Now That What’s I Call Service; Vol. 2

I’m (apparently) part of the Microsoft Office 12 Technical Beta. I can login to Microsoft Beta Place, I can download the files I need, but I never got my product key. I sent out three emails over the last two weeks to the group in charge of the Welcome Message (which also includes the product key). Each time I received an auto-response saying:

If you are looking for your product installation keys, they were
e-mailed to you from betamail@microsoft.com in a message titled
MICROSOFT OFFICE “12” INSTALLATION INFORMATION. This message was sent to
you on the same day you were given access to the BetaPlace website. If
you are unable to locate this message, we will have the product
installation key email resent to you within 2 business days.

Several days go by and still no email. I search my junk folder and then manually take a look as well. Nothing.

I was fed up. So I emailed one of the contacts within Microsoft, we’ll call him Bob John, who originally helped me get into the Technical Beta so I can review it for StudentTabletPC (Scoble helped me out first, directing my email to John). Literally an hour and twenty minutes later, John emails me back with his Product Code. Now that is what I call service.

Granted, I did have a personal contact within Microsoft, but the fact that he was able to help me without giving me the run-around was really cool.

I even wrote this post before I installed Office. That’s how cool this was!

But I can’t wait any longer. I’m going to go install Office/OneNote 12 now.
[tags]Office 12, help, StudentTabletPC[/tags]

A Feed for Robert Scoble, et al

I’ve created two new categories and hence, two new RSS feeds (well three, but only because WP insists that I do).

The plan is to put content in the feed that I think will be of particular interest to said person. Anybody is free to subscribe to them, although I don’t guarantee that it will interest you as much as my main feed will.

XML Feed Robert Scoble’s feed

XML Feed Gary Anderson’s feed

So why am I doing this? Two reasons. First, if I can make someone’s visit to my site better or easier to access, then I will do what I can to facilitate that. Second, I believe that what I have to say is important (see “Why I Am The Future“) and getting that information in the right peoples hands is critical. So have at it!

[tags]robert scoble, gary anderson[/tags]

eBooks in School

I went into the Campus Bookstore to buy some 0.5mm pencil graphite and ended up chatting with Ann Fraley, Barnes & Nobles VP Stores for Territory 4 for the better part of 15 minutes (Full Disclosure: the CSM Campus Bookstore is operated by B&N).
I asked Ed Showers, who runs the bookstore, about eBooks (I use eBook to mean any book that is available electronically). Ed directed me to Ms. Fraley, who was standing next to him. Here’s the low down:

  • Pearson Education (parent company of Prentice Hall, “the world’s largest publisher of academic and reference textbooks”) is pretty much the only publisher who produce eBooks.
  • McGraw also produces some eBooks, but to a much lesser extent.
  • In order to get access to eBooks, the course instructor must explicitly allow the bookstore to sell them
  • Most eBooks are only accessible through the web.
  • Some eBooks allow printing, but only a set percentage of the total pages (e.g. 30% of the book)

I’m now going to email all my profs for next semester and have them allow access to the eBooks.

[tags]colorado school of mines, college, tablet, barnes and noble, electronic book, ebook, McGraw, Pearson, Ann Fraley, Ed Showers, for Robert Scoble, for Gary Anderson[/tags]

Full/Partial Feed Debate

Robert Scoble is having a discussion on full versus partial feeds (see his links here, here, and here).

I agree with Scoble and I don’t subscribe to feeds that only have partial text. And there were some really good feeds that I had to delete. But my time is valuable and I only have a limited amount of time between classes to glance at my feed reader (I use JetBrains Omea Reader 2.0, which is free and the best one I’ve found of yet). If I have to spend time reading a small primer and then clicking on a link and waiting for that load (with all it’s wonderful graphics), then I’m not a happy camper.

I would assume the whole point of partial feeds is to draw the user to the site, a marketing gimmick of sorts. With me and countless others, it’s having the opposite effect and driving viewers away. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, not Rich Site Summary (at least in my book).

Some of my friends have blogs that only provide partial feeds and I tell them that I won’t subscribe unless they use a blog service that allows full feeds. I even offer to help them move over to a new blog service (like WordPress.com).

[tags]Robert Scoble, RSS, feed, full versus partial, WordPress.com, Omea Reader[/tags]

Riya: Error Report Batch One

The technology is cool, no doubt about that. However, this is definitely an alpha version and tons more work needs to be done, especially in the display of photos area. Here’s my first bug report (also emailed to the Riya team):

  1. When I was tagging faces, some of the faces did not appear. I labeled them as “AlphaError”.
  2. Some faces are not recognized. When I go in to manually tag them, I find that I usually can’t drag a box around their face if their face is too close to another tagged face.

[tags]riya, photosearch, soalphaithurts[/tags]

ViewPad 1000

On my way through security, I saw a guy (I’ll call him Ben) who had a ViewSonic ViewPad 1000. I almost took a picture of it, but decided against it because TSA doesn’t like people taking pictures on their turf.

I asked Ben about it. The conversation went something like this:

Andrew, “Is that a Tablet PC?”

Ben, “Yea, it is.”

Andrew, “That’s cool. What kind is it?”

Ben, “It’s a ViewPad.”

Andrew, “Do you like it?”

Ben, “Yea!”

Andrew, “How old is it?”

Ben, “It’s a little old. 900MHz, 30GB Hard Drive, 512 Ram, WiFi. But it’s solid.”

Andrew, “That’s cool.”

Ben, “ViewSonic is actually refurbishing them now, too.”

Andrew, “Really?”

Ben, “Yup.”

Andrew, “Yea, I have an M200, Toshiba M200.”

Ben, “Cool.”

Andrew, “Yup. Well, thanks!”

In case anybody cares, Ben was having his bag wiped down for a mass spectrometer test (because everyone knows what that is;-)).

[tags]toshiba m200, viewsonic viewpad 1000, tablet pc, tsa[/tags]

Kissing Sony Goodbye

It’s actually more of smack, but in either case Sony is now on my ban list for two, count ’em: 1-2 years. What does this mean for me and Sony? I will not buy anything from Sony, including divisions of Sony (such as BMG, Tristar, etc). The exception for this is items given to me free of charge or when purchasing a product does not profit Sony. I will no longer recommend any Sony products and services to anyone.

Why? Because Sony sucks. They are invasively proprietary and damagingly intrusive.

How? Sony Memory Stick, UMD, BluRay. Need I say more? The Memory Stick is probably my biggest issue. Sony decides to develop a portable memory unit instead of just adopting one of the standards. Their new memory stick does nothing different then any other memory stick. It’s just a different size and Sony uses it exclusively on all devices. Good marketing, but also very monopolistic.

As for being damagingly intrusive. This one really takes the cake. As you should know by now, Sony is getting their ass kicked around by just about everybody (except their friends at the RIAA) for installing a root kit on computers that played select music CD’s. Many companies, including Microsoft, are now updating their definitions list to of malicious code to include Sony’s root kit. Event the Department of Homeland Security is kicking Sony with the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Stewart Baker, saying “It’s very important to remember that it’s your [Sony’s] intellectual property — it’s not your computer. And in the pursuit of protection of intellectual property, it’s important not to defeat or undermine the security measures that people need to adopt in these days.” Buh-yea! DoHS is finally useful for something!

But as always, there is a way for Sony to get me back. How? We’ll set the bar high: $10,000 donation to EFF, my entire college tuition paid (including current loans), and the biggest, best, flattest video display Sony has at the time. Doubt that will happen, so check back in two years [postdated URL for the future]!

Update: Saw this on Sory Electronics via BoingBoing:Sory

[tags]sony, ban, proprietary, intrusive,sory,boingboing[/tags]

My Next Phone

My cell contract is up for renewal mid December so I’m starting to look at new phones I could get. The Motorola E815 is well received by cNet which ranked it as the best 3G phone. My new phone must have Bluetooth and a camera. It also must have decent battery life, minimum 3 days standby time (the E815 has 11 days of standby or 4.5 hours of talk time, which is about 2.5 hours of standby time to every hour of talk time…not bad). So if you have any suggestions, leave a comment. Oh, and it must work with Verizon and have good reception. Analog reception is not required for this phone either (unlike for my last phone).