November 27, 2008

Guns N' Roses - Chinese Democracy

I've had a couple days to listen to the new Guns N' Roses album titled "Chinese Democracy" and I have to say: "It's one of the best albums I've heard to date". There is not a single song on that album that I skip through. 

My friend Peter, kept me up to date on the boot legged versions of the album as they popped up on the internet. I liked the songs then, but the final tracks have such a high quality of engineering, little subtle changes to the bootlegs that make all of these songs hits! The album is riddled with complex themed songs such as "Catcher In The Rye" or "Street of Dreams" and hard riffed songs such as the first single "Chinese Democracy", "Shackler's Revenge" and "Riad N' The Bedouins".

Within in all this the two songs I can identify myself with on a musical level are "Madagascar" - for its strong melody and absolute epic quote mashup and "This I Love" for its emotion and a show off that Axl still has his amazing vocal range. 

I'm worried that this album may become the next Octavarium for me. Close friends of mine were confronted with a Dream Theater phase of mine a few years back. I was (and still am) absolutely addicted to their Octavarium album. A pinnacle of musicianship in the progressive metal scene!

October 25, 2008

I've always been an advocate for equality. Especially human rights. When I woke up this morning and casually started reading my RSS feeds I came across the following gems:

For those who don't know what Proposition 8 is, here's a brief summary:

Proposition 8 is an initiative measure on the 2008 California General Election ballot titled Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry. If passed, the proposition would "change the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California." A new section would be added stating "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. (Wikipedia)



Of course Apple isn't the only Silicon Valley corporation taking an official stance on California's Proposition 8. Last month Google announced its support "No on Prop 8" by issuing a post on its official blog.

I find it a bold move of both corporations to take an official stance on this issue as both companies could lose customers that feel strongly about "Yes on Prop 8".

Here's my official stance: Anything that takes away any kind of right from a human being is wrong. This includes the "issue" of gay marriage. What issue? There is no issue here. Two adults are consenting in marriage. So what if they're of the same sex? How does a matrimony between two loved ones affect your day to day life. Homosexuality is not a choice! You can't choose to be gay.

October 12, 2008

Mobile Platform Ramble



My interest for mobile platforms is increasing exponentially. The more I read and learn about them the more I realize how important and what a huge impact a well designed, well executed mobile platform can do for my own living quality. I don't know what I'd do anymore without having the internet in my pocket, or not having my email with me at all times. I can't list the times I've been bored at an airport, waiting for someone or riding the bus where the fastest time passer is reading my favourite content on the net, or answering an email!

BlackBerry

Let's start with the good ol' rock solid BlackBerry platform. It's established, has a vast market share and is loved by millions. The only downside, that's well known, is the BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS). In recent years I have been tired of BlackBerry. The 8800 (apparently RIM's flagship) is a piece for users that want more than just calls and email. The 8300 "Curve" series is a very appealing phone on hardware side - sadly BlackBerry's too basic Operating System is a huge turn off for me (this has changed, but I'll get to that in a bit) for that series. The 8100 "Pearl" series is a huge hit with consumers. The newest revisions have all the features as its big "brother" the Curve and even has UMA. The same applies to the Pearl as it does to the Curve: Nice hardware - crap User Interface. The biggest drawback for me on all of these phones? The buttons. I have large thumbs and I can't type fast on the Curve or Pearl. Using iPhone on the other hand I can type fast and securely, because there is no physical typing just sleek finger flying.

Moving on to the most exciting line in BlackBerries in a long time. The Storm, Bold and Javelin. The Storm is RIM's response to Apple's iPhone released in 2007. From what I've seen sofar the Storm is the only serious iPhone competitor (when talking on a level of pure touch screen smart phones). I don't consider the Samsung Instinct a threat, simply because of my horrible track record with Samsung products. The quality of Samsung's products are poor, poor, poor. LG you say? Have you actually touched the LG Vu? The screen has a response time of an earth worm.

Anyhow, my friend Arlin just bought himself a BlackBerry Bold - while I find the front of the phone visually appealing, the back pleather stuff is - tacky? RIM has really stepped up their game, the operating system looks and feels like real people can use it. It's not dumbed down and over simplified anymore. It's visually appealing things make sense! Sadly the same applies, buttons. They're spaced too close for my thumbs to type efficiently! 3G is heaven, despite Rogers' wonky 3G coverage in Saskatoon - not enough tower density. Too many 3G users at once and you'll switch to EDGE. :(

I'll finish off the BlackBerry phone talk with the up coming Javelin. T-Mobile Germany briefly had a splash / info page for the Javelin on their site, but it seems to have been pulled. Gizmodo has the article! While find this phone visually appealing, the same goes for all the other buttoned phones. My fat thumbs. Or my laziness to hit buttons instead of just tapping a screen.

Finishing off BlackBerry software talk with RIM's announcement of an AppStore. I've not heard many details about it, though I'm surprised it's taken RIM this long to get their act together on this issue. Their official App Store already has a contender: BerryStore. We'll see what happens. :) I'm intrigued to see if there will be App screen as there is in Apple's AppStore. What prices and revenue sharing will be like? If there will be such a system at all, that is!

To conclude my BlackBerry portion I will say that I'm glad to see RIM jumping on the ball again and not riding on their success, ignoring new technologies completely. Once I know more about, especially, the Storm I'll write about it. Maybe the Storm will get me off my iPhone addiction. Don't hold your breath though. Storm, Bold, Javelin are very bold (no pun intended) responses of RIM to show its competitors where it's at. RIM has raised the bar once again!

Android

Let's move on to Android. Ah yes, the Open Handset Alliance. Google's operating system that garantuees phone freedom and strengthens Google's stance of Big Brother. Gizmodo featured a sarcastic, yet true, article on how Android is just another piece in Google's world domination puzzle.

Back on topic, I have to admit I'm not a huge fan of open platforms (open software yes, open computing platforms, no) - Having to optimize an Operating System to run on phones from different vendors just doesn't seem so great. Windows Mobile is a good example of that. Yuck. I would assume to make this job easier on Google developers the phones would share alot of hardware. Why the different vendors then?

In addition to the above Android's launch was tainted to me when their first release was on an HTC. Really? C'mon the phone is missing a headphone jack. Headphones! I didn't know they made phones without a jack anymore! The hardware in my eyes is this piece of crap phones with huge software gaps like "I don't have a media player, but let's wait and see what the community releases!"

Which brings me to Android's App Store. Freedom is nice and all, but no screening process on a store? Can't wait to see what some 14 year old is going to push into the store that's badly designed, doesn't conform to any visual standards.

Sorry to all you Android fans, but sofar I have nothing good to say about Android!

iPhone

Call me fanboy all you like, but this mobile platform is rock solid. Despite some serious bugs in the 2.0 software that have been addressed in 2.1 and more to be fixed in 2.2, I find this mobile platform most appealing of all. It's easy to use, the hardware is great, the User Interface is an absolute dream and no, I don't miss buttons. In fact in direct comparison to my old BlackBerry Curve or Sony Ericsson K790i my typing speed has gone up drastically!

Apple's App Store, though hated in the developer's community, is the perfect strategy for Apple. The revenue sharing plan is fair with a 30% / 70% split for each App sold. (30% to Apple, 70% to the developer). The screen process, though mysterious, garantuees only well designed and conforming Apps are on the store. Sadly Apple is not allowing "iPhone feature duplicating" Apps in the store like Podcaster.

My only problem with this mobile platform, currently, is: Where to next? After Apple releases the 2.2 software (and hopefully PUSH notification) what's left? The phone's hardware has everything I desire, BlueTooth, AGPS, a camera that's half decent, head phone jack (take that G1) and 3G.

The only things I'd like is BlueTooth stereo headphone support, maybe a better camera and possibly GPS, not AGPS.

I'm very excited to see the above three mobile platforms evolve, and hopefully Android can catch up to be a worthy contender to RIM and Apple's mobile platforms.

Thoughts, Feelings, Rants? Leave them in the comments.

January 15, 2008

Sun to acquire MySQL

Sun has announced today that they are starting a definitive bargain to acquire MySQL AB. We all know MySQL AB as the company driving the Database Management System MySQL. Up to a billion dollars are in consideration for the transaction and as Jonathan Schwartz puts it "We're putting a billion dollars behind the M in LAMP". 

I really don't know what to think of this other than this might be Sun's time to start moving into the spotlight again and start competing directly with software companies like Oracle and Microsoft. Let's see if Sun can bring the funding and structure to MySQL that's needed to push MySQL over the limit into the corporate / enterprise branch.What do you think?[Via PhotoMatt and Jonathan Schwartz]