The Greatest Generation

Hey, as long as you’re on the Internet, go buy some books and shirts from my store!

Alls I’m saying is human beings have never had as easy of a go at it as we (the children of tomorrow which is today) do, and that makes us the best. I mean, sure there are still places on this very planet in the year 2013 where armies of heroine addicted children murder each other with machine guns, but HAVE YOU SEEEEEN all the new shit coming out of CES? I heard that one phone company is going to make another phone! And it’s BLUE! A BLUE PHONE?! Have you ever even? I mean… Do you think this is what Jesus was talking about when he said, “Man, I sure hope one day people can obsess over cross platform app compatibility and social  media privacy policies, whatever those things might be. Then we’ll really have this humanity thing figured out and we can start working on the hard stuff, like properly attributing funny photos on Tumblr… again, whatever that could possibly be. I have no idea. Oh, crap. Here come the Romans.”

Seriously, though. If I can’t get this Twitter app to sync my read location and mute filters across all my devices I am seriously going to have to think long and hard about… switching, uh… switching Twitter apps.

SOCIETY!

COMMENTERS: What amazing magical wonder technology do you find yourself complaining about the most? Bonus points if it’s something that didn’t even exist a few years ago (meaning you obviously somehow got along without it).

You Are Here…ish

I guess they should have stuck with iOS 5th edition. BANG! ZOOM! ETC! And thus I have exhausted my knowledge of Dungeons and/ or Dragons. Wait, one more. Maybe they should have stuck with the GPS… GRAPH PAPER SYST[bursts into flames, explodes forever]

Big thanks to my pal, Joseph Scrimshaw, for inspiring this comic with a tweet. Speaking of ScrimTweets, once on a boat Joseph made me laugh so hard the boat sank.

I am an Apple fanboy, but not an Apple apologist. When they screw up, I am the first to admit it. With their new Google Maps replacement app, Apple certainly screwed the pooch, humped the pumpkin and hosed the Brony in the grandest fashion. I was really looking forward to a turn by turn directions situation that let me yell my desired destination at Siri, but the press has been so bad and the user reactions so negative that I haven’t even opened the Maps app, yet.

For now I am sticking with the Google Maps web App for every day map-looking-both-up-and-at and Navigon for in-car GPS. Navigon is really a fantastic app and the price has been cut by over 50% since it was first offered. If you need a true GPS unit replacement app, you can’t really go wrong for $40. I especially love how they let you download only the states you plan to drive in so you don’t have to keep gb’s of map data on your phone. The interface is easy to read, the voice synth is clear (and often humorous with pronunciations), the maps are up to date and it works offline/sans cell data connection. It has saved my ass at least a dozen times.

COMMENTERS: Give me your GPS, Google Maps, Apple Maps related horror stories. Was the map the cause or the cure of your strife? The first year I went to San Diego Comicon, I stayed in an extended stay motel about 35 minutes away. One night I took a cab back to the motel. About 5 minutes in I told the driver I thought she was going the wrong way. She assured me all was well and she had been there before. 15 minutes in I said, “I’ve never seen any of this before. Are you sure?” Again, she was positive we were A-OK. I pulled out my phone and plotted the Convention Center, the motel and our current location, a tiny blue dot moving increasingly further and further away from and in the opposite direction of the red dot that represented my air mattress and suitcases. She stared at it a bit then finally agreed to turn around. I agreed (without really opening it up for debate) that I would not be paying for all of the time and miles in which she drove me wherever the hell she thought I wanted to go.

A Few Minor Bugs

Josh is ever the early adopter. He’s the perpetual volunteer technology guinea pig, especially where iDevices and Apple operating systems are concerned. Most times the only consequences he has to endure for his enthusiasm are a couple of “restores from backup” or maybe a total factory reset. Other times he ends up with no skin. Still, I bet he enjoyed that new panorama feature in iOS 6 at least once or twice before he was flayed.

WIL WHEATON PLUSHIE UPDATE!

If you ordered the Lil’ Wil plushie, the order page has been updated with an estimated delivery date (to us) of November. Once they’re in hand, they’ll start shipping from Blind Ferret out to you.

Speaking of Blind Ferret and Wil Wheaton, they’re all at Montreal Comiccon this weekend.

You can find my shirts and books at the Blind Ferret Booth (506 and 508). If sales are good when I’m not even there, I might try to come to the show next year. Canada is always incredibly expensive to get to (from Texas) and to stay in, but it’s also always a blast.

COMMENTERS: Are you a firmware hacker, a jailbreaker a boot loader or a rom flasher? Or are you a skittish software installer like me who waits for the OS cookies to be fully baked and cooled before biting into them? Any particular triumphs or horror stories? Back in the days of dumb phones when dumb phones were JUST starting to get smarter I had a Symbian OS Nokia. It was the first phone I’d ever even held that you could install apps on. I think they were all java apps that random dudes coded in their basements and uploaded to usenet, but they were MORE than what I paid for which was neat. The phone also shared the same internals as the Nokia N-gage (Taco Talkin’ Time!), so I was able to load 1 or 2 N-gage games at a time onto the flash card. Games that were impossible to play without a proper D-pad. Still, it was pretty neat.

Putting Out Fires

HijiNKS ENSUE PODCAST Episode 87 “ZombieWhatever.com” is live!

I can’t say I’m totally in favor of tech that’s involuntarily ad supported. Maybe if it was an option for a lower upfront cost I’d be cool with it, but knowing that it’s just part of the package is a little hard to swallow. Of course Google (the actual search engine, not the media conglomerate that beams keywords into your nightmares based on specific childhood fears you wrote about on Facebook) is a piece of tech that only comes plastered with ads. So maybe that’s not such a bad way to keep costs done. Ok, in the course of two sentences I have invalidated my own opinion, or at least confused it a bit.

I remember in the late 90’s/early 2000’s when you could get free dial up if you agreed to have about 2″ of your 15″ (14″ viewable) monitor taken up with ads. I never got it to work at my apartment, but I had a few friends that did and they would make a bezel out of black tape around their screens to permanently cover the ads. Perhaps that was the first ad blocker. Speaking of ad blockers, if you use one please consider white-listing this site. I make a about a quarter of my income from ads and every little bit helps.

Despite being an iPad man myself, I am glad that there are more and more quality tablets hitting the market and taking a foothold. When I was a kid I always liked the “futuristic” shows that would depict the magical world of the year 2001 where everyone had a personal communication device about the size of a text book with them. I even made a cardboard and paper model of Penny’s Computer-Book from Inspector Gadget. Now there are at least 4 items in my house that could be described as computer books. I’m not saying a tablet in every hand drastically improves the world or the average person’s quality of life (though an argument could be made if we got down to specifics), but it does make everything feel more futurey and that is fine by me.

I feel like having a smartphone with relatively fast internet essentially makes you a cyborg. No joke. It gives you nearly instant access to essentially all human knowledge and effectively increases your memory and brainpower to superhuman levels. Sure you can’t tell me how far away the North Pole is off the top of your head, but you can find the information in less than 30 seconds. Effectively, isn’t that the same thing? What if your phone didn’t have a screen, but instead had a neural output that fed the information you requested directly into your brain? Would there be any difference in knowing the names of everyone that signed the Declaration of Independence or being able to recall and recite the information immediately? I already look at my brain’s relationship to my computer/phone/tablet/cloud storage as a relationship between two different computers. Instead of taxing my brain to remember the several hundred things on about a dozen differently prioritized to do lists (do now, do later, long term, website stuff, freelance stuff, etc.), I only have to remember to check the list. I have replaced hundreds of processes, commands, and chunks of memory with a single command and a single bit of data. You could do the same thing with a piece of paper, but that wouldn’t be nearly as fun.

I guess I didn’t talk about those new Kindle Fires much, huh? Well, it seemed like there were a lot of them. At least four. Maybe two hundred.

COMMENTERS: Please weigh in on ad-supported tech or the new Kindle Fires in general. Or share any stories about how far you have gone to defeat some measure intended to cripple a service you were using in some way. Any black tape on the monitor? Ever record early streaming internet radio to tape the edit out the commercials? If you are a weirdo like me, desperately clawing his or her way into a perceived “future,” please share your thoughts on “my phone makes me a brain robot.”

Ask Not For Whom The Ring Tones

HijiNKS ENSUE At Dallas Animefest

This weekend (STARTING TODAY!) I’ll be at Dallas Animefest with Rob from Explosm. We’ll be in the dealer room, terrified of glomping cat-girls and Sailor Bubbas alike. I’ll have both HE Books, Prints, sketch cards, “Grammar Dalek” Shirts and “The Doctor Is In” shirts.

Podcast Episode 86 “Oh No! Promotheus!” is live.

The site seems to be having RSS feed problems again. Working on it, but for now the Fancy Full Feed for donors seems to be good and rightly borked.

My phone “rings” so infrequently, that when it does I am completely unprepared and incapable of dealing with it. Sometimes I get confused and angry all at once and start yelling, “WHY ARE YOU SCREAMING AT ME ROBOT!? I DON’T HAVE ANY FUEL FOR YOUR INTAKE PORT! BAD ROBOT! BAD!” Other times I get suspicious. The only people I like (my wife and my daughter) are IN THE HOUSE with me. Who the hell else could possibly be trying to talk to me unless they are an enemy agent of THE MOST UNCLEAN trying to trick me into a fiddle contest or a game of Words With Friends with their cloven-hoofed master? Oh Christicles! Is the call coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE!?!?!? Did someone sign my 5 year old daughter up for a 2 year commitment calling plan!? WHAT KIND OF DATA PACKAGE DID SHE GET!? EVEN IF THEY SAID IT WAS UNLIMITED, THEY ARE RARELY ACTUALLY UNLIMITED! WHAT DID YOU DO MY DAUGHTER!?

I also have weird hangup about voicemails. I get all of 1, maybe 2 voicemails a month and I NEVER want to check them. I can see the name of the caller, and the time they called, and I can see the length of the voicemail they left. Somehow that seems like it should be enough information to discern their unheard message. What could they have possibly said in 14 seconds that was all that important? “HELP! FIRE! FACE FIRE! FIRE ON FACE!!!” That only took 8 seconds. Something seems fishy. What were they trying to convince me to do with those last 6 seconds? I’d better change my number and never talk to them again. WAIT! How long does it take to invite me to a super fun birthday party with bouncy castles!? FUCK. Only 11 seconds.

COMMENTERS: How has the changing telecommunications landscape altered your phone using habits? Are you annoyed by people that ONLY text or are you one of them? Does anyone use IM services anymore? Do you get frustrated that all of your friends aren’t on Skype video ALL OF THE TIME like you are?