The Android Army

android-logoBy: Billy BeerSlugger

People are pumped for the release of Google’s Android Operating System for mobile phones.  It’s inevitable that the number of phones supporting the OS will multiply a couple of times in the next couple of years.  There’s a lot of reasons why I believe Android will soon dominate the smart phone realm and most of my opinion is based on empirical evidence.

The main reason Android will soon outnumber the precious IPhone is it’s open source operating system.  I am a huge supporter of Open Source software as are millions of other people on the Interweb.  Apple’s IPhone platform is closed.

It makes me think back to the 80’s when Apple dominated PC sales only then to be supplanted by IBM’s PC which was an open platform.  You see on IBM’s PC you could run pretty much whatever OS you wanted, Windows, DOS, Unix etc, and by extension all of the applications that were available to those Operating Systems. On a Mac you could only run their proprietary Operating System and thus were limited to the applications developed by Apple and the companies they licensed.

It’s not exactly the same situation here with Android vs. iPhone but it is still a case of Open Source vs. Closed. In effect it is kind of the reverse of the 80’s situation for Apple where in the 80’s it was multiple hardware manufacturers making computers which were open ended and enabling Microsoft Windows to crush the OS competition. Now it is multiple hardware manufacturers making  computers (phones) which will run an Open Source Operating System.

Even with the millions of iPhone users with their phones attached to their hands at all times playing Rock Band or drinking a fake pint of Carling from their phone at a bar, I’m not sure the reputation and brand loyalty to Apple can beat (sales-wise) Google’s first foray into Operating Systems.

Though all of this doesn’t mean that the iPhone will just fade away in the near future it certainly does not bode well for it given Android addresses some of iPhone’s weaknesses.

1) Lack of background-processing capability: The iPhone can’t run multiple 3rd party apps at the same time which could be a draw for the multi-tasking individual or business-person.

2) Carrier Exclusivity in the United States: The iPhone is only available on AT&T which could push some people to grab an Android if they are locked into another carrier. Verizon is the largest mobile network and does not carry the iPhone due to the deal between Apple and AT&T.

3) The App Store: What is viewed by many as one of the iPhone’s greatest strengths is something that in my mind is holding it back.  Yes anyone can make an iPhone app and there’s almost 100,000 of them right now. However, an iPhone app must be developed on a Mac leaving Windows and Linux developers to either buy a Mac or not develop iPhone App’s.  A slight gain in Mac sales for a huge sacrifice in the developer community.  The approval process has been loudly criticized as vague when an App is declined and the guidelines for developing are just as opaque.

Not only is the Android OS invading smart phones, you will see it on e-book readers such as Barnes and Noble’s “Nook” and Netbooks (cheap laptops used for internet access, emailing etc.).  With Android popping up in so many places and with phones and other devices having more of the capabilities of our laptops, seemingly merging, Google’s OS could take a bite out of Microsoft’s market share without even challenging for dominance on the PC.  If Google dominates smart phones and smart phones continue on a path of greater functionality and computing power, you may see the first true OS war between Google and Microsoft.

Google still has to get by Apple, Research In Motion, Palm, Symbian and Microsoft though.  The Android OS still has some catch up to do to the iPhone, mainly because of the differences in hardware it will be installed on but I wouldn’t bet against Google, they have the money to throw at it and innovation is the culture in Mountain, View California.

Not that there will be a clear cut winner in the smart phone market any time soon considering iPhone is the current leader at 25%.  We’ll just have to wait and see what the future holds.

Chelsea Handler in Playboy

By: Billy BeerSlugger

I like Chelsea Handler.  I’ll sometimes catch the Soup and her Show with side show act Chuey before I go to bed.  Even though it’s not exactly improv as you can tell the topics and jokes for the topics are preconceived, she seems to have a realness about her. I guess as real as you can get when you have your own show about celebrity gossip.

Anyway, I’m a fan of naked chicks and there’s something about seeing a Hollywood chick naked that is better than just going on the internet and finding random naked chicks that aren’t famous for just taking their clothes off.  Maybe it’s because they’re in movies or TV shows or whatever but I like to get to know my naked celebrities a little bit before I put them in the spank bank.

Anywhoodle, I’m sure they had to makeup and photoshop Chelsea a lot because shes been going to the dark side over the last couple of years. I can see her being a Joan Rivers type in 15 years or so.


Windows 7, Bill Gates Out-Foxes Fox

windows_7_leakBy: Billy BeerSlugger

I’m a PC. Since 1992 and for the foreseeable future I’m sticking with Microsoft through thick and thin.  I wasn’t happy with Vista and didn’t particularly care for Windows XP after Windows 2000. Vista for the most part was riddled with problems and even though the majority of them were fixed in successive Service Packs, the negative press and word of mouth killed it’s ability to be a successful operating system in the mainstream consciousness.  Windows XP was shinier and had a updated graphical interface as opposed to Windows 2000 but also came at the expense of lag. Loading Windows Explorer was considerably slower as well as a host of other things I didn’t find satisfying on a supposed new operating system.

While Windows 7 is essentially a “refined” progression of Vista, it has given my laptop life it did not have in the Vista era.  “Aero” effects that I could run while decreasing my system stability in Vista seem to be of no consequence in 7.  Searching for a file takes seconds not minutes and overall my laptop is more responsive and “feels” better with faster page load times using the interweb and downloading files.  If you’re on a computer as much as i am, multitasking resource consuming applications this is a very good thing!

Overall, I haven’t been this excited about an operating system since Windows 95. It’s really that much of a step in the right direction though not without it’s flaws (as any OS has).  Maybe I’m a little biased given my history of working on PC’s since birth essentially, working on DOS then Windows 3.1 and so on. Or maybe it is my trip to the Microsoft’s campus in 1997 while my father’s company was subcontracted to help fix their help desk and I was able to experience a T1 line well before anyone except large companies had access to anything but dial up internet.  Either way, if you’re running XP or Vista you will be more than pleased if you upgrade given you have the recommended hardware.

But now to the reason why I’m writing this post.  Microsoft has pulled out of an advertising campaign that would have consumed all of the commercials and Windows 7 being worked into the plot of an episode of The Family Guy much like Bud Lite Golden Wheat bought all the commercials on a recent episode of Saturday Night Live.  Microsoft pulled out of the deal citing the episode’s “content was not a fit with the Windows brand.” .   Well I had been following this “breaking news” since it’s announcement and subsequently found it funny that Microsoft would pull out of the on the premises that The Family Guy‘s content was not a fit.  Have they seen an episode of that show?

However, then I thought about it.  Microsoft was in a win-win situation the whole time. Best case they get all the advertising on a show that appeals to the coveted 18 to 40+ market that they want to get the word out to and spend a lot of money doing it.  Second best case scenario, they leak the information on the web about Microsoft buying the entire advertising budget for an episode of Family Guy, wait for the eventual backlash from Microsoft haters and determine whether or not this is a great idea.  Apparently they decided to bail on actually buying the advertising time and but still take the internet buzz about the Microsoft/Family Guy union.  Another in a long line of shrewd Microsoft moves.

Check out the docudrama The Pirates of Silicon Valley for more Apple/Microsoft Steve Jobs/Bill Gates info in it’s infancy up to about 1999. Great stuff if you’re a geek like me.


By: Billy BeerSlugger

After reading my colleague Robby Ripchord’s article today I thought I would touch on SEPTA as well.  SEPTA Transportation Workers Union 324 voted unanimously to authorize a strike.  So now the riders of busses, trolleys and subways in Philadelphia are now subject to service interruptions should the Union decide to send it’s 5,000 plus workers to the picket line.

Coincidentally, (obviously not coincidental)  this strike threat is at the exact time that the World Series would be going on.  When tens of thousands of drunken people will come from all parts of the city and surrounding area to descend upon the South Philadelphia Sports Complexes.  Afterward these people will want a ride home.  If they can’t get home I can’t even imagine the carnage this city will endure as people flip over cars, light fires, climb slicked up lightpolls and generally destroy everything in sight.  One thing you don’t want to give a drunken Philadelphia sports fan, win or lose, is a reason to get completely angry and break shit.  And that’s if people can even get to the game. If people can;t get to the game there may be even more hell to pay.

SEPTA’s union does not want to increase their health care contributions from 1 to 4% and also are balking about a “wage freeze”. Which is a better term than “massive layoff”.  However, I doubt the TWU  will get much sympathy from the Philadelphia public on this when everyone else, including city employees are facing the same thing.

The union has been working without a contract since March which definitely gets good faith points when the negotiating begins.  The bad thing is that threatening a strike during a World Series is in effect extortion, definite buku negative good faith points.  As if you couldn’t decide to strike before or after the Phils are in the Series.  This is what they call a little bit of leverage.

I guess the good thing is that the regional rail is on a separate union(s) so that obviously still operates and people can get in and out of the city that way to partake in the Phillies Fever and also work. However, there is no regional rail stop in South Philly and unless you’re driving, taking a cab or have a bike, you’re hoofing it from City Hall to 1 Citizens Bank Way.

SEPTA and it’s Union do not see eye to eye on things and that’s fine, but strike after the Phils win the series or there may not be transit lines left to drive subways through if the drunken masses can’t get to or out of South Philly.  I’ll personally start whacking away at the Girard Ave exit on the Market-Fankford line.  They should have used some of that 1.31 million from the economic stimulus to redo that piece of shit anyway.  Consider it free labor.

Overall, while hundreds of thousands of people are out of work, TWU 234 says lets strike for better benefits and wages. Seems logical to me. Tell you what, lets have them strike and then fill most of their mindless jobs like the Subway Cashiers with people who do actually want to work.  I mean besides the people who actually fix busses, trolleys, trains and other technical things how hard could the rest of the jobs really fucking be?  Drive a bus, subway train or trolley? I mean as long as you don’t hit anyone or anything and make pickups at all the stops along the route then you’re golden baby.

Good article here.

SEPTA Cashiers

SEPTA TrainBy: Robby Ripchord

We here at apologize for the lack of posts lately.  You see the Phillies are in the midst of a World Series defense and we have been drinking heavily, waking up late and generally calling out of work for no good reason.

That being said, I was out last Wednesday for the Phillies NLCS clincher against the Dodgers. Eventually a group of friends and I made our way to Center City to celebrate with the masses, bag o’ beers in tow. That’s not what this article is about though.

As I awoke in a strange place, multi-colored polka-dot sheets, a room filled with women’s clothing, I realized i was not at my house. A quick survey of the situation placed me in Manayunk. Great, I don’t live in Manayunk and i obviously did not drive there. So here I am forced to take two different forms of SEPTA transportation back to my domicile.

I have a over-priced crappy omelet at the Manayunk Diner which is situated close to the train station and make my way up the rotting concrete and steel stairs.  Before I left I had picked up the latest copy of Philadelphia Weekly and read a great article about SEPTA attendants while I sprawled out like a homeless man on the train station bench.

I always wondered what the SEPTA cashiers in the Subways actually did since, as the article points out and I realized from personal experience, that:

  1. They cannot give change.
  2. Most do not sell tokens, at least not all day.

Effectively their job is to take two dollars per rider and press a button.  Occasionally they are supposed to help elderly and handicapped individuals get onto platforms and trains.

What I didn’t know is that these same people I see napping inside their booth’s or just plain not there at all are paid $55,000 a year on average.  All of the 346 full time cashiers on the Broad Street and Market-Frankford Lines are from the medically disqualified pool.  So really if you get hurt/sick on or off the job then you get a cushy job collecting dollar bills and pressing a button for $55,000 a year.

Which would be fine with me except that much of the SEPTA budget is funded by Federal, State and local subsidy’s. So taxpayers are mostly paying for these people to sit on their brains all day.  Further, every year or two SEPTA threatens to strike wanting better pay and better benefits.  Which is exactly the beauty of unionized labor and government jobs, there’s always a few people that get to sit around and do absolutely nothing to collect a sizable paycheck, have little to no work stress besides showing up and even that is debatable.

Sometimes I’ll be on the Subway and there won’t even be a person in the booth to take my $2. Further they don’t have token machines at every stop.  So what is a person to do when a train is coming? Not only is SEPTA losing money by overpaying a person who effectively does the job of George Jetson but it’s also losing money from people who want to pay their fare but have to hop over the turnstile instead.

God forbid we upgrade our outdated token system with a card system like New York or Washington D.C.! Technology which has been employed in these cities since at least 1995. But that’s neither here nor there.  Your suggestions and good ideas will be promptly ignored by the SEPTA officials that are taking your tax money to run their Transit Authority.

PS: Thanks to the nice lady who gave me a quarter to take the Market Frankford line home Thursday.  I had exact change for two tokens ($2.90) and put a dollar bill and my change into the token machine only to find out that nickels and dimes were not accepted. Then i tried to get my money back and it only gave me the change and not the dollar.  So I was left ten cents short of the requisite for a single trip and 25 cents short of the requisite $2.90 for two tokens.  Good people are hard to come by in a Subway and salutes you anonymous subway lady.  Had it not been for you I would have had to walk my hungover ass home.

Man Loses Arm Golfing

By: Billy BeerSlugger

In a story reminiscent of the Happy Gilmore character Chubbs,  a man has lost his arm after being bit by an Alligator while looking for a ball he hit into a water hazard.

The Alligator was promptly killed because, well I guess he bit off a guys arm but in the defense of the Alligator, I’m sure it was pretty hungry. Even though the Alligator lived on the premises of the Upscale Golf Course he never got invited to the Club House for lunch.  Small birds while tasty are nothing more than a snack to a 10 ft Alligator.

Kind of brings to mind the ever retracting wilderness as a result of man’s encroachment on it.  Alligators migrate to Golf Courses and are then either killed for misbehaving or actually taken away to a preserve.

Overall, it was a bad day for both the Alligator and the man who shanked a ball into the drink.  And my friends wonder why I don’t play golf.

Jon and Kate Overload

jon-and-kate-plus-8By: Billy BeerSlugger

Man you really can’t get away from these people.  You got Kate on TV all day and you have Jon banging tons of chicks.  I can’t go a day without seeing a Jon and Kate update on my newsfeeds and I can’t figure out why.  I don’t know why the media and the general population are so enamored with this couple and their kids, I don’t get it.  And they are getting divorced and the kids are on TV and Jon thinks this and Kate says that.

I just don’t get it. I don’t watch the show but besides having 8 kids what qualifies this broken up couple as national news? Every news outlet is waiting on the next big Jon and Kate headline and frankly I really don’t give a shit. They have a TV show where I guess the kids run around, ok big fucking deal. Flava Flav had a TV show too but he’s not splashed up on my news sites or doing interviews on Good Morning America.

What does it solve either the fact that you’re airing all this family laundry on interviews?  Is it to extend the 15 minutes of fame? Is it to make the show more appealing? I just don’t get it. Then again I don’t get a lot of things.

I’m just hoping these people go away because there’s way more important shit to be focusing on than the world of Jon and Kate.  The kids really shouldn’t be subjected to a being on reality show either but that’s just my opinion.  Which of the kids is the first one to grow up and do something completely outrageous or get hooked on drugs?  At least they have an excuse when they do it… fucked up childhood with cameras around all the time.

It’s also interesting to note that Kate seemed to be the one who took the brunt of the media’s criticism shortly after they announced the divorce but now Jon is the one who is getting roughed up.  Not much has changed I’m sure in terms of Jon and Kate but the media decided to take a particularly different tone after a couple of weeks.

Anyway, I think the show just got canceled which is great for America.  These people can fall back into whatever semblance of normal like after the show stops taping and we the people won’t have to be bombarded by it on TV and the Internet.  Of course we’ll probably see another incarnation of participants in this show on another show but hopefully it will take some time for Hollywood to get that together.  I would be fine with a couple of guest spots on Hollywood Squares and some low key news reports about how the kids are adjusting just fine to life not in front of a camera crew. That’s not going to happen though.

Glenn Beck is an Asshole

I just farted.
Pull My Finger America.

By: Billy BeerSlugger

Just because I rip into left wing ego case Keith Olbermann doesn’t mean I can’t flip the script and call it like i see it on a so-called conservative talk show host.  Glenn Beck of Fox News is also part of the partisan, Jerry Springeresque impasse we seem to be stuck at in terms of the sensationalism, manufactured outrage and just plain bullshit that has clogged up the airwaves of late.

I’m not sure where Glenn Beck came from or why he’s a credible but whomever is signing his paychecks should take a good hard look in the mirror. I have been flipping through the channels lately and found him to be most annoying, abrasive and not really making much sense.  Using props of various kinds to prove his points, spouting about historical/political facts that do and do not have relevance to the situations of today. I think he’s cried on air 4 or 5 times so far and while that may have been to garner more attention and make himself seemingly more of a patriot because he cares for his country it’s been as believable as the Terrel Owens “That’s My Quarterback” interview.

I remember the first time I saw him on TV he was interviewing a lady and he was talking about how much he hates compact fluorescent light bulbs because he didn’t like how they made him look in the mirror.  He brought up a great point that at the time NBC was running a “Green” campaign and doing Public Service Announcement’s for CFL’s and cutting back on energy consumption while NBC’s parent company General Electric makes those lightbulbs. However, marginalizing energy consumption on the part of how you look in the mirror is the exact opposite of how American’s should be thinking.

This week I saw him stand by a red phone begging the White House to call him, erratically prancing around and acting like a school kid who just got multiple wedgies (queue crying).  I don’t get it, every once in a couple months he comes up with a somewhat credible news story or uncovers some far-left tie to a White House appointed position and plays off of that for another 3 months while giving everyone his whacked ass view of his “America”  during the mean time.

While I genuinely believe that Glenn Beck is trying to do good for his country in his head, the way he is going about doing it is not only misguided and ineffective but also extremely dangerous in it’s subjective and one-sided nature.  Yes there are problems in America, there have always been problems in America and there will always be problems in America.  We don’t live in a Utopia and you cannot please everyone all the time. I can appreciate some of his views on Healthcare, government takeover of the Auto industry and have grown weary of bigger and bigger government as it acquires more and more of America.  Notwithstanding, just because you are talking louder and throwing a temper tantrum doesn’t make you right and actually serves to diminish the message you are trying to send.

It’s hilarious that the people that say the most outrageous things are given the bigger pulpits to shout from when real journalists are relegated to page 18 of the newspaper and don’t have a TV show because the objective truth isn’t good for ratings.  It’s partly the fault of the American public for consuming this crap but more so the fault of the media conglomerates and advertisers who effectively put these wind bags on the air. Yes it’s a capitalistic society and I understand making sensible news profitable is hard if not impossible but there has to be another way right?