Starting 11/22/63

11-22-63I purchased and downloaded Stephen King’s new book, “11/22/63” today.  It’s a whopper of a book at over 30 hours.  This one should last me until Christmas if I listen every day to and from work, and on lunch walks.  Here’s the book’s synopsis:

On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back?

In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King – who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer – takes listeners on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.

It begins with Jake Epping, a 35-year-old English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching GED classes. He asks his students to write about an event that changed their lives, and one essay blows him away: a gruesome, harrowing story about the night more than 50 years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a sledgehammer. Reading the essay is a watershed moment for Jake, his life – like Harry’s, like America’s in 1963 – turning on a dime.

Not much later his friend Al, who owns the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to the past, a particular day in 1958. And Al enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession – to prevent the Kennedy assassination.

So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson, in a different world – of Ike and JFK and Elvis, of big American cars and sock hops and cigarette smoke everywhere. From the dank little city of Derry, Maine (where there’s Dunning business to conduct), to the warmhearted small town of Jodie, Texas, where Jake falls dangerously in love, every turn is leading, eventually of course, to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and to Dallas, where the past becomes heart-stoppingly suspenseful – and where history might not be history anymore. Time-travel has never been so believable. Or so terrifying.

Just finished the Steve Jobs book

I just finished the Steve Jobs book on the way home from work tonight.  Wow, what a journey.  [Spoiler Alert!!] Want to know why there’s no power switch on the iPod, iPad or iPhone?  Steve’s last thoughts in the book reflected on death.  Steve was about 50/50 on believing in God.  He thought maybe he just had a desire to believe in an afterlife, to believe that all this knowledge that you accumulate and experience you aquire isn’t wasted, but that your consciousness somehow lives on.  He thought about it for a long time,  then he said “On the other hand, perhaps it’s like and on/off switch–“click” and you’re gone.”  Then he smiled a little and said “Maybe that’s why I never liked to put on/off switches on Apple devices.”

Now there’s something to think about…every time your Apple device freezes up and you’re trying to figure out how to restart it…


Android Update

How’s everyone like their Xoom?  Mine’s still awesome. I can’t stop changing things though.  I love all the options and I’m constantly trying new apps, new Launchers, and new widgets.  I sure wish there were an app that would automatically switch between my home screens for me. I often use my Xoom on my desk at work as a news, weather, twitter, facebook and e-mail display, but I can never cram all of that information on a single home screen, so I have to keep swiping back and forth between 2 screens to see everything.  A little app that would automatically do this for me would be awesome, if anyone has ever seen anything like this.  Maybe I’m just too lazy.  Actually though, it’s the opposite–I’m busy doing a bunch of other things, so occasionally I’ll glance at my tablet for an quick peek whenever I can.

Right now I’m using ADW Launcher.  They’ve made it very Honeycomb-friendly these days, so I’m giving it another shot.  The last time I tried it, it would crash randomly, but the new features they added and changed for Honeycomb were really nice! This time so far it’s been running for 2 days without crashing, so we’ll see how it goes.  I love how I can tweak it to push everything edge-to-edge and even cram 10×10 rows & columns on the screen and overlap widgets if I want to.  With ADW I can cram more stuff onto the main home screen I use, but still not everything I want to be able to see at a glance on my desk.  The Mac-like icon bar at the bottom of the home screen is awesome as well as the new option icons it adds to the top of the interface.  It also offers some interesting screen transition effects that are fun to use.

Can’t wait to be able to install Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4) on it though!  And I also just might root this thing soon, if ICS doesn’t come pretty quick.  ICS includes a screenshot app, so I can avoid rooting when it finally gets here.

Keep Xoomin’!

Movie industry, meet the music industry…Please.

Who the he** came up with this “Ultraviolet Digital Copy” crap?!?!  It’s the new Digital Copy they included with the last two Harry Potter movies (or the one two-part movie, whichever you prefer).  It SUCKS!  You first have to register with some Ultraviolet website, which then has to be integrated with your Flixster account.  Then, if you manage to get THAT far–which isn’t a walk in the park–you can finally stream your movie using your Flixster app on your device.   Who would want to use yet another app to view a movie they purchased?!?  Not me.

The first thing I did after purchasing the final Harry Potter movie (part 2), was pull out part 1 and try to install the digital copy for Kevin on his iPod.  Guess what?  It expired already.  The expiration date was on the card in the “fine print”.  Nice.  I didn’t activate it on purpose when I got it, since we didn’t even want to watch it until the “complete” movie was out, so we could then watch it beginning-to-end.  Now I was screwed.  I tried to activate it anyway, and all I got (after I jumped through all of the Ultraviolet/Flixster hoops) was a message saying “your disc will arrive in the mail within 2-3 weeks).  Nothing saying it was expired or anything, just that a disc was coming.  I then went to the part 2 and activated that one at least, since it wouldn’t be expired yet.  I jumped through the same stupid hoops, and then got to the goofy decision–do I want to stream it on Flixster or download a copy?  I tried the “download a copy” option, but it requires special software installed on your PC!  What?!?!

I wasn’t about to give up though.  This simply isn’t acceptable.  Who, in their right mind, actually uses this worthless digital copy crap??  All others before this simply had us enter a code in iTunes and the digital copy downloaded–even if they provided a “digital copy disc” in the box, which is another bizarre thing–why the heck is the disc needed if it’s going to download the movie from the web anyway?? But it worked pretty good.  The movie was then in iTunes, instantly available on the iPod for playing.  This is how we want to access ALL of our movies downloaded to the iPod–from the Movies app, which works perfectly fine.  To accomplish this for these two movies, I had to convert the DVD using CloneDVD Mobile & AnyDVD–an awesome set of applications I’ve used on the PC for years.  These two apps work together, with AnyDVD removing the copy protection from the DVD automatically whenever I insert one into my PC, then I use CloneDVD Mobile to convert the unprotected movie into a file.  Once the file is created, I can use it wherever I want.  You can create the file for specific devices, such as the iPod, to make a smaller file size, or create a generic higher-resolution file that’ll play on anything (and looks good on a tablet or PC screen), but it’ll be much larger in size.  For Kevin I simply made smaller iPod-sized movies, then dragged them into iTunes.  I worked out fine, and now all of his movies are still in one place.

Now I’m waiting for some useless disc to arrive in the mail, just wondering how much additional junk mail promotions will be included along with it, as well as how much more junk mail this will add to my postman’s daily delivery.  Wonderful.

When are the movie companies going to realize–just like the music industry did–that they’re punishing their paying customers??? Apple finally eventually removed all of their copy protection from their music (but kept their goofy “registered” music format files for some reason) and now sell everything unprotected, and Amazon sells everything as bare MP3 files, which is awesome.  I can purchase a song or album from Amazon and put it on whatever I want to play it.  THAT’S what I want for my movies too.  If the movie industry would realize this, as the music industry did, I could stop giving my money to SlySoft (maker of AnyDVD and CloneDVD Mobile) and instead spend that money buying more digital movies.

Steve Jobs special

I watched the Steve Jobs special “One Last Thing” on PBS tonight.  Interesting, but most of it was the same as what I’m learning as I read the Walter Isaacson book.  I’m on part 2 of 3 of the audiobook.  One thing that probably isn’t in the book that was in the special tonight was the kid that came up with the modified Apple logo for Steve Jobs.  Now I know exactly who I’m apologizing to for this.

Steve sure was a jerk though.  He ripped off Woz, even while they were best friends and he was working at Atari, did a lot of LSD, told everyone their work was either genius or it was utter crap (nothing in-between), and was very very difficult to work with–not only because he always had to get his way, but because, being a vegetarian (and sometimes a fruitarian) he stunk really bad and refused to bathe.  He would even soak his feet in the company toilets!  I guess I know what kept me from making my millions now.

Walking the line

CardioTrainerI try to walk every chance I get during lunchtime at work (30 minutes), and I use Cardiotrainer.  It keeps me informed every few minutes by announcing my distance, speed and calories, and it also records my walk on a map, allowing me to see exactly where I walked. Over time I’ve noticed that these maps result in some rather interesting shapes, and I could see how it would be very easy for someone to actually draw things during their walks, much like those who leave giant messages that only something like Google Maps can actually see. I uploaded few of my recent walks, most of them 30-minute periods over lunch at work.  Take a look.

I find it interesting how some of them make me look drunk, zig-zagging back and forth a lot.  I think GPS measurements vary a bit more depending on cloud and/or wind  conditions… in ADDITION to my usually trippy walking style, that is…