Saturday, September 06, 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008


With no disrespect intended toward my simian brothers, have the Apple industrial designers all been replaced by monkeys?

I recently upgraded (though "upgrade" may be a generous term) my iPhone to an iPhone 3G and, at about the same time, inherited a MacBook Air from my lovely wife. After about four months of trying to learn to love the Mac Way, she had finally given up and gone back to her beloved ThinkPad laptop running Windows.

Strike One (iPhone 3G): The first thing I noticed with my new iPhone is that it's slightly wider than the previous version. Just wide enough, in fact, that it won't fit into my lovely iPhone / Apple Bluetooth headset charger. Thanks a lot, Apple.

Strike Two (iPhone 3G): This one's been talked about elsewhere, but why-oh-why did Apple decide it was a good idea to save the $0.14 per device by not supporting all those existing 3rd party chargers that use the FireWire lines (in other words, ALL of the 3rd party chargers I've seen that were produced before the 3G came out.) The Apple interface on my Alpine car deck? Useless. The speakers on my bedside table? Useless. Thanks again guys.

Strike Three (Air): So apparently there's the DVI standard as I and the rest of the computing industry understand it, and then there's Apple's creative interpretation of it. I have a number of monitors in my house, some new digital ones and some old analog ones. In addition, I regularly need to connect to a variety of video projectors to give presentations. I assume I am not alone here. The Air comes with a little adapter that converts from its ultra-slim version of DVI to the DVI that the rest of the industry understands. With. one. little. exception... For some reason that's not at all clear to me, they decided not to support the 4 analog signal pins (the ones on either side of the "blade" on the DVI connector). This means that no industry standard DVI-Analog adapter will fit their connector. Now, don't misunderstand -- the slim-DVI (or whatever it's called) port on the Air supports analog. I know this because they sell an addition proprietary adapter for the analog connection. Somebody at Apple just decided it would be a good idea to force me to buy their special adapter rather than use the one I already have. The end result here is that I got to be in a meeting this morning that started with "hey, that's a Mac Air, how cool" and ended with me giving my presentation on a borrowed Windows machine and "hey, that's a Mac Air, it makes a very pretty paper-weight."

Well, at least you're getting paid for that additional adapter -- congratulations guys, would you like that in dollars or bananas?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Buying from Lenovo

My wife recently decided that, as light and sexy as the Mac Air is, she'd rather go back to a Windows laptop (yes, it happens.) She really liked the Thinkpad she had while at Google so we went to the Lenovo site to see what was currently available.

After comparing a few models, she found and configured the one she liked and went to checkout. Whoops, have to create an account first. Fine.

That's when we started playing a little game with the Lenovo site designers.

"Please select a password (must be at least 8 characters)"

Ok, here you go... **********

"Error: your password may only contain the letters a-z and numbers"

Um, ok... Let's try this... **********

"Error: your password must contain at least two numbers"

We can play this game all night.

Advice to aspiring account creation designers: if you have specific rules about what kind of password you'll accept, tell me ALL of them up front.

But wait, we're not done.

"There are two counties in your zipcode, please select the correct one for tax calculation purposes"

Option 1 - KING (RTA)
Option 2 - KING

Sorry Lenovo, but that's the same county, but I'll play along and pick one.

Total price: $1,294.42
Estimated tax: $3,441.82
Total: $4,736.24

Wow, taxes have gone up.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

A new adventure

Haven’t posted for awhile but am trying out Live Writer to see if I like it. The jury’s still out (actually, the jury hasn’t even had the case presented yet.)

To catch up… I left Google around Christmas last year to start a new venture. Google was a very entertaining place to be but I’m really much more cut out for the start-up environment. Best of luck to everyone still there – I think they’ll be fine if they can just figure out how to make money off that search idea of theirs.

We’re not really talking too much about the new venture yet but we’ve had some very interesting developments unfold over the past week so there may be more to say in a little while.

Monday, November 05, 2007

D-Day minus One

My wife, Jeni, has been working her tail off over the summer guiding John Marchione's campaign for Redmond mayor. Tomorrow's the big day, it looks pretty good right now.

Here's her latest effort to get the word out:

I weep for our educational system

My daughter, Nicole, just showed me a congratulatory award from school. It read:

"Bravo! Nicole has completed all of their work."


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Aurora -- R.I.P.

I got a call from Nicole yesterday while at work. Aurora, our beloved goldfish, had finally breathed her last and said goodbye.

A little background might be in order for those of you unfortunate to have never met Aurora. For Allie's fourth birthday, my sister gave her a little goldfish. You know the kind, it lives for six weeks at best and becomes the object of a sad but important lesson in life and death.

According to Allie's calculations, Aurora was with us for 9 years, 8 months, and 48 days.

She was a good fish and will be missed.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Celebration cakes

This morning was a time of celebration in the Craswell home. At the beginning of the school year, my youngest daughter signed up to play violin in the school orchestra. Rehearsals are before school, twice a week. Shortly after school started, however, she discovered the harp and fell in love. Since then, her interest in the violin has waned and getting up extra-early on Tuesday and Thursday morning became a major chore (for all of us.)

She's stuck with her commitment though and today marks the last day of regular orchestra classes. In celebration, I made her favorite breakfast.