Do You Want to Be Able to Read Minds?

Dave asked on Lockergnome if the world would be a better place if we could all read minds… sort of like Mel Gibson could do in the movie What Women Want. This, to me, is an interesting question. I cannot honestly say whether or not I would want to know what people are thinking all of the time. I definitely know I wouldn’t like it if people knew what was rattling around in MY noggin.

Do you think that society would be a better place to be in if we all knew all of each other’s innermost thoughts, dreams and wishes? Would it make life easier – or more difficult?

You don’t have to be a mind reader to know what software and apps you should be getting for your machines and devices.

3G vs 4G Speed Tests


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Please post a video response demonstrating how your speeds measure up against mine. Your mileage may vary!

From where I sit in this home office, however, I’m not so sure I see a clear difference between Sprint’s 4G network and AT&T’s 3G network – at least, from these two devices today. That may change with network upgrades, of course.

If anything, most of my off-camera tests showed Sprint’s 4G network had better download speeds, worse upload speeds, and higher latency. Much like there’s a megapixel myth with digital cameras, there may be a “G” myth soon enough…

What are your thoughts? Is there a viable difference between the two types of network? Do we really see increased speeds?

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Which Camera Phone is Best?

I snapped a series of shots around the house this afternoon. Tell me which ones you believe came out better?

There’s a “Camera 1” and a “Camera 2” at play (with no post-processing done on any image). In each case, I embedded “1” above “2” on this page. I wish to refrain from telling you which camera is which – letting you judge for yourself, using these images as a guide. Other enthusiasts have run similar tests between “1” and “2” this week, like Macworld. If you want to ruin the surprise, you can always scroll to the end of this article. 🙂

Between these two popular smartphone cameras, I believe the lens (hardware) wasn’t as important as the software component. Regardless, I stuck with “auto” configuration for each phone’s default camera app for these tests. The results, as you can see below, are a mixed bag – which is a good thing for impartiality (given that I’d likely get blamed if the results skewed to my phone of choice versus yours).

As always, I’d recommend calibrating your monitors with a Huey before judging image quality. Otherwise, you can’t trust your eyes (or your screen, for that matter).

Outdoor Light, Indoors Test

It’s difficult to make a dreary Seattle day appear to have been more cheerful. There is no clear winner (to me) in this particular set.

Here, “Camera 1” is definitely more vibrant and sharper (although the sharpness could’ve been due to a different focal point in the capture).

The second image does have truer-to-life colors – but I’d also note that the cream blanket popping up to the right seems to have a slight blue hue to its overexposed area.

Phone Camera 1: Muted Colors and Saturation Test

Phone Camera 2: Muted Colors and Saturation Test

Artificial Light, Indoors Test

No doubt about it: “Camera 1” needs a little saturitalin! That’s not a real product, but how else would I correct the obvious overcompensation?

“Camera 2” was not only sharper in this setting, but more accurately reflected the colors in the room. A clear winner.

Phone Camera 1: Terracotta Wall Color Test

Phone Camera 2: Terracotta Wall Color Test

Pantry Test

It’s easy to see that “Camera 1” captured white better in my pantry (rather than erring blue, like “Camera 2” did).

Phone Camera 1: White and Color Test

Phone Camera 2: White and Color Test

Texture Test

It’s impossible to ascertain full perspective by only reviewing the thumbnails (versus the original, full-sized images), but I do believe this one is a draw for me… no pun intended.

If anything, there may be a small amount of texture in the shot from “Camera 1” – but its reds seem to have a magenta complex. “Camera 2” couldn’t get a focus – but its colors were slightly more accurate (blacks were blacker, too).

I tried a few times to capture a sharper image with “Camera 2,” but there was just something about this painting it didn’t like.

Phone Camera 1: Texture and Color Test

Phone Camera 2: Texture and Color Test

The Best Cameraphone

So, there we go – four scenes around the gnomestead on a Sunday afternoon. My final verdict? I don’t think I’ll ever have one, given that the results were mixed. Half of the time, “Camera 1” fared better – and the other half of the time, “Camera 2” fared better.

I may very well do another battery of tests involving the LED flash at some point, too.

And, if you didn’t already bother to peek at EXIF data: “Camera 1” is an iPhone 4, while “Camera 2” is an HTC EVO 4G. Hats off to both engineering teams for creating cameraphones that may render so many dedicated point-and-shoot cameras obsolete.

Unfortunately, the iPhone stomped the EVO 4G in my corresponding indoor video tests.

The New Rituals of Manhood: When Technology Obsessed Opinions Turn To Hatred

This is a guest post written by Imei Hsu, RN, MAC, LMHC.

For Apple iPhone 4OS fans, it’s Christmas in late June.

Millions of iPhone users will be picking up a pre-ordered phone or skipping happily to their doors when the delivery person arrives Wednesday June 23 and Thursday June 24, whilst newly recruited buyers will wrap their hands around their first iPhone.

As the “n00b of Social Media” and an observer to the cult-like following of the new iPhone 4OS, I’ll make my first light-hearted predictions: 1) AT&T will likely suffer a day’s disaster on their network from the surge of new users, 2) You won’t find many lines at Apple stores for the iPhone, as savvy customers have been alerted to how they can obtain iPhones without long lines, and 3) Android fanboys will continue to downplay the new iPhone 4OS’s features while punishing users and reviewers of Android products if they do not sing the praises of their beloved OS and features to the right tune.

As a psychotherapist, I lay on the table this statement: by opening my mouth and sharing my opinion, I know that some people might make it their personal mission statement to vomit something lewd, judgmental, or demeaning simply because they don’t agree with my opinion. This, in fact, is what has been happening on the Internet in such forums as Facebook updates and Youtube comments found on the pages of technology bloggers and reviewers.

If you take a few minutes to scan through the comments on Chris Pirillo’s video impressions on the HTC EVO 4G, as well as his impressions on the iOS 4 update as recorded from the HTC Evo, and finally the 12 things to love about the HTC EVO 4G, it doesn’t take a geek to notice a shift in the comments away from questions or descriptions about the products themselves. Without warning, comments contained character assumptions and assassinations, name calling, and unsubstantiated comparisons to just about anything in the universe.

Here’s a few “tame” examples (the worst were removed), in italics, below:

What a HATER…….remove the iphone from your colon….everyone loves this phone except you…no one is that stupid like (mr. likes dressing up his gay dogs) makes them out to be

I imagine your entire LIFE is too complicated and SUCKS.

This is what happens when you have Apple fanboy-ism invading on anything other than Apple. Apple could make a Tonka-like toy with one button and moo’s every time that button is pressed and these fanboys will say it’s better than absolutely anything on the market.

He didn’t point out any flaws. His whole purpose was to try and make the phone look stupid (it doesn’t SAY to swipe downward .. so the phone is dumb!). Actually.. he’s dumb. “Is WiFi on??” Well, idiot… try READING THE MANUAL! Does the phone have to provide moron tips on every screen to make this guy happy? For someone ‘reviewing’ smart phones he’s an idiot.

I can’t help but be fascinated by this phenomenon. What exactly are we seeing here? Humor me as I share with you my personal theory about why these tech-obsessed commenters have moved from opinion into hate statements against another person’s character and intelligence.

While society used to have rites of passage for young boys to prove their manhood, today’s kids have little left to them than the ability to pay for their tux and tails at a senior ball and an adult’s talk on how to use a condom to prevent a pregnancy and the spread of STD’s. If you click on the handles/names of the commenters, you’ll find that the majority of the “haters” are under the age of 25. Spelling and grammatical errors tip off readers when commenters age ranges are more likely 12 – 15 years old. If you’re a 12 – 15 year old boy (who likely isn’t even paying for the phone or the computer he uses), what would be one way to let people know you are a force to contend with?

Social scientists have an answer for that: Bare your teeth. Growl. Do what you can to get attention. These actions were all parts of rites of passages for young boys to prove that they belong to the world of men. They are no longer their mother’s boys. And these rites of passage are all but lost in the modern world of technology. Or are they?

Elizabeth Landau recently posted an interesting study about men’s health issues on Dr. Gupta’s blog for CNN. com. In her article, she cites a British study about men’s voices as an accurate predictor of the physical size of men and their ability to fight.

I’m wondering if social media platforms such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and Youtube are being adopted by teens and young men as an urban rite of passage. Without a spear to catch a fish or kill a giraffe for food, boys may be turning to the Internet to hunt for proof of their ability to “take on” the giants. They have access to technology writers, big companies, and celebrities in ways they didn’t have just five years ago. And what better way to quickly demonstrate the fight within them than to defend and use the tools they have to take their giants down?

If my theory is correct, what we’re seeing in the commentary thread is a fight against shame (i.e. Am i worthy? Am I tough?) fronted by a defense of one’s most beloved tools (an OS, a laptop, a smart phone, a software program, a platform). The tools are what allows these voices to be heard for their growls and grunts, and these must be defended at all costs. If and when the tools become obsolete or shown to be inferior, might the user also feel a sense of inferiority and shame? Does this explain the over-response we’re seeing in the commentary threads?

The fight becomes about the sword, not the samurai.

When there is nothing left to be done, the commenter moves onto character assassination mode. Get ready for some of the most boring use of expletives you have ever seen. [BTW, in my private practice, I remind clients that they should feel free to swear, but only if they do so in an interesting way]. Be prepared for a host of subjective and unsubstantiated comments, especially about your appearance, IQ, the way you sound, their projections and speculations about your sexual orientation or practices, or the level of happiness you may or may not be experiencing.

All in all, Social Media users should be prepared for less mature users to project their mother and father issues on you. They want validation for their tools, which they can then attribute to their own sense of character and self-esteem. Yes people, we’re seeing a correlation between online gaming and real life at its best: he who has the best tools gets the girl, has the charmed life, and wins the crowd. [Yuck.] It’s just not true. You still need to be a decent person. And for now, you still have to know how to write [there could be a day when writing becomes obsolete. But I digress.]

Rather than taking it personally, I would encourage readers to look beyond the commentary. Someone only defends something when he feels threatened. The threat could simply be a fight to belong. And ironically, the young samurai inside the armor may be trying to sock you in the arm to see if you will accept him. Don’t scrub comments that do not cross the boundaries of vulgarity and disrespect; allow these young samurai to learn from the community as well as the greater society about the reality of action and reaction.

Soon enough, they all learn what the rest of us know all too well: whatever gets said on Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter ends up on Google forever. And ever. Amen.

B. Imei Hsu is a nurse psychotherapist, professional dance artist and instructor, and occasional guest blogger for Lockergnome. She continues to write about her 365-1/4 days as “the n00b of Social Media.” She owns an Android phone, a MacBook, and iPad, and a low-tech Siamese cat. And no, she did not pre-order an iPhone OS4.

Catch her online:

When she’s not scrubbing her websites for foul language, she’s frolicking in the sun in Seattle, WA.

12 Reasons to Love the HTC Evo 4G / Google Android


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Here we go again! While I’m nowhere near ready to make a review (although I have already given my first impressions), I thought I’d take the time to point out some of the nicer features of the HTC Evo 4G – and, vicariously, the Android Platform.

You can’t “love” or “hate” a device based only on its spec sheet, gang – you have to use it. You have to feel it. You have to experience it. You have to share your initial impressions, which may very well be different from a lasting impression. Get it? Good.

Keep in mind that I always try to approach reviews and first impressions from the viewpoint of an average user. I ask myself if the item in my hand is going to be intuitive to them and not just to an expert or power-user.

Twelve things I happen to love about the HTC EVO 4G (and the Android platform) thus far:

  • I’m digging the screen. It’s about 4.3″ in length and is 480×800 resolution. It’s crystal-clear and very responsive to the touch.
  • The feedback when interacting with elements on the screen is quite cool.There’s a vibrating touch that happens anytime you are tapping an application on the screen.
  • I have all of these different icons on my Home screen. They’re widgets! It’s very easy to add widgets, too.
  • In the background is an animated wallpaper. As you drag across your screen, the wallpaper will change perspective.
  • I love having the FM radio on the EVO 4G! Believe it or not, I still use the radio quite often.
  • Even though I don’t feel the output of the default camera app is all that wonderful, I do love the amount of settings that it has. I love being able to quickly change effects, contrast, sharpness and much more.
  • The Android Marketplace has several thousand apps available. I checked out the “top free” apps off the bat. Before you download an application, you’ll be given information about it. You’ll see more about what the app will do, and how it will interface with your platform. It will tell you what parts of your phone it will have access to. Google is giving users more of an idea of what – exactly – they’re installing.
  • I am VERY impressed with the voice mail on this device/platform. You can reply to a voice mail without having to dial the person back! You can also mark a message as urgent or mark it for usage later. I am impressed… big time.
  • The notifications bar could be done a bit better. It’s hard to hit the right area with accuracy. I don’t know if it’s due to the sensitivity of the screen, or the touch-points of the bar itself. It’s great, though, to have easy access to a variety of apps instead of disruptive notifications like I have on my iPhone.
  • I like the connect options. I can choose how this device is connected to a computer, including being able to mount the internal storage as a disc. This allows me to quickly add files. It gives you more granular control.
  • If you’re addicted to software in any kind of marketplace, you’ll love this. You can choose whether or not you want the phone to allow you to install things from non-Market applications.
  • I love being able to turn this thing into a hotspot. I can easily connect other devices to it and save myself headaches when I’m out in the field. It’s a nice feature to have when I’m on the go.

Some of these features are found in any Android device, but others are specific to the EVO 4G. For the money, I don’t think you’ll find a bigger screen and wider array of options. You’ll also find one heck of an enthusiastic community.

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