Archive for June, 2007

We won a gee-tar!

Saturday, June 30th, 2007

Becky and I went to Music Row of Maryville this evening for the “Second Annual June Jam,” featuring the bluegrass bands Six Mile Express and Higher Ground and the bluegrass gospel band New Road. We didn’t know anything about the bands, but we wanted to get ourselves some East Tennessee culture, and I heard the event advertised on WDVX — the local, publicly-supported “American roots music” station (so described by Wikipedia), which we listen to in the car all the time — so we figured, what the heck?

It was a good time, and New Road in particular was very good. But the real news is, we won a free guitar! Well, not quite free; tickets for the concert were $10 apiece, and that also got you a place in the door-prize raffle. One of our ticket numbers got called when they started giving away the “big” prizes (after a bunch of hats, t-shirts, etc.), which allowed us to pick out this baby:

I think it’s a JG-610, which means it would be worth $110 new. (Though I think its resale value might be higher if it were an “autistic” guitar … heh.) Not bad for 20 bucks! And we got a case for it, too.

Now, one of us just needs to (re-)learn how to play guitar! :)

More iPhone news

Saturday, June 30th, 2007

It seems the iPhone is pottymouth-friendly.

Also: Heh.

Quote(s) of the day

Saturday, June 30th, 2007

Becky: “I’m sad.”
Brendan: “Why are you sad?”
Becky: “I’m hungry.”
Brendan: “Okay. Being sad and being hungry are two different emotions.”
Becky: “Not when you’re pregnant, they’re not.”

Ineffective terrorists hit Scotland airport

Saturday, June 30th, 2007

Another attempted terror attack in the United Kingdom? Apparently so, but it doesn’t seem to have done much damage, heavens be praised:

GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) – Two men rammed a flaming sport utility vehicle into the main terminal of Glasgow airport Saturday, crashing into the glass doors at the entrance and sparking a fire, witnesses said. Police said two suspects were arrested.

The airport – Scotland’s largest – was evacuated and all flights suspended, a day after British police thwarted a plot to bomb central London, discovering two cars abandoned with loads of gasoline, gas canisters and nails. …

In Glasgow, the green SUV barreled toward the building at full speed shortly after 3 p.m., hitting security barriers before crashing into the glass doors and exploding, witnesses said. Two men jumped out of the burning vehicle, one of them engulfed in flames, they said.

“The car came speeding past at about 30 mph. It was approaching the building quickly,” said Scott Leeson, who was nearby at the time. “Then the driver swerved the car around so he could ram straight in to the door. He must have been trying to smash straight through.” …

Passengers fled running and screaming from the busy terminal, Margaret Hughes told the British Broadcasting Corp. … Police said it was unclear if anyone was injured. ….

Leeson said bollards – security posts outside the entrance – stopped the driver from barreling into the bustling terminal at Glasgow’s airport.

“He’s trying to get through the main door frame but the bollards have stopped him from going through. If he’d got through, he’d have killed hundreds, obviously,” he said.

Leeson said only the nose of the vehicle made it inside the building. Richard Grey told the BBC that the vehicle was lodged into the center of the terminal’s main entrance.

“The jeep is completely on fire and it exploded not long after. It exploded at the entrance to the terminal,” witness Stephen Clarkson told the BBC. “It may have been an explosion of petrol in the tank because it was not a massive explosion.”

More here and here.


British authorities raised that nation’s threat level to “critical” today following a vehicle attack on a passenger terminal at Glasgow airport in Scotland, British authorities said.

The last time the threat level was raised to critical in the United Kingdom was last August after a liquid bomb plot was foiled.

Subsequently the threat level had been reduced to severe where it remained until today.

Although the threat level “critical” is meant to indicate an attack is imminent, in practice the British appear to have reserved its use for after an attack or attempted attack has already occurred and a follow-up attack is imminent.

Cool. A completely idiotic new law

Saturday, June 30th, 2007

What a novel concept. I’d never imagine that the Tennessee General Assembly, in its infinite corruption wisdom, could come up with something like this.

A sweet new law requiring retail stores to actually check everyone’s ID to purchase beer. What a great way to accomplish almost nothing and inconvenience us a bit more. Way to go Nashville!

I get it. You want to make it harder for under-21s to get beer. But, do you really get there by making Granny and Gramps flash their drivers license and AARP cards? This is nothing more than a symbolic absurdity that makes the state look foolish.

Maybe I should actually invest in making that Kegerator I’ve always thought about. That way, I can get by for at least a week at a time without running out to the store for more brewdogs.

The mattress is here!

Saturday, June 30th, 2007

iPhone’s Knoxville debut, in words, pictures and video

Friday, June 29th, 2007

Here are my photos of the iPhone’s debut at the Knoxville Apple Store in West Town Mall.

My thoughts on the wee gadget? Overall, I agree with Dane: “It’s really rather addictively fun to play with. The touch screen thing is fantastic, beyond any other touch sensitive device I’ve ever used. Flicking around stuff is fun, and really fast and feels very natural.”

That opinion seemed to be shared by most everyone at the store; the atmosphere was really electric at the table where people were playing with the iPhones. One person after another expressed a mixture of delight, glee, stunned amazement, etc. at how awesome the little gizmo is. I must have heard some variation on the sentiment, “I really wish I could afford one of these,” a half-dozen times. (Clearly, I wasn’t the only person who showed up just to play with the iPhones even though I had no intention of buying one.)

Alas, the biggest sticking point for me all along — well, aside from the price, the fact that I’m under contract with Sprint (though I guess it’s possible to sell your contact), and the inability to use it as a modem — remains a sticking point: as good as the touch-sensitive keyboard is, and as quickly as you get better at using it after even a few minutes, I still don’t think it would ever become possible to type as fast as I can on a regular cell-phone keypad in T9w mode. Moreover, without tactile feedback, it almost certainly wouldn’t ever become possible to type without looking, which I do all the time on my current phone. If you’re accustomed to sending short text messages and writing brief e-mails from your phone while not doing anything else that you need to look at, this is not a big problem. If you’re accustomed to composing and publishing a dozen 256-character blog posts on your phone during the course of a football game you’re attending, it’s a somewhat more serious concern. :)

That said, the phone is so cool that it might very well, at some point, be worth the small sacrifice of dealing with the limitations imposed by the non-tactile virtual keyboard.

However, I don’t think I’ll ever get an iPhone unless and until it can be used as a modem. The slowness of typing with the virtual keyboard — this short post took a good 10 minutes to type (though I’m sure I’d get somewhat faster with time) — only reinforces the importance of being able to still use my laptop for blogging, e-mail, etc., while I’m on the go and it’s convenient to do so. No way does the iPhone’s own web access, while excellent for a phone, totally replace that. In other words, at least for a power user, the iPhone does notremove the need to carry around your whole computer” in all circumstances. In some circumstances, yes, but not all. Phone-as-modem must be added at some point, or the iPhone will not be a viable option for me. And I’m not alone. A very quick search found tons of bloggers complaining about the same issue. See, for example, this post: “Because the iPhone currently can’t be used as a USB modem, it is useless for me. Sure, the video and audio features are cool. Sure, the user interface makes me drool with envy. But all that can’t hold a candle to letting me work when I’m out in the boonies. Staying connected means more than just accessing the Internet from my phone. I need a phone that can get my laptop online as well.” This is not a trivial issue, and no rationalization regarding the “target audience” can mask the fact that a non-negligible segment of potential users will be unable to seriously consider buying an iPhone until this feature is added. Its absence is, simply put, a total deal-breaker for many people. Are you listening, Apple?

I had a few other pet peeves as I played with the phone, which I’ll talk about after the jump. (Don’t get me wrong — I really like the thing, and most of these gripes are admittedly nitpicky. But you already know the good stuff, as it’s been widely publicized, so I’m trying to add something new to the discussion by mentioning these pet peeves.)

First, though, here’s a rather lengthy video of me playing with an iPhone. To be honest, I’m not sure if it will be of much interest, but for those who want to get a feel for what it’s like… well, I’d suggest you just go to an Apple Store and see for yourself :), but if you don’t want to do that, you can watch my video. Around 9 minutes and 15 seconds in, you can see me log into the WordPress interface (I excluded the part where I enter my password, obviously) and type up a post, so any potential WP-using iPhone bloggers can get a sense of what it would be like to blog via iPhone. Enjoy!

source file

NOTE: My typing speed in this video is a bit slower than my typing speed when using the iPhone normally. I was slowed down by the unnatural angle at which I had to stand and hold the thing in order to keep it on camera.

Speaking of video clips, in the post below, you can view my footage of the Apple Store opening the doors at 6:00 PM.

Anyway, like I said, after the jump, my pet peeves. :)


The iPhone hits California [and Tennessee]

Friday, June 29th, 2007

The clock has just struck 6:00 PM in San Francisco, where Gizmodo is livecasting the iPhone’s debut:

UPDATE: Meanwhile, here’s my video of the Apple Store at West Town Mall in Knoxville opening its doors just over three hours ago:

Heading home

Friday, June 29th, 2007

The pregnant wife calls. :) Liveblog over, but stay tuned for more photos and observations later.

Meta-moblogging :)

Friday, June 29th, 2007

Here's a photo of the below post as I was typing it. It took the better part of ten minutes to type. Pet peeve: there is no period on the main screen of the virtual keyboard. You have to go to the screen with numbers, symbols, etc. to type a period.

WordPress on the iPhone

Friday, June 29th, 2007

I’m typing this via the regular WP interface, accessed via Safari on the iPhone. Seems to work fine. The typing does take some getting used to, but I have gotten significantly better in my maybe 20 minutes of use. Hard to type really fast, though, and probably impossible to do no-look typing. Still, a very cool device. People here seem overwhelmingly impressed — blown away, even.

Welcome, InstaPundit readers!

Friday, June 29th, 2007

I knew posting a picture of Glenn's site as seen on an iPhone in Knoxville would get me a link. :) Here's a shot my own site on the iPhone's screen in vertical mode. Again, photo taken with my boring old Sprint phone (which seems to be better at close-up shots than the iPhone’s camera, but maybe there’s a macro setting on the iPhone that I haven’t discovered yet).

InstaPundit via iPhone

Friday, June 29th, 2007

Photo of screen taken by my regular cell phone.

My blog, as seen via Safari on the iPhone

Friday, June 29th, 2007

Sent from my iPhone

CORRECTION: Before Becky has a heart attack… the caption “Sent from my iPhone” was added automatically by the phone that I was trying out in the store. Same goes for the posts below. I did not — repeat, did not — buy an iPhone. :)

Audio Moblog

Friday, June 29th, 2007

powered by

source file