Category Archive for 'General'

Day of Action for Gaza – June 5, 2010

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

For those following the issues related to Gaza, Rabble.ca has posted some photos from the “Day of Action for Gaza” on June 5, 2010.

~~~C

Deleting Facebook – Here’s How

Friday, June 4th, 2010

Okay, here’s how to get rid of Facebook. I just did it, so this is current as of this blog post.

Before deleting your account, make sure you have unchecked any email notifications (they apparently still notify you of some things if you only deactivate the account; I’m not sure if they will do this during the 14 days while you wait for your account to be permanently deleted, but I personally prefer to not receive any more emails after I leave) and removed any connected sites that send information to Facebook (such as Twitter) as any information getting sent to your account will keep it “live”. I thought I read somewhere that you may want to delete your browser’s history, and cache, and cookies collected. I don’t have my web browser automatically signing into Facebook. Maybe some apps on the mobile phones do… if so, make sure to remove Facebook from your phone. (The Google Nexus One has a Facebook app installed, and I can’t figure out how to remove it, but I can sign in and out. As long as I stay signed out, it’s fine.)

So, here’s how to delete your Facebook.

1. Sign in and click on the “Account” drop-down menu.
2. Click on “Help Center”.
3. Click on “Privacy”.
4. Click on “Deactivating, Deleting and Memorializing accounts”.

Under the “Deleting Accounts” section, it says:

“What happens when my account has a pending deletion request?
Once you have submitted a request to permanently delete your account, no further action is required on your end. Our system delays the deletion process in case you change your mind and no longer want to permanently delete your account. Note that logging in to your account again will undo a pending deletion request.

Once your account is permanently deleted, there is no way to undo this action. You will not be able to reactivate the account or retrieve any of the content or information you have added to it.
/help/?faq=15665

and

“How do I permanently delete my account?
If you deactivate your account from the “Deactivate Account” section on the Account page, your profile and all information associated with it are immediately made inaccessible to other Facebook users. What this means is that you effectively disappear from the Facebook service. However, if you want to reactivate at some point, we do save your profile information (friends, photos, interests, etc.), and your account will look just the way it did when you deactivated if you decide to reactivate it. Many users deactivate their accounts for temporary reasons and expect their information to be there when they return to the service.

If you do not think you will use Facebook again and would like your account deleted, please keep in mind that you will not be able to reactivate your account or retrieve any of the content or information you have added. If you would like your account permanently deleted with no option for recovery, log in to your account and then submit your request by clicking here.

If you are currently unable to access your account, you will need to reset your password in order to log in. In order to do so, click the “Forgot your password?” link that appears above the field where you would normally enter your password. Once you’ve followed the instructions to reset your password and can log in, you can deactivate or delete your account using the steps outlined above.
/help/?faq=13016

(Note: if for some reason you can’t get the delete account page, try this url – https://ssl.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=delete_account.)

5. Click on the linked “here”, which goes to a page that says:

“Delete My Account
If you do not think you will use Facebook again and would like your account deleted, we can take care of this for you. Keep in mind that you will not be able to reactivate your account or retrieve any of the content or information you have added. If you would like your account deleted, then click “Submit.””

6. Click the “Submit” button.

7. Fill out the form that pops up. “You are about to permanently delete your account. Are you sure?” Enter your password and the two-word security check (two words appear in a picture, type them into the form box below the picture). Then, click the “Okay” button.

8. Next, a pop-up appears, “Permanently Delete Account”, which says “Your account has been deactivated from the site and will be permanently deleted within 14 days. If you log into your account within the next 14 days, your account will be reactivated and you will have the option to cancel your request.” Click the “Okay” button.

9. Finally! Do “the dance of joy”! You’re free!! 😀

Now, it’s back to a sane life. Need I remind people that for online “social networking”, we still have email and instant messenging. Sometimes, it’s good to get back to the basics.

~~~C
Your local webmistress and blogger (and recently Facebook escapee!)

As for Facebook…

Friday, June 4th, 2010

Further to the blog entry just before this one, I have concluded that there is no point waiting any longer to be free of Facebook. Here are a few articles I found today regarding how to actually delete Facebook, not just deactivate, but to really delete it (I feel it is my duty to let my readers know).

First, read “Why Is It So Hard to Delete Your Facebook Account?”.

Next, is an interesting article from the Economist about one person’s experience with Facebook called “Fleeing Facebook”. As a point of interest, “No, the final straw was a new algorithm deployed by the site’s Live Feed feature that selected news stories based on the number of times the item had been noted by others. The result was a flood of garbage that could not be controlled. More than anything, it said the folks at Facebook just don’t get what user-control is all about.” Yup, thought so, it explains why I wasn’t getting a variety of news on all my friends, and you thought Facebook was supposed to help you keep in touch with everyone. Nope, only the attention wh*res were coming up on my newsfeed. I really wanted to give all my friends an equal chance of keeping in touch with me. I just hope no one is offended that I never commented on their newsfeeds that I probably never saw. It really is Facebook’s fault. Read the comment afterwards by “kid dingo”. Great news!

Finally, a tiny article that should make some people do “the dance of joy” – “”Sweaty” Zuckerberg defends Facebook”. Karma really is after his hide.

~~~C

Micro-blogging, Social Networking, and a Small Rant

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Myspace is old hat and Facebook is quickly losing favour among the true techno-geeks (who had reserved opinions about Facebook to begin with). “What’s left?” is the question I’ve been asking myself.

Well, Twitter for one thing. Though some may consider Twitter old news as it was launched in 2006, I only recently decided to use it. That decision was based simply on the fact that I didn’t mind the idea of quickly posting a short message, or status update as it is sometimes called. Of course, Twitter has its own lingo. Posts are called “tweets” and posting something is “tweeting”. At first I was worried about the potential to get spam on Twitter, but it’s not easy to be spammed on Twitter because of how it’s designed. For those not familiar with Twitter, you create an account and set up a profile consisting of your “tweets”. Other “tweeters” can follow you, but you don’t have to follow them back. If you don’t follow them back, you don’t see their tweets (or spam, as the case may be). When you log in to Twitter, you see tweets from those people you are following. From there, you can reply to tweets or “retweet” (repost). It’s actually a nice, simple system of keeping people up-to-date on what you are up to and keeping up-to-date with others. Retweeting is nice because it reposts the original tweet and credits the person who wrote the tweet. Because a tweet has to be 140 characters or under, links are often shortened with a link shortening service such bit.ly.

I’ve been using Twitter for a while now, enough that I now have 145 tweets. It helps too that I can tweet from my Android phone using Twitter’s android app. When you’re on the go, posting 140 characters or less is easier to do in a short amount of time than trying to post a full blog.

Twitter is considered a micro-blogging site as well as a social network site. Having decided that I liked micro-blogging, I thought I should investigate other micro-blogging sites. The Wikipedia article linked above says, “Among the most notable services are Twitter, Tumblr, Plurk, Emote.in, Squeelr, Beeing, Jaiku and identi.ca.” Of those listed, I’ve checked out Tumblr and Plurk so far.

I heard about Tumblr through a friend who was using it to post to Twitter and thought I should check it out. It’s actually quite nice for a micro-blog. Your have your own profile page with just your blog posts. It looks almost as good as WordPress 🙂 and you can select different themes. People can follow your Tumblr blog and those that do will see your blog posts on their “dashboard” when they sign into Tumblir. You can “like” posts by others and you can “reblog” other people’s posts (similar to retweeting). There are different types of posts in Tumblr. You can create text, photo, quote, link, chat, audio, and video posts. For those who want some of the functionality of a full blog, you can add a title to your text post and even send a post to Tumblr via email to a private email address linked to your Tumblr account. Tumblr won’t replace something like WordPress for those who want to write full-length article-type blogs with images and/or audio and/or video with commentary, but it has few more options than the straight text and link simplicity of Twitter. You can even set up the option to dial in from your phone and leave an audio post!

I’m sure there are a few other interesting things about Tumblr that I have not mentioned. I’ve only had it for one day so far. I think Tumblr is a nice option if I want to just quickly share a photo or video, and I may write some short posts on there instead of here. We’ll see. The thing is that I’m liking the option of being able to decide what to use. Next, I checked out Plurk.

Plurk is reportedly popular in Southeast Asia right now. It has a unique interface with a left and right scrolling timeline of “plurks”. “Plurk” is also meant to be used as a verb, similar to “tweeting”, but instead you are “plurking”. Plurk dispenses with a separate profile page and displays profile information below the timeline. When you are looking at your profile you see only your plurks. When you sign into your Plurk account, you will see the plurks of those you are following on the timeline. One thing I like about Plurk is the distinguish between “fans” and “friends”. Those who are following you are listed as “fans” and you are a “fan” of anyone you follow. I haven’t tried this yet, but I assume you need to add and accept friends. I like this distinction between “friends” and “fans” because it gives you the option of letting people follow you even if you don’t want to be “friends” with the person. Another interesting concept is the “karma” stat, though I’m unclear as to how important the karma stat is. So far I found out higher karma unlocks other emoticons (smileys) and allows you to modify your “profile”. Posts on Plurk can be public or private or for specific friends or a clique (you can create “cliques” or groups of friends), and they are short status updates. Plurks are preceded by a verb from a drop-down menu. You can select from: is, says, thinks, feels, wonders, was, has, asks, hopes, will, needs, wishes, wants, hates, gives, likes, loves, and shares. Shares has a further menu with the following options: photo, webcam photo, youtube+music, and link. You can also select the colon for a freestyle message.

Now, the neat thing is that I managed to figure out how to have this blog posted on Twitter, Tumblr, and Plurk. I also have Twitter and Plurk sending messages to Tumblr. Twitter has Tumblr and Plurk sending posts to it. Aside from this blog, I have not been able to send posts from other sites to Plurk. This will probably work fine for me right now as I still prefer full-length blogging (when I have the time). Nothing can replace free-form blogging. This blog entry, in fact, will be a nice test blog to see how well these sites work together. Notice that I have Tumblr and Twitter sending posts to each other. Hopefully this won’t cause too much confusion as my intent is to have a tweet that originated in Twitter be posted to Tumblr and a post that originated in Tumblr be posted in Twitter. Hopefully too, Tumblr will simply post the blog entry directly from here and not the posts that get sent to Twitter or Plurk since Twitter and Plurk are feeding into Tumblr. I’ll just have to see what happens and make any adjustments if needed.

What I also should do is work with RSS and figure out if I can have all these sites’ RSS feeds post to a webpage on my website. Though, I wonder if that’s really necessary. I have these sites linked on my main page now. In case you hadn’t noticed, I changed the main page to something simpler so that people can access some of the more interesting web pages on the site and easily get in contact with me. I also can’t send posts to Myspace, which is annoying, but okay I guess since I just don’t like using Myspace much… lol, but I rather like my profile page on there. Oh, I’ve also provided a link to my libre.fm profile for those curious as to what sort of music I like. I’m sure there’s a certain consistency about the music I like, even if it varies from gothic rock to alternative to trance to classical; and, I’ve provided a link to my lulu.com storefront, which I hope to expand with more books (someday!)

These links are also provided in the side menu on this blog page. Since I’m writing about them here, I will do people the favour of listing the links to my profiles on various social networking and micro-blogging sites thereby providing my readers here an idea of my aggregate online personality:

fey Morgaina on libre.fm
Fey Morgaina on Myspace
Follow me (feyMorgaina) on Tumblr
Follow me (@feyMorgaina) on Twitter
Follow me (feyMorgaina) on Plurk.com

So, feel free to follow me on any of those sites, though I can’t promise anything regarding Myspace. I’m not sure if I’m getting rid of it or using it or what.

You may be wondering about my Facebook profile. There really is no point in posting a link to that for two reasons: 1) it was meant to be a private profile; and 2) I am planning on deactivating my Facebook.

There are many reasons why I made this decision about Facebook. (Warning: serious ranting time) For one thing, it’s become clear that the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, does not hold the same principles as I do regarding “freedom of information and protection of privacy”. (In Ontario, there is actually an act by that name. I researched this while I was in college for my law clerk program and wrote a paper on it and the issues of freedom of information and privacy arguing that the individual still retains some right to personal privacy. I got an A on the paper. There’s a fine balance to be struck that some people just don’t get.) While I have no problems maintaining a public profile on some sites, I have found that his general lack of integrity in upholding his promises to his users regarding the privacy of Facebook is appalling. Had I signed up with Facebook knowing his intentions were to push it towards being public all along, I would have had the chance to think over what information I wanted to share on there. That was not the case. No, Facebook promised to keep your profile private unless you wanted it more public. Then, it recently made decisions to make public information I never wanted to be public. In the past year, each time Facebook has made changes to its site that have affected what I wanted to be public, I have had to remove information. I simply think that had Zuckerberg been more upfront about making Facebook more public, there would be less outrage from many of its users, many of whom signed up simply because it was supposed to be highly private. Better yet, he should have just made it public to begin with. Frankly though, he probably guessed that he would not have had as many users had it been public to begin with. I simply feel that he offered the assurances of privacy simply to attract users so that he could then turn it around and make everything public, all the while trying to claim that he could legally do so. This leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Facebook makes a lot of revenue from the advertisers and while Facebook started with minimal advertising, I foresee more advertising in the future on Facebook as I’m sure Zuckerberg is aiming for the billionaire status. I really don’t see why I should help someone whose principles I don’t agree with and whose integrity I question become a billionaire. I was willing to put up with Facebook for a while longer (I actually had reservations about it when I first signed onto it four or five years ago; I was one of the first people on it before it was open to public signups) despite the growing amount of advertising on it and the increasing push towards making our profiles public; however, it’s just the icing on the cake if by using Facebook I help Zuckerberg become a billionaire. And shall I mention those now infamous IMs of Zuckerberg’s to a “friend” back when he was in Harvard? Oh yeah, now that’s the extra double layer of icing on the cake. Zuckerberg, you dumb f*ck, no one appreciates being called a “dumb f*ck”. There, I feel better now. Ah, karma really is a b*tch.

~~~C
Your local webmistress and blogger

Defining Telecommunications – a Look at the Mobile Phone Industry

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

It’s finally happened.

The meaning of mobile communications is changing everyday, but only recently with the release of the Nokia N900 and the Google Nexus One is the North American telecommunications industry living up to (sort of! more change is needed!) what people hope it could be.

The Nokia N900 was released in the last quarter of 2009 with Linux Maemo 5 as its operating system making the Nokia N900 a portable computer that fits in the palm of your hand. Anyone familiar with Linux will know that the Nokia N900 with Maemo 5 offers mobile phone users the ability to download applications from Linux’s Maemo repository giving people the freedom to decide and ability to control what’s installed on their phones. It, for obvious reasons, comes with wi-fi.

Earlier this year, Google released their Nexus One smartphone with the Android operating system, an open-source operating system for phones (similar to Linux for computers). The Nexus One offers mobile phone users the ability to download and install applications from the Android Market. Like the N900, the Nexus One gives people the freedom to decide and the ability to control what’s installed on their phones. (Although, the Nexus One does have some basic applications pre-installed that most people will use anyway. The few I really won’t be using are the Amazon mp3 store app (popular lingo for “computer application”) and the Car Home.) Need I say that this too does come with wi-fi?

The other advantages the two phones have is that you can order them straight from the manufacturer and activate them on whichever phone service provider you choose. (There are some fine technical details regarding this which I will get to in a bit.) No more choosing between getting the phone you really want with a horrible phone plan or getting a good deal on a phone plan with a phone you are okay with. Rumour has it that Google does not want to be locked into a contract with any service provider, although I’m recalling that there may have been the option to buy the Nexus One with a phone plan in the U.S. Regardless, the Nexus One can be ordered straight from Google. The N900 can be ordered straight from Nokia (depending on where you live).

So, yes, it’s finally happened. Fully functional and internet-capable mobile computing in the palm of your hand and the ability to get the phone you want with the plan you want.

Ah, but now the details. The Nokia N900 is not available in Canada. The following (lucky!) countries that can order directly from Nokia are Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the U.K., and the U.S. If you want a Nokia N900 and can’t order it directly, you can work around that by finding someone selling it on eBay. Or if you know someone who lives in one of the countries listed for the Nokia N900, you might have your friend order it and then ship it to you after they get it.

As far as I can tell, anyone can order the Nexus One from Google, but there are two versions of the phone and which one to order depends on the service provider you wish to use. You need to check the technical details of the 3G network of your phone service provider if you want to get the most out of your phone. The two versions of the Nexus One are T-Mobile compatible and AT&T compatible. T-Mobile and AT&T use different bands for their networks. T-Mobile uses 900, AWS, and 2100 MHz while AT&T uses 850, 1900, and 2100 MHz. Google provides information regarding this on their help topic, Place an order: Using the phone with a SIM card from your mobile service provider. In Canada, if you are using Rogers (I’m assuming Fido is using the same bands as Rogers as they are owned by Rogers now, but not sure on this), Bell, or Telus, you will want the AT&T version. If you want to use Wind Mobile, you will need the T-Mobile version.

The Nokia N900 also works with Wind Mobile. I originally wanted to get the Nokia N900, but seeing as it was too complicated to order one (eBay or finding someone else to ship me one) and also that Maemo is changing into a new platform called MeeGo (not sure how well MeeGo will be when it’s released), I ordered the T-Mobile version of Nexus One to use with Wind.

Honestly, I was getting sick of Canada’s mobile phone industry, but then Wind Mobile came along with really decent phone plans (unlimited incoming text! I used to have that with Fido but Fido… um… long story… let’s just say I was a customer for about 10 years and they messed up royally, so I switched to Pay & Talk with Telus hoping for something better to come along… yay, Wind!) and the choice to add an unlimited data plan for $35 per month (it’s 10¢ per 25 kB of data without the plan). Recently, Wind started offering new data plans to add-on to your phone plan. “Social Mobile” is $10 per month for 50 mB of data while for $20 per month “Charged Mobile” gives 500 mB of data. For 500 mB, Rogers’ plan is $25 per month while Telus offers $30 per month for the same amount of data. Bell offers combo packages which overall cost more in the long term if you text a lot. Comparatively, Wind Mobile is the ideal choice for mobile communications. Wind Mobile also gives you the choice to “Pay Before” or “Pay After”.

Regarding which data plan to add-on to your phone plan on Wind, here’s the math:

Keep in mind that the “Infinite Mobile” plan is $35 per month.

Per usage rates for data:
10 cents / 25 kB
=$0.1×40 / 25x 40 kB
=$4 / 1000 kB
or $4/mB
Thus, 2.5 mB = $10, 5 mB = $20, and 8.75 mB = $35

*If you use anything above 2.5 mB, you should use a data plan add-on.*

“Social Mobile” is $10 per month for 50 mB, the rate per mB after 50 mB is $0.20 per mB. Thus, 100 mB = $20 and 175 mB = $35.

“Charged Mobile” is $20 per month for 500 mB, the rate per mB after 500 mB is $0.04 per mB. Thus 875 mB =$35

What this all means is:
->if your usage is between 2.5 mB and 100 mB, you should add the “Social Mobile” – the most you will pay is $20 per month ($10 for the first 50 mB and $10 for the additional 50 mB);
->if your usage is between 100 mB and 875 mB, you should add the “Charged Mobile” – the most you will pay is $35 per month ($20 for the 500 mB included in the plan and $15 for the additional 375 mB);
->if your usage is more than 875 mB, you should add the “Infinite Mobile”

Below are the details for the phone plan I signed up with on Wind.

My Wind mobile plan is Chat $15/month.

*NO ROAMING YET FOR PAY BEFORE*

Includes:
-unlimited incoming text messages from anywhere
-when in any Wind home zone:
1) FREE incoming picture messaging
2) unlimited Wind to Wind calling
3) 50 outgoing texts to Canada or U.S.
4) 100 province-wide minutes to any number

Pay-per-use rates:
-20¢/MMS (picture messaging) to another Wind number or an email address
-when in any Wind home zone:
1) 10¢/text (outgoing to Canada or U.S)
2) 10¢/min (province-wide to any number)
3) 15¢/min Canada or U.S. long distance
-10¢/25kB of internet data (~2 internet pages)

Back to the Google Nexus One, it is basically an HTC Android phone designed with Google in mind. You need to have a Google account, typically a Gmail account, to use the phone. (Wait? You don’t have Gmail? I recommend one. It’s a much nicer email platform than Hotmail or Yahoo, plus, its spam detection is outstanding. You can also download email from another account, and if it detects an email on that account with a possible virus, Gmail will let you know about it as it will not download it. I don’t actually use Hotmail for email anymore, but have two MSN accounts strictly for instant messenging. I would love to get rid of those MSN accounts, but some people still insist on being on Hotmail.) If you don’t have one or want to use a new Google account, you can create one when you first turn on the phone. If you get this phone, I recommend downloading the Nexus One phone manual. There are some things in there you may want to know about. One of the things mentioned in the manual is that the account you use to set up your phone for the first time is the only account that can be used with some apps, such as Calendar and Google Talk. Many people are a little upset about this with Talk and Google is promising to give the ability to use different Google accounts on Talk. I opted to set up the phone with a new account (I have an older account, but I didn’t want those contacts on the phone anyway.) The Gmail app does allow you to use more than one account on it.

The other pre-installed apps on the phone include Browser (Google’s web browser), Calculator (download another one if you want a scientific calculator), Calendar, Camera (I downloaded Camera Magic as the pre-installed Camera does not have the option for a timed flash or flash bursts, but you still need the pre-installed Camera to take videos), Car Home (I don’t use this app as I don’t drive), Clock, Contacts, Email (to use with your non-Gmail accounts), Facebook, Gallery, Goggles, Maps, Market, Messenging, MP3 Store (from Amazon) (I’m not likely to use this), Music, News and Weather, Phone, Voice (Google Voice, which is not available in Canada yet), Voice Dialer, Voice Search, and YouTube.

The browser works like a simplified Google Chrome. You can search straight from the URL bar instead of going to a search engine page. Your standard options are available for the Google Browser, notably set your home page, block pop-ups (or not), remember form data (or not), and remember passwords (or not). The Browser comes with a few pages bookmarked for you, Google, Picasa, Yahoo!, MSN, MySpace, Facebook, eBay, CNN, NY Times, ESPN, BBC, and possibly a few others (which I can’t remember if I added or if they were there already.)

The clock is nice and is combined with an alarm clock. Google is selling a Desktop Dock for the phone where you can charge the phone and use the phone as a proper alarm clock. The clock can use your photos from the Gallery as a screensaver and you can play your MP3s from the clock app. I don’t have the Desktop Dock for the phone so I can’t say much more. The alarm clock works for me (and yes, it works when the phone is off; it obviously works while charging if it’s designed to work with the Desktop Dock). I haven’t had a good alarm clock for a while now, and this has gotten rid of my need to go searching for a traditional alarm clock.

Contacts is a list of your contacts, obviously. If you sync your contacts, that list of contacts will be in your Gmail. Whatever you do to your contacts in Gmail will appear on the phone and vice versa. You can choose to turn the sync off if you want. You can have contacts from more than one Gmail account listed if you add another Google account to the phone – just remember to display the contacts from that account.

I don’t use other email services, so I’m not using the Email app and can’t say much about it. Download the manual and it should tell you in detail how to use it.

The Facebook app is simple, and in many ways much better than the website. For one thing, you don’t have to worry about the Facebook games and apps. You can simply sign in and update your status, check your notifications, your wall, read the latest news (the news feed comes up with the latest and not the “Top News” like the website), and add photos from your phone. You can take a picture from the Facebook app and upload that picture to Facebook. It’s nice if you like using Facebook a lot. (You can also simply sign into Facebook using the Browser.)

The Gallery is simply a gallery of all the pictures and videos on your phone, including the ones of the SD card (the phone comes with a 4GB SD card, and you can upgrade it to 32 GB).

Goggles lets you search for things on the internet by taking a picture of it. It’s experimental. Worth trying out.

Maps is Google Maps and works with GPS.

The Market is where you download more apps from the Android Market. I’ve had a chance to download some. There is an official Twitter app for Android now and I’m using that on the phone (I’ve been using Twitter more these days than Facebook).

Messenging is where you can check for your text messages. Be careful though because your text messages are threaded like the messages in Gmail. Make sure you check if you are deleting individual messages or the whole thread. Once you get used to that, it works nicely.

Music is where you can find all your music. It should work well enough for most people. You can make your own playlists in there, and you can find your music by artist, album or song, but there are no genre lists. The headphones that come with the phone have a few buttons on it to skip songs by going forwards or backwards and to pause the playback. The play/pause button can be used to answer the phone. You have to use the volume buttons on the side of the phone as there is not volume control on the headphones. There is also no locking on the headphones, so if you leave your headphones plugged into the phone you may accidentally start your music. You can start the music even if the phone is screen-locked.

Clicking on Phone brings up the dialer. You can move between Phone and Contacts easily by the tabs at the top of the screen. There is also a call log showing all the calls. Symbols indicate which were outgoing or incoming.

I would like to have Google Voice in Canada. Not sure if I would use it, but it would be nice to have the option.

The Voice Dialer is neat as is the Voice Search. I had a voice dialing option on one of my old mobile phones, but only if the headphones were plugged in. The voice dialer works regardless as the Nexus One has a speakerphone. Voice Search searches Google for you. I’m still playing around with the speech-to-text capabilities of the phone, but it is pretty cool. It’s integrated into a lot of the apps, such as Talk and Messenging. You can say your message and then edit it before sending. Really awesome.

The YouTube app allows you to upload your videos to YouTube right from your phone. There are also videos about the Nexus One on YouTube, which you will find out about from a message in your Gmail after you sign into your phone for the first time. The videos are short, informative, and nicely filmed actually.

One of the things I like about the phone, and I believe it’s a feature of HTC phones, is the lock-screen. You can choose to require a pattern entered to unlock the screen/phone. The phone shows you nine dots on the screen and you have to know the chosen pattern to unlock the phone. Because the phone is touchscreen, it doesn’t make sense to use the traditional keypad locking – that would take too long. You can make up a pretty complicated pattern for the screen that only you remember.

I did download a few extra apps to the phone. Right now, I have CardioTrainer and MyTracks installed to keep time for my runs. Both work with GPS, and will track your distance using GPS. Both use Maps to show you where you are/were. CardioTrainer can also estimate your distance based on your stride length and by using its built-in pedometer, if it can’t get a good GPS signal. CardioTrainer can start your music for you. You choose your playlist and whether or not to shuffle the songs. I haven’t decided which I like better. MyTracks is more simple than CardioTrainer. It’s a straight “track your position from GPS and then map it”.

A really useful app is the APNdroid, which is a simple app that lets you decide when to use the 3G network. This is useful if you expect to be able to access wi-fi, thereby not requiring the 3G as much. When I’m out and I can’t pick up wi-fi, I can simply turn on the 3G network with the APNdroid app. This saves you money if you are paying per use for the 3G network.

A fun app is the Urbanspoon app, which finds restaurants near you. What’s fun about it is shaking your phone and having it come up with a random restaurant. Shake it again if you want another random restaurant. You can, if you wish, simply browse restaurants by category and neighbourhood.

Google Sky Map is another cool app from Google if you love looking at the night sky. I love astronomy, and the Sky Map will show you were all the stars and planets are at that moment.

Hoccer is a great app that allows you to share files with any Android user. Place the phones next to each other, select the file, then swipe it across both phones. You can also toss a file and let any Android user catch it.

Here is a list of the apps I downloaded onto my phone (all of them were free!):

3banana (for note-taking)
Abduction! (a silly game; you’re a cow trying to save your friends who were abducted by aliens)
AK Notepad
AnDrawing
APNdroid
ASTRO
Backgammon Lite
Barcode Scanner
Bluetooth File
Calculator (the scientific one)
Calorie Counter (use the barcode scanner to find out more about what you eat; also has a food diary, an exercise diary; I haven’t used it much so far)
Camera Magic
CardioTrainer
Chess
Compass
ConnectBot
CubicMan Lite
Currency Converter
FingerPaint
Frozen Bubble
Google Sky Map
Hoccer
Kakuro
Layar
MagicMarker
MathDoku
Moon Phase
mPuzzle
My Tracks
PdaNet
PDF Viewer
Rubix 2D
Slide Puzzle
SuperYatzy
Tip Calc
Toss It (a game where you toss a crumpled paper into a wastebasket with variable wind affecting your trajectory)
Twitter
Unit Converter
Urbanspoon
Voice Recorder
YahtC Classic

So far, I’ve been happy with the Nexus One, as long as the Android Market stays open-source. The Android Market could change the mobile phone industry the way Linux has changed the computer industry. (I don’t know much about MeeGo so far, but hopefully it will help push for changes as well.) This can be a very good thing for the average mobile phone user by making mobile phones more attractive (in terms of wanting a phone, that is, not the actual appearance of the phone). It makes having a phone worth it for what the average person will pay for it. Not everyone can afford a Blackberry or the rates and packages that are being offered just to use the Blackberry on a phone service provider. Nor can people afford to pay for every application available. (BTW, open-source does not just mean “free” as in “no cost”, it is more complex than that. Open-source allows others to be able to draw on and expand on another’s original idea. This allows for the potential to build on one good thing after another. It allows for more creativity and innovation, which in the long term helps society develop.) This also opens up the telecommunications industry and makes it more integrated. Now we can with a few clicks switch from one form of communication to the other. You can choose to call, text, email, or instant message someone from one mobile device. (I could have done that with my last phone, but it cost a heck of a lot more than what I’m paying now and my choices were limited in terms of which messenger I could use.)

Mobile phones have changed quite a lot since they first became popular. I’ve had a mobile phone for about fifteen years now. The first phone I had was with Cantel, which later became Cantel AT&T, which was later merged into Rogers. Then, I signed up with Fido back when it was just a small company from Quebec called Microcell. (Microcell was a client of the company I was working at at the time, and they gave us a good deal, so I took it.) As mentioned, I was with Fido for a long time before I switched to Telus’ Pay & Talk. My first phone was a Nokia phone, and strangely enough, I had a Nokia phone until I switched to Telus. The below image (downloaded from http://www.newlaunches.com/entry_images/1107/12/nokia_timeline.php) should be amusing and will show a nice history of mobile phones, particularly Nokia phones (click to enlarge).

I can’t remember the exact model number of the first Nokia phone I had, but it was one of those listed under 1992. I remember it being “boxy”. Although the phone came out in 1992, I don’t think I got that phone until 1995. My next phone was the Nokia 5190, which I probably got in 1998 when I signed up with Fido. As you can see, the design of that phone was sleeker and more rounded than what I had before. I held onto that phone for a while, then got the Nokai 5100 in 2003 when the 5190 was starting to really die on me. I was trying to get a new phone from Fido, but they gave me a bunch of hassles and didn’t actually deliver my phone nor give me any way to pick it up, so the 5100 was the last phone I had with Fido. When I switched to Telus in 1998, I decided to try the LG Chocolate Flip phone, a considerable upgrade to the Nokia 5190.

Now, there are a quite a few better options. The Nexus One is quite a different phone compared to the old Nokia!

Is the mobile phone industry really ready for more change? We will see. Obviously, if more people get informed about what they should be able to do such as activating any phone on any service provider, then maybe things will start to change. Mobile phones aren’t just phones anymore – they are mini-computers. Anyone with some insight could have foreseen the day when mobile computing devices would have to merge with mobile phones. Let’s turn telecommunications into what it really should mean – an integration of different forms of communication.

Links:
http://www.google.com/phone
http://maemo.nokia.com/n900/
http://meego.com/
http://www.windmobile.ca/

Afternote:
Since I started writing this blog, Wind Mobile has started a new promotion. There are different rates being offered for their plans, please check out the details on the Wind Mobile site.

~~~C

Time to Say Goodbye to Facebook?

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

A commentary regarding “Facebook’s Gone Rogue; It’s Time for an Open Alternative”

I’ve been peeved at Facebook since they decided to make my profile picture public. I’m just lucky that I know how to fiddle with their other privacy settings, but all the same, I’ve been peeved at Facebook for a while now. I’ve been even more peeved since they decided to change how filling out the “Info” tab works. Anything you put in under your interests must be linked to a public page. I’m actually considering removing entries in my “Info” section now. This saddens me as I was one who told friends that facebook had some pretty good privacy measures. Now, I have to recant that. I agree with the writer in the article above that in changing the “Info” section the way they did, they limited choice for the Facebook user. I either enter the information and have myself added to a public Facebook page or leave it out entirely, making it seem like I have no interests, that I’m a blank slate with no sense of identity.

I’ve since decided that a better platform for social networking is needed, or maybe not at all. As someone on Slashdot pointed out, this is the World Wide Web (www). We have webpages and email. Getting a website is not as costly or as hard as it used to be. We still have instant messenging, just as good as a phone call. Additionally, there are some websites that do various things better than Facebook. For example, there are better sites to put photos up on, better sites to showcase your art, better sites to showcase your writing (or even use your own website or blog). And heck, if you like games just get an Xbox or Playstation, they have better games. (Even my new Android phone has better games, I will have a blog about it.) Simply put, why does there have to be one place for everything you do?

I originally signed up for Facebook to keep in touch with friends and to see their photos. I barely use the news feed anymore. It comes up with the “top news”, however that is determined, when I rather prefer the “recent news”. Plus, some people update their status much more than others that my other friends sometimes don’t even show up on there. Speaking of the news feed, I have two options for my friends on there. I either show them or hide them. Another limitation to choice. Maybe I just want less updates from them, so I have a chance to read about my other friends. Thus, if I care to find out about someone I will go straight to their profile instead. I also originally signed up for Facebook because it is supposed to be a social networking site where people can find my website and contact information. I highly doubt people even know that that information is there nor would they even think to look.

For now though, I’m resigned to keeping my Facebook for a little while longer, though I’ve been gradually weaning myself off it. I am thinking about revamping my website a bit and I hope to be blogging more than I have in the past year.

~~~C

Enneagram Test Results

Friday, December 19th, 2008

I did the enneagram test again a few weeks back. Here are the results this time:

You are most likely a type 7.

Taking wings into account, you seem to be a 7w8.

No personality test is completely accurate. Although several measures were taken to make this test as accurate as possible, there’s always a chance that you are not typed correctly by it. Therefore, when deciding which Enneagram type and wing you are, you might also want to consider the types with the highest test scores on the lists below.

(Note that your lowest scores may be omitted.)
Type 7 – 8.7
Type 8 – 8
Type 1 – 8
Type 5 – 6.3
Type 9 – 6
Type 2 – 6
Type 4 – 6
Type 6 – 3.7

Wing 7w8 – 12.7
Wing 8w7 – 12.4
Wing 1w2 – 11
Wing 8w9 – 11
Wing 1w9 – 11
Wing 7w6 – 10.6
Wing 9w8 – 10
Wing 2w1 – 10
Wing 9w1 – 10
Wing 5w4 – 9.3
Wing 4w5 – 9.2
Wing 5w6 – 8.2
Wing 6w7 – 8.1
Wing 6w5 – 6.9
Wing 2w3 – 6
Wing 4w3 – 6

http://www.eclecticenergies.com/enneagram/type7.php

http://www.eclecticenergies.com/enneagram/dotest.php

Enneagram Test with Instinctual Variant results

You are most likely a type 8 (the Challenger) with 7 wing

Sexual variant

Type 8 SX
Type 1 SX
Type 3 SX
Type 7 SO
Type 2 SX
Type 4 SX
Type 5 SX
Type 6 SX
Type 9 SX

Explanations:

* Introduction to the Enneagram
* Type descriptions
* Wings
* Variants:
SP = Self-preservation instinct
SX = Sexual instinct
SO = Social instinct

The list shows how likely it is that you are each enneagram type.

Most people will be the type at the top of the list, however, your actual personality type might be somewhat lower in it (usually it’s in the top 3). Your instinctual variant is most likely the one indicated next to your actual type.

http://www.eclecticenergies.com/enneagram/type8.php

http://www.eclecticenergies.com/enneagram/test-2.php

Huh, seems to place me as either a 7 or an 8. I feel like 7 most of the time though, so I think I’m a 7. The 8s sound like control freaks! Eek!

IQ Tests; Intelligence Quotient and Society

Friday, December 5th, 2008

I remember doing an IQ test back in grade school (I think it was grade 3 or 4). I don’t recall the results nor was I given them :(, but I was recommended for the “Gifted Program” at that time – I guess I didn’t score too badly then. (The program was actually quite boring and made me spend a day away from my regular classes so eventually I dropped the program.) Since then, I’ve been amused by the subject of the IQ test. It’s been criticized by people who claim it tests only a specific type of intelligence and therefore is not accurate. However, as long as you are measuring the results derived out of the same test that is given, it can give a general sense of level of intelligence. Out of curiosity, I did two different IQ tests online.

The first one I did at iqtest.com gave me:

“Your general IQ score is: 133”

A second test I did gave me a different score.

Free IQ Tests
Free-IQTest.net – Free IQ Tests

Hm.. wonder why the tests scored so differently??

Both tests use the same “intelligence interval” to give you a “cognitive designation”. (The table and graph below are from free-iqtest.net’s IQ test score guide.)

Intelligence Interval Cognitive Designation
40 – 54 Severely challenged (Less than 1% of test takers)
55 – 69 Challenged (2.3% of test takers)
70 – 84 Below average
85 – 114 Average (68% of test takers)
115 – 129 Above average
130 – 144 Gifted (2.3% of test takers)
145 – 159 Genius (Less than 1% of test takers)
160 – 175 Extraordinary genius

The IQ graph above is interesting. It shows the percentage of test takers falling into each category. Based on the graph, 95.4% score between 70 and 130. Only 2.23% score 130 and above. This also means that 2.37% of test takers score less than 70.

The implications from this are astounding and something I’ve thought about before. Based on the IQ graph, test takers who score 130 or above are less likely to meet people just as intelligent as themselves – it works out to 1.115 person out of 50 (or just 1 person out of 50 since we can’t divide people into portions). This can be quite frustrating for those people scoring 130 and above who wish to find intelligent peers.

Another implication based on the IQ graph is that an average intelligent person (IQ 85 to 114) is about as likely to meet someone of high intelligence (IQ 130 and above) as someone who is challenged (IQ below 70). Because an average intelligent person may not understand someone who is of high intelligence, the person of average intelligence may just well conclude that the person who is “gifted” or a “genius” is below average intelligence.

Furthermore, decisions based on the majority of the population won’t necessarily be the smartest or wisest decision. As mentioned, someone of average intelligence may not understand something as well as someone of high intelligence and, therefore, may not agree with the decision of the person (or people) of high intelligence although it may very well be the most intelligent decision! In a democratic society, this has some serious implications, not the least being the alienation of the more intelligent people in the society due to “tyranny of the majority”1. Since people of average intelligence are the majority (68.2%), someone of average intelligence will often assume they are more correct than someone of high intelligence simply because of the majority. This is, according to the IQ graph and IQ testing, an incorrect assumption to make. Many people of average intelligence will not make a group of high intelligence – that’s just not logically possible. In politics, when voting for a leader in a democratic society, the leader voted in is not necessarily the best candidate or smartest choice. Thus, a democratic society in the long term is unlikely to ever be a highly intelligent society.

Notes:
1. John Stuart Mill’s essay “On Liberty” (excerpt located at http://64.233.161.104/search?q=cache:CKnG_hyk6ggJ:www.serendipity.li/jsmill/
jsmill.htm+%22tyranny+of+the+majority%22&hl=en

Yes, yes, Myers-Briggs test again

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

The last time I did this test on HumanMetrics, I got an INFJ. This time, like most other times, I got an INTJ. My results this time are: 56% introverted, 50% intuitive, 62% thinking, and 22% judging. Based on descriptions of INTJ, I think I sound like one. This description in particular left me in a fit of giggles – INTJ: Everything has Room for Improvement (I have corners in both my bedroom and my living room for my “projects”). What type are you? Find out at HumanMetrics.