Known Johnson

July 21, 2008

Blandall Revins, you’re an asshole

Filed under: Annoyances,Ipod/Iphone — Tom @ 2:35 pm

I was going to let it drop because I figured the issue was over. The first day, not forty minutes after I got the Iphone activated, I got a call, my first call on the Iphone, in fact – and no one knew the number yet besides me and AT&T. Strangely, the line was dead. Then a while later I got another call. And all throughout that first day, I got calls. I attributed this to the fact that my new number came up on Caller ID as some guy named Blandall Revins*. I am not Blandall Revins, and this is an important fact.

Late in the day, after way too many of these calls, I Googled one of these numbers and it lead me to a forum discussing collection agencies. Great. Blandall Revins, it seems, was in a bit of trouble, and had probably dumped his last phone number in an attempt to get away from the hounding of debt collectors. So I queued up one of the more recent numbers and told them to remove me from their list, and they promised they would, and I told them to remove me from all their lists, and they played dumb saying that they had nothing to do with the other calls. Whatever. I called the other number that had been harassing me, told them to knock it off, and thought that was it. Sunday morning I got yet another call, from yet another number, and immediately get that taken care of. The week, amazingly went quietly and I thought it was taken care of. All I needed now was for my Caller ID info to change over to me, and that is just a matter of time . . .

Until today, when my morning was shattered with several calls from one of the damned numbers that I had already told to knock if off! Three calls in less than three hours – aren’t there some rules against that? I called, bitched them out about how I was told I was taken off the list and told the lady on the other end that this was it – if I get another call from them, I will be contacting the attorney general about the harassment I’m receiving from them over someone I’ve never heard of until 9 days ago.

What pisses me off right now is that when I call on my Iphone, I show up as this guy, who so badly managed his life that he has all these people out chasing him down for his every last dollar. I don’t want to be associated with him in any way whatsoever.

Ah, great, another call – this time listed as BLOCKED. “Is this Blandall Revins?” “No,” I say, frustration very evident in my voice, “We just went through this, just a bit ago!” And with that, the line went dead, chirping out a few beeps. That had better be the last of them.

*Name “cleverly” disguised to protect the original person – I don’t want this poor sap Googling his name one day, finding his name and realizing he could sue me to pay off his debts . . . or just use the money to get in more trouble.

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July 15, 2008

Teleportation, and other super cool Iphone feats

Filed under: Ipod/Iphone — Tom @ 9:35 am

I was just taking a look at my site stats, wondering how the Iphone showed up, and noticed an odd entry from Lake Mary, Florida at exactly the moment I queued up my site on my Iphone. Apparently while I may be sitting here in Phoenix, AZ, I am actually transported to Lake Mary, FL, while I play on the internet. Unfortunately, I am not aware of this teleportation, and remain mentally bound to my previous boring surroundings.

Now for the really cool thing: you NEED to get Shazam on your Iphone. Like, now. If you’ve ever heard a song playing somewhere and said, “What the hell is that song? I love it, I have to know what that song is,” and then bugged everyone around you trying to find out what that song is, this is the App for you. Tap Shazam on your Home screen, let it listen, and in about 25-30 seconds, Shazam will tell you exactly what that song is. David Blaine sitting in a block of ice for several days is not magic. This is real magic. Yes, it really does work, and it works everywhere. It says it’s available for free for a limited time, but I will happily pay a reasonable amount for this – but only if it’s a small one time fee. As I read, it looks like they have been charging a per-song identification fee, and that’s just not going to fly. I’d dump this immediately if that is their plan. So I hope they’re paying attention: $10 one time – good; $1 per ID – BAD. They would be fools to do anything other than that.

Well, okay, that’s only one feat.

July 13, 2008

My new baby

Filed under: Ipod/Iphone — Tom @ 9:50 am

. . . a 16gb white Iphone!

And that’s our new baby on the screen, obviously.

Yes, I am one of those freaks that went and waited in line for a phone. I drove by the Apple store at the Biltmore on Friday after the ultrasound, thinking maybe by then the line had slimmed down and I could be in and out relatively quickly, but found that it was wrapped around the building. I had to work, so I skipped that. I drove by once again on my way home from work, finding the line halved but still far too long for the limited time I had, especially after reading the stories about how people spent most of Friday stuck in the 1st circle of activation hell.

When I woke up Saturday morning, I had this itchy urge. Something was telling me to just go get in line right now. I looked at some forums and saw people reporting the lines were moving much more smoothly, but still slowly (due to Apple and AT&T’s insistence on accounts being activated in-store.) And, so, at 7:30, when Amanda amazingly slept in until, I went in to tell Alissa I was going to give it a shot. I decided if it was completely insane, like it was on Friday morning, I would give up and come back home. If it was like I saw it Friday afternoon, I’d give it a shot. If what I’m reading is true, these lines are not going to go away any time soon – the activation process is slow enough that if there’s more than a dozen people buying phones, there’s going to be a wait, and the demand is high enough that weekends are going to be extremely busy. Lines are going to be very normal at Apple stores for weeks to come – if you know the Apple store, they are always busy. Throw in a bunch of people buying something that takes 15-20 minutes in the best scenarios and you’ve got a huge mess (we were warned in line that some took two hours to activate – that’s the account, not the phone.)

And when I pulled up at 8:40, I got a bit excited – no line was visible from this side of the Biltmore, and that could only be a good thing. Let me explain – the Biltmore is an upscale, open-air mall. The Apple store is on the inside portion (a corner) of it, so any line that forms goes down about 15 feet of wall on the “inside” part of the outdoor area, turns, then down 100 feet or so before getting to the “outside” part. Yesterday, that line did that, then ran down another 200 feet or so – I’d guess there was 300+ people in line. Today was obviously much, much lighter. I parked, got out, and walked up to find the line about 15 feet from the end of that 100 foot wall, all leisurely milling about with lots of space between them. And within a short while, Apple employees came out and asked for anyone there for a Genius Bar or some kind of class appointment to step out of line. Instantly the line shortened by about 1/3. And, really, we moved pretty quick . . . for a while.

I rounded the corner at 10 am and figured it would be any time now – it was only 15 short feet to the door. But just like at Disneyland, getting to the entrance of the attraction is only the beginning. It was 11:41 before I laid a finger on my new Iphone. That’s right – it took 100 minutes to move that 15 feet, then through the store. The activation process was painless – name, address, social security, done. I had to bring the Iphone home to finish up in Itunes, which caused a little fear in my heart after yesterday’s debacle, but I had it up and running in minutes.

Was it worth the wait? Believe it or not, yes! This thing is incredible. I have never cared for cellphones. I don’t spend a ton of time talking on them, or even the landline phone, either. “Necessary evil” is how I characterize them, but this is so much more than a phone. It simply packs together a bunch of applications that I need on a daily basis – things that other cellphones admittedly had – in such a user-friendly way. I never once had an interest in using any internet-enabled cellphones, but it wasn’t because I didn’t think I could make use of it but because it was so clunky. Not here. Plus the GPS – after our trip last week, I have found great love for GPS and while I realize this is a hampered version of a full GPS unit, just being able to look up something and find it is a huge plus for me. Having the internet at my fingertips all day is extremely handy – you don’t know how many times I go to a music store and see something and wonder if it’s something important, rare, etc. Now I can look it up without either investing in it blindly or passing on it to go home and research it while possibly losing it all together. And then there’s the App Store – I can’t say for certain that I’ll buy stuff from there, but a few free Apps have already been loaded, ready to be played with (Jott (it’s a very cool speech-to-text application,) Google Mobile, and Paypal.) Only time will tell what else will come out, but it can only get better from here.

Oh, and anyone wanting scoff, well, I’ll be nice and just say “stuff it” – I’ve been anxiously waiting for a YEAR for this. I wanted the Iphone last year very badly but knew I’d be giving up some stuff I absolutely needed. A few hours in line after a year of waiting is nothing and, in fact, was kind of part of the fun. I met some interesting folk and got to be part of the big deal. Sometimes you just have to do these things – it’s more interesting to talk about than “yeah, I went to Apple/AT&T and bought the Iphone 3 months after it came out.”

June 16, 2008

Idork

Filed under: Ipod/Iphone — Tom @ 4:39 pm

I’m torn on whether it’s smart or dorky of me to have prepared things in advance for the upcoming release of the Iphone 3G, which, yes, I do happen to plan on getting. I’ve put together a Google bookmarks page, have heavily invested in setting up iGoogle, and keep adding to my Google calendar . . . mostly because it’ll be so much easier to use all this on the Iphone. I’ll tell you, I’ve never been so excited about a phone in my life, but you also have no idea how many times since the Iphone came out last year that I’ve thought “Dammit, I really could have used the Iphone to look that up.” I realize other phones have internetability but not quite in the way the Iphone does, and therefore I had no interest. (If you haven’t played with one, you might not understand.) Nor have they had the pricing structure that the Iphone has – all in one. So, yeah, I’m there.

And believe me, I am so looking forward to walking in to Best Buy some day and having one of the blue shirts try and ring me up for a price I know is cheaper on their site, have them show me their infamous fake instore “web” site, and just pull it up on the Iphone.

March 27, 2008

Put the bass in the middle of my head

Filed under: Ipod/Iphone,Music — Tom @ 10:22 pm

I made a big sacrifice for you Mike Keneally fans tonight. All three or so of you that visit me, that is. I spent a couple of hours scanning in artwork and fairly painstakingly cleaning it up in Photoshop, then dumped it on Imageshack for your usage in Itunes and conversely, your Ipods. Why? Because it’s almost impossible to find decent artwork for this guy’s stuff. All I can find are tiny, blurry, off-color versions that look really awful. Anyway, what you see there is the end result of some reasonably hard work – my copy of my much loved Wooden Smoke, as I predicted long ago when it came out, is much the worse for wear, and so required a lot of stamp-tool work. It’s still not perfect – none of them are – but for these purposes, they’re all pretty decent.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, no, this isn’t all of the album covers. It’s only the ones that, for whatever stupid reason, I had ripped as crappy AAC files and decided, tonight, I simply had to re-rip as much higher quality mp3s. This might be a bit of OCD cropping up right here, but it benefits some of you out there, but there was another reason. There seems to be something wrong with those AAC files – they cause Itunes to constantly update whether they’ve been listened to or not, but never actually reflect any changes in play counts. I’ve listened to Wooden Smoke many times in the past six months but you wouldn’t guess it looking at Itunes. Something’s bungled with those files, so they needed to be replaced. And, eventually, as many AAC files will be replaced as possible. This will be a big job – I stupidly recompressed my entire King Crimson collection to AAC one night a couple years back in an effort to save space and now deeply regret it. Everything has to be re-ripped (yes, I actually can hear the difference.) The only thing I’m looking forward to is being finished.

March 25, 2008

There must be more

Filed under: Ipod/Iphone,Migraine — Tom @ 10:47 am

My new Ipod arrived yesterday. Amanda ran around to the front door to retrieve the amazingly small box when we got home – Ipods come in smaller and smaller boxes as time goes on. My first one, a 4th generation 40gb model, came in what I guess is a 6″ x 6″ cube box. The next, the just-retired 5.5 gen 80gb, came in a 6″ x 6″ x 1.5″ or so box. This one? Just a little 5″ x 2″ x 1.5″ or so box. There’s something to be said about the perceived amount of money being spent on these – back when the Ipod was still “new,” spending $350 on something like this was a lot of money, so the package needed to be bigger and more meaningful. Now that it’s such an important part of so many of our daily lives, and that these are often replacements rather than new items for many of us, it’s more of a commodity and doesn’t need to look quite so impressive. Smaller boxes = more Ipods in shipping boxes = lower shipping costs for Apple. Weird how that happens, huh?

Some of my excitement was dampened, however, by an oncoming migraine. I didn’t realize at the time, but something was clearly wrong. The whole day, in fact, something was wrong – I just felt “off,” weirdly hungry, and craving – this should have tipped me off – a Mr. Goodbar. And ONLY a Mr. Goodbar. Nothing else would do. About the time I made dinner I started feeling exhaustion and achiness setting in, but not in a normal way. Within a couple hours, my head was slowly cranking up the hurting, and I realized I was getting very annoyed with sounds around me – I couldn’t focus. I remembered reading something about taking Tylenol to head off a migraine, so I jumped on the computer and read up on it and sure enough, that is recommended. Not too much later I did indeed feel a little better, but still very exhausted. Unfortunately, I woke up this morning feeling much the same, and not much else has changed. That is life for us migraine sufferers. It’s not awful, I’ve had much worse, but it’s not how I wanted to spend today.

So, for the time being, my new Ipod is gleaming silver in its new case . . . ignored. There’s already over 90gb of stuff on there and I want to listen but every time I go to listen, I just can’t because, like last night, my brain is annoyed. That I managed to sit and fill it last night is pretty amazing to me, given how irritable and crappy I was starting to feel. That said, I’m pretty thrilled that the 90gb represents the majority “gotta have it,” large-capacity stuff (King Crimson catalog: 7gb,) and what goes on there from now on will be bands with one or two albums. Yet part of me keeps thinking, “90gb? I’ve got 240gb on my computer. There must be a lot more I’m forgetting about that I have to have . . .” I hope not!

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