Well, it is a free country…

I came home from work yesterday, exhausted from the stress of a few incidents at work. In a bit of a daze, I opened a can of cat food and fed the kitties. The fat one, Screech, who, at feeding time, acts more like a meowing dog than a cat, was still desperately hungry and simply would not leave me alone. So I pulled out the kitty treats, gave him a few, and retired to the couch.

This morning, before work, Kris was prepping the day’s lunch and snack pack when she noticed a bag of kitty treats on the top floor of the refrigerator. Puzzled, she pulls them out and turns to me.

“Hey, do you know why the kitty treats are in the fridge?” she asks.

Stunned, aware of the fact that I actually remember finding a spot for them in there after feeding Screech yesterday, I try to come up with an explanation. “Oh, I must have done that unintentionally after feeding them yesterday in my zombie-like state” didn’t cover the honest stupidity involved in the thoughts bouncing around my head, so I paused in what probably looked like a deer in headlights moment.

About 5 seconds went by.

“It’s a free country!” I shouted, indignantly.

iPhone Lust

I made a very clear and sensible decision to stay clear of the iPhone hype. I don’t need a phone that does all that. Actually, I have a phone that browses the web, gets my email, wi-fi, bluetooth, mp3, and a gorgeous screen. I use the phone feature only.

Unfortunately, I have friends who are not as budget conscious as I am and were able to stand in line yesterday to get their mitts on an iPhone. We were all out having drinks to celebrate the semi-retirement of a brilliant and lucky buddy in his mid thirties who arrived half an hour late with his brand new iPhone. It was un-activated, so all we could do was marvel at the form factor, which was enough.

It’s smaller than you think it’s going to be. It’s a bit shorter than my T-Mobile SDA and narrower than an iPod. Fits nicely into my pocket with no uncomfortable bulk. Unactivated, it allows you to look at the main screen and slide the slider for an “Emergency Call”. The numeric keypad pops up so you can dial 911, I guess.

Later, Solomon showed up with his brand new, activated iPhone. That was pretty much the end of my social interaction. The world went silent and my vision went tunnel. It works exactly like they say it will. Typing is something you have to get used to, but you will. You’ll want to start out by holding your finger down on the keyboard until you have the letter you want. This allows you to slide a little to the left to get O instead of P, or a little up to get N instead of the space bar. Or, just type as fast as you can and trust that iPhone will correct you correctly when you hit the space bar. It’s pretty slick.

Internet is decently fast, and for the applications I can see myself using, perfectly fast enough. YouTube videos take a while to buffer, but once they start playing they’re solid.

We played around with the contacts list a bit, which was actually fun. Tap the edit button and then the contact picture icon, point at your friend, and grab a picture of them for their profile. Then when you contact them or they contact you, the background is filled with the designated picture, full screen.

The magnifying glass positioning tool is amazing. In fact, the way everything you’re tapping on pops up in a graphic above your finger so that you know what the phone thinks you’re touching is a fantastic innovation. Somebody at Apple must hate styluses as much as I do. This finger as stylus thing is brilliant, and brilliantly executed.

So, yes. Now I want one. Even though I don’t need it. It’s pretty much the greatest phone experience I’ve ever had. Even if it was fleeting.

Apple TV Feature Request: Video Playlists

I’ve enjoyed my Apple TV a lot since buying it in that first week it was out. Even upgraded my TV. We don’t have cable, so we get all of our TV from iTunes — but, it’s the off season and I was a little bored with my selection of podcasts and other non-purchased content. Playing with settings in an attempt to veg-out and entertain myself, I happened upon the Update Software feature. Sadly, my Apple TV is up to date.

So I went back to browsing my podcasts, checking them all for some older, unplayed stuff. “Wouldn’t it be great,” I thought, “if I could just create a playlist and play stuff at random?” Yes! It would almost be like watching TV, but it would be my own channel. I wouldn’t have to put up with commercials (as much) and I could lump things together by category, play in order or random, and select the compilation I feel like watching, almost like flipping channels!

Science and tech podcasts over here, comedy and serial TV over here. A veritable self-built cable network streaming through my house!

But the Apple TV won’t play videos in playlists. It doesn’t even see them. It will do music this way, so why not video? So Dear Santa, please give me video playlists (smart video playlists too!) with the YouTube update.

Love,
Tony

New Embedded YouTube Interface Very Leopard Inspired

I just downloaded the Safari 3 beta today and eventually made it around to viewing a YouTube video in a friend’s LiveJournal post. To my surprise, at the end, the video’s familiar Play Again and other navigation features had been transformed, as if inspired by the new Leopard Desktop that was shown off today.

You Tube Leopardized

Dock like icons adorned the bottom of the embedded window along with a nice reflective surface and even the bubbly mouse over effect! I thought perhaps it was a secret new player for Safari 3 only using the new h.264 encoded files, but confirmed that it does also look the same in IE and Firefox. But, oddly enough, only in videos embedded in a website.

This looks like a sign of bigger things to come from the partnership between Apple and Google. Besides that, Apple isn’t telling you about how much faster Safari 3 is than Safari 2. Especially its Flash support. I’d say it’s easily twice as fast! And don’t even get me started on the INCREDIBLE new page and source search features.

So go download the Safari Beta and check it out for yourself:

Apple + AT&T iPhone Ads

If this phone can do this, like this, this easy, I’ll sell my first born son to get one. And if you want to go to the actual, HQ version of this commercial just visit the Apple website.

Ha! Just kidding little guy, you’re worth WAY more than $600. Way more I would bet.

But I would be surprised if the iPhone lives up to this hype! I mean, jesus. Stop the movie you’re watching on a tiny little device only because you have nowhere else to watch it at the moment and you can call some seafood restaurant in San Fransisco to get it delivered?

You’ve either spent rent getting the phone, upgrading the memory, and downloading movies, and now you can’t have anything but delivery calamari, since your new address is “the alley behind the GAP on the Haight”, or the ad’s not telling the whole story.

The whole story would be: watching a movie on your iPod iPhone on BART and you see a clip in this movie — that’s so great you can’t wait till you get home and watch it on your non-hand-held entertainment devices — where the protagonist is thwarting thugs and earning 6 figures on this super cheap electric scooter that gets to ride in the HOV lane called the “Green Scoot Zoom”.

You pause your movie with a swipe of your index finger (or whatever) and discover that this amazing new carbon neutral carreer advancement device of transveyance can be delivered to your work before the end of the day.

Because why else would you be watching Pirates of the Caribbean on a handheld device and suddenly think, “Hey, delivery…”?