Musings about things that interest a "Geezer Gadget Geek" who also happens to enjoy some of the finer things in life that liberty in a free country makes possible.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Nerd Test

I recently took a test to see what kind of Nerd I was, and you can see the results (left). I think I'll need to put a pair of sunglasses in my pocket protector!

If you want to see what kind of Nerd you are, you can take the test by clicking THIS LINK. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Life is Good!

Well, I met my shortened deadline and have a little bit of time to breath again, so I visited my son and grandson yesterday - while both of their mothers were working. (My son and I are both night-owls: working while everyone else sleeps.) It's good to take a break from work and experience the more important things in life -- so long as the work does not suffer in quality of course. After all, growing boys and girls need to eat, and they don't eat unless we work. (Pictured here is my grandson Jacob "riding" on top of my son Michael - it's one of my favorite pictures, by the way.)

But in keeping to the main theme of my blog, I have recently used my T-Mobile G1 phone to make several phone calls and I am honestly amazed at the quality of the calls. It really is a cell-phone FIRST and then after that the best gosh-darned hand-held Linux computer in the world!

As I turn my attention to other near-future, work-related events (I never thought retirement would have so much work involved in it!) I've been writing a series of ARM assembler routines, collectively operating as a resident daemon in Android, that assist me in exploring the metrics of the system. They are written in ARM assembler so as to run as quickly as possible, for when you are writing code whose whole purpose is to gather performance metrics, you are actually going to degrade performance a bit while doing the gathering. This code MUST be as fast as possible in order to minimize that effect.

There is an old saying that by the simple act of observing something, you are also changing it too. In the world of subatomic particles, this effect is far more pronounced than it is in say, observing the behavior of a pride of lions, but the effect is there nonetheless.

So since I have no desire to be bombarded by stray DNA-altering particles or be looked upon as "potential prey" either, I feel quite comfortable in adding a little bit of performance-degrading code to my Android phone in order to see just what this thing is capable of. And so far as I can tell, this machine is FAST! (It has to be since Java, a notoriously slow but securely implemented language, is the primary development language for applications that run on it.)

Another noteworthy thing to post about is that I just received my 2600 mAh battery for the G1 and it's charging right now! I will spend most of the day (after charging) trying to discharge it as I reorganize the icons on my Android's "Home" page and in the folders that reside there. While doing that, I'll have all of the radios turned on (Bluetooth, Wifi, GPS, Cell) as well as auto-sync running, and will be listening to some Mozart and Andrew Lloyd Webber (along with a little Heart or Kenny Chesney too) and see how long it takes to drain this monster battery! Stay tuned for the results in a subsequent blog post.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I can make calls!!!

February is here and my editor called to tell me that the time I have to write my next article has been shortened - BY ALMOST A MONTH!!! Ouch!

Oh well, I can do it -- I know I can!

On the T-Mobile Android front, I now have a SIM card and a one month usage contract in order to test out the G1 and see what I can see. (...or is that hear what I can hear?)

Here is what I think so far - I was very pleasantly surprised that T-Mobile has a reasonably strong signal in my home territory - 4 bars! I found it surprising because their "coverage map" shows me that I can expect poor coverage. Perhaps the transceiver or antenna system in the G1 is an exceptionally good one? Who knows? All I care about is that it works, and it works quite good!

As a cell-phone alone, the G1 is excellent! My Palm Treo 755P and Verizon doesn't work as well here and that came as a big surprise to me. I thought until now that Verizon was the best I could do and now know that this is wrong. I plan on ending my way-too-expensive Verizon contract very soon now that I know that the G1 and T-Mobile is better - at least here in that huge population center known as Hillsboro, Missouri. (Population a whopping 1,625 people at last count.)

I've also purchased an 8 GB microSD card for the G1 and have already installed a whole hoard of Linux software, development tools, music, Android documentation, and Android applications on it. (I just don't feel like I'm using Linux without bash, strace, gdb, vi, etc. so I had to load these up first!)

The Android applications are not as mature as those that run on the Palm Treo, but since it is an open platform, it's only a matter of time until they catch up and pass it. (I still like the Treo keyboard A LOT better than the G1's slideout keyboard, but the other G1 hardware "goodies" are great - accelerometer, GPS, Wifi, etc.)

About Me

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Hillsboro, Missouri, United States

I am a netizen of the world. I enjoy fresh air, fine wines, rural scenery, classical music, eBooks, and interacting with the other netizens of the world.

I look forward every day to waking up, writing code, and learning new things.