The Problem with Your Gun Control

Yesterday, another horrible person went on a shooting spree. He killed 26 people, many of whom were elementary school children. This person was sick, demented, and obviously needed help. And I feel nothing but pain and sorrow for the families involved. This is a tragedy, no doubt there.

But it didn’t take but two to four hours for my Twitter, Google+, and Facebook feeds to fill up with political rhetoric about the need for more gun control. It got so bad that I had to actually stop reading my social network feeds and I’ve only glanced at Facebook a couple of times since then. I want to talk about the problem with gun control legislation. Continue reading

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Jotting Journal: Your New Private Online Journal

I announced it on Twitter a while back but wanted to do something a little more official, hence this blog post.

Say hello to Jotting Journal. A private web based (or “cloud based” if you’re into buzz words) online journal. This web application is meant to be a place where you can log your private thoughts and do so in a more cross platform manner than some of the other more popular journal-ing applications out there.

I decided to go all out and make this a straight pay service. I’m charging $36 per year and you get the first 30 days free to decide if you like the product or not. Don’t like it, simply cancel your account and you won’t be charged a thing.

Right now it’s entirely web based but it utilizes Twitter Bootstrap’s “responsive” (I hate this word) design elements. Though the responsive design hasn’t been 100% tweaked yet, it works nicely on mobile devices like iPads and smartphones.

I’ll be spending a good part of the rest of the year to tidy up the web UI a bit and add some small features here and there (like the recently added Markdown support). Then, next year I will focus on building some mobile and desktop applications for it. I’ll begin by focusing on Android and iOS devices. But I’m hoping that by the end of next year I’ll have a suite of applications you can use to update, edit, and review your journal.

So feel free to give Jotting Journal a try. I hope you enjoy it.

Posted in Projects | 2 Comments

Some Thoughts on Recent Politics

This post has been swimming around my head for a while. And as we get closer to an election I feel the need to finally put it to paper.

Note: This may make some people angry.

To get it out of the way, I’m going to tell you up front that I’m generally more on the conservative side of politics than on the liberal side. One might go so far as to call me a “Libertarian” and it wouldn’t be a description that’s far off. Also, I’m a Christian. That word has many meanings these days, but to mean it simply means that I’m a follower of Christ. I don’t consider myself to be “crazy” or a “Bible thump-per”  but I do view the Bible as something sacred, and I attempt to live by its principles.

All that being said I want to be clear from the start that I am not trying to make people angry with this post, but these are some thoughts that I’ve had over the last few months and things I’ve wanted to say with regards to some of the more popular talking points in our political discussions today. Continue reading

Posted in Commentary, Politics | 1 Comment

Some Thoughts on Apple vs. Samsung

So by now you’ve all heard that the jury awarded Apple a billion dollar win in their patent suit against Samsung. This is big news in the technology world, with all sides weighing in with their opinions, thoughts, and accusations. I figured I might as well join the party.

What upsets me most about the verdict isn’t that Samsung was punished for copying, but rather that this verdict validates that Apple solved common problems. For example, one of the patents was for the ability to recognize phone numbers in text and be able to click on them to call the number. Sorry Apple, but Skype was doing that with their browser plugin, for years before your iPhone came out. This is just one example of several of the patents Apple used in their lawsuit against Samsung. In another patent, they actually claimed to have invented the idea of showing information at the top of the screen of a device (like battery levels or incoming text/email). Correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t cell phones doing that well before the iPhone? I remember my Razr doing that well before the iPhone. Or what about their search patents? Samsung had to release updates to “fix” their phones because Apple has a patent on searching across databases found on a device (like search history, contacts, notes, and so on), you’re gonna tell me that searching across different data silos on a device wasn’t obvious or that there wasn’t already prior art for that (Google Desktop Search anyone)?

So while some of what Apple “invented” they have legitimate claims to, some of the things they have patents for are either obvious, or there’s plenty of prior art that the patent shouldn’t even be remotely valid. But, this verdict gives credence to not only these patents but to the broken patent system as a whole, and this is where I have problems with the verdict. And lets not even touch the whole “rectangle with rounded corners” thing that’s suppose to be “trade dress.”

What I want to call every pro-Apple person who’s claiming victory to do is to go and actually look at the patents involved. If you’ve spent anytime in technology for the last 10-15 years, you’ll see that there is, in fact, a lot of patents granted to Apple that have plenty of prior art. Apple is a great integrator. They managed to make a device that does multiple things well, something other companies have failed at for decades. I don’t want people to feel that I’m trying to discredit Apple’s contributions. They did, in fact, completely change mobile computing, can’t deny that. I’m discrediting the patent system which granted them patents where plenty of prior art existed to make some of these things either “already done” or “obvious next steps.”

The verdict is a big win for Apple, but it is a loss to innovation, not because Samsung should have been allowed to so blatantly copy Apple, but because the patents Apple has been awarded means other companies can’t do things that are pretty obvious or have plenty of prior art because Apple’s has patents on it. The verdict has validated a broken patent system, and that, I have problems with.

Posted in Commentary, Technology | 11 Comments Short Hiatus

With the release of the 16th episode, has completed its first complete screencast series. It’s a moment to be proud of.

However, give some recent events in the home office, I’ve gotten a little behind on my backlog. I have several episodes for the next series in various stages of completion. But I’ve been without my primary audio editing machine for 2 weeks now, and it’ll be another week before I can get back on it. The computer is fine, it’s just been unplugged.

So what happened? My little office is on the opposite side of my kitchen at home, specifically one the walls in my office sits directly behind my fridge. There was a small leak in the water tube for the ice maker that managed to leak long enough to completely soak the carpet in a good chunk of my office (going under a wall), closest to my desk. As a result I had to unplug everything and move my desk so that we could pull up the carpet, dry it and the foam padding underneath, and relay the carpet back down. Since I had to move everything anyway, my wife and I decided it was time to finally build my new desk, which just needs a couple coats of stain and it’s done.

I’m hoping to have my desk completed and my computer set back up by the end of the week so I can get a few more episodes completed, thus filling the backlog up a bit. After which I promise that you will get a slew of new videos.

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I'm Not Boycotting Apple, But They Have Made Me Angry

If you haven’t heard, Apple managed to get an injunction against the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Google’s current Nexus phone.

This makes angry. Sure, I can’t do nothing about it and I’m mostly over the initial anger from reading that this happened. But I think that’s it’s a pretty bad move by Apple and here’s why.

First off, if you read the linked stories, you’ll see that the main reason the judge gave Apple the injunction it was seeking was because of a search related patent. Specifically it’s a patent for unified search. Type in your search in one place and it will search through several various databases for results. A more specific example is if I type in a name on my phone, it might bring me back a contact card, a few search results, a facebook link, maybe even songs stored on my device that contain those names, and so on.

The problem with this patent is that if you read it, it’s exceptionally vague, and it could describe just about any kind of unified search. In other words, it’s not specific enough to Apple’s unified search found in iOS. Also, unified search has been around long before the patent was granted to Apple (filed in 2000, granted in 2011), so there’s plenty of prior art and thus this patent shouldn’t have even been granted. Heck, there was similar searches on desktop computers for years by that point. So this issue is specifically with the patent system, and not Apple itself.

Why I’m having issues with Apple over this is because they continually claim or at least allude to Android (and thus Android devices) being an inferior product to it’s own mobile OS, iOS. So Apple, got a judge to grant an injunction that prevents the sale of the Galaxy Nexus (a product Apple feels is inferior), and thus while it’s off the market it no longer has to compete with that device. Here’s where the problem comes in. If Apple truly believes that Android is an inferior product, then it should have no issues competing with it in the consumer market, correct? Yet, it’s gone and gotten the device removed, thus removing that bit of competition.

Thing is most people buying a Galaxy Nexus either aren’t interested in buying an iPhone, or they’re gadget nerds and they already have an iPhone, so either way, Apple’s not really losing a sale here.

Posted in Commentary, Technology | 7 Comments