2013-01-22-lo-fijinks-the-unsearchable-ones

The Unsearchable Ones

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The HIJINKS ENSUE STORE Is where you can buy stuff that I made! It supports me and my family and keeps this little operation going.

Funny T-Shirts, Geeky shirts, Doctor who parody shirts, Team Edward James Olmos shirt, Groverfield Shirt, Sci-Five Star Trek Parody T-Shirt in The HijiNKS ENSUE Store

There are two lies in the above comic. 1) Josh would never “Bing” anything, and 2) The Apple Store would never deny Josh anything. They simply pull up his purchase history, count the copious amounts of zeroes, and immediately start peeling grapes for him. I, on the other hand, being the guy that buys a new computer every 4+ years, a new pair of phones every other generation and a new ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ELSE EVER, get the standard “this is out of warranty and even though there was a recall it only applies to everyone in the world BUT you” treatment.

When the Macbook Pros came out in 2007, I made my switch to Mac as did my wife. A little over a year later people were noticing that the power supply cables were coming unsheathed and fraying all over the place and, in some cases, catching fire. Apple started replacing them free of charge to avoid a class action suit (though I believe there was eventually a suit and a settlement). Once day my wife’s power supply cable up and caught on fire while it was plugged into her computer. It burst into flame EXACTLY where her leg would have been, had she been using it at the time. I knew about the issue and brought both of our power supplies in for replacement. The Genius on hand told me he could replace the one that had already combusted, but not the one that was in grave danger of combusting since it was still in it’s pre-combusted state. So I went home, set it on fire with a lighter, brought it back to the Apple store and got a replacement.

COMMENTERS: Give me your best computer repair/ tech support/ massive malfunction story. Was the dumbness on your head or theirs? Every try to return something that you clearly ruined through your own stupidity? A buddy of mine once returned a CF-Card sized micro hard drive that his cat had peed on. Luckily the Best Buy employees aren’t in the habit of sniffing every return.

If you used to get HE in your email inbox through Feedburner (a service I stopped using this year because Google stopped supporting it), this service seems to offer the same functionality for free.

Just plugin the HE RSS feed [http://hijinksensue.com/feed/] and your email address.

2013-01-08-lo-fijinks-the-greatest-generation

The Greatest Generation

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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).

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You Are Here…ish

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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.

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A Few Minor Bugs

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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.

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Putting Out Fires

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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.”