Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Jesus Phone.




So last night Timi and I popped into the Apple Store at South Coast Plaza (bonus trivia: South Coast was the 4th Apple Store ever opened) to have a peek at the iPhone. A peek turned into a tour, a tour turned into an investigation, and before I knew it, it had been monopolizing one of the 9 or 10 floor models for over an hour. It's literally that good.

The Pros:
-The screen is gorgeous. The LCD is rated at 160PPI (pixels per inch). For a reference, your average laptop/desktop monitor screens are either 72 or 96PPI. This screen is a stunner - text is super crisp, videos and photos are beautiful and bright.

-The OS is super responsive. It was able to handle multiple things at the same time, and believe me, I taxed it; opening multiple internet windows, playing music, setting up a Bluetooth connection, sending emails and texts, all at the same time. Most of the time it performed beautifully (see why only "most of the time" in the Cons). The UI has a lot of little flair animations here and there (like when you send something to the trash, or create a new tab in the web browser) that really add to the polish and don't manage to be too in-your-face.

-Battery life looks like it might very well hold up just fine in real world situations. In the hour that I used it, what with running all of those tasks concurrently, the battery was still around 92-95%.

-The phone features are great. Timi and I initiated a conference call with 4 lines and each one came through clear - the phone didn't even flinch at adding that many lines. Looking at all the calls you have on hold and switching back and forth is really as easy as the demos indicate.


The Cons:
-EDGE. It's old, it's slow, pages take ages to render, YouTube is a gamble at times. For full-on internet use, I would stick to Wi-Fi. Personally, I'm gonna wait around until there's 3G support. AT&T has a 3G network in Orange County, so the network is already there. Now all that I need is the device to utilize it. I give it maybe 12-15 months before Apple rolls out a next-gen device.

-No Flash support. So much for the "real internet." Hopefully we'll see something in the future with a software update or something.

-The OS can lag. While most of the time it's a joy to use, there are times when it can stick. For instance, if too much is going on in the background and you rotate the screen to view it in landscape mode, it can lag anywhere from 10 to 15 seconds before the screen catches up and turns with you. Also, sometimes if you open up a new tab in the web browser and go off to do other things and assume it'll load the page in the background, you're going to come back only to find that a blank screen – you need to actually wait in the web app for the page to fully load. Minus one on the multitasking side of things.

-The keyboard is lacking. The software isn't necessarily as "smart" as touted by Apple. It only corrected my mistakes a couple times, and the remainder of the time it just kept the misspelling intact ("junk" kept as "jink"...I guess junk isn't a very common word as per the iPhone's dictionary). I suppose with practice (i.e. owning the thing) you'd get a lot better with it. This is, incidentally enough, not a phone that you're going to want to text with while driving, although I know that within the coming weeks we're gonna see some bozo get in an accident while trying to send email/messages while behind the wheel.

-Default ringtones aren't anything to write home about. Apparently, there might be a way to add your own songs as ringtones in the future as per some goodies found in the iTunes 7.3 update, but concrete info on that has yet to surface. Until then, no personalized ringtones for your contacts and no using songs for ringtones. Kind of a bummer.


I wouldn't let the cons hold anyone else back though (although they may be holding me back). There's no denying that this is definitely a watershed moment for Apple and that this device will see some serious market innovation within the US mobile sphere in relation to other manufacturers. It's not so much the hardware or any one feature that really makes is a remarkable device, but all of the features combined into such a nice little package that makes it so appealing, and I think sales in the next few months will echo that sentiment.

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posted by Jack Curry @ 2:50 PM | 1 Comments Links to this post  

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Art of Adam Betts


I've patronized Adam's site a few times in the past 6 months or so, but I never really looked around enough – I more or less popped in, downloaded what I wanted/needed and went on my way. While getting a Firefox icon tonight (if you're ever in need of a good CS3 icon pack, definitely hit this guy's site up), I finally took the time to look around and find out more of what he was all about.

According to this interview, he started out in design when he was about 12 and just kind of kept at it. By the looks of his site, he's really honed in on his technique and style. I really think it's one of those things that tough to do – to kind of figure out what "look" works best for you and kind of sticking with it as a general theme, but not overdoing it too much. I particularly like the subtle elements he has going on - the CSS transparencies, tasteful use of reflections, rounded corners.

Great design, seems like an awesome guy. I highly recommend taking a look.

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posted by Jack Curry @ 11:08 PM | 0 Comments Links to this post  

Sunday, June 24, 2007

ok, gonna give this a shot.


So just now I was sitting at my desk, doing some design stuff, bringing my attention from time to time to a game of chess that I have going with the computer, and it dawned on me how completely dependent we all are on technology. Even if you hate computers and phones and gadgets, widgets, gizmos, what have you, it still stands that the infrastructure on which the world (that you, incidentally, live in) runs entirely on these technologies. I wondered what would happen if all of a sudden, all the electronics in the world just stopped working and how I, as a person who uses all this stuff day in and day out and depends on it (not to mention am enamored with all the new crap that comes out), would fair.

There's really no other way to find out than doing, so as of today, I will not be using my phone for the entire week. Far be it from stopping all my tech use, but I have papers to write and online reading to do, so cutting all electronics out at this point simply isn't do-able. So for those of you that have it, I'll be reachable at my home number, but good luck with that as 1) I'm never home long enough and 2) I never answer my home phone. And for those of you that don't, I'll be online. I want to see how this'll go.

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posted by Jack Curry @ 10:17 PM | 2 Comments Links to this post  

Saturday, June 16, 2007

family guy...


...is comedy GOLD.

posted by Jack Curry @ 3:27 PM | 1 Comments Links to this post  

Thursday, June 14, 2007

a wee bit political for just a second.


I saw this clip of Ron Paul on Tucker Carlson's show the other day, and it really got me thinking: I've never really liked Carlson, but all of a sudden I find myself agreeing with something that he's doing on his program. A paradox, yes. I felt so compelled about this that I had to write it out, and it soon turned into a letter that I just sent off to his program on MSNBC. I'm crossing my fingers that someone from the program actually reads it. Here's to hoping...


Hello Carlson,

First off, let me say that I've never been on the same page as you. I don't support a lot of what you say or believe, and I think that the partisan left/right dilemma that you and many other news networks seem to like to expound is despicable and wholly against what the Framer's of the Constitution believed in, that is that we "ought to be bound together by fraternal affection" rather than "alien to each other" (Washington).

I was very surprised, then, when you had Congressman Ron Paul on your program a while back, and I finally felt myself agreeing with you on some level. Maybe that's in some sense what Washington was talking about when he meant "fraternal affection," maybe not. Maybe I'm closed minded to other points of view simply because I'm stubborn or because my opinion of those points have been so sullied that I tend not to listen to them simply out of habit.

Notwithstanding, I felt that you did a great service to your viewers when you talked with Congressman Paul, however brief that talk may have been. I personally believe that this one man alone is the only candidate I've seen so far that actually takes the Constitution into account, sees the divergence of this country from it, and is willing to put himself out there and say something about it. Which isn't to say that he is a strong candidate, because in American politics, where the media dominates and holds only certain individuals in the political sphere up for all to see, he isn't. The idea of "frontrunner" and "second tier" candidates is a wholly undemocratic way of viewing potential leaders of our country as it automatically groups them in the eyes of the American public as such; either prominent or marginalized, depending. This man doesn't stand a chance in the debates simply because the media doesn't see him as important, and therefore, by extension, neither does the general American public watching those debates. Which is why I applaud you, to some extent, from bringing Congressman Paul on the program and allowing him to reach a segment of the American public that may, and probably, have not have heard of him or his positions before.

I sincerely hope that you will give it further consideration to bring Congressman Paul on again sometime in the future for a more thorough interview in order that he may really have a chance to speak what he believes and allow him more face time that has, up until now, only been afforded to the "frontrunners" of both the Republican and Democratic campaigns. I think the media, in that sense, has done a horrible disservice to the voting population, but I can only hope that individuals such as yourself, even though I may not agree with what you have to say most of the time, can help not only restore my faith in the American media, but also in how is plays a role in shaping the social landscape of this country.

You have a great power, sir. I only ask that you use it responsibly and judiciously.

-Jack Curry

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posted by Jack Curry @ 12:32 PM | 0 Comments Links to this post  

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

college, technology and other musings


The notion of 4 years for an undergrad is completely obsolete. If I have to also be taking summer and intersession classes to meet this goal, it's technically not "4 years as in 8 semesters", but "4 years as you're going to have no free time at all." I think it's the intellectual equivalent of saying you're going to give me a house, and you give me the house but then you avail yourself to pooping on my lawn every 6 months or so. Gee, thanks.

In other news, Safari 3 was released as a beta to both Mac and Windows. On the Mac side, it promptly killed my Wikipedia widget (which has since been updated but still has issues) and still doesn't allow for Google Chat (more lawn pooping). Sooo it's back to 2.0.4 for me. Too much trouble, too little payoff in my opinion. And I had such high hopes for an updated WebKit frameworks without having to download the nightlies constantly.

On the Windows side, exploits were found within hours of the release (more of the same old same old for the Windows camp). I actually find that kind of disconcerting, even for a beta – you'd think that security, one of the biggest things that's touted by Jobs and the Kool-Aid drinking contingent, would've been one of the basic underlying principles of the design. After all, it was for the Mac version. Maybe slightly different frameworks or how it accesses the system or the calls that it makes is the cause for some inherent stability (i.e. could it be Windows's fault?). Or maybe they just needed a way to necessitate the ability of everyone (Mac and Windows programmers alike) to be able to build "apps" for the iPhone and it's "sweet" development platform (Web 2.0 and AJAX, hardly an SDK....I'm going to invoke lawn pooping once again).

On the topic of the Mac, WWDC 07 was on Monday. It was one of the weakest keynotes I've ever been privy to. I watched the WWDC keynote from last year on Sunday to kind of refresh what was gone over, and was extremely disappointed on Monday when I saw that it was essentially a rehash of last year's content. Stacks were kind of cool, but we already have spring-loaded folders, so it's not like that's anything new (except a prettier package). But a transparent menu bar? "Dimensional" dock? COVER FLOW IN THE FINDER?!?!?

Allow me to express my discontent with that last point very quickly – I think CoverFlow, outside of the iPhone (where I think it has merit), is by far one of the most useless UIs that Apple has ever pushed. On a computer, it makes much more sense to just type in what you need or click on it with a mouse. Words work much better on a system that has been geared towards them for the past 40 years. People don't go "what did that document look like?" Rather they say "I remember this phrase/name in this document, let me search for it." Sherlock? A decent attempt. Spotlight? A big bundle of awesomeness rolled up in one big metatagging package. Organizing your documents with words and searching for them by such is a perfect marriage. Now they want to push a more visual agenda. Ok, fine by me. Making the icon a preview? Helpful. Adding in QuickLook? Kind of makes viewer applications like QuickTime and Preview/Acrobat redundant, but I'll buy it. CoverFlow? A superfluous, unnecessary, cutesie slideshow implementation that offers no real merit like the aforementioned features. This isn't a feature that offers real-world functionality, but is rather a feature for feature's sake.

And to end on a slightly dubious note, I wonder when the build released to developers on Monday will be hitting the torrent sites. Only a matter of time I suppose.

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posted by Jack Curry @ 12:01 PM | 2 Comments Links to this post  

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

photoshoot 05.18.07


So my friend Kalyn and I did a shoot for a photo contest a few weeks back, the theme of which is "Feeling Sexy". We commandeered my cousin's house and proceeded to lay photographic waste to the surrounding environs. The 4 hour shoot yielded about 560 photos, of which I needed to pick one to submit. Here were the final ones that I narrowed my selection down to. I'll let you choose your favorite.









































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posted by Jack Curry @ 8:29 PM | 0 Comments Links to this post  

bluesolutions


a business consulting firm called bluesolutions contacted us about a month ago to do a company shirt design. arming us with a basic direction and virtually no time restraints, they set us to work trying to come up with some brand identity pieces.

ultimately what we came up with were clean, simple, yet whimsical pieces that convey a uniqueness that would set bluesolutions apart, but also fun and not overpoweringly corporate or stuffy. check it.








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posted by Jack Curry @ 8:29 PM | 0 Comments Links to this post  

OsCene


The Laguna Art Museum is currently holding an exhibit entitled 'OsCene' featuring artists that hail from, you guessed it, Orange County. I attended it a couple weeks ago for my design class (our mandatory 'field trip'), and I was really surprised by the quality of the work. Granted, to get into any exhibition, your work has to be exemplary, but the sheer amount of awesome contemporary work crammed into one location was mind-boggling. Everything from traditional pieces to work done by tattoo artists to situational pieces was present. If you're ever in the area (the exhibit goes til January 21, 007) I highly recommend taking a gander - be sure to check out "Ground" by Joe Biel, "Lake Shore" by Arie Galles, and "Gettysburg" by Carleton Christy. You'll find yourself pleasantly surprised.

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posted by Jack Curry @ 8:29 PM | 0 Comments Links to this post  

2D design class madness


so i'm in a 2D design class this semester with timi and we've been coming up with some pretty cool shit. it's pretty much been a free-for-all in terms of what they let you do - there's no real "rules" governing each assignment, so it's more or less just a have-at-it kind of deal. everything we do is done by hand, but i've used photoshop a few times to lay stuff out before i paint, etc. here's a few pieces i've done that i'm kind of fond of (a couple are still in progress).












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posted by Jack Curry @ 8:28 PM | 0 Comments Links to this post  

model homes


andy and i discovered a whole slew of new backdrop material on friday: model homes. we were skeptic at first but once we got in there and saw how much potential material there was, we were overwhelmed. so with only 30 minutes before lockup, posing as the children of potential buyers that "unfortunately couldn't be here today", we got as many shots as we could, grabbed a couple bottles of complementary water and were on our way.

this is the best we could glean in the time given. we'll be hitting more up later this week.


blue-ness



checkmate, bitch!



rollin columbian drug lord stylieeee



...and there was water


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posted by Jack Curry @ 8:28 PM | 0 Comments Links to this post  

fotografia


i realized that i was definately lagging behind when i saw that blake got photos up and was only back for a few days and i've been back for a week with naught to show for it. so i sprung into action accordingly.


35 West Wacker Dr.



just made it.



that's a lot of church...



clara



consumerism.



the oriental seen from afar.



overworked.



prime example of the varying architectural styles found in chicago.



condos towering over the streets.

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posted by Jack Curry @ 8:27 PM | 0 Comments Links to this post  

chicago


haven't said much on this thing over the past few weeks, so i guess now would be a good time.

flew into chicago thursday afternoon (well, 12pm pacific, 2pm central) after a rousing flight full of screaming babies, a rather rotund fellow in front of me who didn't get that the reason his seat wouldn't go THAT far back was because my knees were occupying that space, and rubbery 'do it yourself' airline food. luckily i had my recently purchased and refitted powerbook (thanks to applecare and a seller on ebay who didn't know any better) and time pretty much flew (pardon the pun) as i had a couple DVD disc images on my hard drive as well as a slew of music uploaded.

arrived and met my sister, and we took the el over to her new place - she calls her neighborhood 'interesting,' i call it 'ghetto.' to each their own i suppose. tooled around for the day, met her new guy (really funny dude, great personality and sense of humor, knows a lot about music and culture. one of the few of her boyfriends that i've taken an instant liking to).

friday was the first day of lollapalooza in grant park - over the course of the weekend, it's estimated that the 319 acre park would be filled by 70,000 people a day. that's 210,000 people over the course of the weekend, give or take a few thousand. to say that getting around was a chore is an understatement.

day one featured aqualung, panic! at the disco (whose live performances are essentric to say the least), eels, editors, iron & wine, violent femmes (who sucked less ass this time around), ween and death cab. the heat was just bareable, and the humidity didn't help at all, but the day overall was super fun, and the food in chicago always helps in times like this. dinner at a little italian deli jo!nt, hop on the train to get back home, head hit the pillow and i was out.

day two saw the go! team, gnarls barkley, blackalicious, some random band that featured rahzel (the muthafuckin human beatbox), flaming lips, thievry corporation, and kanye. i like a few of kanye's songs, but the rest is just 'whatever,' and after seeing him live, that impression is firmly cemented - half of his set consisted of him talking, mostly about himself, and another half was dedicated to him bitching about his sound problems on stage and how he was gonna 'fuck somone up' later. seriously kanye, you may be from chicago and you have a huge fanbase, but get the fuck over yourself. sometimes listening to you is akin to ramming your head into a brick wall. overall though, the day was good, with a few clouds here and there so it wasn't as hellishly hot this time around.

by day three, i was wiped out and only had enough in me to go see she wants revenge and queens of the stone age before i decided to sit down for the next 30 minutes and take a nap in the middle of the park. one bratwurst and 40 minutes later, i had enough to walk around and take a look at broken social scene and the chili peppers before we called it a day and left early before the floodgates opened and it'd take 3 hours to get back home via the train.

so now i'm here, about to embark on downtown, get some photos in, visit old friends, and take some more of it in before i head back tommorow. photos will be up soon enough.

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posted by Jack Curry @ 8:26 PM | 0 Comments Links to this post  

growl


I don't have anything in particular to post at the moment.

I did update my photo portfolio a couple weeks ago, but that's kind of old news. There'll be some new stuff up there in the coming weeks - since it's summer I'm on a mission to get as much done as possible, be it film, photo, graphics, what have you.

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posted by Jack Curry @ 8:26 PM | 0 Comments Links to this post  

compoooters - ala Mac


macs are by far the easiest form of technology to use - when i had a windows machine, most of my time was spent fixing the myriad of problems with the system - regedit, deleting corrupt DLLs, defragmenting the boot drive, and actually doing an entire format and reinstall every 3 or 4 months or so. macs, by comparison, are much easier to use and maintain. for the past year and a half i've had no problems whatsoever with the system or the OS and its components. i drive it pretty hard (as in 15 programs open at once, itunes going full blast, photoshop doing it's thing, the works) and a program may lock up every now and then, but nothing like a full-on system crashing event.

so when my file system became corrupt, it was both a shock and a huge inconvenience. when everything just works, you start to take it for granted.

it had nothing to do with the OS, but a program, perhaps you know of it: limewire? apparently, these p2p programs are written so hastily that how they interface with the system can be awkward. it may work for a time, but after a while, something's bound to go haywire. and it did.

how mac os organizes itself is like this: with a lot of information, sometimes it's not possible to put files that need each other right next to each other on the physical drive. i'm not talking in the same folder or something, i'm talking right next to each other on the hard drive platter itself. it's possible for sure, but sometimes something is already there and it'd be a pain to move it somewhere else on the drive. so, mac os sets up little things called sibling links, and what they do is point to the location of a necessary file that is somewhere else on the hard drive - this is for the operating system itself, not files that i have created. example: i execute a command (say, open dashboard to check movie times), then the system interprets the command, looks for the code to execute, and does it. but if there's a second part of the code that it needs to execute, but it's not near the first part, the system needs a way to find it quick in order to execute the command in a timely fashion. enter the sibling link. attached to the first string of code is a little pointer that says "part two of the execute code is at (x,y,z) on the hard drive" so the system can find the code quickly. and when it works, it works perfect. when it doesn't...

so what happened was, limewire, in the way it interfaced with the system, somehow interfered with these sibling links and messed them up. so when the system goes looking for the second part of the code to execute a command, it doesn't find it because the sibling link is pointing in the wrong place. what that means is, the system now has to search the entire drive in order to find the file. think of it as finding a needle in a haystack with a magnet the size of a credit card - it gets done, but it takes a hell of a long time. this means that every 30 seconds or so, the system would lock up for about a minute and a half. then i have another 30 seconds. then lock up again. kind of hard to work.

in short, i backed up, erased the drive and wrote over it with zeros (seven times actually), then reinstalled the OS and put my files back over. total time from realization of problem to resolution: about 12-14 hours. i'll be backing up my files every couple weeks after this.

didn't really make my weekend.

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posted by Jack Curry @ 8:26 PM | 0 Comments Links to this post  

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