Monday, October 30, 2006

Cell phones, Carriers, Plans and Customer Service

Why is the U.S. cellular industry so yesterday. The choice of phones available by carrier are, in my opinion, sparse at best. The shortfall is second to the plan choices and restrictions they come with. For example, I currently have Verizon Wireless - I use maybe 20% of my monthly minutes alloted by my plan because most of my friends and family are on the same network so they are free to call. I went into the Verizon store, proceeded to wait 20 minutes in line for a customer service rep to discuss downgrading my plan. When I told him I wanted to move to a lower plan to save money, they were more than happy to oblige...but then told me changing the plan would bind me to VW for another 2 years as a plan change constitutes a contract renewal. This to me is obsurd - I am 3 months out for being untethered from under VW's leash as our contract committment is fulfilled - why would I want to renew it?

If the cell industry in the US wants to retain customers, it should not do so by tethering us. Quite the opposite, I would rather pay a slightly hight rate and be able to move carriers if I am less than satisfied by their services than being tied to them and hating them.

If the industry use a hybrid a la carte type of system, I believe customer retention and satisfaction would increase dramatically.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

API Dashboard

Here is an interesting list of APIs available on the web include Flickr and GoogleMaps.

http://www.programmableweb.com/apis

Top 10 Programming Languages You Should Learn

So I only have 5 languages to learn. I guess i am on track.

1. PHP
  • What it is: An open-source, interpretive, server-side, cross-platform, HTML scripting language, especially well-suited for Web development as it can be embedded into HTML pages.
  • Why you should learn it: It's particularly widely used. "High-speed scripting with caching, augmented with compiled code plug-ins (such as can be done with Perl and PHP) is where the future is. Building Web apps from scratch using C or COBOL is going the way of the dinosaur," said Duquaine.
  • Job availabilities: 1,152*
2. C#
  • What it is: A general-purpose, compiled, object-oriented programming language developed by Microsoft as part of its .NET initiative, it evolved from C and C++
  • Why you should learn it: It's an essential part of the .Net framework. "Learning C#, which is just Java with a different name plate, is critical if you heavily use Microsoft," said Duquaine.
  • Job availabilities: 5,111
3. AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML)
  • What it is: Though technically not a programming language, AJAX uses XHTML or HTML, JavaScript and XML to create interactive Web applications.
  • Why you should learn it: Ever since Google Maps put AJAX, well, on the map, the requests for AJAX-knowledgeable pros went through the roof. "The demand for AJAX knowledge is huge because it's so damned hard to learn," said Huckaby. Of note, Microsoft announced recently plans to release a tool named Atlas that will make AJAX easier to implement. "If Microsoft's Atlas tool is successful, it would bring the extreme complexity and annoyance of AJAX to the average worker," said Huckaby.
  • Job availabilities : 1,106
4. JavaScript
  • What it is: Not to be confused with Java, JavaScript is a an object-oriented, scripting programming language that runs in the Web browser on the client side. It's smaller than Java, with a simplified set of commands, easier to code and doesn't have to be compiled.
  • Why you should learn it: Embedded into HTML, it's used in millions of Web pages to validate forms, create cookies, detect browsers and improve the design. With its simplicity to learn as well as wide use, it's considered a great bang for your educational buck.
  • Job availabilities: 4,406
5. Perl
  • What it is: Perl is an open-source, cross-platform, server-side interpretive programming language used extensively to process text through CGI programs.
  • Why you should learn it: Perl's power in processing of piles of text has made it very popular and widely used to write Web server programs for a range of tasks. "Learning some form of scripting language, such as Perl or PHP is critical if you are doing Web apps," said Duquaine.
  • Job availabilities: 4,810
6. C
  • What it is: A standardized, general-purpose programming language, it's one of the most pervasive languages and the basis for several others (such as C++).
  • Why you should learn it: "Learning C is crucial. Once you learn C, making the jump to Java or C# is fairly easy, because a lot of the syntax is common. Also, a lot of C syntax is used in scripting languages," said Duquaine.
  • Job availabilities: 6,164, including all derivatives
7. Ruby and Ruby on Rails
  • What they are: Ruby is a dynamic, object-oriented, open-source programming language; Ruby on Rails is an open-source Web application framework written in Ruby that closely follows the MVC (Model-View-Controller) architecture.
  • Why you should learn it: With a focus on simplicity, productivity and letting the computers do the work, in a few years, its usage has spread quickly. As a bonus, many find it easy to learn.
  • Job availabilities : 210 and 54, respectively
8. Java
  • What it is: An object-oriented programming language developed by James Gosling and colleagues at Sun Microsystems in the early 1990s.
  • Why you should learn it: Hailed by many developers as a "beautiful" language, it is central to the non-.Net programming experience. "Learning Java is critical if you are non-Microsoft," said Duquaine.
  • Job availabilities: 14,408

9. Python
  • What it is: An interpreted, dynamically object-oriented, open-source programming language that utilizes automatic memory management.
  • Why you should learn it: Designed to be a highly readable, minimalist language, many say it has a sense of humor (spam and eggs, rather than foo and bar), Python is used extensively by Google as well as in academia because of its syntactic simplicity.
  • Job availabilities: 811
10. VB.Net (Visual Basic .Net)
  • What it is: An object-oriented language implemented on Microsoft's .Net framework.
  • Why you should learn it: Most argue that VB.Net is currently more popular than ever and one of the only "must-learns." "It is currently dominating in adoption and that is where all the work is," said Huckaby.
  • Job availabilities: 2,090

Author: Deborah Rothberg - eWeek
http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,2016415,00.asp?kc=EWRSS03119TX1K0000594

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

TV Episodes on Web

It amazes me that the networks have not fully embraced the timeshift mentality of thier current viewers. ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX have decent coverage of their prime time shows which you are able to watch on the web but you would think they would have more of a selection from the rest of the day.

CBS seems to have outpaced the other networks with their selection and the quality of the feed.
I routinely have issues trying to watch anything on the ABC and NBC feeds. As for FOX, they have currently elected to use MySpace.com to host a selection of shows. I am not to convinced that this is a wise move on their part with the rep MySpace gets.

I wish the networks would round out their selections with more news and sports programs.

And come on networks - up the video stream quality - I would rather buffer a bit longer in the beginning and get a better feed rather than watch crap the whole time.

ABC: http://dynamic.abc.go.com/streamin
NBC: http://www.nbc.com/Video/rewind
CBS: http://innertube.cbs.com
FOX: http://myspace.com/FOX

Now this is a great fishing trip

Wow...this would be a great trip if they were striped bass!
Just starting out.

This blog will begin to look into my thoughts, be a place for my ramblings and also a place to vent.