Despite the recent horror stories surrounding the iPhone -- ranging from hours-long waits in line to spotty service coverage -- I've been fairly happy with it. In all fairness, the reported coverage and call-dropping issues aren't as big of a factor for me, as I probably spend significantly less time talking on the phone than most people do. I'm just not that big of a fan of the telephone in general. I know I sound like some old man who can't bear to give up his carrier pidgeons, but I've always felt self conscious talking on the phone, so I usually try to avoid it whenever I can. Needless to say I'm a big fan of text messaging.
The one thing I will complain about a little bit is the "App Store." I really liked the idea that independent software developers could write their own programs and sell them directly to iPhone users, but I really expected that by now we would have a lot more impressive offerings to make my life a little more convenient and productive. And while there have been some really "neat" programs made available -- like the one that will listen to music and tell you the title and artist, or the Last.fm player which lets you stream music to your iPhone from their online service -- there really haven't been a whole lot of programs made available that aren't just another distraction. Even once you get past the "interesting but not very useful" applications,you're left with a lot of copycat applications that do exactly the same thing. For example, here's what you get when you search for "tip":
That's 24 applications that don't do much more than multiply a number by 20%. Even if you aren't capable of this sort of advanced math on your own, I'm pretty sure that the "Calculator" function that comes with the iPhone has this one covered. And some of these developers think their specialized calculator is worth $1? Or in the case of the "International Tip Calculator," $2. Because moving the decimal over and multiplying by two is completely different in euros than it is in dollars.
I am hopeful that some more innovative programs are on the way, though. Until then, I'm just going to keep playing with this iBeer program. That was totally worth the $2.
If you've been keeping an eye on the iTunes App store for new programs like I have, you've no doubt heard about the latest, and most worthless, app released to date: I Am Rich. I'm sure it was developed as a general programming exercise, with the thought that even if one person buys it just to see what it's all about, it will pay off in spades. In short, this is an application for your iPhone that is priced at $999.99, and it does absolutely nothing. In all fairness, the author fesses up to that very fact in the description of the application."The red icon on your iPhone or iPod touch always reminds you (and others when you show it to them) that you were able to afford this. It's a work of art with no hidden function at all."
Since I myself do want people to think I'm filthy rich -- despite the fact that I'm a notorious cheapskate -- I have cooked up my own free version. Head on over to http://andy.teamsoell.com/iamrich on your iPhone or iPod Touch and pick up your own copy, for the low low price of free.
But act now, this deal won't last long!
If you know me at all, this is not a big shock. Interestingly enough, though, I didn't really start drinking it until about three years ago when I visited my good friend Jazzy Dave out in Portland. Dave introduced me to Stumptown Coffee Roasters and my eyes were opened to the magic that is the french press. Three years later, I'm roasting my own beans and drinking a good 24 ounces every morning.
On a semi-related note, this past Christmas my parents dug up my favorite cup from when I was a kid. I remember drinking milk out of it, seeing the frog inside slowly emerge. Twenty years later, it's just as fun seeing the frog emerge from the delicious dark goodness every morning.
About a month ago, I wrote up a tongue-in-cheek post about nanoblogging, the obvious successor to the recent rise of microblogging sites like Twitter and Plurk. The idea was that if everyone is so excited about short, two sentence updates, maybe we should just go to a system where you update your status in two words even more often. At the time, I meant it as a clever little "look how stupid everyone is" post, but a month later I have to eat a little crow.
I've had a few conversations with some folks whose opinions I respect, and while I still don't really get the whole point of microblogging, I do think there may actually be a legitimate use for a smaller nanoblog-style system. I've kept up with my nanoblog, to an extent, consistently over the past month and have found out a few things about the process.
And so, over the course of this experience, my personal nanoblog has grown into a full-fledged nanoblogging system called Pingnode that is now open for registration. I honestly don't know what sort of "market" there is for a system like this, but if people want to give it a try I'd love to know your experience with it. The system is up and running at http://pingno.de. Just so I can keep things manageable, I have sign-ups tied into an invitation system. If you'd like to give it a try, please use one of the invitation links below; When you sign up, you'll get five invitation codes of your own to pass on to your friends, so be sure to spread the word to anyone that might be interested in this experiment.
If you try a link and it says the invitation has already been used, just come back here and grab one of the other ones. And if you're interested in following my Pingnode, you can check it out at http://andy.pingno.de