Nerd things

Well, iPhone 5 is pretty nice.  It’s noticeably lighter than my iPhone 4, and it’s nice to have a fully functioning home button again.  The front-facing camera is pretty spiffy, and I feel like I can probably take decent pictures with it now that are a lot less grainy.

The biggest issue so far is the new dock connector (Lightning) – which, don’t get me wrong, I really like it, but I am used to having four dock cables plus the built in one in my Nissan.  Now I have only one and can’t use the iPhone 5 in my Nissan to play music.  I guess somewhat fortunately, the Alpine head unit in there is old and starting to have issues anyway (sometimes when I touch it or hit a bump, it turns off and turns back on), so I just went ahead and bought a new one rather than shelling out $30 for the dock/Lightning adapter, and now the new head unit should charge my phone (old one didn’t) and also do Bluetooth calling, which means I will actually be able to make phone calls in that car now.  Driving a manual is pretty prohibitive of holding a phone to your ear, which I guess is a good thing in its own way, but sometimes you have to make calls.  I guess I’ll just need to buy another Lightning cable, and I’ll be all set.

And LTE is pretty awesome.

Of course, the speed depends on where you are, and it’s much slower/sometimes not available at my house, but the speed above is pretty awesome considering my home Internet is about 13 Mbps.

I also bought an Intel 330 SSD for Melfina and two 4 GB sticks of RAM.  It’s been a really long time since I’ve bought computer parts, especially for legitimate upgrades to my main computer.  I’m really happy with Melfina, but the 80 GB capacity on my Intel X-25M G2 is not cutting it anymore, and RAM is just so cheap these days ($36 total) that there’s really no point in not making that upgrade, especially now that I’ll have the disk space for the larger swap file.

Also…I started playing World of Warcraft.  I managed to avoid that game for like eight years, but Sam plays it.  It’s something to do together, and those things come in short supply with the distance between us.  Playing an MMO brings back memories of Ragnarok, but I have been having those recently anyway due to the best new anime of the last season, Sword Art Online, which I highly recommend.

Oh yeah, and I got a new job that I start this week.  :D

iPhone 5

I ordered an iPhone 5 on pre-order launch day at 6:40AM.  Of course, this was already too late, and instead of receiving mine tomorrow, I won’t be getting it until early October.  My order status says “ships October 5th,” so we’ll see.

It seems people were disappointed with the announcement of the 5, but I don’t understand why.   I mean, what were they expecting?  Was it supposed to shoot lasers or something?  I mean, the Javascript engine is literally twice as fast as the 4S (and faster than every other smartphone included in that test, including some of the top Android phones).  The screen is bigger, the battery is better, it has LTE, 1.2 MP/720p front-facing camera, you don’t have to worry about breaking the glass on the back of the phone anymore…sounds good to me.

And I realize a lot of phones on the market already had most of these things, but they’re not iPhones.  Whine and complain all you want, but when it comes to usability and polish of the OS, iPhones are just the best.  Windows phones look nice too, but I couldn’t see myself getting an Android phone at any point.  I don’t need to root my phone or customize the crap out of it.  I want to text, talk, take pictures, browse the Internet, download the occasional cool app – that kind of stuff.  And that’s what iOS is good at.  Its fluidity cannot be beaten.  That’s not to say that iOS is the best for everyone; it just depends on what you need, and that kind of thing isn’t important to some people, but it is to me.

So of course, it’s a bigger upgrade going from my iPhone 4 than it would be from a 4S, but it’s a nice upgrade either way, and it’s not like Apple is forcing you at gunpoint to give them your money (Apple isn’t the government, after all :D).

I’m a little upset that I have to wait an extra two weeks for my 5, but it’s not a huge deal.  I’m probably write more about it when I get it.

The Power of Words

There are a lot of things about American society that puzzle me.  Some of it makes sense, and some doesn’t.  I get that doing lewd things in public is bad.  You probably should not perform sexual acts in the park, for example.  But something I don’t understand – as a member of society in general and as a writer – is how much some people frown upon cursing, or rather, using words that society deems as curse words, such as ‘shit.’

I personally believe that the function of cursing is in the meaning, not of just a word itself.  Using words as weapons to hurt someone is cursing.  Saying “get up off of your ass” is not.  But, for the purposes of this post, cursing is what society generally defines it as – just using a certain set of words that are deemed inappropriate by said society.

Some people will argue that one should just choose to use different words to avoid the “problem of cursing” altogether, but those people don’t understand what role those words play in a person’s vocabulary.  Saying “I stepped in a pile of dog mess” and “I stepped in a pile of dog shit” is essentially the same thing because they hold the same meaning.  Yet, even in this simple example, you may picture two completely different people saying each of those phrases because of the word choice.

Now let’s take this and apply it to what is generally considered to be one of the “worst” curse words.  Saying “I went home and cried in my freaking closet” and “I went home and cried in my fucking closet” hold basically the same meaning: this person went to their home and cried in their closet, and either out of frustration or for some other reason, they want to emphasize the fact that the crying they did was in this particular place.  As a writer, the power of the word “fuck” amazes me.  When used in the right situation, it can create this emotional response within a person.  A “freaking closet” is not really that big of a deal.  Think about a “freaking closet.”  Trying mouthing it.  Now think about the alternative with the curse word.  Mouth it.  Notice how different it is sounding out the “fr” and the “fu.”  For me, with the latter, my bottom teeth touch my upper lip.  It feels angrier.  It feels more frustrating.  This is the power of words.

Of course, cursing can be and is often overused.  If every sentence you articulate has a curse word in it, then those words lose their meaning, and, to me, it sounds like you’re either just angry all of the time or don’t have a large enough vocabulary to pick an alternative word that is more fitting to the situation.

What is “Freedom”?

Depending on who you ask, the word “freedom” will probably have different definitions, but if you’re asking me, it’s pretty simple.  Freedom is the ability to do whatever you choose to do that does not infringe upon the freedom of others.

You do not have the ability to steal from someone else, because that infringes upon their freedom.  You should, however, have the freedom to do whatever you choose to do with your own property (including your own body).  Being forced to purchase something is not freedom.  Buying something because you choose to mitigate risks to your property is freedom.

Just a random thought.  Most people proudly call America the land of the free, while sadly ignoring that our freedom is slowly eroding away.

Trip to New England, awww yeah

I went to New Hampshire and Massachusetts!

My trip started badly on Friday at the Baton Rouge airport with a flight that was delayed, then had mechanical issues.  I called Delta and had them reschedule my flights and was told I’d get to stay in a hotel in/near the Atlanta airport on Delta’s dime since I’d miss my connecting flight, so two hours late, the flight finally takes off and puts me in Atlanta, where – surprise! – there are three conventions going on (Dragon-Con being one of them, fffff, nerds) and there are no hotel rooms.  My connecting flight was rescheduled from Manchester that night to Boston in the morning, so I had to sleep in the airport (they gave me a $50 Delta travel voucher and two $6 food vouchers for the ATL airport, how generous, right?).

If you’ve ever been to ATL, this might be a strange sight to you, considering how ridiculously busy that airport usually is.

It wasn’t really that easy to sleep, so I took a couple hour-long naps and then watched Naruto and Drew Carey’s Improv-a-ganza on my laptop until it was time to board the plane.  Tried napping once onboard, but probably only managed another 45ish minutes of actual sleep.  Since Ed was going to Summer Matsuri (one-day anime convention) and lives near Boston anyway, he picked me up from the airport and we eventually made our way to New Hampshire.  It had been seven and a half weeks since I’d seen Sam, so I was pretty excited to see her.  We were supposed to go to Summer Matsuri with Ed, but because of my effed up flight, I was too tired, so Sam and I went back to her place and took it easy.

Sunday, Sam took me to Portsmouth.  It was really pretty and the weather was nice.  We went to Hampton beach after leaving Portsmouth, and that was cool (figuratively and literally).  Actually, I was kind of cold, but I guess that’s what I get for not checking the weather and wearing shorts.  Not that I would’ve worn jeans to the beach anyway. :P

 

Monday we met up with Ed and went to Boston.  We had a strange conversation that evolved from My Little Pony dubstep into the possibility of Christian dubstep existing, and come to find out, that is actually a thing.  We listened to some and it was amazingly terrible, as you’d probably expect.  I got to ride a subway for the first time, went to H&M (finally!), and went to a new Microsoft store (it was basically an Apple store, but it was pretty cool and I approve).

Tuesday we did some shopping and hung around Sam’s place.  Also had some good Paula Dean-approved garlic bread at a pizza place.  And then of course, Wednesday I had to catch my flight back, so we did a little more shopping at a mall closer to the airport in Manchester (went to another H&M!), then I had to leave, much to my own dismay.

Some random thoughts:

  • New Hampshire is really pretty, and I’d probably really like to live there, despite the retarded cold winters.
  • The political climate in New Hampshire was very interesting.  Tons of Romney signs, some scattered Obama signs, and just a few miles over the border coming from Massachusetts, I saw a Gary Johnson sign, and then another one pretty soon after.  I like the diversity a lot.
  • Everyone in New Hampshire and Massachusetts has stock rims on their cars.  That was interesting, but it makes sense (winter tires + low-profile = nope).
  • Lots of Subarus too, but that also makes sense (all-wheel drive).
  • Airport body scanners are a disgrace.  Went through a couple.  I think I’ll probably refuse them in the future and opt for the pat down to make the process as arduous as possible for the TSA.

All in all, even despite my departure flight issues, my trip was fantastic, and I really didn’t want to come back.  I miss Sam a lot, but there’s really nothing we can do about the 1,632 miles between us right now.  It’s worth it, and it’ll all work out eventually.

And on a final note, I called Delta today and they gave me an additional $125 travel voucher too, so I have $175 in vouchers to use toward my flight in October. :D

I can’t use the vouchers together on the same flight and Delta is expensive next month anyway.  Sigh.  Booked American Airlines instead.