Goodbye Blackberry

Since November, 2008, I have been a Blackberry user. Started off, sadly, with the Storm. After going through 5 of them, Verizon Wireless hooked a brutha up with an Upgrade to the Tour. And, for almost the last year it has been a pretty ok device.

Until the 5.0 upgrade came out this morning. Continue reading →

It’s just a computer

Now that I think about it, this should have gone up yesterday. But, as I was otherwise busy, I didn’t get the chance.

Of late, I’ve been getting some really amazing support calls. By amazing I mean crazy. By crazy I mean the kind of things that I shouldn’t be getting calls for. Turning up the volume on computer speakers. Not able to access a website via favorite because that page was removed. And not able to use a service, even though the app was downloaded, because (I’m guessing) an account was not created.

Just real quick gang. It’s just a computer. It is not some magical device that only the annointed few can work on. It’s not like I have some kind of secret super powers enabling me to perform work as a computer technician. Really.

This was always the biggest stumbling block when I was training on POS systems. At least 75% of all of my trainees would totally freak out about having to use a computerized terminal because of the fact that was a computer. My fix was to drill into their brains the fact that it was not a computer but a new cash register with a fancy screen. Once they figured out that it was just a tool that they have already been using for years training was a snap.

All I am trying to say is that there is no need to be afraid of your computer. Think of it like a smaller version of your television with a stereo attached. I have never met a single person that doesn’t spend hours fiddling with the remote controls or panel controls on any of the devices that are found in a typical home A/V setup, so why do you freak out when it comes to the computer.

Take a minute. Read the words on the screen. Don’t be afraid to fiddle. Trust me, you’ll be fine.

I’ve been hearing all weekend about crazy support calls and requests. I would almost bet that some of you would have a few to share, right? We can make the beginning of a great computer FAQ right here, right now. Just leave a comment below.

The end of my year

Dearest Internet,

You are reading these words from a website called These are the first words you have read from said site in about 18 days.

I know, right?

It’s the MINI stuff gang. It’s also the end of my “year” that starts at the end of A MINI Vacation in Vegas and ends with the beginning of the next AMVIV. Most folks would call that vacation. For our purposes here, we can use that word too.

In fairness, I’ve been busy with MINI Cooper stuff, but most of you already know that since you follow along at those places. For those of you that don’t know, I’m kinda famous in the land of the MINI Cooper and have been covering dealer grand openings, helping to plan a rally going from one end of the United States to the other and prep for, what we hope will be, a very cool party next Saturday night at Alliante Station in North Las Vegas.

I’m really looking forward to my vacation. I get to hang out with some of the coolest people that were ever invented and almost all of them drive some wicked cool cars. I will have too many adult beverages and say something that could be construed as inappropriate. I will get sunburned because I’m too macho stupid to wear sunscreen. I will not get enough sleep. I will make people laugh, in person. I will shoot video, most of which will be shaky. Hell, if things go well, I might even talk to a hooker.

Upon my return I will set forth to clear the 6 or so posts that are in the queue right now. It’s some good stuff and as soon as my head get re-attached after I perform above said activities, I will be able to turn them into literary masterpieces for all to enjoy.

I just can’t do that right now. Hell, I’m having a hard time being clever 140 characters at a time.

If you care to follow along, you can do so at any of the regular places (links attached). If you are also going to AMVIV, please come say hi. Also, I’m pretty sure I owe you a beer. Don’t let me forget, k?

Remembering what happens in Vegas, ends up on YouTube,


PS. Nobody is in charge while I’m gone this time. Honor system rules apply. If you take the last one, it’s your job to refill it.

Apple Sues HTC

This just in this morning.

Apple just sued HTC for infringing on 20 patents “related to the iPhone’s user interface, underlying architecture and hardware.


They go on to describe the actual patents in question, including this nugget.

The ‘849 Patent, entitled “Unlocking A Device By Performing Gestures On An Unlock Image,” was duly and legally issued on February 2, 2010 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A copy of the ‘849 Patent is attached hereto as Exhibit C.

For those of you that might not know, one of my specialities is Point of Sale systems. Every system that I have ever used since ’95 has had the ability to ‘unlock a device by performing gestures on an unlock image’, in this case in particular, rendered Windows bitmaps in the form of keypad that the user is required to touch to unlock the terminal.

(That’s me trying to be fancy by saying the login screen on most POS terminals do this, and have for many years).

Apple did not invent touch screen tech, they only brought it to the masses in a form factor that fits in your pocket. While I can appreciate the fact that they need to protect their intellectual property and technological advances, I think for this particular patent they are wrong.

There is also this one.

The ‘949 Patent, entitled “Touch Screen Device, Method, And Graphical User Interface For Determining Commands By Applying Heuristics,” was duly and legally issued on January 20, 2009 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A copy of the ‘949 Patent is attached hereto as Exhibit B.

I’m not sure, but I think the old HSI Profit Series system used to do this, and it was user programmable. Touch here, it does this unless you touch there, which causes a different action. Sure the heuristics weren’t applied automatically, but this is still pretty close.

Finally, for the record; Re: touchscreen technology.

Touchscreens emerged from academic and corporate research labs in the second half of the 1960s. One of the first places where they gained some visibility was in the terminal of a computer-assisted learning terminal that came out in 1972 as part of the PLATO project. They have subsequently become familiar in kiosk systems, such as in retail and tourist settings, on point of sale systems, on ATMs and on PDAs where a stylus is sometimes used to manipulate the GUI and to enter data. The popularity of smart phones, PDAs, portable game consoles and many types of information appliances is driving the demand for, and the acceptance of, touchscreens.

via Wikipedia.

Like I said before, Apple did not invent touch screen technology. It’s been around since almost forever. I wish them luck with HTC, but think they might have trouble with these 2 patents.