Archives 2010

What happened to Linkin Park?

Attention: This content is 10 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading as its contents may now be outdated or inaccurate.

Seriously.  What happened?

Linkin Park has 2 absolutely amazing albums with Hybrid Theory and Meteora.  Not a dull song in the group, original music, awesome fast pace rhythms, and totally bad as solos.  Then what?  We got some remixes with Jay Z (which weren’t bad, just nothing new really), then we were handed the shit fest known as Minutes to Midnight.  While Minutes to Midnight had a few good songs on it like Bleed It Out and What I’ve Done, even those good songs didn’t sound like the Linkin Park we’d known and loved from Hybrid Theory and Meteora.

Well, everyone is allowed one stinker album right?  I figured I would let Minutes to Midnight slide and still call myself a Linkin Park fan.  That was until I heard the songs off A Thousand Suns… wow.  They got even worse than Minutes to Midnight.  What the hell?  A Thousand Suns doesn’t have a single good song on it.  They’re all electronic fucking garbage.  What happened to the bad ass guitar solos, bad ass drum, and original lyrics not the shit like “god bless us everyone, blah blah blah”.  Every single A Thousand Suns song is absolute garbage.  Just filth.

So again, I ask, WHAT HAPPENED?

Did someone get off drugs?  Someone go on drugs?  What?

Whatever it is, I am no longer a Linkin Park fan.  I am still a fan of their original albums, but this new stuff as just awful.

I leave you with my favorite Linkin Park song. RIP Linkin Park.

The Good Guys wreck a WS6… or did they?

Attention: This content is 10 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading as its contents may now be outdated or inaccurate.

So I am sitting here watching one of my newest favorite shows, The Good Guys on my DVR when I happened to notice something interesting.

In the “Don’t Tase Me, Bro” episode (Episode 9, Season 1), there is a Navy Blue Pontiac TransAm WS6 fully decked out with ZO6 wheels.  Very pretty and still one of my favorite muscle cars to this day (damn you GM/Pontiac).  As you can see, it clearly has the chrome ZO6 wheels, TransAm nose, Ram Air hood, and TransAm raised spoiler:

But, as this show tends to do, things get blown up and wrecked.  This particular car has the unfortunate fate of smashing in to a retaining wall and getting rolled over.  A truly cringe-worthy site.  Or is it?

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A new rootkit?

Attention: This content is 11 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading as its contents may now be outdated or inaccurate.

For the third time in the last few weeks I have had to clean up yet another malware infection.

However, these have all displayed similar symptoms, and I am thinking there might be another outbreak of malware coming.  I have noticed that malware seems to come in waves.  I will spend a whole bunch of time cleaning it up for a while, then I will go months with out having to clean any up… then it’ll come back in force again.

I’m not sure of the injection vector of the latest version (the previous wave seemed to enjoy Java exploits quite a lot), but I can give you a fairly obvious and quick to diagnose symptom and a quick way to clean it up.

The first and easiest check on an infected machine is try and visit http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com.  On the machines I have seen, regular websites will work like cnn.com or google.com, but you can not get to the Windows Update site.  It will just snap to a page not found error.

The second easy check basically confirms that Windows Updates are being blocked.  Hop in to the Event Viewer, and look in the Application log.  You should see a whole onslaught of errors from crypt32 complaining that it “Failed auto update retrieval of third-part root list sequence number from…The connection with the server was terminated abnormally”.  This is almost a guaranteed sign you’ve picked yourself up some new malware, and more specifically a rootkit.  This rootkit is sort of nasty in that it makes you think you have got the machine all cleaned up.  If you run a Malwarebytes Antimalware scan the scan will come back clean, and the system will seem normal (aside from the errors in Event Viewer and not being able to get to Windows Updates).

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Apple’s Failure, the iPhone 4

Attention: This content is 11 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading as its contents may now be outdated or inaccurate.

What happened Apple?

You seemed to be on top of the world in design and function.  Then you released the iPhone 4.

What a horribly designed piece of hardware.  Apple seems to have chosen the “form before function” approach here and the swaths of people who lined up for the next iDevice from old Jobs and gang now feel brutally raped and left out in the cold.

Within hours of the iPhone 4’s release, reports already flooded tech blogs of massive reception issues with Apple’s new heralded antenna design.  Apple remained fairly silent on the whole ordeal until last friday when they all but admitted the phone has a fatal flaw… the new antenna system they talked up at the press event.

Apple tried to put a positive spin on the whole thing basically saying it’s not their fault, ALL antenna systems do this, and they even tried to demo the problem in OTHER phones.  Well you know what Steve?  Explain why the iPhone 4 is the only one dropping calls when held.  Other companies are even firing shots across Apple’s bow regarding the design.

Nokia:

Nokia has invested thousands of man hours in studying human behavior, including how people hold their phones for calls, music playing, web browsing and so on. As you would expect from a company focused on connecting people, we prioritize antenna performance over physical design if they are ever in conflict.

In general, antenna performance of a mobile device/phone may be affected with a tight grip, depending on how the device is held. That’s why Nokia designs our phones to ensure acceptable performance in all real life cases, for example when the phone is held in either hand. Nokia has invested thousands of man hours in studying how people hold their phones and allows for this in designs, for example by having antennas both at the top and bottom of the phone and by careful selection of materials and their use in the mechanical design.

RIM:

Apple’s attempt to draw RIM into Apple’s self-made debacle is unacceptable. Apple’s claims about RIM products appear to be deliberate attempts to distort the public’s understanding of an antenna design issue and to deflect attention from Apple’s difficult situation. RIM is a global leader in antenna design and has been successfully designing industry-leading wireless data products with efficient and effective radio performance for over 20 years. During that time, RIM has avoided designs like the one Apple used in the iPhone 4 and instead has used innovative designs which reduce the risk for dropped calls, especially in areas of lower coverage. One thing is for certain, RIM’s customers don’t need to use a case for their BlackBerry smartphone to maintain proper connectivity. Apple clearly made certain design decisions and it should take responsibility for these decisions rather than trying to draw RIM and others into a situation that relates specifically to Apple.

Samsung:

The antenna is located at the bottom of the Omnia 2 phone, while iPhone’s antenna is on the lower left side of the device. Our design keeps the distance between a hand and an antenna. We have fully conducted field tests before the rollout of smartphones. Reception problems have not happened so far, and there is no room for such problems to happen in the future.

HTC:

According to Apple, nearly 0.55% of iPhone 4 customers have been in contact with them regarding reception or antenna issues on the new phone

So what percentage of people have complained [about the Droid Eris Antenna]?

“Approximately .016% of customers”, Eric Lin, the company’s global PR and online community manager exclusively revealed to us before adding that “we have had very few complaints about signal or antenna problems on the Eris”.

If you’re keeping track, that is over 34 times higher than the iPhone 4 complaint rates.

Even Consumer Reports tested and proved the serious issue and rated the iPhone 4 a DO NOT BUY.

So you have the biggest names in phone manufacturing all telling Apple they screwed the pooch on this one.  Apple obviously did not test the phone enough in the real world and pushed the device out before it was ready.  Apple’s solution to this disaster?  A product recall with a fixed design?  Nope, you get a free ugly case to wrap around your phone to prevent your hand from coming in direct contact with their magical and revolutionary antenna.  Wow.  Thanks Apple.

Add on top of this whole Antennagate thing, the fact that the phone’s proximity sensor also seems to be suffering from serious issues, causing people’s phones to hang up, mute, or put calls on hold when the phone is brought up to someone’s face, it’s a wonder if Apple seriously tested this device at all?  I think it is pretty apparent they did not.

With Apple’s iOS being quickly hunted down by the mass influx of bad ass Android devices, the iPhone 4’s massive problems could spell big trouble for iOS and it’s now dated and played out interface.

Can you hear me now?   No Steve, we can’t.

Why Windows Phone 7 Will Fail

Attention: This content is 11 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading as its contents may now be outdated or inaccurate.

Two years ago I wrote about what Microsoft needed to do to turn their platform around.  Now with Windows Phone 7 only months away, it would appear Microsoft has failed in every way imaginable.

Windows Phone 7 will be a miserable failure.  There are many countless reasons why it is going to epic fail, but here are some of the most important:

1) Microsoft doesn’t know mobile phones from a hole in the ground.  Just look at the current state of Windows Mobile.  It’s built on the Windows CE platform, created in 1996.  Yes.  Let me repeat.  Windows Mobile is based on a platform created in 1996.  Sure, the platform has seen updates, but it’s still based on a world created 13 years ago.  Back when Windows 98 was nothing but a dream.   Windows Phone 7 is based on Windows CE.  Yup.  Microsoft’s newest “cutting edge” Phone OS is STILL based on Windows CE.  They just couldn’t get rid of it.  Thanks Microsoft.  The same bullshit you’ve been jamming down our throats for the past how many years that has NEVER worked right is your platform for the next Windows Phone?  EPIC FAIL.

2) The Kin is a disgusting failure.  The Kin is running a hacked down version of Windows Phone 7.  Don’t believe me it sucks?  Here are a few quotes regarding the Kin and it’s abilities:

“…Lofty goals indeed for a product like this, and unfortunately for everyone, Microsoft misses the mark by a long shot. It’s not even close.”

“…we also take issue with the browser, which is abysmally slow and buggy (it consistently crashed while trying to load any complex web pages like Engadget), and the email client, which seemed to have trouble displaying even the most rudimentary HTML messages”

“While using the One and Two we found ourselves consistently confused or surprised by how many bad little interface problems there are. Not only does the phone make it hard to do simple tasks — and not only are the social networking features poorly implemented — but the handsets are often sluggish, hiccupy, and downright crash-prone. We were told by the devices on more than one occasion that we needed to restart (while performing basic tasks), and often it would just throw us a blank screen while we waited for the device to come back from whatever tragic internal situation was occurring”

That’s enough of that.  If you want to read more though, you can head over to Engadget’s review of the Kin One and Two.

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HP’s New Touch-pads Suck

Attention: This content is 11 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading as its contents may now be outdated or inaccurate.

I was setting up some brand new HP Probook’s today (typically VERY nice machines in my experience) when I was suddenly rendered crippled by a IMPOSSIBLE to use touch-pad.  What a DREADFUL piece of shit this new design is.

Basically, the touch-pad and buttons are all one surface.

Observe:

The problem comes from the fact that the “button area” is still part of the touch-pad.  So you place one finger on the button, and now you can’t use the fucking touch-pad.  Your cursor will either sit there and stare at you like a vegetable or it’ll jump all around the screen like crazy.  Either way, the touch-pad is completely unusable if you’re touching either button.  This is incredibly frustrating because my style of laptop mousing is resting one hand’s fingers on the buttons while using the other hand to navigate the mouse, or resting one finger on the button, while the other navigates the mouse for faster mouse action.  The only effective way to use this touch pad is with one hand and one finger.  Christ.  It’s awful.  Seriously.

I ended up grabbing one of those USB ball mice and plugging the damn thing in and using that, because trying to use that bloody touch-pad was making me want to kick puppies.  And I love puppies.

Thanks for the SHIT design HP.  I’m sure as hell glad this isn’t my machine.  I would be returning it if I had to put up with that damn thing.

Walmart, more like Wastemart

Attention: This content is 11 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading as its contents may now be outdated or inaccurate.

Pssst, Walmart… it’s hard to believe your silly commercials about efficient truck routes and less cardboard in shipping to help save resources, when I go to your store, buy a 12 pack of soda and some saltine crackers, and I get a receipt that is 15 inches long!!!

Seriously?  2 items should warrant a receipt no longer than 4 or 5 inches.  A 15 inch receipt is just an extreme waste of paper.  I can’t believe your shitty commercials when you pull crap like this hundreds of thousands of times a day across the country.  No one wants to take your crappy survey, shrink the Xbox-huge logo at the top, shrink the barcode, reduce the white space.  Bam, 4 inch receipt.

Here, I even mocked one up for you.