Friday, August 21, 2009

What the hell is this?

So I was walking through the East Village and I came across this monstrosity. I don't remember it being there last time I walked around there. Anyone know wtf it is? It's completely out of character for the neighborhood, or even the city.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Broadway's new furniture

As I broasted in the dog day afternoon August sun today, I snapped a photo of the new furniture on NYC's Broadway pedestrian mall. This furniture is replacing the original iconic (and always temporary) lawn chairs along the entire pedestrian route, at a cost of several million dollars. Money well spent?

Ironically, you don't see a lot of photos of Herald Square's lawn chairs around the net, because it always had somewhat more upscale furniture than the Times Square pedestrian mall a few blocks up. I did find one photo of the older furniture here. Spot the differences!

Barney Frank finally answers the Hitler Health Care wingnuts

The Democratic party needs more Barney Franks! Jesus, where is this level of backbone in the rest of the party?

Failing to both stand up to and marginalize these nutjobs only legitimizes their view. Barney Frank did both.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Blogging with an HTC Fuze

This is a test. Blogging with my phone. We'll see how it comes out.

UPDATE: Came out pretty good! Had to add a "mobile-photo" style to my stylesheet to get the image centered and the text positioned under it, but nice that Blogger adds that style to the HTML automatically. Otherwise it came off without a hitch. Technology rules.

btw, I've been pleasantly surprised by the camera in this phone. It ain't great, but actually the sensor is surprisingly not very noisy, it's got the built-in flash and auto-focus, and performance is about par with a regular point and shoot. The lens is the limiting factor - none of my shots are really sharp at full size (I think 2048x1536 res). And dynamic range is kind of atrocious. Still, it's not bad for a phone.

Friday, August 07, 2009

New cell phone GET!

I've complained bitterly about the state of the American cellphone industry here. I've held onto my now-ancient Samsung SGH-A707 like grim death for the past 2 1/2 years, despite being eligible for an upgrade for the last 12 months. I just couldn't find a phone that was the right form factor and had the features I wanted.

Well, the fact that my SGH-A707 does not ring in my new office forced my hand. (It works fine otherwise, just doesn't ring!) I got this:

It's a refurbished HTC Fuze, aka Touch Pro. Currently on offer at Amazon for $0.01 for new accounts, or $74.99 for upgrades. AT&T still sells them new for $299 on their own site. (Amazon also has new ones discounted a bit.)

I know, the new Touch Pro 2 should be out soon, but AT&T's holding them back so they can sell more iPhones. Who knows when it'll really be out? Not to mention that the specs are basically identical, except that the Fuze has a built-in camera flash. Oh yeah, and the Touch Pro 2 ships with Windows Mobile 6.5 instead of 6.1, but there are ways to equalize that (evil laugh: muahahaha). Ok, the TP2 has a bigger screen, which would be nice. But not worth the premium they're gonna charge.

So far I love my Fuze. It's my first smartphone - I've taken the leap into the 21st century - and I'm already having loads of fun installing apps, tweaking stuff and using the internet. Love the built-in wi-fi. But what I really bought it for was this:

The full keyboard. This is one trend in American cell phones that I'll give a standing ovation. About freakin' time! When the iPhone first came out, everybody suddenly wanted to go touchscreen-only to copy it. Junk! Not all of us like touchscreens, but for a while it seems like if you wanted a decent phone, you either went touchscreen-only or you went ugly Blackberry with its tiny itty bitty little unpressable keys.

When I first found the Fuze (almost a year ago now), I was smitten by its form factor. It's not the first phone with this design, but it was the smallest I'd seen at the time. And those clean, straight lines - it was beautiful! Nowadays, there are a lot of phones like this. And that's fine, because this is a design worth copying. The keyboard is perfect for big-handed people like me - not too big, not too small. I can fly on it. I'm not doing it now, but I have no doubt that I could have written this entire blog post on it without too much trouble. I have no doubt that I will write future blog posts with my Fuze. This is a pocket computer. Real computers have keyboards.

Also, one huge, huge thing for me that almost no other American phone can do: the Fuze works in Japan.

I'm still not a big fan of the unprotected screen - I'll be buying a cheap screen protector soon. I don't understand why nobody can figure out how to build a simple flap into their phones like Sony did probably 10 years ago with their Clies. And the back is that horrible mirror finish glossy garbage too, that does nothing but accentuate fingerprints. Why do electronics manufacturers think people want this glossy crap?

Minor complaints, though. So far, I'm in love.

About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


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