I think I need to declare myself a handicapped gay fat smoker. Jew is almost redundant, it seems.
In addition to being slightly more individual, as well as more familiar to me, there are a couple of advantages I've reaped from the use of this hack. One, this ringtone is noticeably louder than the default options on the iPhone (yay). Two, iTunes no longer autosyncs when the phone is plugged in. Although some might consider this a problem, I don't; it makes it less likely I'll screw up by plugging my iPhone into another computer and wiping its contents. In addition, I can change my video sync settings without having it start shoving movies back and forth immediately.
As is our habit, jyeo and I convened at midnight for the release of the new Harry Potter book. Since the bastard has relocated to Cali and I lost the coin toss, he elected to receive, which meant I gained new JetBlue miles and we performed our traditional bookrace in Mountain View.
Here, the miscreant prepares to begin the sprint.
Coupled with all the other crap I'm thinking about and trying to get done (but instead watching pile up on top of me) I'm left just...fucking tired, is all. A kind of despondent angry, wishing I could turn the clock back enough to catch the fucker (I was out there within 45 seconds, not fast enough) so I could really get a good cathartic rage release on.
Now? Now it's just one more thing.
I have adopted a new method of ensuring I don't do this to myself. While on the road, I only carry a Firewire iPod cable. The iPhone will *charge* from this cable fine, in the dock or directly, from a computer or from the iPod wall wart. But it won't even attempt to sync (it needs USB2 to sync). Ergo, safe charging with no risk of inadvertent sync.
Ratatouille is pretty. In the stolen words of Eddie Murphy, "It's prettah! It's SO-O-O prettah." Damn right. It doesn't try to push the limits of human modeling and tumble into the uncanny valley; it picks a style taken straight from recognizable caricature and drags it into modern 3D. Anyone who has read one of the Madeleine books will recognize the facial structures, which is appropriate since the thing is set in Paris.
We won't ask why the rats have American accents. Hey, at least most of the non-evil humans do too.
The plot is just long enough (not complex, long) to keep me exactly the right amount of interested in what's-gonna-happen. The imagery - unbelievable. I saw this movie the day after seeing Transformers, and it's like being served the two ends of the spectrum of modern effects and animation. Two entirely different but completely believable (believable as in visually consistent and convincing) worlds that pull you in. Personally, I think Ratatouille had it somewhat harder, because (as the cute sigil said at the end of the credits) it was 100% animated; no motion capture, no live action. They had to make all that not just funny but buyable strictly using what was in their noggins, and get it down onto film via electrons with rendering times in the hours-per-frame for the final product.
Damn, I'm glad that our economy, fucked as it is, presently supports that sort of activity.
I won't tell you what it's about, save to confirm that yes, it's entirely kid-friendly. There's some teensy violence (some people get tied up, albeit entirely offscreen in true cartoon fashion) and there's some scary-ride type stuff. Threatening gestures? Sure, from silly-looking people, but mostly...chases. Good ol' fashioned cartoon chases. Looney Tunes are way more violent than this.
And good God, they got Peter O'Toole to voice the food critic. SALUD!
Two paws up.
(The usual Pixar short beforehand, 'Lifted', was hilarious.)
AT&T/Cingular's wireless service, subjectively, sucks. Some completely random anecdotal reasons they annoy me follow.
Now, I will offer the following. AT&T, so far, has been much more pleasant to deal with on the phone than Verizon. The latter autoblocked my number transfer for 24 hours so that they could have Retentions call me 20 hours later and harangue me about leaving them; then, when they couldn't keep me, found a way that my executing a 'new every two' credit I'd waited two years to use, cashing in two years prior to buy my Treo, meant that I was in fact still under a contract despite my 12 years of time on their network. Also despite the fact that I'd had to wait two years to get it after signing up. Whatever. As delicious irony, those two years were up July 13th; I deactivated June 29th. Rather than billing me a final month of july, that's right; $175 cancellation fee.
Whatever, it's not worth my time to argue with them at this point. I had assured the Retentions lady that I was enamored of the iPhone and would certainly return to Verizon if AT&T's phone service, which I was experimenting with, was bad enough to cause me difficulties.
You know what? No way. Verizon, fuck you at the drive through. I'm done. Worst of all, you know, you *could* have had the retentions lady politely mention the contract to me, you know? Or even, heaven forbid, offer to split the difference and bill me for the month of July rather than hit me with the full $175 early termination fee for a two-week early exit after 12 years? I might have even considered keeping my Verizon phone active as a standby. But no, you simply had your system send me an email notice with the early termination fee, and when I tried to determine why my final bill had jumped by $175 your system informed me that since I wasn't a customer I couldn't use the website anymore.
And you wonder why people are leaving? Hint: the shitty phones that you lock down are part of it, yes. This is the other part.
Well, the trashy sci-fi novels are the easiest to deal with. I've purchased a large chunk of 'em from the Baen Books online WebScriptions service, and downloaded many more from their excellent free library. I had them all in Mobipocket format because their reader was nice on the Palm, but they offer the books in zipped HTML archives. Since they're not DRMed, and since they keep track of books you've bought and allow re-download, I grabbed a bunch of them as zipped HTML archives, stuck them up on a private server I have (thank you Linode!) and wrote a quick index page into the archive folders for them. So as long as I'm on WiFi or EDGE, I can at least read these using Safari.
Now, for next steps, I'd love to find a way to write a not-an-app that at least knows how to download and cache the HTML and/or text format ebooks on the iPhone so that I can easily leave network coverage (again, thank you AT&T for your completely shit-tastic service) and not have Safari dump the book I'm reading, as well as take care of basic bookmarking and stuff like that.
Maybe in my copious free time.
I didn't really enjoy it. I told the lady on the other end of the phone I'd just gotten an iPhone. She made a great effort to sound shocked. "But you've been with us for twelve years!" she exclaimed. "You can't be leaving because of a phone!"
Um. Yes, actually, I can. See, up until now, all phones have sucked. A lot. I almost left Verizon when I couldn't get a decent Palm phone, but they got theirs out in time, and I stuck around. First for the Kyocera 7135, which was a great phone; then for the Treo 650, which is a crappy phone and middlin' PDA. I stuck with Verizon because I agreed with her next attempt:
"But we have the best network!"
Yes ma'am, I said, you surely do. And that's why I've stayed this long. But you cripple features on your phones so I can't use them and you make more money. You cripple dialup access on phones which will do it strictly to get me to buy a data plan. You backslide on 'unlimited' data access plans when people start using them as actual unlimited data plans. You lock down ringtones, multimedia, you name it.
"But you have to buy your media from Apple now! We have multimedia phones that are just as good as that one!" (that's a quote.)
Er, no. See, whatever your position on the whole FairPlay DRM kerfluffle, one thing nobody has really denied is that you can always do what I do - which is (for the most part) take your CD collection, rip it into unprotected format, and dump it to your iPod. And now, your iPhone. So no, I don't have to buy my music from Apple. Some of it I do (at last count, it looks like 1.6% or thereabouts of my library- 0.0157, that is.) Most of it, though, comes from the umpty-ump hundred CDs I've bought. Some comes from free downloads, like the entirety of Splashdown's catalogue or the Kleptones. Some, indeed, is illegal music; I won't pretend otherwise. I don't have an easy way to calc that, but it's probably something like 3%-4% of the library from a random sample I grabbed. In any case, it took all my effort not to burst out laughing at her. Your phones are just as good. I know. It's just not fair that nobody buys them, is it.
I told her that I had really been hoping Verizon had taken the iPhone. I knew that Apple had offered it to Verizon first. As a Verizon customer, I hadn't known that at the time, but had they asked me, I would have told them unequivocally to take it; I would have indicated that (at the time) I was willing to pay what I'd just paid for the iPhone, and to Verizon, and that I'd probably have been willing to incur a small monthly surcharge for it. Indeed, I incurred a $9 higher fee for AT&T's middle rate plan.
"Oh, but they insulted our company with the offer they made us."
Well, folks, that's not my problem. That sounds like pride. Which is all well and good, but guess what? I'm your customer. I was for twelve years. I am telling you, now, apparently in the only way that matters, that your pride meant bupkes to me. The network meant something to me as long as the equipment playing field was relatively even. But I consider the iPhone an uneven playing field, and your network doesn't even the gap.
Dear Verizon: If you haven't figured out yet that you fucked up, well, this won't teach you. If you have figured it out, then this won't mean anything. All it is is a blog post saying I tried to tell you but you weren't listening.
Having said that to get it off my chest, there are some things Verizon should be proud of. AT&T/Cingular's network, in the Cambridge/Boston area and up to Vermont along I-93/I-89/I-91, is incredibly shitty compared to Verizon's. The whole 'Fewest dropped calls!' claim on AT&T's billboards? Yeah, right. I never really had dropped calls on Verizon enough to notice them; one or two a month, maybe, and usually when I was on the phone with another cell user. So far this week, I've counted fifteen. FIFTEEN. Ten of those when I wasn't moving, and when I was in a five-bar signal area. Your network sucks ass, AT&T.
Furthermore, coverage is abysmal. Leave the major metro area, and it turns into little islands around towns big enough to have a McDonalds. The nearest tower to my parents' house is apparently some five or six miles away. Verizon had towers along the interstate, or at least coverage; AT&T, nope. Only at the major service towns/areas.
Is this enough to make me go back to Verizon? In my current life, no. I'm no longer required to be reachable 24 hours a day, and if I were, my answer would be to get a Verizon phone on my company's dime and carry two phones. I hate Verizon phones that much; I'd carry them both just to not have to look at/use the VZW one.
I've watched seven movies on the iPhone so far. Listened to a Harry Potter book. Haven't made a call using the headset yet. Have been keeping it in a jeans pocket (albeit with nothing else in there) and it seems quite happy. No scratching, creaking, feeling of 'ooh I'll damage it.'
Went 2.5 days without recharging, in which I watched 1.5 movies and listened to 1/4 of Goblet of Fire. Didn't make more than a call or two, but the phone stayed on standby the whole time, although it was out of service area for a good fifteen of those hours.
Happy happy as clam.