Posts tagged idea

What sucks Golf Balls through a Garden Hose?

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There’s a few things boggling my mind from time to time. For one I am a regular visitor of both thedailyshow.com and colbertnation.com to watch their latest and greatest episodes which have been broadcasted on Comedy Central the day before. As a European Citizen I am not fortunate enough to be able to watch these shows live. On the other hand I read quite a lot of blogs regularly that attract my interest and among those are a few Apple/Mac related ones that show me what I should think about the company that assembled my beloved MacBook.

The 2 topics I want to go into in this post both apply to its title at least to some degree in my eyes. As someone who comes from a country where health care for everybody isn’t just a good idea but an applied concept I cannot possibly wrap my head around the issues this great nation called the United States of America is facing right now just to get a vague idea of what the future of 50 Million (!) Americans without Health Care is going to look like, let alone figuring out a real concept. And as someone who studies the matter this thing called iPhone wants to be a part of I want to provide my personal opinion on what has been happening around this product both since its release and recently.

Health Care:

I do have to say that my knowledge about the subject is solely based on many many Daily Show Episodes and a short documentary I’ve stumbled over on TV lately. I understand however that as much as this Comedy Central footage is supposed to be satire and entertainment it never fails to catch the essential and almost always disturbing truth behind its topics.

In the documentary I mentioned there was a woman who needed a liver transplant because of cancer but she just couldn’t afford one plus she was a single mother of three. Very touching story if someone from an equally structured society were to watch that. For me it was just enraging. Another person in this documentary was some cowboy-ish millionaire who was both a supporter of the Republican party and the US Health Care System, stating that it did not have any flaws at all and that it was necessary for at least some doctors to say “Hell yea, I want to get paid less than I’m worth just so I can help the poor free of charge by limiting my quality of service to the absolute minimum”. Of course he did not say that but I just did. Lots of people who struggle with health problems don’t have any option but to stand in line for free low-quality medical care in this country and to think that this can live up to any standard a rich nation like this one should provide their people is just bollocks.

The 2 “Points of Interest” I spin my thoughts around here are the Health Insurance Companies and the US Military Expenses.

If you want to get health insurance in the US it’s not much different from getting insurance for your car. You have to be perfectly healthy because the insurance has every right to turn you down if they think you won’t make them enough profit, meaning if you look like you could get sick anytime soon you won’t be insured. And if you get sick and they see any bit of proof that you could’ve been developing this medical condition before you got the insurance it’ll be called a “preexisting condition” and they won’t pay for you. Of course this doesn’t end your insurance. You’re still allowed to pay them money for not doing anything if you want to.

What I’m pretty sure had never been mentioned on any TV Station in all of the US though is how the Government’s Military Expenses could be redistributed so much better in this case. If you’re in the US you don’t talk shit about the wars they are fighting somewhere else. Just like you’re better off staying at home if you’re in Iran right now. I don’t remember the figures but those wars cost the US quite a bit of money every single day and to finish my rant about this topic I have to ask, is whining about how they have such huge money problems both concerning economy and health care an acceptable concept for the American people while they are fighting expensive questionable wars elsewhere?

iPhone:

As someone who specializes on Mobile Computing I have more than one reason to be against a purchase of this product. When the iPhone came it I have to admit I was all hyped up as well. I even pre-ordered the first generation iPod Touch when it got announced. I never regret that purchase but for a mobile phone there’s just too many flaws in its business plan.

The iPhone is the manifestation of what makes Apple’s fondness of Digital Rights Management (DRM) both work well and annoying at the same time. With products like the Palm Pre and various Android Devices coming out it raises the question whether it really is better to tell your users distinctively both what they are allowed and what they are not allowed to do. Apple sure does that and it sets boundaries that are often uncertain as to whether something you want to do can be done or not. For example a Software Developer who wants to get his piece of the App Store Cake can write a good piece of code hoping for an income from it but he will never know whether his App will make it into the App Store unless he spends the time on bringing out a working version of it and hope for the best as he submits it to Apple. If they turn it down, he might have wasted his time.

The most popular recent denial of an App was of course the official Google Talk iPhone App which was refused like many others because it provides functionality already inside the iPhone. And although these rejections are most probably rather thanks to Apples Partnership with AT&T than Apple itself it still does not make a bit of sense to me. Apple is a newbie in this market and they won’t have the courage of admitting that. The first generation iPhone was a technologic disaster by any measure and they used lame excuses like “battery life issues” for not using the 3G standard and going for the slower EDGE. They have quite a few guidelines for developers who want to write software for the App Store just because their phone is too slow to work smoothly with software that doesn’t follow these guidelines.

The iPhone OS which I get the chance of using through my iPod Touch has become a lot better since version 1.0 but it’s not necessarily better than any other mobile OS out there now. It finally got MMS capability, video capturing and the much needed Copy-Paste feature nearly any other Smartphone has.

What upsets me so much is that Apple can do all this seemingly without losing a single buck of stock market worth in the process. They can bring out a crappy phone to begin with but wrap it nicely and any fanboy will stand in line to buy it. They can upgrade it to a less crappy phone which implies admitting that the first one was crap and still more people will buy it. No matter how big they fail under the surface, what defines their success is how they present it on the surface and this is where I would like to advise people to take a look at things from a different angle before buying such a piece of hardware and literally trading it in for their soul and some cash.

There’s so many products out there that are both cheaper to buy and get you a better overall experience. Nokia would be my biggest recommendation for anybody seeking a phone right now. Falling for the advantages of the App Store is easy but the pressure under which others have to live because of those advantages is not worth it in my eyes. Apple needs to see that their current plan for a presence in the cellular market is not what people want. Or at least not what they should want.

Thoughts on Facebook and more…

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So I’ve been thinking about possible contents for another Blog Entry all day without getting any good ideas. Still I went home from school having achieved something I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time. I rearranged the folder structure of my Homepage so I could give it a sort-of Splash Screen Startpage, giving the user the choice to either continue to my Homepage, or hop over to my Blog.

The Result can be seen here: http://desentizised.gotdns.com/

So coming home I didn’t have any specific idea for a blog entry yet but after some surfing around it got to me. Considering how many people I know are on Facebook, plus all their Facebook-Friends and the Facebook-friends of those, you come to ask yourself: How many Users are there on Facebook? I knew this wouldn’t be something to ask Google but rather Ask.com. Didn’t get me the answer immediately, but still I found what I wanted. Which was the Press Release Section on Facebook and before linking the interested ones to it I’d like to give you a brief overview of the Facebook Community:

  • Facebook has more than 175 million active users. OK, so that’s a very high number but I thought that has to be taken into perspective by learning a little more about those 175 million.
  • More than 3 billion minutes are spent on Facebook each day (worldwide). Still not the kind of perspective I wanted since it would take a lot of calculating to get to the amount of minutes an average user spends on Facebook, which would still not tell us anything about the number of users Facebook sees each day.
  • More than 18 million users update their statuses at least once each day. Alright, so that’s the kind of information we need. When I think in millions I always think of population. Austria and New York City for example both have about 8 Million. (strange comparison I know) So roughly NYC and Austria combined update their Facebook Status every single day. Which tells me that 175 million might be a bit generous but on the other hand, who would you expect to write a script that gave you an accurate number over a certain amount of time?
  • More than 850 million photos uploaded to the site each month. So this was when I asked myself where they store all the data which is submitted to them each day. Let’s say an average picture on Facebook is 50KB in size, not much right? 850 million a month makes roughly 28 million photos a day. Therefore, 50KB times 28 million makes 1,400,000,000 KB which would be way more than one Terabyte a day. A DAY. I know Google among others must be way more space-consuming but when you see the actual numbers it just blows you away.

(Any errors among my calculations can of course be critizised in the comment-section below)

I’m sure I could come up with more to talk about but I think this is enough for now.

Here’s the Link to the Press Release Infos of Facebook by the way.

yours truly

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