Not much to say here, except that if you find this outcome surprising or shocking at all, you haven’t been paying attention. Make the police a militarized occupying force, decide that all brown people are A Criminal and all criminals are Magneto, and you end up with a bunch of dumb necks who want to need the guns seizing the opportunity.

We could be the greatest country in the world, but rednecks.

Third impressions

Last night, I took the Moto X out for the first time since getting the new phone. I was immediately struck by how it’s gone from being the bigger phone to the smaller phone; despite having a physical screen of the same size, the iPhone 6 brings a slightly higher resolution and the Moto X is shorter and ever so slightly narrower (in no small part due to the smaller bezels that go along with foregoing the TouchID button and the fixation on symmetry). With the leather case, the thickness is similar, and remarkably the Moto has the larger battery (and a more ergonomic curve in the hand).

It’s entirely possible that the Moto will have improved battery life under Lollipop. i certainly hope so, as it’s going to be the travel-abroad phone next year. In all other respects, though, the iPhone 6 on AT&T is a clear winner: the coverage is superior and the data throughput faster almost without exception. And the day-to-day battery life is far more acceptable; I can hit it as hard as I normally would at work, without worrying about it, and still have about half the battery left by quitting time even if I haven’t plugged in.

It was the right move. I’m glad I was able to hold out, even if it took for damn near ever to get it.


I suppose I should say something about the elections.  It’s incredibly frustrating, to be honest: Mitch McConnell vows to go scorched earth, fight everything, make Obama a one-term president, and then six years later gets a majority in Congress because people are fed up with the obstruction and check out.  Which is really the secret, because the low turnout is what put the GOP over the top (in addition to the disproportionate vulnerability of Democrats defending seats won int he 2008 Obama victory).  The Democrats have to figure out how to make people turn out in the off years and not cede the field to the aging racists on their Medicare scooters forwarding scare mail about immigrants to everyone in sight.

I can pretty much guarantee you that there will be at least one shutdown attempt and one impeachment attempt in the next two years.  They’ll find some excuse.  Forget everything you hear about the “moderate Republicans” or the “grownups” – there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the GOP and the Tea Party, there never was, and the successful laundering of the Republican label in the wake of 2008 while going even further to the right is one of the amazing mysteries of our time.  Ted Cruz is driving this bus, folks, and he sees the 45th President every time he looks in the mirror.  And don’t underestimate the chance of Clinton Fatigue dragging Hillary down to the point where he – or another of his neb-confederate pals in Amen Corner – finds himself in the Oval Office on January 20, 2017.

Better days are coming.  They can’t live forever.  The only catch is, can we last long enough to ride it out.

Look For The Union Label

It’s happening.  The shuttle drivers at Loop Transportation, the shuttle bus company used by Facebook, have voted to unionize under the auspices of the Teamsters (historically appropriate, actually) and will now bargain collectively.  This is being trumpeted as a watershed moment in Silicon Valley – although most people seem to be regarding it as the invasion of old-school backward-thinking legacy business infecting the land of disruption and innovation.


The union is the natural response to what is blithely called “the 1099 economy.” When everyone below director level is a contractor – especially a completely independent contractor – companies are free from the burden of treating their employees like, well, employees.  You can just “sever your relationship” if you want to get rid of them.  Benefits and health care are their own business, not yours.   The technology industry has managed to create a world where the smartphone-enabled equivalent of picking up guys from the Home Depot parking lot is a preferred business model for the likes of Handy or Taskrabbit or half a dozen “transportation network companies”.

This is exactly what unions formed to prevent.  You can’t just randomly donk off employees for the sake of saving money, or because you don’t want to be responsible for their actions, or say ‘this is the job and you have six hours of unpaid downtime in between, take it or leave it.”  The role of the union is to shift the balance of power so the regular workers have a say.  And in that mythical 1950s Pleasantville that the Republicans constantly talk about wanting us to return to?  Unions represented one out of three American workers.

It’s going to be a useful reality check.  Nothing like a picket line and a giant inflatable rat to make people realize that oops, there are human beings on the other side of the screen, and they’re more than just the $40,000-a-year Morlocks that turn the gears so your cloud-cuckoo-land can carry on.  These are the real human beings in Northern California who were here long before you dropped out of Stanford and they count just as much, because your Ayn Rand paradise here in Galt’s Gulch on Market will go to shit once there’s nobody actually driving the shuttles or catering the burrito bar or cleaning up the gym or restocking the snack harbor. 

And for me, it’s a little bit of the East Coast to cheer me up. The people’s flag is deepest red, motherfuckers.  (Not Cardinal red.  Fuck those guys.)

Second impressions

First things first: switching from the cheap case I bought in advance (which was apparently spec’d out from pre-production info and doesn’t actually fit the buttons right) to the Apple leather case made all the ergonomic difference in the world. Black leather wrapped tight to the phone lends it a premium feel and a lot more comfort in the hand, and it grips well without sticking in the pocket. Approved and worth the money.

Battery life seems to be settling too. It looks good for about 8 hours of real-world use consisting mostly of Twitter, taking and posting pictures, checking mail and reading RSS. No audio playback; this was all screen on and cellular data with no Wi-Fi to speak of, and in a crowded environment. (yes, back at Disneyland again. You got a better torture test for a phone?) And while using an iPad charger is still the fastest, I could throw it on a lipstick charger at dinner and go from under 30 to 94% battery between cocktails and taking the entree plates.

Performance in areas of 4G-non-LTE coverage has, of course, kicked the shit out of EV-DO. I was routinely pulling around 6 Mbps without LTE, which is well over double the theoretical max of Verizon’s non-LTE data speed, which I never reached on the iPhone 5. And good coverage means good battery. Even with the bigger screen, I still outperform the 5. I’m curious how it will go at work.

One other thing I’ve noticed is that I can run voice dictation and get results at least as accurate as something like SwiftKey or Swype. The one finger swishing around the keyboard may not be efficacious, but if you can just tell the phone what to type and get the same or better results, that’s huge. Especially since you now get typing as you talk rather than waiting for it to be piped back for processing. Careful word choice means I can text the wife almost without typographical error purely via Siri. And that ain’t hay. It is in fact a major computing breakthrough, one I started watching for two decades ago as I tried to persuade a Power Mac 6100 to accept the rudimentary voice commands built into System 7.1.2 (in a gravelly Southern accent, natch).

Things I still need to test: battery life on a normal workday. The viability of reading on this rather than a Kindle or AMOLED phone screen. The impact of streaming WatchESPN during basketball season and how badly it kills the power. And once the Moto X (2013) gets Android Lollipop, there’s going to be an all-day utility bake off.

But for now, it looks like this phone (with a small charger in reserve for known full days) might just be ready to go as the One Full Time Device. And not a moment too soon either.

First impressions

Two months. That’s how long it took for the iPhone 6 I ordered through work to show up. Well, better late than never, and in keeping with tradition, this is banged out on the device itself.

It’s too damn big. In every particular, it conveys SIZE like a Texas pickup with horns in the hood. I know intellectually it’s thinner than the Moto X, but it’s definitely taller and I suspect wider, with a top bevel that really doesn’t need to be that size. 

The keyboard is larger, of course, which alleviates a few of the issues with the iPhone 5 running iOS 8. Haven’t had time to see if the autocorrect runs away with it. 

Battery life is impossible to judge on first run: it’s all syncs and downloads and various screwing around. In a couple of days we’ll know more once I’m back to a standard load out. But this bigger screen means more battery used and I’m not persuaded the bigger battery will make the tradeoff work. Definitely better signal at work, though, and better fallbacks when LTE isn’t offered. That might help. (thanks, AT&T.) And the screen isn’t on for podcast playback, which will hopefully be less of a percentage hit. 

But the size of the damn thing…I’m going to need the slimmest practical case and hope it can stand up to the front pocket, in which it already feels like a slab. This is a purse phone. That’s not a compliment.