Five Random First World Problems

Planet EarthEveryone has their own specialized list of things that just get on their nerves. In many places on Earth, it’s things like “will someone steal my food?” or “will someone kidnap my wife and daughter?” But those lucky enough to find themselves living in the first world don’t have real annoyances like these. We just sort of find things to complain about no matter how well our lives are relative to the rest of the world. It doesn’t have to be a splinter to really get under your skin, or a bullet for that matter; not getting what you wanted at Starbucks is enough to ruin your day here. Being a privileged human is tedious sometimes and life can turn into a gauntlet of irksome odds and ends. Here are a few on my list:

Incomprehensible cell phones

It can take me years to learn how to use a new cell phone. It doesn’t matter if it’s a smartphone, a prepaid phone, or a GPS enabled phone, these tiny computers baffle me! They are the remote controls of the 2010’s. That said, without them I would probably get lost walking my dog. I can’t quit you, technology!

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iMessage Forces Hands

I love iOS 5 on my iPhone. iMessage is so dope. Totally beats BBM. #iPhone #iOS5 #apple #iMessage #BBM anyone else have it?

I’ve been a happy iPhone user since picking mine up on launch day last summer for the iPhone4.  With the announcement of the much anticipated and then slightly disappointing 4s I’ve chosen to not upgrade, there’s not enough bang for the buck and I’m still tied to my current contract for another 8ish months.  What I did do was upgrade to iOS5 though, curious to get some of the new features and functions; one of which is iMessage.

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UmbrellaToday.com Still Leaves You Wet

In November 2008 I was stoked to find a cool website that would tell me if I needed an umbrella today via text message.  After a week the success rate of messages was 50%.  The week following that I pretty much gave up on relying on the service to send me a text message, or have it be anywhere near the time I specified, the service was broken.

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Next Song, Please: My Fave iPhone App

This is a guest post by Jana K. Hoffman, the editorial assistant at Lehigh Valley Style and freelance fashion writer. You can also read her stuff on BettyLife.

When it comes to iPhone 3G Apps, you can never quite have enough, right? Although I beg to differ, as I decided to join the masses, one thing I told myself after I purchased my iPhone was that I certainly would not download useless Apps that contained no apparent reason or use for it.

Well, I openly admit I haven’t quite adhered to Rule No. 1 of Jana’s iPhone Don’ts–I’d say Fluid and Heat Pad are rather unnecessary. However, out of the thousands of pointless Apps that only have some form of reasonable functionality or entertainment like while riding a bus or flying, you’ll clearly come across many that are actually useful, helpful and handy when you need something in a pinch. Remote App for iPhone & iPod Touch

Out of the 20 Apps (yes, I counted) that I’ve downloaded–mostly for free–can I just say that Remote ranks up at the top as one of my most favorites? Closely behind, The Weather Channel sits right up there beside it since the default Weather App just wasn’t meeting my forecasting expectations.

Why, out of every App that I could possibly ever imagine having, is Remote my favorite? Normally I set my iTunes to shuffle just about any time I’m listening to music. Perhaps this is the laziness in me, but if someone else is using my MacBook while I’m in the same room (and this happens more often than I’d like it), I can instantly change songs without having to reach over or walk to my computer.

This works in between rooms, too. One morning as I was getting ready for work, my Mac was sitting on the dining room table as I stood in the bathroom. I didn’t like the song, and with the light tap of a finger I chose a more preferable tune. So easy!

I’m not the gaming-kind-of-gal so, honestly, those Apps just aren’t the slightest bit appealing. I did, however, purchase–at the sale price of $1.99–Wolfenstein Classic 3D because growing up I would watch my dad play it on our MS-DOS system. I took a liking to it then tried my luck and beat the game. I haven’t yet mastered the iPhone version. In fact, I’ve only played it once and that lasted a mere 10 minutes before I became frustrated. I just don’t have the time and patience to learn!

While I know preferences and tastes differ, I would recommend Remote to any iPhone and iTunes user. The convenience factor alone makes it pretty awesome. I should mention, though, that Remote connects to your iTunes through a wireless signal, so this minor (and I use that term lightly) detail is pretty pertinent to its functioning.

iPhone App Review: hExistentialism

There’s thousands of applications for iPhones that for the most part I think are useless and a waste of time. With the exception of me checking my Facebook and Myspace, of course.

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However, I did discover a great puzzle game, hExistentalism, for the price of $2.99. It’s certainly more complex than Bejeweled or Mahjong. In fact, it’s quite addicting. I’m a huge fan of logic and this is perfect. Although the graphic may not be up to Halo 3 standards it doesn’t take away from the game itself.

Help Fight Cancer and Win a Griffin Elan Form Graphite iPhone Case

It’s been a long time since we’ve run a contest here at Randomn3ss, this one not only has a unique prize for all you iPhone owners out there, the cause and benefit is far greater.  This contest will also be run in a slightly different fashion, hopefully easier to enter for everyone.

The prize is a Griffin Elan Form Graphite iPhone 3G Case, possibly one of the nicest, most modern cases I’ve seen for the iPhone with a similar to carbon fiber look on the back.

griffin-elan-form-graphite-for-iphone

Not only is the Elan Form one of the most attractive cases, it’s one of the most functional.  Griffin, a company that constantly puts out products that impress, included the EasyDock function into the case.  The lower 1/3rd of the case slides off allowing you to properly dock your 3G iPhone into nearly any device without an adapter.   A shatter-proof polycarbonate inner shell protects your beloved iPhone while a static peel screen guards the touch-screen.  They even include a cleaning cloth!  At $35 retail, this is worth every cent to protect the spendy investment of an iPhone.

The Contest

Starting right now, the contest is open to anyone in the USA (sorry everyone else, shipping / customs becomes a pain) and will run through midnight EST on May 31st, 2009.  To enter the contest, make a donation on my behalf to the Livestrong Challenge I’m riding my bike in this August, read why I’m doing it and click the link to donate here.  You will receive one entry into the contest for every $5 you donate, no limit.  For example, if you donate $25 you will receive five entries.  On June 1st I will tally up all the entries and draw one at random, please make sure you use a valid email when you donate, as that is how I will contact you.  All donations go directly to the Livestrong Foundation, no money will go to me and all donations are tax deductible.

Broken umbrella

More than two weeks ago I was really excited about a new site I found called Will you need an umbrella today? It’s a service that sends you a text message to tell you if you should take an umbrella with you.  Simple setup, clean design, I wanted to love this.  Four days after signing up I had a 50% delivery rate of the text messages and both were hours late.  Not much has changed since I signed up for the service.

Photo by: Tyler J. Clemens VIII

Delivery is spotty at best and I’ve yet to receive one message on time, the closest was 6 minutes past the delivery time I chose and that was the exception, most that were delivered showed up hours later.  While the service costs nothing, seems to have no business model for turning a profit off the site and is a one-trick poney, I still think it has a purpose.  I won’t be unsubscribing just yet, rather do a follow up sometime after the new year to see if any improvements happen.

50% Chance I’ll need an umbrella today

Friday afternoon I was pretty stoked on a new service that sends a text message to your phone at a time you specify and simply lets you know if you will need an umbrella today.  I confirmed my cell phone number and delivery time, but since there is no account (which I’m a fan of) there is no way to change confirmation times without un-subsribing and then resubscribing, no biggie.  Another concern was the lack of time zones listed, since I selected 8am, did that mean 8am local time to my phone, EST for me, or 8am local time to wherever in cyber space the server that powers this service lives. Four days after subscribing, here are my results.

Saturday, no text message.  FAIL

Sunday,

57 minutes late. FAIL

Monday, 3 hours 14 minutes late.  FAIL

Tuesday, no text message.  FAIL

50% delivery success rate, the two messages that actually did get through to me were late, so overall, this service, to me, is a total failure.  I haven’t un-subscribed yet, I’ll give it another week or three and follow up just to see if things get better or worse.  For now, stick to getting your weather info from the internet, TV or radio though.

Will you need an umbrella today?

Earlier this morning I was going through my RSS feeds on iGoogle and saw a headline on Mashable, 5 Incredibly Simple, Yet Useful Websites.  Always down to see a few websites that are must see and will change my life – insert sarcasm – I clicked.  First on the list, and the only one I find usable out of the 5 is UmbrellaToday.com.

The site does one thing and one thing only, tells you if you’ll need an umbrella if you go outside that day.  Intrigued, I looked around the very sparse website and found that all you do is enter your cell phone number, zip code and time you want to receive a text message and the site sends you one every day.  Sign-up takes about 30 seconds, they don’t even ask for an email address, when you are done, they send you a text message with a random word in it that you then must enter into the site to confirm your cell number and you’re done.  I’m signed up and selected the text message be sent to me at 8.00am every day.

Photo by: Shahram Sharif

Not two minutes after signing up, it dawned on me that I could just look outside to see if I need an umbrella, but then again, what if they aren’t calling for rain until later that day?  Clearly they must be pulling the data from some source, somewhere, right?  My other concern is that it didn’t ask for a time-zone, so I’m hoping it’s not a PST default, thus giving my text messages at 11am, when I’m already up and out of the house for several hours because that wouldn’t be useful.

Who is UmbrellaToday.com for?  Well, anyone who doesn’t want to turn on their computer or TV first thing in the morning and hates broadcast radio as much as I do, but needs weather information prior to leaving the house.  Since I commute to work via bicycle when it’s warm out, I always watch the weather at night (online or TV) but almost never check in the morning prior to leaving.  You’ll also need to have a text message plan on your cell phone that can deal with the up to 31 texts per month.  I’ll follow up in a few weeks to see how accurate it is, when the text messages are actually delivered and if there any days when they don’t come through.

Best text message evar

So a few months ago a girl friend (not girlfriend) of mine sent me this text message, to date I think it’s one of the best I’ve ever received.

Last night was total insanity – recovering and recuperating now.  All my coworkers and friends came out to a corner bar, ate burgers, bought me shots, headed to another bar – more shots – 3 people threw up, fight, dancing, girls kissing, vagina touching, motor boat, public make out, boobies, boys, tequila, vodka, VIP bottles, bartender love, carried over the shoulder.  I’m in pain.  I did wake up in someone else’s bed, alone, fully clothed 🙁

That’s a pretty decent night by anyone’s standards!