August 1st, 2011


Fermata Doesn't Just Need To Be Held, She Needs Cuddles

I've hit the first real problem with Fermata, my Cruz T104 Android tablet.

Keep in mind, I wasn't expecting much.  I just wanted a tablet for doing things on the run.  I refuse to pay over $500 for a tablet.  For that price, I might as well get a full blown computer (benchmark:  Fujitsu laptops with a swivel screen that let you use them as a tablet PC clock in well below that, run Linux, and have a built in optical drive).  Given that I got Fermata for $170, I wasn't expecting a miracle machine.

Fermata works fine for the most part.  I like that the screen is actually glass instead of a plastic sheet that can distort the screen when you press on it.  No cell phone stuff, no Bluetooth, no keyboard, but so what?  Once again, Fermata is for one handed operation on the go, not actual computing.  No 3D acceleration, but I wasn't looking for a game machine, anyway.

My only real bitch about Fermata was the laggy touch screen.  It can be a bit hit and miss at times.  I thought this was due to the underpowered CPU -- it uses a generic CPU, not an ARM, and clocks in at roughly 400Mhz.  Standard ARM architecture nowadays is 800Mhz or faster (PROTIP:  get a A8 or higher, nothing less will run Flash).  I was informed that there is a firmware update that will fix this.  The procedure is to put it on your SD card, don't change the file name, then poke the Reset button.  As soon as you release it, press the volume up key.  As soon as you see the Cruz logo, release it, and the update will commence automatically.

Well, I spent fifteen minutes trying to make the button presses do their magic, and nothing.

And now, something I don't usually do.

I'm leaving it alone.

Seriously.  That doesn't usually happen with me.  When playing with tech, I can burn through hours just trying to tweak something.  I didn't even want to try the thing about installing the Android Debugging Kit on my Windows machine and trying it that way.  Fermata works just fine as she is.  A little slow (you have to hold your button presses.  How appropriate on a device named "Fermata"), but more than adequate for what I use her for.  Later on, when Fermata bites the dust, I know what more to look for in a tablet.  But for what she is?  I'm totally cool with her.

It would just be nice if Cruz made it easier.
Peter G

Fallout From The Kirby Ruling

As we sit here, sifting through the outrage over the Kirby ruling from last week, whether from comic creators pissed as all Hell that Marvel got away with it or people pissed that comic creators are upset, waiting for Jim Shooter to misremember the past again to make himself look like comic creators' best friend (give it time, it will happen), we have someone taking his outrage to the next level:  Steve Bissette.

Before I go any further, I want to point something out.  A lot of people don't bother to read books on philosophy because they think it's a bunch of arrogant elitist intellectual bullshit.  These people are spot on.  I've read philosophy (or, in the case of some, TRIED to read philosophy) and came to the conclusion that philosophy is to the real world what masturbation is to sex.  It takes a lot of will power for me to not punch someone in the head when they talk about Adam Smith and free market economies.

One such person you hear bandied about is John Stuart Mill, creator of Utilitarianism.  Mill theorized that criminal law was fundamentally worthless.  Outlawing certain activities did nothing to dissuade people from committing acts against society.  What DID persuade them was social justice.  That they would be excluded from the group.  That they would be treated like shit.  In other words, it was the people around them that made them afraid to commit crimes, not because the people would fight back, but because they would ostracize him.  Man is a social creature, after all.

This ties in with Mr. Bissette.  Bissette is beyond outraged at Marvel.  He points out that, for his role in the creation of John Constantine (hi, teach), he got a check for $45,000 for the use of the character in the Constantine movie.  Kirby created far more than that and got nothing.

Bissette is calling for a boycott of anything from Marvel that is Kirby derived.  He's not suggesting not buying anything from your local comic shop, they need the cash.  Just take the cash that would have gone to a Kirby-derived Marvel comic and put it towards something else in the shop.  Indie comics.  Back issues.  Non-Marvel movie DVD's.  Continue to support the shop, but don't support Marvel's exploitation of Kirby.

To read Bissette's logic (and it is very hard to argue against it), please visit his blog here.  Read through it, try to hold back the tears until you finish.  A lot of people, from Ub Iwerks on, have been shafted by corporate interests over the years.  And the only recourse is the social justice that JSM wrote about.

Unless there are other options.  I'm open to hearing them.