My own encounter with Steve Jobs

On October 5, 2011, in Apple, by Brian Huberd

I don’t often tell this story, mainly because I don’t necessarily believe it to be true. So if you have your misgivings and doubts, I wouldn’t blame you, I have them myself. But here is my story of my encounter (if you could really call it that) with Steve Jobs:

It was in 1987 and I was working in a computer software store in a mall in Eugene, Oregon. One morning I was busy working on laying out and printing up the store’s sale flyer on our Mac Plus that we had. This was back in the day before everything in a retail store was controlled from the top down by corporate of course and we had a little bit of leeway in in store promotions, etc. Naturally I was hunched over the keyboard and mouse, sweating the details and nudging everything on screen to pixel perfect positioning. Or as best as could be with a 72 dpi screen. Still, I think for the time and technology everything looked pretty sharp.

When I was done and was getting the printout of my work the store manager rushed over and grabbed my arm and went “Do you know who was standing behind you?!”

“No,” I repled, and before we go any further, this was at a time well before I really caught the Apple fever.

“Steve Jobs!”

“Sure it was, Sandy, sure…”

I had my doubts. I still do. But she swore it was him, and she had just finished reading “The Journey is the Reward” by Jeffrey S. Young, the first of the unauthorized Steve Jobs biographies and knew what Jobs looked like. It was also at a time right after Jobs and Apple parted company and after the founding of NeXT. At this time Jobs was apparently touring the country and going from college to college to see what an institute of higher learning would want and need out of a desktop computer system. So it’s possible, however unlikely to me, that he very well may have come to Eugene to visit the University of Oregon.

If we take what was told to me to be true, Steve Jobs stood and watched me work meticulously for several minutes as I was lost in my own world of getting it right and doing the best job that I could with the best tools that I had available to me to do it.

If we take was was told to me to be true, it also can mean that I ignored Steve Jobs standing behind me while I was off in la-la land working on flyers and not paying attention to my surroundings. Whoops. I can only hope that while I was working and my manager was up in the front of the store with me that she asked him if he needed any help.

Thank you for everything, Steve. We already miss you.

 

ZOMG!!!!1111!!! Verizon iPhone!!111!!1111!!!!!!!

On January 14, 2011, in Apple, iPhone, by Brian Huberd

So life as we know it was changed forever on the morning of the January 11, 2011. Verizon and Apple announced a CDMA specific version of the iPhone 4 hardware that will work on the Verizon network. AT&T decided that instead of working to improve their network in light of new competition decided to instead provide a little snark for the proceedings. Why shouldn’t they? They’ve got the bulk of the iPhone customer base in the United States (for now), a faster 3G network (for now) and they have those existing iPhone 4 customers locked into their network for at least another year and a half due to their shockingly high contract termination fee.

Apparently, AT&T feels that the iPhone has hit a saturation point in the US and that existing AT&T iPhone customers who HAVEN’T renewed their contracts (say…original iPhone, iPhone 3g an iPhone 3gs customers for example) are happy with where they are. They very well may be too – unless they live in New York, San Francisco or any other major metropolitan area where AT&T’s service is horrific on a good day compared to Verizon’s level of service.

Thus the comment from AT&T that essentially said that Verizon iPhone customers had better enjoy life in the slow lane. This is due to the very real fact that on the Verizon 3G network, in contrast to AT&T when you take a call on your smartphone (iPhone, Android, etc) you are not able to access your data connection. Point to AT&T on this valid concern. That said, I think many iPhone customers in these affected markets would just like to take and complete a successful call every once in a while. They’ll be able to do this on the Verizon network. Point to Verizon. Also, a very good guess is that the next iPhone will be a LTE phone for 4G networks and Verizon is working like mad to build up theirs now so they will be ready for the faster speeds it will bring, and back with it being able to use the data connection while taking a call. Plus, on the Verizon version of the iPhone you’ll be able to use the phone as a WiFi hotspot for up to 5 devices.

Until a call comes in…

I know people who have iPhones on AT&T and are on a month to month billing and will bolt over to Verizon so fast when it goes on sale on February 10th that you will hear a sonic boom. AT&T I hope had better be preparing for an attrition rate that is unheard of in the industry. If not, their head is in the sand deeper than anyone realizes. No wonder they are getting worst carrier in the nation reviews. Maybe one day they will realize that they need to compete to stay in business…

 

I really need to do this more often

On January 3, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Brian Huberd

I remember so long ago when I did this regularly. That’s when I had to use a desktop to write anything too. No excuses with the ultra portable iPad. Worse with having the iPhone with me as a constant companion.

Hitting the road running would be a tiring mistake. I’ll try for at least weekly updates. Maybe twice weekly. Then work up to three times a week like most seem to do. It isn’t that I don’t have much to say, I mainly use Twitter now to shoot out snide comments 40 characters at a time. This may have been mentioned in the past. I may also work on trying to get a backlog created as well. Just in case I wake up one morning with nothing to say.

This is not a New Year’s Resolution.

Yes it is.

 

The once and for all canonical list of every version of Star Wars I have owned

On September 29, 2010, in Star Wars, by Brian Huberd

Because not only is the Holy Trilogy and Prequel Trilogy coming out on Blu-Ray, they’re getting a 3D release in 2012.

For the haters out there (you know who you are, and you know what I mean):

If you have to have a 1977, 1980 and 1983 version of the first three movies and have your panties in a bunch over the further alterations or that the original versions won’t be on the new Blu-Ray, get over it. I’ve seen both sides of the argument and personally am too tired to worry over it at this point in my life. The originals are out there if you look and have been neatly remastered by fan effort. Yup, it’d be awesome for Lucasfilm to release them with the updated editions, but there you go. Decision is made so the decision is yours to figure out how best to cope with the pain of your existence. I bet that if Han kept shooting first the amount of people who gripe would but cut in half.

Oh, and Luke’s scream as he falls down the shaft in Cloud City in Empire could be taken back out too. But you know what? I can live with it. I understand that this, plus Han not shooting first does alter the story arcs (Han is ruthless and becomes a better person vs. Greedo being a horrible shot/Luke decides he would rather die than join Vader vs. apparently slipping accidentally as he considers Vader’s offer). It would be good to make those changes, and some people HAVE on their own. Maybe one day it will happen officially. Patience.

Plus, I am rather excited at the thought of Star Wars in 3D myself.

But anyway…here’s the list of every version of Star Wars I have purchased:

VHS pan and scan tapes (circa 1987)
VHS widescreen tapes (circa 1992?)
Laserdisc (original pressings with the gray covers)
The Definitive Edition laserdisc collection (The Big Black Box of Star Wars)
The Special Edition laserdisc collection (The Not Quite As Big Black Box of Star Wars)
The Prequel Trilogy DVD releases
The Special Edition trilogy DVD box set
The Special Edition trilogy individual DVD releases (with the original versions included)

OK, so that makes by my count eight times I’ve done my duty as a fan, with the Blu-Ray editions, that will make nine. Each time I say it will be the last time I do it. I lie to myself often it seems.

 

Tomorrow is WWDC…

On June 6, 2010, in Apple, by Brian Huberd

…and boy do I have a lot on my mind before the keynote. So bear with me.

First, let’s talk data plans…AT&T…

For the iPhone: They’ve changed the plans to $15 for 200 meg and $25 for 2 gig. That’s GREAT! I love it! I hardly use more than 200 meg per month, so I can go ahead and switch my plan to that $15 plan and save money. AWESOME!

Except that with the release of iPhone OS 4.0 due this month that Apple is introducing multitasking which will be great for streaming apps to run in the background like, say, Pandora. That’d snap that 200 meg in two like a twig and probably eye the 2 gig data cap with hungry eyes.

Fortunately, those with 3g and 3gs iPhones can grandfather their plan into their iPhone upgrade when they renew their contract and keep their unlimited $30/month data plan. But only if they renew.

Oh, and don’t forget, AT&T doubled their early-termination-fee to well over $300 too!

So instead of working tirelessly to upgrade their network into a first-class cellular network, they’re working tirelessly to make sure their new and existing customers are locked in for at least another couple years. Not that the significant impact to AT&T’s network once people decide to pull down all sorts of streaming information, and the potential for video chats now that we all but know officially of the front facing camera, plus rumors of a Verizon-based iPhone coming out later in the year are making them sweat it out a bit. Who cares about customer satisfaction when you’re going to vacuum up their money anyway?

For the iPad…

If it wasn’t clear enough from the above – SCREW YOU AT&T! Really? Only a couple months of this “amazing price” for unlimited data? Oh, you can grandfather in your existing unlimited plans if you activate before…tomorrow (June 7th), and apparently continue to renew. So if you don’t need unlimited every month and drop the plan, well…you’re up a creek, because once you cancel, you ain’t gettin’ it back. The best you can hope for is again the two gig plan. This may work for some…but don’t count on any heavy duty Netflix streaming unless you can hook up to a wifi hotspot…

Don’t forget the backgrounding that’ll be going on with the iPad as well once the 4.0 software is available for the iPad in the fall. Just a word to the wise to pay attention to what and how much you’re streaming.

Now let’s talk about WWDC stuff.

Clearly the new iPhone will be announced for all to see, no thanks to the losers at Gizmodo (where responsible journalism is just a phrase they’ve heard once…never when someone was describing them). We’ll also probably see a final release date of the 4.0 iPhone software as well for the 3g and 3gs users. Apparently Mac OS X 10.6.4 will be released as well, but I’m sure there will be a new iTunes to work with the new iPhone hardware and software. Maybe some new features, but at least compatibility updates can be expected.

The other big rumor is Safari 5.0′s release. What’s supposed to be cool is that Apple will officially have some sort of real plug-in API like Firefox so you can do Firefox-type add-ons. If so, I’ll switch back to Safari from Firefox. Not that I don’t like Firefox, or really am particularly religious about a web browser, but…that weird Firefox/performance/memory leak issue really is getting old (on every platform), and Firefox isn’t a native Mac OS X application – so (for example) if I right click on a word for spell checking, it isn’t using the Mac OS X dictionary, but the included Firefox dictionary. Why double up the effort? Why not get Firefox as a full, native Coca application?

Yes, I know of Camino, and it’s Firefox’s Gecko rendering engine in the Coca shell to make it a full native application. However, it doesn’t use the Firefox plugins. Which is the appeal of Firefox. To me at least.

No easy answers…but if I can get the suite of Firefox plug ins that I personally use ported over to Safari, I’d be a happy camper.

Oh, and Apple…if you’re trying to show off how HTML 5 is better than a proprietary plug in, don’t lock that page that shows off these great features of HTML 5 into working with your own browser only. I suspect that Safari isn’t the only browser that works with HTML 5 right now. Call it a hunch. If you must, do your usual Apple-y talk of how HTML 5 is great, and now HTML 5 is even better on Safari since it’s sooooo compliant so if something breaks in IE 8 or Chrome people will be warned and will at least be able to check it out with their browser of choice. Just a suggestion…

 

Playing around with the iPad

On May 21, 2010, in Uncategorized, by Brian Huberd

It’s been far, far too long, and I know even some of you may care, and if you do, I apologize. However, this is why we have Twitter for our instant gratification needs. This is just a short post to test the WP app for my shiny new iPad. Regular typing on the virtual keyboard is a bit odd. But I suspect I’ll get used to it.

More to come later…for reals…

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I’m with Coco

On January 23, 2010, in Television, by Brian Huberd

Conan O’Brien left the building last night with dignity, style and class. Sadly, I can’t say the same about his predecessor/successor. Go Team Conan!

 

I am not a number…I am also not interesting and am slightly derivative.

On December 13, 2009, in The Prisoner, by Brian Huberd

So it aired a few weeks back, but it’s taken me a bit to try to digest it and try not to immediately dismiss it out of hand or rant against it out of spite or bitterness.  That said, I’m disappointed in it. Once again our new Number Six resigns from his position and suddenly finds himself in the Village. The problem is, where Patrick McGoohan was a walking caldron of rage and defiance to find himself in the Village, James Caviezel looks befuddled, confused and generally disinterested.

Visually, the show looks great. It also has all the nods to the classic series – Rover, the endless dark hallway in certain scenes, a Penny Farthing bicycle, and the clearest indications that this is meant to be an extension to the original series; the old man who is clearly meant to be the McGoohan Number Six and when the new Number Six and Number Two visit the old man’s apartment and we see it’s the McGoohan apartment from the original series. The new Village, instead of a potpourri of architecture types and endless streams of marching band music designed to keep you off balance is replaced with a charming oasis in a desert and Villagers now finally get to drive on their own as there are a variety of classic and classic looking vehicles moving along carefully groomed streets in the Village now.

Unlike the original show, we are also only dealing with one Number Two in this iteration as well, played by Ian McKellen. We also deal with the backstory of Number Two’s whole family on top of this to apparently add some depth to Two and not make him the cypher that the various Twos were in the original series. This family also ties into the conclusion of this new series and while McKellen does his usual fine job, he can’t elevate the production to something inherently interesting. This whole production from top to bottom shows care and attention to detail and every ingredient for success. So why did I hate it?

Well, James Caviezel comes across as a lost office worker who goes into work in his Subaru (one of the sponsors) and resigns – and even his act of resignation (spray painting “RESIGN” in large red letters on the wall) looks half hearted and it almost looks as if he’s about to apologize for the vandalism and volunteer to clean it all up for them. Patrick McGoohan tears into wherever it was that he worked in his Lotus Super 7 and quits dramatically and you knew he meant business in every frame of those scenes. The mind games that the original Prisoner were known for are spun through the new series, but don’t start at the intense level of the original series until around episode 5 and by that time I was already checked out from boredom. There were some good and interesting ideas in there, but they get lost in the shuffle and endless flashbacks to right after his resignation and capture to the Village.

The worst problem I had with this was that in this era of Lost that every mystery must have an answer and the Prisoner here doesn’t fail in spelling everything out for the viewer and practically spoon feeding it to them. This is in direct opposition to the spirit of the original series. Here Number Six really is an office worker and everything you wanted to know about the creation of the Village, why it is there, who runs it, why you can’t escape, everything is explained. In the Patrick McGoohan version, while it is strongly implied that this was a sequel series to Danger Man/Secret Agent Man and Number Six is a resigned secret agent, no questions were answered and the viewer was asked to draw their own conclusions. Having given everything away with pat explanations brings down the original mystique of The Prisoner. Even if you happen to agree with the conclusions drawn by this series, why would they want to do anything to take away from the legitimacy of someone else’s opinions of what the show was about and the meaning behind the Village, Six’s escape attempts, his defiance, etc.?

So, for me it was a letdown, more so since I was feeling fairly enthusiastic about it before broadcast. I wanted it to be good, everyone involved clearly wanted it to be good and to be The Prisoner for the 21st Century, but it’s just going to be a footnote in history. Not New Monkees bad, just…disinteresting and actually a bit full of itself and  having a healthy dose of self-importance, but lacking any strong guidance and vision and clearly no trust for its audience.

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Oh, hello…

On December 10, 2009, in Uncategorized, by Brian Huberd

It’s been a while…still, that’s why we have Twitter after all. Now that I’ve digested it all, thoughts on the new version of The Prisoner soon. In the meantime, the best of the holidays to you…

 

Yeah, Jobs…it sure is just a hobby, isn’t it?

On November 8, 2009, in Apple, Apple TV, Steve Jobs, by Brian Huberd

So, I updated to version 3.0 3.0.1 (Oh, hey, yeah…could you update one more time, please?) of the AppleTV software for their self-described hobby project/media center device. I do love the end to end, just barely skirting this side of an antitrust lawsuit, seamless integration that the Apple experience provides the end user. It just works, it really does. Before the 3.0 3.0.1 (No, seriously, you’re going to want to update now – we released over the weekend even) software was released however, the AppleTV seemed to lack the polish that the other Apple products had like iTunes, the iPod, etc. The menu system and layout on the AppleTV seemed like it was there as a placeholder, ready to be swapped out at any time for the final, finished product. Functional, but it sure wasn’t much to look at.

With 3.0 3.0.1 (I’m not kidding, it’s in your own best interest to re-update), that’s changed quite a bit. Somewhat. When you first start up the system with the new software, the main menu now has the start of the high polished, Apple-style experience. Fairly logical left to right menus with the items to select in each menu appearing below when you move from section to section. Above the menu is a context-sensitive display of unplayed movies, TV episodes, podcasts, etc. at the top left and along the top right are the most popular or new from each appropriate category from the iTunes store. All with a little Cover Flow love where applicable. All very nice, all very respectable. Until you select one of those menu items and drill down to choose some media to play. Then it all falls apart. After you do something like say get to a list of your TV shows to watch, it turns into the same old menu sorting like in the previous version of the software. The same thought and touches didn’t get to this level for the user to appreciate, and it’s not like the menu system in use is the end-all, be-all. They could have put in a similar cover flow selection style for the sub-menus, and they may indeed try something like this in a future release, but it would have been nice to see a fully-finished product in 3.0 3.0.1 (Oh, in the name of all that is holy PLEASE DO THIS NOW AND UPDATE BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!)  and not a wonderful little tease of what it could be once the software is completely revamped. It’s moving in the right direction, I guess I just want it to move a little faster.