed in? Of course not, because you’d be cutting off your nose to spite your face. You wouldn’t stop working, and you wouldn’t publicly talk smack about your boss, or your company, because it would hurt the company’s public image, and that would hurt your earnings.

That’s what’s going on right now, people are intractable in their beliefs and refuse to see the higher ground. They refuse to see the benefits, no, the absolute necessity, of cooperation, of unity of purpose.

Yes, there are a plethora of things wrong, and yes, change is slow and painful, but change can only be achieved if each and every one of us rolls up our sleeves and contributes, so tomorrow I ask you to vote, and to promise you’ll work with those crazies on the other side so we can get things back on track. It’s your solemn obligation as an American, and the only way you can ensure that this great nation carries on.

That is all.