HTC Touch Pro 2 ruined by Windows Mobile 6.5

The days of this HTC Touch Pro 2 are nearing its end. It is a wonderful piece of hardware with a great screen and great fit and finish. The thing that kills it is Windows Mobile 6.5. It always needed a complete reboot every few days to clear its buffers, but lately, its been choking on simple smartphone activities like web browsing mobile versions of websites, checking email, and answering phone calls. Knowing Verizon support, their answer was to reload the OS and reset to factory settings. This is not tolerable.

Every Windows Mobile Phone I have had since 2005 has had this issue -its inability to stay stable beyond the first few weeks of use. This coupled with the lack of a decent app store (Verizon Apps! Handango!) all pointed to another phone. But rather than wait for iPhone on Verizon with this loser, I’ve chosen to move on and try Droid 2, which appears to be a decent upgrade. Droid X is still a month’s wait in line.

It raises serious questions for me: first, is HTC serious about making good stuff? Are they just commodotizing the category of smartphones by releasing a new phone every month, just to see what sells? I think so, and it is shoddy and wasteful.

Microsoft -where do I begin. I give them my money, and I can’t complain because they weren’t holding a gun to my head. I just get fooled into believing that maybe this time, they’ll have gotten the damn thing to work. I have no doubts that Windows Mobile 7 will sell briefly and will have its adherents in those who hate Apple and Google, but I am not holding my breath. They don’t understand how to put out good software that is mission critical -like running a space station or a heart lung bypass machine, none of which I would trust if they ran on Windows.

While we wait for AT&T to get better, we’re stuck with waiting for iPhone to show up on Verizon. Til then, I guess Droid 2 it is.

The new iPhone Netflix app end of TV

The iPad had the Netflix app first, and it was amazing, but expected on the iPad with its large gorgeous screen. The appearance of the Netlix app (and Hulu+ app) on my two year old iPhone 3G is worthy of comment. First, aside from iPhone, no other piece of portable technology has weathered aging as well. It is currently updated to iOS 4.0 which makes it slow, but the incredible thing about it now is I have access to thousands of movies and TV shows. It works best with a good Wifi connection, and makes cable or satellite TV irrelevant. The only time I watch broadcast TV is to watch live sports -and this usually on network TV over rabbit ears. I tried to cancel DirectTV a while back and they halved my bill after begging me to stay. Despite this, the writing is on the wall. TV is over. It’s dead. So are movies in theaters.

Stuck

Air travel has never been the same since deregulation in the 80′s. Remember People’s Express? As the first discount carrier, people were amazed at the low fares; what I noticed were the brown bag meals that you had to purchase. It’s been all down hill ever since. Now I’m sitting on the tarmac while maintenance crews are repairing the hydraulics on the plane. The clock is ticking and the probability of meeting my connection becomes increasingly remote. This is the 4th time out of 5 flights this year that this has happened, and it’s the second time with Delta where a mechanical problem has left us waiting on the gate. It’s awful because I can’t rebook without deplaning and abandoning this flight -that option doesn’t improve the odds of me getting home. The other option is to wait it out and get to Memphis and try to get a seat on another flight 5 hours later or rebook on a myriad of different hub options.

I remember a time when traveling by coach still meant reasonable comfort and space. It meant a hot meal on any flight over two hours. It meant flight attendants who weren’t frazzled by having to be anger management specialists. It meant flying with a better class of passenger. Flying used to be fun. Now it’s as appealing as traveling by bus.

Sent from my HTC smartphone

Holding your hand in the fire

In some parallel universe of his choosing, Dustin Johnson would be a two time major winner. Instead, by his sin of ommission, he will be burdened with the mark of Cain for the remainder of his career. Dustin Johnson tried to get away with grounding his club in a bunker on national television. That is the only conclusion I can come to after seeing the video yesterday. The players received notification prior to starting the tournament (and it was posted in the lockers) that all of the bunkers, even the ones trampled by spectators, would remain bunkers. On addressing his approach after slicing his drive to the far right, he grounded his club but then stepped away as if he noticed he made a serious mistake. He can be seen considering the situation, and he hit his shot without grounding the cub a second time.

After his round, he was brought upstairs to review the tape in a scene familiar to shoplifters and mall cops. I have no doubt that Mr. Johnson is very talented, but his narcissism was revealed for the scrutiny of the voyeurs. His profession is to compete and uphold the rules of golf. Ultimately, the golf must come from a pure place. The PGA saved itself a lot of controversy by taking care of the issue before any playoff ensued. By signing his card, Mr. Johnson signed his confession. This burden will be his albatross and may end up consuming his swing thoughts, but I doubt it. If he is to compete again at this level, he will have to be continue in his selfish, thoughtless way, with total focus on dominating and winning. Champion golfers are different from you or me, and I think Mr. Johnson will redeem himself in this world.

A Surfeit of Casual Water and Relief

The vexing thing of late has been the torrential rain which occurs almost exlusively at night resulting in us in Iowa waking to flooded roads and basements. Some point to global warning, others to a ten year sunspot cycle. I think it’s life imitating golf -nature gives you the conditions and you play through without complaint.

These collections of casual water remind us how important it is to have balance -too much water, too little water both cause problems. Golf’s rules allow you to move the ball out of casual water, but no closer to the hole. In sand, I believe the rule is you can move the ball to relieve but no closer or take a one stroke penalty and get out of the bunker but no closer which means you can walk it back to your pitch length and get it on the green and move on with life, medicine taken. And know it, the grounds crew will repair the damage.

But can we expect such equanimity in life? We’ve had a bunch of water trouble in Iowa and some areas had turned down Federal insurance because of politics, now only to rue that decision. No one likes a bailout, financial or actual, but I believe civilized society mandates relief from casual water in real life as well. We get relief at Wakonda because of the rules of golf and because of the dues we pay. Our taxes are merely dues that we pay to be members of the society at large.

The Deacon of the Turf

This handsome gentleman is John Temme, the Grounds Superintendent at Wakonda Club. He is up before dawn every day grooming the course into a quality that I have not seen matched often in my golf travels. It is with his leave that I can play sunrise golf before his crew get to the holes. He has a golfer’s mind with regard to maintenance which really lets the course be front and center for the player. Despite heavy play, for example, the greens are still amazing (please repair ball marks even on away courses). He maintains a great blog: http://wakondagrounds.blogspot.com which I think is of interest to anyone who maintains a lawn -a great big 40 acre lawn.