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Scott Turner
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Scott Turner

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I find it interesting to watch people with normal vision try to conceptualize what would be useful to a person with visual impairments. Walking into objects is certain in gone issue but one of the most dangerous issues is stairs and escalators eg where there is no "obstacle" and the intent is to make a controlled change in kinetic energy state. Things that would be very assistive would be identify things. Elevators and help finding their controls once identified. Doors and help finding the door knob and whether it's a push or pull door. When walking an alert when there is an edge in the path ahead eg tilted sidewalk blocks. Cross street detection with curb location assistance. Location of cross walk signs and interpret them eg wait, walk, run. But a huge help would be for these sensors to work in "optical mouse" mode and give prompts to allow walking in straight lines through open spaces. These sensors will be very helpful but not in sonar mode.
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Unfortunately my own experiences in the first 24 hours are similar. What i can add is that i used the "real" Windows 8 extensively on my Samsung Series 7 tablet the last few weeks getting my Windows 8 foo strong for the Surface RT's arrival.

It was great and as i reported im now hooked on XBOX Music's bad ass compressor, the music sounds SO much better its impossible for me to go back.

The first thing i did with my RT was put some XBOX Music on it. Well just trying to do that was painful. I ran smack into the maximum device limit again. Im now hooked on music i pay flat rate access for but strictly limits how many devices i can have. And the weird twist is the limit bites hardest on the kool aide drinking true believers.

Touchscreen all in one desktop
Touchscreen Laptop
XBOX 360
Lumia 900
Samsung Series 7 tablet
Surface RT

XBOX Music basically said "You only get five, pick one child to give up".

After deciding whom died to make a slot for the RT i then discovered how incredibly buggy the RT Windows 8 is. :-(

The music player constantly dies with a Windows 8 version of the device driver has stopped working screen. To start playing music again i basically have to restart the Surface RT. (it says you dont but it lies like a fine Persian throw rug)

All i can figure is that unlike Apple where they live and breath and enjoy music Microsoft apparently doesnt have anyone listening to XBOX Music on their RT's. which is a shame because when i put on some good headphones and jack in the music reproduction is incredible. Well, until it crashes.

Office 2013 is the final version now and sadly it demonstrates how Microsoft strangled the Tablet PC: it sucks for tablets. They couldnt even be bothered to make cool hip tiles for the Office components. You touch a butt ugly tile to launch and things just get uglier: desktop mode.

One of the things i hate most about Desktop Mode is how non touch friendly it is. In all kinds of ways it tells you: put the surface RT down, flip out the Touch/Type Cover. If you persist with using multitouch it doggedly finds ways to make you pay for your defiance.

The other thing i didnt like is a standard feature in Apple land: email account transfer. You get a spiffy new ipad you get all your email accounts migrated. You get a spiffy new Surface RT and none of the email accounts on your Samsung Series 7 tablet running production Windows 8 logged into the exact same Windows Live account get transfered.

That sucks.

But wait, you get one more prize...

You buy a spiffy new ipad and all your apps move over.

You buy a spiffy new Surface RT and none of your apps show up off your Samsung Series 7 tablet running Windows 8. And i suspect it will be like when i went from the Lumia 710 to the Lumia 900: you have to repurchase all your paid apps.

That doesnt just suck: its a belly punch. :-(
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Scott Turner

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UPS' new scam: the info notice shakedown

I've been dodging UPS delivery for several years now. The only time I lose packages delivered to my condo is when UPS sends them back to the sender: like they did last friday.

One of my eBay auction wins used UPS and I was not happy about it. I noticed on UPS' site that they had this new "Are you tired of getting info notices?" offer. So I signed up, paid my $40 and dutifully instructed UPS to leave all my packages at my front door.

As you can see from this tracking number, that didn't happen. And not only did that not happen but UPS also left my package at the barn one day. Decided the second delivery was actually the third delivery and didn't wait 5 days to return the package even after decided the second delivery was the third delivery.

In short: I got royally shafted.

UPS' take on all this: we made a mistake, we refunded the shipping to the shipper. My take? I paid $40 for the package to be delivered: it wasn't. The shipper will have to pay to re-ship the package so I'm not going to see my money returned for shipping. And it takes 10 days each way so I have to wait another 20 days, assuming the eBay seller will even re-send it.

Tracking number from hell: 1Z597E5A0391380969

But wait, as with the ginsu knife offer: it gets better.

I asked UPS if I could get my money back for the completely worthless $40 "Tired of getting info notices?" program.

You have to five them your password to your UPS account for them to be able to give you a refund!!! Completely bizarre.

My advice: use USPS. They dropped off two packages today, no fuss, no muss. I wish UPS could learn to do their job as well as USPS does theirs.
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I discovered earlier this year that the iPad is medical equipment friendly so long as it doesn't have a 30 pin cable attached. As soon as I went to charge it the 30 pin cable allowed enough noise to be broadcast to be picked up by the medical monitors.

I would charge the iPad while napping to avoid the nurses taking it away from me.
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Scott Turner

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I'm seeing if my Surface can replace my iPad 3. This morning is laundry time. On my iPad I hold down the home button and I ask Siri to remind me to check the washer in 40 minutes.

On the Surface I hold down the Windows button and I get...
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Scott Turner

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I defended against a #zergrush on Google Search.
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Not having enough stress in my life I decided to try Google Wallet NFC technology on the Samsung Nexus S 4G (Sprint). Of course I didn't realize that was what I was up to, I thought I was just going to try about the new NFC tech...

Sprint made it simple. I have a dual phone plan so the Nexus S doesn't cost me any extra $$$ per month. I've got the iPhone 4S as my "phone" and the Nexus S is my theoretical personal hot spot with NFC capability e.g. will never be used as a phone except in dire emergencies (the iPhone 4S isn't around or is not working).

The first warning sign of choppy waters ahead: Sprint has tap terminals but the clerk told me their tap terminals don't work with the Nexus S 4G! I can't even fathom how that could be and I haven't been back to confirm this bomb shell but things have not been all smooth sailing elsewhere either so I'm believing the clerk so far.

My first official NFC payment was at Petco. This was awkward as even though I'd gotten my Google Prepaid card, my $10 and then added more $$$ to it and set it as the default card... the "Secure Element" apparently needed a bit more cycling to get it to work the first time. I had to beep the terminal four times to get my first transaction to go through.

But through it went and the Petco clerk was all excited because she'd never had anyone pay with a cellphone before!

I got home and Cleo ate some cat food and I analyzed the transaction log. Pretty slim pickings so far. I turned on the GPS logging so I'd have a bit more detail on the next transaction.

I then dug through the local offers and found an NFC coupon for a $2 Jamba Juice that expired the next day (Nov 13, 2011). So I got up today and headed over to Bellevue Square to get my $2 Jamba Juice and make my second NFC payment.

I was met with "We don't have a tap terminal". No tap terminal meant no $2 Jamba Juice and no NFC payment. I should have walked away but I went ahead and used conventional plastic and paid full price.

I buried my nose in the phone to check that Google really thought this Jamba Juice was supposed to be tap-able and time flew by. What I only vaguely noticed was them calling "Zack, I've got an order up for Zack." Turns out the clerk had gotten my name wrong and by the time we figured that out my drink was ruined. They refused to re-make it and I wound up tossing it in the trash.

Total bust on second Google Wallet foray: No coupon, no NFC, no drink.

I then went to the Apple Store at Bellevue Square and used their Easy Pay system in their iPhone Apple Store app. I used the camera on my iPhone 4S to scan the barcode on the item, pressed the pay now button, entered the security code off my card for the "first transaction" and walked out of the store never having spoken to a clerk. My phone chimed with incoming email as the emailed receipt arrived before I even got half way to the door.

Count on Apple to make their tech work first time with no hassles.

On the way home I had targeted my 3rd NFC transaction at a local Bartell's Drug store, which was listed as tap-able and I had actually seen the terminals on prior visits. Sure enough, they had them.

Unfortunately I walked smack into a scenario Google didn't cover in their FAQ, videos, or How to Make a Purchase instructions included in the Google Wallet app: please sign sir. Even though my phone clearly showed the money having been handed over their terminal didn't accept the money because I hadn't signed.

My phone swore up and down it had sent the money. The manager swore up and down they didn't have it.

We ran the transaction again and I signed an X on the terminal, which definitely got the manager's goat, but the terminal took the money anyway. The phone showed two transactions to Bartell's but my account balance so far only shows one deduction.

Yes, I'll have to re-check that condition in the morning.

And yes, Google got a whole bunch of feed back when I got home.

The first item was: please add a web based feed back form. Right now they make you chisel in feed back directly on the phone. Pure misery.

And to put a cherry on top of my adventures in Google Wallet? When I got home the Nexus S which had been fully charged when I left home? After my 3.5 hour adventure: the battery was at 35%!!!

I'll give it a few more days but I think Google Wallet isn't ready for prime time, the personal hot spot on the Nexus S 4G doesn't work very well (terrible 4G coverage) and the battery life is incredibly poor. It's looking grim for me keeping this thing instead of taking it back to Sprint.
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Sorry, that would be some other Scott Turner.
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Have him in circles
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