Archive for July, 2010

A little fun in the sun

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with using continuous light. Continuous light, from a source so large its gravitational field holds an entire galaxy together, is awesome. Pair that light source with my Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM and you’ve got the makings for something great. A few examples below:



MMS woes, and a solution.

Chances are if you’re on AT&T and you’ve ever had someone on Verizon try to send you a photo via MMS, you’ve experienced failure. Maybe you’re a Verizon customer and you thought you’d send a photo to someone on AT&T only to find yourself wondering why you never got a response. I could see how, if the ducky-face, a mirror, and your cutest new purchase from Victoria’s Secret was involved, this might cause some self-esteem problems. Worry no more, dear children of the cellpic generation, it isn’t you – it’s your carrier.

What exactly it is about the carrier I’ve not figured out. Chances are I won’t bother figuring it out either. The solution, it seems, is to make sure if you’re on VZW and you’re trying to MMS someone on AT&T that your message includes a subject and some caption text in addition to the picture. My fifty-something message trial today was met with a 100% failure rate on MMS sent from VZW users. When I asked the senders to try again with a subject and text the messages came through as expected.

Don’t you just love easy fixes?

Now, if you’re using an iPhone 4 and your MMS messages are being eaten by the evil data monsters – try resizing the pictures to fit under the 600k limit. Every other phone on the planet it does that automatically, but yours doesn’t.

Summer 1 – Complete

My short summer-term battle with Physics 2 has come to a close. Somehow, I managed to pull off a solid B in the course. Provided my ongoing experiment with Calculus 3 follows the same grade trend my Calculus 1 and 2 courses did, this summer will actually be good for my GPA. Fancy that.

The best part about being finished with physics is that I actually have time to think now. No more waking up and going to campus early every single day. I think that method, going hard every day, is probably the best way to learn. Of course, I don’t particularly enjoy the amount of work that method requires. No one said it would be easy, right?

Save Private Manning!

I’ll cut right to the chase with this one. From what? If Manning is guilty as charged, he deserves the full punishment he gets. It’s simply impossible to believe Manning did not know his actions violated at least one punitive article of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

There’s a fairly decent chance if you’re reading this you’ve also read my analysis of the sensationalized editorial Wikileaks ran as news. The video that caused most of the stir captures an engagement between an Apache and a group of armed and unarmed men in a posture perceived as hostile to nearby troops. The subsequent 15-6 investigation, which is not just a dog-and-pony show, found no intentional violation of the ROE.

What could Manning possibly have hoped to change by leaking that video? Was he trying to send a message to journalists and photographers that being embedded with men carrying RPGs near a patrol of coalition forces is probably going to get you killed? Perhaps his goal was to urge persons of all professions to exercise personal responsibility and fully realize the dangers of their actions. Somehow I doubt that is the case. Manning has been compared to Ellsberg, but that’s a faulty comparison at best. Ellsberg had a point to make; it would seem Manning does not.

It seems Wikileaks is upset that the Crazyhorse crew hasn’t been charged with the deaths of the Reuters personnel they killed in the leaked video. The argument seems to be that because the identification of the photographer as a man armed with an RPG was made in error that the engagement amounted to cold-blooded murder – something clearly against both military and civilian law. If that is the metric being used – that the clear violation of a well-known law ought to result in the filing of criminal charges – Wikileaks ought to then fully support the charges brought against Manning. It’s very clear that one is only authorized to operate within his or her official capacity on the SIPRnet, and that failing to do so is a violation of the law. It is equally clear that the possession, and/or release, of materials inconsistent with their official markings is a violation of the law.

So, again, from what exactly is it Wikileaks wants to save Manning?

First Impressions – HTC Aria

More than two years ago, I stepped off an airplane at Lawson Army Airfield after 14 months in Iraq. My first destination off post? Anywhere I could find an iPhone. Since I’d just returned from a lengthy deployment, money was no object. Full retail? Not. A. Problem. Two months later the problems started. Regret took a back seat to my out-processing from the Army and my return to civilian life. When that primary objective was complete, I tried to get the iPhone replaced. Luck was not on my side, and neither was Apple. That bad experience came to an end yesterday when I picked up my new phone. Enter the HTC Aria.

HTC Aria and iPhone 2G

HTC Aria and iPhone 2G

The first thing I noticed about this particular phone was the tiny size. In the smartphone arena it certainly won’t be compared to Goliath. It comes in physically smaller, as illustrated above, than the iPhone 2G by around half an inch (on its longest side). If you pop the backing off, which is a little difficult the first time, you gain access to the SIM card, microSD card, and battery of the device. Screen size and resolution are not going to win any contests either, but they’re well balanced and certainly allow for an enjoyable experience with both text and multimedia content. In the upper right side there is a power button, and on the left a volume rocker. The small circle at the bottom of the phone’s face is an optical trackpoint. Touch sensitive regions along the bottom of the screen are present for the home screen, menu, back, and search functions.

Using the phone is quite simple. Anyone who has ever used an iPhone should be able to pickup the use of this Android phone very easily. I spent most of yesterday trying out different apps and reconfiguring my theme. At no point was it ever confusing. Unsurprisingly, the applications from Google work flawlessly on the Android OS. Navigation is awesome. The integration with Google Voice, Gmail, and GTalk is equally excellent. While the Android Marketplace lacks the sheer volume of applications found in Apple’s AppStore, I was able to quickly find applications do to exactly what I wanted to do. Not a single one of them cost me a dime either. To Apple’s credit, I never paid for an iPhone app either.

Battery life is the one negative comment I’ve read. The Aria certainly does not have the largest capacity battery on the market. It does well with the battery it does have though. As of this writing my phone has been on, and active, for more than six hours. It still has more than 70% charge remaining. Now, I’m not one to sit around and use my phone all day to do things for which an actual computer is better suited so perhaps I’m not as picky as others. That said, if I can make it through my time away from home in a any given day while maintaining the means to communicate with others I’m happy. This phone fits the bill.

Flickr Slideshow

Youtube Video

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