Behind The Driver

Checking In

22 Feb 2013

It’s been a while since my last blog post. Stuff:

Google fixed an issue that has been bothering me for a few weeks now. I opened a support ticket with Google Enteprise Support on the first of this month because of a problem syncing Google Calendar with Microsoft Outlook using the “Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook tool”. This is a place where I’m not sure whether I should be happy that it is fixed, or angry that it took 3 weeks to fix. The SLA that comes with Google Apps is limited to the core services such as web access to Gmail, web access to Drive, web access to Sites, etc. I can fully understand how they would not want to deal with desktop software at all given all of the insane combinations of operating systems, anti-virus software, buggy device drivers, etc.

A few years ago I decided to start working out. I was given an old stationary bike and started regularly spending 15-20 minutes doing medium-high intensity workouts in the evening. Over a period of a few months I noticed some interesting effects. I no longer felt as cold at any point during the day in our Nothern California climate. On days ranging around 60 degrees F I used to wear several layers during the day and sleep under a bunch of thick blankets at night. After just a few months of regular exercise in the evenings I became that asshole that everyone always asks “aren’t you cold out here?”. This seems like kind of an odd minor thing, but it greatly improved my quality of life living in an area where the weather is primarily somewhere between 50F and 65F. Another effect took a bit longer to become apparent. I seemed to have a much better resistance to getting colds and the flu. I used to get colds at a rate of about 5 per year. After starting regular exercise it dropped to less than one per year.

I had a phone some years ago called the Palm Pre. It was a small phone with a 3.2in capacitve touchscreen and a slide-out portrait keyboard. It had some hardware issues and a few small software issues that can be mostly blamed on Palm’s limited company resources. Despite these issues it is still had some of the best concepts in smartphone operating systems I’ve ever seen. Two things in particular still stand out to me. It had a system it called ‘Synergy’ that combined text messages and instant messages from every common protocol into a single unified contact list and inbox system. I could receive a text message from a friend, check my list and see they were online on AIM, and send them an instant message in reply. This was possibly the best thing ever for keeping in contact with my friends and family. I have found a few somewhat acceptable solutions on Android and iOS, but nothing that really worked the way the Pre did. The Pre also used a multitasking system that if I remember correctly they called ‘Cards’. Each application existed in it’s own card and you could zoom out and see the cards you currently had open. Applications remained open in the background until closed by swiping the card off the screen. Because of the state of mobile technology when the Pre was created it had such limited RAM that there could only be one to four cards open simultaneously. This limitation was never really an issue for me. It is very frustrating to me that even with my phones on Android 4.1 and iOS 6 I am still dealing with the same regressions in functionality in messaging and multitasking that I experienced when I had to give up the Pre so long ago.