Stop the SOPA bill

Congress today is working to pass SOPA (The Stop Online Piracy Act). SOPA would empower music and movie companies to essentially turn off sites deemed to be “enabling or facilitating” copyright infringement. This is broad language. Google, Facebook, Twitter and many others are trying to stop this from passing.

Read more at Lifehacker’s All About SOPA, the Bill That Wants to Cripple Your Internet.

Tumblr set up this page to call your representative:

Video from the Song-a-day guy, Jonathan Mann:

Kindle Fire Is Disappointing

Lower Your Expectations

Wow, I had low expectations given the $199 price, but the Amazon Kindle Fire still managed to disappoint me.


  • $199



  • Backlight bleeding all around the edge of the screen.
  • Power button is badly placed and I’ve accidentally shut off the Fire several times when holding it.
  • Super-reflective screen. Much more reflective and finger-print-showing than other tablets. (See picture)
  • Poor battery life, at least compared to the iPad.
  • 6 GB of usable space so you can’t load this up with movies. I guess Amazon wants this to be more of a streaming device. But you’re left with little space if you need to load this up for travel away from WiFi.
  • Surprisingly heavy. I suppose this is because I’m used to holding Amazon’s similar sized e-ink tablets. But when you hold the Fire, the weight is the first thing you’ll notice.
  • No mic, no cameras, no bluetooth, no SD card slot, no gyroscope (for better gaming control).
  • No hardware Home button or volume buttons. From some pages, it takes a few software button presses to get to the volume controls.


  • Carousel interface for all your items is a terrible idea, made even worse by the fact that once you launch anything it goes in the Carousel and can not be removed. So you end up with a really long carousel with stuff you don’t want.
  • Inconsistent UI. For example, when you reach the end of a scroll page, some pages bounce while other pages brighten on the edge.
  • Slow UI response in many places such as pinch-to-zoom.
  • Apps crash. On each of three Kindle Fire units we tested, Angry Birds crashed on first launch. It worked after that. The browser had several crashes.
  • Flash works, but Flash videos are jerky to the point of being unwatchable.
  • Slow browser. This is especially disappointing given that Amazon promoted the speed of it’s Silk browser.
  • AppStore allows you to buy apps that don’t work properly on the Kindle Fire.
  • AppStore search doesn’t work. Searching for “Netflix” resulted in four apps, none of which were the Netflix app. (See picture)
  • AppStore has very few apps compared to other Android devices with Google Market.
  • The magazines are just scans of the magazine. These aren’t nice PDFs with embedded fonts. So when you zoom, the text gets fuzzier. The aspect ratio of 16×9 doesn’t fit magazines well. There is empty space at the top and bottom when viewing the full page.
  • There is one odd thing I haven’t figured out yet. When scrolling a web page, it looks as if the page tilts in the direction you are scrolling. I haven’t been able to capture this on camera. I can’t tell if this is a UI decision or a weird screen drawing or refresh issue.

I’m not just being an Apple fanboy here. While both the iPod Touch are iPad are far superior to the Fire, so are the Samsung Android devices which are faster and have a better UI. And if you want to just read, the e-ink Kindles are great. The Kindle Fire is just not a fully developed product.

Canon S100 versus S95

King of Pocket Cameras

Canon’s venerable Powershot S camera line, starting with the S90 two years ago, just got a step better with the new S100.

While not visually much different than last year’s S95, the S100 is probably a bigger jump than the S90 to S95 was.

What’s improved?

  • More grippy body – grips on the front and back, grippier finish
  • 1080P video instead of 720P (h264 mov files)
  • better noise reduction with DIGIC 5 image processor
  • better dynamic range and low light sensitivity
  • 12 megapixel camera
  • bigger wideangle/zoom range – now 24-120mm equivalent instead of 28-105mm
  • geotagging – Yay! So I can see where all the photos were taken.
Like the last upgrade, don’t feel compelled to upgrade from an S90 or S95. The picture quality has improved, but only noticeably in low light.

UPDATE: I was surprised to see that Gizmodo couldn’t recommend the camera due to battery issues. They’re either doing something wrong or have a bad camera. While the battery life on the Canon S series has never been great, the S100 isn’t any worse for me than the previous models. It can stay in standby for weeks (I’ve only had it a few weeks) and it can take around 200 shots. I keep the GPS photo tagging on and the GPS logger off.