Saturday, August 21, 2010

Nnooo myNotebook Carbon Pearl Tan Review


I did a myNotebook review a while back where I decided that I'll stick with Flipnote and PhotoGrafitti instead. Nnooo has updated the program with new colors: Carbon, Pearl, and Tan. I can say that the new version is much better than the old one. Shall I use it?

The fact is, myNotebook has none of the functionalities that both Flipnote and Photo Grafitti have. They also have more than what myNotebook offers: Calendar and Colors. Nnooo has myDiary in the works that has calendar, but this one does not have calendar.

This new version has:
1. 128 pages, instead of 32 pages.
2. Export (but not import) pages to Photo Album.
3. New blank page.
4. More refinements, and bug fixes.

The old one has 3 fatal flaws that caused it to be near unusable for me:
1. Perpetual gray box you cannot turn off.
2. Having to flip the device to write on other pages.
3. Annoying music you cannot turn off.

I'm glad to report that complaint 1 & 3 are fixed. Still have complaint 2, though. At least the increased number of pages alleviate that somewhat, so the flaw is no longer fatal, just very annoying.

Speaking of annoyance, the toolbar is very annoying. Yup, you guessed it: You cannot turn it off! It is in the way often. Worse, if you flip the page, it got to be in the way from the other side! That means I cannot purposely write upside down to get away from the toolbar. Did I mention that it will ease-in and out everytime you flip the pages? That makes turning the pages very, very slow.

Regarding turning the pages: Nnooo put in skip 10 pages. They even allow double tap on it to skip 20 pages! The thing is: there's no option to skip multiple pages singly. What do I mean by that? Take a look at Photo Album, or EA Flips e-book. See how when you hold down the button, the pages flip without being loaded and just jumps to the page when you release the button? I want it just like that!

There's really nothing new that myNotebook offers. That means, to be successful, it has to offer convenience. Slowly turning the pages is NOT convenient. And the toolbar bug? I don't see how anyone can miss that.

The new offering is better than the old, but it is only decent. I guess it went up from student quality to amateur quality, but I'm hard pressed to get away from photographing various papers w/ Photo, and use Grafitti for notetaking. I can see how the blank pages allows me to doodle quickly, with notes on the side page, but do I have to flip the device over to do it!? Also, I do not see an option for vertical lines, wide ruling, or custom format.

Another thing you cannot turn off: time and battery meter. Huh? Do you have to have that on every page?

Also it would be nice if the START bookmark function takes you to the inside cover so you can write Table of Content there.

Should you download this and use it? I don't object if you do, but I suggest giving Photo Grafitti and Flipnote Hatena a try before you buy this.

Just a quick 15 min impression:
1. Toolbar does not stay hidden when flipping pages
2. This makes turning pages slower than necessary
3. No double tap on next page, like there is on skip 10 pages.
4. No multiple page turning when holding down button.
5. Did fix the music bug. Thanks!
6. Saved page when exiting via pressing the power button. Great!
7. Don't know why only one shoulder button will hide/show toolbar. No reason why both can't be active? Only one function, right?
8. Still have to turn device over to write alternate page.
9. Like the extra pages. That means skipping pages is fine, with so much capacity.
10. The loading/saving on every page turning does make it slow.
11. Vertical line on the side is too close to the edge to be useful. Maybe skipping it altogether is better. Is that one of the unlockable design?
12. I wish there is an option to skip 40 pages w/ double tap, though. It is a chore to get to the later pages.
13. Love the new export command. Thanks. JPEG artifact is there, but not a problem.
14. No tapping to quickly clear the "new unlockable" notice screen.
15. Last page location is accessible via the START button. Nice.
16. I wonder what would happen if I press the power button when data is loading at the start? It isn't doing any saving, right? So, should be no problem?
17. Did fix the perpetual gray box. Thanks.
18. Toolbar options are not saved. Pen/color settings are reset upon exit.

Next day impression:
1. Toolbar is in the way when the screen is flipped.
2. Hitting START button causes the cover to be shown instead of inside cover/page 1
3. White does not have blue underline in pen mode. It actually works better that way!
4. Eraser could be bigger in "big" mode.
5. The lines could be wider. Wide ruling.
6. Page turn can be faster, multiple page flip when holding down button.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Absolute Chess Dsiware Review


I downloaded Absolute Chess dsiware this week, and I like it! It's not usual chess by any means, more like pick up-and-play quick game of chess, and in that role, it does very well. The game engine is set for speed, and does not think too deep. At the advanced level, it can spot mate in 3. So, I think, it's about 5 ply, or 2.5 move deep.

It has 4 levels, and 8 characters for a variety opponent. Missing features are timer, auto play, hint, undo (somewhat). If you come in expecting the usual trappings of chess, you will be disappointed. This game is geared more toward blitzkrieg chess.

Some bugs are presents: Racheal instead of Rachael. b4 instead of d4. "wait" instead of undo. Minor blemishes to what an otherwise good program.

I appreciate the designers for injecting flavor by doing anime style character, even if they're not animated. There are different pictures showing different states: neutral, winning, and losing.

I really like the download play feature. Alas, no timers. At least the graphics are clear and pleasant. No worries about confusing pieces, that's for sure!

It's too bad you cannot turn off music or sound effects independently. If I want to listen to music while playing chess, that's what mp3 players are for. The majority of chess players prefer quiet solitude.

It also has challenge mode. Not a big deal, though. 1st level, win the game. 2nd level, win the game in 12 minutes, a casual game. 3rd level, use bishop to take 4 or more pieces. Easy, since pawns count as pieces. 4th level, leave 3 or more pawns. Keeping 3 pawns in castling does the trick just fine. 5th level, 70 moves, 7 minutes, Blitzkrieg chess with 2 extra minutes. Did I mention that the early level makes all kind of blunders? Just play a defensive game, and you'll beat the challenges no problem!

Here's a sample game that I played:
1. e4 e5 2. f4 xf4 King's Gambit Accepted
3. d4 Qh4 4. Ke2 Nc6 5. Nf3 Qg4 6. h3 Qe6 7. Nc3 Qc4 8. Kf2 Qb4 9. a3 Qd6 10. e5 Qh6 Harassing the Queen while developing
11. Nd5 Kd8 12. Nxf4 Be7 13. Nd5 Bh4 14. g3 Qe6 15. Nf4 Bxg3 16. Kxg3 Qh6 17. d5 g5 18. xc6 xf4 19. Bxf4 Qxc6 Clarifying position
20. Bg2 Ne7 21. Kh2 Rg8 22. Rg1 Qe4 23. Bg3 d6 24. Ng5 Qf5 25. xd6 Qxg5 mate in 2
26. xc7 Ke8 27. Qd8 mate

Friday, August 13, 2010



This is what I have to deal with on a daily basis. Sigh. If only it isn't so buggy!

Oh, yes. Do your job well, and this golden mouse can be yours! What an incentive!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

JetBlue Flight Attendant


First truck driver, now flight attendant? What is the world coming to?

I only saw this briefly on TV, so I don't have all the details, but apparently it goes like this:
1. Flight attendant got smacked on the head by passenger.
2. Passenger refused to apologize
3. FA snapped and quit after spewing tirades over the intercom
4. FA grabbed beer
5. FA deployed emergency slide, and departed the plane that way.
6. FA got into a car and went home.
7. FA got arrested.

I think that beer grabbing is significant. Why would you want to drink beer? To relieve stress. Why is the flight attendant stressed out? Because the passenger hit him on the head, and laughed about it. How can he do that and without any repercussion? I don't know, but I tell you that if the world is fair, that passenger would have been sued for assault. So, the question isn't how much punishment must this FA receive. I think these are relevant:
1. Why now? Why with JetBlue, and not Virgin?
2. With all these talk about rude FA, this one is actually pretty mild outburst. Thank you for not shooting people, BTW.
3. When will you stop rude passenger from boarding the aircraft? Or sue for assault as this is what it is.
4. I know hospitality industry is tough, but OSHA should enforce safety of workers from hazardous customer.
5. With trucking CSA2010, there is Respondent-Superior clause. I think the airline industry should have it as well.
6. FA got arrested? At home? After quitting? If the defense lawyer is any good, he will have a field day!
7. If I was a JetBlue owner, which I'm not, I'd have dropped everything and ran over and grilled everybody on the subject. There's no details to prove it so far, but this has all the marks of bad management crafting bad policy, causing good employee to be stuck in the middle. That's a pity.

There are many reason for workers to be disgruntled, but bad management shouldn't be it.

A footnote: shame on you, Jay Leno, to make fun of the situation. These people suffer mightily on the job. Is there any reason why you would be so cruel? Certainly not Johnny Carson, are you? Think about it. Had this been a pilot who snapped at 30,000 feet, then the outcome wouldn't be so harmless, nor funny. Will you make a joke out of it, too?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Amazon Publishing (Kindle)

FUN provides a method to upload and sell Digital Content to their Kindle. It's all extremely simple HTML format! This is something I must research further. I hope they do JavaScript as well. ProcessingJS would be extremely nice!

Now, back to dreaming of being a writer, yet spent all my free time playing Pokemon. Sigh.

Nintendo 3DS preview


I just read it in Nintendo Power Magazine a preview of Nintendo 3DS system, and I am extremely pleased. My main worry about 3D is "How do I turn it off?". I was thinking about taking the 3D filter on and off, but Nintendo did me one better! There is a slider on the side that will adjust the depth of 3D vision, from flat to extreme. I like that very much!

The current prototype looks like the current DSi, but with these difference
1. Accepts 3DS card, in addition to DS compatibility
2. 3D filter screen on 800x240 panoramic top screen
3. Adjustable depth slider
4. 3 cameras: 1 internal, 2 external, with possibly, updated Photo Viewer for 3D.
5. Slide pad, for analog movement
6. Accellerometer, and gyroscope.
7. Home button
8. Telescoping stylus

Overall, it's just like old device, only better! I hope that the shoulder button got fixed. They're broken on my DS.

I'm rather surprised by the depth slider, but happy surprise. The motion sensors worries me. If the game designer uses that to enhance gaming experience, then great! If they use it just because they can, then it's bad. Ditto for Slide pad. What? Touch screen control not good enough for you?

I'm ambivalent about Home button and telescoping stylus. I've never seen any telescoping stylus that isn't flimsy. There's also some networking function. Supposedly, there is some kind of background connectivity while you sleep. I don't like that at all. I like operating my device while I'm watching. Then again, there maybe a useful function to it, such as remote watching. Makes a nice, if expensive, baby monitor device.

It really surprised me about the games. There's quite a bit out there! Even the 2D games are enhanced. I'm really happy! Especially since I decided to not buy a Wii just to play Street Fighter IV. Yup, it's on 3DS! That makes it a must buy for me! PilotWings, MarioKart, StarFox, just to name a few that I will be splurging my lunch money on.

I am really excited about this thing. There is something 3D that just does not translate to computer screen. So much so, that I am considering picking up Miniature gaming. Now imagine this: You have a device that acts like a window to alternate universe. It's like you can see to another dimension (small screen, but we have to start somewhere). The motion sensors can be programmed to track device motion and position. That means Nintendo 3DS can act like a virtual camera, similar to James Cameron Virtual 3D Camera system! You literally have in your hands a device that lets you see into another dimension! You can use it to play games, or just do visualization program. The possibilities are staggering, so much so, that I can't trust other people to do it. I want a programmable language on this thing!

I do have some requests, assuming Nintendo is listening:
1. I want to watch movies on the device. Can you please provide official alternative other than Moonshell homebrew? Especially since you sue homebrew device out of existence.
2. I want a decent paint program, like Colors! homebrew. Arts Academy is fine, but a full fledge paint program will work great with portable mobile printer.
3. Family BASIC, or any kind of BASIC interpreter out there. WarioWare DIY is excellent, and I love it. But I have more imagination than what that program can handle.
4. Animation Studio. Excuse me. Please make that _3D_ Animation Studio. :) Or alternatively, VRML.
5. Some kind of wordprocessor, spreadsheet not a bad idea. Even if it's on the level of MS Windows CE kind.
6. And as long as I'm dreaming: Idol Master 3D, and Love Plus!

Workplace violence


Beer delivery truck driver went on rampage, killed 8, self. Insane Murderer or Vigilante Justice?

1. He never had trouble before.
2. There are accusations for racial harassment/discrimination
3. No incidents are filed with workplace/union/government agency (except noted below)
4. Some of the dead are accused harasser.
5. He was about to get fired for alleged stealing
6. He called 911 detailing the incident before killing himself (the government agency incident report)

I don't have all the details, and so will not judge either way, but I think these facts are true:
1. Worker is harassed, bullied, etc
2. Top Management/Owners are actually nice guys who don't allow harassments in workplace
3. Stealing is allegedly done by such worker, as reported by low-ranked manager/union
4. There is a discrepancy between Owner perception (as presumably reported by middle management) and operational reality.

My opinion:
And it is just an opinion, since I do not have all the details,
This reminds me of sexual harassment cases that was highlighted way back in 1990s. It was huge back then, so if you've been awhile, you can't miss it. I'm guessing the middle management/supervisor type are young people who either ignorance of such issue, or incompetents who cannot draw the parallel between the two. Specifically, THE VERY PEOPLE WHO ARE SUPPOSED TO STOP AND REPORT THE CRIME, ARE THOSE WHO DO THE CRIME!

The bosses provide reports to top management, right? The report would detail operational effects, employee problems, concerns and so on. When the boss sexually harassed the secretary (worker), will that get reported? Not likely. Most likely the boss will say that it's just "harmless fun", and then keep doing it. The boss keeps having fun, while the worker fumed, stressed out, and finally quit. And the cycle repeats, since the boss would obviously have the power to choose hiring candidates.

Unless the top management provides a way for the worker to bypass middle management, the only way top management know that there is a problem is through sexual harassment lawsuit. That is a lose-lose situation. The company loses in fines, the worker loses in career. Who wants to hire a trouble maker? The heavy-handed sexual harassment education in the 90s, highlighted the dire consequences that can result from such incidents.

But harassments are harassments. It can be sexual, racial, class, or anything. The point is, does the company condone such action? Of course not! That would be stupid. A lot of time, the harassment occurred without top management's knowledge. It is in my opinion that the owners of the beer delivery place are decent people, and that they truly did not know. But they should have! That is communication failure, and communication skills are necessary part of management skill set. Which means, that this incident happened because there is management failure.

Just my opinion, nothing more.

And now for my rant: It is not unheard of for bad management to provide false report to paint a worker as "bad". I made it a policy to leave such companies quickly, regardless to whom it was done. If you want to win, you have to surround yourself with winners. Bosses who provide bad reports are losers who cannot grasp reality. Good workers will not tolerate that and will leave. That leaves bad workers who in truth would be less concerned about profitability, and more about political survival. And the company will enter death spiral, where bad decisions cause more good worker to depart, leaving more bad worker to make bad decision and so on.

Ask yourself this: Do people in your department worry about maximizing income? Increasing revenue? Gaining marketshare? Profitability? Or do they worry about how to cut expenses to the barebone? Reducing worker's comp to a minimum? Survive yet another economic downturn? About how mistakes really hurt the company? If it's the former, that's good. If it's the latter, that's bad, and you should try to change the negative, crisis management technique to a more positive one.

I think it would help that if you fire people a lot, that you advise them that there are methods of resolution, other than arbitration that will favor a company or killing people. Although the word "lawsuit" can be expensive, the cost of human live is much more so.

A few questions:
1. What was stolen? It's a beer delivery place, mostly warehousing. There's nothing valuable in there!
2. Why forced resignation? No warning/disciplinary action for first offense? Sounds harsh treatment to me.
3. How come a trouble free worker suddenly became troublesome worker when he comes to this company?
4. Why does the worker feel that killing people, instead of suing for wrongful termination, a better solution? Did the company representative made any threat regarding such lawsuit?
5. How is the turnover rate? Are workers happy or stressed out?
6. Just how exactly do you evaluate management competence, anyway?