Monday, April 25, 2011


Although I'm not one to jump off a cliff just because everyone else is doing it, I do recognize when something moves from a fad to being useful. Like the telephone and television, I believe the internet has moved into the realm of utilitarian for many.

It is a form of communication, from providing information (or misinformation) on a particular subject to staying in touch with friends, family, and even strangers. In our capitalistic society, advertiser's encroachment upon pages shows that even they recognize it's significance.

Yet it is still misunderstood and misused by many.

For some reason, the insulation from direct interaction seems to make the rude and mindless even more so. They even hide their inability to spell behind the guise of the internet "coolness" for saving time through abbreviations. They are too stupid to use the spell checker most browsers have or spell so poorly even it can't figure out what they are trying to say. Of course, part of the "coolness" is never admitting you don't know what their abbreviations (or misspellings) mean.

There is also the mindless nature of the masses. Re-posting something because someone told you to. Never going against the grain for fear of no longer being "Liked" or "Friended". Being the same old sheep in a virtual world as they are in real life.

Many advertisers don't get it either. If they do provide feedback, it is usually lost in translation (in whatever country it is actually processed) and never gets a proper review. There are those that maintain so many different sites or pages for a group that you don't know which one to use (even the creators don't keep them up-to-date!). You are inundated with the same message from multiple pages, mindless repetition, or old information to the point that you finally block it out or stop following it altogether.

The worst part to me is from friends and family. It seems a nice way to stay in touch but instead of communicating important information, I get to hear when people are going to bed. If it's for an unusual reason, that's fine but if that's all you have to say to folks, it sounds a bit needy. Or if all you can do is complain about your job or your partner or the world, I often just block those folks (something not as easily done in person!).

I posted this mainly because I found many events going by without any form of notification even after I suggested it to the organizations (yes, more than one) as well as many with old information automatically generated. It seems so many people want the title an organization gives them but really don't do the first thing to attempt to promote them properly.

I'd love to walk up to some executive at HP and shake some sense into them but they are well insulated from the public. From my experiences with those I can reach at the top, many just don't care. There are still some that do and for those few, I will keep the lines open and continue to share my views.

Oh, and HP, when I compliment you on having many laptops with keyboards and mouse pads centered on the laptop, one of the worst replies you could give was the one you gave me: "Regrettably, we do not have a PC with mouse pad or touchpad at the center.". So very very sad...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Against all odds

I consider myself a realist. Since this is based on MY personal experiences in life, it leads me to be a pessimist and often cynical. But I do observe others and try to emulate some of what I see and like as long as I don't find myself straying into what seems to me to be a fantasy land of perfection. To me, it seems dishonest though I see the benefits in positive reinforcement.

Which brings me to todays topic. Hope.

I have been exposed in many ways to the negative ways of others. Hospice for instance, is focused on death and preparation for it. Many involved in the field can't even understand a terminal patient not obsessing over preparations for death but instead continuing to cling to hope.

Doctors and medical commercials seem to often be going the same direction. They focus on your ills and tell you all the dangers you are in or heading to instead of focusing on the positive aspects of a healthy lifestyle.

To me, from my own experience, there is always hope. I try my best to be positive when others need it. ESPECIALLY when they ask for it. In those instances, I try to lay aside my normal tendency to preach and just support someone with positive words. Even to the point of roaming into that fantasy land of dishonesty for I have occasionally returned with someone in hand.

I don't know the reason nor do I need to. All I do know is that when needed, against all odds, I too can be positive and help to set someone else upon a rare path with just a kind smile and a little bit of hope.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Laptop Wish List

Since my 10+ year old Toshiba laptop gasped it's last breath after a trip to New Orleans last year, I've been saving and searching for my next laptop. Along the way, I've begun to use user's online reviews on sites like and to get an idea of how good a model is. I also make note of which ones are sold refurbished. It seems to me this means there are a lot of returns on that model (for whatever reason!).

I found an interesting thing occur on Two Toshiba models that had many bad user reviews came and went quickly on their site and so did the bad reviews. When a model is no longer sold, it's bad press is no longer seen!

Friends had warned of HP models freezing so badly you had to remove the battery pack for 30 minutes before it would start up but since they seem to offer the most models with a keyboard and mouse pad centered on the laptop (instead of shifted to the left), I am still considering this brand.

Sony desktops couldn't handle standard replacement parts because they had their own specialty upgrades which standard replacement parts did not fit. The recovery software was so rigid that upgrading to a higher capacity hard drive was almost impossible. Graphics cards had so many compatibility issues I gave up playing video games on pc's and just got a video game system.

As I spoke with others, I found complaints for most brands. To the point that I am still searching for a laptop 6 months later. Anyone notice the Intel I7 models get pulled recently? Kinda disheartening when even the CPU's are having problems!

It seems that the manufacturers develop their models in a vacuum, with no user feedback/suggestion button to be found. You can often send email to some generic address but it seems an idea/suggestion/wish list button would be a great way to get some free ideas from the folks most likely to know what they want - THE USER???

So here is my Wish List for a laptop:

1) Keyboard & mousepad centered

Alleviates my over-extension in my right-shoulder from the addition of a numeric keypad that is rarely used. Just because we have wider HD screens now does not mean you have to have more keys!

2) Curved keys

My fingers are curved, not flat. What's up with these flat keys?

2) Back-lit keyboards

I suggested this to Toshiba many years ago. It is just now catching on. Even touch-typists usually don't know where the special keys are on a keyboard. And being able to change the backlit color would be nice too!

3) Touch screens

Seems way overdue as a laptop feature. They also need to work as well as they do on i-Stuff.

4) Recovery discs

You do realize this is not included on most laptops nowadays?

5) No bloatware killing performance

Don't you hate getting a brand new processor with no noticeable improvement in performance because of all the proprietary crap pre-loaded on the system? Give this as an installation option instead. We're not all THAT PC illiterate!

I am sure I could go on for quite sometime but I'll leave room for others to comment. I doubt anyone with any influence will see this but I can hope (and as usual, I feel better having Ranted). For now, I am limping along on my old Pentium 4 and thinking I'll just go for something cheaper and less than ideal for now. Blu-ray, 3D, and hand-motion control will just have to wait for my next 10 year upgrade...