Jerame Davis

Gay Geeks: Random Bits

Filed By Jerame Davis | October 03, 2007 4:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Gay Geeks, Site News
Tags: AT&T, Big Brother, iPhone, Ma Bell, RSS

I'm a bit behind for this edition of Gay Geeks, but it's the middle of the semester and I've been really busy working on a city council campaign. So I don't have a full entry this week, but I do have some random bits I want to talk about.

  • We upgraded the back end content management system for The Bilerico Project to Movable Type 4.0 recently; so, you should start seeing some improvements as a reader very soon. The first such improvement will be a major expansion of our RSS feed options. We already have a full feed and category based feeds, but now we have feeds for each author and a feed to track the comments on any entry. Pretty cool.

    You may have noticed that the comment system is a bit different now. The new system gives us a multitude of options for authenticated comments. You can now use Typekey (which has always been there) Vox, Livejournal, or OpenID accounts to authenticate on our site. You can also create an account right here on the site. It's easier than ever to become a registered commenter and have your comments post immediately without the need for moderation.

    Watch for more great features in the future after we've had time to kick the tires on this new system.

  • I did it. I made the leap and got an iPhone. Perhaps I'm still in the glowy honeymoon period, but I just love this phone. It makes the Palm Treo 650 it replaces seem like one of those old Motorola brick phones from the 1980's. I hated that Treo from the moment I got it. I had to get software that voided the warranty just to make the built in speaker loud enough to hear. It dropped calls all the time and I had to repeatedly ask the party on the other end what the hell they just said because it sounded like Klingon on my end.

    So far, I haven't lost a single call on the iPhone nor have I had a single call in Klingon. OK, so now I've lost a few calls, but I can only attribute one of them to a problem on my end. Still much better than any phone I've had previously. My Treo wouldn't get a signal in certain parts of my house - not so with the iPhone. Even when it has only 1 bar, the calls are crystal clear and sound better than any call I ever had on my Treo. For call quality alone, I'm a satisfied customer.

    But it's a really cool phone. I've enjoyed discovering all of the cool things it does. Shortly after I got the phone, we went to dinner at Macalister's Deli for dinner and while we were waiting for our food, my daughter Paige and I watched an episode of What the Buck?! on my phone. How cool is that? The only downside is that since the iPhone doesn't do Flash just yet, I have to go to YouTube and find the WTB videos rather than being able to watch them on the site. But who can complain about having YouTube at your fingertips anytime you're bored in a meeting waiting for a meeting to start?

  • Another iPhone item. (Geez. I know, but I'm playing catch up here!)

    With all the hubbub around the iPhone and 3rd party applications, I thought, what the hell, I'll try the forbidden fruit and I installed some 3rd party applications on my phone. It was fun to be able to play games (sorely lacking from the standard iPhone) and change my icons and home screen background, but there really wasn't anything there I'll miss. Sure, there is a philosophical issue around the idea that this is MY phone and I'll install anything I want, but I the only compelling 3rd party functionality I really want and feel I must have is custom ringtones.

    Yes, Apple lets you pay twice for music you already own to create custom ringtones for the iPhone, but I think that's just idiotic. I bought the music and I have the right to listen to it how I see fit regardless of how much the RIAA cries about it. If I'm not out profiting on an artist's work, they have no right to restrict my usage or make me pay twice for my music. That's why I use iToner, a 3rd party application that lets you use any MP3 or AAC file as a ringtone. It's just drag, drop, sync.

    Unfortunately, the new iPhone software that Apple released last week has broken even the 3rd party applications that don't use so-called "jail break" hacks like iToner. So, until they come up with a workaround, I am again stuck with the default ringtones on my iPhone. At least since iToner doesn't use these so-called "jail breaks" there should be a relatively quick fix. Let's all keep our fingers crossed.

  • Finally, I just have to say it - AT&T sucks! You see, if I were posting that line from my iPhone, I'd face the possibility of getting my service canceled by AT&T. Recently AT&T updated their Terms of Service to say that any customer using their services to criticize or defame AT&T would get the boot.

    AT&T may immediately terminate or suspend all or a portion of your Service, any Member ID, electronic mail address, IP address, Universal Resource Locator or domain name used by you, without notice, for conduct that AT&T believes (a) violates the Acceptable Use Policy; (b) constitutes a violation of any law, regulation or tariff (including, without limitation, copyright and intellectual property laws) or a violation of these TOS, or any applicable policies or guidelines, or (c) tends to damage the name or reputation of AT&T, or its parents, affiliates and subsidiaries.

    Boy how times have changed...It was only a few decades ago the AT&T the US government were mortal enemies and AT&T was labeled as a monopoly and split into pieces. Today, AT&T is larger than it ever was before, collects and sends your information to Uncle Sam as a matter of course, and if you say something they don't like, well, they can just shut your ass right up. AT&T has given itself more power than even the US government is supposed to have in terms of censorship and spying.

    Isn't it amazing what 30 years and millions of dollars in lobbying can get for you?

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HI Jerame,

Okay lets get this one out of the way first ,
AT&T sucks and with great gusto. (The only problem it is not satisfying.) I have been a Cingular customer who has been dealing with the influx of AT%T customers and some restrictions placed on me by AT&T since their takeover. I have two phones one in the 619 aria code and the other in the 210 aria code. Do you think i can get a Unified Bill not no but hell no because AT&T doesn't have the horsepower to consolidate their bills across state lines. They are probably going to drop me because i have raised so much hell with their customer service or what passes for customer service.

I have a few dozen beefs with the I phone and you have covered most of them. The bottom line is you have to do it Apple's way. and frankly Apple's track record in regards to engineering is poor.
They make things that look nice but i would not be caught dead with an I-pod when there are so many good alternatives out there.

I am not much of an Apple computer fan ether.
Keeping in mind that it took most of twenty five years for the UNIX guys to get all the security issues locked down, apple did the smart thing by adopting a BSD based operating system. Given that Apple wants everyone to do things their way i would prefer to have a PC even with Windoz on it i just put it behind a Linux firewall and don't worry about the security issues. Besides everyone knows Apples are not good for military style first person shooters. :)
A girl must get her pent up anger out somehow. I would hate for Y'all to read about me in the morning news after i went postal on a bunch of Barny Frank and HRC supporters. :)

I like what y'all did with the site it's great.
in the future it would be nice to see our comments enriched a little more but for now this is fine.
(things like pictures, a font selection, and some more latitude on style. Again the site is great I love it. Keep up the good work, this place is great.
Take care.
Susan Robins

Personally, I'm sick of Jerame's iPhone. I've lost my husband to a phone! *grins* But like any new toy, I'm sure he'll lose interest soon and come back to the family! :)

As for AT&T - I hate them. I was never so unhappy as when they bought Cingular. I chose Cingular so I wasn't with AT&T dammit. That whole "We'll give everything to the government gladly!" position sinks it for me.

Hey folks --- remember, anyone who hates the phone company can use their broadband Internet line as a phone. No AT&T (or Verizon or MCI) whatsoever in most areas!

Now, the disclaimer: Twenty years from now, we may be bitching and kvetching because the Internet Service Providers rule the world, saying "Remember the Good Ol' Days when the phone companies ran everything?" ... So, since power always corrupts, I don't know how long this subversive revolt will be effective ...

[WARNING: Here follows a shameless commercial promotion!]

... but for now, email me and I'll get you talking over Internet ... and you can tell AT&T to shove it.