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Where is my Windows Mobile 6.5 update, Verizon? Oh wait, I dug it up

If there’s one thing Apple understands, it’s marketing. Why would I lead a post about Windows Mobile 6.5 with this statement? Because if there’s one thing that’s holding back Windows Mobile as a viable operating system for smartphones, it’s the inability to announce important things and make updates and applications available to users. Take, for example, Microsoft’s late entry into app stores with the Mobile Marketplace–too little, and maybe too late.

Or, take the update for my HTC Ozone. I just found a link the recently-released update. Where did I find this? On HTC’s Twitter page, where it was available as a link. Not on HTC’s main page, as a news item, or even on the Microsoft 6.5 update site, which says that there is no planned date for its release. I haven’t checked Verizon yet, but it’s telling that this update isn’t hosted on a Verizon site. As long as Microsoft fails to properly inform its users about important updates, the iPhone and the Droid will all but eliminate Windows Mobile before the long awaited version 7 can arrive.

Hong Kong Garden fire on New Year’s Eve

The other Chinese restaurant here in Plymouth, NH, Hong Kong Garden, apparently caught fire today, resulting in a 3-alarm blaze that brought firefighters from as far as Waterville Valley. I’m not sure if anyone was hurt, but I know it is a bad time to be without a home in this part of the country. A benefit concert is being planned, to be held in a couple of weeks–I will post info on that when I have it.

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Google Street View of Pompeii now available

Apparently, Google Maps now has a street view of Pompeii available. This is great news for those who are both curious and lazy, or who don’t have a passport. In all seriousness, it’s an amazing teaching tool that I hope will find its way into classrooms quickly. Click this link to get a map of the site, then drag the little yellow figure in the corner down into the ruins to walk around them.

Ong Bak 2 is coming!

Looks like a sequel to Thai martial arts movie Ong Bak is coming soon to theatres. If you haven’t seen the original, it’s a classic return to real, unadulterated “kung fu” action movies (although technically it’s muy thai boxing, much more vicious really). The best part is that the filmmakers have no problem showing the amazing action sequences three or four times in a row–from different angles and occasionally in awesome slow-mo–and since the film revels in its own violent nature, it becomes even greater as a martial arts movie. Hopefully, the sequel will live up to expectations; here’s a preview in the meantime:

Google AdSense now integrated with Google Analytics

When I signed in to my Google AdSense account today, I noticed a link up near the top of the page that invited me to integrate my AdSense with my Analytics account. I followed along through some simple steps to add the AdSense to existing sites, then chose one to be a primary. The primary site will automatically integrate with AdSense data. Any other sites you want to track require that a small snippet of JavaScript be inserted on any page you want to tie in between AdSense and Analytics.

Google says the service takes a few hours to set up and get running. I’m curious to see what I find tomorrow…

The squirrels are restless…

News agencies in Spokane, WA are abuzz with the news that the parks department is blasting rodents out of the local arboretum using a new device called the ‘Rodenator.’ The Rodenator, which inserts a blast of propane and oxygen into burrows, detonates the rodents and their tunnels with an electric spark. The company that makes the Rodenator claims this is done ‘in a humane way.’ Apparently, according to the recent photo seen below, the chipmunks are responding with their own ‘humane’ methods of home defense…

Spokane Squirrel Resistance Army

Conficker worm starts to wake up after all

According to various tech sources on the web, the Conficker worm might actually be doing something after all. CNET is reporting that the worm is beginning to replicate itself via P2P file sharing, and is downloading additional encrypted files that experts have yet to decrypt, but suspect are some sort of keylogger. All this is happening a little over a week after the April 1st supposed payload date passed by with little to no incidents. The actual propagation of the worm at this point is taking place gradually, so it may actually be more successful in doing damage than if it had hit all infected computers at once and started to keylog and replicate.

So, bottom line: if you haven’t patched your system, do it now. Then keep doing it.

Dallas cop who detained Ryan Moats should’ve been fired 3 years ago

You’ve probably heard by now of the latest incident of law enforcement ‘gone wild’ down in Texas. Apparently abusing pets doesn’t go far enough towards ‘protecting and serving’ the citizens of the Lone Star State–now they’re doing it to people. The newswire is abuzz with the story of how Officer Robert Powell of the Dallas Police is shown on his own cruiser’s videotape detaining a man for almost 15 minutes while his mother-in-law dies in the hospital in whose parking lot the entire debacle took place. Powell acts pretty stupidly throughout, is verbally abusive, and can be seen touching his gun menacingly. He ignores hospital staff’s pleas to let the man go see his dying relative, and even brushes off another police officer who tries to intervene on the man’s behalf.

Now, unfortunately for Officer Powell, the man in question was NFL running back Ryan Moats, and this incident has quickly put Powell in the national spotlight and the Dallas PD in a very bad PR situation. Add to this that Moats is black, and the accusations of racism have begun.

Now, I will say I am normally very, very skeptical when I hear that racism is involved simply because someone of one ethnicity did something bad to someone of another. So I decided to investigate. Here’s the scary thing…it seems Officer Powell was smart enough to set up a blog on xanga.com, and one of the entries that allegedly was pruned from his blog reads as follows:

Saturday, October 21, 2006

You drink, You drive, You rear end another car, You dont speak english, You smell like alcohol, You cant stand up straight, You cant walk a straight line, You go to jail!!!

Now, this scares the living crap out of me. Look at this list. All of the things are clear, definable crimes in our legal codes, except one. Not speaking English is NOT a crime in this country. Now, I will admit that Officer Powell seems to have taken down his xanga site as well as his MySpace page. I am going on the word of briancuban.com that the site rip of Officer Powell’s site is legitimate. However, a Google cached page that I found of Powell’s site does include this:

Monday, August 28, 2006
The count downs begin:
18 days of work then the real work starts and I can shoot people

Tuesday, September 26, 2006
So this is the day after my first day as police. First night was full of waiting for a wrecker, meeting a he/she, taking a guy to jail, known as Lew Sterrett, 911 hang up, and some BS security guys calls that people arnt going home. All in all it was fun, and I have to ask: they are paying me to do this?

Now, this cache is of March 27th, and Powell has clearly removed a bunch of the later content that might get him in trouble. However, the two statements above display what a disgusting human being Powell seems to be. He seems transvestites as sub-humans, is thrilled with the power of his gun, and shows a general lack of comprehension for the basic rules of English grammar, itself a crime according to the alleged statements on his blog.

What I want to know is: why didn’t the Dallas Police pay more attention to what Officer Powell was writing back in 2006? This man shows clear lack of respect for others, or any of the attitudes necessary for a police officer. He shouldn’t just be fired now for what he did to a celebrity, he should’ve been fired years ago for displaying his lack of moral fiber on the Internet for the world to see. It doesn’t help that now NFL linebacker Zach Thomas is saying his Latina wife Maritza was a victim of a Powell power-trip recently as well…

Hail to the 404!: King James loses his domain (name)

According to a variety of news sources including ESPN.com, Microsoft and NBA star LeBron James have terminated their advertising agreement, which apparently included the maintenance and hosting of lebronjames.com. As soon as the agreement ended, Microsoft pulled the plug on the site, leaving the star without his main web presence. A bit awkwardly timed for a guy who is reportedly trying to make himself into a “global icon” and is entertaining rumors about trades to big-market cities in 2010…

Here’s a hint to the wannabe stars of tomorrow: buy your domain name now for $7 a year and hold on to it until you’re famous and someone will build you a site. It’s good insurance. Just ask LeBron.

Piano found in woods

I spent a while trying to come up with a clever title for this post, then just went with the one above, because I couldn’t think of anything. Here’s the article from CNN:

Was it a theft? A prank? A roundabout effort to bring some holiday cheer to the police? Authorities in Harwich, Massachusetts, are probing the mysterious appearance of a piano, in good working condition, in the middle of the woods.
A police officer examines an oddly placed piano in the woods of Harwich, Massachusetts.

A police officer examines an oddly placed piano in the woods of Harwich, Massachusetts.

Discovered by a woman who was walking a trail, the Baldwin Acrosonic piano, model number 987, is intact — and, apparently, in key.

Sgt. Adam Hutton of the Harwich Police Department said information has been broadcast to all the other police departments in the Cape Cod area in hopes of drumming up a clue, however minor it may be.

But so far, the investigation is flat.

Also of note: Near the mystery piano — serial number 733746 — was a bench, positioned as though someone was about to play.

The piano was at the end of a dirt road, near a walking path to a footbridge in the middle of conservation land near the Cape.

It took a handful of police to move the piano into a vehicle to transport it to storage, so it would appear that putting it into the woods took more than one person.

Asked whether Harwich police will be holding a holiday party in the storage bay — tickling the ivories, pouring eggnog — while they await word of the piano’s origin and fate, Hutton laughed. No such plans.

Harwich police have had some fun, though. Among the photos they sent to the news media is one of Officer Derek Dutra examining the piano in the woods. The police entitled the photo “Liberace.”

While it seems rather pointless for a prank, and rather stupid for a crime, this ‘event’ sure does re-open that fundamental question of life back up for debate: if a piano sits in the woods in the middle of the night, does it make a sound? Answer: only if it’s a player piano.

Source: CNN.com